Revelation 14:9-13 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will 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 goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
When we read this chapter, it feels like a sudden change. Chapters 12 and 13 described woes and sorrows that would come upon the church and suddenly we hit the final stages when Jesus is revealed as the one who is from the beginning and will be there till the end.
As I read through verses 9-13, I was reminded of stories from the holocaust and just this morning, I was listening to a message about why we suffer and the speaker quoted a holocaust survivor who described it as something so terrible that decades later he still cannot sleep and is tormented by the memories of insane torture and never-ending death.
Why would a good and glorious God who loves us to a point of sacrificing His own and only son, Jesus Christ, permit such suffering upon His own creation just because they chose to rebel? Is this not more terrible than the Jewish holocaust itself and is God not the worst murderer of all?
I'm reminded of the parable Jesus quoted (Mark 12:1-12) of a man who built a vineyard and rented it out to some vine-growers and at harvest time sent his staff to collect the rent but the staff was turned away and again the man sent more staff and the response was worse each time with some of his staff being beaten even unto death and finally he sent his only son hoping that they would respect his son but the vine-growers thought that if they killed him, they would get the son's inheritance and so they killed him too. The owner's response after showing all the love and care he did for so long was to destroy the vine-growers and to give the land to others.
When we understand this parable in context of our present world, we can see that God is the owner, the prophets of old his servants, we as the rebellious vine-owners and Jesus as the son who came to die. What do you think God would do to anyone who disrespects Him, His son or the gift of life He has given us?
Having said this, what is to become of those of us who do recognize and respect God and submit to His son's Lordship? We are the multitude that will stand and worship Him for eternity and we are the ones who even though once rebelled against this great God and committed ever conceivable sin are washed clean in the blood of His slain son, Jesus Christ, and raised with Christ on His return.
Do you want to be counted among the many that are tormented far worse than the human mind can even conceive or do you want to be rewarded personally by Jesus and live a life of glory in God's presence for eternity?
Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
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