REVELATION CHAPTER FOURTEEN
CHAPTER FOURTEEN PREFACE
Thus far in our study of the Revelation, we have come through the Tribulation two times - once under the figure of "seals," and the next time under the figure of trumpets." The third time through, the Bible is discussing the Antichrist and his activities. He appears in Revelation 11:7, Revelation 12, Revelation 13, and again in Revelation 14, as the Holy Spirit takes us through the Tribulation once more to the end. Before starting in Revelation 14, please notice that the context is the last 3½ years. This is very important because we have run into these 144,000 before in the Book of Revelation. (We also saw them in Revelation 7 before we got to the end of the "seals.")
14:1 "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads."
Now we have encountered these people before in Revelation 7:4-9, and it was very clear from the scriptures that they were from the twelve tribes of Israel. That is, they were not "spiritual Jews." They were not the "circumcised in heart" (as in Romans 2), they were not the "Israel of God" as in Galatians 6. They are what they are - 144,000 literal, physical Jews of the literal, physical twelve tribes of Israel!
Notice that when this same group shows up in Revelation 14:1, they are up in heaven.
Revelation 14:3 - "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."
Revelation 7:11 - "And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God."
This scene is not on earth but in the third heaven. The great multitude who appear here have been raptured.
Revelation 4:10 "The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne .... "
Now, the scene is laid in heaven, not on earth, for remember that John was caught up to the third heaven (Revelation 4:1,2). Yet, in Revelation 7:4, when the 144,000 were first mentioned, they were on the earth being "sealed" to go through the Tribulation. The next time they show up, in Revelation 14:1-3, they have been raptured, and are up in heaven.
This brings up the problem of the expression "the mount Sion" in Revelation 14:1. Most expositors will say that "mount Sion" is supposed to represent "the church." The "mount Sion" of Revelation 14:1 is not connected with The Church! The "mount Sion" in Revelation 14:1 is said to be "the mount Sion." If we remember earlier references on the "empty places" over the North, we will have no trouble in identifying where this place is; it is a literal, physical place that has nothing to do with the "church." It is not even a thing, but it is a place.
Hebrews 12:22 - "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels."
This is talking about a "heavenly" city in a "heavenly'' place, over our head straight North, up in the air, and it has nothing to do with an earthly place. This is the universal mountain that points North, and the Devil was on top of this mountain in the beginning!
Ezekiel 28:14 - "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so:thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in he midst of the stones of fire."
If we remember our studies in Revelation 4 and 5, we should remember that the "sides of the north" always refer to a height above the universe.
Psalm 48:2 - "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King."
Then this is not referring to a literal, physical, earthly Jerusalem. We are told that it was the "heavenly Jerusalem" in Hebrews. We are told it was "the mount Sion" in Revelation. We are told that it was "on the sides of the north" in Psalm 48. In Isaiah 14:13, we are were told that the "sides of the north" are far above the. planetary systems and constellations.
We can see that these two "Mount Zions" are different. One of them is on earth, and one of them is in heaven. One of them is connected with the New Jerusalem from above, which is "the mother of us all," the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4, Revelation 14). The other one is the earthly Jerusalem, on the earthly Mount Zion, which "is now in bondage with her children" (Galatians 4). The place where the 144,000 appear in Revelation 14:1-3 is straight up over our heads - the "sides of the north," where these 144,000 have been raptured.
Revelation 14:1 - And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
Again, we find Christ pictured as a Lamb. (It is plainly figurative for a lamb's "father" has no name, but this Lamb's Father has a name, for He is a capital "L" and His Father is a capital "F." This Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ.)
Revelation 14:2 - And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
In heaven they have musical instruments to praise the Lord, and they are given as "harps" (as we find it again in Revelation 15:2,3).
Revelation 14:3 - And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
This group is a very special group, because no man could learn this song except 144,000. These are not the "Jehovah Witnesses," but a very special group. (Some people who like to pretend they are very special, like to identify themselves with this group.) These 144,000 are very unique. The song they sing is found in Revelation 15:3 - the "song of Moses." That is, they are related to the Old Testament Mosaic Law. They also sing the "song of the Lamb." Thus, they are related to salvation by grace through faith plus the Mosaic Law. Their salvation, in the Tribulation, has come by "enduring to the end" over the "mark of the beast" (see Revelation 12:17).
Revelation 15:2,3 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
We find the "song of Moses" in Deuteronomy 32.
Revelation 14:12 - "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
"The commandments of God," like the song of Moses; and "the faith of Jesus," which is the song of the Lamb.
Revelation 12:17 - "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God (the Mosaic Law or the song of Moses), and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (New Testament salvation by grace and the blood of the Lamb)." (See previous comments on the verse.)
So, it is emphasized very clearly that Tribulation salvation is a combination of faith and works, and not one of faith only. We'll find this thought repeated in James, which incidentally, is written to "the twelve tribes," exactly as we find it in Revelation 7.
James 1:1 - "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."
This is not written to the "Israel of God," nor to the spiritual Jew, nor to the "seed of Abraham." The passage which speaks of justification by works (James 2) is aimed at the twelve tribes (James 1:1) as the twelve tribes in Revelation 7, and those that are saved by grace, and faith, and works, and the Mosaic Law (Revelation 11,12,14, Matthew 14, etc.).
Revelation 14:3 - "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."
"And they sung as it were a new song." It's new! It's not sung in the Church Age!
Revelation 14:4 - These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Notice this select gathering are all single men, and they are "not defiled" with women. They are not priests, or monks, who have taken the vows of chastity. They are not married men, and they are not part of the "bride of Christ." No Christian anywhere in the word of God is ever referred to as "a virgin." The Body of Christ, made up of Christians, is called "a chaste virgin" in 2 Corinthians 11:2, but notice very carefully the singular. Shall we make a difference about an "s" in a word? YES!! An "s" in the Bible is the difference between correct doctrine and false doctrine (see Revelation 11:15). The bunch in Revelation 14 are "virgins." We may well say, "What's the difference in "virgin" and "virgins"? Well, it's the difference between being in the Church Age, or the Tribulation.
