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Revelation 14

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Verses 1-5

Rev 14:1-5

SECTION TWO

THE SAINTS’ ULTIMATE SUCCESS DEPICTED

Revelation 14:1-20

1. THE REDEEMED DESCRIBED

Revelation 14:1-5

Note: The leading purpose of chapter 12 was to present Satan, symbolically described as a dragon, as the real enemy of the true church. As the author of evil he would naturally be the source of all opposition to the truth. Those through whom the opposition is manifested are but the agents through whom he works. In chapter 13 we have pictured, under the symbols of two beasts, the political and religious earthly agents that were to be the outstanding mediums for Satan’s efforts. These were found to be the Roman Empire--pagan and "Christianized"--and the apostate church--the Catholic hierarchy. With such deadly struggles forecast, the saints would have been overcome with fear, if the symbolic story had ended at this point. Evidently the purpose of the present chapter was to encourage the Christians to faithfulness under all conditions by assurance that the truth would ultimately prevail, and the persevering be saved. While this was de-signed to benefit especially those who met the persecutions during the 1,260-year period, it will have the same effect in helping all Christians to endure to the end of life.

1 And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion,--We should be continually remindful that what John saw in the vision was the symbol; what it represents is a different matter. The two should not be confused. "I saw" means that another vision appeared. "The Lamb" refers to Christ (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 12:11); it is here contrasted with the beast (Revelation 13:11) that had horns like a lamb, but spake as a dragon. The expression "mount Zion" is used only here and Hebrews 12:22. Jerusalem, because partly builded upon the literal mount Zion, is also referred to as mount Zion. It was the seat of government and place of worship for the old covenant, and typical of the church. (Galatians 4:26.) Verses 2 and 3 strongly indicate that this scene was in heaven. If so, Mount Zion is used typically to represent the saint’s final abode. Compare 4:2, 3.

and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads.--The names of the Lamb and of the Father writ-ten upon their foreheads show that they were acceptable to both Christ and God. This and the place where they were standing clearly indicate that they were redeemed and had gained the ultimate victory--were safe from any further attacks from either beast. See notes on Revelation 13:16 regarding mark of beast on forehead. In Revelation 7:4-9 is also mentioned the same number as having been "sealed" from the twelve tribe, after which is mentioned a numberless multitude from all peoples--and Gentiles. In our present text only the 144,000 are mentioned. Whether they are the same that are mentioned in the seventh chapter or not is immaterial, for in both places the purpose is to encourage faithfulness by foretelling the final success true saints will have. The number is doubtless symbolical and means an incalculably large multitude.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder:--Whether or not the whole vision was seen in heaven, "Zion" being used typically, the voice John heard came from heaven. From verse 3 the natural conclusion is that the voice was singing the new song before the throne. The language shows that it was a song of sublime powers. It filled the air as the roaring of mighty waters or the waves of the ocean. The sound was not the roaring of waters, but "as" or similar to such sound. Its majesty was also indicated by saying it was "as" the voice of a great thunder. Reverberating through the heavens like the peals of loud thunder.

and the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers harping with their harps:--The King James Version represents John as saying he heard the harpers harping, but the Revised says the voice he heard was "as" harpers harping. This must be correct, for all three clauses are in the same gram-matical construction, the word "as" being in all of them John then said nothing about hearing harps, but only that the voice he heard was like the harping--possibly meaning that it was both grand and melodious. This passage gives no support for the use of mechanical music in worship for the following rea-sons: (1) What John heard was in heaven, not on earth. There is no proof that we are privileged to have everything in the church that will be in heaven. (2) There is nothing said about the 144,000 redeemed harping on harps. The word "as" settles that. (3) The plural number of the word "harps" shows that many harps were .used, which would mean each had a harp, if it referred to the redeemed playing harps in heaven. In a con-gregation one instrument is used for all. There simply is not anything here to give the least support to mechanical music in church worship.

3 and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders:--For comments on the four living creatures and the elders see notes on Revelation 4:4-7. "Before the throne" indicates that they were in the presence of God and the Lamb, which means that they were a part of the saved. This final glory of the redeemed is here pictured to encourage struggling saints; it is an assurance that their labors will not be in vain and that the righteous will ultimately win the victory. With the 1,260 years of terrible struggle between the church and her enemies, such encouragement was of the greatest importance. It is of great value to faithful Christians in all times; without such promises to strengthen us few would endure to the end.

and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth.--This means that none except the redeemed can fully appreciate the joys of salvation, and certainly we will not understand what heaven means until we reach it. We rejoice in pardon of sins and are made exceedingly happy in the anticipation of eternal life, but will have to wait for its realization till we meet our Redeemer over there. Only those who have passed through a great sorrow can fully know what relief means; so only those who have been saved from a terrible misfortune can appreciate the blessing. Of course, nothing can approximate the sublime and transporting joy to be experienced by those who will be permitted to stand on the eternal Zion and dwell in the celestial city. A song of praise for such a blessing can only be sung by those who have been purchased from sin by Christ’s blood. For this reason what John heard seemed to be a song, but a new one which even saints on earth could not understand.

4 These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.--That the saved in heaven will be those who have lived clean and chaste lives is certain from the general teaching of the Scriptures. But in view of the fact that the lessons in Revelation are mainly expressed in symbols, it is more reasonable to conclude that the impurity mentioned here is to be understood figuratively. In the Old Testament the abominable sin of literal adultery is made the figurative term by which idolatry is described. This use of the word is found in Jeremiah 3:1-10. The Greek word for "virgins," though feminine in form, evidently has a masculine sense in this text; hence, it should be taken spiritually to indicate moral and spiritual purity. As the word "man" is often used to mean mankind, so the word "purity" with a masculine sense includes both men and women. It is doubtless the purpose of this verse to contrast true saints with those who follow the "Mother of HarRevelation 17:5." (17:5; compare 2 Corinthians 11:2.)

These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, to be the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb.--Jesus is represented as a good shepherd, and his disciples as sheep to follow him. (John 10:11-15; compare Psalms 23.) Those finally saved will be the ones who have followed him, which can only mean those who have obeyed his commands. This truth is sustained by many texts of scripture. "Whithersoever he goeth" means doing any and all things he commands.

They were purchased or redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, as all the saved must be, but the 144,000 are represented as "firstfruits" unto God. They were not said to be redeemed because of their rank or station in life, but by the merits of Christ’s blood. The Jews offered the first fruits of the harvests to the Lord. As the first fruits were also a guarantee of the full harvest later, so the great number that John saw were those who, as martyrs and other faithful ones, had been true to the Lord during the period when the saints were struggling against the two beasts mentioned in chapter 13, and their condition was a guarantee that all faithful followers of Christ will be saved finally.

5 And in their mouth was found no lie: they are without blemish.--Liars in heaven, of course, would be an intolerable thought. In Revelation 21:8 we are informed that "all liars," along with other abominable characters, will have their part in the "lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." The Jews were not allowed to offer blemished animals in sacrifice to the Lord neither can guilty sinners spend eternity in worshiping God in heaven. The redeemed in heaven will be without blemish. This, however, does not mean that they have never been wicked, for the very fact that they were redeemed implies that they had been sinners. In Revelation 7:14 it is said, "They washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Because of this and the fact that they came "out of the great tribulation" successfully, they are before the throne where they serve God day and night. (Revelation 7:15.) This is a symbolic scene indicating the way the saved will pass the time in eternity. It does not mean that the eternal age is yet begun, though the righteous dead are now in a state of happiness. This is the clear teaching of Jesus. (Luke 16:19-31.)

Commentary on Revelation 14:1-5 by Foy E. Wallace

(1) The hundred forty-four thousand—Revelation 14:1-5.

1. And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads--Revelation 14:1. The Lamb standing on mount Zion was Christ: and mount Zion was the symbol of the new Jerusalem, where the new covenant was inaugurated, and where the church was established; and which Paul declared, in Galatians 4:26, to be the mother of us all. This heavenly Jerusalem was held in contrast with the old outward and earthly Jerusalem which here was representative of Judaism with all of its apostasies.

This new mount Zion was the seat of the new spiritual temple, as the dwelling of the New Testament church, described in Revelation 11:19 as “measured off for them that worship there”--the firstfruits, further mentioned by Paul as the firstborn, in Hebrews 12:22-23 : “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

The hundred forty-four thousand was the numerical symbol for that great number of saints which were redeemed from the earth. These were the martyred number of the woman’s seed, designated in chapter twelve as the man child which was caught up unto God in contrast with the remnant or rest of the woman’s seed which remained on the earth to suffer tribulation, but not martyrdom. It is stated that this grand group of the hundred forty-four were redeemed from the earth--they represented the select company of martyrs, purchased by the blood of martyrdom, and having been redeemed from the earth they therefore belonged to heaven where they had been caught up unto God. These redeemed thousands with the Lamb had his Father’s name written in their foreheads in contrast with not having the mark of the beast in their hands and on their foreheads. It was their badge of identification and mark of distinction.

The number hundred forty-four thousand was based on the mathematical calculation of twelve times twelve, as a symbolic reference to the twelve patriarchs of the old dispensation and the twelve apostles of the new covenant, and the number signified the full number of martyred saints. Here again the proleptic character of this chapter was applied, in that the full number of martyrs were visualized in the midst of rather than at the end of the scenes of death by martyrdom, which followed in the succeeding chapters. This chapter therefore abandoned the orderly succession of the events for the between scenes view of the final victory of the saints and judgment of the beasts.

2. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps—Revelation 14:2-3. The voice from heaven was in unison, and symbolized the same triumphant chorus of victory over the forces of the dragon, as in chapters eleven and twelve. The voice which John heard was as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, and as the voice of harpers with their harps.

It has been asserted that the reference to harps and harpers here justifies the employment ofmechanical musical instrumentation in the worship of the church. But a symbol never symbolizes itself, and a type cannot typify itself. Moreover, the scene is that of the spirits of the redeemed from the earth--and heaven is the home of the soul. What use could a redeemed spirit make of a material instrument? It is worse than folly--it is crass stupidity--to make a such literal application of figurative language.

The description is a comparison, indicated by the conjunctive adverb as. The voice of unison in the vision was heard singing this new song of triumph before the throne of the Lamb. In the perfection of rhythm it was us the flowing of many waters; in the mighty volume it was as the peal of great thunders; in the sweetness of melody, it was as if it were attuned to the strings of an hundred and forty-four thousand harps. The Greek text has the same adverb as with the harpers as with the waters and thunders --as harpers harping with their harps. It was the song of the myriad thousand, which no man could learn--which only the redeemed chorus could sing; it was not a song of worship on earth, but a refrain of triumph known only to the select company of martyrs and which belonged only to the throng before the throne. It was beyond all human imagination or contemplation.

3. These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins .. . which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth, these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God . . . in their mouth no guile . . . without fault before the throne of God—Revelation 14:4-5. These verses were a further description of this group of redeemed martyrs, of their spiritual purity while they dwelt among men, before they were caught up unto God. Their virtues were extolled for the impression on the members of the churches in midst of pagan influences and surroundings. Though these martyred saints were in the visional sphere of glory in the triumph of the persecuted cause-- their character on the earth before they ascended unto God was an exemplification of the spiritual purity which should be maintained by all who remained under the evil influences of pagan surroundings in the world. There is no distinction in character between the saints in heaven and the saints on earth.

Commentary on Revelation 14:1-5 by Walter Scott

I. — THE SPARED JEWISH REMNANT

(Revelation 14:1-5).

MOUNT ZION, THE LAMB, AND THE JEWISH REMNANT.

Revelation 14:1And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing upon Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred (and)forty-four thousand, having His Name and the Name of His Father written upon their foreheads. The Revised Testament reads “a Lamb,” and omits “having his Name.” Both blunders are corrected in the Revised Version.

Zion is only named once in the Apocalypse. “Out of about 110 times that Zion is mentioned, ninety are in terms of the Lord’s great love and affection for her, so that the place has great, very great significance, and Heaven knows it too.” (“Revelation of Jesus Christ,” by W. R. Hartridge, page 54.) The first mention of Zion when capturedfrom the Jebusites by David (2 Samuel 5:7) is pregnant with interest, for, adds the sacred historian, “the same is the city of David.” Saul, the predecessor of David on the throne, was the man of the people’s choice, and typified “the king” who reigns in Jerusalem before the Lord comes. David, the true king of Israel, was Jehovah’s chosen, and Zion the seat of his government. He is thus the prototype of our Lord, Who will reign in Zion, “and before His ancients gloriously” (Isaiah 24:23). Zion is rich in sacredmemories to the Jew. It is his goal of hope. It is, too, God’s chosen city. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion: He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalms 132:13-14). “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Psalms 48:2). It is the seat of universal government for earth, and the centre of interest to the millennial world (Isaiah 2:1-22). It is where Jehovah has in purpose set His King (Psalms 2:6). There are three distinct thoughts connected with mount Zion: (1) It is the seat of royal power; (2) of God’s intervention in grace; (3) of Jehovah’s sovereignty, but all in respect to Israel.

The vision is a bright and gladdening one, a calm after a storm. Christ does not yet reign on Zion, but the time is near, and in the meantime He stands as the Lamb with His chosen ones. The vision is an anticipative one. Both the crowd of saved Gentiles (Revelation 7:9) and the millennial kingdom (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10) are anticipative visions which have their actual fulfilment at the Advent in power.Here the Lamb stands on mount, Zion, but the Vials have yet to be poured out. The 144,000 here witnessed are of Judah; a similarly numbered company of all Israel (Revelation 7:4) forms a separate vision. This company has theName of the Lamb and His (not their) Father’s Name written upon their foreheads. The mark of the Beast is on each one of his worshippers. The Name of the Lamb and His Father’s Name as well on the forehead of each confessor of Christ. These witnesses are viewed as having come out of the fiery trial under the Beast. They are Jews who steadfastly maintained the rights of God and of the Lamb; now they are publicly owned of Him. Many of their brethren suffered even unto death, sealing their testimony with their blood. Those here were spared through the horrors of the Tribulation. We gather that the innumerable company of Gentiles (Revelation 7:9) are identical with the sheep who go into everlasting life (Matthew 25:34; Matthew 25:46); further, the “third part,” refined as silver andtried as gold (Zechariah 13:8-9), the same as are here spoken of as 144,000 Jewish saints who occupy the leading place inthe earthly millennial kingdom. They stand with the Lamb on the seat of royalty. What an exchange! From the tyranny of the Beast to fellowship with the Lamb! From the place of suffering to the seat of glorious power!

HARPERS AND SINGERS.

Revelation 14:2-3. — And I heard a voice out of the Heaven, as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of great thunder.And the voice which I heard (was) as of harp-singers harping with their harps; and they sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one could learn that song save the hundred (and) forty-four thousand who were bought from the earth. Heaven is stirred and breaks out into song. We have had the Babel sounds of earth, the mingled cry of the victor, and the wail of the vanquished. We have witnessed the Beast treading down the earth and breaking it in pieces (Daniel 7:23) — an exhibition of insensate brute force — and his fellow in crime, the Antichrist, morally darkening and deceiving the world. But now other sights delight the eye, and other sounds and songs greet the ear. We meet with a new company in Heaven, distinct from either the living creatures or elders, for they harp and sing “before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders.” Harps are mentioned three times in the Apocalypse, in each instance associated with song (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 15:2).Thus is set forth the choral praise of the redeemed and heavenly host. The elders, representatives of the redeemed of past and present ages, each celebrates with song and harp God’s intervention in mighty saving grace (Revelation 5:8-10).Then, again, the martyred company of Judah tell out their gladness and triumph similarly to those of the elders (Revelation 14:2-3; Revelation 15:2-3). We understand the harpists of our chapter and those on the sea of glass (Revelation 15:2)as being one and the same class. The song and harp are so blended that they are spoken of as “a voice” majestic as “many waters” and powerful as “great thunder.” Then this company of harpists sing a “new song” in contrast with the old song. The former has as its theme redemption; the latter has as its subject creation (Job 38:7).The Lamb and the new song are conjoined (Revelation 5:8;Revelation 14:2). God and the old song are united. “The song of Moses” and “the song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3) link upin one God’s past ways of power toward Israel with His present grace to them and to us. The crowd of saved Gentiles who form the nucleus of earth’s millennial inhabitants is said to stand “before the throne” (Revelation 7:9). So here the company sing “before the throne.” But as the former are on earth, while the latter are in Heaven, the position differs accordingly. The saved Gentiles have a standing morally before the throne, whereas the martyred Jewish company have an actual place in relation to the throne.

Revelation 14:3. — No one could learn that song save the hundred (and) forty-four thousand. The choristers in Heaven and those with the Lamb on Zion are evidently in closest sympathy. The two together formed one company on earth. Nationally they were Jews, spiritually fellow-saints. They had been companions in labor, in testimony, and in suffering under the oppression of the Beast and the Antichrist. Many sealed their testimony with their blood, others passed through the Tribulation, keeping themselves free from the corruptions of the wicked scene. The former class are the harp-singing company in Heaven; the latter are the preserved of Judah on mount Zion; thus the intimate connection between the two companies. How fitting, therefore, that the saved and delivered Jews on Zion should be those who alone on earth enter into and learn the song of their brethren “before the throne” in Heaven. On earth they learn; in Heaven they know (1 Corinthians 13:12).

As showing the ground of blessing even though victors over the Beast and occupying the place of royalty on Zion,the words are added, “who were bought from the earth,” not “redeemed” as in the Authorized Version, but bought,” or purchased, as here and in verse four. All saints in Heaven and in earth are both purchased and redeemed. The former term applies to all men and all things on earth, the latter to believers only, and to thingson earth at the Coming. (For a fuller elucidation of the truths of purchase and redemption, see section on Revelation 5:9.The reader is also referred to our “Doctrinal Summaries; or, Expositions of Important Scriptural Truths.” Fifth edition.)

THE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR

THOUSAND ON MOUNT ZION.

Revelation 14:4-5. — These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins: these are they who follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes. Thesehave been bought from men, firstfruits to God and to the Lamb: and in their mouths was no lie found; they are blameless. In this first vision we have three companies of redeemed people: (1) The elders, the saints of past and present ages; (2) the praising company of martyred Judah in Heaven; (3) the victorious part of Judah who had emerged out of “the great Tribulation.” This latter company are associated with the Lamb in His triumph, standing on mount Zion, the seat of royalty and of sovereign grace. Amidst the grossest corruptions, open idolatry, proud boasting, daring blasphemy, and open wickedness, these saints had not defiled themselves. They had walked through a scene abandoned to Satan without defilement. They lived and walked in virgin purity ( “These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins.” To refer this to literal impurity, as some do, manifests a lamentable want of spiritual discernment; moreover, the absurdity of such an interpretation would necessarily confine the company on mount Zion to men only.) (2 Corinthians 11:2). They had “kept themselves unspotted from the world.” But not only is there virgin purity of life, but there is also virgin love, undivided heart affection for the Lamb. We have had their purity attested, now we witness their obedience, which is full and unqualified; they “follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes,” their discipleship is unquestionable.

Revelation 14:4Bought from men and “bought from the earth” (Revelation 14:3) respectively signify the race and the place out of which God in His grace had taken them. Their purchase is regarded as a special act of sovereign grace.

Firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. These are an earnest of earth’s coming blessing. God and the Lamb are to reap a rich and bountiful harvest, and these are a sample. Priority in time and blessing of a like character are indicated in the term “firstfruits” (see Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; James 1:18, etc.).

