June 11 2022
Today, Saturday June 11
It’s Your Choice
Revelation 14:9-13 “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."
Today we are studying Revelation 14. In this chapter John sees at least six angels and they each have a specific message that anticipates the coming judgments that will take place in the last three and half years of the Tribulation, as the seven vials, or bowls, of God’s wrath are pour out on the earth. The first angel proclaims that the “Hour of God’s judgment has come.” (Rev. 14:7)
In Revelation 14:8, we have another angel, the second one, get even more specific about the judgment during the last three and a half years, with the message, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” This proclamation anticipates the events of Revelation 16:18-19 and Rev. 18. We will be looking at this judgment in more detail when we get to those passages.
Now, in verses 9-13, the third angel has a message that basically says, “Escape God’s Wrath!” This third message is directed especially to those who are deciding about following "the beast." It is a warning that "the easy way" is really the hard way, and that to "go along with the world" means to go away from God. The Greek text reads, "If any man continues to worship the beast," suggesting that there is still opportunity for repentance and salvation.
"Drinking the cup" is sometimes used as an image of judgment especially in the Old Testament in verse such as Jeremiah 25:15-16: “For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: "Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them." God's final judgments on mankind will be "vials or bowls of wrath" poured out from heaven (Rev. 16). God will not mix mercy with this judgment (Ps. 75:8; Hab. 3:2), but will pour out His undiluted indignation on a rebellious world.
Images and words like "fire and brimstone" (Rev. 14:10) and "smoke" (Rev. 14:11) upset some people. They ask, "How can a God of love actually permit His creatures to suffer eternal torment?" But we must keep in mind that God's love is a holy love, not one based on sentimentality, and therefore He must justly deal with sin.
We may not like the word torment, but it is here just the same (Rev. 14:10; see also 9:5; 11:10; 20:10). We must also keep in mind that God has repeatedly warned sinners and given them opportunity to repent. The first angel in this series invited sinners to turn to God, and the second one warned that the whole "Babylonian" system would be destroyed. If people persist in their sins even after God sends judgments and warnings, then they have only themselves to blame.
We should also remember that Jesus Himself said in Matthew 25:41 that hell and everlasting fire was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Jesus spoke at least twice as much about hell than He did heaven to warn people of its reality. Hell and the Lake of Fire are very real places with real fire and torment according to Jesus and the Bible. But we should also know that God never intended for any human being that He created in His image to go to this terrible place. It was only a place “prepared for the devil and his angels”.
God has prepared and made a way of escape from this awful place of eternal punishment through His Son Jesus Christ. We are told in 2 Peter 3:9, that “the Lord is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance”! If a person goes to hell, it is because they make the choice to refuse God’s narrow gate, Jesus Christ, that leads to life, and they make the choice to continue on the broad path with the multitudes that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
John intended for his readers to see the contrast between Revelation 14:11 and 13: no rest for the wicked, but eternal rest for the saints (see also 2 Thes. 1:3-12). Better to reign with Christ forever than with Antichrist for a few short years! Better to endure persecution patiently now than to escape it and suffer throughout eternity!
Today, it is still your choice!