Armageddon

ARMAGEDDONAnd I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. (Revelation 19:17-20:3)

The Location – Armageddon is both the name and the location of the final cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil (Revelation 16:16). The word Armageddon is a transliteration into Greek of an unknown Hebrew word. There is no known place that is called Armageddon. One suggestion is that it refers to Continue reading “Armageddon”

The Parousia

THE PAROUSIAI saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

The Rider on the White Horse – This passage portrays the physical second coming prophesied in Acts 1:9–11. The full preterist view, claiming that Christ already came in spirit and power in the judgment of Jerusalem in 70 AD and that there is no future second advent, are hard to justify when viewing this scene.(1)

As John gazed into Heaven, Continue reading “The Parousia”

Wedding Supper of the Lamb

WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMBand his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:7b-10)

The Wedding – Bible scholars have long debated whether the wedding will take place in Heaven or on earth. While the difference may not seem that important (the focus is the event itself, not necessarily the location), the interpretive problem might be resolved by comparing the wedding described here to weddings in the first century. A wedding normally included three stages: Continue reading “Wedding Supper of the Lamb”

After Babylon Falls

PRAISEAfter this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!” Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come… (Revelation 19:1-7a)

After This – With the martyrs vindicated, the scene shifts from mourning on the earth to rejoicing in Heaven(1)After this” means Continue reading “After Babylon Falls”

Justification of God’s Judgment

Screenshot (289)

JUSTIFICATION OF JUDGMENT – “Your merchants were the world’s great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.” (Revelation 18:23b-24)

Revelation 18:24 should be compared with Revelation 17:6 and Matthew 23:35. Satan has often used religion and business to persecute and slay the people of God. During the first half of the Tribulation, as the anti-Christ rises to power, religious, political and economic Babylon will all work together in opposing the Lord and His people. It will seem to many that God does not care. But at the right time, in the fullness of time, the Lord will bring vindication to His people by destroying both “the harlot” and the great city. God may be patient with His enemies, but when He does begin to work, He acts suddenly and thoroughly.(1) God is neither premature nor tardy. He is always timely (at just the right time).

Three reasons for Babylon’s downfall are given as justification:

Greatness Measured by Wealth – “The merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.

Spiritual Apostasy – “By your magic spell all nations were led astray.”

Persecution of Those She Could Not Lead Astray – “In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and all those who have been killed on the earth.”(2)

Previews of Coming Attractions – Chapters 17 and 18 provided additional insight and information concerning the earth’s major religious, economic and political movements during its final seven years. The stage is now set for the climax of the Book of Revelation—the second coming of Christ (Revelation 19).(3) At this point, the religious, political and economic system of the beast has at long last been destroyed. All that remains are for Jesus Christ to come from heaven and personally meet and defeat the anti-Christ and his armies. This He will do. Then He will establish His righteous kingdom on earth.

Until that day, the important question for us is: Are we citizens of “Babylon” or citizens of heaven?(4)

________________

References

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 616). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 595). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 973–974). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 616). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Never Again

NEVER TO BE FOUND, HEARD OR SHINE AGAINThen a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. (Revelation 18:21-23a)

The casting of the millstone into the sea indicates the suddenness of God’s judgment on the empire of the Beast. Some Bible students see in this millstone the return of Christ, as pictured in Daniel 2:34–35, 44–45 (“the rock was cut out, but not by human hands…it will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will endure forever”).(1)

It also symbolizes the completeness of the judgement.(2) In Jeremiah 51:63–64, the prophet is commanded to hurl a stone into the Euphrates and declare that Babylon would likewise “sink to rise no more.” The stone referenced here is the kind of millstone that was turned by a beast to mill grain. It is so heavy that it could not be retrieved from the sea (Mark 9:42).

The eerie silence that follows in Babylon also means that the devastation is complete.(3) All her mighty works of industry, craftsmanship, political power, and artistic skill are brought to nothing (see also Jeremiah 25:9–11). She has played the harlot and worshiped the beast rather than devoting her skills and energies to God and to the Lamb.(4) Note the repeated “never again” statements in Revelation 18. When God declares no more, there is nothing man can do to change it.(5)

Up Next – Justification of Judgement.

_________________________

References

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 849). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 18:21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  3. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 18:21–22). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. Dockery, D. S., Butler, T. C., Church, C. L., Scott, L. L., Ellis Smith, M. A., White, J. E., & Holman Bible Publishers (Nashville, T. . (1992). Holman Bible Handbook (p. 802). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 849). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Laments Over Babylon’s Fall

LAMENT OF THE KINGS, MERCHANTS & SEA CAPTAINS – “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’ “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more—cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! (Revelation 18:9-19)

Who Mourned – The mourners are those who had been bewitched by Babylon’s spiritual fornication, who had shared in her sensual pleasures, and who had gained from her wealth and trade.

Kings of the Earth – They were the kings of the earth, whom she had seduced into idolatry and who had shared in her tyranny.

Merchants and Sea Captains – They were the merchants and sea captains who got rich by selling and transporting her goods.(1)

The imagery here is Continue reading “Laments Over Babylon’s Fall”