Will Unbelievers Be Annihilated or Undergo Eternally? (Revelation 14)

This text is a part of the Powerful Passages sequence.

6Then I noticed one other angel flying instantly overhead, with an everlasting gospel to proclaim to those that dwell on earth, to each nation and tribe and language and other people. 7And he mentioned with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 8One other angel, a second, adopted, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.” 9And one other angel, a 3rd, adopted them, saying with a loud voice, “If anybody worships the beast and its picture and receives a mark on his brow or on his hand,10he additionally will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full power into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fireplace and sulfur within the presence of the holy angels and within the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment goes up perpetually and ever, they usually haven’t any relaxation, day or night time, these worshipers of the beast and its picture, and whoever receives the mark of its identify.” 12Here’s a name for the endurance of the saints, those that hold the commandments of God and their religion in Jesus. 13And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
—Revelation 14:6–13

Concern God and Give Him Glory

The scene shifts from heaven to the skies. John makes use of the time period “middle heaven” (mesouranēma), translated “overhead” right here, to indicate the skies above earth (Rev. 8:13; 19:17). The primary of three angels enters the scene with a message, an everlasting gospel to proclaim to all those that dwell on the earth (epi tous kathēmenous epi tēs gēs). Considerably, this time John doesn’t use the phrase “earth dwellers” (hoi katoikountes epi tēs gēs; cf. Rev. 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:2, 8), a technical time period for unbelievers (cf. touch upon Rev. 3:10). Right here he speaks of a gospel for all individuals, a gospel for these from each individuals group, tribe, language, and nation (cf. Matt. 24:14). “Gospel” suggests the message of salvation is meant right here, however, on the identical time, those that don’t embrace the gospel shall be judged.

The angel calls all individuals with out exception to worry God and provides him glory (cf. Rev. 15:4; cf. additionally Jer. 13:16). Giving God reward and glory because the creator of heaven and earth (cf. Acts 4:24) is the basic requirement of human beings (cf. Rom. 1:21). Some interpreters argue that the giving of glory right here refers back to the homage rendered by the unconverted when, on the final day, they’re compelled to worship the Lord (cf. Phil. 2:9–11). They query whether or not response to the gospel is in view right here, since nothing is alleged about Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, it appears preferable to see a reference to salvation right here. John will not be required to say every part in each textual content, and the rest of Revelation makes clear that one can’t worry God or give him glory except one worships the Lamb and honors him. We additionally see, quite a few instances in Revelation, that giving God glory is an exercise of the saints (Rev. 15:4; 16:9; 19:5). All human beings are summoned to worry God and provides him glory, for the time of judgment has drawn close to, and those that don’t honor and worship him shall be punished.

One other angel seems, declaring that Babylon the nice has fallen. The autumn of Babylon was prophesied by Isaiah (Isa. 21:9) and Jeremiah (Jer. 51:8) and fulfilled in 539 BC. John applies the outline of Babylon to Rome (cf. feedback on Rev. 17:1–19:5; 1 Pet. 5:13), displaying that Babylon capabilities as a precursor and sort of godless cities to come back. John will increase considerably on the angel’s phrases in Revelation 17:1–19:5, however right here he declares Babylon’s fall (cf. Rev. 18:2, 10, 21). Babylon is judged for making the nations drink the wine of her fornication (Rev. 16:19; 17:2, 5; 18:3). This fornication is religious and never literal, although it absolutely contains the concept of sexual sin. Nonetheless, the main target is on religious harlotry and prostitution (cf. Jer. 3:8–9; Ezekiel 16; 23; Hos. 1:1–3:5). Babylon will face judgment for encouraging the worship of false gods, spreading worldwide the message that it’s good and proper to insurgent towards the one true God.

An Intense Warning

The third angel now arrives on the scene to make a worldwide declaration in a loud voice. In each occasion, the angels proclaim that one should worship the true God as an alternative of false gods. Right here the angel addresses those that give their worship to the beast (the Roman Empire) and his picture and obtain the mark of the beast on their brow and hand. We all know from Revelation 13:16–17 that they obtain the mark for financial causes, to flourish in up to date society. However accepting the mark will not be merely an financial choice; it displays their highest allegiance, displaying that Rome and all its glittering wealth and energy are extra vital to them than God.

The warning is remarkably intense. Those that worship the beast or obtain the mark will drink the cup of the wine of God’s wrath (cf. Rev. 16:19), an expression used usually within the OT of God’s punishment on those that insurgent towards him (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15). Certainly, those that insurgent will expertise God’s wrath in an undiluted kind; they won’t be spared or proven mercy. God pours out his wrath on them, they usually expertise torment and anguish from fireplace and sulfur (cf. Rev. 19:20; 20:10; 21:8; cf. Gen. 19:24; Ps. 11:6; Ezek. 38:22). The language of fireplace and sulfur needn’t be literal, however in any case the struggling brings anguish and agony as individuals endure earlier than the holy angels and the Lamb.

Believers are known as to endure in a world fiercely against them.

John continues to elaborate on their punishment. The smoke of their torment by no means ends (Rev. 19:3; cf. additionally Isa. 34:10). Some take this smoke to imply they’re annihilated, ceasing to exist, however this contradicts each the expertise of torment in verse 10 and the very subsequent line in verse 11, the place John says they haven’t any relaxation day or night time. In different phrases, their expertise of torment continues perpetually. Such a portrait of the ultimate judgment matches Matthew 25:46, the place the righteous take pleasure in “eternal life” however the depraved face “eternal punishment” (cf. additionally Matt. 25:41). Readers are warned that horrible struggling will perpetually ensue in the event that they worship the beast and its picture, or obtain its mark.

A Name to Endure

The remarkably sturdy warning in verses Revelation 14:9–11 will not be written for unbelievers, for John didn’t write the e book for them. It’s addressed to believers (“the saints”) and is meant to impress them to persevere till the top. If they offer their allegiance to the beast, they’ll endure perpetually and ever. Therefore, the warning in verses Revelation 14:9–11 and the message of the primary two angels (Revelation 14:6–8) calls John’s viewers to endurance and perseverance (cf. Rev. 13:10). Endurance is defined additional by way of retaining God’s instructions and persevering with to place religion in Jesus (cf. Rev. 12:17). The fact of their religion will reveal itself in observable and concrete methods—those that endure observe God in obedience.

A heavenly voice then speaks, summing up in some ways the message of the chapter to date, and certainly the e book as an entire. John is meant to document the following message due to its significance. Believers are known as to endure in a world fiercely against them. However this world as it’s now will not be their dwelling, and thus those that die within the Lord are blessed. They go away the struggles of this world behind (cf. Rev. 6:11; Heb. 4:9–10), exchanging them for his or her ultimate reward. The Spirit reaffirms the blessing of demise: believers relaxation from the toils marking this current evil age. They’ll then expertise aid from the pressures impinging upon them in life. Believers will relaxation, John says, as a result of their works observe them. In different phrases, their works testify that they belong to God, and thus the remaining given them is warranted.

This text is by Thomas R. Schreiner and is customized from the ESV Expository Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation: Quantity 12.

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