What does Revelation 18:1-24 mean to us now?

 

This passage is a clear warning to both those in the world (in sin), and those who claim Christ as Lord yet want to be in the world. The question is “What lures you away from faith and what replaces faith?” We have to be on guard against sin and its allure. The ways of the world are tantalizing and seductive and will cater to Christians, seeking to entice them away from God and/or compromise their faith—and be gleeful about it (Jer. 50:8; 51:6; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 John 2:15-17)! 

God hates compromise and lack of faith! He wants us, as committed Christians, to place Him first and be proactive—to be on the offense, not just the defensive with our faith. He is greatly saddened when we seek to be one with or identified with the world and its ways. This behavior results in the compromising of our faith! This means our spiritual formation becomes a pathetic, weakening of our character and the absence of Fruit, making us neutral, or apathetic, or insulting to God and others as Christians. When we mold ourselves or the church after the world, we create selfishness, pride, and thus discounted and disgruntled Christian lives without purpose or meaning. When we allow Christ to mold us and our church through His Word and Spirit, then we can be change agents to the world, effectively used by God, and pointing others to Him. 

At the same time, God does not want us so isolated from the world that we cannot influence it; rather, He wants us insulated from its evils so we can influence it for His Glory. We can be a voice that says “seek Him first” in the midst of evils and not be touched by its evils. The key is where our eyes and trust lie; is it with luxury or with Him? So, who is your Babylon? What entices you, and how can you be on guard? Remember, accountability is key! Do not live for what is fleeting and temporary; rather, seek what is real, effectual, and eternal: Christ as LORD! 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Have you ever thought that the gossip, power plays, and manipulations in the local church can be evil? Don’t think so?
  1. Look up gossip/tongue in a concordance! How does gossip create bad character? How does the gossip of Christians show that they really seek to follow the world, not the Word? What can your church do to solve and prevent gossip? 
  1. So, who or what is your “Babylon?” What entices you? How can you be on guard? How can accountability be of help to you?
  1. Knowing that God hates compromise and the lack of faith, what can you do to be on guard? What can you do to be on guard against sin and its allure?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 18:1-24

 

The Preterist view: This camp is split as to whether the passage refers to Jerusalem or to Rome. Thus, one side sees this passage as the fall of Rome in 476 A.D. while the other viewpoint sees this as another judgment oracle on Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Being a home for demons is seen as the unclean practices of Jerusalem or the pagan practices of Rome. The luxury oracle seems to only fit Rome in this view, but those who ascribe it to Jerusalem say it refers to compromise and comfort over honoring God, and uses the same language Isaiah did for the Babylon siege and captivity in 586 B.C.  Come out of her is seen as a warning to Christians to flee Jerusalem before its destruction (Luke 21:20). Piled up is seen as how fast God acted on sin against Jerusalem or how devastating it was to Rome. The laments are seen as the loss of everything in Jerusalem or the economic impact of Rome’s destruction upon world trade.  

