Revelation Chapter 14
“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.”
“Then A THIRD ANGEL followed them…
“The third angel in the vision follows the prior two and like them, it is assumed, also flew through the midst of heaven, representing a message independent of orthodoxy.”
That is to say this proclamation or warning does not emit from the orthodox churches, it is not something you’re going to hear proclaimed from the podium by your minister, heavens no! That would be admitting to their true condition as proclaimed by the Lord. And what pray tells is that? Why it is just as the Lord so states,
“…because you are lukewarm (indifferent, lethargic, apathetic, drowsy, dull of hearing), neither cold (opposed to my counsel or instructions) nor hot (fervent of spirit for truth and zeal for service), I will vomit you out of my mouth (utterly disavow you).” Rev 3:16
And so it has happened, Great Babylon, the apostate church (composed of a mixture of Catholic and Protestant church systems) has fallen and has been cast off by the Lord.
“Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand (but no more).” Jer. 51:7
And yet, she still professes to be the Lord’s mouth piece, still proclaims to be, rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing.
This message indicates the self-complacent attitude of the nominal Church completely unaware of its true condition.
“The third angel might be named THE PLAGUING ANGEL. Leave or else! This is his message. (Compare with the Lord’s injunction in Rev 18:4).”
“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.
“Verse 9 refers back to the characters of Chapter 13 (The Beast, the Image of the beast and etc.) to warn again regarding the cooperation or character likeness with churchianity — Protestant or non-protestant. Verse 10 shows the results DURING THIS HARVEST PERIOD: God’s wrath, no longer tempered as it was during the age, but now full-strength for the destruction of the apostate systems, will be shared by all who remain affiliated with those systems.”
“The third message is rather long, but in substance is a warning to those who “worship the beast and his image.” Although it was possible to worship the beast in past centuries, prior to the harvest time, as stated in the preceding chapter, when all the world except the followers of the Lamb (Rev. 13:8) worshipped the beast—and although it was also possible to worship the image of the beast prior to the harvest, since the formation of the image began in A.D. 1846—Verses 9 to 11 refer to the beginning of the harvest (i.e., 1878) onward in relation to the fall of Babylon.
To state the matter another way, not as much guilt or culpability was involved prior to the declaration of rejection. Now, however, after Babylon fell from favor because she made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication, the message is: “Beware! If you have the mark of either the beast or its image, you will receive special torment. If you do not respond to the message, then in proportion as you are enlightened with truth and disobey, you will receive the disapproval or indignation of God. This portion you will have to drink with others”—wormwood and gall, as it were. Matt 24:51 states that the rejected class will have their “portion with the hypocrites.”
The rejected ones are a class of hypocrites who are informed but do not obey. As a result, they will share with all the hypocrites the “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Those who lend support to the beast or its image or have the characteristics thereof (Verse 9) will have to imbibe or partake of the “wine” or judgments of God’s wrath (Verse 10). However, one should not think that “ignorance is bliss,” for those who prefer to be “willingly ignorant” will also be held accountable (2 Pet. 3:5–7).”
“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 …
“The torment will be mental anguish. No one who is aware of error but chooses to ignore it can rest comfortably in hypocrisy. The fire (righteous destruction) which will consume the old errors and their attendant systems will also eat away at any spirit-begotten Christian still in the midst of it all. The brimstone (Sulphur poisoning) will get what the fire misses.”
“Verse 10 states that such “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” The torment experience of the harvest period will not come and go right away; it starts with vexation of conscience, trials, and tribulations—especially to those more conscientiously motivated, for the message is particularly addressed to professedly Christian men and women. These are more keenly aware of and more sensitive to the iniquities of the systems and thus are more apt to be vexed.
Since 1878 those who are called of God and receive enlightenment yet remain in Babylon because of the fear of man, the reluctance to lose certain honors or prestige, etc., will have to account for their continued presence there. Verses 9 to 11 imply their awareness of their failure to properly respond; they may not discuss the matter with others, but they have mental conflict with their own conscience because they choose to remain in the system.
Pray that this is not you that once you have been made aware of the Lord’s command to separate yourself from the nominal systems you do so promptly without hesitation, not looking back as was the case with Lot’s wife, and we all know what happened to her. Leaving the nominal system is a very hard thing for many to do; in many cases it requires the severance of some very tender ties, friends, family etc., this however is a choice you must decide for yourself, it is an individual matter. You yourself must determine which is more important to you your love for the Lord and his will in you or your love for your church organization and the honor and praise of men.
The message is simply: “From 1878 on, be alert! In this hour of decision (of judgement) the Lord wants a separation. The harvest period is a time of separation. Come out of Babylon, for she has fallen. If you remain in her, you will become guilty in proportion to your understanding. If you hear the Lord’s voice and do not respond, then do not expect to be specially favored when her trouble comes. You will share Babylon’s troubles, torment, and brimstone; you will have the same experience that Babylon (the system, the church nominal) will have.”
