Summary: If we can sip a bit of the wine of His wrath every day, we’ll be more healthy, and we’ll avoid the horror of becoming drunk on such vintage.
v. 6 And I saw another angel flying in the middle of the sky, having eternal good news to proclaim to those living on the earth, and to every nation, and tribe and tongue and people
v. 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship the one who made heaven and earth and the sea and the waters”.
v. 8 And another second angel followed, saying “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great, who has given to all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sins.
v. 9. and another, third, angel followed them, saying in a loud voice, “if anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his right hand
v. 10 he will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, mixed undiluted in the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented in fire and sulfur, before the holy angels, and before the Lamb.
v. 11 and the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever, and they will have no rest day and night, who worship the beast and his image, and anyone who receives the mark of its name.
v. 12 Here is the patience of the saints, those keeping God’s commandments, and the faith of Jesus.
vv 6-7 This fulfills the requirements of Matt 24:14 “14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Some have argued that modern missionary activity will usher in the return of Jesus. Others that their satellite system broadcast is the angel described here. I doubt either is true.
v 8 Is fallen, why twice? See chapters 17 & 18; Deut 19:15; 21:10; 18:2. The great city is a subject of great dispute. Various commentaries come to different conclusions. There are four main options proposed to explain the identity of Babylon the Great: 1) Jerusalem, 2) a rebuilt city of Babylon, 3) the city of Rome and the church thereof or 4) an unknown city in the tribulation (17:5), like New York. It seems, however, that the city represents those religious, economic and political systems which turn away from God, oppress the poor, fail to work for justice and peace, and use economic power and make war merely to further their own interests. Please see more about this in Chapter 2:12, concerning Pergamos, and at the beginning of Chapter 17.
vv 9-11 Wine of Wrath see 16:19; 18:3. The cup is mentioned in Ps 75:5-8 and Matt 26:39-42. It appears to be an image of the wrath of God which fills up at some point, and must be poured out. The word for rest is intermission, or recreation, from the root parro, meaning to stop.
v 12 The word for patience is cheerful endurance, or constancy. See Ps 73.
What do you think of when you think of wine? Do you think of celebrations like weddings? Do you think of New Year’s parties? Do you think of dissipation and stumbling and escaping one set of problems only to land in another? Recent research has demonstrated that a little wine is a tonic-it is probably VERY good for you, even extending life as much as a few years and improving the quality of life. But too much will kill you. I’ve had discussions with friends who don’t like the idea of the fear of God-it seems un-New Testament-like. Jesus taught forgiveness and peace and turning the other cheek and, and was meek, laying down His life and dying on the cross. This doesn’t seem to be the description of a God we need to fear. There is some truth to this. If we think God is some kind of killjoy, who is just waiting for us to make some wrong move so He can cut us off, we think wrong. Yet, is it possible that, just like wine, a little bit of God’s anger is like a tonic?
I should never come to God in prayer thinking that He is ready to reject me, or punish me. All of the rejection and punishment we deserved was poured out on Jesus. There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8). Yet, we sometimes live like He doesn’t care how we live. But He does. He is grieved when we belittle ourselves and each other. His heart is broken when we break one another. And at some point grief bleeds over into anger. I know I will stand before the Lord and give an account for every idle word (Matthew 12). Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats, and, honestly, I’m not always bleating with the sheep, I feel more akin to the leaping, frolicking, combative, eating-everything goats. Consider for a moment the New Testament passages that speak of the Wrath and Judgment of God, Please allow the Spirit of God to highlight those portions that apply to you: