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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 14

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Introduction

REVELATION 12-14

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4NKJVNRSVTEVNJB
The Woman and the DragonThe Woman, the Child, and the DragonThe Vision of the Woman, the Child, and the DragonThe Woman and the DragonThe Vision of the Woman and the Dragon
Revelation 12:1-6Revelation 12:1-6Revelation 12:1-6Revelation 12:1-2Revelation 12:1-6
Satan Thrown Out of HeavenRevelation 12:3-6
Revelation 12:7-12Revelation 12:7-12Revelation 12:7-9Revelation 12:7-9Revelation 12:7-12`
The Woman PersecutedRevelation 12:10-12Revelation 12:10-12
Revelation 12:13-17Revelation 12:13-17Revelation 12:13-1712:13-18Revelation 12:13-17
The Two BeastsThe Beast From the SeaThe Two BeastsThe Two BeastsThe Dragon Delegates His Power to the Beast
12:1812:1812:1812:18-13:10
Revelation 13:1-4Revelation 13:1-10Revelation 13:1-4Revelation 13:1-4
Revelation 13:5-8Revelation 13:5-8Revelation 13:5-8
Revelation 13:9-10The Beast from the LandRevelation 13:9-10Revelation 13:9-10The False Prophet as the Slave of the Beast
Revelation 13:11-18Revelation 13:11-18Revelation 13:11-18Revelation 13:11-17Revelation 13:11-17
Revelation 13:18Revelation 13:18
The Song of the 144,000The Lamb and the 144,000An InterludeThe Lamb and His PeopleThe Companions of the Lamb
Revelation 14:1-5Revelation 14:1-5Revelation 14:1-5Revelation 14:1-5Revelation 14:1-5
The Messages of the Three AngelsThe Proclamation of Three AngelsThe Three AngelsAngels Announce the Day of Judgment
Revelation 14:6-7Revelation 14:6-13Revelation 14:6-7Revelation 14:6-7Revelation 14:6-7
Revelation 14:8Revelation 14:8Revelation 14:8Revelation 14:8
Revelation 14:9-12Revelation 14:9-11Revelation 14:9-11Revelation 14:9-13
Revelation 14:12Revelation 14:12
Revelation 14:13Revelation 14:13Revelation 14:13
Revelation 14:13b
The Harvest of the EarthReaping the Earth's HarvestThe Harvest of the EarthThe Harvest and the Vintage of the Gentiles
Revelation 14:14-16Revelation 14:14-16Revelation 14:14-16Revelation 14:14-16Revelation 14:14-16
Reaping the Grapes of Wrath
Revelation 14:17-20Revelation 14:17-20Revelation 14:17-20Revelation 14:17Revelation 14:17-20
Revelation 14:18-20

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHT TO Revelation 12:1-17

A. Another interlude begins in Revelation 12:1 and continues through Revelation 14:20. Many have asserted that this is really another series of sevens. This literary unit describes the spiritual conflict in dualistic terms among

1. the two kingdoms

2. the two cities

3. the two slain witnesses and their murderers

B. Verses Revelation 14:1-6 describe the ultimate (cosmic) battle between good and evil in mythological terms taken from Ancient Near Eastern cultures (cf. Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral p. 229).

1. Babylonian creation accountTiamat (chaos), a seven headed monster who threw down one third of the stars of heaven, versus Marduk, the chief god of the city of Babylon, who kills her and becomes the head of the pantheon.

