The Angels remove the Lawlessness from Christ’s Kingdom
This passage is the full explanation of Matthew 13:40-43:
At the end of the age, the Son of Man will send forth His Angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness and will throw them into the furnace of fire, in that place there will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Of course, we can also find these Angels in Revelation 8, 9, 16, and 19.
In verses 10, and 11, John describes the smoke that rises up forever, for those who worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark. The hour of judgment begins with the first Angel.
And I saw an Angel flying – many relate this to the speed at which the gospel can be transmitted in the end days, through the internet etc. The “flying” is first found in Zechariah 5:1-2, a “flying scroll” that brings God judgment. Not only can we preach with speed today, but the world is now “smaller” and worldwide evangelism is much easier. This also confirms that the true Gospel is not cultural, or dependent on language.
in the midst of heaven – see also Rev 8:13, the eagle (the end-time saints) flying in mid-heaven, and Rev 19:17, “the birds that fly in mid-heaven.” This signifies that this “Angel” is the Spirit of Christ, as the Rider on the White Horse, ie the body of Christ, flying “in mid-heaven” to preach the gospel. In fact, the 144,000 in verses 1-5, the Angel here in verse 6, and the Rider on the White Horse in verse 20, all refer to the Sanctified Church of the last days, that preaches the true Gospel, and brings the hour of judgment to the Gentiles, or “nations” who have perverted the Gospel. We discussed this in detail in Chapter 7.
having an eternal gospel – The true Gospel is preached by the end time Sanctified Church, the Rider on the White Horse.
to preach to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people – this statement was prefigured by the statements of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:1-3, and Darius in Daniel 6:25-27, “To all peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth.”
Fear God and give Him glory – King Nebuchadnezzar, after recognizing the true God, gave God glory. (After he set up his image, the image of the beast). King Darius in Daniel 6:25-27, told all men to “tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,” after we Daniel broke the law that cannot be changed (Daniel 6:15), (the mark of the beast).
the hour- in terms of human history, this is the last 500 years of man’s 6,000 year existence. As on a clock, it is the last hour, the 12th hour, 1/12 of 6,000 years. This is the hour that Jesus referred to when He said, “an hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23). The first hour, in the Apostolic age, and the last hour in the end days. (See also Rev 8:1, “there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour.”)
of His judgment has come – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the restoration of the true Gospel brings “the hour of judgment,” see John 16:8, and Galatians 1:8-10. The Church treads out the fierceness of wrath of the Almighty God, striking down the Nations (or Gentiles) who have corrupted the truth; defeating them with the sword of the word of God (Rev 19:15-16).
heaven and earth, and sea and “springs of waters” – to “heaven and earth” in Rev 10:6, is added the phrase: “springs of waters.” Springs of water throughout Revelation and John’s Gospel refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit that accompanies obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The “Everlasting Gospel” is the Gospel that complies with all of the salvation conditions of Christ. These are the “measurements of the temple” (Rev 11:1), that allowed the “glory of the LORD” to come “into the house” (Ezek 43:4).
another Angel, a second one – the judgment intensifies as time passes.
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great – this phrase is from Isaiah 21:9; the Angel is calling the saints to come out of the false religion of the beast, as in Rev 18:2.
worships the beast – “worship” in the Greek language literally means “to bow down and kiss.” We normally think that we will only worship God and Christ, but the Jews would also “bow down and kiss” the high priest, and used the same Greek word to describe it. Jesus said “we (Jews), worship what we know” (John 4:22).
The beast became the “false Lord” of the Church. Here, John instructs us not to bow down to him.
Does the beast only signify the Pope for the 42 months when he was in control of the saints? If anyone still bows down to the teachings of the beast, he worships the beast and Satan (Rev 13:4).
or his image – the Gentiles, in contrast to the Jews, did not know what they worshiped (John 4:22) and needed to make Christ equal to God in order to worship Him. This resulted in “the Trinity,” the “image of the beast,” created by the “false prophet.”
and receives his mark on his hand or forehead – discussed at Revelation 13:16-17.
will drink of the wine of the wrath of God – churches that worship the Trinity and keep Sunday rest will drink the communion of Christ’s blood in an “unworthy manner,” (1 Cor 11:27). They will drink of the wine of the wrath of God.
And the smoke of their torment goes up forever – the spiritual torment of the kingdom of the beast intensifies as we also see in Rev 16:10.
they have no rest day and night – they are spiritually tormented, and also suffer with respect to God’s commandment for rest, which has now affected their ability to obtain a proper rest of physical and spiritual peace with God. They are confused by “the mark of the beast,” and they deny that God requires man to rest at all.
who keep the commandments of God – again as in Rev 12:17, the true saints are distinguished, because they do the will of God.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on – this is the age of the sanctified Church, and all those in the Lord are in the sanctified Church, and receive the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of salvation (Eph 1:13-14).
their deeds follow them – described as the righteous acts of the saints in Rev 19:8.
one like a Son of man, having a golden crown – this is the description of Matthew 13:41: “the Son of Man will send out His Angels.” The Son of Man, stands on the clouds to oversee the work of these Angels.
the harvest of the earth is ripe – the Angels are those described in Matthew 13:36-39, gathering the wheat with the tares. But here in Revelation we actually use the metaphor of grapes, we find in Isaiah 63:1-6, and Rev 19:15: “he treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”
This is the end of the cleansing of the sanctuary, the cleansing of the kingdom of heaven, that Daniel prophesied would take 2,300 days.
the wine press was trodden outside the City – outside the Holy City, New Jerusalem. Here we go back to Luke 21:24: “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” and now “all Israel will be saved” according to Romans 11:26. That is why we saw the elect of Israel appearing in the beginning of the Chapter, as an introduction.
up to the horses’ bridles – this is a beautiful tie-in to Rev 19:14. The Rider on the White Horse, the Sanctified Church, is followed by the armies of heaven on white horses, and treads out the great wine press of God’s wrath. The Rider is the Spirit of Christ as the body of Christ. The Spirit of Christ, manifest as the Son of Man, is on the clouds, watching the Rider complete His mission.
for a distance of two hundred miles – the length of Israel is 263 miles. The meaning is that the lawlessness is removed the Holy City, and there is also none in Israel.