I’ve been sharing some thoughts concerning the last message of warning given to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. This message is for “those who dwell on the earth,” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message based in God’s great love because he desires to woo all people to his heart; the source of love and life.
This is one message but it’s given in three parts by three angels. Symbolically speaking, angels or messengers can be human beings who are obeying God’s calling to take this message around the world. However, there is still a supernatural element. Even if people sat on their hands and said nothing, God would ensure this message gets out.
In the second part of the message, God wants people to know that Babylon’s wine is a deadly poison. Why? To see this, you have to understand that God’s covenant is about an intimate, marriage-like, relationship with people. The basis of the covenant is not our behaviour or works but God’s love and grace.
Wine is often used to illustrate God’s covenant. A powerful example can be seen in the second chapter of John’s Good News letter. The event is Jesus turning water into wine. There is all sorts of powerful images in his actions: it takes place at a wedding; the water is in ceremonial washing pots, symbolic of salvation by works; the water of works can only be changed into the best wine ever – covenantal wine – by a divine act of grace. You can tell that this is about way more than a beverage because of John’s statement that this event is a “sign” aka a revelation of God. These images are powerful but there’s another piece of the puzzle you can’t miss.
Before Jesus turns the water into wine he says his hour or time has not yet come. Then John says this event revealed Jesus’ glory. These are references to the cross! Now we see the wine is pointing us to the greatest revelation and confirmation of God’s covenant – the death of Jesus. In Matthew 26:27-28, the record states, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.””
The wine of Babylon is so deadly because it’s a counterfeit of God’s covenantal wine and relationship. It’s based on works (fornication) and an abusive, life destroying relationship – Babylon is fallen, is fallen.