Sunday, April 4, 2010

Revelation 16:19-21

Verse 19 "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."

There is no clear statement as to who the great city is, and scholars have differing opinions. We can only use Scripture as our source of information to tell us who this is. In Revelation 11:8 we are told that the dead bodies of the two witnesses will lie in the street of the "great city" and that this city is where the Lord was crucified. It seems clear that the great city is then Jerusalem. It is divided into three parts by this unparalleled earthquake that will devastate the planet. In Zech. 13:8-9 it states. "And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." Only the "woman" was protected in the wilderness for 1260 days and now as we have seen what has transpired with the 144,000, it may be that they are the only ones who have qualified as the "woman," as it seems many Jews are still in Jerusalem. Either that, or all those who have fled have come back when the Lord returned in his glory. It is significant that the city is divided into three parts physically, and two thirds of Israel will perish and one third will be refined and purged and call upon the Lord to be their God. The symmetry cannot be coincidental. One suspects that the Temple Mount is the section that is spared to allow those there to escape. It is where the 144,000 are shown to be standing in chapter 14. In Zech. 14:2 it says that when the Lord gathers the nations to Armageddon, he leaves a group of people there to be captured (and no doubt killed). The rest are told to flee to the valley as they did in the days of the earthquake when Uzziah was king of Judah. (Zech. 14:5) This valley comes about as Christ's feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and split the mountain in two. It will move north and south, creating a valley. (Zech.14:4) Interestingly, Christ's appearance on the Mount of Olives, splitting it in two, happens just before it says that He comes with the saints with him. This would seem to agree with Revelation having Christ on the Mt. Zion with the 144,000 before appearing in the sky for the rapture. He seems to be going back and forth between earth and the heavens (2nd heaven where lies New Jerusalem) over the course of the events that are passing. It seems a pattern that He makes an appearance on earth to do something for the remnant of Israel before commencing with the big show (so to speak) for the rest of the world.

Next we are told that the cities of the nations fall. This is another confirmation that the "great city" is Jerusalem. The nations (Gentile) are separated from the "great city". There is a contrast between the two. The punishment for Jerusalem, while severe, may not be as bad as the cities of the rest of the world, as Jerusalem is to be God's and Christ's headquarters. It is God's special land.

Lastly Babylon is brought into remembrance before God. It is not that He has forgotten her, He is just saving the worst for last. Whereas before she was "fallen", or in other words, had her power stripped from her and was crushed economically and spiritually, she was not completely taken off the face of the earth. She now will be. There is more to this than can first be discerned. As the next two chapters are all about Babylon, we will get into her history there. God's unmitigated wrath will be poured out on Babylon at this time. She will never exist again after this. She is portrayed as drinking a cup filled with the blood of the saints and abominations. Now she will drink from the cup of God's wrath.

Verse 20 "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found."

Now we see that the previous supposition that the mountains would be lowered (and the deep ocean valleys raised) is indeed what happens. The islands are no more as 1) the oceans have been evaporating joining land masses through bridges, and 2) many islands are the result of volcano eruptions and have simply collapsed back into the ocean with all the earthquake activity. The mountains are no more as again, the land levels out when the tectonic plates move back into place and no longer overlap, thereby leveling out rather than pushing each other up or down (high mountain ranges and low ocean trenches).

Verse 21 "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great."

One last event is the hail. This hail is the largest ever. A talent is from 108-130 pounds. This is some hail. Anything that might be left will be pummeled by this hail and destroyed. Anyone who has experienced even gumball sized hail knows how much damage that can cause. For those who have experienced larger hail such as golf balls or even somewhat larger, you know that you wouldn't want to be caught outside. Now imagine 100+ pound balls of solid ice pounding down on the world. Now we know for what the stores of ice and snow that God told Job he had stored up for the last days is going to be used.

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