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SERMONS IN THE SKIES – Revelation 14:6-12

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on June 29, 2016 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; June 29, 2016 from Revelation 14:6-12

Theme: Before the outpouring of His wrath, God will provide three angelic beings in the skies to issue a merciful call for repentance to the people of the world below..

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

One of the things that stands out wonderfully in even the darkest portions of Revelation is God’s mercy. As the Bible tells us, He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And the evidence of this is shown in that, in those portions of Revelation that describe the terrible outpouring of His wrath, God always precedes wrath with a merciful call to repentance.

Already in our study of this book, we’ve seen God’s marvelous provision of the preaching of 144,000 sealed “servants” that precedes the seven trumpets (7:3-8; 14:1-5); and the ministry of His two “witnesses” that precedes the sounding of the last trumpet (11:1-14). And now, as a part of the second ‘telling’ of the events that precede the seven ‘bowl judgments’ (15:1-16:21; which parallel the seven trumpets of 8:1-21; 11:15-19), we read of one more provision of God’s mercy. It’s a truly remarkable act of mercy indeed! Three angels will fly throughout the skies above the earth, and preach a call of repentance to the world below during the dreadful reign of the Antichrist!

Who could ever read this passage and dare to say that God is not merciful? He issues a timely call to repent even to hard-hearted sinners during the darkest times of the reign of evil on earth!


A. John says that he saw “another angel” (v. 6). Already in this vision, he has seen many angels (5:2, 11-12; 7:11-12; 8:2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13; 9:1, 13, 14; 10:1-11; 11:15); and already, he has even seen an angel flying through the heavens (though some texts have it as “an eagle”) with a message for the people of earth (8:13). Now, he sees “another” angel—the first of three—who has a specific message to proclaim from God to the people below.

B. This angel is described as flying “in the midst of heaven”; which would be expressive of that place in the sky that make him most visible, and that would give him the greatest advantage of being heard (see 8:13). Note also that he thus flies in a way that places him far out of reach of the rage of the Beast and the false prophet. His message cannot in any way be stopped by the forces of the Antichrist; and it is delivered faithfully “to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue and people …” Perhaps this angel flies across the surface of the earth from the heavens. Or perhaps he stays in one spot in the heavens above the circle of the earth; and from this stationary vantage point in the sky, translates his message into every language of every nation that passes beneath him. In either case, what an awesome and ominous sight he will be!

C. We’re told that his message is “the everlasting gospel”—that is, the proclamation of good tidings. We’re told that an angel proclaimed “good tidings of great joy which will be for all people” at the birth of our Lord (Luke 2:10); and the same word used for that angel’s preaching is used here. He is, quite literally, “evangelizing” the world; and he does so with “a loud voice” (v. 7).

D. In a sense, his message is very much like that of John the Baptist—”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (John 3:3); and it is also like that of our Lord Jesus—”The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The difference here, however, is that the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection—which was then not yet fully known—is now very well known. At least two-thousand years of the proclamation of the gospel will have occurred in the history of mankind. Therefore, the angel’s “gospel” assumes the story of Christ, and now involves the call for a response to that story: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (v. 7). These things—heaven, earth, sea and springs of water—are all made by God, and are all about to experience the impact of His judgment upon sinful man. And so—as if issuing a call to repent of the hard-heartedness described for us in Romans 1:18-23—the angel’s call is to “fear” (or “reverence”) the God who has sent His Son, “give glory” to Him in thankfulness for His gracious gift of salvation, and “worship” Him who has the exclusive “Creator-rights” to mankind’s worship. To be given a heavenly called to “fear”, “glorify” and “worship” God—and all just before His judgment is poured out—is truly a remarkable and loving act of grace from Him!


A. A second angel “followed” the first. This suggests that John saw him also flying in the midst of heaven above the earth (v. 8). And just as he followed the first “preaching angel” in sequence, his message also follows that of the first angel’s in logical order. His message concerns “Babylon the great”—that world-wide political, economic and religious system of the Antichrist that is pictured for us as “that great city”; and that is more fully described for us in Revelation 17-18. Literally, the angel declares, “It has fallen, it has fallen”—an affirmation that is placed in the emphatic position in the original language, and that is repeated for impact. Judgment for rebellion against God is now certain; because the kingdom of the Antichrist (under the enabling power of the devil) was as good as destroyed. There would be no place left for the rebellious to stand in their rebellion against God! (See also John 12:31-32; 16:8-11.)

