Lesson 11

The Three Angels' Messages

(Revelation 14)
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Introduction: Have you ever read a book that reminded you of a "see-saw?" You know what I mean by "see-saw" - a long board on a fulcrum with kids sitting on opposite ends. When one child goes up in the air, the other comes down. Last week in our lesson the Devil (the red Dragon of unusual size) and his two Beast buddies (the Sea Beast and the Earth Beast) seemed to be up, they were winning the conflict between good and evil. This week things are different, lets hop on board and find out more!

  1. The 144,000

    1. Read Revelation 14:1,4&5. Who are these people?

      1. Is this your goal? To be with this group? Do you want to be standing on Mount Zion with Jesus?

      2. If so, how do we get from here to there?

      3. What are the specific qualities of the 144,000 found in verses 4 and 5?

        1. not defile themselves with women;
        2. follow the Lamb wherever He goes;
        3. purchased from among men;
        4. no liars; and,
        5. blameless.

    2. Let's look at this list a minute. Look at the first entry: "not defile themselves with women?" Does this mean no married men? And if you are a woman, well, you might as well forget the whole idea?

      1. We need to jump ahead for just a minute. Read Revelation 17:3-6. Is there a familiar character in this scene? (The seven headed scarlet beast is hard to hide in a crowd. This is our old enemy the red Dragon of unusual size.)

      2. Who is the Dragon giving a ride? (This is a woman who is involved in the same activities as the two Beast buddies of Revelation 13. When Revelation 14:4 says the 144,000 have not defiled themselves with women, I believe it is talking about this woman of Revelation 17. This woman is false religion which attacks God and God's people. So the 144,000 "pure" and "undefiled" are people who are theologically correct. They are probably the same group we find in Revelation 12:17 - those who obey God's commands and believe in Jesus.)

    3. Let's go back to our list from Revelation 14:4&5. What is meant by "following the Lamb, wherever He goes?" (Sometimes our Christian walk takes us places that we would rather not go. Last week we learned that the unholy trio of the Dragon and his Beast buddies were really hurting God's people. Those who follow the Lamb may be people who, like Jesus, suffered persecution. Perhaps it means that their "walk" (the way they live) is completely in harmony with Jesus' example.)

    4. Why mention that they are not liars? (The whole fight we have seen so far is between false religion and true religion. Between God and Satan, who is the father of lies ( John 8:44).)

    5. How does it make you feel to know that the redeemed are blameless? I have read authors who say that we must reach a state of perfection if we are to be saved. What do you think?

      1. What do you think the phrase "they were purchased" adds to our discussion about perfection? (The Greek word is a variation on "to go to market." The idea is that they were bought by Jesus. His payment, not theirs, redeemed them. As a result, their perfection comes from what Jesus has done for them. (See 1 Peter 1:18-19; Galatians 3:11-14.))

    6. Consider the number: 144,000. This is not a lot of people. You hear that it is tough to get into special schools: a certain school of music, veterinary school, medical school, law school, some colleges. How students struggle to get into these schools. If this is a literal number, don't we have tremendous pressure to struggle to be counted among that number?

      1. Is it true that we've got to be one in a million? One in a billion?

      2. Is the 144,000 a literal number? (Read Revelation 7:4-8. Notice that these verses speak of the genesis of this number. It is 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. Well, these tribes do not exist today in that form. Thus, this seems to be a symbolic number. If you review Revelation 21:12-17 you will find the New Jerusalem is is a city of "12's." This reaffirms my thought this number is symbolic.)

        1. Why would God give us a symbolic number for His people? (Our lesson suggests that there is this big global battle going on. On the one hand is Satan and his two Beast buddies. On the other hand is the Holy Trinity and Jesus' followers here on earth. This is classic good guys versus bad guys stuff. Just as the beasts are symbols, so the 144,000 is a symbol of a special group of God's people.)

    7. Revelation 14 now makes a transition. I imagine it does so because the 144,000 have been involved in spreading the following message while they were on earth.

  1. The Message: First Angel

    1. Imagine that you want a raise or want to change your work hours. Would you just walk into your boss's office without thinking about how you will approach the issue?

      1. Do you remember when you were dating? Did you ask for your initial date with a girl without planning what you were going to say first?

      1. If you were a girl who wanted to date a specific guy, did you plan how you could meet him and what you would say to show that you were interested?

    1. Lets read Revelation 14:6-7. Do you think the angel's words were carefully planned? Or, did God just say to an angel, "Say a few words about my coming to the world" and the angel ad-libbed a few lines? (This sounds impossible, doesn't it?)

    2. Verse 6 tells us that the angel had the "eternal" (NIV) or "Everlasting" (KJV) gospel. What does that mean? (It does not change.)

    1. What part of the angel's message in v. 7 really grabs your attention? (The angel ties it to the judgment. He tells us that the gospel is relevant now, because the time of judgment is now.)