What will be the nature of the torment with fire and brimstone? “Fire” symbolizes severe trial (Compare 1 Pet. 1:7) and “brimstone,” which is sulfur, adds to the intensity of the fire, signifying either complete purification or complete extermination as God sees fit.
“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.
The torment takes place “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Matt 25:31, 32 helps to identify the “holy angels” as being to a large extent, if not wholly, the risen saints. The expression “in the presence of the Lamb” seems to be related to the Second Presence of the Lord.
“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.
“Verse 11 shows that there is no let up. The smoke (the evidence of the burning) is everywhere; there is no hiding that the apostasy is suffering.
And this will continue AGE-ABIDING (“forever”) — i. e., until the age is over. Those with the Lamb HAVE REST (Matt. 11:28); those who do not come out do not have it PERPETUALLY (day nor night.) — the situation only gets worse.
The “torment” with some will pertain not only to the present life but also to the shame that will extend into the Kingdom Age—and even beyond the Millennium into the everlasting future. Whenever those of this class happen to think back, they will experience a twinge of shame because of their past actions (or inaction). From that standpoint the “smoke” or remembrance of their shame or torment will be an everlasting lesson to themselves and, more particularly, to others in the ages to come. Those who, in the present human experience, receive the mark of the beast or his image will figuratively “have no rest day or night” in the Kingdom Age; only after a period of purgation will the torment cease—but not the “smoke (the remembrance).”
Smoke rises from the place where burning took place. Accordingly, not only will the individual wrongdoers themselves experience shame, but others who reflect back upon certain events, times, and circumstances will think upon those who did the wrong. Thus others will view these wrong deeds and the retribution from the standpoint of example and judgment. The smoke will “ascend” in the sense that, where necessary, the sinful deeds will be publicly exposed or revealed to both wrongdoer and onlooker. When the Kingdom is established, humiliation will be felt by various popes, emperors, and certain individuals upon their coming forth from the grave and hearing the terms that must be met in order to abide by the laws of Messiah and to receive life. They will experience shame for their past misrepresentation of God and Christ in the earth and for their fraudulent claims not based on Scripture. The Lord will speak of such, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21–23); yet many of these posed as his chief representatives upon earth.
Today there is no literal smoke in the Valley of Gehenna in Israel as there was many centuries ago when the burning was continuous, but anyone acquainted with the history of Jerusalem would know of its past association as the Valley of Hinnom, where garbage was burned and the corpses of criminals considered unworthy of burial were thrown (Nothing live was ever thrown in there). Even though there is no literal fire or smoke now—even though that consumption took place thousands of years ago—the historical memory of that place lingers on. Likewise in a spiritual or figurative sense, the smoke or lesson of the past will linger on.
In summation, three angels went through the midst of heaven. Each was a distinct message, but all three pointed out the date 1878 (The beginning of the Harvest and the fall of Babylon). The important point is that a date is furnished without actually naming the date.
“Verse 11 also mentions the “mark of his name.” This means the CHARACTER represented by the name of the beast. What his name is apparently symbolized by a number (Rev 13:18 which must be CALCULATED. The total will be 666. One of the primary titles of the Papacy, and one which formerly was on the gate of Vatican City, is VACARIVS FILII DEI (Vicar of the Son of God). The name means, one in Place of the Son of God. In Roman numerals, the name does equal 666. The significance, then, of the MARK OF HIS NAME seems to be the character which usurps authority from Jesus and uses it to rule over others.”
“Here is the patience (the waiting) of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
Verse 12 is very important. It summarizes everything since Verse 6. It is saying that all of this torment will take SO LONG as to try the patience of the saints. And since this has all been going on since 1878 (Verse 8, the time of the fall of Babylon), and still goes on, it has, indeed, been an ongoing test of our faith as time passes. This verse is so very important because it ASSURES us that this whole harvest period WILL take an extremely long time. It says, KEEP FAITH; don’t give up; though it tarry, wait for it.
The date 1878 likewise marks the end of the sixth Church epoch (the Philadelphian stage) and the beginning of the seventh or Laodicean period. The three angels of Verses 6 through 11 are simply announcements of facts and warnings addressed to the last stage of church history: (a) “Fear God,” (b) “Babylon is fallen,” and (c) “If any man worship the beast and his image…”
Verse 12 is a commendation of the faithfulness of the true saints of the last members of the Philadelphia era, which terminated at the end of A.D. 1877, and it harmonizes with the remarks addressed to that Church: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).
Excerpts for this study were taken from Brother Frank Shallieu’s “The Keys of Revelation”, and the “New Albany Notes on Revelation”.