2. Egyptian mythSet (Typhon), a red dragon versus Isis (Hathor), giving birth to Horus. He later kills Set.

3. Ugaritic Baal legendYam (waters) versus Ba'al. Ba'al kills Yam.

4. Persian mythAzhi Dabaka (evil dragon) versus son of Ahura Mazda (the high good god).

5. Greek myththe Python (serpent/dragon) versus pregnant Leto (she gives birth to Apollo, who kills Python).

C. It is very difficult to know how to interpret this chapter. Some try to interpret it in historical terms, but it seems to me that it is symbolic of the struggle between the anti-God kingdoms of this age and the new age kingdom of our Christ (cf. Revelation 11:18; Psalms 2:0). Therefore, this is both a historical allusion to the birth of Christ and an emphasis on the coming of the Messianic kingdom. This is a dualism of an individual (Messiah) and a group (the people of God) versus an individual (Satan) and a group (demonically inspired unbelievers). This same dualism is seen in the Servant Songs of Isaiah. The servant is Israel (cf. Isa. 41-50), yet the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 52:13-12).

D. Paul discusses the cosmic lordship of Christ in Colossians 1-2 (also note Hebrews 1:2-3).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the relationship between the 144,000 found in chapters 7 and 14?

2. To what does Mt. Zion refer?

3. Are the qualifications found in Revelation 14:4 a description of a select celibate group or the whole people of God?

4. What is the significance of Revelation 14:6 and 7?

5. Who or what is Babylon?

6. Is hell eternal?

7. Who is the person sitting on the cloud in Revelation 14:14-16 and why?

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:1-5 1Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

Revelation 14:1 "the Lamb" This is a reference to the Messiah (cf. Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:8, Revelation 5:12-13; Revelation 13:8; Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29, John 1:36; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

"standing on Mount Zion" There have been numerous theories identifying this phrase.

1. that it stands for Mt. Moriah and the Temple area in Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 24:23; Joel 2:32)

2. that it stands for heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Hebrews 11:10, Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 12:22-23; Hebrews 13:14; Galatians 4:26)

3. that it is an apocalyptic symbol found in the non-canonical book of II Esdras 2:42-47; 13:35,39-40

4. that it refers to the OT passages which speak of the end-time gathering of the people of God (cf. Psalms 48:0; Isaiah 24:23; Joel 2:32; Micah 4:1, Micah 4:7; Obadiah 1:17, Obadiah 1:21)

5. that the background, like several other passages in this section, is Psalms 2:0, particularly Revelation 14:6.

Remember that commentators relate each of these visions to either

1. the OT passages or Palestinian places

2. intertestamental apocalyptic literature

3. first century Greco-Roman history

For me these visions of OT things beginning with chapter 6, relate to the NT people of God (believing Jews and Gentiles), the saints, the church. In this particular case, it is an allusion to the heavenly temple (cf. Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11, Hebrews 9:24).

"with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand" This is the same group of the redeemed as in Revelation 5:9; of the sealed in Revelation 7:4-8 (see full note at Revelation 7:4); of those washed in the Lamb's blood in Revelation 7:14-17. Therefore, in my opinion, this stands for the NT people of God, the saints, the church. For the full note on the identity of the 144,000, see Revelation 7:4. In the earlier references they were sealed but still persecuted, but here they are victorious!

"having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads" Does this refer to one name or to two? It may refer to the titles of Isaiah 9:6, which relate to both the Father and the Son. These are those who have been sealed and belong to God (cf. Revelation 7:0). See note at Revelation 7:2.

Revelation 14:2 "I heard a voice from heaven, like" These descriptive phrases were used of God's voice in Ezekiel 43:2, of Jesus' voice in Revelation 1:15, and of the heavenly multitudes' voices in Revelation 19:6. Often it is used to denote that the speaker is in heaven (cf. Revelation 4:5; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:8).

Revelation 14:3 "they sang a new song before the throne" This is an allusion to Revelation 5:9. The "they" could refer to (1) the angelic creatures who sing the song in Revelation 5:9 or (2) the song of the one hundred and forty-four thousand in the concluding part of Revelation 14:3 and 15:2. This new song is an allusion to Isaiah 42:10 and possibly Psalms 33:3; Psalms 40:3; Psalms 96:1; Psalms 98:1; Psalms 144:9; Psalms 149:1. The promised new age of the Spirit has come!

"elders" See Special Topic at Revelation 4:4.

