Revelation 14 (NRSV)
It is interesting to me that, just as I am posting Revelation and we are reading about the glories of heaven and the majesty of God, my precious father has been called home to Jesus. I thank God for the new song Daddy is now singing to his blessed Redeemer, and for the cross of Christ that opens the door to everlasting life for all who believe.
Chapter 14: An interlude of three visions intended to reassure the church amid trials and persecutions. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible)
The Lamb and the 144,000
The Lamb and those redeemed from the earth.
Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion!
The two beast of chapter 13 come one from the sea and one from the earth. Both occupy low-lying places of the terrain. The Lamb stands upon the mountain. Geographically, John displays the dominance of the Lamb over the beasts.
–Robert H. Conn
And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
In Revelation 7, the 144,000 are seen at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Revelation 14 shows them in triumph at the end of the Great Tribulation.
2 And 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, 3 and 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. 4 It 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, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.
The Messages of the Three Angels
Three angels announce the coming judgment.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 He 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.”
1) Babylon (Rome) is as good as fallen.
8 Then 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.”
2) The beast’s worshipers will face eternal torment.
9 Then 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, 10 they 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. 11 And 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.”
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.
3) The faithful will find rest and blessedness.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.
April 28, 1915 – August 2, 2014
Rest in the arms of Jesus, Daddy.
Ninety-nine years of living is a long time,
and you lived with faith and integrity, honesty and joy.
I love you.
Reaping the Earth’s Harvest
The final judgment of God, involving the in-gathering of saints by one like a son of man and the assembling of the wicked for judgment.
14 Then 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! 15 Another 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.” 16 So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Matthew 13:24-30 (NLT)
Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Then 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.” 19 So 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.
This vivid picture of judgment was the inspiration for The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is trampling out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on!
20 And 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.
HERE is the Robert Shaw Chorale (none better!) and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”