"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Revelation 14 - Quick Links
10 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.
Revelation 14:6-7 - 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."
John is still on the earth when he looks up into Heaven at the 144,000 Jewish servants following Christ on the heavenly Mount Zion when he sees "another" angel flying in the "midst of heaven." The first flying angel John saw "flying in the midst of heaven" was the angel that warned of how severe the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpet judgments were before the angels sounded their trumpets:
Revelation 8:13 - And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
The second flying angel that Johns sees in this verse is the first in a series of three angels who warn the inhabitants of the earth of impending judgment in the next several verses:
Revelation 14:6-10 - 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."
The first flying angel that John sees in this chapter preaches the everlasting gospel "to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people." Recall from Revelation 5:9, 6, 7:9, and 11:9 that these four divisions of man represent all people groups who dwell on the earth. The flying angel gives the "everlasting gospel" to the earth dwellers in the next verse:
Revelation 14:7- ...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."
The Greek word "euangelion" translated "gospel" means "good news." The angel's gospel message is everlasting, or eternal, because the message is the same from the beginning of time and across the dispensations - before and after the cross. Note that the same gospel message or "glad tidings" preached to Israel is the same message preached to the Church:
Hebrews 3:16-4:3 - For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in my wrath, 'they shall not enter my rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Acts 13:16-17, 26-32 - Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it..... Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings - that promise which was made to the fathers.
The "everlasting gospel" in Revelation 14:7 includes four themes which show four roles of Christ:
Incidentally, the four living creatures symbolize the fourfold nature of Christ, and the themes associated with the roles of Christ are found in the four gospels which cover the life and ministry of Christ, as discussed in Revelation 6:
So, we see that all parts of the "everlasting" gospel are about Christ and who He is. While most of the different parts of the "everlasting gospel" are self-explanatory to the roles of Christ, it is not clear here what the "fear of God" has to do with salvation. The following verses show the connection between the "fear of God" and salvation:
Psalms 27:1 - A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalms 85:9 - Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Isaiah 33:6 - Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the LORD is His treasure.
Acts 13:26 - "Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent.
The "everlasting gospel" comes by a variety of names in Scripture, but the message is the same and points to Christ. In the Old Testament the "good news" of the gospel is also called "good" or "glad tidings" (or the "gospel of peace" in Isaiah 52:7, Nahum, 1:15, Romans 10:15, Ephesians 6:15). Note the four parts of "everlasting gospel" or "good tidings" are found in the passages below in Isaiah:
[Messiah/Savior and Redeemer] Isaiah 40:1-5 - "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Says your God. "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins." The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
[Ruler over the kingdom] Isaiah 40:9-11 - O Zion, You who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.
[Creator] Isaiah 40:22-26 - It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. "To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.
[Avenger/Redeemer] Isaiah 61:1-3 - "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
[Ruler over the kingdom] Isaiah 61:4-9 - And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."
[Messiah/Savior] Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
[Creator worthy of all praise] Isaiah 61:11 - For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Just as Isaiah spoke of the same "everlasting gospel" as the flying angel, the following passages show that all the different gospels mentioned throughout Scripture are all the same "everlasting gospel."
The gospel of "good tidings" in Isaiah which is also the "everlasting gospel," as shown above, is in Luke where Jesus read this passage of Scripture at the beginning of His ministry and said that He fulfilled this gospel:
Isaiah 61:1-2 - "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD....
Luke 4:17-21 - And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The following passages show that the "good tidings" in Isaiah is the "gospel of the kingdom" that Jesus preached during His ministry, which shows that Jesus preached the "everlasting gospel":
Matthew 9:35-36 - Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 4:23-24 - And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
Mark 1:14-15 - Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
The disciples taught the same "gospel of the kingdom" or "everlasting gospel" that Jesus taught:
Mark 16:14-16 - Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
Acts 8:12 - But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
Acts 14:19-23 - Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul also taught the "gospel of the kingdom," or "everlasting gospel":
Acts 19:8-10 - And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Act 28:23-24, 30-31 - So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved..... Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
The following passage shows that Paul's "gospel of grace" is the same "gospel of the kingdom":
Acts 20:24-25 - But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. "And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more."
We see below that Paul's "gospel of grace" is the same as the "gospel of Christ" (or the "gospel of God" in Romans 1:1).
Galatians 1:6-12 - I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Note that Paul is clear that there is not a different gospel from what he preached, including from angels! And since all the gospels in Scripture are all the same "everlasting gospel," then the gospel preached by the flying angel must also be the same gospel that Paul preached, and if it is not, we should reject the message and let the angel be accursed.
The "gospel of Grace," or the "gospel of Christ," or the "gospel of God" preached by Paul follows the themes of the "everlasting gospel":
[Heir to the throne of David] Romans 1:1-4, 16-17 - Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
[Savior for all people] Romans 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
[Divine/Creator] Romans 1:20-21 - For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
[Righteous Judge] Romans 1:18-19, 28, 32 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting... who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
The message of the "everlasting gospel" goes back to Genesis, even before the prophets. God promised Abraham He would establish the messianic kingdom through his seed (Genesis 22:15-18). Noah preached about the righteousness of God and that He was going to judge the earth through a flood (2 Peter 2:5). God promised Adam and Eve that one of their descendants would defeat the enemy and save them (Genesis 3:15). The "everlasting gospel" is also found written in the creation among the stars, which "declare the glory of God" (Psalms 19:1-6). As discussed in Revelation 12:1, Jesus is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5) who will crush the head of the serpent to redeem man and set up His kingdom on the earth.
