A Commentary on Revelation Chapter 14
INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION CHAPTER 15
Here we have a resplendent scene, 144,000 have their Father’s name on their foreheads. In the previous chapter those who followed the beast had his mark on their forehead. The 144,000 are seen as singing a new song. “On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood! They hymned their King in strains divine; I heard the song, and strove to join, I heard the song, and strove to join. Here all who suffered sword or flame for truth, or Jesus’ lovely name, shout victory now and hail the Lamb, and bow before the great I AM, While everlasting ages roll eternal love shall feast their soul, and scenes of bliss, forever new, rise in succession to their view.” The scene changes and we see an Angel flying in mid-heaven with the everlasting gospel to preach to all the world. While the dark ages was in progress the everlasting gospel was hidden from the people now the reformation and restoration have come and the reformers are preaching the gospel to all humanity, “Fear God and give Him glory.” No longer did men have to fear the Pope. He had been locked up in exile.
Following the announcement that the gospel has been preached again to all the world by the reformers, comes the second announcement: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,” (better known to us as Church and State). The Pope had lost the 10 kingdoms of Europe. Hallelujah! She had made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Now God says that his judgments have come. The imagery is awesome. All who have the mark of the beast must suffer its doom. All who have a part with the religion of Catholicism will be doomed. God says “come out of her my people.”
EXPOSITION ON REVELATION CHAPTER 15
1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
The lamb has been identified as Christ in an earlier chapter:
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. Rev 5:6
In a loud voice they sang:
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! Rev. 5:12,13
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Rev. 22:1
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” John 1:36
“but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” I Pet. 1:19
“Standing on Mount Zion” is typical of the church:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, Heb. 12:22
But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. Gal. 4:26
2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
As the voice of many waters (Rhythm). As the voice of a great thunder (Volume). As the voice of harpers playing their harps (Melody).
3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
See comments about the four living creatures in chapter 4:6,7. See comments about the 144,000 in chapter 7:4. With the 1260 years of struggle between the saints and Catholicism, the saints needed encouragement; without it they would faint and not endure through the great tribulation period. None could learn the song but the redeemed. None but the redeemed can fully appreciate the joys of salvation.
4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No’, they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matt. 25:1-13
“If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers–would you now return to me?” declares the Lord. “Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad [Or an Arab] in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame. Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.
During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense, declares the Lord.” Jer. 3:1-10
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 2 Cor. 11:2
The 144,000 had not followed “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS.”
5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
No deceit. No fraud. No hypocrisy. No guile. No treachery. No craftiness.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people.
The everlasting gospel was first preached on the day of Pentecost.
He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46,47
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
Jesus said this gospel was to be preached till the end of the world.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in [Or into; see Acts 8:16; 19:5; Romans 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2 and Gal. 3:27] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:19,20
After the long period of the dark ages, when the gospel was obscured and hidden in dead languages, and the church refused to give it to the common people; the spell of Rome was broken and the mighty Reformation occurred. This gave way to liberty and the gospel spread as though it had angels’ wings. This long night of religious slavery had ended. The glorious freedom of the gospel had finally arrived. All nations would soon have the Word of God again. Hallelujah!
7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Catholic power was broken. During this period they had given glory to the beast. They had said “Who is able to make war with her” All nations had drank of the wine of her fornication. Its different now. You and I can thank God for the greatest movement, since Pentecost, that occurred in this world, the mighty Reformation.
8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
Literal Babylon took Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, removed the vessels and put the people in bondage for seventy years. The papal hierarchy through its perversion of the church took away the true worship and put the people in spiritual bondage for 1260 years. The reformers ended the bondage but did not destroy the papal system any more than freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage destroyed Egypt. Wine of her adulteries:
Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad. JER 51:7
Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger. ISA 51:17
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,
In chapter 13:15,16 we learned that worship was given to the beast and that the beast had a number which was 666.
10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
We are repeatedly told that all who are associated and affiliated with the Catholic church will suffer for her crimes. Fornication is typical of false doctrine, idolatrous practices, heathen rites and observances–which leads to confusion and rebellion against God. Remember when God pours out his wrath without mixture (KG) it will be undiluted or in other words full strength.
11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
cf. Sodom in Gen. 19:28. The destruction of the wicked often fall under this image.
12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Nothing but the strongest faith can meet such tests.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
You can’t die in a state or relationship that you did not sustain in this life. If you are a friend of Jesus in this life, you will be his friend in death.
14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” [Daniel 7:13] with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
This reaping is not the end of the world! It is the reaping of Babylon. Her harvest of sin was ripe and God is going to cut her down and tread her in his wine press of wrath. This could hardly be the end of the world for we still have chapters l5 through 22.
15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”
The great day of accounting has come for spiritual Babylon just as it had come for literal Babylon in the Old Testament.
16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
In the next chapter we will see how God meets out his wrath on spiritual BABYLON.
17. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.
All the reaping is not done by the Lord himself. In this instance he employs an Angel, and in the following verse still yet another angel.
18. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.”
The whole episode it likened to reaping ripe grapes. A cluster of grapes must be harvested when they are fully ripe. Harvest does not begin until they are ripe, nor does it wait until after they are ripe. The whole analogy of the vineyard is to liken spiritual Babylon to a vineyard of grapes that are to be harvested. These are grapes of wrath.
19. The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.
A winepress was a vat for treading out the juice from grapes. This is therefore a symbol of God tromping and stomping the wicked. “Vengeance is mine. I will repay,” says the Lord. After 1260 long years of the sins of the Catholic Church, God began to tread her in his winepress of wrath.
20. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. [That is, about 180 miles (about 300 kilometers)]
Winepresses were generally built outside the city and a person hopped into the press barefooted and began to tread out the grapes.
Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save. Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground. Isa. 63:1-6
Edom was a bitter enemy of Israel. Isaiah represents Jehovah as a warrior with bloodstained garments. Edoms destruction was to be utter–overwhelming–absolute.
The wicked of this chapter will in a similar manner be trodden under the foot of Jehovah. The winepress is represented as overflowing with blood as high as horses bridles and 180 miles long.