LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

Home   About Us   Holiness Library   Bible Prophecy   Listen to Sermons  History of the Holiness Movement   Early English Bibles   Bible Studies

 

 

 

 

A LAMB ON MOUNT ZION, PART 5

 

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.” Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:9–12

 

The messages of the first two angels are powerful and come across contradictory to most Christian thinking. The everlasting gospel is uncompromising with its message that the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin and restores people, not just to a right relation with God, but to original holiness as God planned it for mankind.

The second angel reveals Babylon and its fallen state. People are offended by this message because it appears to be so critical of churches in general. People hearing this message must remember that it is not the opinion of those called to preach it; we love God’s people in Babylon as God loves them. As God is not content to let them remain in fallen Babylon and its environment of spiritual fornication, we are motivated by God’s love to be fair and clear in warning them. We do not hate or look down upon other Christians as some might think, we are merely telling you what the Lamb on Mount Zion has to say about it.

The message of this third angel is the most offensive of all because it is the pronouncement of God’s judgment on Babylon and the people that hold to it rather than following the Lamb and His everlasting gospel.

 

A Loud Voice

 

This third angel speaks with a loud voice. The everlasting gospel is preached with a loud voice by the first angel, and following the message that Babylon is fallen, this third angel also speaks with a loud voice. The word translated loud is the Greek word megas, literally meaning big but used in the sense of violent, mighty, or strong. The message of this angel is not friendly in the least; it is a strong message from God that must be taken seriously.

This strong message is directed towards all that worship the beast, his image, and have received his mark on the forehead or hand. The closer religion comes to God without offering people deliverance from sin, the more deceptive it is. The snare in the religion of the beast and his image is that it makes people feel that God accepts them, even though they still practice sin. The deception worked on people is that even though they still practice sin, they feel they are living better lives than non-Christians and this will merit heaven for them in the end.

The red dragon of chapter 12 is the spirit behind Christ-less religion. Chapter 13 narrows the focus of Christ-less religion to just Catholic and Protestant: the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth. Protestantism, the beast of the earth, is an image of Catholic forms of religion as we studied in chapter 13. You will recall that the mark of the beast is church membership, which is entered into through catechism or formal membership recognized by a hand of fellowship. Notice that the mark of the beast is received, indicating that church membership is essentially a voluntary thing as opposed to something forced on people.

The consequence of membership in other than the body of Christ is two-fold. First, these worshippers of the beast drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and second, they shall be tormented with fire and brimstone.

 

Spiritual Fornication

 

People that join these churches commit spiritual fornication and also drink the wine of God’s wrath.

Wine is a metaphor for God’s judgment. Wine is grape juice that has been fermented and aged to a specific point of maturity. This illustrates that the wrath of God is not impulsive or sporadic, it is methodical and deliberate and it is not poured out until it is fully ready. God pours out His wrath only after He gives the recipient of that wrath more than ample opportunity to amend his ways. We have this assurance from Psalm 103:8–9, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

People often think of the wrath of God in an Old Testament sense where God is sending fire from heaven or opening the earth to destroy evil people. While that is certainly an aspect of God’s wrath, it is not a New Testament concept of the wrath of God.

The Apostle Paul teaches us about the wrath of God in the first chapter of Romans verses 16–18, “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.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

Notice that Paul tells us the wrath of God is directed towards all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. What is it that saves people from ungodliness and unrighteousness? Paul tells us it is the gospel of Christ because it alone is the power of God to salvation. And notice that salvation is given by God to those that believe. Salvation is received by faith and not through church membership. In this sense the gospel is the wrath of God.

He continues in verses 19–21, “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.”

The pity about these forms of Babylon is that they do have access to the Scriptures. Paul says, “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” They are capable of understanding the truth of the gospel if they choose to do so and for that reason they are without excuse. But when people refuse to leave the influences of the beast of the sea or the beast of the earth, they are refusing to glorify God—refusing to submit to God’s leading. They become unthankful to God choosing rather to stay in Babylon rather than to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Why? Because their foolish hearts were darkened. In other words, they are drunk on the wine of the wrath of Babylon’s fornication and therefore they have to drink of the wine of the wrath of God.

