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Revelation
Chapter Fourteen

Commentary by Tom Brown

 

14 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.

144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. If the name of the beast written of people’s foreheads is literally a computer chip, then does Jesus have his own money system? It becomes transparent that Jesus is really telling us that no matter what compromises the world offers us to make more money, don’t do it, because Jesus promises to take care of us.

2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.

playing their harps. A picture of great joy.

3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

who had been redeemed from the earth. We are the redeemed, so another clear reference showing the 144,000 to be us.

4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

offered as firstfruits. James 1:18 says that “we might be a kind of first-fruits.” It is becoming clearer and clearer that the 144,000 are born again believers, not literally celibate, Jewish men living during the tribulation.

5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

 

6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth — to every nation, tribe, language and people.

he had the eternal gospel to proclaim. This is one of the primary messages of Revelation—that the gospel must be preached to the whole world.

7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

 

8 A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."

"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great. A prediction of the fall of Rome. Once Rome came under Christian control, the gospel was advance very quickly.

9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,

 

10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

From a theological perspective a person cannot lose their soul simply by having a chip under their skin or having a particular credit card. So the receiving of the mark of the beast is a picture of someone trusting in money rather than in God, and Jesus said, “It is hard for those who trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God.”

11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

 

12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

See notes on 13:10.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."

"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Death is simply passage from this world into a better world. Those who teach soul sleep are wrong. There is no blessing in soul sleep.

14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" a with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

sharp sickle in his hand. There are two sickles: one in the Lord’s hand and another in an angel’s hand. When Jesus was on earth, he witnessed to a Samaritan woman to bring her to salvation, and later he told the disciples that the harvest is ripe. This is a picture of Jesus winning people to himself.

15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."

harvest of the earth is ripe. Jesus once said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields. The harvest is ripe.” (Jn 4:35).

16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

he who was seated on the cloud. The Lord.

17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.

he too had a sharp sickle. This is not the winning of people to Christ but the bringing to judgment of those who rejected Christ. See the parable of the weeds (Matt 13:37-39). Angels are the harvesters of the judgment of God, while Christ is the harvester of the grace of God.

18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe."

 

19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath.

threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. One either gets saved by Christ while on this earth, or they face judgment after their life on earth.

20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. b 

1,600 stadia. Approximately the length of Palestine. Probably showing that judgment equals one’s rejection of the Savior from Palestine.

Previous  Chapter Fifteen

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