Revelation 14:8-13 / The Cost of Unbelief

Posted on January 31, 2016


This is the thirty-ninth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on January 31, 2016. This message looks at the penalty for rejecting Christ. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript.


Revelation 14:8-13


The last call for repentance has gone forth, and the proclamation of judgment follows.

The original Babylon was the birthplace of idolatry, where the inhabitants built the Tower of Babel. From that time on, this idolatry has continued to spread. During the tribulation, this new Babylon will be the seat of the antichrist, and it will continue to spread idolatry.

The people of the world will worship the antichrist, and they will be enamored with their own pleasure. Pleasure, sexual and otherwise is what they will live for, and it will have quite the intoxicating effect on them. Hence the imagery of having to “drink the wine” of God’s wrath. Fornication refers to more than just sexual sin, it represents prostitution to antichrist’s false system. A system that will fall for its many sins.

Here, the angel identifies those who are to be judged. It will be those who worship the beast and has his image. That will include everyone who has not placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

Just as the world system of the antichrist is corrupt, God’s doctrine of hell is often corrupted. The denial and/or misrepresentation of hell is a favorite of the false teachers. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny it, many liberal theologians deny it, and the well known false teacher Rob Bell has denied it (among others).

I’ve often wondered about the motives of the person who denies hell. The Bible is so clear on its existence, that you can’t make a Biblical case against it. I can only guess that the people who teach that hell doesn’t exist simply don’t believe the Word of God.

The ramifications of a denial of hell are pretty severe. If you don’t believe in it, what need is there to profess Christ? If there is no hell, the worst that could happen to a non-believer when he dies, is that he simply ceases to exist. And if there is no need to profess Christ, then why did He die?

While it may make people feel good to believe that God’s love will not send people to hell, its simply not the truth. While it may be common for Christians to say “God doesn’t send people to hell, we send ourselves there.” That is not what Scripture says. Hell is real, and God does send people there.

  • Revelation 20:15

Notice that these people are cast into the lake of fire, they are not jumping in on their own. Certainly people make the decision to reject Christ, and therefore accept the consequences of hell. However; just as a criminal willfully breaks the law, his fate is not sealed until the judge sentences him to prison. At that point, the criminal does not willingly drive himself to the prison and check himself in. No. . . he is handcuffed and taken away. In the same manner, a sinner’s fate is not sealed until God pronounces judgment. At that point, they are cast into the lake of fire. Yes, God does send people to hell.

So, what does the Bible tell us about hell?

13% of the 1850 verses that record the words of Jesus, deal with the subject of eternal judgment and Hell. Almost 8% of His teaching centered on this topic. Hell is not a word we need to avoid. Jude tells us that we need to pull people out of the fire.

  • Jude 23

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus talks about a literal and and eternal hell.

  • Mark 9:43-44
  • Mark 9:46
  • Mark 9:48
  • Matthew 25:46

Notice that Jesus says that the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. It is a place where the body never burns up, and the fire never burns out! What’s more, Jesus was actually quoting the Prophet Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 66:24

Daniel also speaks of eternal punishment:

  • Daniel 12:2

In Revelation, John speaks of eternal torment.

  • Revelation 14:9-11

As you can see, the Bible speaks very clearly about a place of eternal torment and punishment. Some People actually teach that hell is real, but the soul is annihilated. The preceding verses; however, clearly teach that the soul is eternal.

Another teaching is that people in hell will eventually repent, though the preceding verses should be enough to refute that idea, the Bible has more to say on that.

  • Matthew 13:41-42

This term “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” in the Greek, literally gives a picture of someone who is in a fit of anger and rage, not sorry and repentant. People in hell will simply be angry and blaming God, not repentant. Take the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. We see the rich man in hell, but he was not repentant, he still viewed Lazarus as a servant. Notice that in verse 24 that he wanted Lazarus to bring him some water. This man’s attitude had not changed one bit!

  • Luke 16:19-31

Yes, the Bible makes it very clear that hell is real, and that anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.

  • Revelation 20:11-15

During this time period the unbeliever will be known by the mark of the beast. Without faith in Jesus Christ, and acceptance of the sacrifice that He made on your behalf, your name will not be recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that is the only thing we should truly fear.

  • Matthew 10:28
  • Luke 12:4-5
  • Hebrews 10:31

The thought of hell may be fearful, but God’s amazing love shines through. He gave us the escape that we didn’t deserve, and “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He took the punishment that we deserved, when He could have simply turned His back. Instead, God turned His back on Jesus, so that He would never have to turn His back on us. The acceptance of God’s grace couldn’t be easier.

  • Romans 10:9

God’s people who endure persecution, should do so patiently. This is because we have the promise that those who persecuted them will be repaid with the wrath of God. Their torment will be infinitely worse than anything they can do to the saints. So the saints are to continue on in God’s work, despite any persecution which stands in the way.

After such a dire warning of hell for the unbelievers, we see that to die in the Lord is a blessing (as opposed to dying without Him). When our work here is done, those who died in the Lord will find rest.

  • Hebrews 4:9-10

Though they will rest from their works, saints will be rewarded for the work that they have done.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

What an encouragement to persevere, knowing that a day of rest and reward is coming for believers. It should also be an encouragement to share the Gospel, so that as few as possible will have to die in unbelief. Death will eventually find all of us (barring the rapture), and their are only 2 possible outcomes.

  1. Death in the Lord, and true rest (believers)
  2. Death without the Lord, and torment (unbelievers)

Which do you choose, and do you care enough to give others the option?

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons