Exegetical look into Revelation 16:15-21

 

  • Come like a thief. A popular image of the last days, this refers to being prepared because one does not know when such things will come about. What are we to prepare with? Philippians 1 tells us, by faith and maturity! It is not by infighting and speculation!
  • Stays awake means that the guards, at their post, protected people, but could not if they fell asleep.
  • Keeps his clothes with him means vigilance and preparedness, and a representation of shame. Most people in that culture slept in the nude when it was warm, but would be horrified to be seen that way in public; to run out of your house naked would be great shame, even if chasing a thief (Gen 3:7; Is. 47:3; Ezek. 16:37; Hab. 2:16; Eph. 6; Rev. 3:3, 18).
  • They gathered. This theme is deeply rooted in Old Testament prophecy; God will gather them to judgment for their own self destruction. This is also a reinforcement that God is the head of the armies (1 Sam. 17:45; Is. 13:4; Jer. 50:29; Joel 3:2-11; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; 14:2).
  • Into the air. In context, this perhaps means a “theophany,” an explicit manifestation of God, or, at the very least, a reference to God’s Glory (Ex. 19:16; Rev. 4:5).
  • It is done. References John 19:30.
  • Earthquake…. every island fled away. An image of the end of the age. But, those in Christ the ROCK will not be shaken (Matt. 7:24-25; Heb. 12:26-28; Rev. 6:12-14; 11:13; 20:11).
  • God remembered Babylon. This is not of favor, rather of vindication and wrath. This is God’s response to the cries of the oppressed. This image is the key metaphor associated with Christ’s Second Coming (Psalm 137:7; Is. 51:22-23; Rev. 14:9-10; 19:11-21).
  • Mountains could not be found. This means the incredible, vast devastation and the end of the world as we know it. These people deserved their just reward—extreme punishment (Ex. 7:22; Rev. 16:9).
  • Huge hailstones. Such a catastrophe causes total devastation like ordnance shells. This delays the plans of man and the battle of Armageddon has to wait for another time (Ex. 9:24-27; Is. 28:17; Ezek. 38:17-23; Rev. 6:12-17; 7:1-3; 19:11-21).
  • Hundred pounds/talent refers to being very heavy, causing great upheaval and disaster.
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