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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE THREE ANGELS’ MESSAGES
“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; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9-10).
you ever had the nagging suspicion that God might actually enjoy seeing the
people who dwell in religious
God feel the same way? No, He does
not! God loves all His people no matter
how deceived or wayward they may be. He
loves them no matter what they do. And
even though He cannot excuse their sin, He does not vindictively punish any of
them, though He does have precise measures of judgment unto correction by which
to deliver their souls. That’s why He
showed the apostle John a vision of three angels flying through the sky
announcing His appeal and warning to all the
third angel’s message is directed toward those in
“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, and 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 ascendeth up…and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image…” (Rev. 14:9-11).
remind the reader that this beast is the second
beast John saw in chapter thirteen of the Revelation, the beast out of the earth, or out of the soulical religious realm of man, for that is the beast
which commanded the people to make and pay homage to the image of the first beast. That
identifies it as religious
us notice, in
the first place, that this torment is primarily internal. Every one that at
this point in time worships the beast, so the text reads, and receives a mark
in his forehead or in his hand, he shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of
God which is prepared unmixed in the cup of His anger. It is my deep conviction that these words
refer to the spiritual and internal suffering of those who remain in
Just as in verse eight where we read of “the wrath of her fornication,” the Greek word for “wrath” here is thumos meaning, according to Strong’s Concordance, “breathing hard, passion.” Anyone knows that wine inflames the passions. The word does not denote wrath in the conventional sense of rage, violence, vengeance, or judgment, but rather of fever heat or strong passion. It is associated with God’s anger, and men of passion can certainly be angry, but anger is not the same as rage, for even in a punitive way passion may be expressed in terms of love, as when a parent is moved with passion and stirred to action to sternly discipline a misbehaving child. So it is clear that God’s “wrath,” as revealed in the book of Revelation, has to do with passion, or feeling very strongly about something. Thus God’s disobedient children, who ignore or resist the wooing of His Spirit, are made to drink of the “wine of the passion of God.” God’s wrath or passion is not that which is vindictive and vengeful, but rather that which is impassioned, fervent, zealous, enlivened, glowing, vigorous, intense, burning, and dynamic.
God has a passion to make right what is wrong, to cleanse and restore His people and creation, like any Father who wants his son to grow straight and strong. He has a passion, therefore He will spare nothing, not even the rod, to accomplish His great purpose. The wrath of God is the wrath of a Father and in His wrath He remembers mercy! His purpose in wrath is always corrective and redemptive! Multitudes of religious people are full of anger, bitterness, self-righteousness, condemnation, censure, denunciation, vindictiveness, judgment, anathemas, and damnation — the wrath of man — but now God’s wrath comes! It is the wrath of our Father and our Redeemer! What a revelation that is! Oh, the wonder of it! How sublime the very thought! How awesome the implication! How divine and glorious the outcome!
However, as the love of God does not cancel out His wrath, so His wrath does not cancel out His love! Every parent who has ever disciplined a child understands this! Wrath and love work together to correct what is wrong and make it right. Strictly speaking, the wrath of God and His love are not equally eternal attributes of God. God IS love, the scripture testifies, but nowhere does it infer that God IS wrath! You do not see in any listing of God’s attributes that wrath is included. Neither is wrath listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. When sin and error are finished in God’s universe His wrath will end, but His love will abide eternally upon all His creatures and upon all the works of His hands. God reacts to sin by wrath — stern measures of discipline and correction. The wrath really is the love of God in reverse! According to the Word of God His wrath is but for a moment — but His love is unending! In wrath God remembers mercy — because GOD IS LOVE!
Men have been given a wrong view, a mistaken image of God! Religion preaches and serves a God who is a monster, who is exacting, mean, cruel, and vicious. They say that God is love, but in their hearts they believe that God is vindictive, implacable, harsh, and ultimately unmerciful, because they believe that God’s judgment against sin and error is eternal torture in the fires of hell without one degree of mercy. They have a distorted, deranged notion of God’s justice, too, for He will send to this eternal hell men who never had a chance, who never heard the name of Jesus, who were ignorant and undiscerning, who were careless and unconcerned, who were guilty at most of merely fleshly, temporal sins, although they did not hate God or deliberately walk in rebellion against Him — they merely had the misfortune of not knowing Him. But then, the way the churches tell it, the vilest man who ever lived, who hated and blasphemed and abused and murdered, if on his deathbed, at the last gasping breath of his life, he simply says, “Father, forgive me; Lord Jesus, save me,” this one gets a one-way ticket to heaven! Now that, my beloved, is classical fickleness — not justice!
