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Revelation 14:13

I heard a voice from heaven saying to me
This is probably the same voice which told John to “seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered” (Rev. Rev. 10:4+), and called the two witnesses up to heaven (Rev. Rev. 11:12+). The voice is undoubtedly that of God, either the Father or the Lamb, for it says, “Come out of her [Babylon] my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” [emphasis added] (Rev. Rev. 18:4+). There is great comfort in the statement which follows because it comes from the highest authority. Write
It was Jesus who first told John to “write in a book” (Rev. Rev. 11:1+ cf. Rev. Rev. 1:19+; Rev. 2:1+, Rev. 2:8+, Rev. 2:12+, Rev. 2:18+; Rev. 3:1+, Rev. 3:7+, Rev. 3:14+). Thus, it may be the Lamb which is speaking here. blessed are the dead who die in the Lord
Who die is ἀποθνῄσκοντες [apothnēskontes] , those presently dying. Although there are many blessings for believers mentioned in this book (Rev. Rev. 1:3+; Rev. 16:15+; Rev. 19:9+; Rev. 22:7+, Rev. 22:14+), these receive a special blessing in recognition of the severe conditions they find themselves in. This is a unique time of incomparable Christian persecution coming upon the earth, “Those who ‘die in the Lord henceforth,’ do so as martyrs.”1 The victory of the saints will not be in influencing the social institutions of the globe toward service of God—as lofty a goal as that might be. It will be found in their cleaving to the Lamb through thick and thin, in living and dying. No more so than at the end of present history when the world issues one last blasphemous attempt to throw off the Father and His Christ. This recognition by God underscores the horrors of the reign of the Beast which includes unprecedented slaughter of Christians by the Beast (Rev. Rev. 13:7+), his image (Rev. Rev. 13:15+), and the Harlot (Rev. Rev. 17:6+). “Hence the special Benediction here pronounced upon all such as die rather than yield to the temptations and threats of the Beast and the False Prophet. ‘Worship, or be slain’ is their cry. ‘Be slain, and be blessed’ is God’s encouraging reply to them.”2 Those who die during this time receive special mention at the commencement of the Millennial Kingdom, having undergone martyrdom (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Ps. Ps. 116:15). See #20 - Saints. “Yes,” says the Spirit
The third Person of the Trinity joins in bestowing this special blessing upon the saints, most of whom will give their ultimate testimony in their martyrdom (Rev. Rev. 12:11+; Rev. 15:2+). Participation of the Holy Spirit in this blessing is of great significance, for it indicates His intimate involvement in the lives of the saints during the trials of the end. For it is only by the Spirit that those who are martyred are able to hold their testimony to the end (Rev. Rev. 12:11+; Rev. 20:4+). that they may rest
Immediately upon death, all those of the faith obtain rest (Isa. Isa. 57:1; Dan. Dan. 12:13; Luke Luke 23:43). This book stands in complete agreement with the teaching of Paul: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2Cor. 2Cor. 5:8); “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Php. Php. 1:23). The martyrs attending the opening of the fifth seal are found under the altar in heaven (Rev. Rev. 6:9+). The ones coming out of the Great Tribulation are immediately before the throne of God (Rev. Rev. 7:14+). Those who overcome the Beast and his image (by death) are seen straightway in heaven (Rev. Rev. 15:1-3+). Scripture denies the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory:

The righteous who die “in the Lord” do not suffer torment or punishment after death, as in purgatory. There is no such place as purgatory known to Scripture, and even the Apocrypha contains firm testimony against such a view in a remarkable statement at Wisdom 3:1, “But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them.”3

Those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb are completely and permanently washed! To infer that anyone, having trusted in Christ, must subsequently continue to pay for sin is completely unscriptural. It is doubly blasphemous:
  1. It denies the sufficiency of Christ’s one-time sacrifice for sin—thereby demeaning His perfect work.
  2. It infers that men could contribute something of merit on their own behalf beyond that which Christ already obtained.
The doctrine of purgatory is both a denial of Christ’s perfect work and a vain attempt to add man’s imperfect work. At its heart, it is motivated by greed and the desire to control the Biblically ignorant:

The collection of [Roman Catholic] relics in 1509 included 5,005 fragments, the viewing of which reduced one’s time in purgatory by 1,443 years. By 1518 it is estimated that there were 17,443 pieces on display in twelve aisles. Included among them were such remarkable relics as a veil sprinkled with the blood of Christ, a twig of Moses’ burning bush, and a piece of bread from the Last Supper. By 1520 the collection had grown—despite Luther’s opposition—to 19,013 holy pieces. Those who viewed the relics on All Saint’s Day and made the required contribution would receive from the pope an indulgence that would reduce time spent in purgatory—either by themselves or others—by up to 1,902,202 years and 270 days.4

their works follow them
God is intimately familiar with their works (Rev. Rev. 2:2+).

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2Ti. 2Ti. 4:7-8)

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Heb. Heb. 6:10)


Notes

1 Walter Scott, Exposition of The Revelation (London, England: Pickering & Inglis, n.d.), Rev. 14:13.

2 E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), Rev. 14:13.

3 Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), Rev. 14:13.

4 William R. Estep, Renaissance and Reformation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1986), 117.

Read Revelation 14:13