Hell is a difficult concept to both think about, but since it is a literal place, we need to understand what the Bible says about it. Learn more in this message.
The Wine of His Wrath
Grammy award winning musician, Carlos Santana has sold more than 10 million copies of one album alone . . . his album entitled, Supernatural. He has been interviewed often, of course, and he openly informs people of the influence of an angel in his life.
According to one interview, Santana often hears the angel’s voice as he meditates in front of his fireplace. For several years now, he claims to be in contact with his spirit guide, Metatron. Metatron, he explained in one interview, is an archangel and a guide for him – and evidently for a lot of people who believe Metatron is the highest angelic being created.
Obviously, that raises flags for the believer who understands from the Bible that Satan was the highest angel who fell after attempting to dethrone God – called an angel of light (Isaiah 14 and 2 Corinthians 11).
With candles lit, and a yellow legal pad at one side, Carlos Santana sits in his room, softly chanting, incense burning, candles flickering and all of a sudden he explains, I hear his voice – an inner voice – and I know I can trust it. His voice has told me that I would be able to connect molecules with light over radio frequencies so that my music would be popular again. And then he said with perfect confidence to this reporter, you can trust his voice . . . his voice will never take you to the desert.” / Chris Heath, “The Epic Life of Carlos Santana” citation: Preachingtoday.com/Santana’s wayward Spirituality
It might not. It might take you to hell; which is far worse than any desert.
The warning of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians in the first century is just as needed in the 21st century. Even if an angel comes preaching a different gospel – that is, if he delivers a different message than the one you’ve already received from Christ through His Apostle – the Gospel you’ve already received, let him be accursed. (Galatian 1:8)
For some time now, we’ve observed in our study through Revelation, the world has been captivated by a man empowered and energized by the Angel of Light. This man we know as the Antichrist has effectively been channeling the message of a fallen angel – Satan himself.
And this fallen angel – through the Antichrist and the False Prophet – is in the process of deceiving the whole world.
At the height of this influence – at the height of the popularity of the Antichrist – somewhere past the mid-point of the Tribulation, John the Apostle records that suddenly, 3 angels begin to deliver a gospel message – euanggelion – a message of their own.
And their gospel messages are drastically different from the Antichrist’s message.
The first angel in Revelation 14:6 circled the globe, preaching that the human race needed to fear God and give Him glory and worship Him alone. In verse 7, the angel says effectively that God is worthy of the worship of creation because God happens to be the Creator.
What a dramatic scene. Imagine an angel flying high in the sky, with a booming voice announcing that mankind is worshipping the wrong god – the Antichrist.
Then another angel appears in verse 8, announcing the coming collapse of the world kingdoms – here referred to as Babylon.
This angel delivers a warning to all the nations that are drinking the wine of Babylon’s immorality – they are literally partying with the Prince of darkness.
In Babylon of old, a man’s hand suddenly appeared and wrote a message on the palace wall of the King as all the kingdom’s big shots partied it up – they had just begun drinking their wine from the temple vessels as an act of sacrilege and blasphemy.
And the hand wrote on the wall, translated by Daniel the prophet to the terrified crowd; “You have been weighed in the balances and found lacking” . . . in other words, “you’re in deep trouble with God” . . . and that very night Babylon fell to enemy soldiers. (Daniel 5)
Now, the message appears again, on this time it isn’t a handwritten message on a wall, it’s a living angel in the sky. Again, it even uses the metaphor of drinking and partying.
You’re drinking wine with Babylon – in other words, “You’ve partnered in your blasphemy and immorality with the kingdom of Babylon and you are in deep trouble with God.”
I can only imagine these angels have the attention of the human race – if only for a few moments at a time.
And now a third angel appears, following the first two, verse 9, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10. he also will drink the wine of the wrath of God.”
In other words, if you worship the enemy of God, you will experience the wrath of God.
