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18 October 2019

Future Hope - Resurrection and New Creation

Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus
In the conclusion of the first half of his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that for those who are in Jesus “there is now no condemnation” (Romans 8:1-25).
This is because the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and of death.” What the Law of Moses, the Torah, could not achieve because of human bondage to sin, “God, by sending his own Son,…condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who walk according to spirit and not according to the flesh.”

The Destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet

Storm over the World City
The next section details the destruction of the Beast from the sea and the False Prophet, the latter elsewhere described as the Beast from the earth (Revelation 13:11-13). It is part of the third main division of the book that began in Revelation 17:1-5 when John was “carried away in spirit” into the Wilderness where he saw a vision of the Great Harlot, Babylon.
The third division is a detailed picture of the results of the seven bowls of wrath in which the “wrath of God was finished” (Revelation 15:1 – 16:17). In the second division, the reader was introduced to the primary cosmic enemies of the Lamb; the Dragon, the Beast from the Abyss/Sea, the Beast from the earth/False Prophet, and Babylon.  In the third division, these enemies are judged and destroyed in reverse order, beginning with Babylon, then the Beast and the False Prophet and, finally, the Dragon.

The Rider on a White Horse - (Revelation 19:11-16)

The One who Shepherds the Nations
The narrative now prepares for the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet by introducing Jesus portrayed as a warrior figure riding a white horse. The groundwork for this climactic battle was laid in Chapter 17 with the announcement that the Lamb would be victorious in the war launched against him by the Beast and the kings of the earth, for he is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14-18).
This next picture is paradoxical and reinterprets Old Testament images in unexpected ways. For example, this messianic figure rules over the nations, not by smashing them, but by “shepherding” them. The only weapon wielded by the Rider is the “sword” of the Word of God that flashes forth from his mouth. And, though his robe is sprinkled with blood, the bloodstains are present BEFORE the Rider engages in battle in verses 17-21. The “armies” that follow him do not carry weapons or engage in combat, at least, not according to anything described in the text.

The Heavenly Celebration - (Revelation 19:1-10)

John is shown New Jerusalem
The book of Revelation now provides a detailed description of and justification for the destruction of Babylon, the “great city.” Her downfall is the product of the hatred of the “ten horns” allied with the Beast in their God-driven campaign to desolate and “burn her utterly with fire” (Revelation 17:16).
(REVELATION 19:1-4) – “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And, again, they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia” [Source:  The Emphasized Bible].

13 October 2019

Babylon the Great is Fallen - (Revelation 18:1-8)

Greco-Roman ruins - by Unsplash.com
John now sees a different angel descending from heaven, presumably, not one of the angels from the series of seven bowls of wrath. This angel has “great authority” with which he announces the fall of Babylon and describes her ritual pollution by demonic spirits. This is followed by a voice summoning God’s people to separate from the Great Harlot, otherwise, they will taste of her plagues.
(Revelation 18:1-8) – “After these things, I saw another messenger coming down out of heaven, — having great authority; and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying — Fallen! fallen! is Babylon the Great, and hath become a habitation of demons and a prison of every impure spirit, and a prison of every impure and hated bird; Because by reason [of the wine] of the wrath of her lewdness, have all the nations fallen, and the kings of the earth with her did commit lewdness, and the merchants of the earth, by reason of the power of her wantonness, waxed rich. And I heard another voice out of heaven, saying — Come forth, my people, out of her, — that ye may have no fellowship with her sins, and of her plagues that ye may not receive; because her sins were joined together as far as heaven, and God hath remembered her unrighteous deeds. Render ye unto her as she, also, rendered, and double [the] double, according to her works, — in the cup wherein she mixed, mix unto her double, — As much as she glorified herself and waxed wanton, so much give unto her torment and grief: — because, in her heart, she saith — I sit a Queen and widow am I not, and grief in nowise shall I see!” [Source:  The Emphasized Bible].

The Destruction of Babylon - (Revelation 18:9-24)

Siege of Tyre, 333 B.C., Public Domain picture
The book of Revelation now provides a detailed description of and justification for the destruction of Babylon, the “great city.” Her downfall is the product of the hatred of the “ten horns” allied with the Beast in their God-driven campaign to desolate and “burn her utterly with fire” (Revelation 17:16).
The stress falls on two main deeds of the Harlot: her involvement in world commerce and her “sorcery,” the latter manifested in her persecution of the saints. The description of Babylon’s fall draws heavily on passages from Jeremiah and Ezekiel with judgment pronouncements against the ancient cities of Babylon and Tyre, respectively, both of which depended heavily on maritime trade for their prosperity (Jeremiah 50-51, Ezekiel 26-27).