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The Resulting Scene In Earth And Heaven
The 144,000 on Mount Zion
In Rev_14:1-20 and Rev_15:1-8 various other details of the world scene in heaven and earth are introduced in preparation for the final series of seven bowl judgments in Rev_16:1-21 and the judgments in chapters 17-18.
First, another view is given of the 144,000 who were standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb. It is reasonable to conclude that this is the same group mentioned in Rev_7:4-8, except that here they are in a later period of the Tribulation. Chronologically the vision anticipates the triumph of the 144,000 still intact at the time of Jesus Christ’s return from heaven to earth. In contrast with many others who become martyrs, these people live through the period. But they are not the only ones to survive, as many Gentiles and Jews will turn to Christ in the end time and somehow escape martyrdom and be honored to welcome Christ at His return.
Again the scene in heaven is dramatic with a loud noise similar to rushing waters… thunder, and harpists (cf. “thunder” in Rev_4:5; Rev_6:1; Rev_8:5; Rev_11:19; Rev_16:18; Rev_19:6).
John wrote, And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. These singers were apparently a heavenly group. They could be the multitude in white robes mentioned in Rev_7:9-17. But there is no justification here for symbolizing Mount Zion as heaven. It is better to take the chorus as the 144,000 (cf. Rev_14:1) who had not yet died and would still be on earth at the literal Mount Zion.
Reference to the purity of the 144,000 could be recognition that during the difficult times of the Tribulation they could not have led normal married lives. Or it may refer to spiritual purity, often symbolized by virginity (cf. 2Ki_19:21; Isa_37:22; Jer_18:13; Jer_31:4, Jer_31:21; Lam_2:13; Amo_5:2). In 2Co_11:2 the concept of virginity is extended to the entire church, including both sexes.
Some people believe that the 144,000 will be evangelists in the Great Tribulation. But there is no indication that the 144,000 were preachers or prophets; their testimony was largely from their moral purity and the fact that they were not martyred like many others. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. John further stated, They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The word “firstfruits” suggests that these converted Israelites precede many others who at the Lord’s second coming will turn to Him (Zec_12:10; Rom_11:15, Rom_11:26-27). They were also described as blameless (amōmoi, a word used of sacrificial animals without defect) and as those who, living in a period of great satanic deception, were free from lying. The passage as a whole is a prophetic foreview of the triumph of the 144,000 when Christ returns.
The message of the three angels
John was then given a vision of an angel carrying a message called the eternal gospel. The angel was commissioned to bring his message to every group of people on the earth. Because of the word “gospel,” some have felt that this was a message of salvation or the good news of the coming kingdom. The context, however, seems to indicate otherwise, for the message is one of judgment and condemnation. The angel announced, Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. So the “eternal” message seems to be a message of God’s righteousness and judgment rather than a message of salvation.
The first angel was followed by a second angel who announced that Babylon the Great, which intoxicated others (the nations of the world) with her adulteries, has fallen.
A third angel followed with another judgment that worshipers of the beast and his image who receive his mark will be objects of God’s wrath and will be destined for eternal torment along with Satan, the demon world, and all unsaved people. The everlasting character of this judgment is stated plainly in Rev_14:11 : The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever, and they will have no rest. Those who keep God’s commandments and are faithful to Him will need patient endurance (Rev_14:12; cf. Rev_13:10). The doctrine of eternal punishment, though unpopular with liberal scholars and difficult to accept, is nevertheless clearly taught in the Bible. Jesus and the Apostle John say more on this subject than does all the rest of the Bible. Here is the patience of the saints - Here the faith of the true Christians shall be proved; they will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, they keep the commandments of God, and are steadfast in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes ἡ ὑπομονη, patience or perseverance, is taken for the reward of these virtues; the text therefore may be thus understood: Here is the reward of the perseverance of the true Christians; for although they die for the testimony of Jesus, yet they shall be unutterably blessed.
The blessing of the faithful saints
After the solemn pronouncement of the third angel John heard a voice from heaven commanding him, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. To this the Holy Spirit added the promise, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.
This passage is often quoted in regard to God’s general blessings on all Christians, but the context indicates that the blessing is especially for those who die in the Great Tribulation. For them it is a blessed release from persecution, torture, and trial and a deliverance into the glorious presence of the Lord.
The messages of the second group of three angels (Rev_14:14-20)
John in his vision next saw seated on a white cloud one like a Son of Man wearing a crown of gold and holding a sharp sickle. Though some have identified “a Son of Man” as an angel, it is more probable that it is Christ Himself who is frequently called “the Son of Man” (cf. Rev_1:13). In the Book of Matthew alone this title is ascribed to Christ more than 25 times (Mat_8:20; Mat_9:6; Mat_11:19; Mat_12:8, Mat_12:32; Mat_13:41; etc.). The sickle in His hand suggests judgment. And this is supported by the messages of the three angels (Rev_14:15-20).
An angel called out to Christ to reap, because the harvest of the earth is ripe. The ripeness is in the sense of withered or overripe (exēranthē). What follows is judgment as the sickle is swung… over the earth.
Another angel had a sharp sickle, and a fellow angel commanded him to gather… clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe. Here a different word is used for ripe (ēkmasan), meaning “to be fully grown” or “in prime condition.” The grapes were full of juice and ready for harvest. In obedience the angel gathered the grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled there outside the city, probably Jerusalem (cf. “the great city” in Rev_11:8).
The custom was to produce grape juice by trampling on grapes in a winepress. The result here, however, is different. Blood flowed out of the press rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia, about 180 miles. While this distance may be literal and may designate the area of judgment as around the city of Jerusalem, it is of course impossible for the blood to reach a height where it would touch horses’ bridles. What this affirms is a tremendous bloodletting in which blood is spattered as high as the bridles of horses. This is a graphic picture of a great slaughter (Isa_63:1-3). Other Scriptures (e.g., Rev_16:14; Dan_11:40-45) make it clear that there will be a world war of tremendous scope underway at the time of the second coming of Christ, and this may be a partial fulfillment of these prophecies.
Taken as a whole, Rev_14:1-20 on the one hand refers to the preservation of the 144,000 through the Great Tribulation. And on the other hand it graphically declares some of the terrible judgments that will be inflicted on the world which rejects Christ and follows Satan’s substitute for the Lord.
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I have only one thing to do and that's
Be the wave that I am and then
Sink back into the ocean