Notice further in verse 10. He will also drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger
This message is to literally frighten potential worshippers of the Antichrist into believing the gospel. / Robert L. Thomas, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 1995), p. 209
The angel reveals the doom of those who follow the antichrist.
For those who say our preaching or teaching should never scare unbelievers with the reality of hell, they need to study this angel’s message.
Besides, tell me how you preach about hell without scaring unbelievers.
Hell is scary. And if you didn’t know that; if you come here today believing Hell is a figment of somebody’s imagination or a creation of some religion to keep people honest; or that hell is a bad day stuck in a traffic jam, just hang on.
I’m so glad you’re listening.
The gospel isn’t just, “Believe in Christ and repent of your sin in order to go to heaven”; it’s also just as correct to say, “Believe in Christ and repent of your sin in order not to go to hell.”
Avoiding the wrath of God is a very good thing – and I’m recommending it to everyone today!
This third angel will basically spend all his time warning the world of a coming judgment.
His message is intended to frighten those tempted to take the mark of the beast by informing them of the terror of a literal, everlasting place of torment.
It occurred to me in my study, that the contemporary angels of today – the ones floating in and out of séances and musicians living rooms and new age gurus have nothing to say of affirming the creative power and handiwork of God. They instead tell people that they are equally god. So you can create your own destiny and you can speak to the universe and create your own reality . . . exercise your divinity!
Furthermore, the popular angelic messages today speak of divine love and never a word about divine wrath.
Most of the messages I’ve read about from supposed angels basically boils down to God loves everybody. In a sense that’s true.
But have you ever heard a message from one f them that said, “God is angry with you.”
That’ll pack ‘em in.
Judgment is coming and God is really angry! This happens to be the message of the 3rd angel.
This was in fact the gospel message that sparked a great awakening. It all began when Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon that lit the fires of revival. It was entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of a Happy God.”
No . . . “People who’ve made some bad choices in life in the hands of a Loving God.”
No . . . “Victims in the Hands of a Therapeutic God”
No . . . “Negative thinkers in the hands of a Positive God who wants to fulfill their vision and make their lives the best life now.”
No . . . but those are being preached in pulpits today in our cities and it is little wonder why there is no revival.
Jonathan Edwards preached an authentic gospel message entitled, if you can imagine it – Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.
Here’s an excerpt from his sermon manuscript which he read without ever looking up;
The pit is prepared. The fire is made ready. The furnace is now hot ready to receive them. The flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is sharp and held over them and the pit has opened its mouth under them . . . O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in.
That’s the gospel of this angel.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we typically don’t think of God as angry or furious or wrathful.
Evidently that happens to be a part of Satan’s strategy, because when angels are sent to deliver the message from God to the planet, the fact that He is angry and wrathful is top news.
This is the other side of God that Satan would like kept out of sight.
And he’s constantly grooming false teachers to keep it out of the public marketplace.
The messages of positive thinkers and positive word movement pastors refuse to talk about sin and judgment and repentance and certainly the wrath of God.
Michal Horton, evangelical author and teacher recently reviewed and summarized messages that dominate Christian TV and radio; I watched some of an interview with him just the other day. He said that you can boil the basic premise of their messages down to this: “God is nice, you’re nice, so be nice.”
And you could add, “And if you’ll be nice, God will be even nicer to you.”
The gospel then is nothing more than behavior modification and a positive outlook on life.
Theirs is another gospel.
I agree with one author who wrote, “A shallow gospel presentation that does not present the reality of eternal judgment, the reality of the Law of God, the reality of condemnation, eternal hell, does not warn of God’s wrath, that does not crush the sinner under the weight of his violation of the law of God, that does not make him stand before God guilty and without excuse, the gospel presentation that does not do this is not a true gospel presentation. / Excerpt taken from a sermon by John MacArthur, “Apostates, Be Warned”, Pr. 2 (http://www.gty.org)
Ladies and Gentlemen, it really gets back to the authority of scripture. What has God said?!
And the reason I spend time basically introducing the biblical gospel and both sides of the nature of the gospel and the authority of scripture as it defines the doctrine of God’s wrath and eternal judgment is because otherwise you just wouldn’t believe what we’re about to study.
The mind of even the Christian is shocked by it. Meditate on the wrath of God and eternal torment and even the most stalwart believer shudders to consider what this will mean for unbelievers.
I would not believe this were it not for scripture.
This angel delivers several characteristics of the wrath of God in his brief message here in Revelation 14.
- The first characteristic is that the wrath of God is personal.
Notice the personal pronouns through his remarks: you could circle them – 9. If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10. he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone . . .
This is personal . . . not metaphorical or mystical. This is reality.
This is the horror of a person who experiences a literal mark on his forehead or hand and because of their blasphemy and idolatry being promised a literal torment in a literal place of literal fire and brimstone. This text is also a peek into the reality of a coming future lake of fire as the eternal state for unbelievers.
And many supposed evangelicals no longer believe in what this angel is preaching. They are scrambling for loopholes.
How do you arrive at denying a literal, eternal hell?
Well you don’t start with denying it – or any other key doctrine for that matter.
You redefine it. In fact, you start by redefining scripture and one of the most popular ways is to redefine scripture in terms of relevance.
In other words, the only parts of the Bible that matter are the parts that are relevant and we don’t think hell is relevant. How convenient is that?
And if you’re thinking, “Yea, churches started doing that in recent years . . . I hear talk of relevance all the time.
Actually, if you back up into American history you’ll discover where the stage was set for our generation today to deny the message of this third angel and the coming eternal wrath of God.
In the 1920’s a liberal pastor surfaced by the name, Harry Emerson Fosdick. Even though he was originally a Baptist pastor, he avoided charges of heresy while pastoring a Presbyterian church in New York. He avoided the charges by resigning.
With the full funding of John D. Rockefeller, a new interdenominational church called Riverside Church was built for him overlooking the Hudson River. It was soon packed to capacity.
Fosdick was a best-selling author of books related to positive thinking and the generous grace of God. He literally influenced seminaries and pastors all across this country. At the height of his fame, his picture graced the cover for Time Magazine in 1930.
In an interview in 1928, his words became the standard for American pastors especially who longed to be accepted by their culture. With Fosdick’s words, they found their champion. Now, they would begin the long slide away from Bible exposition and verse by verse teaching.
In this seminal interview, Fosdick said, “Preachers who pick out texts from the Bible and then proceed to give their historic settings, their logical meaning in the context, their place in the theology of the writer, with a few practical reflections, are grossly misusing the Bible, Nobody who speaks to the public assumes that the vital interests of the people are located in the meaning of words spoken 2,000 years ago.” / Interview in Harpers Magazine, July , 1928
Which led a lot of ministers to say, “Well, of course that’s true . . . how could we have been so old fashioned to follow Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).
I mean, we’re well past believing that the words of scripture are actually inspired and profitable to effectively and thoroughly equip the believer for life – for every good deed (2 timothy 3:16-17).
We’re way past that!
Trouble is, Fosdick was heard and he created an informal movement of thousands of pastors and seminary professors and teachers.
He became the inventor, in modern terminology, of what we call today the seeker driven church. For many it is a badge of honor.
In the seeker movement, the desire to relate to the unbeliever is more important than the desire to convict the unbeliever with the gospel. The desire to be relevant overshadows the desire to be Biblical.
Preaching – if it is even called that – begins with the needs of the audience rather than scripture which leads to the transformationof the audience (Romans 12:1-2).
With almost prophetic precision Fosdick wrote these words that are now considered gospel truth in the evangelical church, and I quote, “Who seriously supposes that one in a hundred of the congregation cares, to start with, what Moses, Isaiah, Paul or John meant in those verses. So the preacher should not end, but start with thinking about the audience’s vital needs, and then let the whole sermon be organized around a constructive endeavor to meet those [felt] needs . . . all this is good sense and good psychology.” / Harry Emerson Fosdick, quoted by John MacArthur in Ashamed of the Gospel (Crossway Books, 2001), p. 76
The church growth methods of the late 20th century and into the 21st century are nothing more than the repackaging of this pastor in New York.
