Week - 27 Happy Are The Dead? Revelation 14:12-13
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall Introduction:
Happiness, for many people is their ultimate prize in this life. They give all their efforts toward the pursuit of it even though lasting, continuous happiness is allusive.
Some have imagined that lasting happiness could be found in the possession of an abundance of material things, and in being able to indulge your appetites whenever you wanted. If that were so, you would think that America would be deliriously happy.
But it is not!
Our country has the dubious honor of consuming the most anti-depressant drugs. We have high rates of divorce, suicide, depression, child abuse, and other personal and social problems that are beyond description; so much for the theory that the road to lasting happiness leads to the possession of things and in the immediate gratification of our appetites.
Even though our constitution guarantees our pursuit of happiness, it does not tell us how to find lasting happiness.
The Bible uses a word that is frequently translated happy. It is the word Blessed. In the N.T., it is a translation of the Greek word Markarios, which means to be happy or joyful, to have a heart that is glad and a life that is content. Sometimes, the word is used to refer to the blissful state of being in divine favor, or receiving an eternal treasure from God. In certain contexts, it means to be in a state of favor or in a favorable condition.
The Bible explains to us both the way to this blessedness as well as the state of those who are in that condition.
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
7 “Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
4 “Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.”
1 “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.”
In the record of the teachings of Jesus commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, Christ spoke of the blessedness of being poor in Spirit, mourning over one’s sins, hungering and thirsting after righteousness. He even spoke of the blessedness of being persecuted for His namesake (Matthew 5:3-12).
12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
But the most startling pronouncement of blessing in all the Scriptures would have to be the one made in the following passage.
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.”
Now wait just a minute. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say, “Blessed are the living?” How could dying be a blessed condition?
This question will be answered from our study today as well as some practical insights into the essence of being in a blessed condition (Revelation 14:6-13).
Within this section of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, there are four important declarations that are communicated to the people who find themselves in the midst of the Great Tribulation. Three of these proclamations are addressed to those who have not yet turned to God for the salvation of their souls (Revelation 14:6-11). The fourth message is directed to those who are called “The Saints.”
I. The Exhortation to Loyalty (Revelation 14:12)
John adds a word of exhortation in response to the third angel’s promise of eternal torment for those who would worship the Antichrist and receive his mark.
12 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”
In light of the command to worship the beast or be killed, and the command to receive the mark of the beast or starve, you can be sure that many faithful followers of Jesus will suffer much at the hands of those who are loyal to the Antichrist, during the time of the Great Tribulation. Indeed, many will suffer unto death.
And since the fate of those who worship the Beast is so dreadful, it is very important for those who follow Christ to obey the commands of the Lord no matter the personal cost. And to persevere in the faith no matter the outcome.
For it is better to suffer death at the hands of the Antichrist than to suffer eternal torment with the Antichrist.
The Set Apart Ones, who are the Saints, learn to live their lives in deference to God’s timetable. They do not take the execution of God’s judgments into their own hands. They are called upon to pronounce God’s judgment to come. But, they are not responsible for the execution of God’s judgment to come.
That is neither their place nor their responsibility. But they patiently endure what this fallen world may inflict upon them as they wait for the righteous judgment of God to be fully exercised. In his timetable, all things will be made right. And in this they trust and hope.
This passage provides us with a clear definition of those who are rightly called “Saints.” They are not long ago departed believers who are canonized by the church as Saints. They are not recognized by a future generation as those worthy to bear the privileged title of “Saints” because of some unusual and sacrificial benevolent acts done for the benefit of others.
“Saints” or “Set Apart Ones” are living breathing true believers in Jesus Christ. This is the title of all who have trusted in Jesus Christ has their exclusive Lord and Savior.
1 Corinthians 1:1-2
1 “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:”
Those who are true “Saints” are distinguished by their obedience to Christ and their steadfast adherence to the faith no matter the personal cost. This obedience and perseverance is not a requirement for becoming a saint but rather a result of becoming a saint.
Continuance in the Faith, no matter the cost, proves the reality of a genuine conversion experience.
21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
IV. The Pronouncement of Blessing (Revelation 14:13)
13 “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” (From this point in the Great Tribulation, all the way to its end).”
This is the second beatitude mentioned in this book thus far (there are seven altogether 1:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). The first is the promise of blessing for those who read this book of prophecy, hear it with their hearts and apply it to their lives (Revelation 1:3).
John is commanded (aorist imperative), to write the truth down that those who die in the Lord, (presumably as martyrs- “Victims executed at the prompting of the Antichrist”) are truly the blessed ones.
No doubt, this pronouncement is given as an incentive to the suffering saints of the Tribulation to remain loyal even if it costs them their lives. (Again, it is better to suffer death now and immediately be with Christ, then to deny the Lord and spend eternity with the Beast in the Lake of Fire).
The voice that John hears is not the voice of another angel. It is the voice of the Lord. This is a divine pronouncement of the certainty of the blessedness for those who remain loyal to him even undo death. In this way, they would be following the example of the Lord himself whose life was given in pursuit of the will of God.
These blessed ones are those spoken of earlier in this book in Revelation 12:11, “who did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
And so, this was to serve as a written record of encouragement and incentive for those who read these words while in the crucible of suffering in the name of the Lord.
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
None other than the Holy Spirit Himself confirms the truth of this blessed condition. (just as a side note, this passage indicates that it is the Holy Spirit giving this word of affirmation - this serves as further evidence of His personhood).
“Yes” is emphatic in the original, indicating a strong affirmation. The Holy Spirit gives two more reasons for the blessedness of those who die a martyr’s death at the hands of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation. The first reason is “they will rest from their labor”, as opposed to the damned, that will not know a moment’s rest throughout eternity (14:11).
They will now rest from all the pain, suffering, and agony experienced by them in their commitment to remain loyal to Christ and their testimonies in the midst of a world that has given itself fully to Satan and the worship of the Antichrist.
The second reason the Holy Spirit gives for his affirmation of the blessedness of those who follow Christ even to the point of death is that their deeds will follow them.
“Deeds” refers to their service given to the Lord and others in the name of the Lord no matter the personal cost to themselves. The Holy Spirit affirms that such acts of service will follow them from this life into the next, and that their deeds will be duly noted and properly rewarded.
The reward is not entrance into heaven. That was secured for them at the point of the exercise of saving faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. It is correct to say that their entrance into heaven was secured by the elective purposes of God before the foundation of the world.
The issue here is rewards for service given to the Lord even in the face of extreme persecution at the hands of the Antichrist and his followers. These rewards are not the product of legalistic efforts given to secure divine favor. These deeds are the manifestation of their love and devotion to their Lord and master - Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly states that God will reward genuine believers in heaven for their earthly service to Him.
10 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
The Apostle Paul, in the face imminent death as a martyr told Pastor Timothy,
2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
1. The essence of a blessed condition is not rooted in possessing the temporal values and treasures of this earth. It is found in being rightly related to God and possessing the entire spiritual treasures that come with such a relationship.
2. The ultimate expression of the world system is presently destroyed from God’s perspective. Therefore, the believers today must never give their love, loyalty and dedication to that which is destined for destruction (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Romans 12:2).
3. Eternal rewards, although yet future, are secured in the present by what you do today in the name of the Lord for the advancement of His kingdom, the proclamation of the Gospel and in service to others.