"who had been purchased from the earth" This is the OT concept of a near relative purchasing a family member's release (go'el, i.e., Ruth and Boaz). It is used of those for whom Christ died (cf. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:14). See Special Topic: Ransom/Redeem at Revelation 5:9.

Revelation 14:4 "These are the ones who have not been defiled with women" There has been much discussion over this verse because it seems to imply that this is a select, celibate group of males out of the 144,000 of chapter 7. However, I think that these phrases can be explained in symbolic, or at least, in OT terms, and were never meant to be taken literally. The phrase "had not been defiled with women" can be understood in several ways.

1. it refers literally to celibacy

2. it refers to spiritual adultery with the beast or the great whore (cf. Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2; Revelation 18:9)

3. it refers to specific comments made to the seven churches (cf. Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20, Revelation 2:22; Revelation 3:4)

4. it refers to OT ritual purification for worship or battle (cf. Exodus 19:14-15; Deuteronomy 23:9-10; 1 Samuel 21:4-5; 2 Samuel 11:6-13

5. it is simply an allusion to an OT title for the people of God, "the virgin daughter of Zion" (cf. 2 Kings 19:21; Jeremiah 18:13; Lamentations 2:13; Amos 5:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27).

It must be asserted that sexual intercourse between married partners is not an unspiritual activity. Sexuality (marriage) is God's idea, His way of filling the earth, His command (cf. Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1). Celibacy is surely a spiritual gift for ministry (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:0), but it is not a holier state. Greek asceticism is not biblical (neither is pre-marital or extra-marital sexual activity)!

"These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes" This speaks of discipleship and service (cf. John 7:17; John 10:4).

"from among men as first fruits to God" This term was used in the OT to show God's ownership of the entire crop (cf. Exodus 23:19; 34:76). In the NT it refers to the church (cf. Hebrews 12:23; James 1:18), the people of Jesus, who are the first fruits of the resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 1:5).

Revelation 14:5 "no lie was found in their mouth" There are several possible origins for this metaphor:

1. it is related to a similar phrase in Revelation 21:27 and Revelation 22:15

2. it is related to Emperor worship where Christians never yielded to the command of the persecutors to say, "Caesar is Lord"

3. it is symbolic of OT defilement (cf. Psalms 32:2; Zephaniah 3:13)

4. it may be a reference to unbelief as in Romans 1:25; 1 John 2:22

"they are blameless" This is literally "without defect" (cf. Philippians 3:6). Originally it referred to sacrificial animals, but came to be used metaphorically of humans (cf. Noah, Genesis 6:9, Genesis 6:17 and Job, Job 1:1). It is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 9:14 and 1 Peter 1:19. This is another way of referring to a Christlike life. Christlikeness is God's will for His people (cf. Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 18:13; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16).

SPECIAL TOPIC: BLAMELESS, INNOCENT, GUILTLESS, WITHOUT REPROACH

Verses 6-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:6-7 6And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters."

Revelation 14:6 "I saw another angel flying in midheaven" In Revelation 8:13 there is an eagle flying in midheaven, which implies something well visible and able to proclaim to the whole earth.

"having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth" This phrase, "an eternal gospel" is found only here. It is significant that the "gospel" here is for those who live (dwell) on earth and this is used often in Revelation of unbelievers. Some see this as a fulfillment of Matthew 28:18-20 or more specifically, Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10. The content of this gospel is much like the message of John the Baptist (cf. Luke 3:3-14) or Jesus' statement to the evil one in Matthew 4:10. The message of judgment is a significant element in this gospel. Verses Revelation 14:6-7 are significant, for they show us that all of these God-sent judgments on lost mankind are for the purpose of redemption (cf. Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9, Revelation 16:11).

In Revelation 14:12 true believers are characterized as those who (1) keep (i.e., present participle) the commandments of God and (2) keep (i.e., the same present participle) faith in Jesus.

"to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" See note at Revelation 10:11.