So, we see that the "everlasting gospel" is the same gospel that is in the stars, the same gospel that the prophets preached, the same gospel that Jesus preached, and the same gospel that His disciples and the Apostle Paul preached, and the message of this gospel is about the good news of Christ. The following passages summarizes this message of the good news about Christ that explains who He is - King over the earth, the Prince of Peace who saves and reconciles men to God, the Mighty God over Creation, and the righteous Avenger and Judge:
Isaiah 9:6-7 - For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The "everlasting gospel" is also the good news of Christ - the Lamb slain before the creation to redeem and reconcile man to God as the promised Messiah prophesied to come through the seed of the woman after the fall of man:
Genesis 3:13-15 - And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."
As discussed earlier, the first part of the "everlasting gospel" shows that the gospel's audience is all people groups because Jesus invites all people, whether Jew or Gentile, to enter the "kingdom of Heaven," which He will rule and reign over as King of kings in the Millennium:
Revelation 19:11-13, 15-16 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True... and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God..... Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
The second part of the "everlasting gospel" is to "fear God." As discussed earlier, the fear of God leads to salvation (Psalms 27:1, Psalm 85:9, Isaiah 33:6, Acts 13:26), and salvation comes through Jesus, who is the Messiah and High Priest who reconciles men to God through His shed blood:
Hebrews 2:17 - Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 9:24-28 - For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another - He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Fear of God does not always lead to salvation. Some people fear God, but then reject Him. Throughout the Old Testament we see that Israel feared God, but then rejected Him and served idols and false gods instead of the Lord, as described in the passage below:
2 Kings 17:32-36 - So they feared the LORD, and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods - according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away. To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the LORD, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the LORD had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel, with whom the LORD had made a covenant and charged them, saying: "You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them; but the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship, and to Him you shall offer sacrifice.
2 Kings 17:37-41 - And the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods. And the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods. But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." However they did not obey, but they followed their former rituals. So these nations feared the LORD, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children's children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.
People turn to the Lord when they fear God above all other gods and idols. Again, in the passage below, we see all four parts of the "everlasting gospel" which shows that the Lord is sovereign over the nations, and He is the Savior, Creator, and Judge:
1 Chronicles 16:23-33 - Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and gladness are in His place. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; let the field rejoice, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth.
The third part of the "everlasting gospel" speaks of the Lord returning to the earth in judgment. The angel says "the hour of His judgment has come" which means that His return is imminent. In fact, the Lord will return shortly after the angel gives the "everlasting gospel" which takes place near the end of the Tribulation. The Lord is the righteous Judge, but He is also the Avenger. Recall from Revelation 6:10, God will judge the earth in vengeance for how the world treats His saints. As Avenger, He is also the Kinsmen Redeemer according to the Mosaic Law. As discussed in Revelation 5:5, being the Kinsmen Redeemer the Lord has overcome the world, claimed the right to the throne of David to rule over the world, and has redeemed and reconciled believers to the Father, which connects the other parts of the "everlasting gospel" that show that the Lord is King of kings and the Savior.
The last part of the "everlasting gospel" speaks to God as Creator. We should "worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water" instead of false gods and idols:
Acts 17:24-28 - God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'
In fact, the creation itself should draw us to seek God and worship Him. But many reject the Creator and worship the creation instead of God:
Romans 1:18-25 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
And because people do not fear God and reject the Creator and instead worship the creation, He will return to judge the nations:
Jeremiah 10:7-13 - Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You. But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine. Silver is beaten into plates; it is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the metalsmith; blue and purple are their clothing; they are all the work of skillful men. But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. Thus you shall say to them: "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens." He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: "And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries."
It is interesting to note, that Jeremiah 10:11, highlighted above is the only verse found in the book of Jeremiah written in Aramaic. Aramaic was the prevalent trade language among the Gentiles who surrounded Israel when Jeremiah penned this passage. Many scholars believe this verse is in Aramaic because it is a message to all people groups, not just Israel, commanding them to fear the Creator over all other gods who did not make the heavens and the earth. Incidentally, the passage surrounding this verse speaks of all four parts of the "everlasting gospel" - God is the everlasting King, Judge, and Creator, and men should fear Him over idols that cannot save.
Recall, from Revelation 6 that the number four speaks of creation, so it is no surprise that the angel lists four aspects of the creation: the heavens, the earth, the sea, and springs of water. But "springs of water" is rarely found in Scripture alongside heaven, earth, and sea, but these three are found together in several places (Psalm 146:6, Haggai 2:6, Acts 4:24, 14:15, Revelation 5:13, 10:6, 10:8, 21:1). All four aspects of the creation - the earth, the sea, springs of water, and the heavens (sun, moon, and stars) are all affected by the first four Trumpet judgements:
Revelation 8:7-12 - The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.
These trumpet judgments will occur before the angel preaches the "everlasting gospel." This angel calls for people to fear God and worship Him who made the earth, the sea, the springs of water and the heavens, upon which the Lord had just wreaked havoc. But people will continue to reject the Creator of all these things and instead continue to worship demons through idols created by human hands:
Revelation 9:20 - But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.
