Revelation - Chapter 14
The Lamb and the 144,000: 14:1-7.
In the midst of the darkest period of the tribulation John was given the vision of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) standing on Mount Zion with 144000, worshiping God in heaven. This vision encourages John. They had the Lamb’s and Father’s name written on their foreheads. Mount Zion is the city of the great King and God rules from there (Psalms 48:2). Some scholars suggest that 144,000 represent the total redeemed people of God (Rev 21:22). There will be a vast crowd of redeemed people from the gentile nations (Rev 7:9). They sing the new song of redemption and it was like roaring of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice John heard was like the sound of harpists playing their harps together. Those who experienced the gracious salvation of the Lamb always respond to it by praising God for it (Rev 4, 5). Redemption of soul is precious and only God can save us. They have kept themselves as pure virgin and followed the Lamb wherever He goes. It is a figurative expression of their devotion to the Lamb. They do not engage in spiritual adultery with the world (James 4:4). They have been redeemed from the earth as the first fruits for God and the Lamb. They are blameless. We are redeemed to remain pure and to have undivided devotion to Christ with whom we have been engaged (2 Cor 11:2, 3). Many godly Christians suggest that this is the picture of the church. Christ is able to keep us blameless and present us before God with exceeding joy (Ephesians 5:27; Jude 24). John saw another angel flying through the sky proclaiming the eternal gospel to all people. “Fear not, give glory to him for the hour of judgment has come and worship him who made everything” (14:7). Gospel is the good news. God is good and His judgment is righteous (John 3:16; Gal 1:7, 8). He will not allow evil to go unpunished forever. The angel preaches the good news that God is going to judge the world in absolute righteousness. Th angel says "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of judgment has come" (14:7). The appropriate response to salvation is worship.
The Prophecy about the Destruction of Babylon: 14:8-13.
A second angel appears to announce the fall of the great city of Babylon. “Babylon is fallen, that great city is fallen because she made all nations of the world to drink the wine of her passion of her sexual immorality” (14:8). This is explained in chapter 17 and 18. Babylon represents the apostate religion and church. Then John sees a third angel predicting the doom of those who worship the beast. They will be judged with fire and brimstone. This speaks of the intensity of their torment. There will be no relief for their suffering. Only in Christ we can find rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). In the past there God has shown mercy in wrath (Habakkuk 3:2). Christ endured the wrath of God for our sins on the Cross (Rom 8:3). Nobody can escape from God’s wrath if they neglect so great salvation (Heb 2:3). Here believers are commanded to endure persecution patiently by remaining faithful to Christ. John heard a voice from heaven saying “Write this down, blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their labors; for their deeds follow them” (14:13). Believers who die as martyrs during this period are called blessed. They suffer and die under Antichrist. They will be rewarded for their faithful works. Our God is not unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love (Heb 6:10). They deserve rest from their hard labor. Those who oppose Christ have no rest (Isaiah 57:21). John was encouraged by the fact that the ultimate victory belongs to our God.
The Harvest of the Earth: 14:14-20.
John saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. These are the few graphic scenes that portray the magnitude of our offense against God and the coming judgment. Here Christ has a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. This is the victor’s crown. John hears the angel saying the harvest is ready (14:15). The sharp sickle is the picture of judgment. The great harvest is about to begin. Our Lord spoke of this harvest in Matthew 13:24-43. This harvest is the picture of coming judgment. The harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are the angels (Mat 13:39; Joel 3:13; Mat 24; 25). The grapes of vines are fully ripe for harvest. This speaks of the judgment of false religions. The wine press of the wrath of God may be a reference to the battle of Armageddon (Rev 19:17-19). Man’s wickedness has fully developed for judgment. This judgment will be so severe that the blood will flow as deep as a horse’s bridle for about 180 miles (Rev 14:20). This is the wrath we deserved once. Christ endured this wrath on the cross for our sake. Those who trust in Christ have escaped from the wrath to come (Rom 8:1-3). So believers can take heart that God will have ultimate victory (Rom 8:1). The judgment of sin is a dead serious matter. So turn away from sin and trust in Christ quickly to escape from the coming judgment.