Revelation Studies & Charts
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Revelation 14 (web)

The 144,000

14:1 I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with him a number, one hundred forty-four thousand,
having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads.
14:2 I heard a sound from heaven,
like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of a great thunder.
The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps.
14:3 They sing a new song before the throne,
and before the four living creatures and the elders.
No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand,
those who had been redeemed out of the earth.
14:4 These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.
These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
These were redeemed by Jesus from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
14:5 In their mouth was found no lie, for they are blameless.
{TR adds "before the throne of God"}

The Three Angels

14:6 I saw an angel flying in mid heaven, having an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people.
14:7 He said with a loud voice, "Fear the Lord, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of waters!"

14:8 Another, a second angel, followed, saying,
"Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations
to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality."

14:9 Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice,
"If anyone worships the beast and his image,
and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand,
14:10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God,
which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger.
He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels,
and in the presence of the Lamb.
14:11 The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.
They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image,
and whoever receives the mark of his name.
 

14:12 Here is the patience of the saints,
those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
14:13 I heard the voice from heaven saying,
"Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'"
"Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors;
for their works follow with them."

Angels of Wrath

14:14 I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man,
having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
 
14:15 Another angel came out from the temple,
crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud,
"Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come;
for the harvest of the earth is ripe!"
14:16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.


14:17 Another angel came out from the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle.
 

14:18 Another angel came out from the altar, he who has power over fire,
and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying,
"Send forth your sharp sickle,
and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth,
for the earth's grapes are fully ripe!"
14:19 The angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth,
and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
14:20 The winepress was trodden outside of the city,
and blood came out from the winepress, even to the bridles of the horses,
as far as one thousand six hundred stadia.
{1600 stadia = 296 kilometers or 184 miles}

Comments

The chapter concerns the short time period between the resurrection and the rapture. The three sections in this chapter repeat the same time period from three different perspectives.

The 144,000

vs 1 These 144,000 are seen as standing with Christ on earth - on Mount Zion.

The reference to "his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads" may be the same as Rev 7:3 when the angels had "put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

vs 2,3 It seems in view of that fact that no one could learn the song but the 144,000, that the "they" who were singing were obviously the 144,000. But then that puts them in heaven. So in vs 1 they were on earth, and vs 2 they are in heaven. This may represent the rapture.

vs 4-5 One has to be careful not to take the symbolism too literally here. Else these 144,000 must be Jewish men who are virgins (literally it says, "for they are virgins") and have never lied. But if we can generalize the symbolism here, they are characterized by

It is inevitable that these will be characteristic of those born of God, but not perfectly while they live in the flesh. Though those of the charismatic "holiness" doctrine may disagree, I have yet to meet a Christian who doesn't sin. Nevertheless, having been purified by the blood of Christ, one's sin is no longer taken into account. Under the New Covenant promise God even forgets our sins, according to Heb 10:17. Thus believers can be spoken of as blameless even with respect to their behavior, when their sin is not taken into account. Imagine being considered pure and blameless in God's sight. That is what Christ offers freely having payed for our sins.

"Firstfruits" is a figure of speech. There are no "second fruits" or "third fruits". Rather "firstfruits" were considered sacred under the Mosaic law and part of the "tithe".

That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. De 26:2 (AV)
So also 144,000 are those who are sacred among the human population. They are the church and are holy to God. Thus the reference to "pure" and "purchased" - as in an offering and tithe to God.

The Three Angels

Now we go back and consider the same events from the standpoint of proclamations made the world.

vs 6,7 Proclamations #1: The gospel is preached to the world. One is reminded of Jesus' saying:

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."Mt 24:14
vs 8 Proclamation #2: Judgment is proclaimed on the city of Babylon which represents the collective sinfulness of the wicked and the corporate sinful world system.

vs 9-11 Proclamation #3: Judgment is proclaimed upon individuals who worship the beast and identify themselves with the beast through his mark.

These verses certainly conflict with the gentle, kind, Santa Claus figure of a Jesus often presented in modern evangelicalism. If one made a movie of Revelations, it would have to at least be rated R for violence. Hell being a place of eternal torment certainly has no conflict with the picture of God we see presented in the book of Revelations.

If anyone has suffered for any length of time, I'm sure they can appreciate the sense of rest after the suffering. Imagine having no rest from one's suffering; and no hope of it ever ceasing. This certainly contradicts the annihilation theory of people like JW's. For how can one be said to have no rest if one is annihilated? "In the presence of the angels and the Lamb" is meant for humiliation. They will not only suffer with pain, but with humiliation.

vs 12-13 This speaks of those believers alive on the earth after the resurrection and before the rapture. They are called to patiently endure the situation, which inevitably they will do. For it is characteristic that they obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

If they die during this time, they are blessed in that they immediately join the others in heaven with their resurrected body. In contrast to the unbelievers who will have no rest, they will have rest from their suffering and even be rewarded for their sufferings and labor. And one is reminded of the last verse in Daniel, just after the angel prophecies to him about this same time period he says:

"But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."Dan 12:13

Angels of Wrath

And for the third time, we review this same time period from the point of view of God reaping the population of the earth. This is broken down into two sections

1. The Resurrection & Rapture

vs 14-16 The first harvest was the harvest of the "firstfruits" mentioned earlier in the chapter in vs 4, which I take to be the whole church and thus would include the resurrection and rapture. The crown of gold may represent the rewards for the firstfruits.

2. The Bowls of Wrath upon the Unbelievers

vs 17-20 The second reaping concerns the seven plagues, or seven bowls of wrath, upon the unbelievers after the rapture. This is also affirmed in the next Chapter Rev15:8 in which the angels come out of the temple to deliver the bowls of wrath, just as the angel in vs 17 came out of temple.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015