The Futurist view: Most in this camp see this passage as the Lord Himself coming down (some say it is an angel), announcing that the fake teaching of the antichrist is finished, either by actuality or by reputation. Some see it as an actual built or rebuilt city in Rome or Iraq (or both places), and used by the antichrist. Then, after the reign of the antichrist, that city, which becomes the commercial and political hub of the earth, will be destroyed by a nuclear hit. The mourns of this passage represent the impact loss of profit-making upon the world’s trade and economic systems, such as the stock market crash or total economic collapse. Come out of her is seen as the people who survived the Great Tribulation. Others have seen this as a warning not to compromise the faith by being seduced by the sins of Babylon. The Blood of prophets is the angel saying the faithful can not rejoice, as God and the faithful have been avenged. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as oracles of judgment upon apostasy, from Rome to the papacy, to church failings, to personal failings, and the lamentations of loss as a result of it. The reason is the seeking of sin, apostasy, and things not of God or goodness—its natural consequences and judgment from God. For the Jews, it was seeking what was unclean and craving it. For the Church, it was discord, rivalry, and apostasy. And, for cities such as Rome, it was paganism, greed, and corruption. Come out is a warning to God’s people to flee the corruption and pending doom, and not to compromise our faith. This could be applied to the fall of Jerusalem, Rome, or corruption in general. Some see this as being separate from the pagan practices of the culture or separating ourselves from evil people. Babylon is compared to the tower of Babel and how God judges pride and corruption, whether it is social or spiritual. Blood of prophets is seen as God’s pay-back to those who oppress the innocent, and engage in perjury. Millstone is seen as a representation of a capital city’s destruction; some see this as the end of the world as we know it. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as a declaration from God that Babylon is finished, as in His judgment upon papal Rome. The earth being illuminated by God’s splendor is seen as enlightenment to the truth of Christ over the previous apostasy. Some have suggested this has not occurred yet, while others point to the Reformation and the down fall of the papacy influence over the Church and world affairs since.  Others take a more literal approach to splendor as a light-show at the end of days. Come out of her is seen that the pagan practices are deranged, odious, and loathsome, and calls the faithful out of it. Again, this view sees it as papal Rome who is pagan and will be ruined because of unfaithfulness and false teachings. Blood of prophets is seen as the blood the Catholic Church has spilt over the centuries, killing those who wanted to reform the Church. Thus, most of the people in this view have vast and convoluted theories of how and when Papal Rome will fall—by earthquakes or fire—and how the world will mourn.

Exegetical look into Revelation 18:11-24

 

  • No one buys. A mourning for Rome and its benefits, or sadness for the loss of sin as a drunk might wish for the bottle when he is “dry.” It means seduction by things that are meaningless and thus being distracted from what is really meaningful, such as chasing wealth and forgetting character, Fruit, and faith, or bowing to luxury as your main comfort rather than to Christ.
  • Cargoes/merchandise of gold… articles of every kind … souls of men. Means the lament of the missing commodities of luxury. Refers to the ancient luxury trade between Egypt, Rome, India, and the Orient, the focus being on non-essentials while ignoring the essentials. Their focus was so much on gold that crop planting and harvest were neglected and people were burdened and starved! This was Isaiah’s lament to Tyre, saying a city is great because of its opulence while its character is rotten. The human lives refer to slave trade and its extreme evils and gladiator performances (Is. 23:1-8; Ezek. 27-28).
  • Splendor have vanished… weep and mourn/wailing refers to financial loss from people’s careless ease of taking life for granted to being corrupted by greed and the mourning that comes with it.  Purple is a very expensive dye, extracted from shellfish one drop at a time. Citron/thyine wood is a very rare, dark wood from North Africa used for rich people’s furniture. Marble was used to overlay and adorn Roman buildings and the homes of the very rich. Myrrh and frankincense, famed for the gifts by the Magi to Jesus (Matt 2:11), was very expensive. Bodies and souls of men is the slave trade. The greatest fear of the wealthy is to lose their wealth. John is challenging those fears, saying they will come true unless they repent (Ezek. 26:17-18)!
  • Great city… throw dust on their heads. Another reason to mourn as the merchants will lose their commerce and earnings. Rome was one of the greatest of ancient cities—a hub for international trade and a hot bed of evil activity, thus, both good and bad people will be distressed and disappointed. God is not condemning trade or wealth; He is condemning the evils often associated with them. Ancient writers and orators would praise cities as one today would praise their favorite sports team. God is making a distinction between His splendor and the façade of splendor—wickedness and iniquity. He uses their own words, their rhetoric of praise, to condemn them for following sin. Ironically, Rome was destroyed after it became Christian. Augustine commented it was because of its past sins; others said it was because the Church became corrupted and was heading toward the same faults (Ezek. 27:30). 
  • Large millstone…. Babylon will fall God will/has seen to it! This was a very large stone moved by a donkey or team of donkeys, thus never able to be recovered. It is referring that judgment is final and it is vindication for the righteous. In ancient times, millstone was also seen as a representation of a capital city, such as Rome (Jer. 51:63-64; Mark 9:42; Rev. 6:9-11).
  • Never be heard refers to silence as a term for complete devastation (Is. 13:20-22).
  • Voice of bridegroom and bride refers to the joy and celebration of life and community (Jer. 16:9; 25:10; Joel 1:8).
  • Magic spell may refer to pagan priests and practices, the mixing in of various pagan ideas and vain philosophies. The trust in the supernatural is not better than the trust in the wealth; both/either the love of money or the occult leaves you broken and then condemned (Is. 47:8; Acts 19:9; Rev. 9:21).
  • Blood of prophets. God hates those who oppress the innocent or commit perjury (to bring false accusations). Take heed; He will pay back fully to those who engage in evil (Deut. 19:16-19; Jer. 2:3-4; Ezek. 24:7; Matt. 23:35; Rev. 6:10; 17:6; 19:2)!

