Revelation 14:1. And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
The great question for us is, — shall we be among the number? If we have the Father’s name engraved upon our hearts, we may conclude that we shall, one day, have it written in our foreheads, and that we shall be amongst that chosen company.
Revelation 14:2-3. 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: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
Notice how loud their singing was, — it was like many waters and great thunder. But notice, also, the sweetness of it, for it was melodious as the music of well-skilled harpers harping with their harps. Note, too, the freshness, the vivacity of it: “they sang as it were a new song.” Shall we be there to sing that new song? If so, we must be “redeemed from the earth,” not with a general, but with a particular redemption, which lifts us up from the rest of our fellow-creatures; and we must also have attended the saved rehearsals, for none can sing in heaven but those who have learnt the song; and none can learn it but those who are “redeemed from the earth.”
Revelation 14:4-5. These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgin. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Now we have another vision.
Revelation 14:6-7. 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, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea and the fountains of waters.
This vision represents the spread of the gospel. It is generally referred to the Reformation period, when, on a sudden, the truth, which had so long lain hidden in old musty tomes, was proclaimed in every market-place. Beneath many a “gospel oak” the good news was told out, — the good news concerning Christ, — as if an angel were flying through the midst of heaven. This preaching of the truth led to the commencement of the downfall of Rome, which is here called Babylon, and which is ultimately to fall to utter and everlasting ruin.
Revelation 14:8. 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.
That is spiritual fornication, as we understand it in the Old Testament, —man’s idolatry, — the setting up of visible objects of worship, instead of the invisible God. And what is there, in all the world, that is so idolatrous as the so-galled “religion” of Rome? She multiplieth her idol gods to great excess, — her crosses and her crucifixes, her saints and her saintesses, her “sacraments” and her relics, her “old cast clouts” and her “old rotten rags.” The Papacy is the most paganish of all the paganisms that have ever existed on the face of the earth; but it is to come to an end, for the mouth of the Lord hath said so.
Revelation 14:9-10. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 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 in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
How clear, therefore, we ought to keep of this idolatrous system! For even if we have not the mark of the beast in our foreheads by an open profession of loyalty to it, yet if we have the mark in our hands by being the partakers of Rome’s sins, we shall also be partakers of her plagues concerning Romanism in all its forms. The great message to be proclaimed today is, “Come out of her, my people; — come away from her, as far as the poles are asunder; — that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Revelation 14:11-12. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Truly, Rome has tried “the patience of the saints.” What country is there in Europe which has not been dyed crimson with the blood of the martyrs? The rack, the stake, the brook, the dungeon, the fires, all sorts of cruelties have been practiced upon those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Let the valleys of Piedmont speak; do they not cry aloud to our God for vengeance? Let the St. Bartholomew massacre bear witness before the living God. Let the stakes of Smithfield say, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Revelation 14:13. 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 labours; and their works do follow them.
It matters not where they die, or under what ignominy they die, —whether branded with the name of heretic, or cast out as the offscouring of all things, yet blessed are they, and their works follow them to heaven to bear witness to their faith, and they spiritually, continue to live on earth to propagate the gracious seed for which they laid down their lives.
Revelation 14:14-18. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on 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, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
After the glad harvest comes the sad vintage. After the ingathering of the righteous, there will be the ingathering of the wicked.
Revelation 14:19-20. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Revelation 14". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany