“Blessed Are Those Who Die in the Lord”
“From Henceforth”

The Book of Revelation contains Many Extraordinary Narratives.  But, What IS the Point of telling us Something we’ve Known All Along? 
Is there a Relevant Point in this that has long been Overlooked? 

© Rich Traver,  81520-1411,  1-17-09 [ 141 ]     www.goldensheaves.org

Being a nation that has a high interest in political inaugurations, we should be impressed with one involving a special class of people second to none in all of world history.  The 14th chapter of Revelation presents a scene at a distinct moment in time. That time is clearly just after the Second Coming!  Beginning in verse 1, we read: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.”  It should be clear to all exactly when this event is to take place.  Verse 2 takes us into the inaugural ceremony, with its angelic accompaniment.  Verse 3 tells us that these 144 thousand sing a song that no one else can learn and do so before the earthly Throne and its Spirit Administrators, with an apparent angelic narrator informing us that these are “the firstfruits, redeemed from among men”.

In verse 4, we’re told more, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God”

Another passage that refers to these 144 thousand is found in Revelation chapter 7.  We are made aware there that the twelve tribes of Israel are not irrelevant as the millennial age is to begin.  Twelve thousand are assigned to and are sealed into each of the twelve tribes. These will apparently serve under the administrations of each of the twelve original Apostles, as Christ explained in Matthew 19:28.  We know when this is to be, as it’s a time Christ called ‘the regeneration’ which is also the first resurrection (of Saints), an event that occurs at the time of the Last (the Seventh) Trump, at the Second Coming.  (1st Corinthians 15:51-52 & Revelation 11:15-19)

With this revealing scene presented to God’s Servants, and with Christ’s assumption of Power and with the new authority structure in place, we then see a series of three angels who convey a message to the physical inhabitants of Earth, obviously those not converted at the time.  We can tell that from the messages presented to them.

Three Angels’ Messages

Verse 6 introduces this series of three angels.  We see “another angel” in verse 6, yet “another angel” in verse 8 and then a “third angel” in verse 9.  From the narrative we can see that these three are successive to one another, and the group successive to the angelic messenger who preceded them, presenting the 144 thousand.

What we need to appreciate is the continuity in the chapter.  Some pose that the messages of the three angels are pre-Advent.  Presuming the reference to the beast and his worship system must place these messages prior to Christ’s return.  But let’s notice what these really say and to whom. 

The first:  v.6: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7: Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”  This message is to those living on Earth at the time, and keep in mind that the successive angels are in sequence to one another. These to whom they speak are the physical survivors of the great end-time events who live over into the millennial age, and it extends to all peoples of every ethnicity, something unprecedented to this point.  But the message is for them to fear and worship the Creator, informing them that the hour of His judgment is come.  Readers often see this ‘judgment’ as referring to a sentence of condemnation, where it actually announces the start of an evidentiary period.  (The sentencing event is dealt with under the latter part of the chapter.) [1] Why command these living people to worship their Creator if condemnation is about to be imposed on them?  Why preach the everlasting Gospel to peoples who are already irreversibly ‘lost’?  This is obviously announcing the beginning of their opportunity period.

Then the next:  8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”  Here announcing the very recent destruction of modern Babylon, the second fall of that perverse system!

Then finally: 9: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,  10: The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  11: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”  Issuing a prohibition against anyone ever again worshipping under the beast system, which most of them had done up to that point in time, explaining what will ultimately happen to those who don’t heed.

So we have the everlasting Gospel being preached and the command to worship their Creator, then the announcement of Babylon having come to a final end as a system, then the prohibition against any further worship under that old system.  This is where evaluation begins with the survivors of the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord.  Their choice from this point on is not how to worship, but whether to worship God His way, as no other way is permitted.  The old Babylonian system died with that city!  God’s millennial system is different.

Now considering the final seven verses of chapter 14:  We are taken on beyond the immediate scene to what is referred to as the white cloud judgment. This is the time of final sentencing as we can see from the narrative.  The final harvest of the world, the fruit of the latter rains.   

Two Great Reapings

We see brought up in this next scene two distinctly different contingents of peoples.  The first doesn’t specifically say what their destiny is, but in contrast to what happens to the second contingent, we are able to make a logical deduction.  These are they who are ‘harvested’ for inclusion in the Family of God, as we see also in places such as Matthew 25:32 and in Revelation 20:13-15.

The first:  14: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  15: And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  16: And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.   Notice, it is the one like the Son of Man who actually does this reaping, where the second is done by an angel!  Additional indication of their destiny. 

The second reaping:  17: “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.  18: And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.  19: And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.   20: And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”  The presence of blood with these indicates they are present in resurrected state, and in physical form!

Essentially, chapter 14 deals generally with the harvests of the Earth, those resurrected at Christ’s return to reign with Him for 1000 years, then it turns to those He will guide into a true knowledge of Him in the millennial and the post-millennial ages, then it projects on to the final reaping of the two categories of physical beings at the very end of the human experience.  Without the three angels’ messages being related in this context, we would not be as cognizant of the religious situation of the millennial age with its opportunity period for salvation that begins with Christ’s return.  Notice, the placement of this narrative gives us specific information by where it’s said, more than if the same information was given by itself in some other context.

Placement can be Important

Basically, in Revelation chapter 14, we have four time-successive sections:  The introduction of the 144 thousand being alive with Christ, then the messages to all the unconverted physical survivors of the tribulation, then a promissory message to those who will become converted during the millennial and post-millennial ages, then a description of the final harvest that is to conclude all physical human life on Earth.  The chapter is reflective of the first and last resurrections, but without mentioning that word specifically!

