S (Scripture): Revelation 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying high overhead with eternal good news to proclaim to those who live on earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
8 Another angel, a second one, followed and said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She made all the nations drink the wine of her lustful passion.”
9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them and said in a loud voice, “If any worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or their hands, 10 they themselves will also drink the wine of God’s passionate anger, poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will suffer the pain of fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their painful suffering goes up forever and always. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, and those who receive the mark of its name.”
12 This calls for the endurance of the saints, who keep God’s commandments and keep faith with Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Favored are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their labors, because their deeds follow them.”
O (Observation): Amidst the devastation of the world, three angels appear to John of Patmos, and bring good news to all who follow the Lord. These angels promise that God remains faithful to those who follow him.
The second angel declares that Babylon has fallen! What good news! Babylon (likely referring to the power of Rome and its many foreign gods) is destroyed! The symbol of oppression and lustful passions has been destroyed.
And to those who die “in the Lord,” they are favored. Even death cannot destroy the hope that one finds in Jesus Christ
A (Application): I wonder if the hope that so many people cling to in Revelation worry about this scenario playing out in our lifetime? I have heard many arguments for why we are living in the end times now – in 2017. They name one-to-one correlations between the book of Revelation and current events. I don’t subscribe to these theories.
I’m not trying to just dismiss or discredit these attempts at prophetic predictions, I just simply do not worry about these things.
My call is to gather folks together in the name of our Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and lead our people to spend time with God, spend time together bearing one another’s burdens, and to go out into the world with a servant’s heart. This is what keeps me going. I rejoice that Jesus wins in the end of Revelation and all tears are wiped away – once and for all.
IN THE MEANTIME, we have hungry that need to be fed, immigrants that need hope that they can create a way of life in this country, and we need to be gathered – weekly – to be reminded that our God is with us in all of our endeavors.
God goes out ahead of us. God is with us. God stays behind when we leave. God is doing all of this all of the time. We simply show up. We set dates, and we show up: to worship, to gather for fun, to serve.
P (Prayer): Lord, take away the burden of knowing the time of your coming. Instead, help us to focus on the here and now. Amen.