Summary: Part II
Last week, we saw how there would be three angels sent by God to earth with special messages. The first angel would shout the everlasting gospel message, preaching repentance to the unsaved; the second pronouncing the fall of Babylon and the third pronouncing judgment upon those that would not repent and take the mark of the beast.
The everlasting gospel is not a different gospel message than others mentioned in the canon of scripture, but simply a description of the everlasting or unending nature of salvation. In addition, we discussed how the gospel is a "done deal", and how our salvation individually is eternally fixed in Jesus Christ.
The second angel preached about Babylon, and we discussed how the angel spoke in terms of certainty of the fall of that "great city", as though it had already happened. Babylon, as we will discuss in Revelation 17 and 18, may well refer to two different cities; the first being Babylon in Iraq (political, governmental and economic) and the other being Rome (center of the false religion, Revelation 17).
The third angel pronounced condemnation to those that would take the mark of the beast upon their right hand or forehead, with the sentence being eternal damnation.
This week, we will answer the questions posed last week: What does it mean "full strength"? What does "the cup of His indignation" mean? Is Hell literal, or is it a figure of speech? Does Hell last forever, or are those that accept the mark of the beast "annihilated", or wiped out of existence as though they never existed? What does it mean "'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on'"? How is death a blessing? Stay tuned.
Why Would Anyone Take The Mark Of The Beast?
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. Revelation 14:9-10
Let's pause for just a moment, and review all of what has happened upon earth up to this point in Revelation. At this point, physically the earth is a toxic disaster area. World War III will cause famine, which will result in death and disease across the planet. A worldwide earthquake will make all others look small in comparison, and meteor storms will decimate the planet. Hail mixed with fire and blood will destroy all green grass and 1/3 rd of the trees worldwide, a mountain-sized meteor will kill much aquatic life and destroy many of the ships on the seas. The waters will become bitter from what may be a comet, and the skies of the earth will be darkened because of the fallout from the meteor and the comet.
The people of the earth, already weary from the Rapture of the Church (the sudden removal of all Christians without warning), will clamor for a world leader but will still suffer greatly. One fourth of the population remaining will die in World War III. Demonic locust scorpions will sting the unsaved, and they will suffer horribly for five months. A demonic army will arise and kill by burning some alive and others by smoke inhalation, murdering a third of remaining mankind. Antichrist will make war with the saints.
One would think that the people of the world would scream "Uncle!", repent and turn to God. You would think that the people of the world would run to the church houses and look for men of God for answers, to make peace with God to escape the wrath of God. However, as we have studied in the past, most of the world's population will reject Jesus Christ:
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20-21
Most of the people of the earth will gladly take the mark of the beast because of the perverse nature of the human heart. People know that Jesus is coming, and that He is bringing judgment yet they will NOT repent. In addition, unless they take the mark of the beast, already scarce food and materiel supplies will not only be unavailable to those without the mark, but trying to obtain such will result in sure death. This will, however, be no excuse as those that take the mark will know the eternal penalty but will take the short term gain instead or will do such out of rebellion. More tomorrow.