That said, the angel that follows the flying angel who preaches the "everlasting gospel" calls out judgment on Babylon. God told Jeremiah that He would judge Babylon by drying up her sea and springs, so by including springs of water with the heavens, the earth, and the sea, God might be alluding to the judgment against announced by the next angel:
Revelation 14:6-8 - 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."
Jeremiah 51:6-8, 36-37 - Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged. Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.... Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant."
To recap, the "everlasting gospel" is an invitation for salvation to all men from the King of Kings, and they should fear Him over false gods and idols who cannot save. It also speaks of the Lord coming to judge the earth as Avenger and Kinsmen Redeemer, who is also the Creator worthy of all praise and worship.
We covered several examples of the "everlasting gospel" found throughout Scripture in this section. The "everlasting gospel" is also in the form of two songs in Scripture. The first song was the song of the Lamb in Revelation 5:8-13, sung by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders who represent the Old Testament saints and the Church Age saints, and the second song is in Revelation 15:2-4, which is called the song of Moses and the Lamb, sung by the martyred Tribulation saints in Heaven:
Revelation 5:8-13 - Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Revelation 15:2-4 - And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."
There are two songs of Moses, so we do not know which one John references in the passage above, but both songs include the four parts of the "everlasting gospel," as shown in the table below, which also shows that all saints from the different dispensations will sing a song that includes the themes of the "everlasting gospel" by which they found salvation:
In closing, all saints come to the Lord through the "everlasting gospel." They fear God over idols and false gods and believe He is the Creator who made them, and He is the Messiah who can save them and give them eternal life. The Lord will return to avenge His saints in righteous judgement, and as Kinsmen Redeemer He will take the throne of David and rule and reign with His saints over the world as King of kings.
The "everlasting gospel" is the same gospel preached since the beginning of time through the stars, the prophets, and the Lord's servants. An angel will present this gospel right before the Lord returns to the earth, but after God redeems from the earth to heaven the 144,000 Jewish servants who were undoubtedly commissioned to spread the gospel as evidenced by the great multitude saved after they began their ministry in Revelation 7. This suggests that the angel gives a final warning to the earth dwellers to make a choice for God and not the beast. The third angel in Revelation 14:9-11 warns that anyone who chooses the beast will eternally be lost. Sending an angel after the Lord takes His servants to Heaven also shows that God has grace and mercy, even to the end of the Tribulation, in that He would give one last opportunity for people to hear and receive the "everlasting gospel" of Christ because He desires for all men to come to Him and find salvation:
1 Timothy 2:3-6 - ... God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all....
Revelation 14:8 - 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."
A second angel follows the angel preaching the "everlasting gospel." This angel announces judgment on Babylon. As we will see in Revelation 17 and 18, Babylon is both a city and a religious system. The mighty hunter Nimrod first built and ruled over Babylon, also known as Babel, in the land of Shinar in southeast modern-day Iraq:
Genesis 10:8-10 - Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
The people of Babel tried to build a tower to the heavens:
Genesis 11:1-4 - Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
Genesis 11:5-9 - But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
The reason the people built the city and the tower was because they wanted to make a name for themselves. God had commanded them to spread out and fill the earth in Genesis 9:1. Instead, they decided to stay in one area. By making a name for themselves with the tower, the people of the earth shook their fists at God in rebellion. This original Babylonian system was simply the gathering of the people under the leadership of Nimrod to do their own will and not God's will. To stop the rebellion, God confused their language and forced them to scatter over the earth, which He had commanded them to do in the first place.
Historical accounts tell us that Nimrod's wife, Semiramis, believed that after Nimrod died people should worship him as a god. When her son Tammuz was born, Semiramis claimed that his conception was supernatural and people worshipped both Tammuz and his mother as gods. This was the beginning of idolatry and mother/son worship, which resonates within many of the ancient religions of the past as well as many religions still today. This religion will come full circle, as Satan will use it again to deceive and rule over the masses through the first half of the Tribulation:
Revelation 17:1-6 - Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
The angel that announces judgment on Babylon explains that God will pour out His wrath because Babylon will make "all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication," which means that Babylon will corrupt the earth with her fornication during the Tribulation. The great multitude in Heaven celebrate God's judgment on the harlot religion "Babylon the Great":
Revelation 19:1-3 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!"
Fornication in the sense of a harlot religion means that the people forsake God like a woman who plays the harlot and commits physical fornication with other men who are not her husband, and go after false gods and idols in spiritual fornication, like Jezebel. Recall from Revelation 2:20 that King Ahab's wife Jezebel worshipped false gods and enticed the kingdom of Israel with witchcraft to follow Baal worship that incorporated sexual immorality and idol worship, leading them to rebel against the Lord:
2 Kings 9:22 - Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?" So he answered, "What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?"
1 Samuel 15:23 - For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Both kingdoms: Israel and Judah broke their covenant with God to follow the gods of the surrounding nations like a harlot. So God put His covenant people away in divorce, and then punished them with "great tribulation" for their harlotries as He did the woman in the church of Thyatira operating in the spirit of Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23:
Jeremiah 3:1-5 - "They say, 'If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man's, may he return to her again?' Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me," says the LORD. "Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot's forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. Will you not from this time cry to Me, 'My Father, You are the guide of my youth? Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?' Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, as you were able."
Jeremiah 3:6-8 - The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot." And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.
