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 must have encouraged John. They had the Lamb’s and Father’s name written on their foreheads. Mount Zion is the city of the great King (Psalms 48:2). Some scholars suggest that 144,000 represent the total number of the redeemed people of God (Revelation 21:22). There will be a vast crowd of redeemed people from the gentile nations (Revelation 7:9). They sang the new song of redemption and it was like the roaring of a great waterfall or like the rolling of mighty 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 (Revelation 4, 5). Redemption of the soul is precious and only God can save us. Those who are saved have kept themselves as pure virgin and follow 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 by the blood of the Lamb. They are redeemed to remain pure and to have undivided devotion to Christ. Many scholars 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; Galatians 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. The 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 has fallen, that great city has fallen because she made all nations of the world drink the wine of her passion for her sexual immorality” (14:8). The last days are going to be spiritually very dark, people will become increasingly immoral, proud and disobedient. The demons will not be the only ones at work, the angels of God will proclaim the everlasting gospel to make sure that everyone is aware of the upcoming judgment of God. This judgment is explained in chapter 17 and 18. Babylon represents the apostate 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 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 reject such great salvation (Hebrews 2:3). The believers are encouraged to endure persecution patiently by remaining faithful to Christ. John heard a voice from heaven saying “Write blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and 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 (Hebrews 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.
Then John saw one who looked like a man seated on the white. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. He was someone like the Son of Man. These are the few graphic scenes that portray the magnitude of 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 that 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 (Matthew 13:39;24;25; Joel 3:13). 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 (Revelation 19:17-19). Wrath is God’s settled attitude toward sin. Man’s wickedness has fully developed for judgment. This judgment will be so severe that the blood will flow as long and as high as a horse’s bridle for about 180 miles (Revelation 14:20). This is the wrath sinners deserved. Christ endured this wrath on the cross for our sake. Those who trust in Christ have escaped from this wrath to come (Romans 8:1-3). So believers can take heart that God will have ultimate victory (Romans 8:1). The judgment of sin is a dead serious matter. In the end, every sin must be paid for in blood either by our own or by Christ's. So turn away from sin and trust in Christ quickly to escape from the coming judgment.