Friday, January 31, 2014
Good evening sisters and brothers,
The images of wrath continue. This passage has a really interesting parallel to the Exodus both because saints in heaven are singing the song of Moses that Moses and Miriam sang when Israel crossed the Red Sea into freedom from slavey. There's a sea too in this passage, but rather than a foamy, divided sea, it is smooth, made of glass. God's judgment is scary, but the end result is freedom from bondage and oppression. That's good news for the oppressed, for those whose faithfulness has been held against them, but it's not good news for those in power now. When we're honest, we all have some oppressor in us; that means we all need to repent in the face of God's judgment. But God judges to heal; he destroys, ultimately to bring peace and justice.
Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended. 2And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! 4Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.”
5After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, with golden sashes across their chests.7Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever; 8and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.