Chapter 14: 6-13
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’
“Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’”
Last week we talked about the 144,000 chosen Jewish men, and one of the things that are pointed out about them is that they are celibate. As such, their loyalties are not divided between a spouse and the Lord. The Bible loves marriage; God loves marriage; He invented it. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that the marriage bed is undefiled, and the Apostle Paul tells us that a man should love his wife as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it.
Marriage is not the issue, rather it is divided loyalties. A man who is married naturally wants to keep his wife happy. This will help the peace in the home, and most men simply want peace. The lesson to learn here is not really about celibacy, but divided loyalties. As Christians, our loyalty is to the Lord God first and then to our spouses, and we should expect the same of our spouses. In fact, if our spouses are not loyal to the Lord first, then our marriages, no matter how seemingly peaceful, are in danger.
God will not tolerate divided loyalties for a long period of time. Each spouse then should determine in their heart to be faithful to the Lord, and as such, build a strong and solid foundation for their marriage. If you are not married, then maybe something else is more important than the Lord – maybe a job, a hobby, or whatever – no matter what it is, it must be second to the Lord God.
Today we will look at some hard things. One of them to those of us that are saved is a sweet taste, but to the world around us it is like bitterness to the core. Then we will explore the death of the seat of idolatry, and then take a look at God’s wrath in Hell for many people. These are some hard things, and we will need to ask some hard questions about the Lord. Let us explore them together.
The Gospel, verses 6-7
The Lord is ever gracious and is not willing that any should go to Hell. In 2 Peter 3:9, we see these great words of hope and a great look at the heart of God:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Take a good long look at this verse. There is a heretical doctrine that has become very popular in seemingly conservative Baptist circles in the past 25 years. It has been around since the days of John Calvin; the doctrine is Calvinism. It essentially states that Jesus only died for some, not all men. That God has ‘predestined’ some to Hell and others to Heaven. It is this doctrine that makes God out to have offered limited atonement and only to those that He has selected. But, in the above verse, we see the very opposite of this doctrine; God is not willing that ANY should perish (go to Hell) but wants ALL to come to repentance.
I notice that most of the people who believe in this doctrine of selection, that all of their kids seem to be selected – God chose their whole family, not just some individuals.
There is a myriad of verses that tell us that Jesus died for all men:
John 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18, Christ died once for ALL.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, one died for ALL.
John 12:32, “If I be lifted up, I will draw ALL men to me.”
1 John 2:2, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.
I can go on, but it should not be necessary. The Gospel is for all men/women.
The Gospel is the same as it has been forever, that we should fear God and give glory to Him. The idea is not to be afraid of God but to reverence Him. Notice that in verse 6 the Gospel is for all persons of every nation, tribe, tongue and people. This angel is in the ‘midst of heaven’ when he is speaking the Gospel. This is a phrase in the Greek that can be translated ‘mid-Heaven,’ pointing out the highest point of the sun in the noon-day sky. This angel was visible to the whole world; ALL heard the Gospel.
Even in the very last hours, God is still not willing that any should perish. He is evangelizing the whole world, in every language, nation, tribe and people.
God is serious about the Gospel. He is determined to give as many people as possible the chance to hear the truth of the scripture. Salvation is this important to God; mankind is this important to God. His focus from Genesis 3:15 has been the redemption of man from Hell and eternal destruction. He has orchestrated and planned down to the very minutest detail the offer of salvation. Jesus came to pay for our sins, and the Holy Spirit indwells those that are saved. The Godhead is ALL in in the area of redemption; they are wholly invested, and so should we be as mature New Testament Christians.
When was the last time that you shared the Gospel with someone? When was the last time you sent money to a missionary or even prayed for them?
Even in the midst of the Tribulation with all the death and global chaos, God is telling the people of the world, DO NOT fear the anti-Christ and his minions. Fear ME! Fear God! I AM in charge of everything.
In Acts 8, we meet an Ethiopian eunuch, a leader in the Ethiopian government under Candace the Queen. He is reading from Isaiah 53 as Philip approaches him, being led by the Holy Spirit to go run alongside the chariot. The man needs help understanding the Old Testament scripture, and Philip explains to him about Jesus’ suffering and sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world. The man asks to be baptized in Acts 8:36, and Philip asks him if he believes; and the man makes a confession of faith in Jesus (verse 37), ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ Immediately he is baptized.
In this statement, the elements of salvation are clearly displayed; Jesus is God. As the Son of God, he is equal with God (see John 5:18). And, as the Christ, he came in the flesh. The word Christ is the word anointed; kings and high priests were the only anointed offices in Israel. These were the jobs of men, flesh and blood. Thus, Jesus Christ is a reference to Jesus’ humanity. This man believed that Jesus was God and Man.
The gospel has not changed since the days of Isaiah some 750 years before Jesus was even born. Philip preached Jesus to this eunuch from the Old Testament. The Gospel preached by this angel is the same: fear God, worship Him who made Heaven and earth. See John 1:3; all things were made by Jesus. Jesus is still the only way; He always has been and always will be.
The Fall of Babylon, verse 8
A second angel, seemingly in the same position – in the mid-heaven place, visible to all tribes, nations and people – gives a stark warning just after the first angel says that “the hour of his judgment has come.” The cry is that Babylon has fallen. If we go back to Genesis 11, we will meet the first mention of Babel. There, the people of the earth, not too far removed from the flood, decide to build a tower to reach heaven; and God intervenes and stops them by confusing their languages.
