Wednesday, April 27, 2005

God's Miniseries, Part Fourteen

“Oh, a sleeping drunkard up in Central Park
And a lion hunter in the jungle dark
And a Chinese dentist and a British queen
They all fit together in the same machine
Nice, nice, very nice
So many different people in the same device.”

- Kurt Vonnegut – “Cat’s Cradle”

There really is a choice. We can have “devices” like Vonnegut’s “revised” bokononism, NBC’s “Revelations, or the real thing. We can have Vonnegut’s “foma” (lies), NBC’s fiction, or the truth.

Part fourteen of God’s miniseries follows:

Revelation 14 (New Living Translation)

Revelation 14

The Lamb and the 144,000
1 “Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a sound from heaven like the roaring of a great waterfall or the rolling of mighty thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.
3This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. And no one could learn this song except those 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4For they are spiritually undefiled, pure as virgins,[
a] following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering[b] to God and to the Lamb. 5No falsehood can be charged against them; they are blameless.

The Three Angels
6And I saw another angel flying through the heavens, carrying the everlasting Good News to preach to the people who belong to this world--to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 “Fear God,”he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”
8Then another angel followed him through the skies, shouting, "Babylon is fallen--that great city is fallen--because she seduced the nations of the world and made them drink the wine of her passionate immorality."
9Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or the hand 10must drink the wine of God's wrath. It is poured out undiluted into God's cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. 11The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name. 12Let this encourage God's holy people to endure persecution patiently and remain firm to the end, obeying his commands and trusting in Jesus.”
13And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from all their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them!”

The Harvest of the Earth
14Then I saw the Son of Man[
c] sitting on a white cloud. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
15Then an angel came from the Temple and called out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Use the sickle, for the time has come for you to harvest; the crop is ripe on the earth.” 16So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested.
17After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, who has power to destroy the world with fire, shouted to the angel with the sickle, “Use your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are fully ripe for judgment.”19So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God's wrath. 20And the grapes were trodden in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles[
d] long and as high as a horse's bridle.”

Revelation 14:4 Greek they are virgins who have not defiled themselves with women.
Revelation 14:4 Greek as firstfruits.
Revelation 14:14 Or one who looked like a man; Greek reads one like a son of man. Revelation 14:20 Greek 1,600 stadia [296 kilometers].

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