(9-11) A third angel warns of coming judgment.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
a. If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand: This reminds us that there is a connection between worshipping the beast and his image and receiving his mark on his forehead or on his hand. No one will casually or accidentally take the mark. The connection between worshipping the beast and taking the mark will be clear enough.
i. Although, receiving the mark may seem innocent enough to those who dwell on the earth. In their eyes it may not seem like much more that a mere pledge of allegiance and devotion to the Antichrist and his government. It was the same way in the first few centuries of Christianity, when to burn a pinch of incense to an image of Caesar, and to pledge “Caesar is Lord” was regarded as an innocent act of civic duty to the ancient pagans.
b. 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: Those who worship the Antichrist will be forced to drink the wine of the wrath of God. This cup of God’s wrath is like undiluted wine, mixed with spices to make it still stronger (full strength).
i. The idea that God holds a cup of wrath, which He makes those under judgment drink is expressed more than thirteen times in the Bible (Psalm 75:8 and Jeremiah 25:15 are examples). This is the idea behind the cup that Jesus wanted to avoid if it were possible (Matthew 26:39). Jesus willingly took the cup of the Father’s wrath that we deserved; here, the enemies of Jesus have no choice – the cup is forced upon them.
c. The wine of the wrath of God… the cup of His indignation: The wine in the cup is associated with wrath (the ancient Greek word thymos), which describes a passionate anger. The cup itself is associated with indignation (the ancient Greek word orge) which is anger from a settled disposition.
i. The ancient Greek word orge is the common word for God’s anger in the New Testament. The ancient word thymos is used only 11 times, and 10 of the 11 are in Revelation. Usually, God’s anger towards sinners does not flash against them; it is simply His settled opposition against sin and unrighteousness. But in the Book of Revelation, which so clearly describes God’s ultimate judgment, the term for passionate anger is used much more often.
He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night: This passage teaches several important truths about hell and the eternal destiny of the damned.
i. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone: This shows that the suffering of hell is real torment, that it is painful and repulsive. “The modern vogue for dispensing with hell has no counterpart in Revelation.” (L. Morris)
ii. In the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb: This shows that God is not absent from hell. He is present in all His holiness and righteous judgment. Those who are in hell will wish God were absent, but He will not be. It is wrong to say that hell will be devoid of the presence of God; but it will be without any sense of His love. The presence of Jesus will be there, but only the presence of His holy justice and wrath against sin.
iii. The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night: Those who worship the Antichrist and receive his mark will endure this wrath and indignation for eternity in hell. Here, the fact of eternal torment is plainly stated; forever and ever means “forever and ever.” If the only consequences for sin are in this life, or if the only penalty for sin is temporary, then clever sinners have won out over God. Walvoord says of the phrase forever and ever: “Literally ‘into the ages of ages,’ the strongest expression of eternity of which the Greek is capable.”
iv. “Would to God men would everywhere think and talk more of hell, and of that eternity of extremity that they shall never else be able to avoid or to abide. Surely one good means to escape hell is to take a turn or two in hell by our daily meditations.” (Trapp)
v. “In describing the worshippers of the beast, the word worship as well as the word receive in verse 11 is in the present tense emphasizing continued worship of the beast over a long period of time… the same present tense is used in describing their torment. As the worship of the beast is not interrupted by repentance, so their torment is not interrupted when repentance is too late.” (Walvoord)
4. (12-13) The blessedness of the saints, even in the Great Tribulation.
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.”
a. Here is the patience of the saints… Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on… that they may rest from their labors: We see the strong contrast between the rest of the saints and the continual torment of the wicked (Revelation 14:11). The rest comes through patient endurance and faithfulness to God and His Word (here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus).
i. We can only imagine what courage and comfort this passage will give embattled, persecuted saints during the Great Tribulation. Clearly, God wants to encourage His people to be steadfast in times of trial, focused on what blessed rest and reward awaits them in eternity.
ii. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: “These are the only glorious dead… they die in the cause of God, they die under the smile and approbation of God, and they die to live and reign with God for ever and ever.” (Clarke)
b. Their works follow them: The patient endurance and work of these saints is remembered in heaven. Our work for Jesus and His Kingdom goes with us into heaven, giving dignity and significance to all work here below.
Categories: Studiu biblic