It Is Done!

Revelation 16:17-21
17The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

There is just no way to color this and make it pleasant. When God gives vent to His justified wrath the destruction is going to be complete and terrifying. Even now we are watching scenes on the news of the huge earthquake that struck Nepal last week. The devastation is overwhelming. Even Mt. Everest was shaken! And those images are of only one region. Imagine that destruction on a global basis. I can’t even begin to visualize that. This is what John describes as the last of the seven angels pours out the final bowl of God’s wrath.

Even in the midst of this calamitous reading, we find Jesus. He is always there. It is always about Him. This morning I am awestruck by the words “It is done!” Immediately I wondered if that had anything to do with the final words of Jesus on the cross when He said “It is finished!” (Not surprisingly found in the book of John, chapter 19, verse 30.) That led me on a search of the Greek only to find that the same word is not used. This was surprising to me. But Dr. Brighton had some insight for me.

τετέλεσται [“It is finished.”] in John 19:30 is the perfect tense of τελέω and carries the same nuance as does γέγονεν, the perfect tense of γίνομαι [“It is done!”], in Revelation 16:17, that of pointing to the completion of the action in the recent past and to a present and future result.
Brighton, L. A. ©1999. Revelation. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House.

The concept is the same. Just as Jesus pronounced the completion of His salvation work, so God pronounces the end of the sin-filled earth. Sin’s path is completed. Finished. God’s plans always move forward to accomplish His good and perfect will.

One must make note of the use of Babylon / Rome in depicting the power of evil on the earth. These two names will become synonymous with evil throughout the next few chapters as evil is dispatched by the Father.

“Rome, here signified by ‘Babylon the great’, became a type or example for all future time of every human institution—in particular political, economic, and social orders, and pagan spiritual philosophies—which, under the dragon’s influence, attempts to destroy God’s saints on earth. Because of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem and the resulting Babylonian captivity, the ancient city of Babylon became a type of all future enemies of God’s people (in both the OT and NT eras). In the same way, because of the Roman conquest of Judea in 63bc, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in ad 70, and the Roman persecution of the early church, Rome became an umbrella-like type for all future enemies of the Christ and his church. Thus for John, Rome was the modern Babylon.
Brighton, L. A. ©1999. Revelation (pp. 428–429). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House.

There are no good words to describe today’s reading. But keeping Jesus work in mind brings everything into sharp perspective. He finished paying the price for our salvation and as a result those who believe may die in the horror that accompanies the End, but they will not perish. Because Jesus “finished” His work, we are saved.