Rev 14:10-11           The Wine of the Wrath of God                             3/19/2006      ßà   

  • Three Announcements (Rev 14:6-13, 11:15, 4:5, 5:6, Mal 3:1)

 

 

 

 

#1.       God’s Eternal Demand (Rev 14:6-7, Phil 2:10-11, Rev 9:20, 16:11)

 

 

 

 

  • Fountains of Waters (Rev 14:7, John 4:14, 7:38, 2Thes 1:8)

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Gospel of the Fall of Babylon (Rev 14:8, Psalm 137:8-9)

 

 

 

  • The Wine of the Wrath of Her Fornication (Rev 14:8, Nah 3:4-5, Jam 4:4, 1John 2:15)

 

 

 

  • Smoke of Their Torment Goes Up Forever and Ever (Rev 14:9-11, Gen 2:17, Mat 26:39)

 

 

 

#3.       Here Is the Patience of the Saints (Rev 14:12, Psalm 73:1-7, 17-19, 25-28)

 

 

 

  • Blessed Are the Dead from Henceforth (Rev 14:13)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 14:6 (2X). From here, beginning in Rev 14:6 until the end of Rev 20, we will see God’s judgment on the unsaved of the world unfold. In Rev 13 God has laid before our eyes the development of the kingdom of Antichrist that is going to enroll the whole world into the service of Satan. This is going to put a tremendous pressure on the saints who want to remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, and on their ability to remain true to the Word of God. But the Lord Jesus Christ comes to their rescue, and in Rev 14:1-5 we saw that the saints stood firm with the Lamb on Mount Sion. They were all there, and not one of them was lacking. Even in the midst of the suffering and tribulation of the end time the saints remained pure and free from the defilement of the worldwide antichristian kingdom. But the secret of their faithfulness must be sought in the name that they bear on their foreheads, which indicates that they have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not that they are perfect, but all their sins have been forgiven by God, and who then shall be able to accuse them of any crime? Only their enemies shall accuse them, but their accusations shall carry no weight in the ears of God, for they are all messengers of Satan. And so, when we read that the saints remained faithful, it means that they were not enticed into false religions such as the charismatic gospels that envelope the whole world, but that they remained faithful to the words of Scripture. But the rest of the world, consisting of all the unsaved, are drawn into false gospels that lead people to Hell, because they did not love the truth of the Word of God. There they shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God forever and ever. Therefore the title of this sermon is, The Wine of the Wrath of God (2X). Let us begin by reading about:

  • Three Announcements (Rev 14:6-13, 11:15, 4:5, 5:6, Mal 3:1)

Re 14:6 ¶  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Re 14:7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Re 14:8  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Re 14:9  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,

Re 14:10  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:

Re 14:11  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Re 14:12-13  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.              And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Here we see the first three of the seven angels whom God is showing us in Rev 14. In the passage we are considering today John sees three angels and he hears one voice. Are these really angels? Well, the 4th Angel is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ. And since the 5th Angel commands the Lord Jesus Christ he too is not an angel but is also the Lord Jesus Christ. And for the same reason the 6th Angel and the 7th Angel are also the Lord Jesus Christ. It stands to reason, therefore, that the first three Angels are not angels, but are also appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, verse 6 starts with the words, “And I saw another angel”. What other angel? The last time God showed us an angel was in Rev 11:15 where the 7th angel blew the last trumpet, which announced that Judgment Day had arrived. And thus all the visions of Rev 12, and Rev 13, and Rev 14:1-5 are to be regarded as an insert which summarizes the history of the world leading up to Judgment Day. But Christ is not an angel. The word “angel” should have been translated “messenger”, and Christ is certainly the “Chief Messenger”, for He is named “The Messenger of the Covenant” in Mal 3:1. Just like in Rev 4:5 and Rev 5:6 we have read of the seven Spirits of God, which represented the perfection of God the Holy Spirit, so in Rev 14 we read of the seven individual Messengers on Judgment Day who altogether represent the perfection of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And now we remember that we are studying “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Here in Rev 14 we see Christ as the Judge, and Christ as the one who casts people into Hell. This is certainly an aspect of Christ that is not preached in many churches today. In fact they do not listen to what Christ preaches in Rev 14:7. And there we find out what Christ demands from us.

