Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
B. Great Conflict between God and the Forces of Evil (12:1-16:21) pp. 451-602
c. “Message of Three Angels (14:6-13)” pp. 533-548.
Revelation 14:6-7 introduces us to “another angel” with a message. Osborne finds this as a reminder of former angelic appearances, especially those related with judgments earlier in the book. This first angel announces an “eternal gospel” but, as Osborne notes, this is unusual, “for it does not mention Jesus and his sacrifice for sin, nor is there the call for repentance” as we would find elsewhere (Osborne 2002, 534). It seems rather to be a message of doom to those on the earth. However, it may be taken as an offer of repentance, though it is not heeded. “It is clear that in Revelation ‘fear God and give him glory’ are code words for repentance and conversion” (Osborne 2002, 535). Osborne takes it to be a genuine offer to respond to God’s call (Osborne 2002, 536). The reason given for urgent repentance is that God’s time of judgment has arrived. John here uses an aorist tense to emphasize the crisis point. It is time to worship God, none other (Osborne 2002, 537).
Revelation 14:8 brings us yet another angel proclaiming that the great Babylon has fallen. The home of idolatry has received judgment and its power is broken. Osborne observes that Revelation uses the term “Babylon” metaphorically to refer to Rome and its power (Osborne 2002, 538). The reason given is that Rome has led other nations into a drunken folly of immorality, drawing them away from faithfulness to the true God (Osborne 2002, 539).
A third angel, in 14:9-11, proclaims that the judgment of God specifically falls on those who follow the false prophet and have received the mark of the beast, engaging in worship of the false religion (Osborne 2002, 540). God’s wrath is here pictured as an unmixed wine which is taken to the eternal harm of the drinker (Osborne 2002, 541). Osborne emphasizes the eternal nature of the pictured torment, and that the text expects the greatest torment to be an awareness that those sealed by the Lamb are free from God’s judgment. The smoke of the burning torment is to last forever, as a contrast to the other smoke, the sweet smelling incense of God’s favor (Osborne 2002, 542). Osborne again notes that the judgment of God falls on those who steadfastly refuse his offer of mercy.
Revelation 14:12-13 closes the passage by calling God’s saints to endurance (Osborne 2002, 543). They are to make God’s commands their concern, keeping “the faith of Jesus” (Osborne 2002, 543, but my translation). Osborne considers whether the use of the article urges a reading of “the faith” meaning the doctrines of Christianity. However, he does not think it fits that usage in this context, preferring it to be read as remaining faithful to Jesus (Osborne 2002, 544). Here, blessings are intended for those who are faithful even in death (Osborne 2002, 545). Osborne considers this a parallel to the passages of the New Testament describing death as a rest for the Christian.