17/06/18 Revelation 14:1-12 “The end is nigh!”
Timewise, this passage today appears to be associated with the fall of Babylon in Revelation 16:19, which places it just before the second coming of Christ. The final events are being orchestrated, and everything seems to be getting ready for the triumphant return of the Messiah to Jerusalem to fight for His people, Israel.
Revelation 14:1 – And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
name – name, proper names; the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc
In this sense here, it is the Father’s name written as a sign or mark of ownership, a contrast with the mark of ownership by the beast in the previous verses (Revelation 13:16-18).
In a way this chapter is a contrast between this and the fall of Babylon, the saints of God and the cursed of Babylon! Mount Zion here is the heavenly mount, associated with the heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22 – But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
This is a picture of the fellowship (the “togetherness”) of the Lamb with His 144,000 sealed (see Revelation 7:1-8), a statement of solidarity, of power and authority that will not back down, a challenge to the devil who has so little time left by now. These are the opponents facing each other before the final battle.
Revelation 14:2 – And I heard a voice from heaven (or out of the heaven), as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
harpers, harping, harps – kitharodos, kitharizo, kithara
John hears a voice (or the sound) out of heaven like many waters (much waters; perhaps like a mighty waterfall) and like the sound of a great rolling clap of thunder. Added to this are harpers playing on their harps. It seems that these harps must have been drowned out by the other sounds, but John apparently was able to hear these harps, perhaps due to quantity rather than loudness of each harp. There are many examples of thunder being used as such in Revelation 4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 10:3; 10:4; 11:19; 14:2; 16:18; 19:6. It appears to be a symbol of immense power and authority each time it is used.
Singing and music (such as this) always seem to symbolise praise and worship of God, especially in Revelation. And I don’t think the unredeemed do much singing at all in this final 7-year countdown to Armageddon!
Revelation 14:3 – And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts (living creatures), and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
new – new as respects form: recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn; new as respects substance: of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of.
new song – also see Revelation 5:9. Note “they sing the song of Moses” in Revelation 15:3. It’s interesting to note that apparently this new song could only be sung by these 144,000 (see Revelation 7:4). It is sung in worship of God on His throne, and even the 4 living creatures and the elders are an audience here. That these 144,000 are now in heaven suggests that they have been somehow taken to heaven, whether through death or otherwise. Possibly they have been gathered together in preparation for the triumphant return of the Messiah to fight for His people at Armageddon.
Isaiah 51:11 – Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy [shall be] upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; [and] sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Revelation 14:4 – These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth (or leads). These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
It is interesting that “virgins” is a feminine noun, yet the context clearly says they are male. This strongly suggests a spiritual, rather than physical, purity.
follow – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple.
redeemed – agorazo (to be in the market place, to attend it; to do business there, buy or sell; of idle people: to haunt the market place, lounge there) Translated “buy” 28 times, “redeem” 3 times.
Revelation 13:17 – And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
“redeemed” can also use 2 other words in the New Testament.
lutroo (to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom; to deliver: from evils of every kind, internal and external) Translated “redeem” 3 times in the New Testament.
Titus 2:14 – Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
exagorazo (to redeem, by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, buy off; metaphorically: of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death) Translated “redeem” 4 times in the New Testament.
Galatians 3:13 – Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
firstfruits – aparche (to offer firstlings or firstfruits; to take away the firstfruits of the productions of the earth which was offered to God. The first portion of the dough, from which sacred loaves were to be prepared. Hence term used of persons consecrated to God for all time)
These are not defiled with women for they are virgins. Possibly they have remained unmarried for this very purpose, or most likely refers to a spiritual purity that denies the sins that Israel had fallen into in the past, those sins which so often involved sexual sin, but which God also called spiritual harlotry – they had prostituted themselves before false gods. These 144,000 were not so. Whether this refers to physical or spiritual purity, the message is very clear: that these were noted for their purity before God. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes, symbolising obedience.
They have been redeemed (bought) from among men, clearly by the blood of the Lamb. They are the firstfruits and therefore belong to God as His right to all the firstfruits of God’s people.
Exodus 23:19a – The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God.