The following passage graphically describes Israel and Judah's harlotry with idols, which led to God judging them through exile and calamity at the hand of the Assyrians and the Babylonians:
Ezekiel 23:1-8 - The word of the LORD came again to me, saying: "Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt, they committed harlotry in their youth; their breasts were there embraced, their virgin bosom was there pressed. Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; they were Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah. "Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine; and she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians, who were clothed in purple, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. Thus she committed her harlotry with them, all of them choice men of Assyria; and with all for whom she lusted, with all their idols, she defiled herself. She has never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt, for in her youth they had lain with her, pressed her virgin bosom, and poured out their immorality upon her.
Ezekiel 23:9-15 - "Therefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. They uncovered her nakedness, took away her sons and daughters, and slew her with the sword; she became a byword among women, for they had executed judgment on her. "Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister's harlotry. "She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, captains and rulers, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men. Then I saw that she was defiled; both took the same way. But she increased her harlotry; she looked at men portrayed on the wall, images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, girded with belts around their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all of them looking like captains, in the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity.
Ezekiel 23:16-21 - As soon as her eyes saw them, she lusted for them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. "Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality; so she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them. She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her, as I had alienated Myself from her sister. "Yet she multiplied her harlotry in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, when she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she lusted for her paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians pressed your bosom because of your youthful breasts.
Ezekiel 23:22-27 - "Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you, from whom you have alienated yourself, and I will bring them against you from every side: The Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, Koa, all the Assyrians with them, all of them desirable young men, governors and rulers, captains and men of renown, all of them riding on horses. And they shall come against you with chariots, wagons, and war-horses, with a horde of people. They shall array against you buckler, shield, and helmet all around. 'I will delegate judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments. I will set My jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you; they shall remove your nose and your ears, and your remnant shall fall by the sword; they shall take your sons and your daughters, and your remnant shall be devoured by fire. They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewelry. 'Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt, so that you will not lift your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt anymore.'
Ezekiel 23:28-34 - "For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols. You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.' "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'You shall drink of your sister's cup, the deep and wide one; you shall be laughed to scorn and held in derision; it contains much. You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of horror and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria. You shall drink and drain it, you shall break its shards, and tear at your own breasts; for I have spoken,' Says the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 23:35-39 - "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.' " The LORD also said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.
Ezekiel 23:40-45 - "Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, 'Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?' Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.
Ezekiel 23:46-49 - "For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.'"
God punished Israel because they followed the Babylonian system of idol worship instead of worshipping Him, but Babylon is not just a religious system - it was also a city and headquarters of the harlot religion "Babylon the Great" that rules over the earth:
Revelation 17:18 - "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."
The Babylonian religious system has existed since the days of Nimrod in various forms, but its base has moved around through history. As discussed in Revelation 2:12-17, some believe that when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, the Babylonian priests fled to the area of Pergamos, effectively moving the center of pagan worship with them. Interestingly, the people of Pergamos constructed and dedicated the Pergamon Altar to Zeus, the "father of all gods." Many believe the reference to the "throne of Satan" in Pergamos is the Pergamon Altar. In 129 BC, Attalus III willed the altar to Rome. But near the beginning of the 20th century, the altar was moved to Berlin and reconstructed in a museum just a few decades before the Nazi regime steeped in paganism rose to power there (source).
Whether or not the "throne of Satan" is the base of the harlot religion "Babylon the Great," sometime during the Tribulation the headquarters will move from its present location back to the land of Shinar, where Nimrod built the original city of Babylon. Since symbolically, women represent religious bodies in Scripture (i.e., Israel, the Church), the wicked woman in the passage below clearly represents the wicked harlot "Babylon the Great" that operates in the spirit of Jezebel, and is the only religion in Scripture portrayed as a wicked woman from its inception:
Zechariah 5:5-11 - Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, "Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth." So I asked, "What is it?" And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth." He also said, "This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket"; then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. So I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they carrying the basket?" And he said to me, "To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base."
This passage should quiet the controversy over where the future city of Babylon will be. Many have tried to spiritualize Babylon to represent different locations like New York, Mecca, or Rome. While these locations have qualities that certainly make them "types" of Babylon, and while Rome may have been a base for the harlot's religion in modern history, the Scriptures are clear that the wicked woman's base will relocate to the land of Shinar, which is in Iraq, the original site of the ancient city of Babylon. After the antichrist, or beast destroys the harlot religion with the help of the kings of the earth, the city of Babylon will become "great and mighty" and will continue to flourish to the end of the Tribulation when God will judge the city because the nations will drink "of the wine of the wrath of her fornication":
Revelation 18:2-3 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."
Revelation 18:9-10 - "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'"
Drinking the wine of the wrath of Babylon's fornication means people will forsake God and will lust for the material and fleshly luxuries the city has to offer, which is really another form of idolatry that is prevalent in the modern era. The Apostle Paul calls this idolatry covetousness:
Colossians 3:5-6 - Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience....
Babylon is "great" because of its lavishness, but as in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the city's greatness and its arrogant ruling power will not withstand God's judgment at the end of the Tribulation:
Daniel 4:30-31 - The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!
To drink or take the cup of the "wine of wrath" is a picture of suffering God's judgment:
Job 21:17-20 - "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does their destruction come upon them, the sorrows God distributes in His anger? They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away. They say, 'God lays up one's iniquity for his children'; let Him recompense him, that he may know it. Let his eyes see his destruction, and let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
Psalms 75:7-20 - But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down. But I will declare forever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. "All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted."
