By Donald Perry
Don K. Preston says that Revelation 14:13 has to do with life after AD 70 in Life After Death #18: Blessed Are the Dead Created on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 09:32. “… this passage says that after the judgment there are those who die, they’re Christians because they die in the Lord, and they are blessed. So we have continual dying after the day of the Lord, which by the way rather dispels the idea that the coming of the Lord and the time of the harvest is the end of time, doesn’t it. Because if we have people continuing to live and continuing to die that doesn’t fit the traditional view of the coming of the Lord at the end of human history. In context it is hard to come to this same conclusion. Revelation 14:9-13 reads: “ 9And 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, 10The 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: 11And 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. 12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13And 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 labours; and their works do follow them.”
John is saying that blessed are they who have not worshiped the Beast, and his image, or have taken the mark of his name (14:11). What does this mean, to refuse the Beast, and not worship his image? What did it mean to Daniel? It means you are potentially going to become a martyr like those in Revelation 20:4 ”I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands …” Revelation 20:4 is the results of Revelation 14:13. These who are “blessed” are within the Millennium, which is a recapitulation of chapter 19. And the New Heavens and Earth is a recapitulation of the Millennium. They are different versions of the same idea. The second coming is at the end of the Millennium and it is also at the end of chapter 19. There is progression based on other things, not a progression based on time. This is why the two resurrections said elsewhere in the Bible to be at the same time, but here they are 1000 years apart. Don K. Preston has taken 14:14 out of context and given it an entirely different meaning. These who die in 14:14 do not die after the second coming, they die before the second coming.
But is there life after the Millennium and after the second coming? Matthew 21:41 says “.. He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” or Revelation 21:23, 24 says “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” At the time John wrote he was in prison, there were no nations bringing their glory and honor into the New Jerusalem, as it would seem. These appear to be idealistic nations, but the idealistic interpretation was more difficult than it is today. These verses seem to show that the New Jerusalem continues into the future after AD 66. However, the New Jerusalem is just a recapitulation of everything else in the New Testament, it does not represent life only after AD 66 as some new kind of scenario. This activity only shows that there is recapitulation with these people outside the city now coming in. They way they come in is they drink of the living waters and get saved. Paul shows this to be true in Galatians 4:26 by indentifying the New Jerusalem as a city established before AD 66. ”But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”. The New Jerusalem swallows up the Old Jerusalem as people come into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Christians did not have to wait until AD 70 to start reaping the benefits of and becoming citizens of the New Jerusalem. These things are understood idealistically, and not foremost chronologically on a historical timeline bases. And Luke 12:36 says“And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” This is another verse that seems to indicate recapitulation after the second coming.
The Bible hints that there is life after the judgment, but that life is set in a pattern of being redirected to come into the fullness of the New Jerusalem, as it is told to the seven churches in Revelation. Don K. Preston has come up with an entirely different system for entering into the Holy City outside of the pattern found in the New Testament. John 10:1 says “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”. There is only one way to enter into the Holy City and it has nothing to do with genealogies or being born into a new time period after AD 70, where it is now your God given right to usurp Jesus Christ and come in some other way. Rather, it has to do with following Jesus Christ, there is a Way and the pattern has been set by Jesus Christ and His First-Fruits.
Don K. Preston is trying to argue that that Revelation demonstrates dispensations. But there are no dispensations in Revelation, the New Jerusalem is only seen as coming down from John’s view on top of a mountain. It is a vision that John sees. The Bible does not define the age to come as having arrived on earth. These things cannot be found in the Holy Bible. Preston has invented a dispensation that the Bible says nothing about. No where do we read: “Jesus arrived quickly, in the demolition of the once holy temple. Now in that complete disorder, and in the ruins of His once great city Jesus gave a sign of His living presence and explained to His disciples His commandments for another and entirely different and new dispensation.” Rather what we have in the end of the Bible is an holy exhortation: The one testifying these things says, Yes, I come quickly. Amen. Yes, comes, O Lord Jesus The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of the saints. Amen. Revelation has a futuristic outlook.
What the Bible emphasizes is the holiness and righteousness of Lord Jesus Christ. Hyper preterists understand that Jesus is no longer the Way. That they have arrived. But this is not what the Bible says. Psalm 50 says that there is a difference between man and God that we need to recognize, and therefore understand our reason for sanctification and the resurrection: ”But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” Hebrews 10 can be argued to show it is a dangerous thing to jump out of the Apostolic dispensation and assume new things about Jesus Christ and man: ”For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”