#1.       God’s Eternal Demand (Rev 14:6-7, Phil 2:10-11, Rev 9:20, 16:11)

Re 14:6 ¶  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Re 14:7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

What does this mean? Is the Lord Jesus Christ again going to preach the Gospel of salvation to the world in a last ditch effort to save more people? Absolutely Not! Verse 6 does not say, “Then I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven”. But verse 6 says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven”. It is another vision. We must realize that the symbolism of Rev 13 is continuing in chapter 14. Christ is here not urging men to “be reconciled to God”. Not at all! The good tidings of this Messenger have nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and with salvation. First of all we notice that He preached an Eternal Gospel; and the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ is not eternal. God does not eternally proclaim that Gospel. He does not eternally come with the call to believe the Lord Jesus and be saved. This vision is a vision of the end of time. No one else is left to be saved. At this hour the Messenger is saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment has come”. This Messenger states a demand, and it is an eternal demand: “The nations must fear God and give glory to Him”. Why? “For the hour of His Judgment has come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”. This is the eternal Gospel: It is the Gospel that God is sovereign; it is the Gospel that God is supreme. It is the Gospel that all creation must fear Him, and Him alone, and that He will judge all who refuse to worship Him. It is the Gospel that He alone is worthy of worship since He made all things and therefore He is the only sovereign over them all. That demand is as eternal as God’s own decree, and it will be forever. That Gospel will never change. This is the eternal demand that is now placed over against the wicked kingdom of Antichrist. There, in that kingdom, they worship the beast. There they give glory to Satan, and they fear Antichrist. There they cast God’s glory in the dust and trample His precepts under foot. But over against this state of things God demands, “Fear Me, and give Me glory, for the hour of My judgment has come. And worship Me, for I have made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”. This sounds like music in the ears of God’s people. Even though it seems that Satan has won, we continue to hang on to the promise that God will be vindicated, and that He will reveal His wrath on the kingdom of Antichrist. God shall maintain His glory and His demand for people to glorify Him. And because the Almighty insists on His demand to be glorified, the kingdom of darkness must be destroyed.

But will the unsaved people of the world glorify God and Christ? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Philippians, Phil 2:10 (2X). You find Philippians after Ephesians and before Colossians. The unsaved of the world do not worship God now. They do not even recognize Him as their Creator. But let us see what the Bible says about the unsaved of the world glorifying God and Christ on the Last Day. When the Last Day of this earth has come, and all the unsaved must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and they fear that they may be cast into Hell, then will come to pass what God says in:

Php 2:10-11  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;   And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Might this come to pass anytime earlier than the Last Day? Absolutely Not! We read in Rev 9:20 that throughout the FTP the unsaved “repented not of the works of their hands”. And we read in Rev 16:11 near the end of the FTP that “They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” When will they finally bow their knee to the name of Jesus? Only when they stand before the judgment throne and the fear of Hell will choke their breath. Only then will they acknowledge Christ as their judge, but then it will be too late. The day of salvation will have passed. Let us now turn again to Rev 14:7, (2X). There we read about the:

  • Fountains of Waters (Rev 14:7, John 4:14, 7:38, 2Thes 1:8)

In Rev 14:7 God gave a summary of His work of creation, and that it is complete.

Re 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come

and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Now why would God list creation of the fountains of waters on the same level as creation of heaven and earth and the sea, which all seem to be infinitely greater acts of His power than the creation of a few springs of water? The answer to this must be sought in the fact that Rev 14 is written in symbolic terms. God created the earth and the sea and all the people living on the earth and on the sea. And God created Adam and Eve, and God knew that they were going to sell themselves and their posterity into the hands of the Devil, and thereby they were going to put themselves and their posterity under the wrath of God. But God also created the Bible and the Gospel of salvation therein, whereby man can be saved from his eternal predicament, the wrath of God in Hell. And God indicated in the Bible, in several places, that the words of the Gospel flowing out of the mouth of those who preach it can be compared to living water flowing out of a well. For example, the Lord Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in:

