Revelation 14

Revelation 14 … More judgments will come in Chapter 16, but here we’re still gaining perspective on end-time events. The first vision that comes is of the 144,000 Tribulation witnesses. They were previously mentioned in Revelation 7:3-8, as bond-servants of God who were “sealed,” which is a scriptural term for ownership. Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30 indicate that believers in the Church are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, imparting a sense of God’s eternal protection and preservation. The 144,000 sing a new song; we’re not given the content of it, but can speculate that it concerns God’s powerful salvation during the terrible days of the Tribulation.

Verse 14:4 is a strange comment about the sexual purity of these witnesses. I don’t like to avoid controversial passages in Scripture, so I’ll give you my take it. The teaching of the Scripture concerning sex in marriage is that it’s pure and holy (Ephesians 5:22-33 and Hebrews 13:4), so this cannot refer to marriage. Apart from marriage, it’s certainly true that men corrupt women and that women corrupt men, and that’s the context I sense belongs to Revelation 14:4.

Then, we have three more angels flying by in “mid-heaven” or “mid-air,” which would indicate angels visibly flying through the skies of earth. The first brings the Gospel message, indicating that even during the Tribulation, God will find a way to bring the Gospel message of salvation in Christ to the lost. The second angel (v.8) has a reference to the demise of Babylon, which here is a euphemism for a corrupt religious or political system. The third angel brings a condemnation of all those who submitted to the “666” mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17), which is an indicator that compromise with evil is unacceptable, even in the most dire circumstances. In contrast to that, those who persevere in their faith in Christ Jesus are greatly blessed and their record of faithfulness is preserved for eternity (v.13). Finally, in this explanatory interlude, there is a description of end-time judgment, pictured here as reaping. Julia Ward Howe borrowed from this passage (v.20) when she wrote, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored …” She wrote that after visiting Civil War encampments outside Washington, D.C. in 1861, obviously drawing on a well-developed knowledge of the book of Revelation.

Leave a Reply

By commenting, you agree to our Code of Conduct.