But to this point, we haven’t focused in on the third section of this prophecy, the message of promise to those converted in this latter rain era. [2]  Here also, the placement of these two verses is revealing by where it’s placed as much as in what it says.  Those two verses are:  12:Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.  13: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”  Some tend toward connecting the message of verse 12 with verse 11, but it is more meaningfully connected with the hope of the converted individuals toward their future in verse 13, than with their seeing just dues brought upon those who troubled them in their pre-millennial lifetimes.

What This Adds to the Picture

But it answers for us a question as to how and when those converted after Christ returns and has set up His Kingdom on Earth, His immortal Saints ruling with Him, how and when they also will become ‘fully born’ into the Spirit Family.  It’s an area little mentioned directly, except for the rare millennial era glimpse we see in places such as Isaiah 65:20, which presents basically the same thing as does Revelation 14:13.

We need to pause and consider not only the exquisite placement of verse 12 in the prophetic progression, but also its wording.  Where it says “from henceforth”, we’re being told that something would be the case ‘from this point in time onward’.  Why does it insert that just at this point in the narrative?  Isn’t this something that always has been the case ever since Christ’s resurrection and the greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit?  Why add a, ‘from this point onward’ if it weren’t pivotal?  If I were to say, from henceforth pennies will be made of copper, there would be reason to wonder when that statement was made, or what I didn’t know about pennies, because pennies have been made from copper for generations! Converted Saints have always passed from this life and awaited their eternal reward in their graves.  Why say this here at the onset of God’s Kingdom on Earth? 

I pose here that this tells us that those converted who die during the millennial age will go to their graves and await a resurrection to Life in the immortal Spirit dimension, just as happens in this age!  That affirming what Isaiah 65:20 states regarding the millennial world, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” The child of God: progeny of Christ and His Bride, these whose names have been added to the Book of Life during the millennial and post-millennial ages, are assured of a similar hope as we in this present age in that regard.  Just that their station in the Family (being in the Bride) will not be the same.

Gift versus Reward?

Some have reservations regarding this message due to the mention of ‘works’.  Salvation is a gift, not a reward!  Though true, it’s another area that needs to have the overburden of theological misconception removed, and is considered in my article on “The REWARD of the Saved”.  The Revelation 14:13 passage reflects a truth way too many haven’t adequately understood.  Where salvation is a gift, there also is a reward awaiting those who are in possession of that gift, commensurate with their life’s accomplishments.

Direct Assumption?

Let’s also consider another matter.  If Saints converted in the millennial Kingdom don’t die, but are changed over into a Spirit existence [3] as were those who were ‘alive and remaining’ at the Second Coming, then we’d be forced to conclude that these never actually will die!  Yet, we’re also told that it’s appointed to all men once to die and all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ in order to receive the things done in their physical lifetimes.  In what body does that happen?  If they are to appear already in their spirit body, then why would they need to appear there in order to receive that body?  Consider 2nd Corinthians 5:9.  “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (If a death and grave is to be experienced by only the unconverted, then when would all appear?)  Romans 14 has more. 10: “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.   11: For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  12: So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” 

The picture we draw from passages such as these suggests a determination being made at that time with an appropriate sentence rendered, the sentence due at the end of ones’ life, once each has had his or her legitimate opportunity for salvation.  (Keep in mind, God intentionally blinded certain peoples for a greater purpose.  See for example John 12:37-40, Romans 11:7-8 & 26,  2nd Corinthians 3:14 & 4:4.)

Death: the Great Eventuality

Well understood in every age, even back in the time of Job, (Job 19:25-27) is the inevitability of our personal demise.  What we don’t often hear being factored into peoples’ thinking is the ‘day of judgment’.  Hebrews 9 has this: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (See footnote 1.)

Only a very specific few are exempted from this required appearance, as we read in places such as John 5:24 and Revelation 20:6, where we see a pre-assigned few who are awarded Life even while alive in this generation. They are specifically exempted, even now, from being subject to the second death.  They will be raised incorruptible in the first resurrection, before that judgment period opens.

The Harvests of the World

So we find Revelation Chapter 14 to be very informative as it regards how and when God will reap the fruits of His labors of Redemption.  Verse 13 is particularly revealing in presenting the fact that those who ‘die in the Lord’ after the first resurrection may expect a future resurrection to Life, but more than that, we’re also given positive indication that all people will continue to have opportunity for salvation after Christ’s return. With Satan being excluded from influence during the thousand years, and with the ‘blindness’ removed, that response rate should be extraordinary.          Ω



[1]  The usual view of ‘judgment’ is for its sentencing aspect.  But judgment, as the scripture presents the term, also involves the evaluation of individuals in process of being converted prior to a sentencing.  See 1st Peter 4:17 for an example of usage where it couldn’t mean sentencing or condemnation.

[2]  See the article on “The Early and Latter Rains” which shows evidence of the two days of salvation.

[3]  A major world ministry and its successor organizations teach a variation of this.


Related Topics:  (available from this author)


 “The Resurrections from the Dead”

 “The Rejected Resurrection”

 “Understanding the Three Resurrections”

 “The Days of Salvation”

 “And there was Found No Place for Them”

 “The Early and the Latter Rains”

 “Whosoever Will May Come!”

 “The REWARD of the Saved”