Episode #252. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 14 together. John writes about The Lamb and the 144,000, the proclamation of the three angels, and the reaping of the Earth’s harvest.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #252. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 14 together: John writes about The Lamb and the 144,000; The Proclamation of the Three Angels; and the Reaping of the Earth’s Harvest.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I recently told you that when Mitch and I travel, we attend church wherever we are. In Europe, many times that has been in cathedrals which means it’s usually a Catholic service. We do this so we can be present with other believers. I also explained that we do not take communion because Catholics believe in transubstantiation. They believe that during communion, the bread and the wine become the literal blood and body of Christ.
We’re Baptists. And we believe that the bread and the wine are only symbolic of the body of Christ and His blood shed for our salvation. This is only one of many, many things that divide Christians across the world. These divisions are why there are Catholics and Baptists and Lutherans and Episcopalians and so many other Christian faiths.
Many of the causes of these divisions are what Romans 14 calls disputable matters. They are not necessarily central to our faith. Besides the issue of communion, these matters can include baptism, a preferred version of the Bible, and even whether women can cut their hair. There are so many of these disputable matters that I cannot begin to recount them all.
And then there are undisputable matters, which can be found at the core of the Gospel. These matters cannot be contradicted. There is only one true and living God, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son of God who revealed God in the flesh. He was born of a virgin and lived a perfect, sinless life. He was crucified and died for our sins. He rose again by His own power 3 days later and ascended into heaven. And only through faith in Him can we be saved from the punishment for sin we all deserve. This list is not exhaustive but itemizes some of the most important non-negotiables.
So, when I find myself in a foreign land, in a foreign church, with people who are not Baptists, I can focus on what we have in common and rejoice that people everywhere still call on the name of our Lord to save us from our sins.
Revelation Chapter 14
The Lamb and the 144,000
Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of cascading waters and like the rumbling of loud thunder. The sound I heard was like harpists playing on their harps. They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, since they remained virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were redeemed from humanity as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
The Proclamation of Three Angels
Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth — to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
And another, a second angel, followed, saying, “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen. She made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.”
And another, a third angel, followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured full strength into the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or anyone who receives the mark of its name. This calls for endurance from the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.”
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they will rest from their labors, since their works follow them.”
Reaping the Earth’s Harvest
Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and one like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the temple in heaven. Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the vineyard of the earth, because its grapes have ripened.” So the angel swung his sickle at the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. Then the press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.
This chapter opens with the 144,000 believers standing on Mount Zion with Jesus. These are the same 144,000 Jewish believers who were introduced back in Chapter 7. They have “his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” as a seal indicating they belong to the Lord. The presence of the 144,000 should be a comfort to us because this is an assurance that many Christians will survive the Great Tribulation and the influence of the beast.
The 144,000 are referred to as virgins in this chapter. It is unknown whether they are literal virgins, or if this refers to their general purity. But it is possible they are true virgins. In Matthew 24:19 Jesus speaks of the distress of pregnant women and nursing mothers during the end times. And Paul recommends a life of celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7:25-35, due to the divided focus of marriage. So, it is entirely possible that because of the severity of the end times, it will be beneficial to abstain from sexual relations.
There are three angels introduced in this chapter. One proclaims the gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and people and the second announces that Babylon has fallen. The third proclaims that those who worship the beast and have his mark on their hand or forehead will be subject to the wrath of God, forever and ever. As I said yesterday, I honestly believe there will be an obvious connection between taking this mark and worshipping the beast. It will be a conscious decision to accept the mark, and by doing so, we will be turning our back on Jesus Christ.
Verse 14 tell us, Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and one like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. The true believers are separated out from those who are not, and those who are not believers are thrown into the winepress of God and trampled under His feet until their “…blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.” This separation of the faithful from the unbelievers is very similar to the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares that was told to the disciples by Jesus in Matthew 13. It will be an awful thing to be subject to the wrath of God for all eternity. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, what an awful and wonderful time this will be. Yes, we long for Your return and desire to spend all eternity with you. But first there will be trials that test our faith in You. I pray that we will have the wisdom and strength to resist the temptations of Satan and his minions in those days. I pray that we will serve as good and faithful witnesses to others. Help us to persevere until the end, Lord. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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