Category Archives: REVELATION Part 6

The everlasting gospel, the harvest of the earth and the vine of the earth, the victory song of those who overcome the Beast. the

BOOK OF REVELATION Part 6

FIFTH REVELATION: CHRIST’S AUTHORITY TO JUDGE

Chapter 14:6-15:4.

Christ reveals Himself as the one given authority as Son of Man.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE PASSAGE:

6-11 Three angels addressing unbelievers.

12-13 Three statements about believers.

14-20 The harvest of the earth and the vine of the earth.

15:1-4 The victory song of those who have overcome the Beast.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 14, VERSES 6 TO 11

 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

14:9 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,

14:10 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:

14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

6-11 Three angels addressing unbelievers.

This revelation consists first of all of three angels making announcements, then three words from heaven about the believers in that day, and then three angels executing judgements. Finally, we are shown those who have gained the victory over the beast.

The first angel making announcements flies in mid-heaven, representing God in heaven to men on earth form mid-way between the two. He is not, however, acting as mediator. The Lord Jesus is the one mediator between God and men, and He has been rejected. He flies so that the message is heard quickly, and no-one can avoid what he has to say. This angel declares the everlasting gospel, which simply announces God to be the creator and the judge, (and as such should be feared and praised), as chapter 4 had emphasised, but without speaking of Him as a Saviour God. Men are on the brink of eternity, and they need to be reminded that they are about to meet the God of Eternity, who will consign them to the Lake of Fire that burneth for ever and ever if they repent not. Those who preached the gospel of the kingdom in the previous part of the seven years we are thinking of, have all been withdrawn. The martyred remnant are in heaven, as are those who come out of great tribulation. The 144,000 are seen in heaven, and the two witnesses have been caught up there too. The faithful remnant have been hidden by God. It is left to an angel to preach from the skies- there is no-one on earth to do it.

The second angel announces in anticipation of chapters 17 and 18, that Babylon is fallen. This city had been Satan’s headquarters from the beginning, and from this centre the evil of rebellion against God emanated. With the destruction of Jerusalem, this becomes the capital city of Antichrist; but it will be destroyed, not just physically, but judicially, by God.

A third angel warns men of the consequences of worshipping the beast and having his mark.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 14, VERSES 12 TO 13

14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

12-13 Three statements about believers.

The first statement is about the patience, obedience and faithfulness of the saints. “Here is” indicates that the reason why it can be said that the saints were patient is to follow in the next sentence. The patience (endurance) of the saints is shown in that they endured to the end. The end, that is, either of their earthly span here, remaining faithful even unto death, or the end of the Tribulation period. Their faithfulness is seen in that they kept the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, the Man the nation rejected two thousand years before, but whom they have believed.

The second statement is specifically said to be the testimony from heaven, a great comfort to these who may have felt that heaven had not listened to their prayers. This statement takes the form of a command to write, so that none may mistake the import of what is stated. The words are, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth”. The conditions at the very end of the Great Tribulation will be extremely traumatic, and the believers of that time will not all escape the consequences of the vial-judgements so soon to be poured out. They are assured, therefore, that although they may die as unbelievers die, they die blessed.

The third statement is by the Spirit of God Himself, counteracting the deceits and lies of the False Prophet, as he sought to lead these saints into the path of error. After the strenuous testing, they rest from their labours, for they kept God’s commandments, and their faith enabled them to do much work for Him even in those times. All this has been noticed, and will be rewarded.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 14, VERSES 14 TO 20

14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

14:16 And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

14:17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

14-20 The harvest of the earth and the vine of the earth.

Then three further angels begin their task. These either say things to the Son of Man or to one another. The first comes out of the temple in heaven, clearly with a word from God, to call the Son of Man to reap the harvest of the earth. This would correspond to the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:36-43. Then another angel comes out of the heavenly temple with a sharp sickle, and yet another angel, coming from the altar, (the place where the souls of the martyred saints had been heard calling for vengeance in chapter 6), and called the other angel to cut off the clusters of grapes from the vine of the earth. Now if Christ is the true and heavenly vine, John 15, this vine of the earth must be the Antichrist, and the clusters of fruit on his branches are those who are confederate with him. The clusters are fully ripe for judgement, and they are cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God. In other words, are gathered together for Armageddon.

The final scene in this fifth revelation is in 15:1-4, the sight of those who have overcome the antichrist safely home in heaven singing in triumph the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. The latter celebrated the destruction of God’s enemies at the Red Sea, and the former was written by Moses to caution the people about rebellion, (into which a large part of the nation will fall during the tribulation as they worship the Antichrist), but also to foretell the day when God would say “If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgement; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me”, Deuteronomy 32:41.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 15, VERSES 1 TO 4

15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

15:1-4 The victory song of those who have overcome the Beast.

