Deliver Me From Evil
Revelation 16:5-7, 15
Introduction to the Scripture:
Against the insensate fury of Imperial Rome a little band of outcasts took their stand. With no weapon but the gospel and no strength but the Lord’s, they joined the battle with steadfast determination. They were ostracized, stripped of their goods and starved. They were fed to wild beasts, nailed to crosses and burned at the stake. When the smoke of the battle had cleared away, Rome was gone, but the church of God will stand for ever (Charles Coil “The Challenge of Seeking the Lost at Home” Harding College Bible Lectures: 1961).
Evil will run its course. Righteousness will reward the faithful. As the wicked oppression of Rome falls, Christians rejoice that their service to the cause has finally been vindicated.
Discussion of the Scripture:
Evil is a marvel not to behold. Rome is a blinding example of Godless morality and Godless Religion. John wrote, “When I saw her I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, ‘Why do you marvel?'” The mystery of the woman and the beast is that the Godless religion and Godless morality “was, and is not, and isa bout to rise from the bottomless pit, and go to destruction. And the earth dwellers whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was, and is not, and is to come” (Rev. 17:7-8).
These evil instruments of the devil “are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:13-14).
We are reminded again to “love not the world neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abideth forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
The path of the wicked reaches its destination.
Decisions lead to actions and actions lead to consequences. Rome chose a Godless morality and a Godless religion and in the end an angel having great authority came down out of heaven and called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Revelation 18:1).
The wicked have fallen because they glorified themselves in luxury, sin, and oppression. A voice from heaven said, “As he glorified herself and lied in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning….For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her” (Revelation 18:7-8).
This is no place for the righteous. God calls out “come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5). The Bible says, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:19-21).
Live to rejoice when God makes things right.
After the oppressor had fallen, John wrote:, “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out: Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants….Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him small and great” (Revelation 19:1-5).
Jeremiah uttered as similar refrain when he prophesied that the Babylonian oppressors would eventually be removed by God. Jeremiah recorded God’s promise: “Behold I stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon…and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her,….For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts, but the land of the Chaldeans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel” (Jeremiah 51:1-5).
Likewise, after God led the Israelites through the parted waters of the Red Sea, Moses was able to sing a new song. Moses said, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name” (Exodus 15:1-3) The vindication of God’s people is a demonstration of his covenant loyalty and steadfast love. Moses’ closing verse says: “Till you people, I Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. The Lord will reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:16-18).
Invitation from the Scripture:
When God rewards the wicked for their wickedness and the righteous for their righteousness, will you be terrified or rejoicing? Jesus said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through. Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of Man cometh. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth; and shall begin to beat his fellowservants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:42-51).