Revelation 14:7 "Fear God, and give Him glory" This is an aorist passive (deponent) imperative and an Aorist active imperative. There are three aorist imperatives in Revelation 14:7. Mankind is commanded to respond to God in decisive acts of faith (cf. John 1:12; Romans 10:9-13). In Revelation 11:13 fallen mankind seems to give God glory, but is quickly drawn away by the miracles of the beast in chapter 13 (a similar theology to the Parable of the Soils in Matthew 13:0; Mark 4:0; Luke 8:0).

"because the hour of His judgment has come" The term "hour" is significant in the Gospel of John (cf. John 2:4; John 4:21, John 4:23; John 5:25, John 5:28; John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1; John 16:21, John 16:32; John 17:1). It speaks of the divine timing of a preset event (the Day of the Lord, cf. Revelation 14:5 and 9:15).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HOUR

"worship Him" This is another aorist active imperative which is a decisive command.

"who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters" This is similar to the affirmation found in Acts 14:15, which quotes Genesis 14:19; Exodus 20:11 or Psalms 146:6. God is described as creator as in Job 38-41. The only unusual phrase is "the springs of water," which some see as

1. being connected to the earlier plagues of the angels (cf. Revelation 8:10)

2. in contrast to the undrinkable sea water

Verse 8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:8 8And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality."

Revelation 14:8 "'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great" The verb is not only repeated, but occurs first in the Greek sentence, emphasizing these aorist active indicatives. It is very difficult to interpret the book of the Revelation because concepts are expanded at different places (the beast is briefly mentioned in Revelation 11:7 but not fully discussed until chapter 13). The full discussion of Babylon's fall is found in Revelation 16:19 and Revelation 17:1-24. It stands for Rome (cf. 1 Peter 5:13; II Baruch 11:1; 67:7; Sibylline Oracles 5:143, 159, 424), but ultimately it stands for all human societies organized and functioning apart from God (see Special Topic at chapter 13, E). This human self-sufficiency is a direct result of the fall (cf. Genesis 3:0) and was first expressed in the Tower of Babel (cf. Genesis 10-11). The world empires are becoming more anti-God, which will issue in the ultimate world kingdom of the Antichrist at the end-time (cf. Daniel 2:7-8). This may be an allusion to Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8.

"has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality" The allusion is to Jeremiah 51:7-8 (cf. Revelation 17:2, Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:3). The term "passion" is the Greek term "thumos," which relates to an outburst of emotion (see full note at Revelation 7:14, cf. Revelation 7:17:2, Revelation 7:3; Revelation 18:3). Those who drink Babylon's wine will drink YHWH's wine (cf. Revelation 14:9)!

Verses 9-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:9-12 9Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11"And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." 12Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

Revelation 14:9 "If. . ." This is a first class conditional sentence with two verbs, "worships" and "receives." Some humans, many humans, will commit these idolatrous acts. This is the exact opposite of receiving God's Messiah in Revelation 14:7 and 12. Those who do will experience the wrath of God (cf. Revelation 14:10).

Revelation 14:10 "he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God" Humans have only two spiritual options, God or evil. The Greek term wrath orgç refers to "a settled opposition." See full note at Revelation 7:14. The allusion is to Isaiah 51:17 or Jeremiah 25:15-16 (cf. Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15). Believers must face the wrath of Babylon (cf. Revelation 14:8), but unbelievers will face the wrath of God (cf. Revelation 14:10).

This strange combination of terms (literally "mixed unmixed") means that the wine of God's wrath has been mixed with other elements in order to make it extremely intoxicating, but unmixed as far as being watered down. The term "cup" was often used in the OT for God's judgment (cf. Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 25:15-17, Jeremiah 25:27-29; Psalms 75:8). Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath for all mankind (cf. Mark 14:36). The unbelieving world will not respond to Him by faith, and therefore, they face the cup themselves!