Proverbs 3:9-10 – 9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
And in the same way Christ is the firstfruits of all who would be redeemed by His sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 15:20 – But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
In the Exodus the tribes were numbered for men who could go to war, all tribes except the tribe of Levi. God claimed Levi as His firstfruits, not because they were all firstborn, but because they would take the place of all the firstfruits (firstborn) of all the other tribes combined. Thus Levi became symbolically the firstfruits given to God from among the Hebrews.
Numbers 3:12-13 – 12 And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; 13 Because all the firstborn [are] mine; [for] on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I [am] the Lord.
Revelation 14:5 – And in their mouth was found no guile (deceit): for they are without fault before the throne of God.
without fault – as a sacrifice without spot or blemish; morally: without blemish, faultless, unblameable
Ephesians 5:27 – That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
These 144,000 are both truthful and above reproach as regards blame. They seem to represent the “perfect” Christian; if any perfect ones should exist, they probably would be like these.
Revelation 14:6 – And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
the midst of heaven – mid-heaven; the highest point in the heavens, which the sun occupies at noon, where what is done can be seen and heard by all.
everlasting – aionios (eternal; without beginning and end; without beginning; without end; everlasting.
gospel – euaggelion (good tidings; the gospel of salvation through Christ; the gospel)
to preach – euaggelizo (to bring good news, to announce glad tidings; proclaim the gospel; instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation)
nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people – ethnos, and phule, and glossa, and laos – the grouping of terms we’ve already seen a few times in Revelation with the meaning that it is to all peoples of all mankind on earth. (Eg Revelation 7:9)
The everlasting gospel means the gospel for all time, or the eternal gospel, or the unchanging gospel – the gospel that never changes! Note that this gospel must be preached in all the world before the end shall come. Thus, because this passage applies to the final days before the second coming, the gospel must be preached to all the world. And, apparently because man will not have done this fully, then this angel has the task of ensuring that the gospel is known by all the world before Christ returns to annihilate the enemy at Armageddon.
Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
No-one in this imminent conflict will be ignorant of what this battle is about!
Revelation 14:7 – Saying with a loud (megas) voice (phone), Fear (phobeo) God, and give glory to him; for the hour (hora) of his judgment is come (erchomai): and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Saying (proclaiming) with a mega-voice, Fear (like a phobia) God, and give glory to Him, for the time of His judgment is come. That is, the time has come for God’s judgment; see the use of this same phrase in the following:
Revelation 14:15 – And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time (hora) is come (erchomai) for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
This announcement is intended to be heard clearly by all: that the planned time for judgment has arrived, so worship Him who has created the universe and everything in it. He who has created all is surely the One who has authority over all. Only He who has created all may righteously judge all! The hour or time of judgment has come with the pouring of the 7th bowl of the wrath of God, the final judgment on the earth before the slaughter of Armageddon!
Revelation 16:17 – And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
Revelation 14:8 – And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (porneia).
Babylon (which means “confusion”) here is clearly not the physical Babylon, for that has been a dead city for a long time now and does not appear likely to be revived any time in the near future. However, Babylon also represents a false religion, the religion of satan. In Revelation 17:9 we are told that the woman Babylon sits on seven hills: The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. It is interesting that Rome is known as the city of seven hills. (Sevenhills in South Australia was founded by Jesuit Fathers and Brothers in 1850. The name, bestowed by Austrian Jesuit priest, Aloysius Kranewitter, is a homage to the seven hills of Rome. – Wikipedia)
Many have connected this Babylon, probably quite correctly, with the Catholic church, but it is likely that it is the Catholic church that forms merely a major part of this mystery Babylon religion, a new age satanic religion that sees no conflict between its beliefs and the Catholic church. We’ll cover this (Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth – Revelation 17:5) in more detail in Revelation 17.
“that great city” indicates a great city of the time; thus Babylon may probably be identified with one of the great cities of today. This could mean London, New York, or Rome, as the 3 main contenders for “that great city” today. The City of London (a city within the boundaries of greater London) is known as the richest square mile (actually 1.12 square miles) in the world, controlled by bankers and money-lenders such as Rothschild. New York is also portrayed as a major financial centre of the world, plus its worldly evil probably far outweighs that of even London. Rome is a contender because of its connections to (a) the Catholic church, (b) the Club of Rome, which, in turn, is possibly connected to the (c) revived Roman empire. Certainly false new age religion, plus immense money and finances, will be a major function of “that great city” with the corresponding power and authority that a world religion and almost limitless money supplies can obtain.