Revelation 14:5. — “In their mouths was no lie found.” Truthfulness in word characterised them. Their confession of Christ as the real Messiah was a true one (1 John 2:21-27),in contrast to the mass given over to believe a lie in the reception and acknowledgment of the false Messiah, the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 John 2:22).

Revelation 14:5They are blameless. Thus ends the beautifully descriptive character of the 144,000 on mount Zion. The Authorised Version substitutes guile for “lie,” and adds “without fault before the throne of God.” This is a serious interpolation. The meaning and force of the simple statement, “they are blameless,” is that they were so in practical ways and conduct generally. They refused to conform to the persecuting and blaspheming edicts of the Beast, they neither wondered after the Beast nor worshipped him. The seductions, too, of Antichrist, by which the mass were deceived, were avoided with holy loathing. In these respects “they were blameless.” Were the absolute holiness of God, the claims of His throne and nature in question, none on earth could stand and say, “I am blameless in myself.” This the passage does not assert, but is simply God’s estimate of their practical conduct when under the Beast.

REVIEW.

The opening vision is that of the Lamb standing on mount Zion immediately preparatory to His assumption of royal power as King of Israel. With Him is associated a defined number of Jews who have emerged out of the great Tribulation. They publicly bear the Name of the Lamb and His Father’s Name, and are thus, in light of the full blaze of millennial glory, openly owned of God. Then a voice is heard “out of,” or proceeding from, Heaven, grandly majestic and loud and powerful. It is one voice in which the harp and song of many are expressed. These singers and harpers are in Heaven. Who are they? They are as a company distinct from the elders, the raised dead and changed living of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. The harpist choir are the brethren of those on mount Zion. They had laid down their lives rather than succumb to the Beast and his minister who dominated the conscience of the mass. They are here seen as raised in vision only; actually the whole scene is an anticipative millennial one. Their brethren on earth, once their companions in confession and sorrow, alone can learn the song of Heaven. How near is Heaven to earth in those days! How interested and how real the fellowship of saints in Heaven with those on earth! It is the day of Hosea 2:21-22, and the day of John 1:51.

Then we get the ground (twice stated) on which these saved ones stood in holy and royal fellowship with the Lamb. They had been purchased at what a cost, even the blood of the Lamb. Then we have their practical conduct (not the inward state), which is equally true in principle of every child of God. (1) Separation, thorough and unqualified,from the wickedness and idolatry of their surroundings. They maintained virgin purity from evil and virgin affection for Christ. (2) Obedience and Discipleship are marked features. They followed the Lamb wheresoever He went at a time and in a crisis when all save the elect wandered after the Beast. Following the Lamb is a characteristic truth. They followed Him in His rejection; they equally follow Him in His glory. The word translated “follow” is in the present tense. (3) Truthfulness, in word and confession, is another feature of the practical character of these saints. When Christendom as a whole had been given over to believe the devil’s lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11) these godly Jewish saints clung to the truth of Holy Scripture in its teachings as to the true Messiah and Prophet. (4) Blamelessness in outward conduct and ways before men, not “before the throne of God” (an interpolation), is a fitting and condensed epitome of their practical character and life. They were the first-fruits of the harvest gathered out of Israel, a joy to God and to the Lamb.

Commentary on Revelation 14:1-5 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 14:1. The preceding chapter took us back to the first century of the Christian Era and dealt with the years of Pagan Rome, then came on to the time of Papal Rome and predicted the Dark Ages of 1260 years. The present chapter will continue down through that period and through the days of the Reformation, finally reaching the last great day of judgment and the separation of the saved from the unsaved. The Lamb is Christ and Zion is the true church which has been persecuted all through the Dark Ages. In the course of that period there were multitudes of faithful Christians who would not receive the mark of the beast, but instead they had the name of the Father written in their foreheads.

Revelation 14:2. Voice of many waters symbolizes that great numbers had resisted the temptations of Rome, and thunder is a symbol denoting that the sound of triumph is strong and of great volume. Voice of harpers means the organs of song in the bodies of the redeemed, for the next verse says they were singing with the harps.

Revelation 14:3. The saints of God always have the same story to tell and the same song to sing, and that is about redemption through the blood of the Lamb. But that story has a new significance whenever the faithful have another victory over the forces of evil through faith in Christ Jesus, and in that sense it becomes a new song. At the present time they had gained a victory over the apostate institution and hence they had great reason to rejoice and sing. The four beasts (living creatures) and the four and twenty elders are among the grateful listeners to the song. The hundred and forty and four thousand are the same ones we read about in chapter 7. No man could learn that song. Men of the world can sing any kind of song that is written as far as the literal execution of it is concerned, but they cannot realize what it means to express themselves in song as can those who have been redeemed from sin in the blood of the Lamb, and then again experienced the joy of winning out in a battle against the hosts of wickedness as these had. The corrupt institution of Rome had tried to overcome them by its abominable allurements but had failed.

Revelation 14:4. In figurative language heathenism, paganism or idolatry, likewise any other form of unlawful worship is used to symbolize adultery and other forms of immorality. The persons of this verse were disciples who had remained true to the service of Christ though often tempted to commit spiritual adultery with paganism and other practices of Rome. Follow the Lamb whithersoever lie goeth covers much more than is often realized. It means to follow Him through sorrow as well as joy; through evil report as well as good, and through the valley of death if the enemy drives that affliction upon the servant of the Lord. Incidentally this verse gives us some information on the subject of virgins. The common idea is that only women can be virgins but these are called such because they had not been defiled with women, and men only could be defiled in that way. True the writer is considering spiritual adultery, but the language would not have been used were it not understood that either sex may be a virgin. First fruit s is figurative in the sense of quality, and the word is based on the requirements of the Mosiac law. The Jews were commanded to give the first of all their flocks and herds and the products of the field unto the Lord. The word finally came to mean the best service that one could render to Him. The disciples of this verse had performed such excellent devotions that the word first fruits is used denoting something especially dear to the Lord.

Revelation 14:5. Guile means deceit and these faithful disciples had no desire nor occasion to try deceiving anyone. That evil trait was one of the prominent ones of the "man of sin." Fault means blemish or spot in one’s conduct or manner of life. Hence this verse represents persons who are correct in both word and deed. That would indicate that their hearts were right also because "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh"(Matthew 12:34), and from the heart come "murders, adulteries," etc. (Matthew 15:19). These saints were free from all these products of an evil heart so we may conclude they were pure in heart. That explains why they were allowed to be before the throne of God, for Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart shall see God. These brave soldiers of the cross had been strengthened in their fight of faith by the very trials that were intended to destroy them.

Commentary on Revelation 14:1-5 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 14:1

There is relatively very little difficulty in the interpretation of this chapter. First (Revelation 14:1-5), there is a consolatory vision of the redeemed rejoicing in heaven (anticipatory, of course), followed by a solemn angelic announcement of the final judgment (Revelation 14:6-7), "The hour of his judgment is come!" However, even preceding that announcement (Revelation 14:7), there was foretold the fulfillment of that great event which must come before the final judgment; namely, the preaching of the truth to all nations, as Jesus prophesied, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). The announcement of the angel in Revelation 14:7 that the hour is come very logically follows the revelation of Revelation 14:6 that preaching of the "eternal good tidings" had been effectively concluded. The rest of this chapter (Revelation 14:8-20) contains a more detailed and graphic vision of the judgment. This follows a pattern John frequently used. "As often, with this author, we have first a general fact, or statement, then a detail or part."[1]

By way of recalling what was revealed in the preceding chapter, two great enemies of God’s people were presented: (1) the sea-beast and (2) the land-beast. The first of these we identified as the satanically perverted state, Satan’s perennial device as seen in the great historical empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, the latter being the specific manifestation of it when John wrote. The second was understood as the false church which made an image of the beast (in the sense of becoming that image), the degenerate religion, being particularly manifested when John wrote as the pagan priesthood, but developing later into the full apostasy of the Middle Ages, and becoming an image of the first beast, itself the second, but particularly a religious beast originating in Christianity and developing out of it.

Such revelations must have been shocking indeed to the first readers of this prophecy; and their most natural reaction would have been the question, "Is evil then destined to triumph?" This great judgment scene in Revelation 14 is squarely addressed to that question. Wickedness shall not prevail; evil cannot win. The first beast shall fall (Babylon, Revelation 14:8), her doom being pronounced in the prophetic past tense as something already accomplished, and as certain as if it had already occurred. The second beast, those worshipping the first beast and his image (Revelation 14:9), shall be tormented with fire and brimstone (Revelation 14:10), forever and ever (Revelation 14:11). Thus, the great purpose of the final judgment, as stated in this chapter, is the overthrow and destruction of these two great enemies of God and his people.

In connection with that great final judgment, three angelic announcements signal the onset and execution of it (Revelation 14:6-12). Revelation 14:13, coming at the end of that triple preliminary, is, in a sense, the summary of all three, and one of the noblest passages in the whole Bible.

The actual execution of the final judgment is presented in Revelation 14:14-20, which might be entitled "The Sickle of God," for these are not two visions, but one. Some commentators get mixed up here by paying too much attention to the various angels, who with regard to the judgment (all of them) are but the instruments of Christ (Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:49) and are merely part of the scenery of the vision. As Lenski noted, "Those who count the angels and think that each appears in a separate vision have seen visions![2] However many angels are seen in these verses, there is only one sickle, only one judgment. An outline of this chapter is:

I. A consolatory vision of the whole church in heaven (Revelation 14:1-5).

II. The announcement of the final judgment and the Second Coming of Christ, "the day of the Lord" (Revelation 14:6-7).

A. The gospel is preached to all nations, as Jesus said, that the end might come (Revelation 14:6).

B. The judgment is announced (Revelation 14:7).

C. The first beast is destroyed (Revelation 14:8).

D. The second beast is destroyed (Revelation 14:9-12).

E. Another word of great consolation is given (Revelation 14:13).

III. The execution of the judgment itself (Revelation 14:14-20).

A. The "wheat" is gathered into the garner (Revelation 14:14-16).

B. The wicked earth (its inhabitants) perishes (Revelation 14:17-20).

[1] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 663.

[2] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 418.

And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

The 144,000 ... These are without doubt the same as those of Revelation 7:4; Revelation 7:9; namely, the entire register of the redeemed of earth without the loss of one. See further comment on this interpretation under those verses, above. Some are able to find only "the martyrs" here, "but it is unlikely to stand for a spiritual elite of any sort, such as the martyrs."[3] "The whole church is in view."[4] They are not the martyrs, nor the celibates, nor any special kind of Christians whatever. "’These words demand no such interpretation."[5]

Standing on the mount of Zion ... Of course, Zion is the poetic name for the old Jerusalem, but no literal city of any kind could be meant here.

This is that Zion which cannot be moved but abides for ever (Psalms 125:1); it is heaven (Hebrews 12:22). Hence, we read, "And I heard a voice from heaven" (Revelation 14:2; Revelation 14:13).[6]

Having his name written on their foreheads ... Since this is not literally true of Christians, it must be understood as a mark of their identification with Christ and with God. It is a spiritual likeness, which also corroborates the interpretation given above regarding the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18). Having the names of God and Christ written upon the forehead symbolizes thoughts and dispositions conformable to the will of God. Barclay believed that "’it might indicate ownership, loyalty, security, dependence and safety of the Christian."[7] Moffatt understood this whole vision as being "introduced as a foil of what preceded,"[8] and as anticipatory of heaven. Any notion that it is "a preview of the near future"[9] is erroneous. All such interpretations suppose that John (mistakenly, of course) believed that Christ would return very shortly to gather a literal army (the 144,000) on the hills of the literal Jerusalem.

[3] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 175.

[4] G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (Greenwood, South Carolina: The Attic Press, 1974), p. 223.

[5] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 190.

[6] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 183.

[7] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 102.

[8] James Moffatt, The Expositor’s Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 435.

[9] Martin Rist, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. XII (New York-Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 467.

Revelation 14:2

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers harping with their harps.

And I heard a voice from heaven ... Although the person or persons speaking in this great voice is not indicated, the fact of its being "from heaven" proclaims the true power and authority of it. God either spoke the message or authorized it.

As the voice of many waters ... It was not the noise of many waters which John heard, but something so powerful as to suggest that.

As the voice of harpers harping with their harps ... Just as in the case of the waters, John did not hear "waters"; he did not hear, in this case, either the harps or the voice of the harpers, but something suggesting that. What John heard was not singers singing and playing harps, but a sound as precious and sweet as that, meaning that, "It was articulate and sweet."[10] Morris described the voice as loud and melodious, supposing that, "It was the voice of the 144,000."[11]

As might have been expected, not all scholars could resist the temptation to fabricate an argument from this to favor worshipping God with mechanical instruments of music. "We see that there are zithers of God ... The zithers accompany the singing!"[12] But, of course, there are no literal harps in heaven; nor is it stated in the text that John heard any harps. As Hinds said, "The passage gives no support for the use of mechanical instruments in worship.[13] Furthermore, there is the valid principle that the appearance of anything whatever in these visions could not possibly provide any authority for the incorporation of such things into the worship of God through Christ on earth. This verse was falsely rendered by the New English Bible (1961) thus, "It was the sound of harpers playing on their harps." As Plummer pointed out, "The ASV rendition as in this text is supported by all the leading uncials, the Sinaiticus, the Alexandrinus, the Vatican and the Codex Ephraemi."[14] Therefore, the New English Bible (1961), like so many of the so-called "modern" translations, is, in certain texts, not a translation at all, but a perversion of the word of God.

[10] W. H. Simcox, The Revelation, Revised, Cambridge Greek New Testament (Cambridge: University Press, 1893), p. 139.

[11] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 176.

[12] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 421.

[13] John T. Hinds, A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1962), p. 208.

[14] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 347.

Revelation 14:3

and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth.

A new song ... The universal rejoicing of the saints in heaven is meant by this, indicating their joy unspeakable and their bliss eternal.

No man could learn ... save the 144,000 ... Could this possibly mean that some special group in heaven alone could learn this song? No indeed. All the redeemed are meant. The meaning is simply that, "none except the redeemed could join in the singing."[15]

Even they that had been purchased out of the earth ... This explains exactly the identity of the 144,000; it is the whole church of Christ that has been purchased with his own precious blood (Acts 20:38 ff).

ENDNOTE:

[15] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 222.

Revelation 14:4

These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, to be the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb. And in their mouth there was found no lie: they are without blemish.

These are they that were not defiled with women ... More nonsense has been written about this than about anything else in Revelation, with the possible exception of Revelation 22:2! We shall start with Barclay: "If we are to treat it honestly, we cannot avoid the conclusion that it praises celibacy and virginity and belittles marriage."[16] We should have expected this from a scholar who thought that when Jesus said, "The maiden is not dead, but sleepeth," he thought they were about to bury the daughter of Jairus alive. For all his "honesty" in taking this place literally he spiritualized virgins to include celibacy! How so? If the passage is taken literally, it is impossible to explain it, for virgins is not literally those who "have not defiled themselves with women," unless it is construed as meaning virgins who are not Lesbians! Are we then to conclude that no one will be in heaven except non-Lesbian females? Literalism here could hardly mean anything else: therefore, the true spiritual meaning of the passage must be sought. For a discussion of "Fundamentalism among Modernists," see my Commentary on James , 1,2 Peter 1, 2, and 3John, and Jude, pp. 289,290.

Before observing what other learned men have written about this, let it be observed that John here categorically stated exactly who the "virgins" of this passage are:

They are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, to be the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb.

It would be impossible for the Scriptures to declare any more plainly than in these words that the "virgins" are the redeemed of earth, the true Christians who at last shall enter heaven. How strange it is that people should seek any other definition than that which is so clearly stated here by the inspired apostle himself.

The 144,000 virgins are undefiled in the sense that they have refused to defile themselves by participating in the fornication of worshipping the beast.[17]

That the word "virgins" is used in a spiritual sense in the New Testament is proved by the letter Ignatius wrote to the Smyrneans, "To the brethren, their wives and children, and the virgins that are called widows."[18] In such usage, "virgins" has no reference whatever to sexual experience. "Being a chaste virgin" means being a faithful Christian; and all of the ancient Christians understood this perfectly. Scholars overwhelmingly accept this:

This means that the Christians have resisted the seductions of the great harlot Rome with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication (Revelation 17:2)[19] These anticipatory passages al ways relate to the people of God as a whole.[20] The whole church is in view. Therefore the passage must be interpreted symbolically.[21] A literal interpretation would contradict the gospel.[22] These were virgin souls who had not bowed to the beast or his image. They were not guilty of spiritual fornication."[23] Virgins was a natural symbol for moral purity from the seductions of the great whore of Babylon and from that fornication which is idolatry.[24] It is not possible that these words should be understood literally.[25]

Firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb ... This expression is made to mean that the salvation of the church is only "first" chronologically in God’s purpose of saving the entire human race, good and bad alike, as for example:

The church’s experience is also the sign of what the experience of mankind is to be. Put these words into the collection of John’s universalistic references."[26]

Such views are due to a misunderstanding of the true meaning of "firstfruits" as used here.

"Firstfruits" can be used of a total group regarding their total consecration to God. All Christians are "firstfruits" (James 1:18). Jeremiah also referred to all of Israel as "the firstfruits of his harvest" (Jeremiah 2:3).[27]

There is absolutely nothing here that indicates the salvation of any who are not "in Christ." "The view that makes the 144,000 the firstfruits of all believers instead of all men is unacceptable."[28] The contrast is not between the 144,000 and others yet to be saved, but between them and the rest who are lost. Chronology is not in this. "Firstfruits is a description of the perfect character of the 144,000."[29]

And in their mouth there was found no lie ... Beyond the truth and integrity of speech which are the dominant qualities of every Christian life, "the lie" probably in the back of John’s mind here is the lie that "Caesar is god," that man is his own Saviour, that people may forgive each other’s sins, or that God’s religion may be tailored by people to suit their own purposes. "Not the least lie of this kind was found in the 144,000."[30]

[16] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 107.

[17] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 191.

[18] Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), p. 92.

[19] Robert H. Mounce, Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 270.

[20] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 650.

[21] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 203.

[22] Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), p. 136.

[23] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 90.

[24] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 179.

[25] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 106.

[26] Vernard Eller, op. cit., p. 136.

[27] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 192.

[28] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 425.

[29] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 653.

[30] Ibid.

Commentary on Revelation 14:1-5 by Manly Luscombe

Introduction Chapter 14 is a continuation of the previous one. Here is a brief outline of this chapter:

I. Description of those who refuse to

worship the beast. (Revelation 14:1-5)

II. Babylon is introduced. (Revelation 14:6-11)

III. Another view of judgment. (Revelation 14:14-20)

1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. The 144,000 were discussed in Revelation 7:3-4. They are the servants of God who have the seal of God in them. They have the Father’s name on their foreheads. They are faithful, loyal, and obedient followers of Christ. The seal of God shows genuineness and authenticity. Each of us must decide whom we will serve - Christ or Satan - and wear the mark that identifies our loyalty.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. There are several issues that are often discussed here. 1. Does this passage authorize instrumental music in worship? The argument is often made that there are harps in heaven. The claim is made, since it is acceptable in heaven, it must be acceptable in worship. This passage does not authorize the use of instrumental music in worship. First, the harps mentioned here are symbolic. John does not hear harps. He hears voices like harpers playing their harps. There are references in Revelation to horses, frogs, lions, beasts, dragons, thunder, death, suffering, persecution and many other things which John sees in heaven. They are symbolic, not literal. Second, what John heard were voices. Voices can offer praise to God. This is what God commanded the church to do. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) This is what the angels and 24 elders use to praise God in Rev 5. 2. What did John hear? Did John hear harps? Did he hear thunder? Did John hear a babbling brook? NO! John heard voices. In the next verse this voice sings a new Song of Solomon 3. What is the picture being painted in verse 2? John hears a voice. Now he begins to describe this voice. He uses three symbols to describe the voice he hears. Many waters - describes the flow and blending of this voice. It sounded like a babbling brook flowing over a rocky creek bed. Great thunder - As John seeks to describe the power of this voice; he says it sounded like a great boom of thunder. Harpers harping - When you think about the melody and beauty of the voice, John describes them as if many harpists were playing their instruments. It is clear that the acceptable worship and praise that God seeks is the voice that offers genuine praise from the heart. This voice sings in verse 3.

