In the last letter of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, God sends a last message of warning to a dying planet – Revelation 14:6-12. This message is given by three angels to “those who dwell on the earth,” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a serious message – the consequences are life and death – and it’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
Revelation 14:9-11 proclaims: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation is all about worship. The book begins with the worship of Jesus and then it’s revealed in Revelation 12-13 that there is a counterfeit trinity that also wants to be worshipped. What is worship?
It’s the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for someone or something. What does that mean? Words that help us understand worship: veneration, glorification, glory, exaltation, admiration, adulation, idolization.
Worship is powerful and affects us to the core of who we are – we become or reflect what we worship. The last part of this warning message reveals the terrible consequences that come from worshipping the beast. The repeating of the warning stresses how important it is to hear it.
Wouldn’t it make sense to take time to understand who the beast is?