And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;
The eternal gospel declares that the blood of Jesus obtained an eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). There is nothing partial or half-baked about what Christ accomplished.
In him you have an eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9) and an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15), guaranteed by an eternal covenant (Heb. 13:20), resulting in eternal life (John 3:16) and a welcome into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11) by the eternal God (Rom 16:26). This good news should bring you eternal comfort (2 Thess. 2:16).
See entry for Eternal Security.
And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
Babylon the Great is the City of Man, which stands opposed to Zion, the City of God.
Humanity’s fall and redemption is a tale of two cities. After Cain murdered his brother, he went east and founded a city built on violence and vengeance (Gen. 4:16–17). In contrast, Abraham went west looking for a city whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:8–10). Cain’s city, or the City of Man, embodies the murderous spirit of Satan. John refers to this manmade civilization as Babylon the great and says it is the “dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit” (Rev. 18:2). It is Satan’s home from where he has exported untold misery and pain (Rev. 18:24). This bloodstained town is the home of hurt and the seat of all suffering. But the King of kings shall send his heavenly armies and burn that hellish city (Rev.18:18, 21).
The City of Man will never recover from God’s ultimate destruction. In the end, there shall be only one city, the King’s city from heaven, which endures forever (Rev. 11:15).
Further reading: “The City of Man”
“And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Forever and ever. The terrible image of everlasting smoke, along with the eternal punishment of Matthew 25:46 and the undying worms of Mark 9:44, has been used to create a theology of eternal conscious torment. However, any conclusions we draw from apocalyptic visions must be informed by the many scriptures contrasting eternal life with death (e.g., John 3:16) as well as those that indicate God’s wrath is finite (e.g., Rev. 15:1).
In the most quoted scripture in the Bible, Jesus said those who believe in him shall have eternal life while those who reject him shall perish (John 3:16; the original word for perish means fully destroy). The one who does not have the Son of God has no eternal life (1 John 5:12), but the one who puts their faith in Christ passes over from death to new and everlasting life (John 5:24, 1 John 3:14). “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish” (John 10:28).
People don’t go to hell or die for their sins because all our sins were dealt with at the cross. But those who reject the Lord reject Life itself. The final ending for the faithless is referred to elsewhere as eternal destruction (2 Th. 1:9) and the second death (Rev. 2:11, 21:8). (See also Rom. 6:23, Heb. 10:27, 2 Pet 3:7, Jas 4:12, 1 John 3:14–15, Rev. 11:18.)
Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
(a) The perseverance of the saints. Despite incredible pressure, those who trust Jesus endure.
We don’t endure to become Christians; we endure because we are Christians and because Christ the Overcomer lives in us. It may not be in your nature to endure but rest assured it is in his nature, and as you allow him to express his life through yours, you too will endure to the end.
There are nearly two dozen New Testament scriptures that speak of enduring or holding fast to the end. The wrong way to read these scriptures is to think, “I must sweat and strive and endure or be disqualified from the kingdom.” If the Christian race is a marathon, it begins at the finish line. Christ has already endured which is why, in him, we can have peace when troubles come.
Why does the Bible contain so many exhortations to endure? Because we have a great need for endurance, and God has promised to supply that need (along with all our other needs) according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Php 4:19).
Further reading: “Patient endurance”
(b) Keep the commandments of God means to believe in Jesus. “This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23). This is the only commandment that counts.
(c) Their faith in Jesus. A better translation may be the faith of Jesus. We trust and rely on the perfect faith of Christ.
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