THE CUP OF HIS INDIGNATION
“The same shall drink of the wine of the passion of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation…” (Rev. 14:10).
Psalmist Asaph wrote by inspiration, “For
in the hand of the Lord is a cup, and
the wine is red…the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth (realm)
shall…drink them” (Ps. 75:8). John
the Revelator has recorded more concerning this “cup”
of God, “And the great city was divided
into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell:
is significant to note that in the whole book of Revelation the term “cup” in
every instance refers either to the “cup” of Babylon’s abominations and
filthiness of her fornication (Rev. 17:4), or, to the “cup” in the hand of the
Lord from which HE gives Babylon to drink of the wine of His passion, even the
“cup” of His indignation. Nowhere is
this cup of His wrath and indignation given to the wicked sinners of the world
to drink or to the nations of earth!
Nearly all the Bible teachers get this one wrong! The cup of God’s wrath is poured out without
mixture (nothing added, it’s all HIM) upon the RELIGIOUS KINGDOM OF MYSTERY
BABYLON THE GREAT, the great whore that sits upon many waters, with whom the
kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth
have been made drunk with her defiled wine (supposedly spiritual life). And while “
in prophecy are churches. In Revelation
12:1 we find the true
The Roman church is the mother of all, because all are modeled after her false system. And not only are these Protestant daughters modeled after their mother as to elementary form and nature, but all, from the Lutheran Church, the Reformed Churches, the Church of England, etc., right down to the youngest Charismatic organization, are propagating, in varying degrees, the false doctrines of their mother while, like their mother, they profess to dispense the Word of God, pure and unadulterated. They baptize like their mother, they take “Communion” as the members of the Roman church receive the “Eucharist,” they proclaim eternal damnation in hell for the lost, eternal life in a physical place called heaven with literal golden streets, trees, river of life, and mansions for the saved; they celebrate the pagan holidays of Easter and Christmas, and keep other religious holidays as does their mother. Time and space forbid a detailed discourse on all the harlot ways in which the harlot daughters follow their harlot mother. And we are not unmindful that a merciful and compassionate God has used all these things, even the mother, in the salvation of souls and in bringing blessings to humanity, for, after all, there is a “little light” and the “voice of harpers ” in Babylon, and even the “voice of the bridegroom and the bride” have faintly been heard in Her! (Rev. 18:20-24).
But there is a higher walk, an undefiled way, the way of personal union with Christ in the power and glory of the living Spirit, apart from all the outward trappings and traditions of religion. All who find this blessed place have obeyed the command, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). Those who have come unto Him without the camp no longer worship the “beast” of man’s carnality and ego, nor the “image” of the beast, the Babylon systems of this world; nor do they any longer feed upon the pronouncements of the “false prophet,” the erroneous and distorted message flowing from the religious systems, nor do they bear that “mark,” that way of thinking, upon their foreheads or in their hands (their service and actions). These have been “beheaded” for the witness of Jesus, severed from their own head, or the carnal mind, and severed from the earthly headships (head-quarters) of the religious systems of man, taking upon them the mind of Christ in and by the anointing within.
text says that all the beast worshippers will drink of the wine of the passion of
God, and they will drink it out of the cup
of His indignation or anger. This,
as we know, is symbolic language, for no one will literally have to drink wine
out of a cup in God’s hand! The language
employed here is drawn from Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning the literal city
did not literally take a cup out of God’s hand and make all the peoples of the nations drink of that wine. What a “communion service” that would have
been! Perhaps he symbolically poured out
a cup of wine upon the ground, but I rather think this was all accomplished in
a spiritual way. But the result of this
“wine” was to confuse the understanding of the nations that God was
judging. “They shall…go mad,” the
Lord said. Ah,
Let us not think of God’s “anger” as an emotional response, as if God has a hot, uncontrollable temper as men do, and rashly retaliates against those who dishonor Him. God says to men today as He did of old, “You thought that I was altogether such an one as you are.” But God is not like a man! “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). God is all-wise and sovereign and does not suffer from temper tantrums or fits of frustration or rage. His “anger” is His sovereign will expressed through His passion to bring correction and make things right, even as His judgments are the essential corrections which bring men into alignment with His holiness. It is all executed by His hot, burning, passionate love nature, and all is positively designed for man’s good, and unto His own praise and glory. Aren’t you glad!