But Babylon will make the nations "drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication," which means they will entice the nations to follow idols in spiritual harlotry, leading to God's wrath on them in judgment. The following passage describes God's wine cup of wrath that the nations will drink in the Tribulation, because like Israel, the world will follow idols created by the work of their hands instead of serving the Creator:
Jeremiah 25:6-10 - Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.' Yet you have not listened to Me," says the LORD, "that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' says the LORD, 'and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.
Jeremiah 25:11-17 - And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)'" 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." Then I took the cup from the LORD's hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the LORD had sent me....
Jeremiah 25:27-30 - "Therefore you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you." ' And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "You shall certainly drink! For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth," says the LORD of hosts.' "Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: 'The LORD will roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth."
This is like what happened to Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon, who literally got drunk on wine served in the vessels from God's temple and gave praise to idols, along with his administration and family. Afterward, God made them all drink the wine of His wrath in judgment. Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar did not humble himself before God and God judged him:
Daniel 5:1-5 - Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Daniel 5:22-24 - "But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
Daniel 5:25-31 - "And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
Babylon's intoxication that makes the nations deranged, like being drunk with wine, is the same idolatry that leads to God turning people and societies over to a "debased mind" (Romans 1), which will "complete their iniquity" before God judges them, as He did in Egypt and in the nations who occupied Canaan before Israel conquered the land:
Genesis 15:13-16 - Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
Leviticus 18:24-25 - 'Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.
Exodus 7:3-4 - And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
In other words, God hardens people's hearts the way He did Pharaoh before the Exodus, by giving them completely over to their sin, where they pass a point-of-no-return before He pours out His wrath in judgment. God will do the same with Babylon at the end of the Tribulation:
Jeremiah 51:5-8 - "For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the LORD of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel." Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged. Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed."
Romans 1:18-23 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:24-28 - Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting....
Recall that the first angel preaches the "everlasting gospel" to the world in a final plea for hearts to turn to the Lord for salvation. Rejection beyond this offer is past the point-of-no-return, before God pours out the last judgements on the earth before He returns:
Revelation 14:6-7 - 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."
As an aside, God's trumpet judgments directly affect the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water, as described in Revelation 14:7. But it is interesting that in the following prophecy in Jeremiah about judgment on Babylon, God said that He would "dry up her sea and make her springs dry" because they did not worship the God of creation and continued to worship their carved images of Babylon. In other words, the angel who preaches the "everlasting gospel" could be alluding to the second angel's announcement of judgment on Babylon by specifically mentioning the sea and springs of water which God will dry up, making the land desolate:
Jeremiah 51:34-37 - "Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel, he has swallowed me up like a monster; he has filled his stomach with my delicacies, he has spit me out. Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon," The inhabitant of Zion will say; "And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!" Jerusalem will say. Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant."
Jeremiah 51:43-45 - Her cities are a desolation, a dry land and a wilderness, a land where no one dwells, through which no son of man passes. I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; and the nations shall not stream to him anymore. Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall. "My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD."
Jeremiah 51:47-48 - "Therefore behold, the days are coming that I will bring judgment on the carved images of Babylon; her whole land shall be ashamed, and all her slain shall fall in her midst. Then the heavens and the earth and all that is in them shall sing joyously over Babylon; for the plunderers shall come to her from the north," says the LORD.
This prophecy in Jeremiah found partial fulfillment in history after the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, and ancient Babylon did not become permanently desolate. Babylon will again be a city in the future, and the judgment described in the passage above in Jeremiah will occur again when God destroys Babylon near the end of the Tribulation. Note the passages below about Babylon which parallel the prophecy in Jeremiah above:
Revelation 18:2-5 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury." And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities."
Revelation 19:1-3 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!"
To recap, Babylon is both a religious system and a city, and God will judge both in His wrath because they will entice the nations to fornicate with idols and covet the things of the material world during the Tribulation. The double structure: "is fallen, is fallen," also seen in the passage below in Isaiah, could allude to destruction of both the city and the religious system, and/or point to the two destructions of the ancient and future city of Babylon:
Isaiah 21:9 - And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!" Then he answered and said, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground."
Just as God destroyed ancient Babylon for their spiritual fornication, He will destroy the future great city of Babylon at the end of the Tribulation with the last Bowl judgment for their spiritual fornication with the nations:
Revelation 16:17-19 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
Revelation 14:9-10 - 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."
Another angel follows the angel who gives the "everlasting gospel" with a last call for salvation and the angel who announces impending judgment on Babylon in the last Bowl judgment before the Lord returns to the earth. This third angel warns of the consequences for rejecting God and worshipping the beast and his image by taking the mark of the beast on their forehead or hand. Recall from Revelation 13:16 that taking the mark of the beast is an act of worship and shows allegiance to the beast. Taking the mark on the head may speak of full devotion to the beast, being a heart issue, and taking the mark on the hand may show compliance merely to save their physical lives - either way they reject God and He will force them to drink of the wine of His wrath.
As discussed in the last section, those who reject God will already be drunk from the wine of the wrath of Babylon's fornication, which is idolatry that leads to God turning people and societies over to a "debased mind," giving them completely over to their sin where they pass a point-of-no-return to repent before He pours out His wrath in judgment (Jeremiah 51:5-8, Romans 1:18-28).