    2. We were talking about planning important discussions. If God especially planned to start out with a declaration about the judgment, why do you think He started that way? (This message is to make us think seriously about our relationship with God.)

      1. Let's step back just a moment. The Dragon and his two Beast buddies, according to Revelation 13, are trying to get everyone to worship the Sea Beast (and, ultimately Satan) by deceit or terror. At the same time, the First angel's message is to worship God because God's judgment is at hand. What will it be like to live in that time? (What a challenge!)

        1. Are we now living in that time?

    3. What does Revelation 14:7 suggest is the eternal gospel? What are the elements of the message? Let's list them:
      1. Fear (respect) God
      2. Glorify God
      3. Hour of judgment has come
      4. Worship the Creator. Verse 6 adds that this is a universal message.

    4. What does it mean to fear God? (Fear ("phobeo": to be in awe of) God.)

    5. What does verse 7 suggest is the reason for us to fear God? (This is not some little story about a teacher, who we decided to follow, who it turns out died like a criminal and we are ashamed about it. This is the watershed event in the history of the world. And our God prevailed! We can choose Him or the Dragon and his buddies. The final decision time is here for all the inhabitants of earth. So fear God. Be in awe of Him and what He did to defeat the Dragon and give us free-choice.)

    6. What do you think it means to "give God glory?" (The Greek word is "doxa." Vines says "always `good opinion, praise, honor, glory, an appearance commanding respect, magnificence, excellence, manifestation of glory.'")

      1. Let's get practical: If I said to you, give God glory this week, what would you do?

    7. When we read that we should worship God, what comes to mind? That is, what does it mean to worship?

      1. Consider that the Greek word for worship is "Proskeneo" which literally means to "pros" "towards" and "kuneo" "to kiss." Kisses to God! (Strong's suggests like a dog licks his master's hand.)

    1. The angel links fearing God to the judgment. To what does the angel link worshiping God? ( Revelation 14:7 tells us to worship God because He is the Creator.)

      1. Is believing in the Creation, and rejecting Evolution, a key element to worshiping God?

      1. If you do not believe in Creation, are you able to properly worship God?

      2. If you did not believe in Creation, on what basis would you be worshiping God? (A literal Creation is one of the most controverted aspects of the Bible. Many people say they believe in God, "believe" in the Bible, yet do not believe in a literal Creation.)

      3. Is a literal Creation a fundamental truth? Or is this just one of those debated and debatable things that has little, if anything to do with your salvation? (It is fundamental. Consider the first chapter of the Gospel of John. If you do not believe that God made us, then it is more difficult to believe that He "recreated us" when He arose. If you do not believe either of those (Creation or recreation), it is hard to understand the basis for your worship.)

    1. When you put these two concepts together: worship and Creation, what immediately comes to mind? ( Exodus 20:8-11: the Fourth of the Ten Commandments. It tells us to keep the Sabbath because it is a memorial to God's act of Creation. This puts the issue of worshiping God on the seventh-day as "front and center" in the final conflict between the special messengers of God and the Dragon and his beast buddies. Compare Revelation 12:17)

  1. The Message: Second Angel

    1. Read Revelation 14:8. What is Babylon? (In Genesis 11 it began with building a city that could survive another flood. So this is the ideology of not believing God, but man trusting himself.)

      1. What is the "good news" about Babylon? (That it has fallen. This system of belief has been defeated.)

    2. Is there a relationship between the messages of the First and Second angels? (Yes! They both teach us that the controversy is over "God worship" versus "man worship." This reminds us that the efforts of the two Beast buddies is to promote "works oriented" religion. A "works oriented" religion includes all of the major non-Christian religions of the world from Islam to Buddhism to Judaism. In addition, it sweeps in classic Catholicism and any Protestant religion that blurs the line between works and salvation by faith alone. (Regular readers of this lesson might very well believe that I blur the line by my strong emphasis on a changed life. I trust I am not helping the "Beast buddies!))

  2. The Message: Third Angel

    1. Read Revelation 14:9-11. Some awful stuff, right? How are the people identified who have these terrible things happen to them? (The mark of the beast.)

      1. How do we get the mark? (Worshiping the Sea Beast ( Revelation 13:1, 11-12) and his image.)
    2. We have two groups: one having the seal of the living God, and another having the mark of the beast. These two groups seem to have the mark or the seal in a common place. Where is that?(The forehead. Compare Revelation 14:9 with Revelation 7:3.)

      1. What is the significance of that?(Notice that the seal of the righteous is only on the forehead. The seal for the wicked can be on either the forehead or the hand. This indicates that choosing God can only be a mental decision. On the other hand, choosing Satan can either be a mental decision or just going along with the crowd or going along with coercion.)

    1. Friend, do you want to be part of the 144,000? God asks you to make a decision for Him today. Will you join Him and help spread the messages of the three angels?

  1. Next Week: The Climax of Apocalyptic Expectation: The Blessed Hope.

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