Matthew 25:1 - "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom."
Look at the plural - V-I-R-G-I-N-S! Notice that the statement is not, "Then shall the body of Christ, the Church be likened to virgin single men, who took a vow of chastity for any church." The statement is, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins." When the Bridegroom comes, they don't go out to marry Him (as the "chaste virgin," the "bride of Christ," will), they go out to meet Him!
Matthew 25:6 - "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." Not marry Him!
Then the 144,000 of Revelation 14 are the same ones mentioned in Matthew 25; they are Tribulation saints. They are v-i-r-g-i-n-s who "endure to the end" of the Tribulation and are caught up to "meet the Bridegroom" as He comes. They are not members of the one true Body of Christ which is caught out to meet Christ when He comes for the Church - "the chaste virgin" (2 Corinthians 11:1-3). They are virgins who "endure to the end" of the Tribulation, and keep the Mosaic Law, and sing the "song of Moses." They go up to meet the Bridegroom as He returns to land on the earth. Revelation 14:1-4 is a select group of saints in the Tribulation, who are keeping the Mosaic Law and are called "virgins," who number 144,000, and they are of the twelve tribes of Israel. They are present at the marriage of the Lamb, but they don't marry the Bridegroom. (Notice how clearly this is brought out in Psalm 45, the entire chapter being on the marriage of the Lamb.)
Psalm 45:13,14 - "The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee."
The virgins are "companions" of the chaste virgin, the bride of Christ. They are not in the "bride of Christ." Therefore, if any man tells us that the "virgins" in Revelation 14:1-4 are "priests" who have never been defiled with women, and that they are the firstfruits of God, we should retort with, "What are you, a Jehovah Witness?" Jehovah Witnesses can't jam themselves in there just because they think they are 144,000 Jehovah Witnesses, for some of them are married! They don't keep the Mosaic Law either, for they shave and cut their hair! They don't know the "song of Moses." This is reserved for v-i-r-g-i-n-s, who are Tribulation saints, who "endure to the end" by not taking the "mark of the beast," and the Mosaic Law and works figure in their salvation. They are v-i-r-g-i-n-s who are raptured at the end of the Tribulation to be present at the marriage of t-h-e "chaste virgin," the Body of Christ, to the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will find that the Holy Spirit reiterates the same thing in Song of Solomon.
Song of Solomon 6:8,9 - "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. (Too many to count.) My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her."
O-N-E! That's all! This "one" is identified as the Bride of Christ. Nothing could be clearer, nothing could be plainer. Therefore the virgins in Revelation 14 are clearly identified in plain English.
Revelation 14:4 - "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins."
Revelation 14:5 - And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Then this brings us a picture, right before the Second Advent, of the Tribulation saints who "endured to the end" (Matthew 24:13), who overcame the Devil by not taking the "mark of the beast," and they did this by observing the Mosaic Law (Matthew 24, Revelation 11,12,14,22), and by believing on Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Since they were not circumcised by the Holy Spirit, they have to "endure to the end" by works. So, their salvation is a combination of grace and works. They are caught up at the end of the Tribulation to meet the Bridegroom. Some are pictured as losing salvation in Matthew 25 because they do not "endure until the end." We will find this in Matthew 22,24, and 25, which is why the gospel of Matthew is the favorite gospel of Liberals, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Campbellites, etc. They all like these verses of scripture which have nothing to do with them or anybody else, but the verses give them a scriptural alibi to use the word of God for their own ends. The clear straight Christian doctrines for this age are found in Romans through Philemon. Although "all scripture is written for our learning," some preachers have the notion that all scripture is written doctrinally for the Christian, which it is not. Revelation 14 is a perfect example of this.
These are Tribulation saints; they are called "virgins." Their chastity involves not participating in the heathen worship of the Tribulation (which probably involves the act of immorality); these 144,000 Tribulation saints are all Israelites (literal, physical, visible Jews) from the twelve tribes of Israel; they are sealed through the Tribulation and caught up at the end of the Tribulation, and appear in the passage (Revelation 14:1-4) in heaven on "the mount Sion," the heavenly Jerusalem.
This last intermittent period, a month or six months before the end of the Tribulation (the period between the catching up of the Tribulation saints and the actual Advent), is unknown. This is where Christ keeps saying, "But the end is not yet." The time is unknown. (Whoever finds it, will probably find it eventually in the Book of Daniel.) God, the Holy Spirit, reveals truth by "scripture with scripture," and comparing everything which God wrote until we find His final, complete statement on what He intended us to get.
Revelation 14:6- 7 - And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This angel who flies "in the midst of heaven" preaches another gospel, which is not "Paul's gospel."
Galatians 1:8 - "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
Here we find an angel preaching "another gospel." This gospel is called the "everlasting gospel." This brings up a very, very interesting problem for a Campbellite. If Galatians 1 refers to everything from Matthew 1 to Revelation 22, then the angel in Revelation 14 is cursed of God, and is not preaching the truth; and Simon Peter did not preach the truth at Pentecost! That isn't all! Jesus Christ never told anybody in Israel, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." And He never told any of them that they would be part of a single body of believers made up of Jew and Gentile (1 Corinthians 12:10-20).
This points out a major problem that all Campbellite (Church of Christ) people have. Even though they plainly see that their system makes the Bible contradict, they would rather have the Bible contradict (while maintaining it doesn't) in order to keep their own position, than make their position fit the word of God, so that neither contradicts. When Jesus was on this earth, in Matthew 10, He preached only to Israel. He told the apostles, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils" (Matthew 10:3-6), before and after the resurrection (Mark 16). Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, never wrote one word about the Christians being commissioned to "cleanse lepers" or to preach only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Christians are to preach the gospel "to every creature," and yet Christians never carried out the complete commission given to the eleven apostles, in Mark 16, in this age!
