Those who “worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name” must “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; and the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10-11).
According to John’s record, this is what was supposed to have occurred to the enemies of the disciples in the first century AD, but what does it mean? We already discussed who the beast was, (apostate Jerusalem or Israel), and his image was those high priests who were of the family of Annas, the first high priest appointed by Rome in 6 AD. Remember, Annas was the high priest who was so instrumental in getting Jesus crucified. So, this is the beast and its image, both having seven heads. A mark is something that identifies one with another. For example, those whom the angel sealed in their foreheads (Revelation 7:1-3; cf. 14:1) were identified as the servants of God. The seal was a mark of some kind that identified them with the Lord, Jesus. Ezekiel prophesied of this very matter in Ezekiel 9:1-11 (note especially verse-4). Therefore, those who received the mark of the beast were identified with him. They trusted in his doctrine, and did the things he said to do.
What we have here is a war that was waged by those who had the mark of the beast, i.e. those who identified themselves with apostate Jerusalem, and who blindly obeyed the false prophet and the image to which he gave life. They waged war against the servants of God (Revelation 13:7), who were sealed by the Lord, having the name of the Father in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). They are identified as those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes (Revelation 14:4).
While the beast and the false prophet made war upon these, who were marked out for the service of God, the Lord made war against the beast and the false prophet and all who followed them. That is, those who had the mark of the false prophet in their foreheads and blindly worshiped him and those with him, and “the smoke of their torment rose up forever and ever” (Revelation 14:11). This, of course, points to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, which was witnessed not only by the Lord who brought it to pass, but by his holy angels – i.e. those, his servants, to whom he had returned to vindicate and to reward for their faithfulness (cf. Matthew 16:27-28). In doing so, the Lord judged Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple, and that judgment remained valid until the nations permitted the Jews to return to their homeland in 1948. Nevertheless, they didn’t possess Jerusalem until the 66 War, or about 1900 years after Jesus had Jerusalem destroyed, but his judgment upon the Temple remains to this day.
John records the third angel concluding with: “Herein is the patience of the saints and here are they who keep the commandments of God” (Revelation 14:12; cp. 2Timothy 4:7; Revelation 3:8-10; 12:17). In other words those who have taken the saints captive will themselves go into captivity, and those who have slain the saints will themselves be slain with the sword (cf. Revelation 13:10). The saints have no power to make war with the beast (cf. Revelation 13:4). Rather their warfare is waged through prayer and preaching the Gospel (cf. Revelation 6:9-11; 8:3-5; 2Corinthians 10:3-7). Instead, they trusted that the Lord would take their part, and they patiently awaited his coming (cf. 1Peter 1:3-9, 13-17).
Then John heard a voice from heaven, which told him to “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). I believe this refers to the resurrection of the dead. Up until that day, those who died in the Lord, slept. That is, they had no consciousness of what occurred between their deaths and Jesus’ coming to judge Jerusalem cir. 66-70 AD. At that time the dead rose to life and received their reward. Those who died from that time forward immediately went to be with the Lord. There was no real experience of death, i.e. unconsciousness (if it can be said that such a thing could be experienced at all). Those who died, from the coming of Jesus (cf. Revelation 14:14) onward rest from their labors in Christ in this life, and their service for the Lord follows them into eternal life in the Lord’s presence (cf. 1Corinthians 3:11-15).