Exegetical look into Revelation 18:1-10

 

  • By his splendor/glory. ..perhaps referring that this angel is reflecting the glory of God or represents God with a mighty voice and eminence (Ex. 34:29-35; Psalm 104:2; Dan. 10:6; Ezek. 43:1-5; 1 Tim 6:16).
  • Fallen is Babylon the Great! “Babylon” was a codeword for early Jews and Christians, referring to Rome and its oppressions, evils, and tribulations. It comes from Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s condemnation of Babylon then and how it became a symbol for evil and corruption. This refers to enmity with God and people’s participation in it, as well as the audacity of mocking God and embracing sin. This theme points to those who follow evil and wickedness and refuse responsibility as doomed. In the first century and in the Old Testament Prophets, this meant to sin and fall into seduction—a warning to those in the world and those who claim Christ as Lord. What lures you away from faith and what replaces faith? There have been many speculations of this over the years, but its meaning is clear from word meanings and context. Application of this can point to how Jesus scorned the Jewish leadership, Rome, apostasy in the Church, the evils such as gossip and manipulations in the local churches, as well as bad character of individual Christians who sought/seek to follow the world and not the Word (Is. 21:9; Jer. 51:7-8; Dan. 2:35, 4:30; 44; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:19; 17:1-5; 18:3; 18:2, 10, 21, also Ezra 4; and Matt. 23). See Revelation 14:6-13 studies for more information.
  • Fallen. A pronouncement and perhaps a taunt and lamentation too, in the style of Jeremiah, stating a fact before it actually happened (Is. 21:9; 34:9-15; Jer. 9:11; 49:33; 50:13; 51:8; Rev.11:8; 14:8). 
  • Home/dwelling place. A person’s residence, meaning (in context) that sin is at home where it is welcomed! Where will one place his or her trust and comfort? Will it be Good or Evil—God or the ways of the world (Jer. 50:39)?
  • Maddening wine/wine of sexual immorality. Refers to people who are “deranged,” that teach and/or cause people to sin by “seducing” them into sin. The result is the compromising of their faith and the substitution of fornication for faith. This can be obvious, head-on, evil sin such as murder and deliberate false teaching, or subtle, such as greed, manipulation, and/or slander. In any case, it is opposition to God without fear of Him or the consequences (Jer. 51:7; Rev. 2:20; 14:8).
  • Committed adultery. This refers to the “harlot,” which means “to betray God,” as in betraying Him with occult practices and monstrous evil or petty manipulations and causing others to stumble.
  • Grew rich from her excessive luxuries/delicacies. Here, it is a form of “insolence” and “wantonness,” meaning people are so addicted to extravagance they are having extreme disrespect and immorality toward God and what is good. 
  • Come out. Means a stern warning of sin and to get away from it now! Those who remain faithful will never be cut off. God is saying in fact, “Come out from it and be pure.” because as Christians, we carry the vessel of the LORD (Is. 48:20; 51:11; 52:11; Jer. 50:8; 51:6, 45; Zech 2:7; 1 Cor. 5:10; 2 Cor. 6:17). Some (and for very good reason) see this as a warning to Christians to flee Jerusalem before its destruction in 70 A.D. (Luke 21:20-23; Heb. 12:25-29).
  • Piled up/heaped to heaven. This is a sarcastic remark to those who sin in contrast to the Tower of Babel, in Gen 11. Also, the longer that God delays His judgment, the higher the offences will be, thus the delay may not always be mercy (Gen. 11:1-9; 15:16; 2 Kings 22:20; Jer. 51:9; Matt. 23:34-36; Heb, 8:6).
  • Pay her back double. God’s judgment and retribution is sufficient and fits the offence (Ex. 21:23-25; Neh. 4:4; Esther 9:25; Psalm 7:15-16; 35:8; 57:6; 75:8; Prov. 26:27; Is. 40:2; 51:22; Jer. 16:18; 17:18; 50:15; Rev. 14:9-10; 17:4).
  • Give her as much torture. John is quoting Isaiah 47:8-9, showing how arrogance will never give anyone true security! As the people said the Titanic was unsinkable and God Himself could not sink her, so people said the same of Rome. Their trust was in wealth and luxury—and that will get us nowhere (Is. 32:9; Jer. 48:11; 49:31; Ezek. 16:49; Amos 6:1).
  • A widow. Refers to the cost of war and the loss of good men on battlefields, gaining nothing but pride and its resulting destruction.
  • Consumed/burned up by fire. These judgments affect not just the participating parties, but also resound with an effect on the economy of everyone too. This is a warning to the faithful to be economical and wise, anticipate disaster, and so be prepared, as the early Christians exemplified when Rome marched on Jerusalem. John’s letter was the catalyst to the faithful who heeded his warning and thus escaped harm (Jer. 50:32; Dan. 5:30; Rev. 17:16).