Mark 16:15 - "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
They are told to preach the gospel to every creature, but they quit at Jerusalem and stay there (Acts 8:15). They become apostles to the circumcision, not to the Gentiles (Galatians 2).
Mark 16:16 - "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
When the Campbellite gets to this verse, he quotes it as though he was getting down to the rock-bed root of "apostolic faith and practice," and doesn't realize that the next two verses knock his whole system in the head!
Mark 16:17,18 - "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
These verses are the apostolic "signs and wonders" given only during the ministry of the apostles. After the ministry of the apostles is over, the signs and wonders of the apostles are gone. This puts the Campbellite in a very peculiar position, because his favorite passage (Acts 2:38), is only a very brief, intermittent, historical account of the Apostolic ministry to a particular group of Jews. The great Age of Grace, which continues for 1900 years after this book is all over, is a period that is unknown to a Campbellite minister. He doesn't even know what it's all about. If what Paul says in Galatians 1:8,9 is true, how should we account for the fact that Peter didn't preach this gospel at all? What Peter preached in Acts 2 is not what we find in Galatians 2-4, and it isn't what we find in Romans 10:9,10, and it isn't what we find in John 3! (The gospel of John had not been written when Peter preached in Acts 2; Galatians is not written when Peter preached in Acts 2; Revelation is not written when Peter preached in Acts 2!) Campbellites go around preaching Galatians 1:8,9 as though it applied to everything from Acts 2 to Revelation 22. Yet, in Acts 2 Peter knows nothing about the grace of God, as he is still a pork-abstaining, circumcised, sabbath-observing, temple-worshipping Jew, who is afraid to eat pork, in Acts 10! He still teaches water baptism as part of salvation (as John the Baptist and the Old Testament), and he mentions nothing at all about Christ dying for anybody's sins. (Compare 1 Corinthians 15:1-6.) There isn't any translation of any Bible on the face of the earth that mentions Christ dying for anybody's sins, in Acts 2. The reason why a Campbellite preacher can't face these problems is that basically, he has a heart problem. It's not that he's "full of the Devil," or a "heretic" it's just that he doesn't want to understand! When we get to Revelation 14, we see an angel preaching another gospel, and there isn't one mention of the "new birth," the "resurrection," or the "crucifixion" in the everlasting gospel! There is also no mention of baptism!
Revelation 14:7 - "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come ....
That's not the gospel of the grace of God! Does Paul mean in Galatians 1 that this angel in Revelation 14:7 is cursed? Do we see the mess that a man can get into if he refuses to believe what he reads, as he reads it, where he finds it? For example:
Acts 2:38,39 - "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye (the house of Israel! Look at the context.) shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you (the house of Israel), and to your children (the house of Israel), and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God (the God of Israel - Look at the context.) shall call."
Alexander Campbell went around quoting Acts 2:38 as though it was the "plan of salvation" for a Gentile! What a crazy thing to do! The context of the entire chapter is given to the house of Israel. "Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem" (Acts 2:14). "Ye men of Israel, hear these words" (Acts 2:22). "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly" (Acts 2:36).
The gospel in Acts 2 is not the gospel Paul is talking about in Galatians 1. Paul, in Galatians 1, is talking about the gospel of the grace of God. (Galatians 1 was written many years after Pentecost. When Galatians 1 was written, the gospel of the grace of God was so thoroughly established that even Peter was preaching it.)
Acts 15:11 - "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
Paul has taught Peter this gospel, and he is preaching it. There isn't one word about "baptism" in Acts 15. We see that it is hard for some people to read even simple passages. In Galatians 1 Paul said that an angel would be "accursed" if he preached "any other gospel," but an angel did preach one, and so did Peter. They just preached them at different times. If we can't "rightly divide the word," then we don't know the times; and we don't know the seasons; we don't know the dispensations; maybe because we aren't really studying.
In Acts 2, Peter preaches one gospel; in Galatians 1, Paul preaches another gospel; in Revelation 14, an angel preaches another gospel. This brings up a problem - is the Bible a contradiction? NO! When Simon Peter preaches in Acts 2, he's preaching in 33 AD with no revelation but the Old Testament. When Paul preaches in 1 Corinthians 15 and Galatians 1, he has already received the revelation of the grace of God, which was ushered into this dispensation during the transition period in the Book of Acts. When Paul writes his epistles, late in the Book of Acts, he has been shown things that Peter, James, and John knew absolutely nothing about. Many Christians are forever going back to a Jewish, circumcised minister, Peter, ministering to the Jews, in order to prove doctrines that are not even connected with the born-again Christian Gentile!
Notice the Roman Catholic teaching on this. (Now, I know that some would think that the following quotes have been taken out of context or taken from a single mention that maybe the author doesn't really mean but it is our challenge as Bereans to check out these references!) These quotes are from the Papal Encyclicals, and this is "nihl obstat," by John A. Goodwine, J. C. D., censor librarian, bearing the imprimatur of Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York. "Nihl obstat" and "imprimatur" are official declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. This is the doctrinal statement from page 15:
"Catholicism insists that it teaches the preaching of Christ, and only that. The Catholic believes that his beliefs are identical with those of the Apostolic Church without a jot or tittle changed."
This appears that the Roman Catholic Church rejects the entire doctrinal content of the Pauline Epistles. Jesus preaches to Israel, and Paul preaches to Gentiles; Jesus preaches salvation by works in Matthew 24 and 25, and Paul preaches salvation by grace in Ephesians 2. We cannot get them together unless we slight one of them, and Rome and the Campbellite church just kick Paul's teachings clean out, and take Simon Peter, the Book of Acts, so the Book of Matthew - the earthly life and preaching of Christ. It is little wonder that doctrine get confused with this distorted way of handling the scripture. If all we were to ever preach and teach is the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, we would be ecclesiastical wrecks! Over three-quarters of their preaching and teaching applies to Israel before the crucifixion or in the Tribulation.