God will force those who reject Him to drink of the wine of His wrath that He pours out full strength into the cup of His indignation. The Greek word translated "wrath" is "thumos" and can mean passionate or intense anger. The Greek word translated "indignation" is "orgé" which speaks of an anger that seeks vengeance. Wine that is "full strength" is undiluted and unmixed, so the wine "poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation" means that His wrath is intense with no grace, mercy, or restraint, and will serve to satisfy His vengeance on those who have rejected Him and rejected the salvation He offers through His Son Jesus Christ:
Colossians 3:4-8 - When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 - ...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8-12 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned....
Salvation through Christ is the only thing that prevents a soul from drinking the cup of God's wrath because Jesus paid the penalty for sin by taking the cup of God's wrath on Himself:
Matthew 26:38-42 -Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."
Mark 14:36 - And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."
John 18:11 - So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"
The Lord took our sin upon Himself on the cross when God poured out His wrath on Him to pay the price for our transgressions against God, as prophesied by Isaiah:
Isaiah 53:1-4 - Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:5-8 - But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
Isaiah 53:9-12 - And they made His grave with the wicked - but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
God's wrath has eternal implications, as we will see later, but His wrath also serves to physically punish and destroy those who reject Him. God poured out His wrath during the Babylonian conquest and He will pour out His wrath again in the future when He returns to judge the nations, as described in the passages below:
Isaiah 51:17-23 - Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of His fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out. There is no one to guide her among all the sons she has brought forth; nor is there any who takes her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up. These two things have come to you; who will be sorry for you? - Desolation and destruction, famine and sword - By whom will I comfort you? Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, like an antelope in a net; they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of your God. Therefore please hear this, you afflicted, and drunk but not with wine. Thus says your Lord, the LORD and your God, who pleads the cause of His people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shall no longer drink it. But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, who have said to you, 'Lie down, that we may walk over you.' And you have laid your body like the ground, and as the street, for those who walk over."
Jeremiah 25:15-16, 27-29 - 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.... Therefore you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you." ' And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "You shall certainly drink! For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth," says the LORD of hosts.'
Ironically, God pictures those who drink the wine of His wrath as trampled grapes in a winepress, which graphically portrays how God will destroy them because they are "ripe" for judgment when He returns at the end of the Tribulation:
Revelation 14:18-19 - And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
Revelation 19:13-18 - He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
Isaiah 63:3-6 - "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth."
God's wrath does not stop at death. Those who drink the wine of God's wrath will go to eternal punishment, where they will forever be tormented with fire and brimstone in the lake of fire:
Psalms 11:4-7 - The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
Matthew 25:41 - ...Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels....
Revelation 19:20 - Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 20:10, 15 - The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.... And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 - But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
As discussed in Revelation 9:18, brimstone is solely used in the context of God's judgment against wicked humans, against fallen spirit beings, and on places like Sodom and Gomorrah and Babylon who had wicked inhabitants. Nowhere do we see brimstone used by those who are evil, but only by God in judgment.
Incidentally, the word brimstone comes from the same Hebrew root word for "gopher" which is only in the Bible where God told Noah to build the ark with gopherwood. God protected everyone inside the ark made of gopherwood, but destroyed everyone outside the ark in judgment by the Flood:
Genesis 6:13-14 - And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Similarly, in the "Gog and Magog War," at the beginning of the Tribulation, God will protect Israel from the brimstone and other weapons of indignation He will pour on Gog's wicked army before they can harm His people:
Ezekiel 38:21-22 - "I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord GOD. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone...."
Ezekiel 39:2-5 - "...and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken," says the Lord GOD.
It is evident that fire, smoke, and brimstone are not weapons of the enemy, but clearly describe plagues that God pours out on the wicked in His wrath in both the physical and eternal realms, and in history and again in the future.
Those who reject God and worship the beast will take the cup of God's wrath "in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." The portrayal of Jesus as the Lamb points to His sacrifice of taking the wrath of God upon Himself to pay the price for sin (Revelation 5:6), and to the fact that those who reject the Lamb's atoning sacrifice will face the wrath of God on themselves.
When the Lord poured out His wrath in the form of fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, two angels accompanied Him (Genesis 18-19). Similarly, an angel will also bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit, so it is probably safe to assume, though not specified that other angels will cast the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, and will do the same later with the devil and all those who reject the Lamb's sacrifice:
Revelation 19:19-21 - And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Revelation 20:1-3 - Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
Revelation 20:10-15 - The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Some believe that those who worship the beast will forever be tormented in the presence of the Lord and His holy angels, and that they will be able to see what is going on in Heaven much like the rich man who saw Lazarus in Abraham's bosom in Hades:
Luke 16:22-26 - So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
However, the everlasting destruction in the lake of fire is "from" the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 - ...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
The Greek word translated "from" can also mean "to desert or take away from." So, when Hades is cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14), all that is in it will also be removed from the Lord's presence at the last judgment. Considering the agony of the Lamb who took upon Himself our sin and bore the cup of the wrath of God and how He cried out to the Father, separation from God is undoubtedly worse than any physical suffering:
Luke 22:41-44 - And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Mark 15:34 - And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
As we end this section, praise the Lord that He bore our iniquities so that we can take the "cup of salvation" instead of the cup of the wine of the wrath of God:
Psalms 116:13, 16-17 - I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.... O LORD, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
Revelation 14:11 - "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."