Revelation 18:1-24: What are the Contexts?

This passage is written in the style of a first century Jewish funeral dirge (elegy), as Jeremiah mourned over the destruction of the cities of Israel and the captivity of her people by Babylon and Ezekiel’s oracle on the fall of Tyre in chapters 27 and 28. Yet, this was an “ironic dirge,” meaning a sarcastic prophecy meant to curse instead of praise, saying “you get what you deserve.” John, who is imprisoned on a small island for defying Rome, is showing his contempt for oppression and evil and his faith as a mighty man who is humble before God. 

John is starting to get an answer from the angels as to whom the “harlot” and “bride” are. It seems clearly that they have been referring primarily to apostasy in general, discord in the church, and perhaps to evil Jerusalem and Rome. Or, the revelations to John are showing Rome as an example of apostasy and faithlessness and its pending judgment and doom as a result of the consequences of sin. The bride is goodness, charity, “heavenly Jerusalem,” and the Church, as depicted by the life and work of Christ. Christ is the ultimate Bride, whom we are to seek and pursue. It shows a contrast of what we seek and place first in our lives—will it be evil or good, the harlot or the Bride? Christ is eternal and offers eternal salvation; the harlot, Satan and evil, offer fleeting, temporary pleasure that only ends in self-destruction, destitution, and helplessness, followed by judgment and eternal despair (Rev. 21:9).  

This passage also is about judgment and how people living in the ways of the world lament and panic while those who are faithful rejoice! This is because most people seek only self-gratification and pleasure without accepting cares or responsibilities, and thus are not concerned with God or His Way and Love—even those in the Church. They would rather die hopeless than be filled with love and be saved for eternity!

