Arriving at verse 9 God the Father has finished his unity proclamation. God with us, Immanuel, Eternal Christmas was revealed to John the Apostle. Following on those heals an angel began a walk toward John, who by this stage was familiar with the gentle slide from one vision to the next.
This angel is one familiar to John, and maybe to us as well. In Revelation 16 God dismantled the old earth displaying it to John through angels pouring bowls of wrath upon various features of the planet. Do you recall any of those stages?
Here is a quick plague refresher:
- Health destroyed
- Oceans destroyed
- Freshwater destroyed
- Global warming
- Technology disruption
- Armageddon march
- Mountains came down, and the floods came up
It is interesting to me that an angel of destruction was also an announcer of the restoration.
The servants of God have a variety of tasks
Was an act of destruction pleasurable for the angel? Is it even appropriate to ask such a question? Does God enjoy destroying things? We know from scripture that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked1. I think that it is legitimate to extrapolate from there to the destruction of his planet. Angels, even those who are agents of destruction, have an outlook similar to God. It would seem that they are not inclined to argue, but sadness over the necessary could easily be a part of their experience.
Gladness would also be part of their experience. It is believable that an angel such as this would take pleasure in revealing to John the next things. The remade things would have been encouraging for John. They would have been encouraging for the angel. How happy it is to be the bearer of good news.
It surely is no different for you and me. Many things that you will have to do will be unpleasant. Some of them will be poignantly so. In some manner, God works out all things for his ends. The Christian is very familiar with that Romans verse. We ordinarily think of this in terms God sorting out bad things that have happened to us. By thinking of the tasks of this Revelation angel we can expand our understanding. Some things we hugely wish we had not done may have been shuffled that way for judgment on another. Other things may have occurred to put another individual in a place of growth and God-dependence.
Live godly, walk obediently and have faith in God’s arrangement.
The happy task
The new Jerusalem is the crown jewel of the new earth. That will become more apparent as this chapter unfolds. The angel introduces the new Jerusalem to John as a bride, a wife. The husband is Jesus Christ whose allegorical description is the Lamb. The allegorical description of the church is a bride, which would have been pleasurable for the angel. Good news is welcome news, and the angel tells John to come along and see it.
The angel took John to another place, a high mountain. From the height of those mountains, he was shown the city of God: Jerusalem. It was coming down from heaven. Perhaps within it are all those whose names were found in the book of life. It was time for people to be back on the earth and God was delivering them there in this descending place. The place prepared for God’s people is on its final journey to the forever earth.