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The Revelation to John: Chapter 14

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1Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty‐four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty‐four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. 4It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.

6Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live b Gk sit on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

8Then another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

9Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, 10they will also drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

12Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of a Or to their faith in Jesus.

13And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”

14Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! 15Another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for a distance of about two hundred miles. b Gk one thousand six hundred stadia

Notes:

b Gk sit

a Or to their faith in

b Gk one thousand six hundred stadia

Text Commentary view alone

14.1–20 : A series of three visions

intended to reassure the faithful of ultimate victory and vindication.

1–5 :

The Lamb and those redeemed from the earth; as in 7.4 , the one hundred forty‐four thousand is a symbolic expression.

1 :

Mount Zion, Jerusalem, the center of God's eschatological reign (Heb 12.22 ). Written on their foreheads, 7.3n.; 22.4 .

2 :

Many waters, see 1.15n.

3 :

They, the one hundred forty‐four thousand. New song, 5.8–10. Throne, 4.2n. Four living creatures, 4.6n.

4 :

They are virgins, a characterization of the 144,000 that should be understood metaphorically in terms of the sexual abstinence required before contact with the divine (Ex 19.15; Deut 23.10–14 ) and of warriors before battle (1 Sam 21.5; 2 Sam 11.9–13 ). These follow the Lamb, who is their shepherd ( 7.17 ). First fruits, Ex 23.19 . No lie, cf. Zeph 3.13 .

6–13 :

Three angels announce the coming judgment.

6 :

Flying in midheaven, 8.13 . Eternal gospel, the message or proclamation that follows in v. 7 , an announcement that God's judgment is imminent.

7 :

Fear God, 15.4; Deut 10.12–15 . Judgment, 16.7; 18.10; 19.2 . Worship acknowledges God's cosmic sovereignty as Creator.

8 :

Fallen, fallen is Babylon (Isa 21.9 ) the great (Dan 4.30 ), an anticipation of 18.2 . Babylon is a symbolic name for Rome (2 Esd 3.1–2 ). The association of the two is based on the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BCE and by Rome in 70 CE. The wine of the wrath, 18.3; Jer 51.7 .

9–11 :

The sentence pronounced against those who worship the beast will be worse than what is suffered by those who do not worship it or bear its mark ( 13.15–17 ).

10 :

Wine of God's wrath, Jer 25.15–16; 51.7 . Unmixed, not diluted and therefore more potent (see 3 Macc 5.2 ). Wine was mixed with water before being drunk. Fire and sulfur ( 19.20; 20.10; 21.8 ) are instruments of divine punishment (Gen 19.24; Ps 11.6; Ezek 38.22 ). Holy angels, Mk 8.38

11 :

Smoke, 18.9,18; 19.3 .

12 :

An exhortation to perseverance addressed to those against whom the dragon goes to make war in 12.17 .

13 :

Blessed, see 1.3n. A promise assured by the Spirit. Their deeds, 2.2,19; 3.1–2.15 .

14–20 :

The eschatologcal harvest, the final judgment of God (Joel 3.13 ), involves the ingathering of the saints by one like the Son of Man (vv. 14–16 ) and the assembling of the wicked for destruction (vv. 17–20; Isa 63.1–6 ).

14 :

White cloud … Son of Man, Dan 7.13; Mt 24.30; Mk 14.62 .

15–16 :

A grain harvest.

18–20 :

A vintage scene.

20 :

Metaphorically, wine is frequently associated with blood (Gen 49.11; Deut 32.14; Sir 39.26; 1 Macc 6.34 ). Here the enormous quantity of blood suggests the vast extent of the divine judgment (cf. Isa 63.3–6 ). Mention of the horse's bridle here foreshadows the combat in 19.11–21 .

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