As discussed in the last section, God will pour out His wrath with fire and brimstone on those who reject Him and take the mark of the beast in the Tribulation. Here we see that the "smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever," which shows that the beast worshippers are eternally tormented - "their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched" (Isaiah 66:24, Mark 9:43-48).
As discussed in Revelation 9:2, torment is the process whereby those who reject Christ's atoning sacrifice continually burn in God's refining fire to pay the price for their sin. Their spirit bodies, or their "worm," act as a perpetual fuel for the fire to burn. The smoke is a byproduct of torment or the process of destruction. There is no annihilation, but eternal suffering. These tormented souls have "no rest day or night," which reinforces the fact that their torment is eternal and never ends, just as the living creatures "do not rest day or night" and never stop praising the Lord:
Revelation 4:8 - The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
But perpetual torment with no rest in the eternal fire is different from God's eternal rest for those who believe the gospel:
Hebrews 4:1-3 - Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,'" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Entering God's rest does not mean that we stop being active or stop worshipping, but that we will rest from labor or toil, which is work that involves struggle or pain. In Revelation 14:13, we will see that the Tribulation saints who die at the hands of the beast worshippers will rest from their labors on the earth and enter God's rest:
Revelation 14:13 - 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."
These Tribulation saints will get eternal relief from life's toils, which, compared to saints in other dispensations, will especially be hard for them to endure. As discussed in Revelation 7:16, the Tribulation saints will not only suffer persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the harlot religion "Babylon the Great," and the beast worshippers, they will also suffer through the Tribulation judgments God sends upon the earth. But God will deliver the Tribulation saints from their toil and give them rest in Heaven and in the kingdom:
Revelation 7:14-17 - And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Luke 6:20-23 - Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
God will send eternal judgment on the beast worshippers, but He will also judge the harlot "Babylon the Great" for corrupting the earth with her fornication, as discussed in Revelation 14:8. God will avenge His martyred saints and judge both the leaders of the harlot religion and the beast worshippers who are responsible for persecuting and killing the saints in the Tribulation. Note that the smoke of the "great harlot" also "rises up forever and ever" which shows that the leaders of this harlot religion will suffer the same eternal torment as the beast worshippers:
Revelation 19:1-3 - After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!"
But God's fire and brimstone is not just in the spiritual realm - He also uses fire and brimstone in judgment in the physical realm. Abraham saw fire and brimstone with smoke going up after Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction, and we will see it again in Edom's destruction in the Tribulation - this imagery foreshadows the eternal judgment of God's fire in the spiritual realm:
Genesis 19:27-28 - And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace.
Isaiah 34:2-5, 8-10 - For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment...." For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever.
The passages above and the passage below suggest that people during the Kingdom Age will be able to see the spiritual realm and look down into Hades from the surface of the earth and see the tormented souls burning:
Isaiah 66:22-24 - "For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD. "And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.
But those who reject God will not stay in Hades forever. As discussed in the last section, all those who reject God, including the beast worshippers, will be cast into the lake of fire at the final judgment (Revelation 20:10-15) - away from the presence of the Lamb because they rejected His sacrifice of taking the wrath of God upon Himself to pay for their sin. The Lamb paid the price once for all because He is infinite (Hebrews 9:11-12), but since humans are not infinite each person who rejects the Lord's sacrifice will have to pay the price themselves forever in the torments of God's eternal fire, and the eternal fire in Hades will continue to burn forever when it is transferred into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
As a side note, Revelation 14:9-11 is clear that once someone makes the choice to worship the beast and take his mark it cannot be reneged - that person becomes irredeemable. Speculations abound of what that might mean. Some believe the mark will change the DNA of a person so that they are no longer human, and therefore, not redeemable. It is interesting that the beast and his false prophet are both called "beasts," which may suggest that they are not fully human.
Recall from Revelation 9:5, Seraphim and Cherubs like Satan appear as a higher order in the angelic host in the form of supernatural beasts, like dragons, lions, oxen, and eagles. Many have the face of a man but are still beasts in form. On the other hand, angels appear as men and not beasts in Scripture. The holy angels are messengers of God. The fallen angels have rejected God and follow Satan who is a cherub (Ezekiel 28:14). Some angels left their first abode, sinning greatly against God, and as a result are held in chains in the bottomless pit to await judgment (Jude 1:6). Many believe the great sin of leaving their first abode was that these fallen angels somehow mated with women to produce a hybrid race of giant demigods, called the "Nephilim" in Hebrew, before the flood:
Genesis 6:1-4 - Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
The Hebrew word "Nephilim" translated "giants," comes from the word "naphal," which means to fall, so the giants that were born before the flood were the "fallen ones," which shows that they are irredeemable spirit beings. Some believe that the beast, his false prophet, and those who worship the beast are like the Nephilim, in that their DNA gets changed so they are no longer fully human, but a hybrid like the Nephilim, making them irredeemable. On that note, it is interesting that Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the last kingdom of the world, which is the kingdom of the beast (Revelation 13:2), would consist of another seed mingling with the seed of men:
Daniel 2:40-43 - And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
A more simple and less controversial explanation for why the beast worshippers cannot be redeemed after taking the mark of the beast goes back to the world being drunk with the wine of the wrath of Babylon's fornication in Revelation 14:8. God will give the world over to a debased mind (Romans 1:28), and He will send them a strong delusion so they believe the lie and follow the beast, which will harden their hearts so that they cannot change their mind to follow God:
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 - The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
In short, God will give those who reject God and the atoning sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ over to the sorceries and drunkenness of Babylon to worship false gods and the beast (Revelation 9:20-21, 14:8). Those who worship the beast will take his mark as a sign of allegiance to the beast, but once they reject God and choose to take the mark and follow the beast, they will be unable to change their mind, and God will pour out His wrath on them with the last of the Tribulation judgments, and the smoke of their torment will perpetually rise from the eternal flame of God's wrath forever.
