Lesson 11

Our Prophetic Message

(Revelation 14)
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Introduction: Do you remember when you had some special news or a special story that others did not know? How exciting was it to share that special story with others? Our study this week is about a very special message that we have to share with others. The message has to do with worship, faith and the final judgment. Let's wade into our study of the Bible to learn more about this great news!

  1. First Angel


    1. Read Revelation 14:6. What is the audience for the message of this angel? (Everyone, everywhere.)


      1. What do you believe is the "eternal gospel?" (Our God became a human and lived with us. Our God, named Jesus, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, and was resurrected to return to heaven. We accept Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf through baptism. His life becomes our life, His death is our death and His resurrection is the promise of our resurrection to eternal life.)


    2. Let's see if our view of the gospel is the same as the angel's message. Read Revelation 14:7. What significance do you find in the "loud voice?" (This is supposed to be heard.)


      1. Let's start with the view that "fear God" means exactly what it says because it introduces the idea that the time of judgment has come. How do you explain the "give Him glory" part of this message about judgment? (This is the gospel - that we give God glory because He took our place in the judgment. When He died, we symbolically died. When He rose, we symbolically rose. Could you ever stop praising someone who died for you?)


      2. How would you reconcile the "fear God" instruction with the "give Him glory" instruction? How do those work together? (If you want to face judgment without Jesus interceding for you, then you should fear because you will die. The fantastic news is that we have a way to avoid eternal death.)


      3. Notice the last sentence. We are told to worship the Creator. Why does this have anything to do with judgment or the gospel? (My study of the Bible has taught me that God consistently pins His authority on the fact that He is our Creator. Only one with authority can judge. Only one with authority can modify the rule of law. God tells us that He has the authority to do all of this!)


      4. Let's step back a minute and look at the action. This says a flying angel will give this message. I've never seen an angel in my neighborhood loudly shouting this message. What do you think this reference to an "angel" means? (Adam Clarke's commentary suggests that this could refer to a special group of Christians whose goal is to promote this gospel message.)


      5. Let's step back a second minute and consider the message. What is at the heart of the angel's message? (To fear God and worship God.)


        1. Fear is not something you can just grit your teeth and do. What, as a practical matter, are we being asked to do? (I think we are asked to "obey." Whether fear means terror or giving respect, the result would be a change in our actions. Thus, obedience and worship are linked in this angel's message.)


  2. Second Angel


    1. Read Revelation 14:8 and Isaiah 21:8-9. What do you think is meant by Babylon? (In the Old Testament, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was the enemy of God's people. If you read 1 Peter 5:13, Peter seems to refer to the Roman empire as "Babylon." Why? Because it, too, was the enemy of God's people. Some of the older commentaries, such as Barnes' Notes and Matthew Henry, point to both pagan and Papal Rome as Babylon, no doubt because both were persecuting powers. My view is that the constant feature of Babylon is the power behind it - which is Satan. But, the human, institutional "front" for Satan changes with time.)


      1. What do you currently see as the main, human institutional "front" for Satan? Let's look next at some more characteristics of Babylon before we make up our mind.


    2. Look again at Revelation 14:8. What activity helps to identify Babylon? (It makes nations "drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.")


      1. What do you think is meant by "adulteries" in this context? (Unfaithfulness to God.)


      2. Why refer to this as "wine" which is "maddening"? Why refer to it as "drink?" ("Maddening" means to lose your proper sense of things. This power promotes views against God that causes us to lose our proper perspective on things.)


      3. In your experience, what has had the most power to cause you to lose a right perspective on God? To make you want to be unfaithful to Him?(All of the candidates for Babylon that we discussed likely have little or no influence in our life today. My vote for the most negative institutional influence in my life is entertainment media. Have you ever watched a movie or read a book where you find yourself wanting a murderer or adulterer to win? I feel like the "wine" of this unfaithfulness to God is being poured over me.)


        1. What is wrong with my suggestion that pagan media is a current candidate for "Babylon?" (Two things. First, Revelation 14:8 says it "made all nations drink." I voluntarily read and watch. Second, it seems odd to call pagan media, among all the Babylons, the "Great" one. We need to explore this further with the next angel.)


    3. What is the good news of Revelation 14:8 about the work of Satan's institutional agents to make us unfaithful to God? (They are fallen, defeated!)


  3. Third Angel


    1. Read Revelation 14:9. Let's stop right here. What is the focus of the controversy? (Worship!)


      1. Think back to the message of the first angel. What was it about? (Worship!)


      2. What should we conclude? (The message of the three angels is about worship. Will you worship the Creator or will you worship Babylon.)


      3. Does this help clarify what is meant by "Babylon the Great?" (Yes. This is an institutional power whose focus is worship.)


    2. Now let's add the rest of the sentence. Read Revelation 14:9-10. What kind of problem are Satan's agents, the "beast and his image," creating? (The problem is worship and receiving "his mark.")


    3. Context is very important here. Revelation 12:7-9 reveals that the "dragon" is Satan. If you read Revelation 13, you will see that the dragon gives power to at least a couple of beasts. Read Revelation 13:12-17. What is the greatest problem with this trinity of the dragon and the two beasts? (Coercion when it comes to worship! Those who refuse to worship the first beast are killed. Everyone is forced to receive a beast mark on the right hand or the forehead.)


      1. What is the beast mark? (The fact that it is on the forehead (thinking) or the hand (doing) suggests that some will agree with beast worship and some will simply comply, even if they disagree.)


    4. Let's go back to the message of the third angel in Revelation 14:9-10 and re-read it. What kind of problem do the saints face? (The beast will kill them if they do not accept the mark, and God will kill them if they do.)


      1. Does that seem unfair? (No. God is simply warning us that at some time we will have to make a choice on who we will worship. You can make the wrong choice by agreeing with Satan, or just going along with Satan. Either one is fatal.)


  4. Worship


    1. Let's focus on the worship issue. What, again, is the basis for God's claim to worship? Revelation 14:7 says being our Creator. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What is God's special worship instruction which is keyed to Him being our Creator? (The Sabbath!)


      1. What does this suggest is the point on which worship of God or worship of Satan turns? (The Sabbath - the weekly memorial to Creation.)


      2. What else is important? (Recall the entire judgment issue is about righteousness by faith. If your Sabbath worship is not motivated by a desire to praise God for saving you and defeating Satan, you have missed the point.)


    2. Read Revelation 14:12. Wait a minute! Does this tell us that keeping the commandments is the standard for the judgment? (No! But, it does say that those who place their faith in Jesus, those who worship Him, have holiness as their goal. The rule of law is God's standard.)


    3. Friend, would you like to be on the right side of worship? Would you like to share this end-time warning? Commit right now to worship God every Sabbath and rely on His righteousness alone for your salvation!


  5. Next week: The Cosmic Conflict Over God's Character.

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