Thursday, February 4, 2010

Revelation 14:6-11

Verse 6-7 "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."

Now John sees an angel that flies through the skies preaching the gospel to the people on earth. Many commentators merely pass this off as humans preaching the gospel via television, or say that the 144,000 are evangelizing or something to that effect.. (Since those who say that this is the 144,000 evangelizing during the tribulation, and we have shown that this begins after the 1260 days are fulfilled, that view does not work.) Again, we are going to take this literally.

In our timeline we are at the end of the 1260 days. As we will shortly see, the Second Coming and rapture are about to occur. Millions have perished in the tribulation and trumpet judgments. Very few Christians are left on the planet, so there is virtually nobody left to preach the gospel except the angels. God is giving mankind one last chance to accept Christ before He raptures the few who are left and pours out His wrath. Scripture tells us that the gospel will be preached in all the world to all nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14). The end is God's wrath and it is about to fall. The gospel being preached (and this gospel will include the warning of Christ's imminent return and His wrath) by this angel goes out to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Although today missionaries have pretty much reached every corner of the world, no corner will be left uncovered as far as preaching the gospel goes when this angel does it. With an angel preaching it from the skies, people cannot dismiss it as just another human belief system. To not accept it in light of the supernatural means of its presentation will just show how hard people's hearts have been hardened. The heralding of the Messiah's arrival by angels is not without precedent. This angelic pronouncement is a parallel of the first coming of Christ when angels announced his birth. Because angels do not routinely make announcements today, Christendom tends to dismiss the possibility of supernatural appearances like this in our day and age. I am sure the shepherds in the field were just as surprised when Christ was born as people will be when this angel makes his announcment. Just because it is not routine, does not mean it will not happen as literally as Scripture says it will. There is no need to spiritualize this into being human evangelists of some kind.

The refusal to accept Christ's comings (both first and second) in light of the angelic heralds makes it impossible for people who saw and will see these angelic proclamations to stand before God on Judgment Day and say that they had never heard. They will be without excuse. God gives man every opportunity to accept him right up to the very end. God even gave a world that had no hope of repentance (due to their tainted bloodlines) this chance when Noah preached up to the end in his day. It must be remembered here that there are those who have not taken the mark of the beast, but neither have they accepted Christ. In fact, many will be in that very position at this time or they would not enter the millinnial kingdom. They will be the sheep in the sheep and goat judgement. God really wants all to be saved, but people choose otherwise.

The angel is announcing that God's wrath is about to fall. There are two previous mentions of God's wrath. The first was at the sixth seal. That was not an announcement from heaven of God's wrath, but the cries of people thinking it was God's wrath. That does not qualify as an announcement of God's wrath. The second time it is mentioned after the two witnesses' resurrection when the coronation of Christ as King is announced by the multitude in heaven, and the twenty-four elders announce that God's wrath is come. This occurs at the end of the 1260 days after the trumpet judgments. This again indicates that indeed, the seals and first six trumpet judgments were not God's wrath, but Satan's, as this announcement (and Christ's coronation) comes after those have occurred. God's wrath will fall after He takes His people out in the rapture, and that has not yet happened in Revelation.

Verse 8 "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

There is much to discuss about this verse. In fact, Chapter 17 and 18 are all about this, not to mention numerous passages in the Old Testament. As I would like to cover Babylon when at those chapters rather than now, for the moment we are going to pass over this verse and come back to it later. The only thing to note for now is that Babylon falls at this point in time.

Verse 9-11 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and 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 ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

Now a third angel flies through the sky warning people of the consequences of taking the mark of the beast. They will be subject to God’s wrath which will be poured out without any mercy or restraint. They will find themselves being eternally tormented with fire and brimstone and will know no respite from their torment. There are people today who are teaching that there is no eternal hell. They say that God could not be that unjust, and that the punishment is to cease to exist. This verse contradicts that, as it says that the smoke of their torment goes up forever. Again people will say that the smoke is what goes up forever, not their torment. They say that it is the smoke left over from people being annihilated which continues to go up, but smoke would not continue to go up forever if that were the case. Once the fire burns out, the smoke would stop. Then there is the problem that they get no rest night or day. If they ceased to exist, there would be rest. As to being just, would it not be grossly unjust after all they have done to God and His people to simply cease to exist as punishment? Where is the punishment in that? The argument is that by missing out on eternal life with God, that is their punishment. But where there is no consciousness, there is no feeling of loss and there would be no punishment. Punishment can only exist if people are aware of the awful consequences of their actions. Hell is the absence of God and people go there because they choose to. They do not want to be with God or have Him in their lives,, so He provides a place for them where He is not, however He does not annihilate them. He judges them according to their works. Because God is not there to ensure goodness, beauty, truth, and light (which is what He is), by default it is a place of fire, torment, and horrors. That is because that is what the absence of God is. It is everything that He is not. There is no intervention to alleviate these horrors. There is no hope of mercy, or forgiveness, or of it ever ending. Hope only exists because of God. Hell and the Lake of Fire are also what the people and spirits who go there make it to be. They will torment each other because they can, with nobody to stop them.

Because of the use of present tense in what the angel is saying, rather than past tense, some would argue that this is a warning that must come before the tribulation rather than here at the end. It would seem that at this point everyone would have already taken the mark or be worshiping the beast, so that the warning is a moot point if it is given at the end. As for that argument, there are those who have not taken the mark or woshiped the beast, as evidenced by the fact that people will make it into the millennium, so these people are told what to expect if they do yet decide to take it. However the use of the present tense, rather than the past, also acts as an announcement to those who have taken the mark. People have not just worshiped (past tense) the beast, they are presently worshiping the beast, so the present tense is not invalid. If a past tense was used, it would not apply as a warning to those who still have not taken the mark, but merely as a declaration of what the recipients of the mark should expect. By giving the message the way it is given, it applies both ways. First it applies as a warning to those who would yet take the mark and then as an announcement of the consequences to those who have. It works in a dual way. Also as previously discussed, there might possibly be the option of removing the mark from your body so that you can accept the Lord. It has already been shown that this narrative picks up after chapters 9 and 10 in the chronology, so this is probably being said to people during what might be the ten "Days of Awe" before the books are closed, giving them that last chance to change where they want their name written. It is doubtful any will choose that last chance option, if they have already taken the mark. That does not stop God from giving them the chance though, just as He did in Noah's day.

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