Joh 4:14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Furthermore, the Lord Jesus said in John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” In these verses the Lord Jesus indicated that everyone who becomes saved, everyone who becomes born from above while under the hearing of the Word of God, in turn becomes a source of the words of the Gospel, leading many others unto salvation. This is why the creation of the fountains of waters is actually an act of God that is far greater than the creation of the earth and the sea, for the earth and the sea are only temporal, whereas salvation is eternal. What we can see with our eyes are not the most important things, since they are passing away with time; but what we cannot see with our eyes is far more important, since these are things that last forever. And when people go all overboard to preserve this earth and the sea, but they neglect their soul, and they actually reject the God who made all these things, and they reject all the work done through Christ to save man from his slippery slide into Hell, they are actually placing their life’s service on the material things of this world and they are thumbing their nose unto God. They do not want to serve the living God, for they have found another god that they will worship. And this is why Christ shall come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thes 1:8). This is the message of Rev 14:7 when God placed the fountains of waters on the same level as the creation of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and everything therein. Let us now continue in Rev 14:8, and there we read about, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen”. We must realize that this too is to the glory of God, and it is for the comfort of the saints. But where is:

#2.       The Gospel of the Fall of Babylon? (Rev 14:8, Psalm 137:8-9)

What is the good news for the elect of God that Babylon and all its inhabitants will be cast into Hell?

Re 14:8  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

First of all we have to recognize that this is a proleptical vision. God gave us a vision of something that must still come to pass, but that certainly will take place, because God said that it will. Secondly, this is the second Angel that is really Christ, who is saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen”. And by saying it twice Christ underscores that it will certainly come to pass. The first Angel announced God’s eternal demand that is placed over against the kingdom of Antichrist. The second and third Angels announce the destruction and punishment which must naturally follow when this eternal demand of the Almighty is not obeyed. The first Angel announced that the hour of God’s judgment has come. The second Angel prophesies of that judgment, and speaks as if Babylon is fallen already. And the third Angel announces the terrible punishment which will be inflicted upon those who belong to that city of Satan, which is called Babylon. So, what does Babylon represent in the last days? Obviously it does not represent a literal city of Babylon that will be rebuilt, for in Jer 50 and 51 God promised that the physical city of Babylon would never be rebuilt, and that is indeed what we observe even unto this day. The Kingdom of Christ is symbolized by The New Jerusalem, and likewise the kingdom of Antichrist is symbolized by Babylon. In God’s terminology there are only these two cities, symbolizing these two kingdoms. People either are citizens of the New Jerusalem or they are citizens of Babylon. There is nothing in between. God chose Babylon as the representative of all who are on the side of Satan, because in Scripture Babylon stands for the great opponent of the people of God, the world-power that oppressed God’s saints. By Babylon the children of Jerusalem were made captive. In Babylon they suffered in captivity, far from the land of their heritage. There they sang in lonely exile, yearning for the land of their covenant God. And what did they sing? We read what they sang in Psalm 137:8-9, “O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (2X). We recoil when we hear this. But this is what the Babylonian army did to the children of Israel, and this is what the remnant of Israel sang when they were in exile in Babylon. It tells us that on the Last Day the ones who shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ are not only the adults, but there will be children as well. In God’s sight big rattlesnakes are as repulsive as little rattlesnakes.

Babylon stands for the entire kingdom of Satan and all those who remain unsaved and are under the rule of Antichrist. That kingdom has made the nations drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication. It has through its false prophets led all the nations of the earth to blaspheme the name of Christ. It has oppressed the people of God and silenced the true Gospel. And therefore the destruction and judgment of Babylon is the hope of the people of God (2X). We pray for the destruction of Babylon. We long for the judgment on Babylon. And now, behold, the fall of that great and powerful Babylon is announced. And the second Angel, who really is the Lord Jesus Christ, announces the fall of that great city with a certainty that leaves no doubt. Even though it is a proleptical vision, which means that it still has to come to pass, yet we look upon that vision as if it already has been accomplished. It is to the comfort of the people of God that this vision is seen. For in the fall of Babylon we can see our own victory and the victory of Christ, and in this we greatly rejoice, for Babylon has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. What does it mean when God writes:

