The Hour of His Judgment Has Come:

The Message of the Three Angels

14: 6-11

   DIG: What is the essence of the eternal Gospel proclaimed by the angel of grace? Who will hear it? What response is called for? By contrast, what message does the angel of doom spread? Who will have fallen? What does it mean? How does Satan’s system (13:1-10) differ from the Lord’s body of believers (14:1-5)? How does Satan’s ideology (13:11-18) differ from God’s truth (14:6-13)?

   REFLECT: What have you done to proclaim the eternal Gospel? Humanly, what can anyone do when confronting people who love darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil? How do you feel when you read this section? Does this affect how you live your life? Why? How? When?

    As previously stated, Revelation 14 serves as a connecting link between the description of the middle of the Great Tribulation in Chapters 10-13 and the events of the second half of the Great Tribulation in Chapters 15-16. After a vision of the final salvation of the redeemed holy ones in heaven and the redeemed 144,000 on the earth, John hears an angel summoning all mankind to repent of their sins while there is still time, because once the terrible bowl judgments fall, they will be lost forever.

    Today, the body of Christ is responsible for the proclamation of the Gospel. But that will change after the Rapture. Yeshua said: And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). Because the body of Christ will be in heaven during the Great Tribulation, God will use the 144,000 Jews, the two witnesses, and even angels to spread His message. He will go to great lengths to give the world one last chance to be saved (Second Peter 3:9).324

    Three additional angels now come on the scene. Each has an urgent message for anyone at that time who still has the slightest fear of God or concern about their salvation. First, John saw another angel, the angel of grace, flying in midair. The Greek word mesouranema means midheaven or midair, which refers to a point in the sky when the sun reaches its highest point at noon. At that time, the angel would be the most visible to those who live on the earth. He will also be beyond the reach of the antichrist, Satan and all his demons that have been banished to the earth (12:7-9). There will be no excuses. Everyone one will see this angel, and everyone will hear him. At this point, there would still be time to repent before God’s judgment resumes.

    And as he flies through the air, he will have the eternal Gospel to proclaim (14:6b). Like a diamond, the Bible describes the Gospel in different ways, each from a different viewpoint. It has been called the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23); the Gospel of Yeshua Messiah (Mark 1:1); the Gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24); the Gospel of the glory of Christ (Second Corinthians 4:4b); the Gospel of your salvation (Ephesians 1:13); the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), and the Gospel of the blessed God (First Timothy 1:11). So no matter how you look at it, it is the eternal Gospel. There will be nothing new or different about it. Rabbi Sha'ul, in fact, had warned: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned (Galatians 1:8).

    The angel’s message will be addressed to those who live on the earth, to every nation, tribe, language and people, the phrase always used by John to refer to unbelievers (3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 12 and 14, 17:2 and 8). This stresses the worldwide nature of his message (14:6c). It is the final appeal to all mankind to recognize the one true God.325 Remember that during the Great Tribulation the antichrist will require all people on earth to fear, glorify, and worship him as a god. The Gospel, by contrast, calls for all people to turn to God from idols to serve a living and true God (First Thessalonians 1:9).

    In light of the coming bowl judgments, they are urged to fear God and give Him glory (14:6d). This demand gets to the heart of the problem of the lost, for although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him (Romans 1:21). What does it mean to fear God? Satan would have us believe it means to be afraid of God, but that’s incorrect. To fear ADONAI means to have respect for Him, believe He exists, believe He reigns and will judge all mankind.326 This kind of fear is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27), and it pleases God.

    The angel called out in a loud voice to ensure that he will be heard: Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of His judgment has come (14:7a). The last opportunity for unbelievers to gain salvation is slipping through their fingers. The bowl judgments are about to be poured out on the earth, followed by the return of Messiah (Matthew 25:31-46). This is the first use of the word judgment in the book of Revelation. This word will continue to appear (16:7, 18:10 and 19:2). Up to this point the word wrath has been used to describe God’s judgment (6:16-17, 11:18), from this point forward both terms will be used interchangeably. The Lord’s righteous judgments are the outpouring of His wrath against an unrepentant world.327

    Then the angel gives one final reason for sinners to repent. They will need to worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water (14:7b). The universe that the LORD created will offer proof that He is more powerful than Satan (Psalm 19:1-4; Isaiah 40:21-26). Because of His revelation through , mankind has no excuse not to worship God. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). The angel’s uncompromising warning will be that the Creator is also the Judge. As the world speeds toward the cliff of final disaster, ADONAI graciously offers yet another opportunity to turn and go in a different direction. He promises to snatch those who listen to His warning from the fire of judgment (Jude 23), and in the process, change their citizenship from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God.