3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. The voices are here identified as coming from the 144,000. They sing a new song. It is a song that could not be sung before Christ came. Before the death of Christ, there was no redemption, no forgiveness, no salvation before the blood of Christ was shed on the cross. In the previous verse this voice is singular (denoting its unity and unison) and now it is in the plural as 144,000 sing together. Again, there is a parallel to the children of Israel. When they came out of great tribulation in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, the first thing they did was sing a song of deliverance. So the church of the redeemed sings a new song of deliverance when they come out of the great tribulation of sin. For those who have not obeyed the gospel, the song is not familiar. If one has not committed their life to Christ, the words are just a strange sound.

4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Who are these 144,000? They have not engaged in immoral or adulterous behavior. They have remained pure to the will of God. I do not believe that the word “virgin” is to taken literally. They are spiritually pure. They have remained faithful to their Lord. In 1 Corinthians 7:25-27 refers to men as virgins. Here the term is used to simply mean unmarried and not a reference to their purity and fidelity. They follow the Lamb. Jesus said that the seep know the shepherd and follow him. (John 10:4) If we want to serve Christ, we must follow him. (John 12:26). They are the redeemed from the world. Under the Law of Moses, the Israelites were required to give the first fruits to God. (Proverbs 3:9) We are said to be the first fruits of God. (James 1:18) We have, in effect, given ourselves to the Lord.

5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. The description continues - There was no deceit in them. They were blameless. The American Standard translates this “without blemish.” In the church at Sardis there were some who had not defiled their garments. (Revelation 3:4). The 144,000 are Christians, faithful, and loyal. They have kept their garments pure.

Verses 6-11

Rev 14:6-11

2. THREE JUDGMENT ANGELS

Revelation 14:6-11

6 And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having eternal good tidings to proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation and tribe and tongue and people--As already noted this chapter gives a brief general description of the success made by the saints during the time the church was to wage war with the two beasts, and of its final triumph at the end of the world. The events mentioned are few in number, general in character, and far apart in point of time. The first paragraph certainly includes the redeemed of the 1,260-year period, and may be all the redeemed up to the close of that dreadful time. "Another angel" means one in addition to all the others he had seen in previous visions ; or, expressed differently, the meaning is that an angel gave him another vision. This text does not mean that the eternal good tidings--everlasting gospel--first began to be preached at the time referred to here; for the gospel of Christ began to be preached first on Pentecost according to the command of Jesus. (Luke 24:46; Acts 1:8.) The gospel of Christ is the "eternal good tidings" which was to be preached till the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20.) This preaching which the angel flying in the heaven announced to John seems to mean that done after the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, when the Catholic Church lost her dictatorial power and preachers were allowed, under the flag of Protestant liberty, to preach the Bible to all nations. The great apostasy came gradually, and the Reformation spread gradually, but it gave the liberty and furnished the motive for world-wide evangelism. The angel flying through heaven probably indicates the rapidity with which the preaching of the Reformation would spread. After the long night of spiritual slavery--the 1,260 years of religious darkness--the reformatory work spread by leaps and bounds. Soon all nations were allowed the privilege of reading and obeying without hindrance--a blessed privilege that people still have.

7 and he saith with a great voice, Fear God, and give him glory for the hour of his judgment is come:--This is substantially what Peter said to Cornelius; namely, those that fear God and work righteousness are acceptable to him. (Acts 10:35.) Solomon taught the same lesson in these words: "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13.) The angel was not announcing a new truth, but only what had been true all the way along. The application of this truth was to be carried out by obeying the same gospel that had been preached since Pentecost. Judgment here does not mean the final judgment when all nations will appear before the Lord, but the special judgment upon the beast at the end of the 1,260-year period; the time when the Catholic domination was to be broken and men be allowed to obey the gospel; hence, the command for them to "fear God, and give him glory."

and worship him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.--Paul declared that the "man of sin" would sit in the temple of God "setting himself forth as God." (2 Thessalonians 2:4.) That means, of course, that he would demand that reverence and devotion for himself which belong only to God. The Pope claiming to be the authoritative representative of Christ on earth is the only one that qualifies as deserving this description. This blind worship of a man is the thing which gave him complete sway over men for the long period of religious ignorance. But that anti-Christian power was broken by the Protestant Reformation, and men were taught that they were to worship the Creator of the universe, not man. In the symbol John heard the angel say that the everlasting gospel would be preached again; past history shows that it has been preached. This fact will be fully demonstrated by symbols yet to be studied.

8 And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great,--This does not mean another event that occurred after the things mentioned in verses 6 and 7. Rather this verse tells what transpired that made the proclamation of the everlasting gospel possible at that time. Though expressed in the past tense, all this was future when John saw the vision. This form of expression is called the "prophetic past," which means that a thing is so certain to transpire that it is spoken of as if it had already come to pass. Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 9:6 contains examples of the same usage. This is the first occurrence of the word "Babylon" in this book. Literal Babylon had long since disappeared; hence, the word here must be understood figuratively. See Revelation 17:5 and Revelation 18:2. "Fallen" did not mean that spiritual Babylon would cease to exist when the everlasting gospel began to be repreached, for its destruction will be at the coming of the Lord. (2 Thessalonians 2:8.) It was to fall in the sense that it would no longer be able to make the world bow to the papacy

Just as Jerusalem, the capital of God’s ancient people and the place where the gospel was first preached, was typical of the church (Galatians 4:24-31), so Babylon that once captured Jerusalem was made a type of the apostate church. Literal Babylon took the city, destroyed the temple, removed the holy vessels, and put the people of God in bondage for seventy years. The antitypical Babylon, the papal hierarchy, through a perversion of the church, took away the true worship of God, and put the people in spiritual bondage to papal authority for 1,260 years. The Reformation ended that bondage, but did not destroy the papal system any more than freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage destroyed Egypt.

that hath made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.--This is also highly figurative lan guage. Fornication, as we have already learned, is typical of false and idolatrous doctrine and practice. It is here also represented as wine. Drinking wine intoxicates and leads to folly and madness; practicing false doctrines leads to confusion and rebellion against God. Jeremiah spake of the city of Babylon thus: "Babylon hath been a golden cup in Jehovah’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad." (Jeremiah 51:7.) Her antitype, papal Babylon, made the nations drunk with her false doctrines. In due time God allowed Babylon to he punished and finally destroyed; he has already broken spiritual Babylon’s strangle hold on the world and will destroy her at the Lord’s coming. The "wrath" here mentioned refers to the punishment that would fall upon her and those she deceives or intoxicates with her false teachings.

9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worshippeth the beast and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,--This angel refers to the corrupt anti-Christian power as the "beast" which is mentioned in Revelation 13:11. This was to encourage the struggling saints with the promise that their great enemy with his entire influence would finally be destroyed. He here specifically mentions all individuals who would accept and practice the false teaching of the apostate institution. For :comments on receiving the mark of the beast see notes on Revelation 13:16-17.

10 he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger;--The figure here is that of drinking from a cup of poison that would make one stagger, reel, and fall. As drinking the wine of Babylon’s false doctrines led to religious drunkenness and departure from truth, so drinking the "wine of the wrath of God" means to suffer eternal banishment from his presence. Wine unmixed here means that the punishment would be up to full measure. God’s righteous indignation at sin would require that he allow wickedness to be properly rewarded. Paul so taught in 2 Thessalonians 2:12. This is a strong incentive to righteous living.

and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb --The word "tormented" carries the idea of conscious pain, which in itself shows consciousness in the final state. Fire and brimstone are evidently used in a figurative sense to indicate the terrible punishment that the lost will have to endure. Anything requiring the use of such figures must be too dreadful not to escape. The language may be used with reference to the destruction of Sodom. (Genesis 19:24.) Whatever this punishment may be, it will be unending. Mark refers to it as "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:47-48.) Matthew refers to "eternal punishment" in direct contrast with "eternal life." Eternal in both expressions is from the same Greek word. The punishment, therefore, is of the same duration as the life.

The angels and Christ being present need not be pressed to signify anything more than that they will he present when the wicked are sent away into their punishment. However, it may add to their torment for them to know that their punishment is according to the righteous judgment of Christ, and a justification of the rewards to the righteous. Blessings for the righteous demand punishments for the wicked, else righteousness would not be worth seeking.

11 and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name.--Smoke ceases to arise when the fire goes out. This is a symbol to indicate that their punishment would not end; the two expressions "for ever and ever" and "day and night" both show that to be the meaning. When the final sentence is passed, the destiny of the wicked is fixed forever. The remainder of the verse is a repetition of the description of those who will be finally rejected. The number John is here talking about are those who identify themselves with the apostate church in doctrine and practice. For comment on the mark and name of the beast see notes on Revelation 13:16-17.

Commentary on Revelation 14:6-11 by Foy E. Wallace

(2) The three angels of judgment--14:6-12.

1. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people—Revelation 14:6. This angel of proclamation symbolized the evangelism of the world with the gospel, and was paralleled with the angels of Matthew 24:31, who were to be sent “to gather his elect from the four winds of the earth,” after the destruction of Jerusalem. The message of the everlasting gospel of this Revelation angel was the same gospel of the kingdom of Matthew 24:14; Matthew 24:31 -which was preached by the angels who gathered the elect from one end of heaven to the other, after the destruction of Jerusalem.

These angels of Revelation, as of Matthew twenty-four, symbolized gospel emissaries, and both passages (Matthew 24:31 and Revelation 14:6) referred to the universal expansion of Christianity which followed the downfall of Judaism. The end mentioned in Matthew 24:14 --"and then shall the end come”--undoubtedly had reference to the end of the Jewish state and the termination of the period of the persecution by the rulers of Rome and Judea.

The visions of Revelation are again seen to be an extension of the Lord’s abbreviated account of the same events in Matthew the twenty-fourth chapter, both of which were the delineations of the war against the Jews, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, and of the terrible tribulation which the churches sustained and survived.

The evangelistic angel of verse 6 had the everlasting gospel to preach . . . to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, while the angels of Matthew 24:31 were sent to gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The events were the same, the angels were the same, their evangelistic mission and gospel message were the same, the symbolism was the same and the period the visions covered was the same--the time of trial and tribulation of the churches during the war against Jerusalem, with all of the events connected with its downfall and the subsequent persecution of the church.

The apocalyptist here envisions the immediate post-persecution unrestrained proclamation of the gospel. The angelic evangel was seen flying “in the midst of heaven” --that is, in the domain of the civil governments and political authorities that had waged the persecution against the church. But the persecutors were seen as having been defeated and the period of persecution as having ended, and the angel emissary was seen heralding the everlasting gospel to the people of the whole Roman world. It was the gospel which imperial power could not destroy, which had survived bloodshed and martyrdom--the everlasting and universal gospel then to be preached “unto them that dwell on the earth” (Judea and Palestine), where the saints had been killed, and “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (the whole region of the persecuting powers). It iss the same universal, indestructible, everlasting gospel today.

2. Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come—Revelation 14:7. The loud proclamation of this angel was a strong expression of the truth that the gospel has a message of fear and condemnation as well as of joy and salvation.

The message of the evangelistic angel is concluded with the exhortation to worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. These words declare that God is over every realm of the activities of the two beasts--the emperor and his satellite rulers--and that all should acknowledge and worship him.

3. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication—Revelation 14:8. The second angel of this vision was the angel of doom-signifying the message of doom on Babylon-which here referred to apostate Jerusalem--and the eminent fall of the once holy city.

In Revelation 11:8 apostate Jerusalem was designated spiritually as Egypt and Sodom to symbolize her state of apostasy. The reference to Jerusalem was made indisputable by the identifying phrase “where also our Lord was crucified.” The prophet Isaiah referred to apostate Jerusalem as “the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” (Isaiah 1:21) The Lord’s lament over the spiritual desolation of Jerusalem is recorded in Matthew 23:34-37, climaxed with the impassioned appeal: “0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.”

The name Babylon had come to symbolize the ultimate in corruption, and the fallen Babylon of Revelation 14:8 is figurative of the spiritual degradation of Jerusalem--“the faithful city turned harlot,” and “which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Rome was never a faithful city” to “turn harlot,” but these phrases are a fitting description of Jerusalem before and during the time of Christ.

The fornication of Revelation 14:8 compares with the use of the same term in reference to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God in their Old Testament history. The wine of the wrath of her fornication denoted the drunkenness of spiritual idolatry resulting from the wine of wrath, the evil deeds of which called down the condemnation of God which brought the end in the destruction of the city and its temple.

4. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his Mark—Revelation 14:9. The third angel of this apocalypse was the angel of judgment--the symbol of solemn warning against the worship of the beast, and receiving his mark.

As has been previously shown the beast of the land (in Palestine) obeyed the beast of the sea (the Roman emperor) and caused all the people to worship the Roman emperor whose image was the object of idolatry. This image worship was the mark of the beast. Having this mark inscribed in the forehead or in the hand was symbolic of its binding power, as an inviolable oath of allegiance. This particular announcement of the angel is not a pronouncement of judgment on the beasts, but rather a warning against the beast-worship and the condemnation that would come to all men everywhere who thereby received his mark.

5. The 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—Revelation 14:10. The strong fermentation of wine used for liquors was often made more savory and agreeable to the taste by additives of certain spices or ingredients. But the wine of the wrath of God upon the idolaters of the imperial image worship would be poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation--the wrath of God unmingled with clemency and without mitigation would be their condemnation. The worshipers of the imperial beast would share the same judgment pronounced upon him.

The elements of the torment meted out to the idolatrous worshipers of the beast was figuratively described as fire and brimstone. The inflammable mineral known in that day as brimstone was sulphuric in content, and when burning emitted a suffocating smell. It was used to describe the torment of the wicked--symbolic of the ultimate degree of remorse and anguish. It was no less fearful when put in the words of Paul in Romans 2:8-9 : “Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” It means that the punishment of the wicked will consist of vexation of spirit, distress of mind, remorse of conscience, and anguish of soul.

6. The smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever 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—Revelation 14:11. The duration of the condemnation on the idolatrous worship of the Roman beast was expressed in these terms of equal fear in the fateful words of this text.

The phrase forever and ever always meant endless. The single term forever may refer to a period of time--and though it must include all of the period to which it refers, it is limited to the duration of that period. On the other side of time, in eternity, there will be no time limitations; therefore, the words forever and everlasting and eternal (all from the same Greek term aionious) when used in reference to reward or punishment beyond this life must denote that which is without end. But when ever and ever are joined together in forever and ever, there is never a modification --it always means endless. So doctrinally, respecting the duration of the future punishment of the wicked, these verses carry no intimation of any limitation. Not only so-- there is no cessation: and they have no rest day nor night --that is, no recess from torment, no release from punishment. The torment of the beast was to be interminable and without intermission.

Commentary on Revelation 14:6-11 by Walter Scott

PROCLAMATION OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL.

Revelation 14:6-7. — And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven,having the everlasting Gospel to announce to those settled on the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, saying, with a loud voice, Fear God, and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him that made the Heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and fountains of waters. The chapter from verse six to the end unfolds the order of events. The first vision anticipates the happy scene when, after the dark clouds of judgment have rolled aside, the bright dawn of the coming day fills the earth with gladness. The first and most joyous company in the scene delivered from the thralldom of Satan is the 144,000, the godly remnant of Judah standing in safety and in holy fellowship with the Lamb on mount Zion.The time and place of the vision itself (vv. 1-5), therefore, must be distinguished from its fulfilment. The sequence of events as the end is drawing to a close commences with verse six, the announcement to the world at large of the Everlasting Gospel.

Revelation 14:6I saw another angel flying in the mid-heaven. The word another angel does not connect itself with the seventh angel (Revelation 11:15), nor with the militant host under Michael in Revelation 12:1-17, but with the eagle messenger flying in mid-heaven announcing woe (Revelation 8:13). It may be said that the connection does not hold good, inasmuch as one is an eagle and the other an angel, but the objection is more apparent than real. The term “angel” in itself does not denote nature, but office, and is used both of spiritual beings and of men. The context, and not the word merely, must determine its application to men or spirits. Angel literally signifies messenger. Both the eagle and the angel are messengers. Both are witnessed flying across the firmament so as to scan the earth, even to its remotest bounds, and aloud proclaim their message.The flying eagle is a herald of judgment, the flying angel is a messenger of mercy.

Revelation 14:6. — Will there be a literal announcement of the Everlasting Gospel by an angel? Will a spiritual being actually proclaim the glad tidings from mid-heaven in his rapid course? Angels will be largely employed in the providential and governmental economy both prior to and during the millennial kingdom. But the preaching of the Gospel, whether it be that of the kingdom, of the grace,or of the glory of God, is a task committed to men and not to angels, while the latter will, without a doubt, providentially expedite the work of declaring the good news in the closing days of the last prophetic week. But we apprehend that the preachers of the Everlasting Gospel will be converted Jews chiefly, and that the result of their mission will be an ingathering of a vast and countless throng of saved Gentiles for millennial blessing (Matthew 25:34; Revelation 7:9). Isaiah 66:19-21 is by some applied tothe same mission as we have here, but that is a mistake. The Isaiah mission has its place when the Lord comes in Person to plead with all flesh, as the previous part of the chapter conclusively demonstrates; whereas the Everlasting Gospel is announced to the nations before the Lord comes. The angel flying on his mission indicates that a widespread and rapid testimony to grace and a warning note of judgment are proclaimed on the eve of “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2). It is only in visionthat the angel announces the Everlasting Gospel.

The Gospel preached now is that of God’s rich and sovereign grace to guilty sinners (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16); and of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Gospel of the kingdom was preached prior to the death and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 10:7), and will be preached again after the removal of the Church (Matthew 24:14). We gather that the Everlasting Gospel is in substance that of the kingdom, here termed everlasting,because it is an ever-abiding truth that the Creator and not the creature is the only object of worship. This, too, is the only instance of the word “everlasting“ applied to the Gospel. The earliest mention of the good news is contained in Genesis 3:15, and on through the dark and ever-changing ages of man’s history this Gospel remains unchanged in character, for God is everlastingly merciful, and from the entrance of sin into the world till its judgment at the Coming God alone is the hope of His creatures.

Those to whom the Gospel is announced are stated under five terms: (1) “To those settled on the earth.” We have had the same moral (See commentary on Revelation 2:13, Revelation 6:11, and Revelation 11:11. We may add that we greatly question whether any of this class bow to the proclamation and receive the glad tidings; when the results of this mighty and extensive work of grace are before us, as in Revelation 7:9, there is no mention of those “that dwell on the earth.” Here we have five classes to whom the Gospel is preached, there only four when the results are stated (see also 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:12).) class of persons brought before us on several occasions (Revelation 3:10; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 11:10, etc.). They are Christian apostates who had rejected God’s call to Heaven (Hebrews 3:1), and deliberately chose the earth and its interests instead. They have been described as those that “dwell on the earth,” but here a somewhat stronger expression is used, “settled on the earth.” (2) “To every nation.” (3) “And tribe,” or a part, a division of a nation or people. (4) “And tongue,” signifying the numerous languages and dialects spoken. (5) “And people,” whether organized or not; the masses of mankind. These last four terms really embrace the race, and express as a formula universality (Revelation 7:9; Revelation 11:9).Those then are the persons to whom this Gospel is preached. As to its reception by some and its rejection by others we are not here informed: that must be learned elsewhere.