15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

The word sign means something that makes known, (Grimme). The Lord Jesus is said to signify things to John, Revelation 1:1, which has led some to say that the book should be interpreted as a series of symbols, so that physical objects stand for spiritual realities. Thus when the sun is mentioned it means supreme rulers, when the sun is darkened it means those rulers lose their ability to rule, and so on. One of the problems with this view is that this leaves the interpretation open largely to the ingenuity of the reader, and the plain sense is lost.

Another problem with this view is that if we substitute spiritual concepts for natural things, we arrive at absurdity. For instance, under the first trumpet judgement, all green grass is burnt up, 8:7. Now Scripture likens men to grass, Isaiah 40:6. Are we to understand, therefore, that all flesh is destroyed at this point, so that there are no unbelievers on the earth at all? This cannot be the case.

The fact is that John uses the word in his writings in the sense of making things known after some expression has been used in a figurative sense. For example, “signifying what death He should die, John 12:33; “signifying what death He should die”, 18:32; “signifying by what death he (Peter) should glorify God”, 21:19. In the case of the death both of Christ and Peter, there is a figurative expression used beforehand. So in John 12;33 there is the idea of being lifted up, implying death by crucifixion. The reference in 18:32 is an allusion by the Jews to this statement. In the case of Peter, there is the idea of him being carried where he does not want to go, a prophecy of his death by crucifixion also. So we have an illustration, and then the significance of the illustration. But the point is that the illustration is a real-life one. A person being lifted up on a cross, an old man being carried to where he does not want to go. So it is in the book of the Revelation. Certain things are seen by John in vision; things that are real-life, literal events, and in these real-life events there is significance and it is this that is made apparent to John.

It was the same in John’s gospel in relation to the miracles he records. He calls them signs, because although they were actual, real-life events, and the miracles were really accomplished on physical people, nevertheless they had deep spiritual significance. And this is what made them signs. So with the events of the book of Revelation, real-life events are foretold which have deep spiritual meaning.

When we come back to our verse we find that the seven angels are called a sign. But angels are angels, so why are they called a sign? The answer is known when we note the similarity between the judgements poured out by the angels, and the plagues on Egypt. Now those plagues were called signs, Deuteronomy 6:22, thus the word is appropriate for these angels. Especially so because the song of the Lamb, (the song celebrating deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lamb), is sung immediately prior to the judgements. When these angels have done their work, the wrath of God will be fully poured out, and just as the plagues on Egypt culminated in the redemption of the nation of Israel, so the redemption of a future day is about to be accomplished.

The literal translation of the end of verse 1 is “because in them was completed the fury of God”. How glad we should be that the one we believe in is our deliverer from the wrath to come, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, so that we shall not be present on the earth when these judgements come.

15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

We were introduced to the sea in chapter 4. We saw there that is was the counterpart to the large water container that stood in the court of Solomon’s temple. There is no need for the sea to contain water, however, for there is no defilement in heaven, and these who stand upon it were cleansed before ever they reached that pure place. This sea is of glass mingled with fire. Perhaps as they stand upon this sea the redeemed remember that God had said, “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee”, but now the water is crystal clear glass- all danger is gone, only that which sparkles with the glory of heaven remains. God also said, “When thou passeth through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”, Isaiah 43:2, but now the fire is harmlessly held in the glass.

Those who stand on this glassy sea have gained the victory over the forces of evil, represented by the beast. We must consider who “the beast” is. We noted in chapter 4 that the beasts there were living creatures, those who were full of life, and who represented the major forms of life upon the earth. The beast we are considering now is noted for its wildness and savagery. We find it described in chapter 13 as a leopard, which has the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion. The speed of the leopard, (used for hunting in ancient times), the persistence of the bear, the strength and ferocity of the lion, are all combined together in this beast.

Whereas the dragon in chapter 12:3 had seven heads and ten horns, with crowns upon his heads, the beast has seven heads and ten horns, but the crowns were on his horns. Clearly the power that is vested in the dragon is now being expressed in the beast, for he has the seven heads and ten horns that the dragon has. But the crowns, the sign of royalty and rule, are now on the horns. These would correspond to the ten kings that eventually give their power to the beast, 17:16,17.