One of the most popular authors who really did nothing more than bring Harry Emerson Fosdick into modern church growth was not a pastor, but a pollster by the name of George Barna who wrote another book that sent pastors scurrying to the book stores.
The book was entitled, “Marketing the Church” in which he wrote, and I quote, “It is critical that we keep in mind a fundamental principle of Christian communication: the audience, not the message, is sovereign. If our advertising - I guess he means our preaching – is going to stop people in the midst of hectic schedules . . . our message has to be adapted to the needs of the audience (sound familiar? Then he says). When we produce communication that is based on a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, rather than on sensitivity to people’s needs, people will reject our message.” / Ibid, p. 76
In other words, whatever you do, remember, the feelings of your audience are more important than delivering the truth.
Read the messages and conversations of Jesus Christ. One of the things that will strike you is how sensitive He is to the feelings of the Pharisees.
He didn’t call them a brood of butterflies but a brood of snakes.
If that isn’t twisted enough, Barna went on to explain how the Apostle Paul felt this way too. He writes, “Paul studied strategies and tactics that would enable him to attract the most prospects and realize the greatest number of conversions.” / Ibid, p. 76
Are you kidding?
Let Paul speak for himself! When I came to you, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God (1 Corinthians 2:1).
In other words, I didn’t come with a strategy or tactic to realize the greatest number of conversions! He wrote further, For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (2 Corinthians 2:2-5)
Can it get any clearer than that?!
Paul said, “When I came to you, I didn’t begin with your felt needs, I began with character of Christ. What mattered the most to me was not that I was relevant to you, but that you were related to Christ.”
I wanted to deliver the truth about Christ’s crucifixion – that is, that Christ suffered the wrath of God for the sake of sinners; Christ paid the penalty of sin so you won’t have to go to hell.
I’m amazed at the popularity today of emergent church leaders like Brian McLaren who say things like, “When somebody asks me if Christ is the only way to heaven, I have a problem with that because that assumes the primary purpose Jesus came to earth was to get people to escape hell and take them to heaven.” / Cited on www.youtube/mclaren
Of course it was.
I have come – that is, for this purpose I am here – to seek and to save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)
Say this with me, so many preachers have forgotten the fundamental truth of the gospel – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – why – that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
Sounds like Christ came specifically to save us from hell and take us to heaven.
Can there be anything greater than the gospel of salvation?
Salvation is personal . . . you must accept Christ by faith in Him alone.
For just as salvation is personal, so is the God’s coming wrath upon those who don’t believe.
- Secondly, not only is the wrath of God personal, it is terrible.
Notice verse 10. He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger.
This is without a doubt one of the most compact, compressed sentences regarding the wrath of God found in scripture.
His wrath will one day be unmixed. In John’s day wine was typically mixed with water – even the Romans believed to drink unmixed wine was barbaric and they normally mixed it at 1 part grape juice to 3 parts water.
So John uses that practice as a metaphor for the undiluted wrath of God. It is “straight wrath”. Mercy and compassion will not be mixed into the cup. Only wrath and anger.
Can you imagine that terrible moment the world will one day face.