SPECIAL TOPIC: BIBLICAL ATTITUDES TOWARD ALCOHOL AND ALCOHOLISM

"and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone" This is an allusion to God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Genesis 19:24, Genesis 19:28; Luke 17:29; or judgment in general, cf. Psalms 11:6; Isaiah 34:8-11; Ezekiel 38:22). Torment is the ultimate fate of the two beasts (cf. Revelation 19:20), of the evil one (cf. Revelation 20:10), and of unrepentant mankind (cf. Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:8).

Fire (see Special Topic at Revelation 16:8) was an OT metaphor of God's holiness (cf. Numbers 9:15-16, etc.) It was used as a means of cleansing (cf. Leviticus 8:17, Leviticus 8:32; Leviticus 9:11, Leviticus 9:24; Leviticus 13:32, Leviticus 13:55, Leviticus 13:57, etc.) and judgment (cf. Leviticus 10:1-2; Numbers 11:1-3, etc.). This association with judgment was expanded to describe a place of judgment. Jesus used the garbage dump south of Jerusalem in the valley of the sons of Hinnom (Gehenna) as a symbol of eternal punishment (cf. Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14-15).

Revelation 14:11 "the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever" I wish that I could believe in universalism or at least in a second opportunity to respond to the gospel, but according to the Scriptures humans must respond to God's offer in faith (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21) while they live (cf. Hebrews 9:27); if they refuse to respond, the consequences are ultimate and eternal (cf. Mark 9:47-48; Matthew 25:46; John 5:29; Acts 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9). The permanent punishment of the wicked is compared to the transitory suffering of the saints. This is supported in the phrase "they will have no rest day and night," while in Revelation 14:13 the saints do have rest.

This is not an easy subject to discuss. The love of God and His heart for redemption are in contrast to His verdict of eternal punishment. Most of God's judgments in Revelation are for redemption, like the plagues on Egypt and the covenant curses of Deuteronomy 27-29. Yet, God's ultimate rejection is permanent. It is not disciplinary, it is punitive! This is so hard to understand, to emotionally handle. It does accentuate the need for evangelism!

Before I leave this subject let me share with you a thought I have had in this area. As bad as hell is for humankind, it is worse for God. God created humans in His image for fellowship. All of creation is a stage for God to meet and know mankind. God loves all the sons and daughters of Adam (cf. Ezekiel 18:32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). He loves them so much He was willing to send His own Son to die in their place (cf. John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But He has chosen that sinners must respond to Him in trust, faith, repentance, obedience, service, worship, and perseverance. God does not send anyone to Hell, but unbelievers send themselves (cf. John 3:17-21). Hell is an open, bleeding sore in the heart of God that will never be healed! I am not sure God ever has "a good day." Oh, the pain of willful rebellion in the face of sacrificial love!

Revelation 14:12 Perseverance is a major theme throughout the book (cf. Revelation 1:9; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:19, Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 3:21; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 21:7). God's people have been shown to be faithful even in the midst of persecution. See full note and Special Topic at Revelation 2:2.

"saints" See Special Topic at Revelation 5:8.

"who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus" A similar description of believers is found in Revelation 12:17. Notice that the emphasis is on a personal faith relationship with Jesus, followed by a lifestyle of obedience (cf. Revelation 12:17; Luke 6:46).

Mature Christianity consists of

1. a person to welcome (a personal relationship with Christ)

2. truths about that person to believe (doctrinal truths of the NT)

3. a life to live like that person (daily Christlikeness)

All three are required for a mature, healthy, growing faith.

Verse 13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:13 13And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."

Revelation 14:13 "Blessed" This is the second of seven blessings found in the book of the Revelation (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14).

"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord" This refers to the martyrs (as did the 144,000), but the exact time of this death is uncertain. Some commentators relate it to John's day and some relate it to the end-time. Though the time element is uncertain, it is important to know that the death of God's saints is precious in His sight (cf. Psalms 116:15).

Although this group is made up of Christian martyrs, it is best to interpret this as "witnesses" in a more general sense of believers. Not all believers were killed in the first century, not all will be killed in the tribulation of the end-time, but all believers must remain faithful to Christ. This metaphor is inclusive, not exclusive.