Revelation 14:7. — What is so publicly and widely announced is next declared. Fear God, and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment has come.” The first duty of the creature is to “fear God,” which is indeed the “beginning of wisdom” — twice repeated (Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).It is, too, a call to turn from the Beast to God: from the creature to the Creator. The mass were glorifying a man whom Satan had deified. Him they worshipped. God alone was, is, and ever shall be glorified both in His character and in His works and ways. The world is here recalled to this grand and fundamental truth, almost entirely forgotten, “Give Him glory.” The solemn ground on which this call is based is next stated, “For the hour of His judgment has come.” What an awful moment in human history! God is about to intervene in judgment, and no power can arrest the stroke. It is about to fall on the ungodly world and apostate peoples, christian and Jewish. “And worship Him that made the Heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and fountains of waters.” The primary truth that God is the Creator of all, the visible and the invisible (Colossians 1:16), has been lost sight of. Man has usurped the place of God, and the claim of the Creator to the homage of the creature is well-nigh effaced from the minds of men. The truth of creation is the first and fundamental subject of divine revelation (Genesis 1:1-31). Here it is recalled and enforced in light of immediate judgment.The worship of the Creator is a necessary law for men and angels. As we have had the race under a fourfold designation — nation, tribe, tongue, and people — so here creation is stated in four terms equally universal with the other: Heaven, earth, sea, and fountains.

How good, how gracious in God, ere His righteous vengeance search out the guilty of earth, to send to the race at large this final message couched in terms forcible and solemn! The moment is opportune, for every true thought of the Creator has been almost banished from the earth. All worship the Beast save the elect, then in a weak and feeble minority.

THE FALL OF BABYLON.

Revelation 14:8. — And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Great Babylon has fallen, has fallen, which of the wine of the fury of her fornication has made all nations drink. It will be observed that there are three specific angelic announcements (Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:8-9). The first and the third are proclaimed with a “loud voice.” Not so the second. Babylon, civil and religious, figures largely in Bible history. Whether viewed as a city (Jeremiah 51:1-64), or as a religious system (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 18:1-24), it is a vast consolidated system and the enslaver of God’s people. Babylon of old was the first and only Gentile power on which God directly conferred governmental authority (Daniel 2:37). Its doom, and the deliverance of Judah from the seventy years’ captivity were associated events. It will be so at the end. The Beast of the Apocalypse, which inherits the civil and political power of ancient Babylon, perishes at the Coming (Revelation 19:1-21), and God’s people are delivered. But what is before us now is the mystic Babylon, that huge system of spiritual adultery and corruption which holds sway over the whole prophetic scene. It is scarcely possible to conceive of a huge system of wickedness eagerly embraced by the nations once called christian. It will nevertheless be so. Babylon here is the full development of the state of things under the Thyatiran condition of the Church (Revelation 2:18-23). Protestantism as a system is destroyed at the Coming (Revelation 3:3). Babylon falls before the Coming (Revelation 17:1-18).

Babylon, the city of old, was the oppressor of the nations, and the centre and stronghold of the world’s pride and idolatry. Satan stamped his own character upon it. But Israel and her renowned capital, Jerusalem, should have been the people and city from whence the knowledge of Jehovah and power over the nations emanated. But Israel, having falsified her position as set on earth to administer righteous government in headship over the nations, and also having proved unfaithful to her mission in making known the character of the true and only God, is set aside. Babylon is the contrast to what Israel should have been, and, in fact, to what she will be when under the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:1-40). The Church should have been a witness to God’s character as light and love, instead of which she has shown herself an unfaithful steward of the truth, and has failed as a witness to God and to Christ. Then, consequent on the moral ruin of the Church, the ground is prepared for Satan to introduce the mystic Babylon, the corrupter of the earth, and the spiritual enslaver of the nations who are madly intoxicated with her adulteries and corruptions. Her meretricious charms are gilded chains; her cup is full. The nations have yielded to her seductions, and have eagerly drunk out of her golden cup. Here her downfall is intimated, and that with intensity of utterance. The repetition of the word “fallen” must not be regarded as a mere Hebraism. The fall of the literal, as of the mystic, Babylon is similarly announced (Isaiah 21:9; Revelation 18:2).

In the passage before us we have merely the fact announced that Babylon has fallen. It is regarded as an accomplished judgment. Particulars are reserved. The character, doom, and human instruments of her destruction are specified in chapters 17 and 18, while her utter and everlasting ruin is grandly celebrated in Heaven in the first three verses of Revelation 19:1-21, and that as preliminary to the marriage of the Lamb. The whore is destroyed, and then the bride is displayed.

Revelation 14:8. — The wine of the fury (or wrath) of her fornication drunk by all nations is a singular expression, and exceeds what is said of the Euphratean city (Jeremiah 51:7). The Babylon of the Apocalypse has by herseductions, unholy allurements, and incitements to evil enthralled the nations. Their passions have been fearfully roused, and they are not only mad (morally, of course), but her illicit intercourse with them has wrought them up to frenzy. In the height of the ungodliness and folly of the unholy union between the corrupt Church and the equally corrupt nations, the welcome message falls upon our ears, “Babylon has fallen, has fallen.” In every respect the Babylon of the Apocalypse may be termed “great ” in contrast to the city of old.

Delete the word “city,” erroneously inserted in the text of the Authorised Version (Revelation 14:8). It is almost unanimously rejected by the authorities.

THE AWFUL DOOM OF THE WORSHIPPERS OF

THE BEAST, AND ENDURANCE OF THE SAINTS.

Revelation 14:9-12. — And another, a third angel, followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any one worshippeth the Beast and his image, and receive a mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, He also shall drink of the wine of the fury of God prepared unmixed in the cup of His wrath, and he shall be tormented infire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up to the ages of ages, and they have no rest day and night that worship the Beast and his image, and if any one receive the mark of his name. Here is the endurance of the saints, who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. We have had the fall of Babylon proclaimed in the previous announcement. The empire, in its full and consolidated strength of will and power, is the human destroyer of Babylon (Revelation 17:16-17). Read “The ten horns which thou sawest and the Beast.” These, the horns and Beast, work together in united purpose to destroy the woman, or Babylon. This leaves the Beast unchecked in his career of wickedness and blasphemy. He had previously carried the woman, i.e., supported her. But now, utter hatred and disgust take the place of a former admiration for her spiritual pretensions. He must reign without a rival, be the sole possessor of power. A system of brute force is established, and its decrees unrelentingly enforced. After the destruction of Babylon the Beast assumes its worst character. The full development of evil, in the absence of the harlot, is rapidly consummated, and a stern and inflexible policy is pursued with the determination that all — rich and poor, great and small — must bow down and worship the Beast. Absolute subjection to the Beast is the law in the coming crisis. It is under these appalling circumstances that the loud note of warning is sounded to the Beast worshippers. The awful doom here announced, unequalled in its severity, is proportioned to the guilt and horrible iniquity then openly practiced.

The Beast and his image must both be worshipped, and his mark received either in the hand or forehead, and that under the dread penalty of death. There is no escape. The alternative to the worship of the Beast is death, probably in its severest forms, and all commerce, trade, and barter are sternly prohibited to those who refuse to recognise his claims (Revelation 13:17).

The devotees of the Beast are here warned and threatened with punishments of so terrible a character that the very mention of them is enough to make one’s flesh creep. But what of those who will have to endure them? The “third angel” says “with a loud voice” — so that all may hear, and thus be without excuse — “he,” who has worshipped the Beast and received his mark, “also shall drink of the wine of the fury of God.” The nations had drunk out of the harlot’s cup (Revelation 14:8); now in retributive justice they shall drink out of God’s cup (Revelation 14:10). In this cup there are no palliative ingredients (Psalms 75:8). It is pure, unmixed wrath. “He shall be tormented in fire and brimstone.” The awful torment is individual. Each one shall suffer eternal misery in his own person. “Fire and brimstone” (Isaiah 30:33; Revelation 20:10) are symbols of unutterable anguish. Another awful feature of the agony inflicted upon each adherent of the Beast is that the torment has to be endured “before (or in the presence of) the holy angels and before the Lamb.” The holy angels had been witnesses from their place on high of the horrible wickedness of the Beast and his abettors; now they will witness God’s vengeance, and each tormented one will know that the angels are looking down upon the scene of indescribable anguish, (At the period referred to, especially at its commencement, angels will be largely employed in the execution of decreed judgment (Matthew 13:49-50; Revelation 20:1-3). Then we read of that terrible expression, “The wrath of the Lamb.” Both the Lamb and the angels take part in executing the vengeance of Almighty God on the Beast and his followers.) and also “before the Lamb,” (“The specific torment here alluded to for those who receive the mark of the Beast is that of fire and brimstone, ‘in the presence of the Lamb,’ and this latter clause seems to contain the pungency of the curse, in the same way as is expressed in Revelation 6:16, which expresses the horror felt by the wicked at seeing ‘the face of Him that sitteth on the throne.’” — “Notes on the Revelation,” by Brodie, page 133.) Whom they had openly defied, and Whose blood had been wantonly trampled upon. This will, of course, add greatly to the horror of the situation.

Revelation 14:11. — The smoke of their torment goes up to the ages of ages. In the previous clauses of this deeply solemn passage we have had the individual before us, as indicated in the use of the personal pronouns. Now, however, that the company is made up, the aggregate is spoken of — “the smoke of their torment.” What a lurid picture of complete and overwhelming judgment! (Genesis 19:28; Isaiah 34:10). The harlot is similarly judged and punished (compare with Revelation 19:3).

The expression “for ever and ever” is translated “the ages of ages” in all its eleven occurrences in the Apocalypse in the margin of the Revised Version. It is used to express:

The eternal (In eternity nothing is either past or to come but subsists. — Philo.) existence of God (Revelation 4:9-10; Revelation 5:14; Revelation 10:6; Revelation 15:7).

  • · The eternal glory of the Lamb (Revelation 5:13).

  • · The eternal reign of believers (Revelation 22:5).

  • · The eternal doom of the devil (Revelation 20:10).

  • · The eternal torment of the lost (Revelation 14:11).

The torment of the lost and of the devil is eternal. “No rest day and night” is the solemn pronouncement in Revelation 14:11, and “tormented day and night” is the equally emphatic declaration of Revelation 20:10 — no cessation, no alleviation; the agony is ceaseless. The endless horror of the Beast worshippers is beyond human conception. The eternal punishment of the lost is graven on the imperishable records of revelation. Sin and its punishment are measured by the greatness, the glory, and the eternity of God. He alone can reveal who and what He is. Sin against an infinite Being must necessarily entail infinite and eternal consequences.

Commentary on Revelation 14:6-11 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 14:6. Everlasting gospel is what had been kept from the people during the Dark Ages. As long as Rome could hold her subjects in ignorance of the Bible she was able to continue the dictatorial rule over them. Even the kings and other rulers over the various nations and countries were held back because they were not permitted to make their own application of the scriptures either for the lives of their subjects or for themselves. They were told that the scriptures were "not of any private interpretation" (making a perverted use of 2 Peter 1:20), and that they must leave that to the church. Not only were they forbidden to interpret what they might have been able to read. but the Bible was kept in the Latin language so that they could not even read it. But Martin Luther and his associates gave the Book to the people in their native tongue so they could read for themselves. Concerning this great work I shall make a quotation from Edward Gibbon the English historian: "By their hands the lofty fabric of superstition, from the abuse of indulgencies to the intercession of the Virgin, has been levelled with the ground. Myriads of both sexes of the monastic profession [that. of the secluded monks] were restored to the liberty and labors of social life. A hierarchy of saints and angels, of im- perfect and subordinate deities, were stripped of their temporal powers, and reduced to the enjoyment of celestial happiness; their images and relics were banished from the church; and the credulity [blind readiness to believe] of the people was no longer nourished with the daily repetition of miracles and visions." Volume 4, Page 608.

Revelation 14:7. The angel is announcing the glorious work of giving the word of God back to the people, and bidding them rejoice over it and give Him glory for it. Hour of his judgment means the time is come when the great apostate institution is to be judged by having her power broken through the work of the reformers. Worship him that made heaven and earth, instead of the superstitious objects held before them by Rome.

Revelation 14:8. A result of the everlasting gospel which the preceding angel announced is then stated by another angel, namely, Babylon is fallen. The reader is reminded that the term Babylon in this part of the great drama means the institution that was formed by the union of church and state. It is here called that great city because its head was the city of Rome where both the emperor and pope resided. Wine of the wrath of her fornication is a figurative phrase combining the false teaching and idolatrous practices of Rome. As long as the people were kept in ignorance of the Bible, they could be made to drink of this wine. The announcement that Babylon is fallen means that the union of church and state was dissolved as a result of the information brought to the people through the Bible, translated in their native language so they could read it for themselves, and form conclusions independent of Rome.

Revelation 14:9. A third angel appeared to give a warning for all who might still persist in following after the evil pattern set by Rome. He mentions the three phases of the subject that were treated at Revelation 13:14-17. Concerning the image I shall make another quotation from Edward Gibbon which follows that which is quoted at verse 6. ’The imitation of Paganism was supplied [replaced] by a pure and spiritual worship of prayer and thanksgiving, the most_ worthy of man, the least unworthy of the Deity."

Revelation 14:10. The false worshippers are told that if they persist in drinking of this wine -of the wrath of Rome, they will be punished by having to drink of another supply of wine; that will be the wine of the wrath of God. Wine has been used figuratively for centuries to symbolize wrath and anger and other intense conditions of the intellect. (See Psalms 60:3; Proverbs 4:17; Jeremiah 25:15 Jeremiah 51:7.) Without mixture means it will not be diluted nor weakened, but they shall get the full effect of the wrath of God upon those who have been devoted to Rome. Shall be tormented with fire and brimstone refers to the lake of fire into which the wicked will be cast at the day of judgment. In the presence . . . of the Lamb. This denotes that the sentence of this punishment will be pronounced in the presence of Christ and his angels. (See Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.) The sentence will be pronounced then but it will be served according to the next verse.

Revelation 14:11. Smoke of their torment refers to that which will arise from the fire in the lake into which the wicked will have been cast. Ascendeth up for ever and ever. If the smoke is to ascend for ever it follows that the torment will continue for ever. It will come from the lake of fire which has been created for the purpose of tormenting the unsaved. The particular unsaved persons named in this place are those who have guilty relations with the beast, the image or the mark (Revelation 13:14-15). But all the unsaved will be in this place for Matthew 25:41 says they will be told: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." No rest day nor night is another way of saying that the punishment of the unsaved will be endless. Terrible thought!!

Commentary on Revelation 14:6-11 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 14:6

And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven having eternal good tidings to proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation and tribe and tongue and people;

I saw another angel flying in mid heaven ... It is of passing interest that some try to bolster a late first century date of Revelation through the notion that, "Angels begin to fly in the Jewish heaven about the beginning of the first century."[31] A parallel between Revelation 14:13 and Clement of Rome (xlvii) is also cited for the same purpose;[32] but it never seems to occur to such scholars that the Jews probably got their ideas from Revelation; and, as for Clement, the best of modern scholarship now accepts the premise that he finished his work before 70 A.D.[33]

The eternal good tidings to proclaim ... Another good translation of this renders it "the everlasting gospel" instead of "eternal good tidings," that is, the one and only "gospel" this world ever had. This angel is about to announce the eternal judgment of the last day; and it was most appropriate, therefore, that he should have spoken of the prior condition of that event having been fulfilled, as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:14).

Some try to distinguish three different gospels in the New Testament: (1) the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14); (2) the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1); and (3) the everlasting gospel to be preached at the end of the age. This is a false trichotomy. There is only one gospel, the good news of Salvation through Jesus Christ.[34]

Mounce, and some others, do not believe that this is the Christian gospel here, because of the emphasis on judgment;[35] but, as Hendriksen observed, "For God’s people, the announcement of the approaching judgment is eternal good tidings, for it means their deliverance."[36] "The announcement of the end is itself a piece of good news."[37]

Caird speaks of some "who assure us that the gospel mentioned cannot be the gospel, because there is no gospel (good news) in the grim sequel."[38] But aside from the fact of the end itself being "good news" for persecuted saints who have waited and prayed for it, there is also the overriding fact that John did not here give a summary of the blessed gospel. What is mentioned is the judgment, an essential and eternal part of that gospel, standing here as a synecdoche for all of it. John certainly did not need to explain what he meant by the gospel. His own gospel of John was already known all over the world of that period. What seems to plague some of the commentators is that they do not seem to believe that there is going to be any such thing as a final judgment.

This angel’s proclamation does not mean that only at that time would the everlasting gospel begin to be preached. "The gospel of Christ began to be preached on Pentecost ... and is to be preached until the end of the world."[39] The very next verse will indicate that this mission now, in the point of time in the vision, has been accomplished.

Others insist on finding here some great historical preacher such as Martin Luther, John Knox, Alexander Campbell, or others who in some special sense aroused the attention of mankind to the truth of the gospel. However,

If we ask when this great gospel angel appeared, our answer must be that the whole cycle of the gospel preaching is included in the vision; although, doubtless there have been ages when the light of the good tidings of God has gone forth with revived luster.[40]

We agree with Lenski that the vision beginning with Revelation 14:6 extends to Revelation 14:14; "All that the three angels proclaim belongs together."[41] See outline of the chapter, above.

[31] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 437.

[32] Ibid.

[33] John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 352.

[34] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 380.

[35] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 273.

[36] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 186.

[37] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 193.

[38] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 182.

[39] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 211.

[40] Boyd W. Carpenter, Ellicott’s Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 602.

[41] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 426.

Revelation 14:7

and he saith with a great voice, Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heavens and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.

And the hour of his judgment is come ... This is the one and only judgment day of the New Testament. "Again, we have the fourfold nation, tribe, tongue and people, indicating universality"[42] of this judgment.

ENDNOTE:

[42] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 348.

Revelation 14:8

And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that hath made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great ... The prophetic tense speaks not of what has already taken place, but of what is certain to occur in connection with the final judgment. As Roberts said, "This anticipates the fuller description"[43] later in the prophecy. Babylon the great is primarily the pagan city of Rome, the proud sea-beast, in the manifestation of its sixth head, the Roman empire, that was doomed by this heavenly pronouncement.

Remember that this was written in the first century, and possibly as early as 69 A.D., at a time when the pagan empire was supreme on the earth and would continue to be supreme for at least four centuries afterwards. It seems nearly incredible that so few writers dwell upon the dramatic fulfillment of this prophecy in 476 A.D. Rome did fall, as here prophesied; and in this clearly fulfilled prophecy, there is seen the absolute necessity of beholding, in at least some of its declarations, a definite revelation of historical events lying centuries in the future when Revelation was written.

That Babylon here is a reference to the pagan empire, especially the city of Rome, hardly needs to be argued. See the discussion of this in the Introduction to 1Peter, in my Commentary to 1Peter, pp. 157,158. The ancient Babylon on the Euphrates had not existed for centuries, and there were many current references to Rome as "Babylon" in the secular literature of New Testament times. As a great enemy of the Old Testament Israel, which had taken God’s people captive and mercilessly exploited them, Babylon was the idea1 type of oppressive, pagan, anti-Christian government.

The generation of John’s day would not live to see Babylon fall, but this assurance to them from an apostle of Christ was comforting. They knew that, "The wrath of God was falling upon the pagan city and that her judgment was determined."[44]

That hath made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication ...

This combines two ideas: the wine used to intoxicate and to seduce to fornication, and the wine of God’s wrath. Babylon had deceived and seduced all nations by the enticement of her wealth and luxuries; but this cup will turn out to be the cup of God’s wrath.[45]

Only this cryptic mention of Babylon’s fall is here, the first mention of her in Revelation; but John will return to this.

The announcement of the doom of great pagan Rome, mentioned here in close connection with the final judgment, must also be understood as a prophecy of the fall of all great wicked cities, or at least a very significant portion of them before the final judgment day itself. The "Babylon" in view here is not merely the one on the Tiber. We observed in connection with Revelation 11:13 that the collapse of urban civilization as opposed to God, will occur before the end; so "Babylon" here is understood as a type. "She has also reared palaces on the Seine, the Thames, and the Bosphorus."[46] And we might add, the Hudson, the Mississippi, the Rhine, and the Bayou that is called Buffalo. Wherever there is entrenched greed, indifference to God, hatred of Christ, and the worship of man, there also is Babylon the great.

[43] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 120.

[44] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 274.

[45] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 194.

[46] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 602.

Revelation 14:9

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worshippeth the beast and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,

The previous verse had the announcement of the fall of the first beast, pagan Rome; this series of verses (Revelation 14:9-12), records the prophetic doom of the second beast, the land-beast, apostate religion in league with the false state. See the chapter outline.

If any man worshippeth the beast and his image ... It is the mention of the "image" here that identifies this as the second beast, but it is by no means exclusive. All over the world till the end of time, wherever a secular state is bolstered and supported by an apostate, or totally false, religion, there will be found people worshipping the beast and his image. Bruce entitled this little section, "The Doom of Apostates."[47] This verse says, "You cannot sin and get away with it."[48]

And receiveth a mark upon his forehead or upon his hand ... Again, the nature of this mark is that of a "spiritual likeness" of the beast. If one receives intellectually the claims of the beast, or in hand does the will of the beast, he is marked. Paramount in this is individual responsibility.

The man, individual man, is responsible. There is no need for his receiving the mark, the hallmark of cowardly connivance at wrong-doing, or for setting his judgments by the fashion of the world.[49]

[47] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 654.

[48] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 186.

[49] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 602.

Revelation 14:10

he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

This verse is a counter-proclamation to that of the beast in Revelation 13, to the effect that those who would not worship the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:15), and that they would not be permitted to "buy or sell" (Revelation 13:17). Here an angel of God proclaims that those who do worship the beast, etc., "They are to drink of the wrath of God and endure eternal torment in fire and brimstone."[50]

In the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb ... Bruce thought that this element of their punishment being in the presence of angels, etc., could be a mitigation "from the more severe punishment without the heavenly presence,"[51] a mitigation due to their having been Christians before their apostasy; but this would appear to be incorrect. What seems to be indicated is the divine approval and concurrence in their doom. It is not theologically possible to envision the Lamb, in any sense, perpetually beholding the torment of the wicked.

This is a doctrine vigorously hated by many; they refuse to accept it, will not believe it, and belittle those who receive it; but, despite this, it is clear enough that, "In the largest sense of God’s redemptive purpose for men, his wrath is a necessary correlative of his love and mercy."[52] There is no way to purge evil out of the world, except through the destruction of the men who have set themselves in irreversible hostility against God. Once the primary principles of the freedom of the human will and the total hatred, on God’s part, of evil - once these are accepted, all of the New Testament teaching regarding judgment and eternal punishment appear not unreasonable at all, but absolutely necessary. A just universe cannot be postulated without such conceptions.

Fire and brimstone ... There is no more need here, than in other passages of the prophecy, to understand these symbols literally; however, that does not mitigate the awful reality symbolized.

The modern vogue of dispensing with hell has no counterpart in Revelation. John is quite sure that the consequences of sin follow sinners into the life to come. Here they may rejoice over their misdeeds, but there they will suffer for them.[53]

[50] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 274.

[51] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 654.

[52] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 195.

[53] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 181.

Revelation 14:11

and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name.

The doctrine of the New Testament is so strong and emphatic with regard to the eternal punishment of the wicked, that we are simply not allowed to set it aside as, "sub-Christian, or to interpret it in such a way as to remove the abrasive truth of eternal punishment."[54] Jesus spoke of this at greater length than did any of his apostles. After we have made every allowance for the figurative nature of the apocalyptic language, there still remains, "the terrifying reality of divine wrath,"[55] to be poured out upon those who persist in following the devil. It is no light matter to abandon the holy teachings of the sacred New Testament, and to substitute the easy rules of man-made, man-controlled, and man-centered religion.

[54] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 277.

[55] Ibid.

Commentary on Revelation 14:6-11 by Manly Luscombe

6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people- An angel is seen flying in heaven. This angel carries the gospel. The angel is not seen preaching the gospel. Rather, God, in His providence can be sure that the gospel message is preached in all places. It is obedience to this gospel that will allow us to become part of the 144,000.

7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” The angel instructs us to do three things: 1. Fear God. Reverence and a sense of awe will be apparent when we realize we are in the presence of God. 2. Give Him glory. To God belongs all the praise and glory. 3. Worship Him. God is the creator of all things. He made the sea, the earth, and the heavens. God created land and water under the land. His power must be realized. When one realizes the majesty, glory and power of God, worship is a natural result. We must fear God. We must give glory to God. The result is worship. Worship springs from our reverence and glory of God.

8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” In contrast to the 144,000, who are pure and blameless, we now meet Babylon. An angel says, “Babylon is fallen.” We are told that she lead nations to commit fornication. We will learn more about Babylon later in our study. For now suffice it to say that Babylon represents immorality and corruption. She led kings of the earth into abominations. She is called the mother of harlots. (Revelation 17:1-5)

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The third angel announces that all who worship the beast and receive his mark will also suffer the wrath of God. God’s cup of indignation is full. Those who worship the beast will suffer the torment of hell. God will punish the beast that is worshipped. God will punish Babylon who leads men into immorality. God will also punish those who are led astray. It is easy to point fingers and blame others for our sins. God realizes that both the temper and the temped have a responsibility. Many people only see the God of patience, love and compassion. God is all of these things. However, there is another side to God. (Romans 11:22) God is good. God is also a severe God. Verse 10 tells us there will be a time when the cup of God’s wrath and indignation overflows. This punishment will occur, not in secret, but in front of all the angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The wrath of God will be poured out.

11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” God will punish the immoral. He will punish Satan, the beasts, and all who oppose God or do harm to God’s sealed people. This verse describes Hell as a place where smoke rises eternally. Where there is smoke, there is fire. The place of torment does not take a holiday. There is no rest, no time off, and no relief. All who worship the beast will occupy Hell. All who receive the mark of the beast and follow the beast will be there. The very knowledge of Hell ought to urge us to remain faithful to our Lord. We must only worship the true and living God. Hell will be our eternal destiny, if we abandon our faith and worship the beast.

Verses 12-13

Rev 14:12-13

3. STATE OF THE RIGHTEOUS DEAD

Revelation 14:12-13

12 Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.--The sufferings and persecutions which saints would have to endure in their struggles against the powers of the beast would require the strongest patience. The fact that they kept the commandments of God would be sufficient proof that they did have the required patience. Keeping the faith of Jesus means that they held to the faith Jesus required and did not deny him. The promise of the ultimate overthrow of their enemies would also be an incentive to sustain their faith and keep them patient.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth:--Angels flying in midheaven, as they appeared to John in the vision, had pronounced the doom of those who worshiped the beast. Next he hears a voice that seems to come from heaven commanding him to write a certain promise regarding the dead. It is not stated whose voice was speaking. John recorded not only what he saw in the visions, but also what he heard. The thing he was told to write was spoken by the heavenly voice; it was not a comment by John.

The blessing here pronounced was upon a certain class of the dead--those "who die in the Lord." This implies two things as necessary to secure this blessing: first, to come into the Lord, for no one can be in the Lord who does not come into him; second, to live faithfully in him till death, for no one can die in the Lord (be worthy of Christ’s mercy and favor) unless he is faithful unto death. (Matthew 24:13.)

The word "henceforth" in this verse has cost commentators no little time and trouble. The difficulty is in the fact that faithful Christians dying in the Lord in any age of the world will be ultimately blessed. Why then, say "henceforth"? Henceforth from what time, and why from that time? If henceforth be joined to the word "dead," it might mean that the righteous will be blessed in some signal way from the moment of death. This is most certainly true in fact, but true of all the righteous dead. The connection here seems to indicate that this promise was intended to encourage those who would be victorious in their struggles against the beast. If this be the primary application, then it would be a wonderful help in enduring the persecutions to be assured of an ultimate blessing. From the time that such torments began, those dying in faithfulness would show such genuine Christian fortitude that there could be no question about their eternal happiness. Of course, the principle here taught will continue to be true of all righteous dead.

yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.--The Holy Spirit is meant here and the thought is that what the voice said was by the Spirit’s direction. The faithful dead rest from their wearisome toil in preaching the gospel and living the Christian life while struggling against the power and influence of the papal beast. Looking forward to reward and rest are the two chief motives that make the burden of tiresome labor bearable. It is a fact that the good deeds one does continue to have their influence on others after his departure, but that does not seem to be the point made here. The statement is that "their works follow with them." This implies that the good of righteous deeds does not remain alone on earth to affect others, but follows with the dead to the judgment. Paul declares that at the judgment each will receive "according to what he hath done." (2 Corinthians 5:10). which means that man’s faithfulness till death will be the ground upon which he will be saved; hence, the value of his labors will be with him at that day. Again we remark that this is true of Christians in all ages.

Commentary on Revelation 14:12-13 by Foy E.Wallace

(3) The beatitudes of the martyrs—Revelation 14:12-13.

1. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus—Revelation 14:12. The apocalyptist deviates here from warnings and judgements to speak words of encouragement to the beleaguered saints in need of heartening encouragement. The statement here is the patience of the saints means that the existing conditions presented the opportunity to exhibit patience even unto death. In contrast with the mark of the beast received by the disloyal, they would have the distinguished mark of the saints in sustained and persistent faithfulness during the continuing persecution. The refusal to worship the beast (the emperor), or his image (wheresoever it appeared or on whatsoever it should be inscribed) exemplified the faithfulness couched in the words they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

2. And 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 labors; and their works do follow them—Revelation 14:13. This passage has been truly named the beatitude of Revelation. It appears to have an identification with chapter 20:6: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” Both passages referred to the martyrs--and here again the proleptic element of chapter fourteen is seen in verse thirteen, as the scene depicted was ahead of the orderly developments of the apocalypse; in that this benediction on the death of the martyrs chronologically belonged at the end; and was therefore a prolepsis with the other events of chapter fourteen.

There is a remarkable variation in the form of address in verse thirteen. Instead of the usual form of seeing the vision of events, John was represented in this verse as hearing a command. The commanding voice said, Write. It was a special voice giving an order, not by vision, but by direct command to write it down.

As stated, this verse along with Revelation 20:6 was a martyr scene: “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth”--meaning from then on in martyrdom. They belonged to the martyred group--the aggregation of the man child “caught up unto God”; the hundred fortyfour thousand “redeemed from the earth.” They were the dead who had died in the Lord--in the cause for which they were martyrs.

The beatitude of the Spirit was: That they may rest from their labors--that is, from the travail of persecution --and their works do follow them. There was a descriptive distinction here in their labors and their works. The labors referred to the parturition of birth--the travail, the pain, of bringing forth the man child; hence, labors had reference to the rigors of the persecution unto death, or martyrdom. The works referred to their righteous acts in the midst of the period of torture and trial. These works, saith the Spirit " . . . do follow them.” Their deeds of faith and fidelity in the unfaltering performance of their prime duty followed on after their martyrdom to abide with, comfort and encourage the rest of the seed--the remnant that remained on the earth--as though the martyrs by these righteous acts were yet among them. In that way one’s righteous lives and deeds yet follow on among men after they are transported from this earth on which we dwell.

These blessed dead had been swept from the earth in martyrdom, dying in the cause of the Lord, and though they had been “caught up unto God” and “lived and reigned with Christ” in a state of victory, they nevertheless remained in the spirit of their works with those who were left on the earth to face the next stages of the violent drama of persecution

Since the subjects of the Spirit’s beatitude were represented as having died in the Lord, manifestly the object of the beatitude was to strengthen, encourage and uphold the living in their darkest hour. In that way it may be appropriately applied to the church today. Loyalty to Christ in any generation requires the full measure of the martyr spirit of courage and endurance, and martyrdom in its worst does not always result in immediate death. We may all possess the soul of a martyr, and in that spirit we live in the Lord, as the blessed dead had died in Him.

Commentary on Revelation 14:12-13 by Walter Scott

Revelation 14:12 -- “Here is the endurance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” In this state of things, unequalled in the history of the race, the saints can only hold fast and hold on. They are forbidden to resist with the sword, even if they could (Revelation 13:10). But faith and patience at length, however sorely tried, win the day. Death is before them, but better to be killed by the Beast than to be tormented with the Beast. The afflicted saints cling to the clear commands of God and the faith of Jesus. In the apocalyptic record the martyrs are the martyrs of Jesus (Revelation 17:6). The name of sweetest sound is but rarely introduced in the book, but the connections in which it appears are full of interest (Revelation 14:12; Revelation 17:6; Revelation 22:16).

THE BLESSED DEAD WHO DIE IN THE LORD.

Revelation 14:13. — And I heard a voice out of the Heaven saying,Write, (“This command to write is repeated twelve times in the Revelation to indicate that all the things it refers to are matters of importance.”) Blessed are the dead who die in (the) Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them. The voice, but not the name, of the speaker falls upon the ear of the christian Seer. The Authorized Version interpolates unto me. The message was not addressed to John, although he heard it, but it is one for all saints, while it has its own special application to saints in that critical hour preceding the Coming of the Lord in judgment. It is ever true that those who die in the Lord are blessed, but why is the statement reserved for this awful juncture in human history? and why is it added, “from henceforth?” Why from that particular moment? The answer to these questions is a simple and satisfactory one. The word “henceforth” intimates the near end, and that the blessing is just about to be entered upon.

In Revelation 20:4 we have the complement of the heavenly saints who reign with Christ a thousand years. There are three classes of such: (1) A recognized and well-known company sitting upon thrones. These are the raised dead and changed living at the Coming into the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). When caught up they are spoken of as “elders” throughout the prophetic part of the Apocalypse. (2) “The souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the Word of God.” This company forms a class of martyrs by themselves, who were slain before the Beast was in existence as a persecuting power. They are witnesses under the fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9-11). (3) “Those who had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and hand.” There is an interval of some time, probably years, between the martyrdom of the two latter companies. If, therefore, the whole company of reigning saints is embraced in the three classes referred to (Revelation 20:4), in which of them are we to place those who “die in the Lord from henceforth?” Undoubtedly amongst those martyred under the Beast.

Another and helpful consideration follows. If the two martyred companies named comprehend all who die after the Rapture, then it is evident that no saint during the “crisis week” of seven years dies a natural death. Those who “die in the Lord” are slain; hence the inapplicability of our text engraved on stone and monument in memory of our precious dead. Those who “die in the Lord from henceforth” do so as martyrs. They are about to share in the blessedness of “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6). Their blessing in character and fullness greatly exceeds those who survive the Tribulation. The former take a distinguished place in heavenly glory, the latter are accorded the highest place on earth; the former reign with Christ, the latter are reigned over; the former are kings, the latter are subjects.

The Spirit responds to the voice from Heaven, “Yea,” and adds a word of rich consolation, “that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.” Probably none amongst “the cloud of witnesses” had so walked in the vigor of faith as these; none so served and suffered under the most appalling circumstances. But now these witnesses of whom “the world was not worthy” are about to enter on their everlasting rest — toil and suffering forever past. God is not unrighteous to forget their work and labor of love. When these saints are raised and taken up, their works accompany them, not come after them, but “with them.” Their works will be appraised at their true value by the righteous Judge, Who will reward every man according to his work. Rest and reward are the immediate portion of those then dying in the Lord.

Commentary on Revelation 14:12-13 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 14:12. This has the same meaning as Revelation 13:10.

Revelation 14:13. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. That can be said of every person who is faithful until death, but it is said here especially with reference to those who have died under persecution. It is peculiarly appropriate to make the statement in view of the thousands who had been slain by Pagan and Papal Rome through the past centuries. Also after the Reformation had stirred up the anger of the "die-hards" of Babylon many others were put to death in their struggles. From henceforth. Some commentators say this means from the judgment day and thereafter. It is true that all righteous people will be blessed (happy) after that day, but I do not believe the Spirit was applying the blessing to that date in this verse. There will be saints living when Christ comes who will never die, yet they will be happy for ever. But our verse is about those who die in the Lord, and they are especially mentioned for the reason described in the first part of this paragraph. And since these who died in the Lord had the experience some time before the end of the world, the passage gives us the grand information that when a righteous person dies he is happy from that moment onward. This all agrees with Paul’s remarks in Philippians 1:21-23. Their works do follow them. The Greek for follow means both to accompany a person and to come along afterwards. Both senses of the word apply to a faithful servant of God. The good deeds he performs will still linger behind to be an influence for others. ("By it he being dead yet speaketh," Hebrews 11:4.) Also the record of faithfulness will be with him in principle to recommend him before God.

Commentary on Revelation 14:12-13 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 14:12

Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Here is the patience of the saints ... Charles failed to see the point of this verse, but Beasley-Murray wrote, "It is thoroughly in place here. It is the punch line for Revelation 14:9-11. If such be the fate of the followers of the beast, Christ’s people must, at all costs, continue to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."[56]

Keep the commandments of God ... The current fantasy that "believers" are in some way saved without obedience should be reviewed in light of many such passages as this. Any "system" of salvation that promises people eternal life upon any other premise than that of fidelity to God’s commandments is false and should be identified with the second beast. Yes indeed; they must believe in Christ with all their hearts, but that is not all that is required. They must also:

Keep ... the faith of Jesus ... As Ladd said, "This faith is objective?[57] It means keep the religion of Christ; accept and obey the tenets of true Christianity.

[56] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 226.

[57] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 197.

Revelation 14:13

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.

This is one of the great doctrinal pronouncements of the whole New Testament. It declares "blessed are those who meet death in spiritual union with Jesus Christ."[58] "Manifestly, all this applies to all who die in the Lord."[59] There is not another verse in the whole New Testament that any more concisely concentrates into so brief a statement the entire theology of redemption than is effected here.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord ... The key words here are "in the Lord," a little phrase which, with its equivalents "in him," "in whom," etc., occurs no less than 169 times in Paul’s writings alone,[60] besides dozens of other references. This truth alone emphatically stresses the overriding importance of it. To be "in Christ," of course, is to be in spiritual union with Christ; but the word of the New Testament repeatedly states unequivocally that this union is effected, completed, accomplished, and achieved through the believer’s being "baptized into Christ" (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-27), there being not the slightest hint in the whole New Testament of anyone’s ever having been "in Christ" who was not baptized "into him."