Revelation 18:1-24

Introduction 

Judgment on Babylon 

John is guided by another angel to see more of this harlot, Babylon, and the hope of the Bride. He sees the earth grow bright while shouts are heard that Babylon has fallen and is no longer oppressive or even a problem for the faithful. It was once a hideout for all kinds of evil; now, its evils will crush upon themselves, taking out all the evils that followed. Those who have grown rich by fanatical evil will now become poor beyond measure; those who drank of adultery and immortality are ripe for judgment and punishment. At the same time, another angel, perhaps God Himself, calls to those of evil, those of deceit, the manipulative, the greedy, the cunning, the murderers, and those who refuse God, giving them a chance to repent and be saved. A stern warning reveals that their sins will cause their ruin. Their sins are piled high and God wants to remove the sin. But, instead of seeking God’s grace and mercy, they pile on more sin and seek the evils of pleasure without responsibility, which will bring them torment, sorrow, and extreme helplessness. Those who sought favor and wealth from sin will mourn, but those who are righteous will be joyful and jubilant. Those who trusted in luxury and splendor will mourn; those whose trust was/is in Christ will praise God. In a single moment, what they thought was important will be gone; what really is important will remain and increase. God’s glory and eminence is steadfast and proclaimed; the hope of the faithful comes to its fruition! 

What lures you away from being proactive with your faith? What things can replace your faith? How is sin “at home where it is welcomed?” 

How would you contrast trusting in wealth and possessions to trusting Christ and having faith? Do you think the greatest fear of the wealthy is that they might lose their wealth?

What does Revelation 14:6-13 mean to us now?

 

This passage is also a wake-up call to an apostate Church that ignores truth and chases trends and personalities, and that is uncaring and even callus to real, effectual, biblical truth. Too many Christians seek only what will make them feel good. They want “sermon-ettes” for “Christian-ettes” that tell them they are good just as they are, containing no real teaching or conviction so they can sit in a pew and feel good about themselves. In effect, they end up doing nothing for the Kingdom or the glory of the Lord. There is no stretching or exercising of faith, no work of the Spirit or living in the ways of His Love and Fruit. Only pride and thinking, in confidence, that they are doing and being good Christians remain. It is easy to see how God will judge the wicked, but what about when we seek to run his Church our way and not His Way, betray our faith, or become complacent and apathetic? Saved? Perhaps, but what good it is when we do nothing in the way of His Fruit, service, or precepts and plan? 

Pastors and church leaders must heed God’s ways and worship Him, not place their trust in the latest and greatest fads and ideas. It comes down to faithfulness and getting in His Word, allowing His Spirit to move and convict us, and following our Lord with allegiance, faith and loyalty. We are not to seek comfort for ourselves, manipulate others to get our way, or gossip and refuse to take personal responsibility for our evils and lack of faith. We need to beware that judgment is coming for us too, those of us who seek to weed our churches of good and faithful people who teach, and replace them with smug, pretentious administrators who shovel papers and personal agendas devoid of His precepts, rather than shovel the paper of the written Word or stand on their faith in Christ. I have seen once good churches remove their faithful pastors who teach and call their people to read God’s Word and replace them with sensational personalities who preach a “lite” gospel to attract more people. But, the only people they attract are those who do not want to grow or go for the Kingdom. These are the people marked, not by Christ, but by other means and things. This is what John is warning us about. It is not about a megalomaniac personality rising up politically; it is about you and me and to whom we are faithful. Is our faith based on Christ and His Word and led by His Spirit? Or, is our response to our selves, to the ways of the world, to what we want in “our“church, rather than to focus on Christ? Will our mark be of faith or of our own ways? It is easy to think the mark is about satanic influences, and for the most part it is. But, the bottom line is, what is Satan trying to do? He is seeking to get you to be disloyal and chase the things that are not of Christ, getting you to twist God’s percepts thinking you do not need them, that you need something else. If you are manipulating others to get your way, using your strong will to strong-arm others, if you gossip, if you cause strife and if you connive to rid people of faith to have it your way, you are “marked,” but that mark of yours is Satan’s, not Christ’s! The call for us is to be a real, vibrant, Christ-driven Christian who worships and is loyal to Christ’s Supremacy, allowing His Truth and Conviction to lead His Church His way! 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How is this passage also about Evangelism? How would you convey the Good News of God?
  1. How does having a firm salvation given to you by the work of Christ help motivate you to proclaim Him and make Him known to others?
  1. How does it make you feel that what the wicked chase in their sensational self-gratification ends up being meaningless and of no true lasting value? What about when Christians chase what is wrong or misleading?
  1. What are you going to do about seeking what is truly important? What is a healthy balance between living a life that is productive in society and that also gives glory to God?
  1. Have you thought about what you will take into eternity? How can you better lead a life of Christian distinction so your focus is not just on material possessions and power, but on seeking of Christ and His character and Fruit?
  1. What can your church do to make sure it is not about “sermon-ettes” for “Christian-ettes,” but rather, being led by the conviction of Christ to lead His church His way?