Now down through the centuries Satan has sought to subdue the world, and bring it into subjection to himself. He has done so through seven world empires that controlled the known world of their day. Five of these are brought to our notice in Daniel chapter 2, where five forms of Gentile world dominion are represented by the five different materials used in the image, namely gold, silver, brass, iron, and an iron and clay mixture. These were the inheritors of, and the extenders of, the Assyrian empire, which in its turn was the revival of the kingdom of Nimrod. So the seven heads are: the kingdom of Nimrod; the Assyrian empire; the Babylonian; the Medo-Persian; the Grecian; the Roman, and finally, the kingdom of the beast. The heads of these empires represented the empire, (so that Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold, Daniel 2:38, even though the metals represented kingdoms). The kingdom of the beast is the amalgamation of all these empires into one, and like them, centred in Babylonia. See notes on Daniel chapter 2 in Appendix 1.

When world empires are in view, therefore, the overall heads have the crown, whereas in its final form, the world empire will have ten subordinate kings, hence the horns representing those kings will have the crowns. We learn more of this in chapter 17:9,10, where we are told that the seven heads of the beast are seven mountains, (that is, in Scripture symbolism, seven kingdoms), five are fallen, (Nimrod’s empire, the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian); one is, in John’s day, the Roman, and one is not yet come, the empire of the beast. We are told in 17:8 that the beast was, (at some time in the past), and is not, (in John’s day and ours), shall ascend out of the abyss, (so as to rule the earth), and shall go into perdition, (when Christ consigns him to the Lake of Fire), 19:19,20. His past, present, and future is mapped out. Empires do not ascend out of the abyss, but men can, in exceptional circumstances.

Returning to our verse, we do so with the knowledge that the beast these men have overcome is the supreme world-ruler of the end-time, and who rules with the authority of the devil. No longer can believers submit themselves to the rulers, for that would involve denying God. This they have refused to do, and have been killed for doing so. But this does not mean they were defeated, for the reverse is the case, they valued the blood of the Lamb, and allegiance to Him, of greater worth than homage to Satan’s man, 12:11. They shall reap their reward, for we are told that they shall live and reign with Christ for a thousand years, 20:4. The beast will behead them for not recognising his crown, but they shall reign with the one whose crown they did recognise.

They overcome in four ways:

Over the beast; over his image; over his mark; and over the number of his name. In chapter 13 we learn of those who refuse to worship the beast, verse 15, and those who received the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of the beast, in order to be able to buy or sell. That mark will have to be in their right hand or in their forehead, verse 16. In chapter 20:4 the words are, “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads”, So there is the worship of the beast directly; the worship of his image indirectly; the acceptance on the forehead or the hand either his mark, his name, or the number of his name. It will be “Worship or die!” and “Receive the mark or starve!” Those who choose to take the latter course in each case, will be overcomers, for they show the reality of their faith. The blood of the Lamb gives them courage, not only in the sense that their sins have been cleansed through it, and they have no fear of dying, but also because He was the supreme overcomer, the forces against Him being so immense.

The image of the beast will be set up in the temple at Jerusalem in the middle of the last seven-year period. It will mark the start of the Great Tribulation. The previous three and a half years will indeed be a time of tribulation, but the second half will be unprecedented for its trial and anguish. During those times, God’s judgements will mean that food is scarce, hence there will be a double difficulty for those who are faithful to God, because not having the beast’s mark will mean that few will be prepared to sell them food, being fearful for their own lives if they do so. They will pray as never before “Give us this day our daily bread”, Matthew 5:11. God will see to it that there wil be those who will dare to feed them, thereby showing themselves sympathetic to God, and will consequently be rewarded when the king comes. It will be as if they have fed Him, see Matthew 25:37-40.

The word for mark that is used here is an impressed mark, an engraving. It is used of the markings on carving and sculpture, being the word translated “graven work” in Acts 17:29, a reference to idols. Could it not be, therefore, that the mark men must have is a reproduction of some feature on the image of the beast? God put a mark upon Cain for murdering his brother. Instead of being struck down, he was a marked man for the rest of his life, a living warning to the rest of men against murdering their fellows. Those who accept the mark of the beast, 10:29, consent to the murder of Christ, and tread Him underfoot for themselves, Hebrews 6:6.

The number of his name. Many and varied have been the ideas put forward with regard to the number 666, the number of the beast. We are told in 13:18, however, that it is the number of his name, and it is the number of a man. Now ancient letters of the alphabet had numerical values attached to them, so if the name of a man could be found which had the numerical value of 666, then we might be near to solving the puzzle.