TORMENTED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB
“And they shall drink of the wine of the passion 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” (Rev. 14:10).
now recognize that in this chapter we have spiritual realities set forth in
symbol, just as the writer sets forth spiritual realities throughout the entire
book of his visions on
We test wood, steel, and stone in order to find
out what they are capable of supporting.
We test our ability to read, to run, to think, to drive a car, but no
one therefore calls them evil. We find
out something about ourselves, even if that something is not always
complimentary. Everything in life is
tested in some manner! How important the
truth, generally overlooked by Bible teachers, that this testing takes place,
not in some far-away torture-chamber, but “in the presence of the holy
messengers (ministers of God), and in the presence of the Lamb.” God will certainly not torture sinners up in
heaven before the throne of God! Yet, if
we took it literally, and interpreted
it with the carnal mind,
that is what would be
implied. This again points to the
fact that it is not the sinners of the world that are being “tested” here,
rather, it is the Lord’s own people who are being tried and tested in the
consuming Holy Ghost fire of God, and in the presence of Him who comes as a refiner’s fire, and as a purifier of
gold and silver! “In the presence of the
Lamb” indicates that it is a spiritual work of testing within God’s people who
dwell in the mixture of
then, is our “touchstone,” and the Word of God, which He personifies. All the Lord’s people must measure up to Him
— HE is our standard, gauge, yardstick,
criterion, “…till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” and HE is our Judge and our
judgment-seat before which we stand!
Gold is what was tested on the touchstone, and gold signifies the divine
nature. As we rub our “touchstone,” what
mark is being left thereon? Is the
genuineness of our “gold,” or divine
nature being revealed in us? Do we
leave the mark of sonship thereon? Or do we still, in some measure, reveal the
character of the
argue that because we believe God’s judgments are not unto condemnation, but
are corrective and redemptive; and because we teach that the fire and brimstone
are not the flames of an eternal hell of torture and damnation, but are Holy
Ghost fire for man’s purification, we teach a “hell redemption.” We are accused of believing that the lake of
fire can accomplish in a man what the mercy, gospel, and blood of Jesus could
not accomplish. Many years ago Charles
G. Finney opposed the ultimate salvation of all, and the work of purifying
fire, by ridicule. Finney was an
accomplished attorney and a master of the invective. He said that those who
were saved after this “age of grace” ends would unceasingly sing, “Thanks be to
the hell that saved us by our own suffering!”
Just how much weight is there to that criticism? It is a marvelous truth that CHRIST ALONE can
save, and ONLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS can take away man’s sin. There is no other way! How we rejoice that it is so! Yet, without an understanding of the
relationship between the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus and the
all-consuming, purifying fire of God, we can
history God manifested Himself in various forms of fire on many different
occasions. We find some of these
manifestations in the making of His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:17), the
burning bush (Ex. 3:2-4), the pillar of fire (Ex. 13:21), on
scriptures affirm that “our God is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24; Heb.
12:29). Fire in the scriptures is often
used symbolically and typically to signify the glory, power, and holiness of
God. Make a mental note here of the fact
that on mount Sinai the glory of God appeared as “a devouring fire” (Ex.
24:16-17). As we search the scriptures,
you’re going to see that fire again and again.
The prophet Habakkuk, for instance, says: “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from
and again God is revealed expressing His glory, power, and holiness in the form
of fire. For instance, in the case of
one of the most outstanding illustrations of the principles we are trying to
make clear is found in Isaiah 6:1-8. The
prophet is standing in the temple area at the hour of the evening sacrifice,
when in spirit he sees the Lord high and lifted up. He at once falls to his face and cries, “Woe is me! for I
am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.”
Whereupon a seraphim takes a coal from off the altar, draws it
across Isaiah’s lips, and says, “Thine
iniquity is taken away, thy sin is purged.”
It is significant to note
that this coal came from the brazen altar, the place of sacrifice and sin
offering. In Leviticus 9:24 we read that
the fire on this altar was kindled directly from God. In other words, God’s glory, power, and
holiness expressed itself in the kindling of the fire on the brazen altar where
sin was to be dealt with. O that I possessed the tongue of an angel
that I might articulate the wonder of this scene! I do know that the connection is drawn here
between the sacrifice of the altar and the fire of the altar. Like a horse and carriage, the two go
together. They are two aspects of a
whole. In Leviticus 6:12-13 we read that
this fire of the altar was
the sin of man! Behold the fire of
God! For these two to come together
without sacrificial blood to intervene leaves man lost and undone. For those two to come together with the
presence of sacrificial blood means mighty
the Old Testament type we enter the most sacred spot on earth. The “Holiest”
was a square apartment of ten cubits (15 feet) in
Fire is God and God is fire. If you’re going to have a relationship with God, sooner or later you will have a relationship with fire! Tradition would say that the fire and brimstone in the book of Revelation bespeaks God punishing and torturing men with fire. That’s not what this is talking about! Such talk only reveals men’s ignorance of the things of God, the ways of God, and the word of God. The traditional idea is that God is torturing the wicked with fire and then sitting back and watching the whole thing, as Nero sat and watched the Christians burn at the stake. To the Romans it was just great sport! But that’s crazy — would you really want to serve a God like that? Think about it!