There's probably no truer statement than the one from the Catholic book mentioned above, on page 11:
"Hence it is that the Catholic does not say in the first instance 'What does the book say?' Rather he asks, 'What does the teaching church say?'"
This indicates that an honest Catholic doesn't really care what the Book says! If the Book ever says one thing, and the "teaching church" says something else, he'll believe that quicker than the Bible. Notice the wording; it doesn't say, "What does the church say?", but, "What does the teaching church say?"
Again, quoting from the book:
"This fundamental vision of the church causes the Catholic to look to the episcopate for doctrine because the Roman Catholic bishops are the authentic exponents of God's message. This is no idolatry of the bishops or their primate, the Bishop of Rome, but it is only a consequence of the Catholic theory of the church."
There we see the Catholic admitting that their entire authority is based on theory! (We'll find that statement printed "without any objection" by Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Archbishop of New York.) It is based on a subjective, hypothetical supposition that "The Church" is their particular organization. Using that subjective bias as a framework for their exegesis, these folks are forcing every verse of the word of God to teach that their church is "it," the only true church. But every once in a while the Holy Spirit dumps a problem on their exegesis that they can't really explain, and this is one of them - the angel in Revelation 14, and Peter in Acts 2, were not accursed, even though Paul said they would be, in Galatians 1. Now, I don't know Greek but I sure would like to see someone who does explain that one!
The English yields the true exposition. The gospel has four forms:
So we have four forms of the gospel. We have the gospel of the kingdom of Heaven, given to Israel; we have the gospel of the grace of God, given to the unsaved sinner; we have Paul's gospel given to the church, the Body of Christ; and we have the everlasting gospel given to Tribulation Gentiles.
Revelation 14:7 - "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
Notice, the message to the Gentiles is not, "Fear God, and keep His commandments," as it is given to the Old Testament Jew under Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12 (where Campbellites and Jehovah Witnesses like to hang out); it is, "Fear God and give glory to Him."
Revelation 14:8 - And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
This verse shows why we studied Revelation 17 immediately after Revelation 13. It was so that we would know about the fall of Babylon before we got to Revelation 14:8, where Babylon has already fallen. (This shows us that the accounts in Revelation are not consecutive history, but are simultaneous accounts of the same event. The Book of Revelation is not a continual, progressive, historical, blow-by-blow description of the Tribulation from Chapter 4 to Chapter 19. Rather, it contains four accounts of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ exactly as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John contain four accounts of the first coming of Christ.)
Revelation 14:9-10 - And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
We have covered "the beast" thoroughly in the previous chapter. We identified him, his image, his mark, and everything about him. A person will have to receive his mark to make a living in the Tribulation, and he has been identified so thoroughly that you could not possibly miss him. If a man worships him, or receives his mark, that man is going to hell for certain and there is no hope for him. Therefore, in the Tribulation, the gospel is "endure to the end." If people do not "endure to the end," if they take the "mark of the beast" and do not give glory to God, they lose their salvation.
Revelation 14:11-12 - And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
14:11,12 - "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship (Remember, the word "worship" means to kiss.) the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God (Old Testament Ten Mosaic Law Commandments like a Seventh Day Adventist, who got the wrong verse at the wrong time and goes to hell with it!), and the faith of Jesus."
After the Body of Christ is caught out, a dispensation comes in where a man must believe on Jesus Christ and then, in order to "endure to the end," that man must observe the commandments of God, or "Fear God, and give glory to Him." If the man is a Jew, he is under the Mosaic Law; if he is a Gentile he must "endure to the end" without taking the "mark of the beast." If he takes the "mark of the beast," which will probably be the mark of a pope (who later goes to Jerusalem and deifies himself as God), he is damned. If a man gets through and endures to the end, he will come in as a "sheep" (Matthew 25:30-44), and "inherit the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world." But if he takes the "mark of the beast," he dies and goes to hell, and he is put in the lake of fire at the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 25:31-46). We can clearly see this interpretation places all the scripture in its proper place. It strongly implies that such passages as James 1,2, Hebrews 6,10, Matthew 24,25, Mark 13, Luke 17, Hebrews 9, etc., all fall into a Tribulation context. A context where there is an element of faith and works mingled, and all are connected with resisting the "mark of the beast" until the end of the Tribulation. This means that in the Tribulation, we can lose it!
A man in the Tribulation can lose his salvation for the following reasons:
In our study of Revelation 14, we have come upon a passage that deals with hell. Having discussed the post-Tribulation Rapture of Tribulation saints, who are called "virgins," we now have found a passage in Revelation 14:9-11 that describes the condition of those who did not "endure to the end."
Revelation 14:9,10 - "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
"Cup of his indignation." This is the same cup that the Lord Jesus Christ did not want to drink in the Garden of Gethsemane. The scripture identifies the "cup" as the "wine of the wrath" of God's indignation, poured out (Isaiah 51:17). This is God's wrath and judgment against sin. It was the cup that Jesus Christ prayed to be delivered from, but had to drink in order to take the sinner's place. It has nothing to do with dying; it has nothing to do with dying on the cross. It has to do in full measure with the wages due to sin as a full sinner. There is a reference to this cup in Jeremiah 25:15, and Isaiah 51:17.
"And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
Revelation 14:11 - "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
This is one of the clearest passages in the New Testament on the eternal punishment of the lost in hell. A majority of people in America most likely do not believe in a literal hell for a very good reason - they fear that they are going there! Many preachers have quit preaching about hell but this is no sign that hell has become air-conditioned, or renovated, or redecorated. This feeling in America is so common today that the statement on hell has been taken out of the "Apostles' Creed" where it says Christ "descended into hell." The Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah Witnesses have decided that we are annihilated, that when we die we are just like a dead dog - just dead meat! The liberals, Communists, Jehovah Witnesses, and British Israelites have all decided that, "All is well, there ain't no hell." Yet the grounds for rejecting a literal hell are not found in the New Testament. As a famous Greek scholar once said "If anybody has quit believing in a literal, burning, everlasting hell, they have not ceased to believe it on the grounds of the Greek New Testament." May we add that they have not ceased to believe it on the grounds of the English New Testament either. The English New Testament and the Greek New Testament teach a literal, burning, everlasting hell!
