As we ponder Revelation, we conclude that it is somewhat like walking around a house looking in at windows that give different aspects of largely the same scene. Chapter 14 starts, “Then I looked, and behold …” and John saw “144,000 … follow the Lamb … and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless” (14:3-5). Always thinking what is true is vital, one of the last points made in the final chapter is that, “Outside are … the sexually immoral … and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (22:15).
In chapter 14 we read how John sees an angel who is “saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality’” (verse 8). Our world today is almost devoid of any morality, especially in sexual matters. And Babylon? It is most interesting that the Hebrew word for Babylon is ‘Babel’! We know what God did to Babel and why (see Genesis 11:5-9)!
John sees a final angel who “who has authority over the fire” and is told to “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe” so he “gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (verses 18,19). Tomorrow we will read of the final plagues “for with them the wrath of God is finished” (15:1). The world today ignores God, most do not think He even exists.
Our Zechariah reading has a parallel message and we read of a time when God “will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples … And all the nations of the earth will gather against it” (verse 3). The climax of events is that “On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (verse 8). “And on that day (the LORD says) I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (verse 9).
As with John in Revelation we can, in a sense, say “Then I looked” – as we see the events in our world unfolding, especially in the Middle East. Soon, we anticipate, we will see the jigsaw pieces of prophecy fit into place and our anticipation of the return of our Lord will become intense. As a result, all those of us who possess the ‘oil’ of faith will make sure their lamps are full of oil – and they will brightly shine in the blackness of our world, but, as the saying is, ‘there is none so blind as those who cannot see’ – may we not be among them.