Every man’s state of being and every man’s work will eventually be tested by fire. The fire will try every man to determine what is in him, and the fire will try every man’s work of what sort it is. If you and I build into our spiritual life and activities wood, hay, and stubble, the fire will find it out, and the wall will come tumbling down. Every child of God is building his spiritual life upon the foundation that is Jesus Christ. There is no other foundation that can be laid, or is laid. Either we are building the quality of gold, silver, or precious stones or the weak and unprofitable things of wood, hay, and stubble that are soulish self-efforts and carnal. If the works that I do are gold, then surely it must mean that I am building out of the spirit! Am I led by the Spirit of God? Or am I fulfilling my own ambitions, satisfying my own ego? There is a vast difference!
heart of man, even of the believing man, is often found to be desperately
wicked in this regard. It is not
difficult to find men who glibly make great claims of being led by the Spirit
of God to go here or there, to do this or that, but many, alas, are involved in
gaining a following and building their own kingdom, though they imagine they
are building for God. Beware the man who tells you that he alone has the truth, that he is God’s prophet, God’s man of faith
and power, that he is the one sent to seal the saints, that he alone bears the
message of the hour, that you will not hear the deep secrets of the Lord from
any other source, and his words alone hold the key to life and immortality, to sonship
and the fullness of God. These people
still move in the wicked spirit of the
has not made me a ruler or a judge of my neighbor’s motives, but it does not
require an exceptional gift of discernment to conclude that much of the work
done in God’s name is in reality the wood of a deceitful heart, the hay of
spurious revelation, and the stubble of carnality. All work, whether carnal or spiritual, will
be subjected to the testing fire of God!
If it is gold, silver, or precious stones it will stand the test. If it is the wood, hay, or stubble of
self-effort or self-promotion it will be burned up and destroyed. If any man’s work can abide the fiery testing
of God’s fire and brimstone, then that man will receive a reward for the
profitable work he has accomplished. But
if any man’s work abide not the fire, but rather is consumed by it, then that
man will suffer humiliating loss. All
that he has done through a life-time of supposed service to God will all go up
in smoke before his eyes, and he will suffer dreadful loss. “He
himself shall be saved,” the scripture says, “yet so as by fire” (I Cor. 3:15).
These words are worthy of deep meditation and prayer. Their deep and powerful meaning can
than three centuries ago when the
to note that the Greek word for fire is pur, a derivative
of which is the Latin word pyra (pure) and
the English word pyre — the place for
the burning of a corpse. PYREX also
comes from the same root, pyr or pur, meaning a fire, and rex, meaning a king — that which is
king, thus ruling over the fire, hence a “heat-resistant” glassware. All our English words having to do with that
which is pure are related to the Greek word pur,
GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE, the scriptures affirm.
I understand not why fire has been represented to us as something so
terrible, so frightening, so hideous that we should
try to avoid it. If our approach back to
God is through fire, as revealed by the
crude idea that the loving and righteous Creator would decree endless torment
appears terrible only to the man who is unprepared to pass through it. When of old God came down on Sinai, its upper
peaks were veiled with impenetrable folds of smoke, like the smoke of a
furnace. And in the heart of the smoke
there was the appearance of devouring fire.
There is dread here! Bounds had
been set to keep the people back; but a special message must be sent to warn
WHAT A BURNING
What a burning, what a burning
all goes up in smoke and
Bows the knee to Jesus’ name.
Burn, O earth; consume within me
All that’s there unlike to God;
That the new earth may be planted
Let God’s fire-like word consume
These religious heavens too,
Till no longer they receive
Refreshing drops of heaven’s dew.
Lord, send forth Thy fiery judgments,
Great hail stones of talent weight;
Let them fall as truth descending
On man’s wicked, sinful state.
That on whom so e’re they fall,
Thy will the vile to powder grind.
Not one atom of the old
In our new earth will we find.
— Reba McMurry
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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