When we find a man busy renovating and air-conditioning hell, we can be assured that he's about to move in.
But we should examine the passages in the New Testament which say that hell is a literal place burning with a literal fire that never goes out, and that the sinners who burn in it never burn up, for they have soulish bodies instead of physical bodies.
Revelation 14:10,11 - "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
Some say that the "smoke" goes up forever, but that the "torment" doesn't go on forever. But the passage says, "The smoke of their T-O-R-M-E-N-T ascendeth up for ever and ever" (verse 11), and "He shall be T-O-R-M-E-N-T-E-D with fire and brimstone" (verse 10).
Revelation 19:20 - "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Notice, this is a "lake of fire, burning with brimstone."
Revelation 20:10 - "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
The Devil is cast into this same "lake of fire," and the beast and the false prophet are still there, "And shall be T-O-R-M-E-N-T-E-D day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 14:11).
Revelation 21:8 - "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
It does not say that they are going to burn up in the fire; it says that they are going to have "their part in it." The smoke of this lake, which burns with fire and brimstone, goes up "forever and ever." The people in it are tormented forever and ever. The Devil is in it and is tormented forever and ever. The beast and the false prophet are in it and are tormented forever and ever. The smoke of their torment goes up "day and night," forever and ever. "They have no rest" day or night forever and ever. It's very clear!
Matthew 25:30 - "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
This brings up an interesting problem for a Jehovah Witness. If "hell" is the grave, then where is "outer darkness"? If people are wiped out in hell as "the grave," then what happens to the people who weep, and wail, and gnash teeth in outer darkness? Nothing was ever said that their torment was going to end, nor was anything said about their getting back from outer darkness!
Jude 13 - "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
There's no statement in Jude 13 about anybody going to the grave and being obliterated; there's no statement about anybody going to hell and being annihilated.
2 Peter 2:17 - "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."
This passage has no connection with the grave because it is dealing with outer darkness.
Matthew 25:41 - "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
We just read in Revelation 20:10 where the Devil was cast into the "lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." In Matthew 25:41, the Lord is saying to somebody, "Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Notice the word "everlasting." It's the same word that is found in John 3:16.
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Then the "everlasting fire" lasts as long as the "everlasting life." Everlasting damnation lasts as long as everlasting salvation. The day God expires will be the day that the damnation will end, and it won't end one minute before.
Matthew 25:46 - "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
"Everlasting punishment." This means that there is no end to it. We may think that it means "a long time." If that's so, is that what "everlasting" means in John 3:16? There isn't a Jehovah Witness who ever lived that doesn't believe in "everlasting life," but when they find the same word dealing with hell, they don't believe that it is "everlasting." Aren't people strange? Why would a man believe in an everlasting, eternal life that has no end, but in an everlasting, eternal hell that was only there for awhile? Because all lost people have a sinful disposition and moral reasons for rejecting a literal hell, and these reasons are pretty apparent to somebody who has been saved from it.
Matthew 25:46 - "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Notice the contrast: "life eternal," and "everlasting punishment." It does not say everlasting death, but everlasting punishment. A corpse cannot be punished! This "punishment" is spoken of as something that humans feel, it has a particular emotion attached to it.
Daniel 12:2 - "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Notice that the lost have a response to this punishment. A corpse doesn't have a response to anything! "Everlasting shame" is a feeling, and "everlasting contempt" is an emotion. As sure as a "born again" believer has an everlasting life, an unsaved sinner has an everlasting damnation with shame and contempt and punishment.
Have we ever stopped to think that if the grave is "hell," then all Christians go to "hell" when they die? All Christians go to the grave when they die, don't they? Lazarus was saved and they buried him; Paul was saved and they buried him; Peter was saved and they buried him; Martin Luther and John Wesley were saved and they buried them. Do they mean to tell us that they are in "hell"? Common sense would tell you that "the grave" is not hell. If the grave is hell, then all dogs, cats, birds, bats, bees, Christians, Buddhists, atheists, gophers, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and even Jehovah Witnesses go to hell. They do bury Jehovah Witnesses, don't they? If you told a Jehovah Witness that he was going to hell, he would be highly indignant!
Luke 12:4,5 - "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."
We don't have to fear them that can only kill the body, because all they can do with the body is bury it in a grave. "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell." See there is more to it than just "killing the body" and burying it in the grave. God can cast us into hell after we're dead! Any ditch digger has the power to cast us into the grave, and the funeral director has the power to do that, too. See the absurdity of teaching that hell is "the grave"? Going to hell is not "going to the grave." If we are not saved, our bodies go to the grave, and our souls go to hell - everlasting shame, everlasting torment, and everlasting punishment. The Bible is very clear on this over and over and over and over again. Why is it that people keep getting this confused? Common sense would tell us that hell is something worse than the grave. There's weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in hell, but there's none in the grave; there's praying in hell, but there's none in the grave! We can dig up every graveyard in this country and we won't find any "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." We won't find any "furnace of fire" when we dig up a grave either.
Look at the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 13:42 - "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
"Cast them." We just read in Luke 12:5 that you are to fear Him that is able to "cast into hell." God does not chuck you into a "Woodlawn" cemetery!
Matthew 13:50 - "And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
"The furnace of fire." This is a particular one. Somebody said that it was just a parable, but this is one place where they are badly mistaken because the parable had just been explained.
