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Revelation 14 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 14 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
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Revelation 14 KJV
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
14:1-5 The 114,000: In contrast to the distressing scenes of the last chapter, the triumph of those who gain the victory over the beast and its image is now brought to view.
In chapter 7 this same group of 144,000 received the seal of God in their foreheads. Revelation 7:3, 4. They have the Father’s name written in their minds and hearts showing that they are His people who reflect His character of love.
They sing a “new song” that no one else can learn. This group gains the victory over the beasts and his mark. As the “redeemed from the earth,” they are alive to witness the second coming of Jesus, and will never experience death. They have a unique experience that no one else has ever had. They are said to be “virgins,” “not defiled with women.” This means that they have not accepted the doctrines of the corrupt and apostate churches. See also Revelation 15:2-8.
6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
14:6-7 The Three Angels’ Messages: The three angels brought to view in this next section have messages of utmost importance for the world. They are God’s last call to the world before Christ comes as portrayed in verse 14.
The First Angel’s Message: This angel has the “everlasting gospel” to preach “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” The attacks of Satan had so weakened God’s true church that to all appearances the gospel commission, to take the good news to the whole world (Matthew 28:19-20), could ever be fulfilled; but God’s purposes will go forward to completion. In the early 1800s God worked through faithful men to create a mighty advancement in spiritual fervor. This hastened the good news of the gospel forward by leaps and bounds throughout the world. Christ prophesied that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all world…and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14.
The gospel is the good news of salvation by grace, through Christ’s sacrificial life, death and resurrection. John 3:16-17; Romans 1:3-5; 3:23-24. But notice what this angel says under the heading of the gospel: “Fear God,” “Give glory to Him,” “The hour of His judgment is come,” and “Worship Him” as the Creator. To “fear God” is to depart from evil and reverence Him. Exodus 20:20; Proverbs 3:7; 14:16, 27; 16:6.
God’s glory is the perfection of His character expressed in His wonderful goodness and wisdom, in His matchless love, justice and power. Exodus 22:18-19; 34:5-6. We “give glory to God” when we worship Him, show Him respect and demonstrate faith in Him. We glorify Him when our lives represent His character through our love for others, and our obedience to His commandments. 1 Corinthians 10:31; 6:18-20; Matthew 5:16; Romans 4:20.
This is the judgment that was described in Daniel 7:9-10. The purpose of the judgment is to vindicate God’s people and condemn the powers that are persecuting them. It is often called the pre-advent judgment, in which the books of record are investigated, to determine the fate of each professed believer in God. In the 1820s Godly men around the world began preaching the message, “The hour of His judgment is come,” applying it to the second coming of Christ, and setting the time around 1844. God’s hand was in the movement, and by 1844 the message had been taken to a significant portion of the world. In America, William Miller advanced this message to a point of great prominence. However, the appointed time came and Jesus did not come and deliver His people. These earnest Christians suffered a terrible disappointment similar to what Jesus’ disciples suffered when their hopes for an earthly kingdom ended with the death of their Master on the cross. The advent believers soon discovered their mistake; they found that the cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary, which began in 1844, announced the beginning of the Pre-advent Judgment, not the second coming of Christ.
The angel bids mankind the “worship” God as the Creator of all things. Contrasts this with the warning against worshiping the beast and his image in the third angel’s message (vss. 9-11). The first four commandments of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:3-11) are at issue here. The beast’s demand for worship is a violation of the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3. Worshiping an image (vss. 9, 11) is a violation of the second commandment against the worship of images. Exodus 20:4-5. The first angel specifically cites the Sabbath commandments “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea.” Exodus 20:8-11. Thus the command of worship God applies to keeping the first our commandments, especially the Sabbath command, which is a memorial of creation. Exodus 20:4-11.
8And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
14:8 The Second Angel’s Message: Because God mixed up the people’s language at the tower of Babel, the term “Babylon” has come to mean confusion. See Genesis 11:1-9. The ancient kingdom of Babylon took God’s people captive and has long been recognized as the enemy of God’s truth and of His people. Jeremiah 50-51. God uses the term here as reference to the doctrinal confusion in the modern churches. The announcement that “Babylon is fallen” refers to their departure from Bible truth. This message was first preached in the summer of 1844 to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgement had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. In a larger sense, “Babylon” encompasses all the system of false religion in the world. Revelation 17:4, 5; 18:2.
9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
14:9-11 The Third Angel's Message: The third angel gives a fearful warning to those who “worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.” See notes on Revelation 13:15-17 and 14:6-7 for the nature of this mark. Those who drink the wine of Babylon’s impure doctrines will “drink the wine of the wrath of God.” This will be fulfilled both in the seven last plagues (Revelation 16:1-2) and in the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10, 15.
12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
14:12-13 In contrast to those who receive the mark of the beast, God’s people have been sealed with His mark. Revelation 7:2-3. They have remained obedient to God in spite of spiritual deceptions, economic coercion and a death decree. Revelation 13:15-17. They are commended for two crucial characteristics that have enabled them to persevere: keeping “the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This combination is the secret to a successful Christian experience. We are saved by faith in the grace of Jesus (Ephesians 2: 8-9); then, because we love Him, we desire Christ working in us. Deuteronomy 30:16; Luke 10:25-28; James 2:17-26. Faith and obedience go hand in hand to develop Christians who remain faithful even under the threat of torture and death.
14And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
14:14-20 The Harvest of the Earth: In these verses is depicted the conclusion of the great controversy, “the harvest of the earth.” In Matthew 13 Jesus says the righteous and the wicked will grow together until the end of the world, and then they will be harvested and receive their reward. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; Revelation 22:12. The King of Kings has received His kingdom, and now He is coming to take possession. At the first advent Christ sowed the seeds of gospel to take possession. At the first advent Christ sowed the seeds of gospel truth; at His second advent He reaps the harvest, and gathers the fruits of His labors.
“All the tribes of the earth…shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30-31.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
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