 

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 14:6-13

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the theme of the prophecy concerning the fall of Rome, and that we can trust God. The eternal gospel is the importance of solid biblical preaching. Preaching is not done by the angels; rather, they represent and show the call to us as well as the announcement of doom for those who fail to bring the salvation message. In addition, they announce doom to those who are evil and wicked and who refuse God. Babylon refers to Jerusalem and its wickedness, its unfaithfulness, and its betrayal to God and to Christ, refusing to allow the Gospel to be proclaimed; hence, the reason for Rome being used as the judgment tool. Some in this camp see Babylon as a cryptic reference to Rome or only referring to Rome after the fall of Jerusalem. Drink of the wine of God’s fury is seen as an image of hell and suffering for the wicked. Smoke of their torment is seen as the example of Sodom and Gomorrah and God’s vengeance. Blessed are the dead is seen as the righteous being taken care of and blessed and/or the eternal bliss of heaven.

The Futurist view: They see the eternal gospel as two different gospels—one of John the Baptist and one of Christ. Or, they see the Gospel as being a different one from the Church Age proclaimed after the Church has been raptured. Most believe the angels are figurative because, in their view, angels do not evangelize. Others see this as the Good News for the faithful as God unleashes His judgment and vengeance. It is extraordinary that they can come up with so many views of the Gospel or that there are many types of gospels, when the Bible only teaches one. Others in this camp see this as a summons to repent, which it is. Babylon is viewed as the great tribulation or that it is close. Others see it as literal city to be rebuilt, the rise of a persecuting political power, or the character of evil and a symbol of ungodliness as depicted by that ancient city. Others see it as a false church rising in the future. The drink of the wine of God’s fury is God’s judgment on those who take the “mark of the beast.” Full strength, referring to His judgment and wrath, is not to be tampered with. Blessed are the dead is seen as the martyrs receiving their reward and/or to die for Christ is our gain from Phil 1:21. Others see it as a term for faithfulness and the rewards thereof. 

The Idealist view: They see the angels as symbolic and the eternal gospel not the gospel of the New Testament but a last call for repentance and the call of judgment just before the end of days. Others see it as the Gospel of the New Testament being offered because of the term everlasting. Babylon is a symbol for humanity in rebellion and opposition to God, its seduction and ungodliness and/or governments which trick people away from God. Drink of the wine of God’s fury is a warning of the seductions of evil and judgment to those who do not heed God’s love and plan. And, His plan will be on full force without opposition, so get with it or else. Smoke of their torment is a symbol for the fires of hell and punishment. Blessed are the dead and patience are the rewards for staying loyal to God who gives us strength and answers our faithfulness with affirmation. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as symbolic of the rise and fall of the anti-Christian governments and powers over time. Thus, the eternal gospel is not thwarted by men because it is powered by God. The angels represent the various mission movements and/or the Great Awakenings and rise of evangelism. As well as the destruction of Babylon, Babylon as this time in Revelation is seen as evil Papal Rome and judgment to those whose allegiance is to them or to any form of fornication to God. The smoke of their torment is seen as hell and the results of judgment, and its people having no regret or remorse for their life choices or where they ended up. Blessed are the dead is seen as the resting place of the faithful and something we can look forward to.

