(14.9-10)   9          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,

10    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


1.   Two incidental issues to address before we dive into the meaning and implications of these two verses: First, a comment about the “beast.” Second, a comment about “worship.”


a.   I have not mentioned it before, but there are two entirely different Greek words that are used to describe the creatures we first read about in Revelation 4.6-8 and the words that are used to describe the antichrist and the false prophet. Those “beasts” are described using the Greek word zwon, from which we get the word “zoo” and “zoological.” The word simply refers to living creatures of some kind. But the word that is used to describe the antichrist here is the Greek word qhrion, which is basically synonymous with zwon, but stresses more the aspect of wildness than the aspect of living.


b.   About this word “worship.” The Greek word proskunew, a compound word that derives from the Greek word kunew, to kiss, “. . . used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before persons and kissing their feet or the hem of their garment, the ground, etc. the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity or someth. holy.) to express an attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure, (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully.[1] This is the attitude and expression that is due God only, which is proper Christian conduct. Yet not only will God not be worshiped during the Great Tribulation by the unsaved, the antichrist will be worshiped. Satan will achieve what he has always sought, if only temporarily, the worship of God’s creatures; what God’s commandments expressly forbid:


1      And God spake all these words, saying,

2      I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3      Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5      Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6      And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.


2.   Consider the thrust of the passage. Does it look like there will be any wiggle room during the Great Tribulation? No. People will either take the mark of the beast on their forehead or on the back of their hand and irreversibly side with the antichrist against the Lord Jesus Christ, or refuse the mark of the beast because they are Christians. There is no in between. As the Savior said, in Matthew 12.30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”


3.   What does this third angel say in so loud a voice? He tells the earth dwellers that it will be the Lamb of God, Himself, Who will inflict punishment upon everyone who has worshipped the beast and received his mark. Does this not fly in the face of most people’s conception of Who Jesus Christ is and what He is like?


4.   Think about the sequence of events. The first angel flies and shouts out the everlasting gospel to them “that dwell on the earth.” Then the second angel chronicles the destruction of what I take to be the antichrist’s machine, political Babylon. Finally, the third angel predicts the wrath of God, poured out without mixture (that is without dilution) upon the beast worshipers, upon those who have worshiped him and who have received his mark.


5.   “As they have drunk the intoxicating wine of idolatry or spiritual fornication, they shall now drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured out into the cup of his indignation. This is an allusion to the poisoned cup, which certain criminals were obliged to drink, on which ensued speedy death.”[2]


6.   And where shall the lost person be tormented? “. . . in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Can it be that the beginning torment of the damned actually commences when the dead who are damned are called to stand before Christ at the Great White Throne judgment? Can it be that merely being in the presence of His glory torments them? Our God is a consuming fire, is He not?


7.   In answer to that question, God is a consuming fire, yes. But the torment referred to here is not the result of simply being in the presence of Christ. I say this because this torment is not passive. Some facts to keep in mind at this point:


a.   In the phrase “. . . and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone,” the word “tormented,” translating the Greek word basanizw, refers to being tortured, to being tormented. Someone will actually torment these beast worshipers.


b.   The noun form of the word is found in Luke 16.23: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” The noun form of the word refers to severe pain caused by torture.[3]


c.   I mention these things to point out that the future punishment of the damned will not merely be a matter of feeling bad because you are in a place of discomfort. No, the torment of the damned will be God visiting upon them the torment that is due their sins . . . in the presence of the Lamb.


8.   Finally, concerning the destiny of the wicked:


a.   “Anyone disposed to discredit the Biblical teaching on the eternal destiny of the wicked should be reminded that Jesus and His beloved disciple said more in regard to this doctrine than all the remaining contributors to the New Testament record.”[4]


b.   “This supported by the fact that Jesus referred to hell (gehenna) eleven out of the twelve occurrences, made twelve out of nineteen references to hell fire, and used other similar expressions more than any other person in the New Testament.”[5]

[1] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 882.

[2] Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), bible@mail.com

[3] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 168.

[4] J. B. Smith quoted in Walvoord, page 219.

[5] Walvoord, page 219.

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