Today’s chapters, Zechariah 13 and 14 and Revelation 15 and 16, may be the most dramatic in the entire Bible, with their descriptions of events leading up to the final judgments of God on the nations that are blind to His existence. Some of the jigsaw pieces of events we are able to put into place, some tentatively so, and several we are unable to fit into place at this stage of human history. The wonderful thing is that God’s final judgments lead to the declaration “there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction” (Zechariah 14:11).

In Revelation we are given a similar picture, an ultimate era after God’s final judgments, a time when God, through Christ, will ordain a time of peace for a 1,000 years. We are told “the wrath of God is finished” (15:1) “and they sing … ‘Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed’” (verses 3,4). Christ will reign for God as “the King of the nations”.

God’s righteous acts first accomplish a cleansing of evil from the earth, expressed in the symbols of a dragon, a beast and a false prophet (16:13), descriptions of the secular and religious powers that are brought to nothing. Involved in this is the “battle of the great day of God Almighty”, that is, “Armageddon” (verses 14,16). This is climaxed by “a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth … and the cities of the nations fell” (verses 18,19).

Awesome! Intensely frightening! In the midst of these verses is a personal message for believers; “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on …” (verse 15) – these are the “garments of salvation” (see Isaiah 61:10). Our prayerful reading, meditation and worship of God will create for us these essential garments.