At this point we must do some groundwork. Jeremiah tells us that “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the world drunken, Jeremiah 51:7. In other words, the idolatry that has always been centred at Babylon has spread throughout the whole world, so that the main features of original idolatry are found everywhere. The different names for the characters involved being due to the scattering at Babel. Now the main basis for heathen mythology is the story of Nimrod and his prowess as a ruler and a hunter. Such was his fame that the Bible records the legend about him, “Wherefore as it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord”, Genesis 10:9. His wife was Semiramis. Nimrod was slain, however, some say by Shem. Semiramis became the prominent one at this point, but she also claimed to be with child supernaturally, so that the child born to her was the re-incarnation of the father, Nimrod. From this is derived the notion of the worship of the Mother and the Child, a common theme in pagan idolatry, whether in Egypt as Isis and Osiris; India as Isi and Iswara; Asia as Cymbele and Deoius; in pagan Rome, as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer; in Greece as Ceres, the Great Mother, with her baby, or as Irene with the boy Plutus; in Papal Rome, the Madonna and Child.

So it is that the son is the manifestation of the father; a blasphemous imitation of the relationship of the Son of God to His Father. He could say of a truth “he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father”. Heathen religion is Satan’s counterfeit, established early on in the history of the world, but destined to be perpetuated until the end of man’s day, when Christ comes and sweeps away the refuge of lies.

Nimrod was worshipped as the god Saturn. Now Saturn in Chaldean is pronounced Satur, but consists of only four letters, STUR. The numerical value of these letters is 60 + 400 + 6 + 200 = 666. This is “the number of a name”. We could easily envisage that the numbers 666 could be incorporated in what we call a PIN number, so that those who have not these numbers in their credit-card sequence will not be able to buy or sell, and if they try to hand over cash, it will be seen they have not the mark in their hand either.

So this number is “the number of a man”, Nimrod. Couple this with the fact that the beast is destined to ascend out of the abyss, and although the eighth, is of the seven, we are almost forced to the conclusion that the beast will be Nimrod resurrected.

The Gilgamesh Epic is about the king of Uruk, another form of Erech, one of Nimrod’s cities, Genesis 10:10. The Epic claims that Gilgamesh was two-thirds god and one-third man, and was a giant. If the terrible event recorded in Genesis 6 where “the sons of God saw the daughters of men and took them wives of all that they chose” was the intrusion of fallen angels into the world of men, and if this was repeated after the flood, as Genesis 6:4 hints with the words “and also after that”, then it may well be that one of these giants was Nimrod. So not only will Satan parody the virgin birth, where a child has no human father, and parody the relationship of Christ the Son to His Father, he will also parody the resurrection of Christ. Think how powerful a deception this will be in the days when the Holy Spirit is not operating so freely as He is today!

The word Nimrod, often translated rebel, can also be rendered otherwise. To quote Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons, in his footnote on page 44, “The name Nimrod is commonly derived from Mered, ‘to rebel’; but a difficulty has always been found in regard to this derivation, as that would make the name Nimrod properly passive, not ‘the rebel’, but ‘he who was rebelled against'”. So Hislop proposes the alternative derivation from Nimr, a leopard, and rada or rad, to subdue. The ancients used leopards for hunting, and it seems that Nimrod was the first one to employ them in this way, which no doubt gave him the advantage over others, and helped to build up the legend of his hunting abilities. It is surely significant, therefore, that the beast of which we are speaking is in fact a leopard, albeit with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion, 13:2. This is not figurative only, but gives the clue to who is meant.

15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

We learn in verse two that this company have the harps of God. When the Jews were in captivity they hung their harps on the willows, and refused to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, Psalm 137:2, but these are not in a strange land, for they are in heaven at this point, and so are free to take their harps and sing. We have already alluded to the correspondence between Solomon’s temple arrangements and the views of heaven we are given in the Book of Revelation. In 1 Chronicles 25:1 we learn that the temple choristers prophesied with the harp. In other words, their prophesying or making known of the mind of God was accompanied and complemented by the playing of the harp. So it is here, for while they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, the words of which are found in Deuteronomy 32 and Exodus 12 respectively, they add words of their own, as recorded in verses 3 and 4.

The Song of Moses was given to him by God; he does not seem to have written it, but was simply responsible for teaching it to the children of Israel. It is a warning against failing God, and not relying on Him, being a witness against them. It is also specifically relevant that He is made known in particular in the Song under the figure of a rock, the symbol of steadfastness and reliability. See Deuteronomy 32:4, “God is a Rock; verse 15, “the Rock of his salvation”; verse 18, “the Rock that begat thee”; verse 30, “their Rock had sold them”; verse 31, “their rock is not as our Rock”. It is interesting to notice that Israel were accused by the psalmist in Psalm 95:8, (quoted in Hebrews 3:8), of making the desert journey one marked by the provoking of God and tempting Him. The two names given to the place where water came from the rock were Meribah, meaning “provocation”, and Massah, meaning “temptation”. Thus the very places where God showed His deep concern for the people were the places where they doubted Him.