Exegetical look into Revelation 14:9-13

 

  • Worships the beast and his image and receives his mark refer to Chapter 13; will it be our loyalty to Christ or our loyalty to evil?
  • He, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury. The image here is that God will judge the infidelity and betrayal of faith; you can bank on it (Ezek. 23:31; 38:22; Jer. 49:12; Hab. 23:16; Zech. 12:2; Rev. 2:21)!
  • God’s fury… wrath refers to God’s passion, as His Wrath is just, and His fervent anger at sin.
  • Cup of his wrath. This means God’s right to be angry at sin and those who disobey Him and refuse righteousness, those who fight against the righteous and refuse Christ’s love and grace. Wine was given to condemned criminals. This was also a connection to Isaiah and his prophecy of Edom’s downfall—how sin cases us to fall (Psalm 75:8; Is. 34:10; 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Mark 15:35).
  • Tormented. This is a reference that those who are evil judge themselves by knowingly refusing God and His offer of grace. This may also show that the wicked will not be annihilated (Rev.19:20; 20:10). 
  • Burning sulfur…smoke means desolation, a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah and the evil they represented, and the fate of those who are wicked. This is also a picture of God’s right to judge and His vengeance (Gen.19; Psalm 11:6; Is. 34:8-10; Rev. 4:8; 12:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8).
  • Patience/Patient endurance/perseverance refers to our assurance and the resolve of our faith. If we are not patient, we will never see how God indeed cares for us. Endurance is a call to remain faithful and keep our trust in Christ no matter what comes our way in sufferings or temptations. We are to focus on His Way, even in persecution and stress. This is a prominent theme in Revelation (Rev. 1:9; 2:2-3, 13, 19; 3:10; 6:11; 13:10; 14:12; 16:15; 18:4; 20:4; 22:7,11,14).
  • Obey God’s commandments refers to people who think God does not have the right to judge, who think judgment will not come about or apply to them, or who think that since God is about love and mercy, He will not judge. Thus, a warning is given to the Christian against apathy and complacency as well as against liberalism and relativism; it will be severely judged as it is a disgrace to a Holy God of Truth! If you force your ideas as God’s or manipulate others away from solid biblical precepts, judgment and grace are at your door. To open the door of grace, we have to repent; to open the judgment door, all we have to do is just remain in our pride!
  • Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. This is where we get our phrase, “rest in peace,” a common funeral saying; it comes from the extra biblical texts of 1 Enoch 99:13-14; 103:3 and refers to the hope that suffering is for a purpose, as it is. Our sufferings and toils will end; our great reward awaits us, literally, in eternity. This also means we should be joyful and happy being in the Lord no matter what we face. In contrast, the wicked will not have rest (Phil. 1:21; Rev. 13:10; 22:12).
  • Their deeds will follow them. This refers to what we take with us into eternity. It is not material possessions; rather, our faith and character, who we are in Christ, our growth in Him, and what we did with what He gave us is what will resonate to God and will be the basis of our reward. Thus, what the wicked chase in their sensational self-gratification will end up as meaningless and of no true lasting value (Matt. 6:20-21; James 5:2).

