Three Angelic Messengers
We can safely say that the Book of Revelation is hastening to the end. Though we may see yet a few more “portraits,” such as a preview of the “Great Harvest” in chapter fourteen and the “Great Prostitute” in chapter seventeen, God’s people will soon experience the reward for which they have suffered.
In today’s passage, three angels fly overhead. The first has “an eternal gospel” which he proclaims to all upon the earth: “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” It is intriguing that though this is called “gospel,” there is no word about the cross. It is a call to worship God the Creator. As such, it is gospel to the believer who already knows God the Redeemer; but, to the unbeliever, such a gospel (and it is gospel) can only serve to harden hearts (Romans 1:18-32). In other words, the angel speaks in such a language to which only the faithful can respond while leaving the wicked without excuse.
A second angel follows, crying, “Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality!” This cry swells to a mighty voice and a cause of great celebration among the saints in chapter eighteen as the City of Man is finally overthrown. No more shall the saints be persecuted; no more shall wicked men curse God and live to boast of it. Judgment comes for the reprobate while salvation is finally accomplished for the redeemed. Indeed, let it fall; let it burn to the ground!
A third angel announces the reward for receiving the mark of the beast: eternal hell—and what’s more—in the very presence of the angels and the Lamb. Such a viewership will forever serve to remind them of the eternal refreshment they could have won but held in contempt. And though some will complain that eternal punishment is beneath the dignity of our Lord, I counsel that we let the Lord decide. Let God be God! I once thought myself smart and sought to stump my father asking, “How can God reward eternal punishment for a limited amount of sin?” “Because we sin before an eternal God,” Dad said. That ended the discussion.
Spurning the proffer of salvation that was won through the precious blood of the spotless Lamb is no small matter. And such a snub is a sign of the mark. Time is an anomaly for God; eternity is reality. How could it be otherwise?