14:10, not ready
How to be ready now for the time of wrath
"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. . . . Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:9, 10, 12).
wrath is exercised here, as I see it, by letting
the winds blow re0701-4.
He will allow Satan to reveal all the fury of his evil character (See beginning
Yet God's role is not passive. It is His wrath, as we see in other
descriptions such as in the pouring out of the plagues ex0801f.
Those who are translated, the living who are taken up to meet the Lord in the air 1th0416f, will have received God's seal re0703. He will protect them because they stand in purity of character during the time of wrath, having no part of Satan's ways.
The wicked will drink the cup of God's full wrath by their own choice. The righteous, although not hurt by the wrath is2620f, will experience the time of Jacob's troubleje3006, distrusting their own righteousness and, like Jacob, feeling rejected until finally assured by Christ ge3224-8; re1617.
In this experience of trial and victory, the righteous become the crown of Christ revealing His rightful kingship is6201-3! His power to save to the uttermost he0725 is seen in them, answering the accusations of Satan zc03; re1210 that God's requirements are not desirable. The living righteous are vindicated in the judgment, forever free from the curse of sin. They (perhaps you and I, if we live in that time) will demonstrate that there is no excuse for sin.
By sin, I mean conscious evil, whether by intent or neglect, whether mental or physical. ja0417, 1jo0301-4. Jesus is "faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness 1jo0109. Forgiveness is His work for us, and cleansing, His work in us.
We also find this two-part work of Christ elsewhere in the Bible. For example in 2 Peter 3:14 "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Being blameless, means being forgiven (justified). Being spotless means clean behavior (sanctified).
So how perfect is perfect?
Jesus told us, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." mt0548. I don't take this to mean we will achieve the holiness of the infinite God, but that, within our understanding and framework of life, we are to perfectly follow the divine pattern. Second Peter 3 also tells us how to be found without spot and blameless. It ends with the charge, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2pe0318).
We still haven't explained how much perfection is enough. And I don't believe we can. What we do know is that, as the Spirit convicts us of sin, we must not hesitate but put it away in the strength of Christ. We grow in grace, continually following our Lord, taking up the cross, daily and following Him lu0923. This cross is not a polished decoration but a spiritual walk. It's being ready in Christ's strength to die, in every sense of the word, before committing an act we know to be wrong re1211.
The redeemed ones in heaven follow the Lamb wherever he goes re1401-4. If we are to follow Him there we must follow Him here, ready to be nailed to a cross. Fortunately, the Spirit reveals our sinfulness a little at a time, thus we grow in grace.
Although we may ever be reaching for perfection of behavior, we may in a sense have perfect commitment. And even commitment must be continually renewed is3302, as we seek to be covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness is6110.
Paul explains what "perfect" people do. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [attained]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." (Phil. 3:13-16)
Of course we
are saved by Christ's works, not our own. But He didn't leave us
with the idea that what he did 2,000 years ago would replace what He does
for us day by day. He said, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except
ye abide in me." (John 15:4). Becoming attached to the vine is not enough.
We must abide — stay attached. We need His grace for both. If we have Him
abiding in our hearts, we choose to let Him work His fruit of righteousness
Our temptation is to feel that the way is too hard, that we must indulge just a little in some things, or that we need to do certain things to pay the bills. But we have no excuse. The life Jesus lived on earth is essential for us. He achieved the victory in human flesh and offers us the power to overcome as well — to be children of God jn0112, re0321. As we abide in Christ, He abides in us and God works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13).
If we follow our Lord day by day, then when faced with the terrible consequences of refusing the attributes of the beast, we will continue to follow Him with our cross through the valley of the shadow of death. The burden we bear will tax our strength to the maximum as during the time of Jacob's trouble ge3224ff, je3006f. Still it will be light mt1128, not because He carries it for us, but because we act in His strength. When we are tried and, like Jacob, have prevailed, God will say, It is done re1607 — His work in us will be complete. We will stand with the pure ones who persevere, those who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus," those who escape the final darkness as God's wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy. Then peace will fill our souls. The glory is all God's ph0106.
I've explained my ideas about
this process of victory. When the sealing time comes, we will understand
better. Although feeling cut off from both heaven and earth, we may, by
faith, cling to the promise: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isa.
14:10, note fire
Symbolic fire and brimstone
^ 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 [or "punishment"]; and he shall be tormented [Greek from basanos, a stone for testing the purity of metals] with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. (Rev. 14:9, 10)
The symbolism of fire and
brimstone comes from the story abbreviated as follows: "And when the morning
arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and
thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity
of the city. . . .
"Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace." (Gen. 19:15, 24-29)
Thus the destruction of Sodom
and Gomorrah prefigures the punishment of the beast worshippers "with fire
and brimstone" at the end of the world re1817.
The motif continues in the next verse of the third angel's message, but
before we proceed, we need to ask why this punishment happens "in the presence
of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
The same time of wrath is mentioned at the end of chapter 6, re0615, but the angels are not who the Lamb is with. "And the heaven [sky] departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. . . . And the kings of the earth . . . [and every other class of earth people] hid themselves. . . . And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:15-17).
The patient saints of 14:12 escape the fire and brimstone but agonize before God. re1412e2.
In chapter 19 we find the same event of executing God's wrath in a different set of symbols. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. . . . and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." (Rev. 19:11-14). Thus the horseman and the armies of heaven punish the wicked following the judgment. In chapter 14 symbols, they are the Lamb and the holy angels.
If you carefully read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 and 19 ge18, you will find that the Lord and two angels were involved in the destruction. Abraham's Lord would later identify Himself to Moses as the I AM ex0314f. Still later, in human flesh, He would declare Himself to be the I AM who lived before Abraham. jn0858f. So in the case of those ancient cities, the work of destruction was carried out by members of the same team — angels and Christ. And, just think. the Son of God is our protector, too!
What have we learned about
the prediction of the third angel?
That he describes the time of God's wrath.
That it follows the judgment which will have shown the wrath to be just.
That the wrath will be administered by the Christ and the angels.
And that the fire and brimstone, recorded in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, symbolize pouring out the wrath.
|Rev. 5||One on the throne||Lamb worthy to read the scroll||(observers)||Establishing the process of judgment & preparation (after the cross)|
|One on throne - wicked hide from His face||Lamb - wicked hide from His wrath||
||Judgment ends / wrath begins|
||Authorization to release the four angels||4 angels release winds
|Sounding of sixth trumpet|
|God whose wrath is poured out||Lamb present (presiding)||Angels present (presiding)||Preadvent punishment of wicked (warning)|
|God whose word the rider is||Faithful & True one on white horse||Armies in heaven on white horses||Preadvent punishment of wicked|
||Lord who comes||10,000 saints (or angels — literally, "holy ones")||Preadvent judgment and punishment|
||The Lord||Two angels||Story of Sodom & G. as type of preadvent judgment & punishment|
|Covenant offered and accepted, circumcision||Preparation of covenant people (obedience)|
|18:1||The Lord and 3 "men" entertained by Abraham||
|18:17||The Lord reveals to Abraham what He will do||Divine actions revealed to prophets (Amos 3:7). End time testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17).|
|18:21||Investigative nature of judgment||Preadvent judgment|
|19:10, 11||Two angels protect lot and make wicked blind||Protection in time of trouble; wicked no longer able to see truth they rejected|
|19:13-15||Gathering of others during delay after God orders destruction of city||Last call out of Babylon (Rev. 18); Four winds held|
|19:24||Fire & brimstone destroy the cities and surroundings||Execution of judgment sentence - wicked destroyed|
|19:27, 28||Abraham sees the smoke||Earth cleansed - New heavens and new earth|