14:9-1 THE THIRD ANGEL’S MESSAGE
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also shall also 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. And the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).
Coming out of
This passage contains the most fearsome warning in all of scripture—“the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture,” “tormented with fire and brimstone,” “no rest day or night,” all of this for those who “worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.” If someone had only these verses, he would be hard pressed to find evidence that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). But there are some important points to keep in mind. First of all, this outpouring of wrath is provoked by the worshiping of the beast. The agenda of the beast is to destroy God’s children, and those who participate in the beast system of religion and politics are aiding and abetting if not actually participating in the plot to annihilate God's children. God’s purpose is to protect His people rather than to lash out in rage at His enemies.
Secondly, the wrath of God is not like the wrath of man (see 15:1 The Wrath of God). We should not assume that God is offended and furious because someone did not do what He wanted. He is desperately anxious that those who hear this message will take it to heart, repent of their sins, and accept the eternal life He is offering along with His fearsome warning.
Moreover, we should not read into this text something that is not there. The fact that they are “tormented with fire and brimstone,” that the “smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” and “they have no rest day or night” has led some readers to conclude that God is threatening sinners with eternal torture. The fact that impenitent sinners shall be “tormented with fire and brimstone” is in harmony with Revelation 20:15, “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” This is simply the fire that destroys sinners for eternity, even as Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” (see 20: 11-15 The White Throne Judgment). The only thing that is eternal in this passage is the “smoke of their torment” which “ascends forever and ever,” an eternal memorial to the deadly malignancy of sin. This phrase also appears in Isaiah 34:10, referring to the destruction of the earth by fire at the last day.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> After the fire consumes all that can be consumed God will create a “new heaven and a new earth”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> which obviously will not be burning. This shows that eternally rising smoke does not equate with eternal burning.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
It is true that “they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image.” The Greek use of the present active verb participle proskunountas (translated “worship”) shows that the time when they have no rest is when they worship the beast.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> Since the number of the beast is refusal to honor God’s Sabbath rest, it is no wonder that they have no rest since they are actively opposing Him who said, “Come unto me…and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
God is not making savage threats in order to coerce behavior, as the beast does with his death decree and economic sanctions. He is simply informing the world of reality as it is. Those who continue to participate in the beast system after it has been shown to be in opposition to God disqualify themselves for eternal life, and God wants everyone in the world to know this so that they can flee to Him and be saved. That is why the three angels’ messages are given.
Continue to next section: 14:1 COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, FAITH OF JESUS
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Compare with the description of the Second Coming in Revelation 6:14. See also 2 Peter 3:10-13.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> 2 Peter 3:13. The description in Isaiah 35 follows the destruction of chapter 34.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The smoke of the “harlot” who has been utterly destroyed also “rises up forever and ever” (Revelation 19:3). But obviously she is not being eternally tortured—“she will be utterly burned with fire” and she “shall not be found anymore” Revelation 18:8,21.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> A more accurate but awkward translation might be “they have no rest day or night worshiping the beast.”