The wrath of God is nothing more than the everlasting gospel. The everlasting gospel tells that God is repulsed by sin and that no sinner can have part with God under any circumstance. It tells of God’s wonderful provision for sin through the atonement made by the blood of Jesus Christ so that the sinner can be forgiven, cleansed from all unrighteousness, and live a holy life in the presence of God in this life. People that receive and obey the everlasting gospel receive righteousness from God; people that reject the everlasting gospel receive the wrath of God.

Beast worshippers do not reject the everlasting gospel outright but they try to dilute the gospel by making allowance for sin in the Christian life. To this the Apostle John says in 1 John 2:1–2, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” While the possibility exists that a Christian will commit sin; that sin can still be dealt with through the atonement. The standard for Christian living according to the New Testament is: “that you may not sin.”  It is an evidence of Babylon’s spiritual fornication to twist this teaching to say that sinning is the standard for Christian life. Sinning Christianity is not the standard of life for the body of Christ.

The wrath of God is the everlasting gospel; it is God’s judgment on sin and unrighteousness. God provided deliverance from sin in this life through the atonement in Christ. Jesus is everything we need to be made right with God and to successfully live for God until He takes us to heaven. To those that deny the efficacy of the gospel to deliver from sin in this life, the gospel turns into the wrath of God because they will face the same gospel at the final judgment and have to answer to God why they did not allow Him to lead them in holiness.

The Lamb on Mount Zion brought back the fullness of the gospel and there is a host of people that follow Him wherever He goes. Those that are drunk on the wine of Babylon’s fornication have no use for the everlasting gospel and they reject the message that Babylon is fallen. Under the wrath of God, they are tormented with fire and brimstone.

 

Wrath of God Poured Out

 

As much as Babylonian teachers try to mix the everlasting gospel with the corruption of this world, it will never secure salvation for beast worshippers. The angel cries out that God’s wrath will be poured out on them WITHOUT MIXTURE into the cup of His indignation. This simply means that God, after He has does everything to reach them, will punish them without mercy.

Sodom and Gomorrah are the perfect example of this. Genesis 19:24–25, “Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”

The fire and brimstone of Sodom was literal and it resulted in the utter destruction of the cities and inhabitants of the plain. The utter destruction of beast worshippers is that they cannot pick and choose the parts of salvation they want; they must accept it all or reject it all. God does not accept partial repentance, partial commitment, or partial holiness. People must take all of God’s work of salvation or they will receive no salvation at all. People will either love God to the exclusion of their sins, or they will love their sins to the exclusion of God; there is no middle ground.

The angel says that this torment takes place in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. Christ is present wherever His ministers preach the everlasting gospel. He is there to save every repentant sinner from his sins. The preaching of the everlasting gospel torments Beast worshippers when it tells them they are not saved while professing salvation and still committing sins. The smoke of their torment goes upward. People that are burned up by their rejection of the everlasting gospel will fight the message of that very gospel: They will defend their sin and disobedience and thereby expose themselves for what they truly are.

 

No Rest

 

In verse 11 the angel says that Beast worshippers have no rest day or night. Church membership and false gospels do not give people rest. Only Jesus can give the sinner rest from his sin. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

God rested from His labors on the seventh day of creation. Salvation makes every believer a new creation and enables him to cease from the labors of sin and to rest with God in the beauty of His holiness.

Beast worshippers cannot find rest from their sins in the gospels in which they are trusting because those gospels harden their hearts against the possibility of such a thing. Day and night many try to live for God, some even try to resist temptations and do the right thing. They know that God has promised that no temptation will come to them that is stronger than what they can endure and that God will provide a way through the temptation when it comes.  But their gospel makes God a liar and they have no grace to stand in the time of temptation. They fall and stumble and torture their hearts with more guilt. They have no rest, day or night.

 

The Patience of the Saints

 

The angel introduces the patience of the saints in verse 12. Patience is steadfastness, constancy, and endurance. In the New Testament it is the characteristic of a man who does not swerve from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

The saints of God are determined to hold to the everlasting gospel and to its teaching of the deliverance from sin in this life regardless of the efforts of the beast and his image to change the gospel and make allowance for sin in the lives of believers. The saints of God hold to the truth of the one body of Christ, the church of the living God, and they refuse to submit to beast worship.

Spiritual Babylon may be larger in appearance and more popular than God’s true church. It may have programs and messages that draw all kinds; but in our patience we will wait on God, preach the everlasting gospel and live it in our lives.

We will do all in our power to call God’s people that are being held captive in Babylon out of their bondage to follow the Lamb on Mount Zion wherever He goes.