  • The Wine of the Wrath of Her Fornication (Rev 14:8, Nah 3:4-5, Jam 4:4, 1John 2:15)

Re 14:8  And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

The wine of the wrath” refers to the wine of the wrath of God. But here this wrath is associated with fornication. Both fornication and adultery refer to sexual acts that are immoral, regardless of whether the people involved are married or not. But fornication is the umbrella which includes adultery. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Nahum, Nah 3:4 (2X). You find the prophecy of Nahum just after Micah, and before Habakkuk, if that is any help. Since the marriage relationship is very personal and intimate, God frequently uses the marriage relationship to picture the believer’s relationship with Him. By the same token God uses fornication and adultery to describe spiritual flirtation with Satan, or with false gospels Satan sends our way. This is spiritual adultery or spiritual fornication, whether or not the people involved are supposed to be spiritually married to God. For example, when we find ourselves in a worship service where another gospel is preached than the Gospel of the Bible, we are engaging in spiritual fornication. We should leave such a congregation as soon as we are aware of this. A good example of God’s hatred against spiritual fornication is found in the prophecy of Nahum, written about 100 years after Jonah. There God expresses His anger upon the city of Nineveh, the capital city of the kingdom of Assyria. God’s anger is directed at the many idolatries that are practiced in that city.

Nah 3:4  Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Nah 3:5  Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

This description of Nineveh as the well-favored harlot is taken up in Rev 17 to describe Babylon as The Mother of Harlots, where God does not refer to physical harlotry but to spiritual harlotry. The kingdom of Antichrist is called The Mother of Harlots because she has, through he mouths of the false prophet, enticed all nations of the world into spiritual harlotry. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of James, Jam 4:4 (2X). You find James right after Hebrews, in the last 5% of your Bibles. There in Jam 4:4 God gives us a clear definition of spiritual adultery. The subject matter is that of covetousness, or a lusting after the things of this world. God says in Jam 4:4,

Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

In short, to be a friend of the world is to engage in spiritual adultery. You see, spiritual adultery does not always have to do with a false religion, but can also refer to a love for the things of this world. God says in 1John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. Especially in our days materialism is at an all time high. Many are not running after a false religion but after the things of this world, and that is also spiritual harlotry. And thus, since Antichrist has caused all nations to love the things of the world, he has effectively made all citizens of Babylon drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Please turn again to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 14:9 (2X). Now the third Angel comes on the scene, and this is also the Lord Jesus Christ. And He announces the penalty upon all individuals who have engaged in spiritual fornication, which is everyone who is not saved. Here on earth they lived carelessly, drinking in all the pleasures of this life. But the penalty of sin is Hell:

  • The Smoke of Their Torment Goes Up Forever and Ever (Rev 14:9-11, Gen 2:17, Mat 26:39)

Re 14:9  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,

Re 14:10  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:

Re 14:11  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

The wine of the wrath of God is evidently a figure of something. The meaning is that all the unsaved, who are now labeled as worshippers of the beast, shall spiritually receive a drink which is the wrath of God. The figure is that this wrath of God will go inside their bodies and be a burning within their soul, so that it troubles them and leaves them no rest day or night. It shall be a spiritual torment day and night. This wine of the wrath of God shall be poured out to them without mixture, which means unmixed, or undiluted. Never shall the worshipper of the beast in eternity receive one glimpse of the love of God. But it shall also be an external suffering. Their bodies will also be tormented, in this passage by fire and brimstone, and this will last forever. Hell will be a place where they will feel tormented as if they were dying, but it will be a process of dying that will last for an eternity. This is what God promised way back in Gen 2:17, where God said, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die.” The Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane gave a hint of the horror of the wrath of God. With His sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground “He fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mat 26:39). What cup was He speaking about? It was the cup of the wine of the wrath of God that was poured out without mixture, for this was the wages of sin. If Christ was our substitute to pay for the penalty for our sins, then He had to endure what we must endure if we would have to pay for our sins. There is no other way the righteousness of God can be satisfied. Therefore He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. So horrifying was that view of His suffering that He prayed again and again, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me”. But Christ was faithful and obedient. He went to the cross the next morning so that we who believe on Him will not have to go to Hell. What an amazing love of Christ that He had mercy on us, for we were unable to pay such a great price. What an amazing grace of Almighty God that He lifted us up from the dunghill, and made us sit as princes in heaven, and made us inherit the throne of glory. Christ did that for us by enduring “the wine of the wrath of God” in our place. But if the Son of God had to endure such torment for the sins that were laden on Him, how can anyone whose sins have not been paid for expect to escape the penalty of Hell? Indeed, all those who reject this Jesus, and all those who have another Jesus, and all those who have another gospel, and all those who deny that there is a God, give evidence that their sins have never been paid. When they stand before the Judgment Throne on the Last Day they will still have to give account of their sins, and will be cast into Hell, every last of them. “And the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever”. What is Hell? We do not know, for it cannot be described in terms of this universe. Both Hell and the New Creation are of a different dimension altogether, for when the Last Day has come we all will be translated into a timeless universe. Only then will we understand what Hell really is. But:

#3.       Here Is the Patience of the Saints (Rev 14:12, Psalm 73:1-7, 17-19, 25-28)

Re 14:12  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Because the saints see the end of their enemies, because the saints see and believe that Babylon will be judged, and because the saints believe that their tormentors here on earth will receive their just reward, they can be so patient. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 73:1 (2X). What is the patience of the saints? It consists in this that in all their tribulations they were calmly submissive. They did not try to gain control of things. They did not use violence to obtain what they wanted. Patiently they bore their cross and followed the Lamb wherever He led them. Why were they so patient? It was for the same reason that Asaph was so patient. Let us read this here in Psalm 73:1,

Ps 73:1 ¶  <<A Psalm of Asaph.>> Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

Ps 73:2  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

Ps 73:3  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Ps 73:4  For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

Ps 73:5  They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Ps 73:6  Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Ps 73:7  Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

Now please drop down to verse 17. Here Asaph sees the wicked from a different perspective.

Ps 73:17  Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Ps 73:18  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

Ps 73:19  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors

Let us continue in verse 25.

Ps 73:25  Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

Ps 73:26  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Ps 73:27-28  For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

And so we see that the fall of Babylon is good news for the saints. Like Asaph we can see that we truly are on the long end of the stick. With Asaph we can say, “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever”. We shall inherit God, and nobody is able to take this beautiful treasure away from us. Please turn again to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 14:13 (2X). The scene in Rev 14 changes. Not only will we be patient because we can see the end condition of the wicked, but also we hear of the blessings that will be bestowed upon us from henceforth. We read in Rev 14:13,

  • Blessed Are the Dead from Henceforth (Rev 14:13)

Re 14:13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

These words should not be misunderstood. This verse does not speak of the blessings a saved soul experiences when the body dies. We know that when our body dies our soul shall live and reign with Christ in heaven. But that is not the content of this verse, for it says that their works do follow them and that cannot be said of the disembodied soul that goes to heaven. What then does this verse say? It simply says that the dead who die in the Lord shall be blessed henceforth. We must place ourselves after the message of the three Angels. This verse speaks therefore of the blessings that will be bestowed upon our new body and soul after all is past. “Henceforth” speaks of the time after the battle of Armageddon has been fought, after Babylon is fallen, and after the wicked are sent to Hell. Henceforth shall be blessed those who have died in the Lord. Not just the dead who have died during the FTP, but those who have died in the Lord throughout the centuries. Henceforth shall they be blessed, from that time forth and forevermore. Are they then not blessed before the time that the wicked shall be cast into Hell? Yes they will, but their bliss is not perfect, for their body is still in the grave, and all the brethren are not yet gathered in. But “henceforth”, that is from the point of view of the Angel who speaks, from that time forward shall all the saints who die in the Lord be fully blessed. But let us be careful when we interpret “and their works do follow them”. It is not because of our works, but because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ that we shall enter into the glorious eternal Kingdom. Our works shall be manifest in the souls that have been saved by Christ working in us and through us to save those whom He wanted to save, And thus we shall rejoice together, for  all eternity.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.