Matthew 13:36-40 - "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, (1) he that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; (2) The field IS the world; (3) the good seed ARE the children of the kingdom; (4) but the tares ARE the children of the wicked one: (5) The enemy that sowed them IS the devil; (6) the harvest IS the end of the world; (7) the reapers ARE the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in (8) the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
The fire is what? Oh, it's the fire! See what He just did? He gave a rule, or a meaning, for everything in the parable except "the fire. "Do we know why? Because "the fire" is f-i-r-e! Do we know what the tares are? They're the children of the wicked one. Do we know who the enemy is? He's the Devil. Do we know what the field is? It's the world. Do we know who the sower is? It's Jesus. Do we know what the good seed is? It's the children of the kingdom. Do we know what the harvest is? It's the end of the world. Do we know who the reapers are? They're the angels. Do we know what the fire is?
It's fire, just unsheeted flame!
There isn't any meaning given for "fire" because "the fire" is "the fire."
Matthew 3:11,12 - "l indeed baptize you with the water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Sometimes we hear Christians praying that they'll get the "baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire." They hadn't better get that baptism of fire or they will fry! Notice, the "fire" they are baptized with here, is "unquenchable." It's hell-fire! It's not a fire that can be put out. A fellow says, "I've got the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire!" Well, how come the fire isn't sitting on his head? Matthew 3:12 is "unquenchable" fire. The "wheat" gets the baptism of the Holy Ghost and goes into the garner. The "chaff" is the part that is no good and gets the "baptism of fire."
Acts 1:5 - "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
Notice that there is no "fire." The Holy Spirit is very careful to point this out. Somebody will say, "But, in Acts 2, etc."
Acts 2:3 - "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them."
They were not baptized with fire, but "like as of fire." Not fire, but like fire. You see how careful the Holy Spirit is to correct certain religious groups.
Notice that when Simon Peter quotes Matthew 3:12, that he omits, "and with fire."
Acts 11:16 - "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost."
Notice no fire!! Nobody in the Book of Acts was ever baptized with fire, except the lost sinners who went to hell. Baptism with fire is the wrong baptism.
Now to digress for a few minutes, let us take up the verses used by the Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Campbellites, etc. to prove that a man does not burn in hell.
Malachi 4:1,3 - "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble:and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts."
The statement in Malachi 4:1 is that the wicked are going to be burned up, and nothing left but ashes (Malachi 4:3). This is the proof text for the Jehovah Witnesses' teaching of "annihilation."
"For, behold, the DAY cometh, that shall burn as an oven." "In the DAY that I shall do this." "Before the coming of the great and dreadful DAY of the Lord" (Malachi 4:1,3,5).
There's nothing in the passage on hell. There's nothing about a man dying now and going to hell. It's talking about the Second Coming of Christ in the "day of the Lord."
Malachi 4:1 - "For, behold, the DAY cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble:and the DAY that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch."
Their bodies are "the ashes" in Malachi 4:3. When the saints come back at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and go over that pile of dead corpses, they literally step on the ashes. But there is nothing about a place called "hell" under the earth, or a lake of fire in eternity. There is not one single mention of hell in Malachi 4.
Proverbs 2:22 - "But the wicked shall he cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it."
Notice how very careful the Holy Spirit is to show us that the place where the wicked are "cut off," and become "stubble," has to do with their being consumed off the face of this earth. It has no reference to any conditions in the life hereafter.
Christ says, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees."
Out goes the root! They are going to be "stubble" under our feet, and "it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Malachi 4:1). No root, no branch. Why? They've been rooted out (Proverbs 2:22). The wicked shall be cut off; the wicked shall be as stubble; the wicked shall be rooted out; the wicked shall have no root or branch. Nothing is plainer. In every context it is talking about the wicked disappearing off the face of this earth by being killed.
Notice that these favorite passages to prove "annihilation" are found in the Old Testament. We won't often find any man damning himself to hell with a passage after the resurrection, although a Campbellite will do it occasionally!
Now, let's look at a typical passage that a man will use to prove that one is unconscious in hell, or annihilated in hell, or knows nothing in hell, and therefore couldn't feel any flame if it did burn him. (In order to get this passage, we have to go back on the other side of Calvary again, and pretend that we don't have any Pauline Epistles to read!)
Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 - "For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun."
The statement is that "the dead" know not anything, and if the dead "know not anything," how can they feel the fires of hell burning them? That's the kind of exegesis a no-heller would give on the passage.
The Book of Ecclesiastes never professes to be Christian Doctrine, given by the Holy Spirit. It is the "words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem." It is not a series of statements on New Testament Christian Doctrine. The Book of Ecclesiastes is the book of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, who tried to figure out life and death from what had been revealed to him. At the time that Solomon tried to figure things out, half of the Bible had not even been written. Appeal to such a book is typical of people who wrest the scriptures "unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16).
The Book of Ecclesiastes is not a book of Christian Doctrine. The expression "under the sun" occurs 29 times in the book. In Ecclesiastes we are told that this book is describing life "under the sun." There's no reference in the book about somebody burning under the earth, or out in eternity. This is a man (the natural man), trying to figure out things by the amount of natural revelation that he has. Look at the conclusion of the book:
Ecclesiastes 12:13,14 - "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
The summation of the whole book, "Fear God and keep his commandments," is not the gospel. The gospel is that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). Therefore, if we want to get our doctrines on heaven, hell, and New Testament salvation straightened out, we had better believe the New Testament first and Solomon second. We don't go to Solomon for an opinion on New Testament truth that he's just getting by partial revelation.
This brings up the problem of progressive revelation again, one of the greatest problems found in the religious world today. There are two extremes to which a man will go; the first position is the position of the liberal who says, "I don't believe the Bible is the word of God." But, suppose he gets saved and believes that it is the word of God. Now, do you know what the Devil will do with him? He'll push him over the other way. The man will say, "I believe all of it is the word of God." So, he'll try to keep all of it, and he cannot do this without making it contradict. Then he is right back where he started, as an unsaved liberal because all unsaved liberals believe that it contradicts!
To illustrate this further:
1. "I believe everything in the Book is what God said, and all the Bible is for us, and you've got to keep all of it, or none." That's the talk of a man who is deceived by the Devil, although he may be saved.
