Three angels pronounce coming judgment for the unrepentant and salvation for the saved. The first angel proclaims salvation in Christ is still available (14:6-7). The End is not yet; the Creator can still be honored. The New Testament message to Gentiles focuses on God as Creator (Acts 14:15; 17:22-31; Rom. 1:20-25; 8:19-22; Revelation 4:11; 5:13; 10:6). God is both Creator and Consummator. Since He can create all things, He can make all things new; life as God intended it to be can be restored. The invitation to trust Christ is open as long as there is life (14:6-7). It is available to everyone regardless of any earthly form of national identity, language, or social group.
One can choose salvation or one can choose otherwise, but one or the other will be chosen. The second angel proclaims the certainty of the fall of spiritual Babylon, a direct reference to Rome and its worship system and a prophetic reference to evil in its ultimate expression (14:8). “Babylon” is a false sanctuary, a perverted source of all immorality. The nations who could have chosen salvation have largely fallen under the spell of immorality and follow a failed system of thought and life.
Verses 9 through 13 speak of these two alternatives. The third angel shouts a warning to those who refuse to repent (14:9-11). The mark of evil they choose to wear (13:16-18) is an arrogant rejection of repentance. Without repentance, their condition in the judgment will be like that of a reeling drunken sot, not satiated and staggered by literal wine and immorality but with the “wine” that is God’s wrath. This will not happen in a corner but in full view of holy angels and the Lamb they have rejected (14:10). That fiery judgment will never end (14:11). The language here is plain. Whichever of the two alternatives is chosen for one’s life, consequences come with it.
For the saved, verses 12 and 13 encourage Christians to remain obedient and faithful to Christ. They will suffer indignities and oppression from everything and everyone opposed to the holiness of God, up to and including death. The Spirit’s message is not for survival but for faithfulness. Faithfulness has two consequences. They will enjoy the “rest” God promises His people (Matthew 25; Hebrews 4). And their labor and deeds done in the face of such rebellion become worthy offerings to God for eternity.
Dr. David Moore is a university online instructor in Bible and theology. Email: email@example.com
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