People are not actually "in Christ" in any other sense than that of being "in" his spiritual body which is the church; and the same manner of being "in the body" is likewise that of being "in Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:13). See fuller discussion of this in my Commentary on Romans, pp. 123-127. Thus the same obedience of faith which unites one with Christ in baptism also unites him with the true spiritual body of Christ.

Who die in the Lord ... None ever died "in the Lord" who was not "in him" before he died; so what is indicated here is fidelity until death, or even fidelity when physical death is a consequence of it. The crown is never won for Christians until their probation is ended; as Paul expressed it, until they are "found in him" (Philippians 3:9).

The consequences of the Christian’s being "in Christ" are almost unbelievably profound. The one "in Christ" is eternally saved and justified, not for anything that he either believed or did, but through being a partaker of the perfect faith and perfect obedience of Christ himself, which in the state of his being in union with Christ are actually his. This is the way one is "perfect in Christ" (Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:28-29). This is the way one "in Christ" is dead to sin, etc. See in my Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, pp. 130-133. The development of this great theological principle has been stressed extensively in this set of commentaries.

From henceforth ... Beckwith and others unnecessarily see a time-factor in this,[61] as if those dying "in the Lord" after John wrote were particularly the recipients of this beatitude; but, despite this, Beckwith admitted that "this cannot obscure the universal truth of the passage.[62] Beasley-Murray would appear to have the better understanding of what is here meant by "henceforth."

It is likely that the word translated henceforth should so be punctuated as to produce, the word assuredly, as in the New English Bible (1961) margin.[63]

The oldest manuscripts were not divided into words. If this is two words, it means henceforth, but if one, it means assuredly. The original Greek may be read either way with equal authority. If any time-factor is meant, it would have to refer to the entire Christian dispensation as contrasted with what went previously. We simply cannot believe that the "henceforth" in this passage limits the meaning in any manner to "the martyrs alone."

That they may rest from their labors ... When Christians die, they "rest" from the trials, sorrows, temptations, and tribulations of life. Little beyond this is revealed concerning the state of the righteous dead. It would appear to be quite a different case with the wicked, as may be deduced from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). It will be recalled that Lazarus entered not into any conversation and that he appeared totally inactive throughout the narrative. The wicked man, however, was tormented.

For their works follow with them ... This stresses the importance of good works in the scheme of redemption, a truth downgraded and resented by this generation, but nevertheless true. No! Works do not alone justify; but then, neither does faith alone justify. Rist complained of the plain teaching here:

The doctrine of works is also given a very prominent place. This is a basic inconsistency which does not seem to have disturbed John, if he was aware of it at all.[64]

The reason John was not disturbed is that "works" are in no manner inconsistent with what John and all the apostles taught; but it is not only inconsistent with the "faith only" theory of salvation but absolutely contradictory of it. Such a comment seems to indicate a lack of faith in the holy apostle’s inspiration, as well as lack of information about what is, or is not, consistent with the teaching of the whole New Testament. Barclay said, "Works here mean character!"[65] That, of course, is a marvelous way to get rid of a troublesome word. Declare that it means something else.

[58] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 277.

[59] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 227.

[60] John Mackay, God’s Order (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1953), p. 59.

[61] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 659.

[62] Ibid.

[63] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 227.

[64] Martin Rist, op. cit., p. 474.

[65] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 114.

Commentary on Revelation 14:12-13 by Manly Luscombe

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. God is patient with us. He is longsuffering, waiting for us to repent. Now, God is telling the saints under persecution to be patient. This generation is one of instant gratification. We have instant foods, microwave ovens, and fast modes of travel. We are a Burger King society. We want it our way, right away! We may not be able to see the end of our suffering. All we can do is remain faithful. Keep the commandments. Remain faithful to Jesus. When all else seems to fail - Keep the faith. Stay faithful to Christ.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” This voice seems to be the voice of God. Three times previously in this chapter an angel speaks and an angel is identified as the source of the message. John is instructed to write. Of course, he has been writing the entire vision. However, here is a specific statement. God wants to be sure this is recorded. This is not in any cryptic or symbolic language. Blessed are the dead. Yes, some have died. Others will die. God has not forgotten nor is He unaware of the persecution. “Blessed” is a word used 7 times in the book of Revelation. Jesus used this word to begin his “Sermon on the Mount.” The word describes an attitude of joy, happiness.

NOTE: These deceased saints are not happy because they suffered and died. They are happy that they were seen as faithful. Their faith is now confirmed.

Heaven, more fully described in chapters 21 and 22, is a place of rest. Here, on earth, we labor, toil, work, suffer, and die. The “rest” comes after the labor is over. The message here: Don’t quit too soon. Remain faithful. The situation is similar to a person quitting an employment a week before they are eligible for retirement benefits. For the Christian, the retirement benefits are in heaven. Their works, the good they have done, the example they set, will continue to influence others long after they have died. The Hebrew writer teaches us that even Able, the son of Adam and Eve, continues to speak even though he is dead. (Hebrews 11:4) If we are faithful and set a good example by our life and in our death, many Christians will be encouraged. Non-Christians will be challenged to consider the faith.

Verses 14-20

Rev 14:14-20

4. THE JUDGMENT HARVEST AND VINTAGE

Revelation 14:14-20

14 And I saw, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud I saw one sitting like unto a son of man,--In this paragraph the saints are further encouraged by a symbolic description of the final judgment on both good and bad. Harvest is a common figure used to indicate the final separation of the two classes. "He will gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire" are the words of John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:12.) "The harvest is the end of the world." (Matthew 13:39.) The expression "like unto a son of man" is found in Daniel 7:13 and Revelation 1:13. Since verses 17 and 18 of the latter chapter clearly show Christ to be the one meant, it is safe to presume it means Christ in all three passages. Jesus frequently referred to himself as the "Son of man." (Matthew 8:20; Matthew 9:6; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 11:19.) The person John saw in the vision was either Jesus or one that represented him by resemblance. That this vision pictured the coming of Christ at the judgment is evident from what is said about the harvest and the vintage. That the symbol should represent him as coming on a cloud harmonizes with the plain language that describes his return. When he ascended "a cloud received him out of their sight," and two men (probably angels) told the apostles he would "so come in like manner" as they beheld him going into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11.) Appearing upon a white cloud at the judgment is just what we would expect from what the Scriptures say of his return.

having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.--The crown upon his head indicates that Christ had become a victor--conquered his enemies and his truth was now ready to be finally vindicated. Since the whole vision includes the judgment, Christ’s royal or kingly power is also implied. In Matthew 25:31-46, where the judgment is described in plain words, Christ is represented as sitting upon the "throne of his glory" when the nations appear to hear their destinies declared. The word "throne" here does not signify Christ’s reigning, but his judging--passing sentence upon the wicked and announcing the reward of the good. Sickle is the implement with which grain is cut, or vines are pruned. It is, therefore, an appropriate emblem to indicate the harvesting of the righteous or the cutting off of the wicked.

15 And another angel came out from the temple, crying with a great voice to him that sat on the cloud,--This makes the fourth angel that is mentioned in this chapter. (Verses 6, 8, 9.) He appeared to John as coming out of the temple. (See Revelation 11:19.) The most holy place of the temple represented heaven, the very dwelling place of God. This angel in the vision bringing the command from God to him who sat upon the cloud means that the time had come for God to announce the judgment. As only the Father, according to Christ’s own words, knows the time for Christ’s return (Acts 1:7; Matthew 24:36), the command for it would naturally come from the Father. The angel was only the messenger by whom the command was given. Using a great (loud) voice may indicate that it was designed for all to hear, for the judgment pertained to all.

Send forth thy sickle, and reap: for the hour to reap is come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.--Send forth the sickle means do the reaping. The hour has come shows that the time God had in his own mind for the judgment and end of the work had arrived. It was fitting that the command to reap should be given to Christ, for he was the sower who scattered God’s word as seed. He was the proper one to harvest it. All that will be saved will be through that word. The harvest being ripe means that everything is ready for gathering the saved into heaven’s garner.

16 And he that sat on the cloud cast his sickle upon the earth; and the earth was reaped.--This verse tells us that the thing commanded was done--the earth was reaped. This part of the vision depicts the end of time and what will occur so far as the righteous are concerned.

17 And another angel came out from the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.--Again John sees another angel come out from the temple, which is plainly stated as being in heaven. A peculiarity of this angel is that he also is said to have a sharp sickle. Regarding the harvest and the end of the world, Jesus said that "the reapers are angels." (Matthew 13:39.) Perhaps the whole truth may be stated by saying that Jesus was to reap through the angels as his agents. The figure of the harvest, by its very nature, would include both good and bad--wheat and chaff; but that of the vintage refers only to the wicked. The point in the emblem is not the preservation of the clusters, but the pressing out of the juice which represents the condemnation of the wicked. This figure is thus applied by Joel. "Put ye in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe: come, tread ye; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great." (Joel 3:13.)

18 And another angel came out from the altar, he that hath power over fire; and he called with a great voice to him that had the sharp sickle, saying,--This is the sixth angel mentioned in this chapter. The brazen altar stood in the outer court before the temple. It was the place where burnt offerings were presented to God. The work to be done was destructive in its nature, and the altar of burnt offerings was the appropriate place from which the angel should come.

Send forth thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.--This means that the clusters were to be cut off and cast into the wine press. Being fully ripe means that wickedness had continued till it was the proper time to remove the sinners from the earth. Sin had reached the full limit to which God’s mercy would allow it to come.

19 And the angel cast his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress, the great winepress, of the wrath of God.--In this symbol John saw the angel obeying the command and casting the clusters into the wine press. Crushing the grapes and the red juice flowing like streams of blood was a most striking emblem of destruction. It forcefully represented the overthrow and final rejection of the wicked. The vintage of the earth would be the wicked part of the earth. The wine press of God’s wrath means that the wicked will be forced to feel the power of God’s righteous indignation, when they find themselves rejected.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and there came out blood from the winepress, even unto the. bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand and six hundred furlongs.--In the vision John saw the juice pressed out with men’s feet, which was the method used at that time. Wine presses were usually placed in vineyards, not in cities; hence, the statement that it was without the city. Apparently there is no figurative’ significance in that fact unless it be the final separation of the wicked from the righteous. The city of Jerusalem represented the final city of God, the home of the saved, and of course the lost are without that city. The text says blood came out. In this expression the symbol--juice of the grape--is dropped and what it represents is stated Blood, however, is but a symbol of the overflowing of the wicked--their final rejection.

The wine press was called great because of the immense number of the lost. The flowing of the juice, like blood in a great battle, looked to John like a great lake, sixteen hundred furlongs and up to the bridles of horses in depth. If this measurement means a square, the surface covered was two hundred miles square. It indicates the immense, even countless multitudes, that will be lost when God’s wrath is finally poured out upon the wicked. This is the last, sad event in the experience of the condemned before entering their final state. It was designed to encourage the saints in their trials by the assurance that in God’s own time they would be finally relieved of their persecutions--their persecutors would depart from them forever. The ultimate happiness of the faithful in Christ is the especial lesson pictured in the symbols of this chapter.

Commentary on Revelation 14:14-20 by Foy E. Wallace

(4) The harvest of grain and vintage—Revelation 14:14-20.

From the beatitude of the blessed dead in Revelation 14:13, the apocalypse turns to symbols of reward and retribution respectively for the living in the earth. As before repeated, the earth in Revelation imagery referred to the land of which Jerusalem was the center--Judea and all of Palestine, the scene of these visions of the persecuted church. The harvest of the grain symbolized the rich reward for the faithful still living in the church; the vintage of grapes signified retribution of the wrath of God for the enemies of the church.

Indulging here in repetition, it is necessary to keep in perspective the fact that this fourteenth chapter is a prolepsis--an interposition between the parts of the apocalypse, relating events out of sequence, on the order of reading the last chapter of a novel first to see how the story ends. So this latter part of chapter fourteen envisioned scenes at the end of the apocalypse of the compensations of reward for the faithfulness of the saints in symbols of reaping the harvest of grain; then the retribution of wrath for the oppressors of the church represented by casting the vintage of grapes into the winepress. With these essential considerations in mind, the latter part of this chapter may be epitomized as follows:

1. The Son of man on the white cloud was Jesus Christ. He alone is called by that title in Revelation--and in one other place only, in the vision of the golden candlesticks of Revelation 1:13. The white cloud of this chapter was the same symbol as was mentioned by the Lord himself in Matthew 24:30 : “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” It identifies the Revelation symbol with the Lord’s description of the destruction of Jerusalem. The passage in Matthew 24:1-51 states that “all the tribes of the earth shall mourn,” which is parallel with Revelation 1:7 :: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him: and all the tribes of the earth shall wail (mourn) because of him.” As mentioned in the comments on this verse in chapter 1, the passages had reference to the destruction of Jerusalem and the mourning of all Jewish tribes and families all over the world, because of that calamity which had befallen their city and their state in the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem.

There is a further parallel between the vision of Revelation 6:2 and Revelation 14:14. Christ was the Rider of the white horse vision of chapter 6, and He was the Reaper of the white cloud vision of chapter 14--both visions being the scenes of triumphant procedure, picturing the conquering of the imperial persecutor and his minions.

The Son of man had in his hand a golden crown--the symbol of the highest royalty, identifying him as the King of heaven, above all potentates of the earth, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He had in his hand a sharp sickle --the symbol of reaping. The sickle was a harvesting implement comparable to the scythe of our time, which was unknown in scripture language. They are both instruments swung by hand in the mowing of ripened grain. The one sitting on the white cloud had come to reap the harvest of the earth--meaning Jerusalem and Judea.

2. The Son of man employs the ministry of angels to execute his will. One angel came out of the temple and signaled to the One on the cloud to thrust in thy sickle and reap. This was not an order from a superior voice, but the signal for the reaping to begin. It was significant that this angel cameout of the temple--symbolizing the sanctuary that had been the object of destruction and desecration in the war against the Jews, which resulted in the fall of Jerusalem.

The voice of the angel proclaimed: the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (Revelation 14:15) This angelic pronouncement signified that the events had approached the end--not the end of time but the end of Jerusalem, of the Jewish state, and of Judaism--and this doom was signified in the declaration: And the earth was reaped—Revelation 14:16.

Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sickle in his hand—Revelation 14:17. There was a distinction between the two angels and the two temples; the first angel came out of the temple which symbolized the sanctuary of the Jews, and was a proclaimer, having no sickle in his hand; the second angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, the abode of God, with a sickle in his hand, symbolizing a minister with power to execute judgment.

A third angel came out from the altar saying to the angel that had the sickle: Thrust in thy sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe—Revelation 14:18. This angel from the altar undoubtedly signified the answer to the cry of the martyrs under the altar of Chapter 6:9-10: “How long, 0 Lord, how long, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” The Lord replied that “they should rest (wait) yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Now, the vision of these angels in chapter 14, sees the role of the martyrs in the visions completed and finished. The angel from the altar was seen answering the souls under the altar (Revelation 6:9-10), and he made an announcement to the angel with the sickle that time had come to avenge the martyrs. With these signals the Son of man reaped the earth of its harvest of grain, and his ministering angel gathered the vintage of grapes. Here was a double vision: the harvesting of grain and the gathering of vintage. With the double vision there was the double instrument of reaping and pruning. It signified reward and retribution. The harvest of grain represented the gathering of the faithful saints, and the vintage of grapes the crushing of their wicked oppressors. The symbols are comparable to the Lord’s illustration of the wheat and the chaff, to the extent of the imagery of reward and retribution.

3. The angel of judgment gathered the clusters of the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God—Revelation 14:19. This was the vision of the terrible wrath of God that would be administered to the persecutors of His people.

The winepress of ancient time was an excavation in rock, formed in the ground, and lined with masonry, in which to crush the grapes. Another cavity was made in the proper place and shape to receive the juice. Such excavations are even yet to be found in Palestine and Syria. The treading of the winepress was performed with the feet, the red juice of the grapes flowing like blood. The reference to it was the symbolic description of the war against Jerusalem:

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came from the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six furlongs—Revelation 14:20. This was a description of the Roman armies gathered outside the city as God’s agents of retribution against Judah and Jerusalem for their apostasies. The context presents a dual vision. First, the two beasts of the sea and of the land were symbolic of the combined effort of Roman and minion persecutors to destroy the church. These two persecutors were the objects of divine indignation in this vision of the great winepress of the wrath of God. Second, the fallen Babylon of Revelation 14:8 was Jerusalem--the faithful city turned harlot.

The symbolic description of these scenes envisioned the terrible war against Jerusalem, when the Roman armies gathered outside the city to tread Jerusalem as the winepress The blood that came out of the winepress even unto the horse bridles signified the horrible slaughter, as though the battle horses waded in blood to their bridles. This was the vivid apocalyptic hyperbole of wrath so great and terrible that was administered to Judah and Jerusalem by the Romans in the Jewish war.

4. In the closing scene of this chapter the great winepress of the wrath of God would envelop the entire land of the Jews--the whole of Palestine. The last phrase of Revelation 14:20 declares that the winepress was trodden without the city . . . by the space of a thousand and six furlongs. Mathematically computed that distance was the approximate length of the land of Palestine, and it was symbolic of the deluge of blood over the whole land during the siege of Jerusalem, and the war against the Jews, which ended with destruction of the city, the demolition of the temple, the downfall of Judaism and the final end of the Jewish state. It was the fearful vision of the inevitable and inexorable judgment of God against an incorrigible nation.

Commentary on Revelation 14:14-20 by Walter Scott

THE HARVEST OF THE EARTH REAPED.

Revelation 14:14-15. — And I saw, and behold, a white cloud,and on the cloud one sitting like (the) Son of Man, having upon His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Send Thy sickle and reap; for the hour of reaping is come, for the harvest of the earth is dried. And He that sat on the cloud put His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Judicial judgment is about to sweep the guilty earth with the besom of destruction and clear it of evil. The harvest and the vintage are the familiar figures employed to express God’s closing dealings. The former is discriminating judgment, the latter unsparing wrath. In the harvest the wheat is separated from the tares. In the vintage these latter, i.e., the tares, are alone in the prophetic scene, and form the subjects of the Lord’s righteous vengeance.

Revelation 14:14. — I saw, and behold. This expression is only employed in the introduction of subjects of unusual interest. There are two matters of weighty import selected out of the seven series of events contained in our chapter, to which special attention is called by this word “behold” (see Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:14).

Revelation 14:14A white cloud is peculiar to this action, so also is the white throne in the judgment of the dead (Revelation 20:11). The cloud symbolizes the divine presence(Revelation 10:1; Matthew 17:5; Ezekiel 10:4), “white” the purity and absolute righteousness characterising and governing the action.

Revelation 14:14On the cloud one sitting like (the) Son of Man. Christ is said to come in a cloud (Luke 21:27),but He is also said to come on the clouds (Matthew 24:30,R.V.). In the former His Person is veiled; in the latter He is publicly displayed. He sits on the cloud. It is a calm, deliberative judgment; no hurry, no haste. “Like (the) Son of Man.” It is under this title that Christ deals with the state of things on the earth, and judges the ungodly (Matthew 25:31; John 5:27). As Son of God He quickens now the spiritually dead (John 5:25), as in the future the physically dead (John 5:28). We have before called attention to the absence of the definite article in this title as used in the Apocalypse and in Daniel 7:13. (See remarks on Revelation 1:13.) As Son of Man He comes and claims universal dominion. His connection with the race and with the world in general is intimated in the title Son of Man, but in that very character He bears the attributes and moral glories of the Ancient of Days (compare Daniel 7:13 with verse 14 of our chapter, also with Revelation 1:13-14). Without doubt the Seer beheld in vision the Son of Man, but in the absence of the article it is what morally characterizes Him that is prominent. The article would make it definite and personal. The attributes of the Son of Man are called into exercise, and to these we are directed — to what is characteristic of such a One, rather than to the Person Himself.

