John sees three different angels giving warnings to the earth. Their announcements are of joy or woe depending on which side you go.
The first angel has “an eternal gospel” to share with EVERYONE. This one is good news to everyone who loves God. “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgement has come, and worship Him who made Heaven and Earth, the sea and the springs of water” (verse 7b).
To those who heed this message the “fear” we are to give to Him is a reverent fear. We are to recognize His power and majesty. This includes accepting our inability to save ourselves and recognizing our need for His salvation.
To those who reject Him and the angel’s message it is an all-consuming fear of what is to come. Be afraid; be VERY afraid! Because His judgement is just and true, whether you believe it or not. Your denial of His existence doesn’t mean His judgements can’t touch you. It means you are going to receive the full measure of your own stubborn blindness. Eternal death waits for ALL who refuse Him.
The second angel gives a victory cheer. “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality” (verse 8). Her biggest draw was her willingness to accept ANYTHING as permissible and welcome in the name of “sexual expression” and to punish those who didn’t go along with her ideas. Nothing would be off limits within her walls, except the expression of limits. God has limits and He expressed those in His word and He expects those who follow Him to live by and stand by those standards, regardless of what their society says.
Those who have been under Babylon’s oppression can now rejoice. Her rein is over! God has seen to that, just as He promised. Her ability to hurt those who stand against her is finished. And her standards, or lack thereof, are finished!
Those who have been “enjoying her freedom” are going to find themselves judged. It doesn’t matter that society said what they were doing was “acceptable”, they WILL have to answer for their behavior. I see many heads hanging in shame or shouts of “that’s not fair” coming from this group of people. Probably a lot of “I was born this way” being shouted too.
The third angel’s message is a hard fast line. There is no grey area here. You either worship the beast and take its stamp or you don’t. With that mark comes eternal consequences. This isn’t a stamp that wears off or that you can claim you took in ignorance.
Those who refuse this mark are marking themselves for punishment from the authorities of the world. They will be punished for their choice by the world’s system, including beheading. BUT they will have an eternal reward for their choice. That reward is worth EVERYTHING! It is an eternity with God in Heaven.
Those who accept the mark will have condemned themselves. They may enjoy freedom or rewards on earth for their submission but their eternal fate is SEALED. There is no washing this mark off or going back on this decision. Once accepted, the eternal decision is made. Eternal torment awaits.
God puts His stamp on those who refuse the beast’s. It is His ownership mark. A mark of protection and guarantee. It doesn’t guarantee earthly protection, as this time is a time of great trial for all. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” (verse 13b). His mark guarantees eternal inclusion in His family. It is SO worth the trade off!
Father God, thank You for these three great victories! The knowledge of the fact that You hold justice in Your hands. The fact that the rulers of this earth WILL bow to Your rule. And the fact that YOU have a “mark” that seals my future.
I pray for those who are going to face these events. I don’t know how much longer You are going to wait before bringing these things upon the earth. I trust Your timing though. I know You will choose just the right time for each step of Your plan.
Thank You for Your promise to care for those who turn to You even in the last hour. I recognize Your protection is going to be costly, in physical standards, but the rewards for the right choice is beyond comprehension! And SO worth it!