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The judgment Jesus speaks is a warning of what the opposition will reap if they did not stop sowing seeds of rebellion. To reject Jesus’ words of life is to die. This image in Revelation is intended to be Christ’s last call for repentance.
John’s command to leave Babylon behind is this call to leave behind earthly political power and command to leave behind an exploitative economy.
When you read Revelation 17 and the description of Babylon, see where the parallels are with today’s world and in today’s society.
The final act of God rendering recompense to his enemies begins now. All of the warnings and all of the intermediate punishments have been given. We are nearing the end of the opposition to God and to God’s people.
God’s wrath is always described as lasting but a moment. It is something that happens only for a while, and never something that abides forever.
God’s wrath is never spontaneous, irrational, and unpredictable but always is in reference to the behavior of humankind and motivated by God’s intimate concern for right and wrong.
Once more, John’s vision tells us that the gospel testified to by the saints is the story of the Exodus written on a spiritual plane. John is simply telling his Gospel narrative with graphic visions instead of the more philosophical arguments of Paul or the story-telling parables of Jesus.
God’s judgment is not on his creation but on those forces that keep his creation imprisoned. Overall, that which gets harvested and destroyed is what stands in the way of the new creation.
The subordination of our religion to the State or the exchange of worshiping God for worshipping the State or something more sinister is always easier to see in others than in ourselves. The challenge is to have and to cultivate the self-awareness as to whom we are following.
We are not sinners in the hand of an angry deity, rather we are sinners who stand accused, but our Accuser has been cast out of the court. That is Good News.
What we see in tonight’s study are the promises of God written in flashing neon letters. The spiritual struggle is real, not only between the forces of Good and evil within the world but between the forces of Good and evil within ourselves.
God knows that the church will be tempted to shrink back from its commissioning in face of its persecution. This is why the message is given by an angel in the form and likeness of God and why the commission must be fully consumed and internalized.