Moses is described here as the Servant of God, so those who sing this song, and admit to the truth of it, do so because they have recognised that as God’s servant, Moses had been faithful in what he taught them through the song. It is just before the writer to the Hebrews quotes the passage from Psalm 95 about Massah and Meribah, that he refers to Moses as the faithful servant of God in the house of God.

As to the Song itself, a summary of its content is as follows:

Verses 1-4 The publishing of the name of the Lord.

Verses 5-6 The account of how the people corrupted themselves.

Verses 7-14 The recollection of of their movement through the wilderness to the land.

Verses 15-18 The prophecy that Israel would forsake God in favour of false gods.

Verses 19-30 The threat God made to hide His face from them.

Verses 31-35 The description of their enemies.

Verses 36-38 The declaration that God will judge His people.

Verses 39-42 The warning that He will take vengeance on the enemy.

Verse 43 The Song closes on a note of victory, for God calls for rejoicing at what He has done, repeats His intention of avenging Israel’s enemies, and declares He is prepared to be merciful to the land.

The last phrase indicates that the work of Christ at Calvary has ensured that the land of Israel has been purged of the stain of His blood, and mercy can be known by those who dwell in it. Clearly, this is a summary of the history of the children of Israel, and is the fitting subject of song for those who have overcome every obstacle to stand before God.

The Song of the Lamb is also a song of triumph, but does not speak of the failure of the people, but rather the absolute triumph of God over His foes, for the host of the Egyptians were utterly defeated at the Red Sea. What God had done in Exodus 12 he completes in Exodus 15. If the Song of Moses is a song from the Lord to rebuke, then the Song of the Lamb is a song from the people, to rejoice. Notice the order. The Song of Moses is second, chronologically, but is first morally, and this company acknowledges that. There must be the rebuke from the Lord acted upon, before the redemption of the Lord is celebrated.

Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

The overcomers speak of God’s works and God’s ways. As to His works, they believe them to be great and marvellous. In a world where the beast is dominant, and where his name and his prowess are everywhere celebrated, these have overcome such a world by faith, 1 John 5:4,5, and attribute this to the Lord God Almighty. The climax to the beast’s impiety is his claim to be God. These have said a resounding and definite No! to this, and have recognised the God of heaven alone. They will have lived through a time when the beast has broken his covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:27, but they see in God the Lord who is faithful to His promises and covenants. They have known the activities of the false prophet, as he performs signs and wonders to attract worship to the beast. These have seen through the error of that, and recognise God to be, not simply mighty, but Almighty.

They speak of His ways, too, and announce that they are just and true. In a world that will be dominated by the Man of Sin, (for as preachers have often said, ‘The sin of man will result in the Man of Sin’), they have not been taken in by the “deceivableness of unrighteousness” that the apostle Paul wrote of to the Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Nor have they believed the lie, verse 11 of that same chapter.

These believers speak of God as King of saints. In the Book of Daniel the saints are angels, being separated to the service of God. Perhaps there is a reference here to the fact that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation”, Hebrews 1:14. They have successfully safeguarded these who shall enter into the salvation that Messiah’s kingdom represents. The emphasis here is on God’s kingship, (for He is the source of sovereignty, being King eternal, 1 Timothy 1:17, and King of Israel, Isaiah 44:6), for he is about to assign the rule of the earth to His Son.

15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgements are made manifest.

These believers now speak of three things. First, of the fear of God and the desire to glorify His name because of the way He has expressed His holiness; Second, all nations coming to worship. Third, God’s judgements having been made known.

The fear of God and the desire to glorify His name, (which means to glorify the way in which He expresses Himself), has replaced the fear of man, even a man like the beast. Refusing to glorify Him by worshipping him or his image, they show that they are resolved to glorify God alone. They are prompted to this response by the manifestation of His holiness. The word for holiness here is not the usual one telling of God’s separateness. This is the word telling of His mercy and grace. God promises that He will bless men with the “sure mercies of David”, Acts 13:34; that is, those blessings which came upon David through God’s mercy and kindness to him, but which now are granted to men through Christ risen. This is the line of reasoning that Paul uses in the passage referenced above.

These overcomers anticipate the kingdom age, when Jerusalem shall be the centre of the worship of the nations of the earth, for “all nations shall flow unto it”, Isaiah 2:2, and the days when Babylon is the centre of the worship of Satan’s man will be over.

Before that time comes there will be a period of intense judgement, as described in the next chapter, when the verdict of God upon the scene over which they overcame will be abundantly manifest.