Revelation 14:14Upon His head a golden crown,” the sign of royal dignity (Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:2). The crowns upon the heads of the locusts were “like gold” (Revelation 9:7). Their assumption of royal authority was spurious. Here it is real, divinely conferred. But the crown of gold is also the expression of divine righteousness in victorious action.

Revelation 14:14In His hand a sharp sickle. It is not the execution of judgment either moral (Hebrews 4:12) or physical(Revelation 19:15), else a sword would have been named. But the sickle is needed to reap the harvest. It is “sharp” in order to do its work thoroughly, and in the “hand” of the Reaper, Who is about to begin the separating process — the wheat garnered and the tares gathered in bundles.

Revelation 14:15. — Another angel came out of the temple. Another, as distinct from those previously numbered in the chapter (Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:8-9). The throne and the temple, both in “the Heaven,” are the respective sources of judgment on earth. The throne judgments are characteristic of the first great portion of the book, closing with Revelation 11:18. The temple chastisements are in question from Revelation 11:19, and on to the pouring out of the Vials (Revelation 16:1-21). In the seventh Vial, which brings the wrath of God to a conclusion, the temple and throne are united in action (v. 17).For the throne see Revelation 4:5; for the temple see Revelation 11:19. The throne sets forth the exercise of divine government; the temple refers to the immediate presence of God. In the second main part of the Apocalypse, from Revelation 11:19, the judgments are of a severer character than the preceding ones, as the evil to be dealt with is of a more acute kind, more open, daring, blasphemous, and of a religious-secular character. Hence judgment comes out from the very presence of God, i.e., the temple — the nature of God as light is roused to action.

Revelation 14:15. — The angel from the temple cries with a loud voice.” It is a call for immediate action on the part of the divine Reaper. “Send Thy sickle and reap; for the hour of reaping is come, for the harvest of the earth is dried up,” or “overripe” (R.V.). There are two reasons assigned why the Son of Man should at once proceed to gather in the harvest. First, the appointed hour of final dealing has come; second, the harvest was fully ripe, yea, “dried up” (see Revelation 16:12). The hour of judgment (Revelation 14:7) and the hour of harvest (Revelation 14:15, R.V.) are both said to have come, and both refer substantially to the same character of action.

Revelation 14:15Send Thy sickle and reap. The Son of Man does not Himself personally reap. He superintends. Instrumentally He reaps. The actual reapers are the angels (Matthew 13:39).

Revelation 14:15. — The harvest of the earth is both political (Joel 3:9-14) and religious in character (Matthew 13:24-30).The former is directly connected with Israel, and has its sphere of operation in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:12); the latter is of much wider extent, embracing within its range the whole scene of Christendom (Matthew 13:38).

Revelation 14:16. — He that sat on the cloud put His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. The result is instantaneous, but that is in vision only. We must not regard these actions as signifying a momentary exercise of divine power. Events are regarded in the various visions — which may extend over a considerable time and employ many agencies — as completed in a single act. In the visions the completed results are briefly and tersely summed up. But in other portions of Scripture the details, equally important to know, are unfolded. But how gracious in God to afford us the certainty that His purposes shall be fulfilled; that these apocalyptic visions affirm.

We have already observed that the harvest discriminates and separates the wheat from the tares. “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into My barn” (Matthew 13:30).This, then, is harvest work. It is the same character of separating work in which the good fish are gathered into vessels and the bad cast away (v. 48). This severing process is at the end of the age. There is no actual execution of judgment in the harvest. That is accomplished in the vintage; nor is the harvest here the completion of the first-fruits of the company of virgins of Revelation 14:4. That harvest is one of blessing, and is reaped when the millennial kingdom is set up. The harvest here is one of discriminating judgment prior to the kingdom being established. Reaping is in view of judgment.

THE VINE OF THE EARTH AND ITS JUDGMENT

Revelation 14:17-20. — And another angel came out of the temple which (is) in the Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the altar, having power over fire, and called with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Send thy sharp sickle, and gather the bunches of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripened. And the angel put his sickle to the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast (the bunches) into the great winepress of the fury of God; and the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood went out of the winepress to the bits of the horses for a thousand six hundred stadia.

Revelation 14:17Another angel. In these visions there is mention made of six angels (Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:8-9; Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17-18). The ordinal numbers, second and third (Revelation 14:8-9, R.V.), are evidently meant to form a group of three angels as distinct from those which follow and are not numbered. The numbered angels announce specific events which are closely related. The fourth and the fifth come out of the temple (Revelation 14:15; Revelation 14:17), from whence all the Vials are poured out (Revelation 16:1). The sixth angel comes out of the altar (Revelation 14:18).

Revelation 14:17Having a sharp sickle. There is a certain minuteness in the previous description not observable in this one. There “in His hand a sharp sickle” (Revelation 14:14); here it is simply “having a sharp sickle.” In the one “a loud voice” (Revelation 14:15); in the other a “loud cry” (Revelation 14:18). These and other minute distinctions are to be noticed if full profit is to be gained. There are, of course, certain things in common, as “harvest” and “vintage” would necessarily suggest.

Then “another angel” is seen coming “out of the altar, having power over fire.” This is the brazen altar, the altar of judgment. The loud and urgent cry of the souls of the martyrs under the altar for righteous vengeance (Revelation 6:9-11) was but partially answered. Now the full measure of judgment is to be inflicted on their enemies. The brazen altar speaks of acceptance (Leviticus 1), and, with the blood upon its horns, of forgiveness (Leviticus 4:34). But it is a holy altar, and hence it demands the judgment of sin; it is also the ground of divine forgiveness. Here the thought is one of pure, unmingled judgment — divine judgment on the vine of the earth (compare with Ezekiel 9:2).The altar angel “called with a loud cry.” It was a loud, peremptory, urgent call, and one which could brook no delay.

Revelation 14:18. — “Gather the bunches of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripened.” Israel of old was the vine brought out of Egypt (Psalms 80:8) — Jehovah’s fruit-bearing system on earth. After centuries of cultivation and care the vine only produced “wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:2-4). The noble vine planted by the Lord God of hostshad in the days of the weeping prophet “turned into a degenerate plant of a strange vine” (Jeremiah 2:21). Israeltherefore was set aside, to be morally replaced by Christ the true Vine, Who alone could and did bear fruit (John 15:1-27). The mark of a true disciple is not simply to be a branch in the vine (Judas was that), but to be a fruit-bearing branch. The expression “the vine of the earth” contemplates the whole religious system in the coming crisis, not Judaism only. The grapes are ripe for judgment. They are gathered in bunches and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The great religious apostasy of earth is now to be unsparingly dealt with in judgment. “The winepress was trodden without the city.” The tares are now cast into the fire (Matthew 13:40-42) — “a furnace of fire.” It is, too, the consuming of the fruitless branches (John 15:6). There is no mercy, no separating judgment, but absolute vengeance. The winepress signifies this. It is the day of vengeance of our God. It is the time of Isaiah 63:1-19 : “Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like Him that treadeth in the wine fat?” asks the prophet. The Messiah answers, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was none with Me; for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury: and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (vv. 2-4). The vine of the earth is a far-reaching expression, embracing apostate Jews and apostate Gentiles (Psalms 85:5;Isaiah 34:1-17; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Joel 3:1-21).

Revelation 14:20. — The winepress was trodden without the city. Jerusalem is the city here referred to. The valley of Jehoshaphat was outside Jerusalem, and it is there that the fullest vengeance of God shall be poured out, “the press is full” (Joel 3:13). In fact, both the harvest and the vintage are directly grounded on the prophecy of Joel (chap. 3), with, of course, a wider application. Outside the city, or “without,” signifies Palestine as a whole.

Revelation 14:20Blood went out of the winepress to the bits of the horses for a thousand six hundred stadia. Blood, not wine or the juice of the grape, but that which it signified, poured out of the winepress to the depth of the horses’ bits; the length of the stream of blood nearly two hundred miles. There may be certain measurements of the Holy Land (As from Dan to Beersheba.) to which these would apply, but nothing certain can be affirmed. What is signified is a vast destruction of human life over a circumscribed area. Certainly what is stated of the vast slaughter is beyond anything ever known. We gather that the scene of the vintage in its worst form is that referred to by Joel (Joel 3:9-14), as also where the battle of Armageddon is to be fought (Revelation 16:14-16): the scene, too, of Revelation 19:19. All these have their center in Palestine. It is there that the wickedness of earth will be concentrated. The Beast and the Antichrist both fall there, and their followers as well. Gog, too, and his subordinate, the king of the north — the political oppressors of Israel — meet their doom in Palestine (Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29, for Gog and his allies;Isaiah 14:25; Daniel 11:45, for the Assyrian or king of the north). The final dealings of God at the end of the age as expressed in the harvest and vintage are centered in Palestine, but are not confined in their effects to Israel, then the most guilty of all peoples, but extend to the utmost bounds of Christendom. We do not, of course, hold that the actual valley of Jehoshaphat and Armageddon are literally meant, as both are utterly inadequate to serve as a gathering place or center for the nations who will assemble in close proximity to Jerusalem, and thus Judea becomes the battlefield of the nations. May God graciously preserve His beloved people from the unholy principles and spirit so characteristic of the day in which our lot is cast!

Commentary on Revelation 14:14-20 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 14:14. The rest of the chapter is a vision of the day of judgment. Clouds are often used as symbols of glory and power especially white clouds. The person sitting on the cloud is like the Son of man because he is but a symbol. Yet we must think of Christ, who is being symbolized by the vision. Golden crown signifies a king and we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:25 that He is to reign until the end. Sharp sickle is an instrument for gathering the fruits of a harvest. Jesus is king in his own right, but he is generally represented as accomplishing the work of His kingdom in cooperation with the angels. Especially is this true of the work to be performed at his second coming. (See Matthew 25:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7.)

Revelation 14:15. Another angel is said because angels have been named previously in this chapter, and because those heavenly beings are so often em-ployed to act as attendants upon the Lord or sometimes upon other angels as will be done yet in this chapter. There are to be two kinds of crops gathered on the day of judgment as generally happens after any growing season. One kind is the good and the other is the bad, and they are always separated one from the other and different dispositions made of them. In the present case the good is represented in the ordinary phraseology of a good harvest which implies sheaves of grain. The bad is represented by grapes which we have just seen above symbolize the wrath of God upon the wicked. The attending angel signalled to Him who was on the cloud to use his sickle to gather the ripe harvest.

Revelation 14:16. The One on the white cloud did as requested and gathered the grain. The reader will understand this represents the good among mankind.

Revelation 14:17. The other sickle was in the hands of an angel instead of Him who was on the cloud. This also agrees with the language of Christ in Matthew 13:39 where he says "the angels are the reapers." Notice these angels are said to come out of the temple. That is because it is in heaven from where the authority of God is issued.

Revelation 14:18. The next attending angel came out from the altar. That article was also at the temple and it was the piece that was used for burning certain victims- The symbol is very appropriate since this sickle is to be used for gathering the grapes; grapes for the wrath of God. This angel gave the signal to the one holding the second sickle to use it for gathering in the clusters. The reason assigned by him for the order was her grapes are fully ripe. God is never premature in his operations. He explained to Abraham in Genesis 15:16 that the reason for waiting until the fourth generation for attacking the land of promise was that "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." In 2 Peter 3:15 it says that the longsuffering of God in delaying the destruction of the earth "is salvation." Whenever God in his infinite wisdom sees that the time is fully ripe for the harvest He will send forth the reapers and bring an end to the earth and its contents.

Revelation 14:19. As a literal fact a winepress is a large vat in which grapes are placed for extraction of the juice. In Bible times mechanical means had not been invented for pressure, and the result was accomplished by man power. A lattice-like platform was laid on top of the grapes and a number of men walked round and round over it until the juice was forced out, being received below through a trough running from the vat to a receiving vessel. The symbolic feature is in the fact that the desired result was accomplished by a treading under foot. The operation is used to symbolize the act of the Lord in trampling under his feet the wicked people of the earth. The flowing of the wine signifies the flowing of the wrath of God against men’s unrighteousness.

Revelation 14:20. The symbol continues with the same significance but with some added specifications. Being done without the city denotes that the punishment of the wicked will be outside the holy city in the eternal world. In computing the amount of blood (of the grape) that came out we must not forget that the whole performance is symbolic, and the volume is given in order tofurnish us some idea of the terrible fate of those whose unrighteous lives have brought upon them the wrath of God. To be conservative I suppose unto the horse bridles would be about four feet. The amount was enough to flood the ground for a distance of a thousand and six hundred furlongs or two hundred miles. Nothing is said about any kind of retainer on the sides, hence to be wide enough to flow freely that far and that deep (if only in the center) would require a considerable width. It all should give us a profound impression of the fate of those who die out of Christ.

Commentary on Revelation 14:14-20 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 14:14

And I saw, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud I saw one sitting like unto a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

This through Revelation 14:20 is a vision of the eternal judgment already announced in Revelation 14:7. See the chapter outline, above.

White cloud ... one like to a son of man ... Despite the opinion of respected scholars such as Morris, who thought this being on the white cloud was an angel,[66] we do not hesitate to understand it as a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He has the "sickle" (a symbol of judgment) in his hand; and it was to Jesus that the Father gave the prerogative of judgment (John 5:27), the reason there assigned for God’s so doing being "because he is the son of man." The mention of the same words here would appear to make it certain that Jesus is the one meant. "The crown sets him forth as King and Messiah, but the sharp sickle indicates his coming for judgment."[67] Besides that, "Son of man in the New Testament is never applied to angels; we must conclude that this is a vision of the returning Christ."[68] "Son of man is applied to Jesus some eighty-one times in the Gospels, and it seems justifiable to assume that he is the one meant here."[69]

Strauss pointed out that, "Jehovah’s Witnesses completely distort this phrase (Son of man) into the claim that Jesus is nothing but an angel, a claim repudiated by the entire scope of the Biblical doctrine of Christ."[70]

This great vision of the final judgment first shows the ingathering of the righteous (Revelation 14:14-15), and following that, the destruction of the wicked (Revelation 14:17-20), following exactly the pattern laid down by Jesus himself in Matthew 25:31-40. Caird interpreted both sections of this as the gathering of the righteous, with the result that he had to interpret the great blood river of Revelation 14:20, as "the great martyrdom."[71] This is clearly wrong. Kiddle tried to make both sections apply to the judgment of the wicked; but Caird flatly declared that, "Kiddle’s theory that both represent the judgment of God on the heathen has been shown to be inadequate."[72] Ladd’s, and many similar views, must be right:

The first (section) pictures the eschatological judgment of God with reference to the gathering of the righteous into salvation. The second pictures the judgment of the wicked into condemnation.[73]

"The judgment of the righteous is in Revelation 14:14-15; and the judgment of the wicked is in Revelation 14:17-20."[74]

[66] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 184.

[67] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 229.

[68] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 199.

[69] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 583.

[70] James D. Strauss, The Seer, the Saviour and the Saved (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1972), p. 189.

[71] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 192,195.

[72] Ibid., p. 191.

[73] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 198.

[74] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 188.

Revelation 14:15

And another angel came out from the temple, crying with a great voice to him that sat on the cloud, Send forth thy sickle, and reap: for the hour to reap is come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Send forth thy sickle and reap ... The astonishing thing about this is that the command to reap appears to come from an angel of far lesser rank than the Christ on the white cloud. Rist, however, gave a very excellent explanation of this:

It seems strange that the angel would give orders to the heavenly Christ to begin his work ... of harvest, until we realize that he (the angel) is merely a messenger bringing the command from God himself who is in his temple. This is quite in harmony with Matthew 24:36, that no one, not even the angels, nor the Son, knows the day or the hour of the end, save the Father himself.[75]

Send forth thy sickle and reap ... This sickle is Christ’s. The judgment is in his hands. The figure of the harvest for the end of the world is a frequent New Testament metaphor, as in Matthew 13:30. The fact of the harvest here being particularly of the redeemed is in harmony with the imagery of Matthew 13:11-12. Yes, the wicked are mentioned there also, but not under the figure of "the wheat." The wicked are "the chaff," or "the tares."

ENDNOTE:

[75] Martin Rist, op. cit., p. 475.

Revelation 14:16

And he that sat upon the cloud cast his sickle upon the earth; and the earth was reaped.

Cast his sickle ... the earth was reaped ... There was no laborious effort on the part of Christ; he merely threw the whole judgment into gear, and it was executed. The widespread association of the angels with Christ in the final judgment (Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:49; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, etc.) naturally suggests that innumerable angels will be operative under Christ’s authority in the execution of the final judgment. The presence of a number of angels in the judgment scene here is in full harmony with this. They gather the golden grain of the harvest into the garner of eternal security. "All the faithful, without the loss of even one, shall be saved."[76]

The harvest of the earth is ripe ... "Contrary to human appearances, history is moving under the sovereignty of God."[77] If it is God’s purpose to redeem "a certain number" from the earth, which many have supposed, the "ripeness" here could refer to the full achievement of God’s purpose.

[76] Frank L. Cox, op. cit., p. 92.

[77] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 200.

Revelation 14:17-18

And another angel came out from the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, he that hath power over fire; and he called with a great voice to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Send forth thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

Here begins the second view of the one judgment presented in this vision, this one having to do with the destruction of the wicked. Some have taken the view that because angels are featured in both sections that this section too refers to the gathering of the righteous; but, as we have already noted, the pattern of this is exactly that of Matthew 25, the righteous first being mentioned, then the wicked. Caird was impressed that both sections "are inaugurated with the same angelic command";[78] but there is a most important difference. The angel from the sanctuary is now aided by one from the altar, the same altar "in connection with which the prayers of the saints ascend to the throne; and the judgment of God is God’s final answer of those prayers.[79] See comment under Revelation 8:3-5.

Gather the clusters of the vine of the earth ... The imagery of the description of this phase of the judgment is that of the winepress, probably because of the bloodiness of it. "The ministry of mercy is the Lord’s chosen office; the ministry of wrath his stern necessity."[80] so Ladd and others have commented upon the repeated appearance in the Old Testament of the grape harvest meaning judgment, as in Isaiah 63:2-3 and Joel 3:13.[81]

[78] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 191.

[79] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 188.

[80] Frank L. Cox, op. cit., p. 92.

[81] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 201.

Revelation 14:19

And the angel cast his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress, the great winepress, of the wrath of God.

And the angel cast his sickle ... It is still Christ’s sickle, but as an agent and helper of the Lord the angel appears here.

The harvest of the earth is ripe ... See comment on this above, under Revelation 14:15. Wickedness will at last attain its ultimate goal of becoming absolutely intolerable to Almighty God. The heavenly Father has a score to settle with evil; and one day it will be settled, as depicted here. The roaring tornado of sin and wickedness visible everywhere upon earth today is rushing to the judgment. Even many of the theologians have decided that God will never punish anyone. "We are now witnessing a resurgence of universalism in the so-called Christian world";[82] but Scriptures like these, and many others in the New Testament, should more than suffice to repudiate such error.

ENDNOTE:

[82] James D. Strauss, op. cit., p. 190.

Revelation 14:20

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and there came out blood from the winepress, even unto the bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand six hundred furlongs.