B. Note the reason for this symbolic ‘Babylon’s’ judgment. It’s “because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (v. 7). This is “the great harlot” described for us in 17:1-6 and 18. Through her, the whole unbelieving world turns in unfaithfulness from God to the Antichrist and commits spiritual “fornication” with him. It’s called “the wine”, because the world was made “drunk” by its rebellion; and it results in “wrath, because the judgment of God is poured out on it as a result. Again, what mercy from God that He will issue this warning before His judgment is poured out—giving time yet still for repentance!


A. John tells us that a third angel follows the first two; and that he too speaks with “a loud voice” (v. 9). The warning of this angel is related to the events described for us in detail already in Revelation 13:11-18; and it is put in the form of a “cause-and-effect” affirmation of impending wrath. The “cause” for the wrath is put forth in these words: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand …” (v. 9). Just imagine such a warning ringing in the ears of people as they are—even then—preparing themselves to bow to the image of the beast and receive his mark! What rebellion to then continue to bow to him and receive the mark!

B. The “effect” of that act is put to us in these terms: “he himself”—that is, the person who worships the beast and receives his mark, which will be an overt act of “fornication” against God—”shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation” (see also v. 8). God’s wrath is often pictured in Scripture as if it were wine mixed in a “cup” which—absolutely, unfailingly—must be drank from to the full (Job 21:20; Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17, 22-23; Jeremiah 25:15-17). Jesus graciously took the cup of God’s wrath for us (see Matthew 26:39); but those who reject our Savior must then fully drink this cup for themselves!

C. The dreadful end of all such “fornicators” is described in these words: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (v. 10). The place of judgment being described is the lake of fire. The Lord Jesus taught us that this was a place for the devil and his angels (John 25:41). And yet, the Beast and the false prophet will be cast there when the reign of our Lord begins on earth (Revelation 19:20); and then, the devil will be cast there with them at the conclusion of Jesus’ 1,000-year reign (20:10). Anyone whose name is not found written in the Lamb’s book of life (see 13:8) will also be cast there (20:15). The third angel flies above the world and says, “And the smoke of their torment ascends 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” (v. 11). These are truly horrible things to think about. But what a mercy from God that they are said before His wrath is poured out!


A. We might be inclined to think that all of this is simply for the sake of those who might be tempted to worship the Beast and receive his mark. But verse 12 tells us that it is also meant to cause God’s people to stand out in those dark times of evil. We’re told—perhaps by John; but also possibly as a continuation of the third angel’s message—”Here” or “thus” is the “patience” or “steadfastness” of the saints. This is as if to say that in this experience—that is, the experience of steadfastly resisting the temptation to comply with the pressures of this world to worship the Beast and receive his mark—the true “saints” of God are proven. They are tested by the times; and their steadfast faithfulness to Christ—even to the point of death—proves that they are truly His.

B. Similarly, we’re told that in this same way, “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” are shown forth. The true followers of Jesus not only claim a faith in Him, but also prove it through an obedient walk with Him. Satan is at war with all who are such (see 12:17); and those who overcome the devil do so “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (see 12:11; and also 14:13).

* * * * * * * * * *

The Bible tells us that angels do not participate in our redemption, but rather that they “desire to look into” it (1 Peter 1:12). God doesn’t seem to have given the angels the primary task of proclaiming the gospel; but has instead given that task to redeemed men and women. But we can imagine that if God were ever to permit the angels to do so, the very skies would rip open with heavenly armies eagerly coming to earth to preach the good news of Jesus!

As this passage shows us, God will one day permit some angels to proclaim the good news to fallen mankind! But for now, it’s our task to proclaim today what the angels will proclaim then. May we, as the true beneficiaries of the gospel, follow something of these three angels’ example and proclaim the soul-saving gospel of Jesus Christ with eagerness to this lost world—now, while we can!

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