Rest or Torment? – Revelation 14:6-13

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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Rest in peace” has become a common expression used when someone passes away. It was said of those who died in the 911 attack, after the Sandy Hook shootings, when celebrities die due to drugs or suicide, and countless times regarding less public figures. It has become ingrained in our culture to think of those who die as resting in peace. This concept is furthered suggested by coffins that look like a plush bed. But do all who die rest in peace?

The future scene the Apostle John witnesses in Revelation 14 spans the entire seven years of the Tribulation. Verse 6 refers to an angel proclaiming “the everlasting gospel” to all nations of the world. This is not our present Gospel of Grace. It is the revived Gospel of the Kingdom, which offers eternal life to those who trust in the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. Verse 7 warns of coming judgment and to worship only the Lord Jesus who created the world. Verse 8 announces Babylon (which pictures the vile, worldly worship of Anti-Christ) as “fallen.” This won’t occur until the end of the Tribulation. With every soul in every land previously warned to only worship Christ, another angel announces that those who reject the Savior and worship the beast, including taking his mark, will be “tormented with fire and brimstone…for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night…(vss. 10-11). Clearly, the lost who refuse eternal salvation through faith in Christ will not “rest in peace.” To the contrary, they will have no rest in unending “torment.” But we must remember, it will be their choice to not heed divine warnings and offers of eternal life. Contrast this with the promise given to the martyred saints who are told, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them” (vs. 13). These tribulation saints will be given “rest” from earthly persecution and torture. They will be able to wait in tranquility until they are resurrected into their promised Millennial Kingdom, where proportionate reward awaits them.

While these descriptions apply specifically to those in the Tribulation, there are parallel principles for those in every dispensation. All who reject Christ will suffer unending “torment” in the Lake of Fire. It will be their choice. Only those who trust in Christ are “blessed” with eternal life and rest. Ask someone today if they want to “rest in peace?”

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."