Angel Midair Flight
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55. Angel Midair Flight
Revelation 14.6-11

"Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth — to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He said, 'Fear God and give Him glory in a loud voice because his judgment hour has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the water springs.' A second angel followed and said, 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,' which made all the nations drink her maddening adulteries wine. A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: 'If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its forehead or hand mark, they too will drink God's fury wine, which has been poured full strength into the wrath cup. Burning sulfur will torment them in the holy angels and the Lamb's presence. And their torment smoke will rise forever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image or receives its name mark." (Revelation 14.6-11)✞

Nation Tribe

Fling AngelThe "angel midair flight" is necessary so that everyone everywhere can hear the gospel. The angel calls out to every nation, tribe, language, and people to repent. He asserts God made the heavens, earth, sea, and water springs and controls them. The angel brings the eternal gospel to the world's people. The angel called them to "Fear and to have respect for God and give him glory."

Language People

BabylonThe great city of Babylon in Mesopotamia built in BC 2300 and finally abandoned in c1000 AD. Babylon was renowned in the ancient world for its corruption and excessive luxury. It was the greatest enemy of Israel, and its armies swept through Israel several times, making its people slaves and forcibly resettling them elsewhere. A caution appeared in Revelation 13 of the beast's power and the mark that it would seek to set upon everyone. Now there is the angel's deterrent to those who fail in their time of trial. Isaiah 21.9b issues a similar caution, "Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All its gods' images lie shattered on the ground!"

Gospel Preached Everywhere

People Holding HandsThe gospel is to be preached everywhere and announced to every race, tribe, tongue, and people. One of the signs that precede the end, according to Matthew 24.14, is "you will preach this kingdom gospel in the whole world to all nations, and then the end will come." This gospel would be announced "to every nation." Here is the prophecy's fulfillment. The angel midair flight brings the "eternal gospel message" to all races, tribes, tongues, and peoples. The angel calls on all peoples to "worship him who made the heavens, earth, sea and water springs." Describing the gospel as "eternal" means that it is valid forever, that even in a world crashing to its doom, the Gospel truth still stands. It may seem strange that the "the eternal gospel angel" is followed immediately by another destruction angel. But the gospel has, of necessity, a double-edged quality. It is good news for those who receive it, but it is a bad news judgment on those who reject it. Those who deny its condemnation is more telling because they can accept it. The angel's words, "Worship him who made the heavens, earth, sea, and water springs," are impressive. It is a summons to worship the Creator of all things. The Lord's Word lasts forever and forever!

Give the Lord Glory

Saint John ChrysostomThe first angel proclaims Christians are to fear God and glorify him. Significantly, this is the fiercest warning in all of Revelation's dooms. As John of Patmos saw it, the apostate's destruction is worse. The Church is battling for its very existence. The individual Christian must prepare to face suffering and trial, imprisonment, and death. Every Christian has to "give the Lord glory." The implication is that the Church would die if the individual Christian yields. In our day, the individual Christian is still of paramount importance. Their function is to protect the Faith by being ready to die for it and diligent living to commend it.

Christians Persecuted

Lake of FireAll persecuted Roman Empire Christians give God glory seeing the holy angels and the Lamb vindicate their suffering for the Faith. The names of Sodom and Gomorrah's cities remind us of the most terrible judgment that ever fell on sin and particularly on homosexuality on this earth. Genesis 19.28 explains, "Abraham looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising, like a furnace's smoke." John of Patmos echoes Isaiah 34.8-10, "For the Lord has a vengeance day, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause. Edom's streams will be turned into pitch, dust into burning sulfur; the land will become blazing pitch! It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation, it will lie desolate; no one will pass through it again." The wicked will die in "the holy angels' and the Lamb's presence." Part of heaven's blessedness is to see the suffering of hell's sinners. When Chrysostom (349-407 AD) encouraged Olympias in Constantinople to steadfastness, he told her in due time she would see her persecutors' eternal torture in the same way as Lazarus saw Dives tormented in flames. This argument teaches us that we have no real right to speak until we have gone through the same suffering as early Revelation Christians. The heathen looked down from the crowded arena seats on Christians killed, persecuted, savaged by wild animals, and tortured most terribly. The news sustains early Christians that someday heaven's divine justice will rectify the earth's injustices. Then the persecutors will become the persecuted!

Eventual Ruin

Babylon the Great's fall, was a cloaked way for the early Jewish Christians to refer to the Roman Empire's fall. With a 70 million population, the Roman Empire stretched from Spain to Hadrian's Wall in Northern Britain in the West, Egypt in the South, Albania, and Babylonia. Revelation 14 prophesied the Roman empire's eventual ruin like Babylon the Great's fall. Throughout Revelation, Babylon consistently describes Rome. John of Patmos uses a universal illusion in both the Old and the New Testaments to Babylon the Great being like the Roman Empire and Rome itself. In ancient days, Babylon was the very incarnation of power, lust, luxury, and sin. Babylon seems to be reborn in the passion, luxury, immorality, and sheer indulgence of Rome to the early Jewish Christians. The fall of Babylon to Cyrus, the Persian king, was one of the most unexpected and shattering events in ancient history. The very words which Revelation uses echo the ancient prophets. Jeremiah 51.8 prophecies, "Suddenly Babylon has fallen, and been broken."

Revelation Babylon Adulteries

Golden CupThe Babylon adulteries are being punished and tormented with burning sulfur. The "Babylon adulteries" is an oblique reference to immorality in Rome. "Babylon" is said to make all the nations drink her wine cup. Babylon meant fornication, extramarital sex, immoral relations, adultery, infidelity, homosexuality, bestiality, and unfaithfulness. In this Revelation phrase, Old Testament conceptions include one from Jeremiah 51.7, saying, "Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord's hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore, they have now gone mad." Babylon is a corrupting influence that lures the nations into insane immorality. The prostitute's desires to persuade a man into sin by filling him full of wine so that he can no longer resist her. Ancient Rome was a glittering prostitute seducing the world. "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and the Earth's Abominations," makes the nations drink the wine, which attracts people to fornication and brings God's wrath. Behind this remains the eternal truth that the governments or the people whose influence is to encourage evil in others will not escape God's avenging wrath.

"Angel Midair Flight"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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