THE MESSAGE OF THE THIRD ANGEL
Scripture reading: Revelation 14:9-11.
I had the privilege recently of visiting the island where John wrote the book of Revelation. Before visiting Patmos, I really felt sorry for John. But subsequently I envy this prophet.
Patmos to my mind is one of the most unique and beautiful islands of the Aegean sea. To me personally, Patmos has a kind of heavenly atmosphere. The most popular historical site on the island is the grotto, where according to tradition, John received the heavenly visions.
Many thoughts went through my mind when I visited the crude little chapel on the hillside. In my mind’s eye I saw the old prophet coming there one Sabbath morning to worship the Lord of the Sabbath.
Suddenly and supernaturally he was transported to the scenes of which we read in the book of Revelation. During the next few minutes we will be concentrating on the vision of the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14.
Revelation 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people.
By the way, what is the essence of the gospel, the good news, the “euangellion”?
You and I have failed. But Jesus has succeeded. I transfer my failure to His account and He transfers His success to my account.
When last did you see a hobo? Did you have a close look at his clothes? It’s not only appalling. It stinks? This is what we look like in the clothes of our fallen human nature. I am clothed and in a tattered sinful earthly denim and a soiled T shirt. My grasshoppers have had it and my ugly toes are sticking out.
But Christ the Royal Outfitter comes along and offers to clothe me in a grand Carducci suit of heavenly fabric. He offers to take me into His Divine boutique, remove my tattered garments and clothe me in a sublime suit of heavenly fabric.
THE RESULT OF ACCEPTING CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
What happens to this bad boy with his restless, turbulent mind when he accepts the good news of salvation by grace?
Paul gives us the answer in
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you stop trying to be good enough in order to gain God’s favour, and instead accept the vicarious goodness of Jesus you will enjoy a peace that will surpass human reasoning.
In the world and in the church we have to really try hard to earn the favour of people. And once we enjoy someone favour, it is possible to lose it in one day.The gospel says that you and I can enjoy God’s full favour by presenting the merits of Jesus to Him.
As long as you rely on the salvific provisions that God has supplied in Jesus Christ, you will enjoy peace of mind. You will enjoy this relaxing peace when you wake up at night. And you will enjoy this protecting, healing peace when things go wrong during the day.
Let us look at a second component of the first angel’s message.
Revelation 14:7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Have you ever been misjudged? Your answer is “yes”. Let me ask you another question? How do you handle the continual misjudging of your motives? During my lifetime I have seen how brilliant people have misjudged other people.
I think one of the most complex sciences is the science of behaviourism. I once spoke to someone who has slipped up in life, asking him why he did what he did. He told me that he really cannot tell me.
I have made a shocking discovery over the years. If I want to destroy the peace of salvation by grace through faith, I must start judging people. The first angel says that God has the monopoly of judging people.
Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
God is calling us to worship Him, rather than destroy our peace by judging others.
SECOND ANGEL’S MESSAGE
Let us listen to the message of the second angel.
Revelation 14:8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
One of the greatest archaeological thrills I ever had, was when I visited the ancient site of Babylon. Saddam Hussein has reconstructed the palace walls of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace to their original height. It’s really a spectacular sight.
But that is all that’s left of the once mighty world metropolis. The desolation of the vast surroundings confirms the authentic of Bible prophecy.
WHY DID ANCIENT BABYLON FALL?
Why did this mighty city disappear into a heap of ruins? It practised a religion which taught salvation by human achievement.
And this kind of theology led to a persecution of God’s people.
And now John comes along and compares mystical Babylon with ancient Babylon. Who is modern mystical Babylon?
The first point of identification is a theological one. It is the person who believes that salvation is obtainable though a life of dedicated service to God. There is no difference between the ancient Babylonian who worshipped Bel, Marduk or Nebo in order to gain their favour; and a modern Christian who worships God in order to gain His favour.
God’s favour can only be obtained by presenting to Him the spotless Lamb of God.
Not the labours of my hands can fulfil Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respites know, could my tears forever flow? All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.
Naked come to Thee for dress, helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour or I die.
Let’s look at the second identifying mark of modern Babylon. They persecute God’s people. I feel very comfortable when I study the eschatology of the message of the second angel.
Who will persecute who in these last days? Catholicism and fallen Protestantism will combine with all the other false religious systems in persecuting God’s people.
But I have a problem with my sinful reactions when some of God’s remnant people give me a hard time. I feel like retaliating, which is a euphemism for the word “persecuting.” Have you ever felt like persecuting God’s people? Have you ever been persecuted by one of God’s remnant people?
Through the years I have seen the ugly spirit of persecution, of retaliation in the lives of too many professed children of God.
I have spent many hours with many people trying to reconcile them but of no avail.
If at this moment in time you or I harbour any bitterness against any of God’s people, the second angel’s message tells me that I am fallen. My brother and sister we need the dynamite of God’s love to blow up the rocks of bitterness in our lives.
He has performed this miracle in my life and He is prepared to do it for you who are a far sinner than I am.
THE THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE
Should you reject the message of the first angel, you are declared fallen by the message of the second angel. The message of the third angel tells you more about the consequences of rejecting God’s plan of saving sinners.
Revelation 14:9-11 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
DAY AND NIGHT
I had the privilege of spending a day and a night on the island of Patmos. It’s a great experience to see the sun set over the island and it is a great privilege to see a sunrise on Patmos.
John uses the term “day or night”. He says by implication that people who rejects the message of the first angel and worships the beast, have no rest.
The “No rest” is coupled with the phrase “day and night”
It is interesting to note the different passages of Scripture where the phrase “day and night” are being used.
PAUL AND DAMASCUS
Should you ever visit Damascus the capital of Syria, please spend some time at the ancient site of a city wall. Your guide will take you to a place in the wall from whence Paul escaped.
Let’s read the account.
Acts 9:23-25 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
When I watched this ancient window, I did not only think of Paul. I also thought of the Jews watching him DAY AND NIGHT in order to kill him. These people had no physical rest neither had they any spiritual rest. Why? They had bitterness in their hearts.
If you have a restless heart because of some grudge you bear, you are suffering from the effects of worshipping the beast and his image.
When I left the window in the Damascus wall, I strolled down the street called “Straight” And I prayed. “Lord, help me to be straight in my walk with Thee and my fellow believers. Help me never to bear grudges which will destroy my peace.”
THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN
We also find the phrase “Day and Night” in
Revelation 12:10 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”
ARE YOU ACCUSING?
Are you accusing someone who caused you well grieve?
Are accusing God for not answering a specific prayer?
Are you continually accusing your brothers and sisters in the church?
Are you accusing someone for some terrible mistakes you have made?
Are you accusing someone for the failures you have made in life?
Are you accusing yourself for something that happened recently?
Be assured. If you accuse circumstances, or someone else or even yourself, you will not have any rest by day or by night.
On the cross of Calvary Jesus became the accused. He is still prepared to take the blame. Make use of His generous offer.
There was a time in my life when I accused someone for many years. When I woke up in the morning, I fought with this person. And when I went to bed at night I fought with him.
While all this was going on, I had no peace of mind, I had no rest.
I shall never forget that specific morning when God delivered me from this terrible torment. It is so much sweeter to forgive than it is to continually bear grudges.
Revelation 14:11 …There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.
There are quite a few different words and shades of meanings for the word “rest” in Scripture. The word that John uses in verse 11 is quite unique. ANAPAUSIS.
Anapausis is made up of two words; ana which means “up” and pauo which means “to make to cease.” When you check the use of this specific word for rest in the Greek, Old Testament, the Septuagint, you make a very interesting discovery.
It is constantly used for the divine rest that is embodied in the Sabbath. The “rest” of the Sabbath is much more than a physical rest. It speaks of the “rest of the mind” which is at peace with God. Let us look at an example in the Old Testament.
Exodus 31:13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
There are many mechanical things my Nissan Sentra can do. But there is one thing that it cannot do on a Friday afternoon. It cannot wash itself. I have to do clean it to look representative on the Sabbath.
There are many things that you can do for yourself. But there is one thing that you cannot do for yourself. You cannot wash yourself of your sinful stains. You cannot save yourself. Should you try you will not have peace neither by day nor by night.
AUTOMATIC CAR WASH
When we move to Pretoria I was puzzled by all the cars I saw at a specific petrol station. When I investigated I saw a signs which said: “Come and have a free car wash.”
Have you ever taken your car to one of these automatic car washing machines? You put your car in neutral and the machine just pulls you in. Your car is then being cleansed by a power outside of yourself and bigger than yourself.
As you move deeper and deeper into this tunnel, you experience the cleansing work of many huge brushes and jets of water gushing onto the car from all directions. After a thorough wash the machine blows a strong current of air on the car and within seconds, you have a shining, clean and dry car.
The cleansing of my car was the result of three decisions I had to make in faith. First of all I had to admit that my car was dirty and in need of cleansing.
Secondly, I had lay down my pride and accept the generous offer of this company to wash my car. It is not always easy for one’s pride to accept a gift.
Thirdly I had to take my car to the wash bay and put my entire trust in its cleansing mechanisms.
ACCEPT THE FIRST ANGEL’S MESSAGE OR REAP THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE THIRD
If you do not accept the divine rest for your human restlessness offered by the first angel, you will be announced fallen by the second angel. But that’s not all. You will also reap the consequences of “No rest” of the third angel’s message.
The first angel’s message invites you to come to heaven’s automatic cleansing machine.
There are three decisions you have to make before the cleansing can begin.
Go to Calvary and see your sinfulness and utter lostness.
Secondly. Crucify your pride and acknowledge your inability to help yourself.
Thirdly. Park yourself in front of God’s automatic cleansing bay. Put yourself in neutral and relax in God’s ability to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You will enjoy a relaxing peace that surpasses all human comprehension.