2. "It's just man's opinion. The word of God may be found in it, but it is man's ideas, philosophy, and legends." That's the talk of an unsaved man. The Devil pushes a man one way or the other.
Now, the saved, solid, Christian approach is this: Everything in the Bible God wanted me to read, but not everything in the Bible is aimed at me. For example: Jesus said that the twelve Apostles should go preach "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." That's not for me! All the Bible is for me to read, all the Bible is to help me, all of it is for exhortation, all of it is for comfort, all of it is for me to learn from, but not all of it is aimed at me. The Bible is a book that took more than 2000 years to write, and it is written on three different continents by 38 different authors. So we shouldn't think for a minute that we're going to get a final revelation on hell in Ecclesiastes, or 2 Chronicles, or Jeremiah! We're not going to have the completed revelation until you finish reading the Book of Revelation. We don't have the complete, absolute, final, thorough doctrine right until we have the whole thing.
The truth remains that if we can't turn to the Book of Ecclesiastes, or Proverbs, or Malachi to prove that a soul burns up in hell. The New Testament revelation is very clear and very plain about these facts.
John 5:28,29 - "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
"The resurrection of damnation." Jesus said, "How can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33). If the "damnation of hell" was being "annihilated in the grave," there wouldn't be much to it. The "damnation of hell" is not being buried in a hole in the ground.
Matthew 5:22 - "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Why did he say "hell fire"? There's no fire in the grave! If the grave and hell are the same, what is the fire doing there?
Matthew 5:29 - "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
If hell is the grave, it means that it would be better for us to cut off arms and legs than to die and go into the grave. But wait a minute! Everybody dies and goes to the grave. Why isn't everybody pulling out their eyes and cutting off their limbs? See how absurd and ridiculous this is? They'll go to the grave whether they cut something off or not! Jesus is saying here that there is such a terrible, hell-fire and damnation, horrible, burning, eternal, punishment ahead that they would do better to go through life as a saved person with one eye and one arm, than to go through life healthy and lost and wind up in hell.
How can "hell" be the "grave"? The answer is that it isn't, never has been, and never will be.
The Roman Catholic pretends that he is going to purgatory instead of hell, and the Jehovah Witness pretends that he is going to the grave instead of hell.
When the Devil said to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die," that's not the truth. That's scripture, but it is not the truth. When Job says, "The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly," it is scripture (Job 12:4), but there isn't a word of truth in it. It is only true that what is recorded is what God wanted recorded, and He moved men to record it and sort it out, and what He wanted in, He preserved in the Bible. But it is not true that every statement of every man in the Bible is Christian Doctrine, applied by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is very carefully written. The Bible is a wonderful Book, and one of the great proofs of the infallibility and the inspiration of the scriptures is the fact that it is so written that if any man comes to it trying to find a verse to teach something that is not scriptural (which the other verses don't bear witness to), he has to violate the rules of Common sense in order to get his teaching. The Bible is a "two-edged sword." It can save us or it can ruin us.
Revelation 14:13 - And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Notice very carefully: people who die in the Tribulation have their works follow them, and they are judged for these works later. Our situation in the Church Age is entirely different. Our works go ahead of us, and we'll meet our works at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (When the Judgment Seat of Christ is over, your judgment will be past, as a Christian.) These saints in the Tribulation, have to get judged sometime in the future. Since the Judgment Seat of Christ takes place during the Tribulation, it is very apparent that the saints who are saved in the Tribulation are not judged the same way those saved in the Church Age are, and they are not judged at the same time and place as those in the Church Age. Tribulation saints are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (see Revelation 11:18).
Revelation 14:14 - And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
The reference, of course, is to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Lord Jesus Christ, represented here as the "Angel of the Lord." The statement is not just "the Son of man," but "one sat like unto the Son of man." (See Revelation 10:1, the angel appearing in a cloud.) Then this is an appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Tribulation sometime before the actual Advent, or His landing on the earth. When He actually comes to land on earth, He comes on horseback with an army (Revelation 19:11, Joel 2:1-11). This army of horsemen stops their charge at the Mount of Olives, Christ gets off His horse, stands on the ground, the earth splits under Him, then He gets back on His white Arabian steed, and marches through the eastern gate into Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-21.)
But in the appearance found in Revelation 14:14, the Lord is pictured as seated on a throne, or beside a throne. This is not the appearance of Revelation 19:11, where He is sitting on a horse with "many crowns" on His head. This is a Pre-Advent appearance. The exact time of this appearance is not given, and I don't know when it's going to be. I do know that there is an appearance of Christ before the end of the Tribulation, just like Joseph appeared to his brethren before the seven years of famine were finished. This will be like Paul's conversion, who was saved in a Post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, and then began to preach to the Gentiles. The 144,000 are going to see Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, and they will preach to the Gentiles, before the Advent. (I do not know the time element of Revelation 14:14. It is highly possible that it will not be revealed until the end time, and then it will be revealed to the Jews during the Tribulation.)
Revelation 14:15 - And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
The cross references here are Isaiah 17:6; 66:8, Jeremiah 6:9, James 5:7, and Matthew 13:39. It is generally taught that Revelation 14:20 is one complete picture of the Second Coming. But, this is not the case. What you actually have here is a picture of Jesus Christ appearing before the end of the Tribulation, and then an interval followed by the actual Second Coming, at the end of the seven years. This truth is learned by noticing the difference in the wording - notice that two different types of agricultural activities are described.
"Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the h-a-r-v-e-s-t of the earth is ripe."
Revelation 14:16 - And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
This is the passage in Matthew 13:39 and Isaiah 66:8. Notice in Revelation 14:18,19 that it is not the harvest of the earth, and it is not the earth that is being reaped.
Revelation 14:17-18 - And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
The harvest of the earth is reaped and gathered into the barn, as in Matthew 13 and this harvest, which has to do with fire, burns something, as in Matthew 13. Note the difference: one is the "harvest of the earth" - time for the earth to be reaped, but the other is the "clusters of the vine of the earth." The "vine of the earth" is a very, very important statement.