Revelation 18 discusses that great city Babylon in more detail as not just a centre for new age religious false worship, but also a place of immense riches, and the buying and selling of merchandise beyond measure. I believe that it could be any one of these three cities, but possibly the City of London.
That great city Babylon made all the nations of the world drink of (that is, they are partakers of) the wine of the wrath of God in judgment upon all who drink of that same Babylonian cup of immoral pleasure, her fornication with the world. All those who share in Babylon’s immoral pleasures will also share with her judgment. Babylon’s fornication is largely spiritual with her immoral desires for all that the world can offer. Note the warning in 1 John 2:15-16 – 15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Revelation 14:9-10 – 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud (megas) voice (phone), If any man worship the beast and his image (eikon), and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
worship – proskuneo [to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence; among the Orientals, especially the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication.]
If any man prostrate himself in worship (that is, in profound heart-felt respect) before the beast and his image (cf “icon”) and receive his mark (of ownership or possession) in his forehead or in his hand, …..
Note that this appears to connect the worship of the beast with both the worship of his image and the taking of his mark. It seems impossible that one could take the mark of the beast without also having to worship the beast and his image. The taking of the mark appears to represent some kind of covenant to worship satan. But are they aware of the connection with the worship of satan? Note that with Freemasonry, many of those who join do not seem to be aware that they are actually making a covenant with satan. However, here I would assume that everyone who takes this mark will surely know why they are taking it! It is the sign of a covenant with the beast to worship satan!
without mixture – unmixed; pure; unadulterated; not watered down or diluted.
Those who do so will drink of the undiluted full-strength wine of God’s wrath (note the great winepress of God’s wrath in Revelation 14:19). This wine symbolises the blood-judgment of the wicked; the red wine is their blood. It will not be watered down or diluted either; it will be full strength (without mixture). God’s judgment upon them will show no mercy at all.
Either the casting into torment will be in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb, or the ongoing torment will be in their ongoing presence. It will commence with the devil and his people, followed by all whose names are not written in the book of life. The torment will never end, either; there can be no escape!
Revelation 20:10; 14-15 – 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 14:11 – And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The smoke of their torment, the visible sign of their burning in the fires of hell, will keep on rising for ever because their burning will never ever end. The smoke will only stop when the fires stop, and the fires will never stop.
for ever and ever – unto ages (aion) of ages (aion) No escape from torment, ever!
Those who worship the beast and his image and who take the mark of the beast’s name will never have rest day or night (that is, 24-7 in today’s terminology). There will be no day of rest as spoken of in Hebrews 4:9 – There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. Instead it will be So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. (Hebrews 3:11). So, for those who believe in a purgatory before salvation: forget it! You can never escape from such a purgatory, ever.
Note very clearly: that those who receive the mark of the beast’s name (that is, according to Revelation 13:7 (And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.) will be tormented in the fires of hell for all eternity. MacArthur is very wrong when he says that he thinks those who take the mark of the beast can still be saved (see last week’s message).
You cannot worship both the beast and God; you must make a choice!
Revelation 14:12 – Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Here is the example of the patience of the saints who refuse to worship the beast and his image and refuse to take the mark of the beast. Even though such refusal might lead to their death, they would rather live in difficulties in obedience to God than partake of plenty in obedience to satan. Such is their love for God (John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.) and their faith in what has been promised. For they do not see the promise of things now but yet awaiting them (Hebrews 11:16 – But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.). They would rather suffer for their faith in Jesus, knowing that such would be outweighed by the glory that was yet to come – Romans 8:17-18 – 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
It is very clear that at this time all people will be required to decide whom they will serve, that they will be either hot or cold, knowing that lukewarm ones – those who sit on the fence – will be as vomit in the mouth of God (Revelation 3:16) who will judge each for life or for death. The huge panorama that is revealed by Revelation is filling up; there are only a few more, albeit very important, details to be filled in. These include the battle of Armageddon, the fall of Babylon (both spiritual and physical), the second coming of the Messiah, the condemnation of the lost to eternal death, and the awarding of eternal life to those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.