"That the symbolism of Revelation 14:17-20 describes the final judgment at the last day we consider beyond successful denial."[83]

Without the city ... We must not think of this as any earthly place such as Jerusalem, Rome, or Babylon. "It is the heavenly city of Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 21:10, etc."[84] Plummet also agreed that this means "without the Church of God."[85] The wicked will be punished far from the presence of the saints, and no unclean thing may enter into the place where the saints are.

Blood ... unto the bridles of the horses ... a thousand and six hundred furlongs ... What does this mean? "This stands for the complete judgment of the whole earth and the destruction of all the wicked."[86] "The thought is clear. It is a radical judgment that crushes every vestige of evil and hostility to the reign of God."[87] Evaluations such as these appear to be correct.

Roberson commented that, "This constitutes the most terrible picture of the fate of the ungodly to be found in Scripture."[88]

Regarding the dimensions of this pool (or river) of blood, just which is uncertain, the 1,600 furlongs equals 200 miles!

We are not told whether the said distance is the circumference, the diameter or the radius of the bloody sea; and the reason for this is that it makes not a particle of difference.[89]

The imagery here is not to be taken literally at all. We are merely expected to recoil in horror at the very thought of such a thing. It would be interesting if some of the fundamentalist modernists would step forward and give us an "honest" explanation of this like they did in the case of the "virgins" earlier in the chapter!

The number 1,600 is of interest, despite the opinions of some that, "There is no obvious prototype of this in the Old Testament."[90] Beasley-Murray seems to have come up with a plausible reason for the use of this number:

The figure is the square of forty, the traditional number of punishment. Israel was punished by forty years of wanderings in the wilderness (Numbers 24:23); and certain offenders were given forty lashes (Deuteronomy 25:3)[91]

Thus this chapter, along with Revelation 12 and Revelation 13, has now completed another comprehensive view of the entire history of God’s redemptive program, from the first to the final judgment at the Second Advent of Christ.

All of the blood in these last verses must be understood in connection with that angel who came out from the altar, having power over fire. One may say, How strange! No fire appears here; but the fire is here under another figure, that of blood. The great outpouring of blood is another symbol used to describe the final overthrow of the wicked. Of course, the fire and brimstone are also figures; and one may only wonder how terrible must be that reality which requires such symbolism to represent it.

[83] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 452.

[84] Ibid.

[85] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 351.

[86] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 186.

[87] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 202.

[88] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 108.

[89] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 240.

[90] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 195.

[91] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 230.

Commentary on Revelation 14:14-20 by Manly Luscombe

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. We now move to another graphic scene of the final judgment. John sees a white cloud. On the cloud is Jesus. Some deny this is Jesus because it says, “one like” Jesus. However, similar language was used in Revelation 1:13. The gold crown represents power and authority. The sickle is the symbol of one who is about to execute judgment on the wicked and unfaithful.

15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Now the fourth angel in this chapter begins to speak. This angel announces that the time of judgment is here. Thrust in the sickle. Harvest time is here. In our vernacular, “The fat lady is singing.” The time of patience has ended. The time of grace and mercy are over. Now is the time of harvest. There are two parts to the harvest. The gathering of the good fruit and the uprooting and burning of the rest of the field. Study the parable of the Tares in Matthew 13:24-30. In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptizer makes a similar statement. Save the wheat and burn the chaff.

16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. Jesus, the righteous judge, thrusts the sickle on the earth. The earth is reaped. The message is clear. The righteous will be separated from the wicked. The wheat will be separated from the tares.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. We are now introduced to the fifth angel in this section of Revelation. This angel has a sharp sickle. The sharpness of the sickle in the hands of Jesus was not described until now. The word “also” indicates that both Jesus and this angel have sickles sharp enough to separate the wheat from the tares. Their sickles can cut between the wheat and the chaff. This angle came out of the temple. It is clear that this angel is coming from the presence of God. He is not acting on his own. He is functioning under the direction of God.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” In rapid succession, here comes the sixth angel. He comes from the altar. He has power over fire. The angel says, “The grapes are fully ripe.” Interpretation: We cannot wait any longer. There is a time for patience. There is a time when it is proper for God to delay judgment. Now, that time is past. Any more postponement would be wrong. Our God is a Holy God. It is His holiness that will not allow Him to be seen as sanctioning or condoning evil. God declares that wicked men cannot come near Him because “I am holier than you.” (Isaiah 65:5) God also is described with these words, “For you are not a God that has pleasure in wickedness: neither will evil dwell with you.” (Psalms 5:4) Christians are given instructions to avoid fellowship with false teachers or bidding them Godspeed. To approve or consort with a false teacher causes you to be equally guilty before God. (2 John 1:9-11) If we cannot sanction sin, certainly God cannot. The world is reaching a point of great evil and wickedness. God cannot appear that He is allowing or sympathetic to sin. Something must be done, and quickly.

19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The angel with the sharp sickle begins the actual harvest. The vine of the earth, the fruit of all immorality, the product of all false teaching, the outgrowth of wickedness and corruption are being harvested. All of this evil fruit is being thrown into the winepress. The punishment will be great torment. The reason: They have harmed the people of God. If you harm or kill the sealed of God, you will have to face the judgment of God. The wrath of God is a justified anger. This is not quick, violent temper. The wrath of God is often ignored or overlooked. Many focus on the grace and love of God. They forget that God is a Holy and Just God. While this world stands the primary focus of God is on His Mercy, Patience, Love, Kindness, Forgiveness, and Gentleness. When this world ends, at the Second Coming of Christ, the God who will judge us will be a God of Justice, Holiness, Wrath, and Severity. (Romans 11:22)

20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs. The torment of the wicked is outside the city. This term will appear again in Revelation 22:14-15. The obedient are inside the city of God. Outside the city are dogs. The dogs here are defined as sorcerers, harlots, murderers, idolaters and liars. Jesus was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. (Hebrews 13:12) The wicked will suffer the wrath of God. Part of the wrath and retribution from God will be separation from Him. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The disobedient will suffer. All the wicked will suffer punishment. The blood of those in the winepress of God’s wrath will form a river of blood. It is described as a river as deep as the bridle of a horse’s bridle. This river runs for 1600 furlongs. NOTE: A furlong is 606 feet and 9 inches (606.75 feet). This was the length of a race in the ancient Olympics (just over 200 yards). So, the river is as deep as a horse’s bridle and over 180 miles in length. I do not believe that these numbers have any particular significance. I believe John is adding this information to the drama. The description is given for dramatic effect. Just as the streets of Rome were lighted with the burning bodies of Christians, so there is now a river of blood flowing from the wrath of God. The imagery is unmistakable. The wrath of God will be complete. No one will escape punishment.

Sermon on Revelation 14:1-20

The Three Angels

Brent Kercheville

Chapter 13 revealed Satan raising two beasts to make war with the Christians. The first beast is the beast of the greatest concern. The first beast, as identified from Daniel 7, is the Roman Empire which ruled from approximately 27 BC to 476 AD. The emperors of the Roman Empire blasphemed the name of God, calling themselves divine, and demanding worship from the inhabitants of the empire. The second beast describes the local and provincial enforcement of the emperor worship and the ensuring persecution for those who did not participate in emperor worship. Those worshiped the first beast were marked so that they can buy and sell. Those who did not participate in emperor worship were unable to buy and sell in the marketplaces.

The Lamb and the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5)

The contrast is set in chapter 14. John looks and sees the Lamb standing on Mount Zion and the 144,000 are with him. Remember that the 144,000 represents the servants of God who were killed for the name of Christ. We know that they are physically dead because they were pictured in heaven. Revelation 6 told us that the servants of God would be killed. Chapter 7 called them the 144,000 signifying that the complete number of God’s people are sealed and spiritually secure though they are persecuted and killed. The inhabitants of the earth are worshiping the beast. They have the mark of the beast which means they have sided with the Roman Empire and its emperors. These people belong to the beast. However, we see the 144,000. They do not have the mark of the beast. Rather than having the name of the beast or the number of his name on their foreheads or hand (Revelation 13:16-17), the 144,000 have the name of the Lamb and the name of God on their foreheads. This shows their loyalty to the Lamb and pictures them as the Lamb’s possession.

The loyalty and faithfulness of the 144,000 is further pictured in these verses. These pictures cannot be literal. In Revelation 7 we were the told that the 144,000 came from the twelve tribes of Israel. Now we are given more details about the 144,000. They “have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins” (Revelation 14:4). They are also blameless (Revelation 14:5). Now there are religious groups that want to take the 144,000 as a literal number of those who are in heaven. The problem with this interpretation is that the only ones is heaven are going to be perfect Jewish virgins who are men. Instead, we need to see this imagery as picturing the spiritual condition of the 144,000. As we noted in Revelation 7, 144,000 number symbolizes the complete group of God’s people (please see the notes from the Revelation 7 study).

God often speaks of the purity of his people in terms of sexual immorality. The apostle Paul used such language about the people of God in 2 Corinthians.

For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2 ESV)

Similarly, the book of Revelation will culminate with the image of the marriage of the people of God to the Lamb.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:7-8 ESV)

The 144,000 are those who have not been compromised by the world but remain loyal as a virgin bride to the future groom. They are not defiled by the world but remain pure toward Christ. To put this image another way, these are the holy people of God. As Revelation 14:3 and Revelation 14:4 declares, the 144,000 are the redeemed. The 144,000 is all the redeemed of the earth. These are all of God’s people who have withstood the attack of Satan and the persecution of the Roman Empire. The people of God are pictured on Mount Zion, the place of Christ’s enthronement and rule. Mount Zion is the place of God’s dwelling and the people are God are protected spiritually as they abide with him.

They are pictured singing a new song (Revelation 14:3). We noticed the new song in Revelation 5:9. This is a song praising God for his victory over the enemy and thanksgiving for God’s work. The 144,000 are victorious and they are singing a song of victory.

The Three Angels (Revelation 14:6-13)

We are presented with three angels who have three announcements to make. They are carrying three important declarations from God.

The First Angel

The first angel is proclaiming the eternal gospel to the whole earth. Everyone has been given the opportunity to hear the gospel and to respond to its message. In the proclamation of the gospel the angel says with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come.” The gospel is good news to those who receive it and obey it. However, the gospel is bad news to those who reject it. Fear God because God is ready to judge. Worship God, not the beast.

The Second Angel

The second angel proclaims, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.” As we noted in our study of Revelation 13, Babylon is the first of four great beasts depicted in Daniel 7. Babylon was the world power in the days of the prophet Daniel. The name Babylon came to represent the wicked world power of the day. Peter used the name Babylon this way as he closed his first letter.

She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. (1 Peter 5:13 ESV)

Peter is giving his greetings from Rome since there was not a literal Babylon for Christians to be living in. Rome was the new Babylon because it was the world power of the day. This fits the context of Revelation. Chapter 13 has been all about this terrifying beast that is persecuting God’s people. This predicted the Roman Empire’s persecution of the Christians. Chapter 14 is not describing the fall of some other nation. It would not fit the context. Babylon is Rome and the Roman Empire is declared to be fallen. However, when the angel makes this proclamation and when the book of Revelation is written, the Roman Empire had not yet fallen. So what is happening in this proclamation?

This is something that is called “prophetic certainty.” An event is prophesied as having already occurred, not because it had happened yet, but because God had decreed it. Therefore the event must happen. Isaiah did the same things in his prophecy.

And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.” (Isaiah 21:9 ESV)

When Isaiah said these words Babylon had not fallen yet. God had decreed that the world power would fall and so Isaiah could confidently describe its end, even though its fall was still in the future. The second angel is doing the same thing. The fall of the Roman Empire is pictured as a certainty even though it had not occurred yet.

The Third Angel

The third angel makes his proclamation. Anyway who worships the beast will drink the wine of God’s wrath. This is a vivid picture that God used at many times through his prophets (Psalms 60:3; Psalms 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 63:6; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Jeremiah 51:7). As many know, the people typically drank their wine mixed with water. Drinking water was a problem then because the water was not clean and would cause illnesses. So the people would drink wine and the wine would be diluted with water, typically two or three parts water to one part wine. Notice that this angel says that they are going to drink the wine “full strength.” The wine is pictured as the wrath of God. They will drink of God’s wrath undiluted. God’s judgment is not going to be watered down. They will receive the full brunt of God’s anger for their sins.

The judgment will be so grave that it is paralleled to the judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah. They are tormented with fire and sulfur, the same tools God used to wipe out the wicked cities of the plains for their sins. However, the picture is not a picture of a physical destruction. Notice that the angel pictures eternal punishment for those who worship the beast. Those who are giving their allegiance to the emperors and worshiping them as divine will be tormented forever and ever and have no rest day or night. This is the same kind of language that Jesus used to describe the eternal punishment on those who reject him.

Therefore, another call for endurance is made. Keep the commandments of God and keep your faith in Jesus. They worshipers of the emperors will be judgment. They condemnation is already set. Do not give in to the temptation to worship. Remain faithful to Jesus. Remain faithful even to death. Notice verse 13 reminds the readers again that they are going to die for this strong faith in Jesus. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. They are blessed for their faithfulness while the beast makes war on the people of God.

The Sickles (Revelation 14:14-20)

In Revelation 14:14 we see one like the son of man seated on a white cloud with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. There is no doubt that this is picturing Christ. Christ was called “one like the son of man coming in the clouds” in Revelation 1:7; Revelation 1:13 and in Daniel 7:13 and Matthew 24:30. Christ is coming to harvest the earth, reaping what had been sown. He swings his sickle across the earth and the earth was reaped. I believe this is picturing the righteous people of God being reaped to the Lord. The parallel would be the parable of the tares where we read about the wheat and the tares growing together. Then the wheat are reaped and taken into the barn while the tares are gathered for the fire.

Once the elect are reaped, then another angel comes with a sharp sickle. He is to gather the grapes and throw them into the winepress of God’s wrath. This is a picture of devastating judgment. This imagery comes from Isaiah 63:1-6 where Isaiah used the same language.

Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come 5 I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. 6 I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” (Isaiah 63:1-6 ESV)

The enemies are trampled and their blood is poured out for their rebellion. Notice that this is the imagery of Revelation 14:20. The wicked are put into the winepress of God’s wrath and the blood flowed as high as a horse’s bridle for 1600 stadia. The distance is approximately 184 miles and a horse’s bridle is a few feet high. Can you imagine how much blood would have to be shed and how many people would have to die to create a flow of blood that would pour out for 184 miles a few feet high? This is a graphic symbol to the world. Stop worshiping the beast. Those who worship the beast are going to suffer the wrath of God in eternal punishment. The emperors and the empire that you are worshiping as divine is going to fall and its fall will be so great that the blood will flow for miles. Once again this is not a literal image that blood would really flow that high and that far. Rather, the imagery makes the powerful point that its doom is coming and it is not going to be pretty. The prophecy has been made. The dye is cast and the stage is set. The people of God will be gathered and those that worship the beast will be slain. Repent before it is too late because this doom will come. Chapters 15-19 will reveal the fulfillment of these prophetic declarations of the angels.

Life Lessons

1. Be the 144,000. Be the true people of God by remaining spiritually pure. Follow the Lamb wherever he goes and do not give in to the defilements of the world. Be holy for God so that you can be joined to him.

2. False worship leads to eternal punishment. Do not let the things of this world be what you worship. The smoke of their torment of those who do not worship God goes up forever and ever. There is no rest for them day or night. What imagery describing the horror and suffering of worshiping anything or anyone other than God.

LESSON 19.

THE LAMB AND THE

HEAVENLY PROCLAMATIONS

Read Revelation 14

1. Where did John see the Lamb standing? Ans. Revelation 14:1.

2. Who was with him? Ans. Revelation 14:1.

3. What was written on their foreheads? Ans. Revelation 14:1.

4. The voice from heaven sounded like what three things? Ans. Revelation 14:2.

5. The one hundred and forty-four thousand sang the new song before whom? Ans. Revelation 14:3.

6. Who alone could learn that new song? Ans. Revelation 14:3.

7. Who are the one hundred and forty-four thousand singers? Ans. Revelation 14:4-5.

8. What was the mission of the angel flying in the midst of heaven? Ans. Revelation 14:6.

9. What was his message? Ans. Revelation 14:7.

10. Give the proclamation of the angel that followed. Ans. Revelation 14:8.

11. Give the message proclaimed by the third angel. Ans. Revelation 14:9-11.

12. What two things are the saints to keep? Ans. Revelation 14:12.

13. What was John told to write concerning the righteous dead? Ans. Revelation 14:13.

14. Describe the one who sat on a "white cloud." Ans. Revelation 14:14.

15. What did the angel from the temple tellhim to do? Ans. Revelation 14:15-16.

16. From where, and with what, did another angel come? Ans. Revelation 14:17.

17. What was the angel with the sharp sickle told to do? Ans. Revelation 14:18.

18. What then was gathered in? Ans. Revelation 14:19.

19. What can you say of the amount of blood that came from the trodden winepress? Ans. Revelation 14:20.

E.M. Zerr

Questions on Revelation

Revelation Chapter Fourteen

1. What did John see at this time?

2. Where was it standing?

3. Who were standing with him?

4. Tell what was written on them?

5. What did he hear?

6. How did it sound?

7. What did he hear further?

8. Tell what they were doing.

9. Where were they singing?

10. Who alone knew this song?

11. What had been done for this throng?

12. State their moral character.

13. Whom do they follow?

14. What were the firstfruits unto God?

15. What was not in theIr mouth?

16. Tell their standing before the throne.

17. What person did John next see?

IS. Tell what he was doing.

19. And state what he had.

20. To whom was he to deliver it?

21. Whom did he command men to fear?

22. What must they give to Him?

23. Tell what hour had arrived.

24. Whom must men worship?

25. What had he created?

26. Who followed all this?

27. Repeat his announcement.

2S. What had she done?

29. Tell what person followed this.

30. Against what worship did he give warning?

31. State the penalty if unheeded.

32. With what shall he be tormented?

33. In what presence will this be done?

34. What ascends up forever?

35. When do they have rest?

36. Whom had they been worshiping?

37. What quality of the saints is shown here?

3S. From where did .J ohn hear a voice?

39. What work was John told to do?

40. State what dead are to be blessed.

41. From what may they rest?

42. What will follow them?

43. Tell what John saw next.

44. Who was upon this?

45. Tell what John saw next?

46. And what was in his hand?

47. Who came next?

4S. From where did he come?

49. To whom did he cry?

50. What did he direct him to do?

51. Why should he do so now?

52. What was then thrust in?

53. Ten what was done with the vine.

54. Where was it trodden?

55. What came out of the press?

56. How deep was this?

57. To what length did it reach?

Revelation Chapter Fourteen

Ralph Starling

John saw on Mt. Zion a lamb so very plain

With him was 140,000 wearing God’s name,

And there was heard harpers harping with their harps,

singing a new song with all their hearts.

Then another angel with the gospel to preach

For every nation and people to reach.

Saying, "Fear God and give glory to Him,

For the hour of judgment was coming for them."

Another angel then followed,

Saying "Babylon is fallen, is fallen."

For she made all nations part of her past.

A part of her fornication and despicable path.

A third angel with a loud voice

Those who worshipped the beast & image theri choice

The same would drink of God’s indignation

In the presence of the lamb who offered salvation.

Then I looked & behold on a white cloud the son of man.

On his head a crown & a sickle in his hand.

Another angel said "Thrust in the sickle the time is right,

For the Harvest of the earth is ready and ripe."

Two other angels from the temple appeared,

One with fire the other a sickle to harvest.

They gathered the vine for God’s wine to shear press.

And blood came forth for a 200 mile stretch.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 14". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/revelation-14.html.
 
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