Jesus is long-suffering. He hates sin, but He withholds judgment upon sinners until the full measure of His anger He deems is ready to be poured out onto the world. The greatest news is, God sent His Son to absorb all of God’s wrath for sin onto Himself, so that those who repent and believe would not have to endure that same wrath.
However, those who reject Jesus and His substitutionary atonement, disbelieve His death and resurrection, fail to adopt His Gospel, do not repent, will endure the wrath of God for their sins. Jesus is longsuffering, but He is not a patsy. He’s not even tolerant. He hates sin and He hates all who do iniquity. (Psalm 5:5). At some point, He will unleash all His wrath and the world will then know just how much He hates sin.
That unleashing is called the Tribulation, (Matthew 24:9) also The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). Jesus said the wrath is stored up for individuals and for the world. He will unseal 7 seal judgments, which are the first set of three series of judgments which include Trumpet Judgments and Bowl Judgments (or four, if you count mysterious Seven Thunders of Rev 10:4).
“calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17)
Jesus literally releases the full strength of His wrath and also unleashes Hell upon earth. The times will be unimaginable for the people left behind on earth after the rapture. The mind cannot comprehend its horrors.
I’ve mentioned His wrath, but next let’s discuss His grace. One of the amazing things about God’s grace is that He continues to reach humans with the news of His forgiveness. We are wretched creatures, constantly rebelling and opposing Him. Yet He extends the hand of grace and many have believed and many more will believe, even in the Tribulation. (Revelation 7:14; Revelation 7:17).
Throughout the Tribulation Jesus sends many messengers with the Good News. He extends His grace even amid wrath. He seals 144,000 to super-evangelize the world. The martyrs themselves are a witness for Him due to their willingness to die for His name. He sends His Two Witnesses (I suspect they will be Enoch and Elijah) to testify of Him. And He sends three angels who proclaim the eternal Gospel, speak of judgment on Babylon, and warn of eternal doom if anyone takes the mark of the Beast. By this time, every nation, tribe and tongue will have heard the Gospel. (Revelation 14:6). Jesus forgives all, every sin, and this continues throughout the first part of the Tribulation, just as it had since the age of Grace began when Jesus rose from the dead, having atoned for every sin. He forgives all sins, except for one. There is one sin that is unforgivable.
Taking a break from the overview of the Tribulation’s wrath and the run-up to Revelation 13’s Mark of the Beast, let’s discuss for a moment this “unforgivable sin”. It is found in Mark 3:28-29, and Matthew 12:31-32
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.“
This is a very serious thing. There is one sin that a person can commit which Jesus will never forgive. What IS this sin?
The Bible Gateway blog explains it this way: it is willful rejection of Jesus in an onoging attitude of rebellion. “Blasphemy against the Spirit is not unforgivable because of something done unintentionally in the past, but because of something being done deliberately and unrelentingly in the present.“
The Gospel Coalition blog explains it this way: “I suggest it’s a specific, active, and final choice to declare the person and work of Jesus as being demonic in origin“
Dr. Henry Morris states it as “speaking against the Holy Spirit has been interpreted in various ways, but the true meaning cannot contradict other Scripture. It is unequivocally clear that the one unforgivable sin is permanently rejecting Christ (John 3:18; 3:36). Thus, speaking against the Holy Spirit is equivalent to rejecting Christ with such finality that no future repentance is possible.”
Dr John MacArthur describes the unforgivable sin as: “But the one who won’t be forgiven is the one called the apostate who gets full exposure to the truth, full exposure to the gospel, full revelation and makes the final conclusion…it’s not true, I reject Christ.”
It’s a sin to have heard the facts, to have had the Gospel given to you, and to make a deliberate, willful, conscious decision that it is not true, to reject it completely and utterly, and to continue in your sins. That is unforgivable.
Hebrews 2:3 mentions it: “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,”
The word neglect means to ignore, to put little value on it. Hebrews 10:26-27 also mentions this
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
This means that if you have received full information about Christ, and reject it, it is as if you stepped over His body – which He sacrificed for your sins – and now you can only expect judgment,and in fury and fire, too.
Back to the Tribulation- In Revelation 13:15-17 there is a choice people are given. They may participate in the world economy (and thereby eat) but they have to worship the Devil to do it. Or they can reject the devil and accept Christ, but they will be hunted and killed. Here is the scripture which describes this choice: (“It” refers to the False Prophet)
“And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.“
Taking the mark is a mark of worship to the devil, who by then indwells the antichrist. It is a deliberate choice given the world, to worship satan or worship Jesus. The world knows this because three angels flying at midheaven circle the globe to first give the gospel of Jesus Christ, (“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. Revelation 14:6), to declare judgment of Babylon and third, to warn them NOT TO TAKE THE MARK.
“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.” (Revelation 14:9-11).
The people of earth by then have had the fullness of all God’s revelation to them through the bible, His son, the prophets, the angels, His Church, the witnesses and the sealed virgins…if they take the mark and worship the beast, they are sinning the unforgivable sin and in a way that for the first time ever, is demonstrable and evident. In the case of Tribulation non-believers who take the mark, they are not only showing their allegiance to satan and their rejection of Jesus, they are permanently modifying their body to show their rejection of Jesus and decision to worship satan instead. They are enacting it and cementing it with their very body, by accepting the mark of the devil on them as the emblem of worship. They reject Jesus and worship of Him, and thus blaspheme the Spirit. It’s over.
It is my contention that this moment divides the believers from the unbelievers in one final, conscious moment of choice. After the mark is places on the hand or the forehead, or refused, marks the final chasm between believer and non-believer.
The scriptures in Revelation 14:9 are clear: take the mark and endure wrath forever. You cannot be saved if you take the mark.
This turning point is also remarked on by the angel in Revelation 4:13a who says, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
One may ask why am I writing about this if the church isn’t going to be here and we always look for Jesus and not toward satan? Because satan is adulterating this simple truth as well. As long as he can sow confusion and persuade even one person to delay their day of salvation, then he has accomplished his evil purposes. The fact of a person’s devilish eternal choice in Rev. 13 matters it matters because when they enter the Tribulation, they are at extreme risk of believing the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11) and won’t be able to decide.
The moral is always the same: believe on the name of Jesus Christ now. Do not delay your repentance and your appeal to Him, the Judge, for pardon. You are not promised a tomorrow. If you do receive a tomorrow, the rapture may come and you will be left behind to face hell on earth and God’s wrath. When that happens, you are at risk for believing the lie and losing your soul because of the delusion coming upon the world.
Jesus Christ is worthy of honor and glory and praise and love and worship because of who He is. He is the unique Person of the universe, extending His hand of grace to you now. Your sins will have to be dealt with- either through your repentance and His forgiveness, or by your torment and punishment for them in hell forever.