These people could probably take you to the resting place of Noah’s Ark and see the vessel that rescued just 8 people out of millions and maybe even billions that lived on the planet at the time. They knew from direct knowledge the wrath of God, and yet still they defied Him and built a tower to worship the constellations of Heaven. Sadly, the worship of the ‘heavens’ is still around with the horoscope in every newspaper these 4,500+ years later. Babylon is alive and well all around the world.
While Babel was a specific place, and to some degree it will be in the Tribulation, this reference is to the world political and economic system. And, lest you be skeptical and shake your head, I will share with you a few things to enlighten you and open your eyes.
The kingdom of the anti-Christ is being built right before our eyes, and many Christians are not even aware; sadly, many don’t even care that this is happening. In a YouTube video just over 3 minutes long, posted by ‘Christianvoiceuk’ on March 22, 2016, the host takes you to the EU head office. There it shows that the head office is deliberately modeled after the Tower of Babel; it is built to look like an unfinished building. This is not done ignorantly, nor without the complete understanding of what they are doing. They even have a famous painting in the entrance from Pieter Bruegel that depicts Nimrod overlooking the construction of the tower.
Building the tower of Babel was an act of rebellion in Genesis 11, and it was an act of rebellion back in the late 1990s when this EU Head office was built as well. There is a poster that goes along with the EU; it has on it ‘Europe; many tongues, one voice.’ This is as defiant as one can be. God destroyed the one language so that there could NOT be one voice. But the EU and the governments of the world have found their one voice, and they are defying God with the same vigor that Nimrod did.
There is another video by John Q. Public from March 7, 2016, titled The Tower of Babel, talking about the EU and that it is an unelected body. The Globalists in the USA are just as determined as those in the EU to bring about the New World Order, and one can see the hatred for those that get in the way like the current president of the USA. Anyone who has watched the mainstream media over the past 24 months will no doubt understand that the government, the education system and the media are simply prostitutes of the New World Order, and everyone else is enemy number one (1) beginning with Christians, we who hold to the absolute truth of the Bible.
In the last phrase of verse 8, we see that the nations of the world have drunk of the wine of her, the New World Order, fornication. Fornication means sexual misconduct, but in particular that of adultery or cheating. The entire book of Hosea is about a fornicating wife; she is the picture of Israel in relation to the Lord. But here in Revelation 14:8, the fornication is to the whole world. Hosea’s wife knew she had a husband to go home to, but she chose to have sexual relations with another man. In like manner, the people of the world know that there is a loving, kind and merciful God who has provided the way of salvation, but they have gone whoring after Satan and his lies. They have given to Satan their allegiance and defied God, with full knowledge.
This is a deliberate act of rebellion, not a mistake. The loving, merciful God offered the opportunity to repent in verses 6-7, then He warns of judgment in verse 8, and now He will show them what is coming for them.
Heaven or Hell make a choice, verses 9-11
A third angel tells of the horrible judgment to come. Hell was never intended for mankind. We are told in Matthew 25:41 that Hell was created for the devil and his angels. Sadly, mankind has exhibited the same rebellious spirit as the devil, and now his fate is ours. Hell is a real place with real people in it, and they are experiencing real torments.
A lot of churches don’t want to talk about Hell anymore; it is uncomfortable and makes people uneasy. It should; it is certainly not a pleasant place. Most people fear dying, but no path to death is feared more than burning to death. Hell is the nightmare of burning to death, in that you burn but never to death; you just burn and burn and burn. You are able to feel every flame, every nip of the fire and experience imaginable pain, BUT never, ever die. This is Hell.
Those who reject the loving grace of God go there by choice. God never sends anyone to Hell, just like He does not make anyone go to Heaven. He provides the opportunity for each of us to choose our eternity.
He began this section with the free offer of the Gospel. But the Gospel only compels action if there is a Hell to shun, not just a Heaven to gain. Hell, some would say, makes God look petty or mean or else makes Him sound like a small god. In every part of life there are consequences that follow choices. You brush your teeth and floss, and you reduce the pain of the seeing the dentist; you eat well and exercise, and you reduce the chances of serious illnesses; you save your monies and invest wisely, then, for most people, retirement is not super scary. But the opposites of these are also true.
If we accept the free gift of salvation in and through Jesus, we will be saved, and Heaven is our home. But, reject the free gift, and Hell is your home forever. These people who choose Hell will do so with intent; they will defy God and reject His free offer. They want to go to Hell. They would rather be in Hell than humble themselves before the Lord. No one goes to Hell by accident.
Finally, we have the perseverance of the saints. All those that have been saved in the Tribulation are preserved forever. They will not take the ‘mark of the beast,’ and God will bless them even in their death. Once saved a person is saved forever. It is God who preserves us and not ourselves. We could not save ourselves, and we cannot keep ourselves saved. Today, that same choice is offered to men and women all over the earth. There are churches and missionaries all over the world. God has people making the same offer today as the angel in verse 6 will make: fear God; give Him glory and worship the Creator.
Why not today? Why not now? Here the offer of salvation, John 3:17-18,
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”