Sunday, October 20, 2013

Revelation 14 - Voices of the Angels

LINK: Revelation 14 

BACKGROUND


One of the key words for Revelation 14-16 is "voice." It occurs eleven times. God is speaking to His people and to the lost world. Mark this key word. 


The Lamb and 144,000


The 144,000, who are protected by the mark on their forehead, are on Mount Zion with Jesus. Contrast this group marked by God versus the followers of the Beast who have his mark on their forehead (Revelation 13:16). There is debate about whether it is the earthly Mount Zion or the heavenly one described in Hebrews 12:22-24 and where Christ is enthroned today (Psalms 2:6).


The 144,000 are singing a new song before God's throne, the living creatures, and 24 elders (See the Revelation 7 post if you forgot the details about them), but only the 144,000 knew the song. They are pure ("not soiled with fornication and adultery") as opposed to defiled by the world like the people in Revelation 13. This might refer to spiritual purity that is often symbolized by virginity in the Old Testament (2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 37:22; Jeremiah 18:13; 31:4, 21; Lamentations 2:13; Amos 5:2). They have not fallen to the pagan world system and have kept true to Christ (John 17:14-19; Philippians 3:17-21). 


Also, they are called the "firstfruits" which means "persons consecrated to God for all time" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon, G536). See Leviticus 23:9-14; Hebrews 12:23; and James 1:18. It could be they are "firstfruits" because they are those converted Israelites who will precede others who will embrace Christ at His return (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:15, 26-27). They were also "blameless" like the spotless sacrificial animals in Old Testament times. 


Judgment and Harvest


The first three angels announce that judgment is coming and God's wrath will be poured out, so the unfaithful better fear and honor God rather than the Beast! Babylon was often a veiled reference to Rome (and, by extension, all ungodly world powers). Babylon would fall. 


In between the angel judgments on the wicked is a bright and beautiful contrast:  blessings and eternal rest for the faithful (1 Thessalonians 1:3-12)! Some commentators believe this is just for the faithful who are martyred in the Great Tribulation.


John saw one "like a son of man" coming on a white cloud with a crown on His head. This is undoubtedly Jesus (Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:13). Another angel calls out to Jesus to reap the ripe harvest with the sickle in His hand, separating the faithful from the unfaithful. After this another angel with a sickle is commanded by an angel near the fire to harvest the grapes that are ripe. The harvested grapes are thrown into the "winepress of God's wrath" (Isaiah 63:3-6; Lamentations 1:16; Joel 3:12,13). Instead of grape juice resulting from trampling of the grapes, blood flows as high as the horses' bridle for 200 miles (about the north-south length of Palestine).  


No REFLECTION or APPLICATION today


PRAYER


Lord, Your judgment is righteous but hard to take. Please use us in drawing more people to Yourself so that they can escape Your terrible judgment. Thank You that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise and have an inheritance with You. Amen. 
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