Isaiah 44 & Revelation 14

Isaiah 44

    “But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
        Israel whom I have chosen!
    Thus says the LORD who made you,
        who formed you from the womb and will help you:
    Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
        Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
    For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
        and streams on the dry ground;
    I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
        and my blessing on your descendants.
    They shall spring up among the grass
        like willows by flowing streams.
    This one will say, ‘I am the LORD's,’
        another will call on the name of Jacob,
    and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD's,’
        and name himself by the name of Israel.”
        Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel
        and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
    “I am the first and I am the last;
        besides me there is no god.
    Who is like me? Let him proclaim it.
        Let him declare and set it before me,
    since I appointed an ancient people.
        Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
    Fear not, nor be afraid;
        have I not told you from of old and declared it?
        And you are my witnesses!
    Is there a God besides me?
        There is no Rock; I know not any.”
        All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

    The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

    They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

    Remember these things, O Jacob,
        and Israel, for you are my servant;
    I formed you; you are my servant;
        O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
    I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
        and your sins like mist;
    return to me, for I have redeemed you.
    Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
        shout, O depths of the earth;
    break forth into singing, O mountains,
        O forest, and every tree in it!
    For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
        and will be glorified in Israel.
    Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
        who formed you from the womb:
    “I am the LORD, who made all things,
        who alone stretched out the heavens,
        who spread out the earth by myself,
    who frustrates the signs of liars
        and makes fools of diviners,
    who turns wise men back
        and makes their knowledge foolish,
    who confirms the word of his servant
        and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
    who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
        and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
        and I will raise up their ruins’;
    who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
        I will dry up your rivers’;
    who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
        and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
    saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
        and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

(Isaiah 44 ESV)

Revelation 14

    Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

    Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

    Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

    And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

    Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

    And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

    Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

    Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse's bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

(Revelation 14 ESV)

Revelation 14: We must consider the words pronounced by the first angel in this sequence; “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Our God is worthy of our worship, and our God is worthy of our fear. The great sin of all mankind is that “There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3). A healthy fear of God produces and protects a healthy faith in God.

Those who fear this world more than they fear God are subject to serve this world rather than serving God. Those who fear the approval of man more than the approval of God are likely to live for man rather than living for God. Those who fear suffering and persecution more than they fear God will seek to save their lives rather than losing it.

The fear of the Lord is not some spiritual scare tactic. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9). The fear of the Lord prolongs life (Proverbs 10). In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence (Proverbs 14). The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14). And the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him (Psalm 25) and the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him (Psalm 33). We must carefully consider the angel's pronouncement and the words of that great Old Testament preacher, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12).