Revelation 18.15-19 – God’s glory, mercy, judgment and victory over his enemies.
Posted: 3 July 2012 in Revelation

The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her [Babylon], shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

The above is, of course, one of many passages which speak of God’s final victory over his enemies. Sometimes atheists are heard to ask why God doesn’t deal with the Devil here and now if he is so powerful. Well the answer is to be found in this passage (and others). It is God’s will that he should glorify himself through his final victory over his enemies at the end of time, and it is in this final act, wherein God is glorified, that creation fulfils its ultimate and final purpose – the glorification of God. History will have been leading up to this point from the very moment of creation. But implicit in this is also the reason why there is no such thing as universal salvation. As Paul hints at in Romans 9, it is God’s will that he should be glorified by those who are recipients of his wrath, just as much as by those who are recipients of his grace. In their different ways, both will serve  to manifest his sovereignty and justice.

I know this is a theme which appears frequently on this blog, but the God who seeks his own glory, and governs the universe with that end in view, is probably not the god (lower case) we would construct for ourselves. It apparently is, however, the God of whom scripture speaks. Nevertheless, this God has a multi faceted nature, and the Bible also speaks of the way he extends mercy to those who seek it,  through faith and in Christ:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (Psalm 51.1-3)

A refusal to seek mercy, as often as not, is motivated by the pride which Genesis 3 reveals (implicitly) to be the original sin. It is the sin which spawns all other sins,  and it is the one which ultimately leads to destruction at the hands of a merciful but just God.

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Revelation 18.15-19 – God’s glory, mercy, judgment and victory over his enemies.

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