"for their deeds follow with them" It is a paradox of Christianity that as believers we are gifted by the Spirit at salvation for effective ministry to and for the body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:11). God calls, equips, and produces eternal fruit through imperfect believers. It is His gift, His Spirit that empowers, but saints receive a reward for their faithfulness, availability, and perseverance (see Special Topic at Revelation 2:10). Believers are not saved by works (self-effort), but they are saved unto good works (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 2:10). God's will for every believer is Christlike service (cf. Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 1:4)!

Verses 14-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:14-16 14Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Revelation 14:14-16 There are two different harvests (cf. IV Ezra 13:10-11) described in Revelation 14:14-16 and 17-19. The first is a grain harvest and the second a grape harvest. If this distinction can be maintained (in Joel 3:13 the two crops are viewed as one judgment), the first refers to the harvest of the righteous (cf. Matthew 9:37-38; Matthew 13:30, Matthew 13:38; Mark 4:26-29; Luke 10:2; John 4:35-38), while the second grape harvest mentioned in Isaiah 63:2-6; Jeremiah 51:33; Lamentations 1:15; Joel 3:13 and Revelation 19:15 refers to the wicked.

Revelation 14:14 "a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head" The same identity problems in chapters 6 and 10 apply to these verses. Is this a description of the divine Messiah (cf. Daniel 7:13) or just another angel serving on His behalf? I think it is another powerful angel, because

1. this is in a series of angels (cf. Revelation 14:15, Revelation 14:17, Revelation 14:18)

2. Matthew 13:39, Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 13:49-50 says that angels will gather and separate people at the end-time (some for blessing and some for judgment)

3. an angel commands him (cf. Revelation 14:15)

Revelation 14:15 This is an allusion to Joel 3:13.

Verses 17-20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 14:17-20 17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." 19So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

Revelation 14:17 "another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven" This refers to the spiritual tabernacle in heaven (cf. Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11, Hebrews 9:23-24).

Revelation 14:18 "who has power over fire" Angels have power over the wind (cf. Revelation 7:1), over fire (cf. Revelation 14:18), and over the water (cf. Revelation 16:5). This reflects rabbinical Judaism's concept of angelic involvement in the natural world. Although the NT does not emphasize this, that does not mean that it is inaccurate (cf. Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 1:14).

Revelation 14:20 "outside the city" Some see this as an allusion to Christ being crucified outside the city (cf. Hebrews 13:12). Others see it as simply an allusion to OT purification laws where the unclean were taken outside the camp (cf. Leviticus 8:17; Leviticus 9:11). However, it may refer to the end-time gathering of the enemies of God around the city of Jerusalem (cf. Psalms 2:2, Psalms 2:6; Daniel 11:45; Joel 3:12-14; Zechariah 14:1-4; and the intertestamental apocalyptic book of I Enoch 53:1). Here again, the problem of what is literal and what is figurative becomes a major interpretive issue!

"the blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles" This will be the result of a huge battle which is described in later chapters, or simply a metaphor coming from the color of grape juice. The real question is whether it is literal or symbolic. Does this describe a battle in time/space or a symbolic cosmic battle of good and evil? The genre leans toward the latter, but Jesus' words of Matthew 24:0: Mark 13:0 and Luke 21:0 lean toward the former.

The exact distance is uncertain. Some say (1) 165 miles; (2) 184 miles; or (3) 200 miles. The exact words are 6,600 furlongs. This is an unusual symbolic number. Some say that it refers to the distance from Dan to Beersheba, which means judgment symbolically covering the entire Holy Land.

The "wine press" is an OT metaphor for judgment (cf. Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 1:15). This is probably because of the similarity between red grape juice and blood. It is also mentioned in Revelation 19:15.

"the wrath of God" See full note at Revelation 7:14.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Revelation 14". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/revelation-14.html. 2021.
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