Exegetical look into Revelation 14: 6-8

 

  • Eternal gospel refers to the “good news” of Christ and a summons to repent as clearly stated in verse seven (7): fear God and give him glory…Worship him. Fear God (Prov. 3:5; Luke 1:50; 12:5; Acts 10:35; 14:15), give Him Glory (Matt. 5:16; 9:8; 15:31), judgment is coming (John 12:23-32; 16:8-11), and worship Him (Acts 14:15; 17:24-31) are the basic applications of the Gospel, which is the work of Christ on our behalf, the Good News of reconciliation to God for those who are sinners (Hab. 2:4; Rom.10 1; John 17:17; Cor.15:1-4).
  • Every nation… Refers to the theme of the passage—allegiance; our allegiance is to Christ by His sacrificial work, not to political power, or people’s agendas. Being in Christ means we are a part of a greater Kingdom (Matt. 28: 18-20; Rev. 5:9).
  • Him who made the heavens refers to God who is Sovereign and Creator and Who is in charge—meaning command and control—a God we can indeed trust and resound to with our love and faith (Ex. 20:11; Psalm 146:6).
  • Springs of water, an image of great comfort. In context, this assures the Faithful of who God is and what He can do. This contains the images of a God who is forever faithful, remains true, is worthy of praise, and whose  love endures forever so we can realize and grasp that our help comes from the LORD (Psalm 33:6; 89:11-13; 96:4-5; 104:2-9; 124:8; 134:3; 136:4-9; 146:6)!
  • Babylon the Great refers to Isaiah’s mockery of sin and those who follow it as a “harlot” follows sin. This is about the bad character of evil that is depicted by that ancient city. It is a contrast of evil governments in antagonism to God and God’s Kingdom, the captivity of the Jews under Babylon and its moral decadence, and the early Christians under Rome, which was also steeped in immorality. This is also a reference to how people are led into captivity to sin. This was also a metaphor that meant to sin and fall into seduction, what lures us away from faith and what replaces faith. The application of seduction is corruption and this can range from pagan worship and atheism to following what is fruitless and meaningless, all while ignoring our Lord. This is not necessarily referring to one specific specious person or entity or political system, but to what evil is in general. It does not mean that Babylon will be rebuilt or restored in some way. This theme is about enmity to God and people’s participation in it, which is in direct contrast to what Christ offers and is—Pure and Holy (Is. 21:9; Jer. 51:7-8; Dan. 2:35, 4:30; 44; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:19; 17:1-5; 18:3; 18:2, 10, 21, also 4 Ezra).
  • Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great refers to Jeremiah’s prediction of the fall of historical Babylon and how God is in control of evil and the powers of people and governments, and that their judgment is upon them. Babylon, who sacked Israel, carried away the treasures and the best people as a part of God’s judgment for Israel’s unfaithfulness; the restoration was about God’s grace and faithfulness. This theme of hope, victory and grace for the faithful and judgment for the wicked is predominating in the last days (Dan. 2:35-44). 
  • Made all the nations drink means intoxication, and is referring to being lured and tempted. Adultery with shrine prostitutes and pagan worship were the biggest temptations to the Early Church. Their society said this was OK and it was beyond fun, but the consequences were as grave as they are to us today (Judges 17:6; James 2: 14-26). Our call is to stay away from the influence of evil, to be self-controlled, and to never portray evil as being good as the pagans do (Rom. 6:1-2; 14-15; 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Gal. 5:22-25; Jude 4). 
  • Maddening wine means drunkenness and the shame that results. What seems fun has consequences and causes disgrace to us and all who see and know about it. This is spiritual adultery against God by seeking to replace Him with our whims and plans, and/or following others who are evil. The chastisement comes when we are willing participants, faithfully and deliberately seeking evil and thus ignoring, and consequently forfeiting Christ’s love and redemption. This is classic relativism in the face of a world that is not really relative. We are in a society that loves and teaches relativism, yet when a CEO of a company practices what he or she learned in higher education, he or she is put in jail for fraud. Relativism and sin are contradictory to each other and only cause havoc.
  • Adulteries means the effect of sexual immorality, and chasing what is wrong and false because of spiritual deceitfulness and betrayal. Immorality produces foolishness and shame for everyone involved, even when they refuse to admit to it, choosing rather to remain in sin. This also involves harboring sin and iniquity in our hearts and minds while thinking we are OK (Prov. 9:13-18; Jer. 51:7).