9. a. Those who received the mark of the Beast —
—They listened to the beast speak great blasphemies against God and against God’s people.
—They watched the Beast wage war against God’s people and conquer them.
—They watched the Beast rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.
—They worshiped the beast.
—They were allowed to buy and sell.
Their eternal outcome
—Anyone who worshiped the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark must drink the wine of God’s anger.
—They will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.
—The smoke of their torment will rise forever and every, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of the Beast.
b. Those who do not believe—
Many don’t think about eternity. The things of earth—the busyness, the noise, the distractions, the pleasures, the ambitions consume their focus, time, and energy.
Even disasters like terrorist attacks, personal tragedies, and sickness cause people to turn toward God only temporarily.
Just as in Jesus’ day, many don’t even believe there is life after death.
My heart breaks for their eternal destiny.
The saints, God’s holy people, will have to (or already did)* endure the persecution in defense of their faith through a time of great difficulty.
A voice from heaven told John to write, “Blessed, [happy, prosperous and to be admired (AMP)] are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Nothing they did was wasted.
They were God’s faithful, holy people who endured persecution, prison, and slaughter for the sake of Christ while on earth.
I rejoice knowing the faithful receive eternal crowns, rewards, comfort, joy, rest, relief, and life everlasting.
*Some believe the Beast was the Roman emperor who reigned when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. Many Jews continued to reject Jesus as the Messiah for the almost forty-year span of time until judgment fell.