As we arrive at Revelation 14 we are aware that chapter 13 ended with:
Rev 13:18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.
I have no intention to interpret all the signs and symbols in any chapter of Revelation because that would take far too long. We are looking at the Beatitudes in Revelation. Yet to understand chapter 13:18, you need to understand that this chapter reveals Satan’s attack by using Anti-Christian Persecution, Anti-Christian Religion and Anti-Christian Seduction in the shape of the devil’s hand, mind and seduction to corrupt the world. Hence, the beast’s number is man’s number, 666 … the number to describe lost humanity. Then in chapter 14 we find the number 144,000. Some breakaways from Christianity might say this is the only number that will be in heaven from amongst the saved … but in John’s day this number was huge and it implies the whole body of believers from the first human being that was saved up to the last. Then from verse 6-7 we read … (remember this is vision):
Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
This eternal gospel is the one true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only rescue plan for lost man. It is important to stop and consider this because many dilute, add to, change, manipulate and superimpose human ideas onto and into the gospel and this renders the gospel useless and ineffective because when man changes the divine message into a human message, it has no power and no substance. Never forget:
Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
The eternal gospel must be preached to everyone from nation, tribe, language and people … to give everyone an opportunity, not just to hear but also to decide … accept or reject … so that no one may come with excuses when the Day of Judgment arrives. That is why in the face of the eternal gospel all mankind is called to “fear God and give him glory” and “worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” … referring to the One, True, Living God who gives the eternal gospel. Verses 8-11 gives an idea of what the actual judgment will be like … and as believers see and experience these things, God’s message of encouragement is:
Rev 14:12 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”
Now we come to the second beatitude:
Rev 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” Think through this…
Blessed are Believers who Will Die Because of Their Faith
In the face of the Anti-Christian Persecution, Anti-Christian Religion and Anti-Christian Seduction, true Christians will stand against the devil’s attempts to woe us because we have responded positively to the eternal gospel. We might be battered and hammered and even killed for our faith in Jesus. Many who have served Jesus throughout all the years faced such an end to this earthly life. If you do you are blessed because you honoured Jesus and He will honour you.
Blessed are Believers who Will Die Like Everyone Else
Apart from a few like Enoch and Elijah, everyone, including believers die in the flesh.
Heb 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
If it is blessed to die in the Lord … to die as a Christian … why do we want to avoid this at all costs?
I am not saying we Christians should hand in the towel because we have work to do … I am saying that we must not fear death seeking to avoid it at all costs because death as a Christian means certain glory!
Blessed are Believers who Will Rest From Their Labours
All Christians–without exception–have been saved to serve the Lord Jesus and His Cause. The reluctant one could be disobedient or unsaved! Consider:
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Eph 4:11 be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Gal 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
(See Matthew 25:34-40.) Lazy Christians, unwilling Christians and aloof Christians might not be Christians at all because every Christian is to labour for the Lord whilst it is day for the night (death) will soon be upon us. We work for Jesus here as hard as we can for we know we will rest from “work” in heaven. Heaven will be a perpetual worship and adoration to the Occupant upon the Throne.
Blessed are Believers whose Deeds Will Follow Them to Heaven
God rewards His faithful servants! The only thing you can take with you to glory is your good deeds after salvation … your serving Jesus as per the verses above. It’s not that we serve to receive rewards. We serve because we are obedient … and in grace and mercy God will reward us in heaven. This is the reason … “their deeds will follow them”. Never forget … only Gospel Service reaps eternal rewards!
Dear Father, thank You for the great honour You have given to us Your Children to service You in practical ways on earth. Convince us in our hearts that Gospel ministry is truly worthwhile ministry because ultimately it is the only service that benefits people for eternity and in the process rewards faithful service. Help us to serve. Amen.