A Loud Warning
The third angel’s loud warning in Revelation 14 is a little scary at first glance. But don’t run away after you read it. Stick with me and you might find out how full of love this urgent message from Jesus is!
“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, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. Revelation 14:9-1o
Whoa! This is one of those verses in Revelation that might give some people nightmares. But let me tell you a story to help put this fiery warning into perspective.
Jack and the Big Truck
Jack was playing with his new bright red tricycle in the front driveway. Dad had warned him about staying out of the street and for a while he was content to ride in circles and figure eights. Dad was busy working in the front yard raking up leaves and trimming the bushes. Then something caught Jack’s eye across the street. Was that a big dump truck his friend had left out by the curb? Without stopping to think, Jack started across the street, forgetting to look both ways. Coming around the corner and speeding up the road was a big pickup truck.
The truck gears wound up as the it lurched forward. The driver had not seen Jack dart into the street. Instantly, Dad was running as fast as he could towards Jack yelling at the top of his lungs, “Watch out Jack!” Dad didn’t wait to see if Jack heard him, he lunged in front of the truck, pushing Jack forcefully out of the way. Jack went flying head over heals and started crying loudly.
The truck breaks screeched but it was too late, Dad lay still on the sidewalk. Jack ran to his father and cried out, “Someone help daddy!” The ambulance came and rushed dad to the hospital where he had serious internal injuries and not a few broken bones. Jack had always known his dad loved him. Now he was certain his dad would do anything to keep him safe, even die for him.
When God Says No More
God, our heavenly father, is sending us a loud message of warning because he wants to keep us safe. He wants to protect us from the terrible consequences of sin. Not many people like to talk about the wrath of God. It sounds like God is angry. Well, he is angry at sin and the terrible suffering it has caused for so long.
Many people blame God for all the terrible suffering in the world. They are mad at God for letting pain and evil exist. They cry out to God, “Why would you let this happen if you are a loving God?” God tells us here in the third angels message that he will not let evil go on forever. Our great God of mercy and patience will someday stand up and say, “No more!”
God is a God of mercy and justice. For all of earth’s history we have seen his justice mixed with mercy. We have all sinned and the result of sin is death. Think about that for a moment. We should all be dead right now! It is only because of God’s mercy that we wake up and are alive every morning.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
God’s Words of Love
There will come a time when God’s justice will be poured out without mercy. That is why God is shouting his message of warning at the top of his lungs! This justice is what the Bible calls the wine of the wrath of God, poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.
God does not want you to experience this wrath! Being separated from God’s mercy will be the worst thing that anyone can imagine. This is why God sends a loud fiery message, “Don’t worship the beast or his image!!!”
Listen to God’s words of love. He wants to save you and give you rest not torment.
“As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Joel 2:32
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Hebrews 4:7b, 9, 10
“God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all.” 1 Timothy 2:3-5 (paraphrased)
The Bible describes God’s wrath as undiluted wine, poured out into a cup. This is a symbol. He doesn’t really pour out a glass of wine, but he let’s the consequences of sin take full effect. Wine a fitting symbol because if you drink too much straight wine at one sitting, you could poison yourself and die. It’s called alcohol poisoning. Without God in your heart, sin takes hold and eventually poisons you.
This reminds me of another cup that Jesus spoke of.
“Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Jesus prayed this prayer on the Mount of Olives the night he was betrayed and arrested. Jesus was in agony. He did not want to be separated from his heavenly father and experience God’s wrath unmixed with mercy. He was so weighed down with the sins of the world that he sweat great drops of blood. He was so tormented that an angel had to come and strengthen him, otherwise he might have died right there and not have even made it to the cross (Luke 22:43).
Jesus took on not only your sins and my sins, but the sins of every person that has ever lived and ever will live on this earth. A HUGE mountain of sins was placed on Jesus who had never sinned. These sins separated him from his father in heaven. We can’t even imagine how terrible it was for him.
Jesus Took God’s Wrath for You
Why did he do it? Jesus didn’t deserve God’s wrath! He didn’t have to do it!
Jesus suffered great torment and agony, the same agony described in the third angel’s warning. Jesus took God’s wrath on himself so you don’t have to! He did it because he loves you and wants to save you from the wrath that is coming!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
A Loud Message of Love
God’s message of warning is a loud message of love. He wants to come into your heart and change you into his image. He wants to protect you from worshiping the beast and his image. An image is a reflection or a picture. God wants you to reflect his character of love. He wants to wash all your sins away and make you into a new creation in Him. He wants you to trust him and rest in his salvation.
What a wonderful loving Father in heaven we have. He’s yelling loudly, “Watch out! A big truck of destruction is coming! Jump into my arms and I’ll keep you safe!”
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