Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelationby Watchman Nee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
"And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to announce to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and tribe and tongue and people."
The "another angel" here is different from the "another Angel" in 7:2. The latter refers to the Lord.
This "eternal gospel" is different from the gospel of grace. The eternal gospel, according to the text which follows, teaches people to worship only the Creator. It does not preach God's redemption; it preaches only God's creation. It does not cause men to worship the Lamb, but to worship God. It does not preach God's grace, but God's judgment. It does not cause men to thank and praise God, but to give glory to God.
"Those dwelling on the earth, even to..." In the original language, there is no "even to." In the Bible, "those dwelling on the earth" are different from "every nation and tribe and tongue and people." "Those dwelling on the earth" are that group among those in "every nation and tribe and tongue and people" that loves the world the most and is the most connected to the earth. Although the future kingdom of Antichrist will only be as big as the Roman Empire, its influence will reach every nation and tribe and tongue and people. In this book, "those dwelling on the earth" may be those who actually live in the Roman Empire. The coming great tribulation will have Rome as its center.
At this time, the gospel is no longer one of salvation through believing in Jesus; it is to teach men to worship God and not to worship the image of the beast. How did the sheep in Matthew 25:34-40 know to treat the Lord's little brothers well? They knew it through the powerful proclamation of the angels.
"Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who has made heaven and earth and the sea and the springs of waters."
To "fear God" is covered clearly in the Old Testament. If someone treated others well in his conduct, he was a person who feared God. Hence, when the time of judgment comes, the angels will remind men to fear God and give glory to Him.
In the fourth trumpet heaven suffers. In the first trumpet the earth suffers, in the second trumpet the sea suffers, and in the third trumpet the springs suffer.
"And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great, who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the fury of her fornication!"
Does this Babylon refer to the physical Babylon or to Rome? The Babylon in Revelation 17 is mysterious; it typifies the Roman Church and is religious. The Babylon in chapter eighteen refers to the material Babylon. The Babylon in 14:8 corresponds with the word in 17:2; hence, it refers to the Roman Church. The second angel announces to men the fall of Babylon, that is, the failure of the Roman Church. Hence, we see that the great harvest which follows must come after the failure of the Roman Church.
"The wine of the fury of her fornication!" refers to the persecutions carried out by the Roman Church. The Roman Church gives to the unfaithful ones the wine of fornication and to the faithful ones the wine of fury. Wine signifies derision. In the future, the Roman Church will revive, but ultimately, it will utterly fail.
"And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the fury of God, which is mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath; and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb."
In verse 10 the angel informs men that all those who conduct themselves according to verse 9 will suffer God's punishments. Wine indicates something temporary.
There are two kinds of punishment here: (1) the wine of God's fury, which is the fury mentioned in chapter fifteen, and is temporary; and (2) the suffering before the Lamb, which speaks of their hopelessness in regard to receiving salvation. Moreover, to suffer before the holy angels means that the angels will put them in hell.
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