No wonder David wrote, “Who may stand in Your presence when You are angry?” (Psalm 76:7)
The word John uses to refer to God’s anger is the Greek word thumos (qumoV) which gives us our word thermometer. It means burning anger. / Fritz Rienecker/Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (Regency, 1976), p. 844
I saw a glimpse of thumos one afternoon in the eyes of a kid in my neighborhood. I can still picture the side yard about 3 houses away from where I lived. I was about 10 years old at the time and this bigger boy was older, bigger and stronger. I don’t remember the content of our conversation, but I’m sure I was sharing the gospel with him. And he was really mad. I remember him getting right up over me and I was pretty sure I was gonna die. I remember balling up my little fist and the next thing I knew, he was holding his bloody nose. There was that awkward moment of, “What was I thinking and what do I do now?” I took off running. Back then I was short for my age, a skinny little kid with a head of red hair – you’ll have to use your imagination. I took off running and he was right behind me yelling all sorts of unbiblical things. At the edge of the yard was a chain-link fence about 4 feet high. That fence was the only thing between me and life. I don’t think I even touched it – but I’m sure I did a hand spring off the top of it . . . the other kid ran into the fence, had to stop to climb over it and by then I had escaped and lived to grow up and become your pastor.
Listen, that kid was filled with thumos.
Can you imagine God filled with thumos? Can you imagine seeing undiluted anger in his eyes as he looked at you?
John adds to that the word wrath. Wrath is from the Greek word – orgh from which we get our word orgy. This word refers to settled, deliberate, merciless, wrath. / John MacArthur, Revelation, Volume 2 (Moody Press, 2000), p. 91
No wonder David could write this warning; Now therefore . . . show discernment; take warning . . . worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. (Psalm 2:10-12)
That’s the gospel! Both sides of it!
Escape to Him or one day you will have no escape from Him. You can’t outrun God.
Run to Him now . . . you cannot outrun Him later.
His wrath is personal and it is terrible.
This is the gospel of the angel in Revelation 14. It’s a different gospel from the gospel of messengers and pastors and an angel named Metatron, who brings messages of success and good times.
The world has followed the voice of their angels and their experts and their pseudo-pastors and their pseudo-spiritual advisors and they will be led past the desert, directly into a chasm called Hell.
This is the other side of the gospel. And it must not remain a secret.
For those who believe, this message from angels is, for us, an encouragement to tell others of the impending judgment of God; it compels us to live for Christ in a world without hope so that they can see in us our distinctive lives and our pure lifestyles – literally our good deeds and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
If you’re not a believer, these angels of Revelation who will one day warn the human race to reverence God and follow God and worship God and surrender to God . . . they are even now warning you. Yu can benefit from their future warning today!
Let me invite you to receive Christ’s pardon and forgiveness for your sins.
In 1833, the U. S. Supreme Court made an interesting decision. It had to do with a George Wilson and James Porter. They had robbed a U. S. mail train and were caught, brought to trial, found guilty and sentenced to be hung.
James Porter went to the gallows first and hung by the neck until dead.
George Wilson’s friends interceded on his behalf and President Andrew Jackson issued a formal pardon.
The charges resulting in the death sentence were completely dropped. Wilson would have to serve only a prison term of twenty years for his other crimes.
Incredibly George Wilson Refused The Pardon!
The sheriff didn’t know what to do. You can’t hang a pardoned man. Wilson was returned to court as they attempted to "force" the pardon upon him. He refused to go free.
I was able to read some of the court documents that are available online.
It was recorded that George Wilson chose to, and I quote, “waive and decline any advantage or protection which might be supposed to arise from the pardon referred to . . .”
His case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court.
The Attorney-General made the following comments:
“The court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it.”
The case was decided, and Supreme Court Justice John Marshall wrote the following opinion, “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have no power in a court to force it on him.”
And George Wilson was hung by his neck and he died. / George Wilson’s Pardon/online THE UNITED STATES VERSUS GEORGE WILSON (Peters 7 Report Sections 150-163)
My friend, you can be pardoned today – through Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf – he died for your crimes – you can go free. But you have to accept his offer.
The wrath of God is personal . . . and so is redemption. You don’t inherit it from your parents or grandparents. You don’t have redemption rub off on you from your wife or children or husband.
You must personally believe on Him who died for you. You must personally accept the pardon of Christ forgiveness. You must personally follow Christ as your master and Lord.
Why would you do anything less, in light of His coming wrath!