Revelation 14:19 - And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
In Revelation 14:15,16 a sickle is put into the "harvest of the earth," like a wheat crop. The grain is harvested and reaped for God and put into the barn (Deuteronomy 16:9, Isaiah 17:6, Matthew 13:39, James 5:7), but here in Revelation 14:18,19, we find something that has incurred the wrath of God and God wishes it to be destroyed, it is called the "vine of the earth." It is not "gathered into the barn," but it is cast into "the winepress of God," and then it is stamped on until blood comes out of it three feet high for a space of about 160 miles! (This shows us clearly that the Second Advent is found in Revelation 14:18,19, while a post-Tribulation Rapture is found in Revelation 14:15,16.)
"The vine of the earth" is a reference to a passage in Deuteronomy 32:31.
Deuteronomy 32:31 - "For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."
Notice the first "rock," small "r" - Simon Peter; the next "Rock," capital "R" - Jesus Christ. The context is Israel, therefore, the enemies referred to are the enemies of Israel.
Deuteronomy 32:32 - "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter."
The reference is to a "vine" that God has no use for, and He is going to curse it, and wipe it out.
Deuteronomy 32:33 - "Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps." (Compare Psalm 16:4 and Deuteronomy 32:38.)
The thing that characterizes this "vine of the earth" (Revelation 14) is the fact that this "vine of the earth" produces grapes which turn out to be like fermented liquor. This is the vine that God intends to wipe out in Revelation 14:18,19. This wine is also connected with "Babylon the Great" in Revelation 17:4,6, and Revelation 18:3. This "vine of the earth" in Revelation 14, pictures the entire mass of unsaved religious people, who will be literally stamped out under His feet until the blood is all over His clothes!
Isaiah 63:1-4,6 - "Who is this that cometh from Edom (south of the Dead Sea), with dyed garments from Bozrah (south of the Dead Sea), this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? (Notice the answer.) I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (Now the question.) Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (See the answer.) I have trodden the winepress (cf. Revelation 14:20) alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." "And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them D-R-U-N-K in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."
There is no doubt about this passage at all. This is not a loving, kindly, heavenly Saviour who comes saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." This is a roaring lion, coming for vengeance, who stamps on his enemies until their blood is splashed all over His clothes.
Jeremiah 25:30 - "Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall R-O-A-R (There goes the lion of the tribe of Judah!)from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily R-O-A-R upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth."
Revelation 19:13,15 - "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he T-R-E-A-D-E-T-H (stomp down, walk on it) the W-I-N-E-P-R-E-S-S of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Revelation 14:20 - And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
Notice that this is outside Jerusalem, "without the gate" or "without the camp" - Hebrews 13.
Now let's get it all together and see what these verses teach. They present a picture so horrible and so bloody that many people reject the literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation. The Bible picture, here, is so terrible in its implication when we take it literally! But that is exactly how we Bible-believing Christians are going to have to take it! The passages that deal with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus never deal with the times of:
"Gentle Jesus. meek and mild,
Hearken to a little child.
Fain would I to Thee be brought
Gracious Lord, forbid it not."
These things are all true of His first coming as the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," but His Second Coming is something else. Joel calls it the "day of darkness," the "day of gloominess," a "day of clouds," and "thick darkness." There is nothing positive about this description.
Joel 1:15 - "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come."
Nahum 1:2-6 - "God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked:the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him."
This is the Bible photograph of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the "day of the Lord." Many people have rejected the Pre-Millennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ, literally and visibly, to reign on this earth because the scriptural prophecies that accompany this particular event in history are all negative.
They all speak of wrath, fierceness, vengeance, rage, fury, jealousy, fighting, killing, stomping, and blood coming out of someone till it is running three feet deep on the ground. In plainer words, the Bible is not rejected by "modern man" because it is "hard to understand, "the Bible is not revised because it is "obscure," the Bible is not laid aside because it is "apocalyptic and symbolical," but it is rejected because it is against man and, therefore, man is against it!
Let us examine a few more references to go with these passages - Psalm 68:23, Judges 5:21, Hosea 3:13, Genesis 9:26, Isaiah 63:1; 34:5, Habakkuk 3:15. These passages all make it abundantly clear that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is like an Old Testament Jew putting grapes into a winepress. Then, he, walking around, crushing out the grapes with his bare feet, until the juice comes up to his ankles and knees, and stains the short-skirt robe which he is holding up.
Back in those days, they had a cement circle on the ground, about 6 feet or 8 feet in diameter, hollow in the middle, like an angel-food cake pan. The grapes were dumped into the circular part of this foundry, which had spigots at intervals through which the juice would run into leather bottles. Then, the men who would tread the grapes, would take off their shoes, wash their feet and legs, walk around and around the foundry on the grapes until the grapes were all mashed under their feet. The whole foundry would be running 2 feet or 3 feet deep in grape juice, and the juice would run out of the spigots on the side. This is "the winepress."
In the passages we have just read, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or the "day of the Lord" is not described as Christ dying on the cross; the "day of the Lord" is not pictured as Christ being virgin-born and resurrected. The "day of the Lord" is not a picture of the "Sermon on the Mount," or the "destruction of Jerusalem." The "day of the Lord" is a picture of Jesus Christ coming back to Palestine and landing on the heads of 200 million United Nations cavalrymen, and squashing them so flat under His feet that their blood runs 3 feet deep down the land of Palestine, through the rivers, for a space of about 160 miles.
When Christ comes back on His white horse (which we'll study later), this blood comes up so high that-the horses' bridles are dipped in this blood, and the saints who return with Christ dip their feet in this blood (Psalm 68:23). A truly terrifying picture! But, this is the picture of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. The first time He came, He came as a Lamb; but the next time He comes, He comes as a raging, roaring lion (Revelation 25:30)!
The passages we have just read (Revelation 14) all lie in the immediate future. I hope you are on the right side.
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