    This will be the final call to the world to accept the eternal Gospel. The fact that it is called the eternal Gospel is an indication that it is identical to the Gospel that was preached by the Church. The counterfeit Trinity will be hard at work battling the Holy Trinity for the souls of men and women. The beast will be declaring himself to be god, the false prophet will be calling on those who live on the earth to take on the mark of the beast and thus show their submission to Satan. This will be the line in the sand. They must choose between Christ and the antichrist. This announcement anticipates the final series of judgments about to be poured out through the bowl judgments.

    Then almost immediately John saw a second angel, the angel of judgment. Opposed to the first angel, this one does not announce the good news of the Kingdom, but instead, declares the bad news of judgment. The implication is that no one responded to the first angel. He announced: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries (14:8). This cry, combining Isaiah 21:9 with Dani'el 4:21, is repeated in 18:1-24 and announces the fall of the political capital. The repetition of her name underscores the certainty of her destruction. This was so definite that it could be spoken of as if it had already taken place. The political capital of the antichrist will be due for complete obliteration, which will be unimaginable to her followers.

    This second angel proclaims in advance the ultimate destruction of the antichrist’s vast evil empire. Modern Babylon will merely be a reincarnation of ancient Babylon. She will continue what was started long ago by Nimrod (see my commentary on Genesis Di – The Line of Ham), continuing the satanic world system set up first at the Tower of Babel by uniting mankind in rebellion against ADONAI. This revolting spiritual adultery has been the deadly inheritance received from Mystery Babylon by all her religious children.

    The reference to maddening wine used in this verse is a graphic reminder of Jeremiah 51:7, where we read: Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand. She made the whole earth drink her wine; therefore, they have now gone mad. This theme is continued in Revelation 17:2, where the Holy Spirit tells us: With her, the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries. Therefore, influence of Mystery Babylon, both ancient and future, is timeless and worldwide; its system of pantheistic humanism has doomed souls without number throughout the centuries. But Nimrod is dead and the antichrist will soon find himself burning in the lake of fire (19:20). Isaiah once said: Take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming (Isaiah 14:4-9).328

    A third angel, the angel of doom, followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, they, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury (Revelation 14:9-10a; also see Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17). It will seem to the deceived followers of the beast who receive his mark that they are backing the winning team. But this angel of doom warns that a horrible fate awaits those who, despite all of the LORD’s judgments and warnings, continue to worship the beast.

    God’s fury will be poured full strength into the cup of His wrath (14:10b). The ancient practice of diluting the wine will not be practiced when the bowl judgments are poured out. The wine filling the cup of His wrath will be undiluted, without any trace of compassion. This will be the point of no return for almost everyone still living on the earth. There will be many who will not accept the antichrist. Many sheep Gentiles (see Fc- The Sheep and the Goats) will have stores of food and water stock piled to share with the Jews during the last half of the Great Tribulation. Or they would not survive.

    The cup of God’s fury will be the bowl judgments of Revelation 15 and 16. Anyone who drinks of that cup will be tormented for all eternity with burning sulfur (see my commentary on Genesis Fa – The LORD Rained Down Burning Sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah). To add shame and embarrassment to their suffering, the unregenerate will be tormented in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb (14:10c). To suffer in the presence of the holy angels is not to lessen the severity of their judgment but to make it worse. Believers had to bear the shame of public contempt and opposition; soon their rivals will suffer before a more majestic gathering of holy angels.329 The lost will be forever barred from the loving relationship the believers have with Him. They will not, however, be away from His presence in the sense of His sovereignty and omnipresence – even in hell (Psalm 139:7-8).330

    And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever (see my commentary on Isaiah Gi – Edom’s Streams Will Be Turned into Pitch). There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name (14:11). The torment also involves eternal fatigue, with no prospect of rest or sleep. One of the promises in heaven is that of rest. Yeshua says to us: Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

    There is something that we all need to remember. Modern science has demonstrated the principle of conservation of matter and energy to be the most certain and universal principle of science. Matter and energy can change forms but cannot be destroyed. Likewise, the far more important entity of the human soul, or spirit, created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), cannot be wiped out. Every human being ever conceived, possessing a divinely-created human soul and spirit, will exist for all eternity – somewhere.331

    These three angels deliver the Lord’s last call for repentance before the final bowl judgments are poured out and the Messiah returns. But God’s gracious warnings will mostly go unheeded by a sinful world. There is perhaps no clearer picture in the Bible of the heartbreaking truth that men loved the darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

 

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