Today’s read in Revelation 14-18 describes the bowl judgments and God’s particular, specific judgment on what is called “The Great Whore” or “The Great Prostitute” and referred to as “Babylon the Great.”
Interesting side note. Revelation 16:1 says, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.’” Some biblical scholars believe that only these last 7 judgments are the designated “wrath of God,” thus 1 Thessalonians 5:9 cannot be used to support a pre-Tribulation rapture; instead it would be a “pre-wrath” Tribulation, where the saints would be raptured toward the end, just before these bowl judgments are poured out. At the end of this post, I’ll give you a link if you want to dig into this interpretation.
God sends three angels with messages to the earth before the bowl judgments, if indeed these chapters are describing things as they occur chronologically. The first angel has “the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.” He urges the inhabitants left on the earth to “fear God and give Him glory” and to worship Him as Creator because judgment has come. Even when the final judgment is about to be enacted, God still offers grace for those who will believe and surrender. How gracious and patient and kind God is!
The second angel declares, “Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great.” I believe this “mystery woman” represents the apostate church which by this time has completely “adulterated” herself with the ungodly, humanistic, spirit of anti-Christ culture. The only acceptable religion will be that which is governed by the anti-Christ, and she will be guilty of the blood of the saints, thus her horrible judgment is described in detail in chapters 17-18.
The third angel warns the saints again about the danger of taking the mark of the beast. In no uncertain terms he makes clear that if one chooses the mark in order to survive the Tribulation, they are destined for hell, and cannot be redeemed. That will be one decision a person will regret for eternity, and it seals their destiny.
How appropriate are these three warnings for us even though we are not yet in the Tribulation time period! We ought to heed these warnings as if the angels themselves were standing in front of us today!
* Fear God and worship Him alone as Creator – RESPOND to the gospel!
* Turn away from false religion and the ungodly culture – RETURN to truth and holiness!
* Be unwilling to set aside your faith in God, no matter the cost – REFUSE to compromise!
How we respond to reading these proclamations in the safety and serenity of our comfortable homes is a great indicator of how we might respond if God does require us to experience them first-hand, up close and personal. How have you responded? How will you?