13 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."
Revelation 14:12-13 - 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."
In the last section, we saw that the beast worshippers will have no rest from their eternal torment in God's refining fire in Hades and later in the lake of fire. In contrast, we see in this section that the saints who die in the Tribulation will have rest from their labors. As discussed in Revelation 14:11, resting from the labors of life means to enter God's rest. Entering God's rest does not mean that we stop being active or stop worshipping God, but that we will get eternal relief from life's toils that involve struggle or pain. The author of Hebrews explains that anyone who accepts the gospel message can enter God's rest:
Hebrews 4:1-5 - Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."
Hebrews 4:6-11 - Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
Note that the gospel message preached to the Church is the same gospel that Joshua preached to the children of Israel, which is the "everlasting gospel" in Revelation 14:6 - the good news of the Messiah - that He is King over the earth, the Prince of Peace who saves and reconciles men to God, the Mighty God over Creation, and the righteous Avenger and Judge. In short, everyone since Adam who has believed the "everlasting gospel" of the Messiah will enter God's rest - these are the saints.
John writes that the saints "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." As discussed in Revelation 12:17, these commandments are to "believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another" (1 John 3:23), and as a result God justifies us by faith in His Son (Galatians 2:16). We therefore receive God's promise to enter His rest for believing the "everlasting gospel" of the good news of Christ.
The passage above in Hebrews also shows that God's "works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Hebrews 4:3) and Christ was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8), so God's works also included the sacrificial provision for salvation when He created the world. As discussed in Revelation 2:2, God created believers to also do good works:
Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Spirit-led believers will naturally want to do good works for Christ as an expression of gratitude for His grace, and done with the right attitude, these works glorify God and serve as a witness to unbelievers. However, works are not part of salvation; they are a demonstration of faith. Therefore, believers should do good works as a testimony to unbelievers of God's grace:
James 2:18 - But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
1 Peter 2:11-12 - Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Titus 3:4-8 - But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
The Holy Spirit tells John that the works of the Tribulation saints will "follow them" and proclaims that "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." In other words, the saints who die will get a special blessing and reward for their works on the earth. After the Tribulation is over, the Lord resurrects these martyred saints and rewards them for standing against the beast and dying for their testimony of Jesus:
Revelation 20:4-6 - And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
All saints from all dispensations will appear at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). But the Lord commits judgment of the Tribulations saints to the occupants of "thrones." As discussed in "The Pre-Tribulation Rapture" study, the elders who represent the Church are the ones who sit on the thrones around God's throne. So, we see that the Church will judge the Tribulation saints. Since the martyred saints receive a blessing for dying for their testimony of Christ in the Tribulation, it is safe to assume they receive a reward comparable to the "crown of life" rewarded to saints in the Church:
James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Revelation 2:10 - Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Note that the "crown of life" is not just a reward for those killed for their faith, but is also a reward for faithfulness through trial, even unto death. Facing trial or tribulation in any dispensation tests a believer's faith and leads to patience, which is perseverance or steadfastness:
Romans 5:3-4 - And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
James 1:2-4 - My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-8 - We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As discussed in Revelation 13:10, "the patience of the saints" will come through martyrdom. The Lord does not want His saints to fight against the antichrist, just as He did not want Peter to fight against those who wanted to put Him to death:
Matthew 26:51-52 - And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword."
God will allow the antichrist to overcome His saints (Revelation 13:7). Therefore, armed resistance against the antichrist is futile. While there is no option to escape death for the Tribulation saints taken captive, God promises a blessing of rest and reward for their works and their patience, mentioned earlier. As discussed in Revelation 11:3, dying a martyrs' death strengthens a believer's testimony and its impact on others, as shown in the Lord's prophecy about martyrdom in the first century church:
Luke 21:12-19 - But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.
In summary, the saints are those who believe the "everlasting gospel" and "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" - those who believe and trust in Him. The patience of the saints comes through the testing of their faith, even to the death. The beast will overcome the Tribulation saints by taking their physical lives, but they will enter eternal life and God's rest. The Church will judge the Tribulation saints for their works, and they will receive a special blessing for rejecting the beast and dying for the Lord. The martyred saints who die during the Tribulation join the rest of the martyred saints under the altar in Heaven:
Revelation 6:9-11 - When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
These martyrs will take comfort in knowing that the Lord is about to avenge them by pouring out His wrath on the beast worshippers (Revelation 14:9-11). We will see in the next few sections that the Lord will "harvest" the last of the saints who will die in the Tribulation, and then He will avenge His saints by sending an angel to "harvest" His enemies so He can trample them like grapes in "the great winepress of the wrath of God" (Revelation 14:19).
Revelation Flow Chart:
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