About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 14
verse 1 we see the Lamb, who is Jesus, standing on Mount
along with a 144,000 people. We
should note that we're still in this interlude of the narrative.
We've left the seven seals and seven trumpets.
The seven bowls are still yet to come, and, John will return to
is much debate over this passage. One
debate is where this passage actually takes place.
If you take
should know that there is a heavenly
Jesus is symbolized as the Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
the world, as the Apostle John put it in John 1:29.
verse 1 we see Jesus standing with 144,000 saints.
Just who these people are is the other point of controversy.
The majority view is that they are the 144,000 Jewish evangelists
of Revelation 7. There are
some who believe that this 144,000 is a different group of people because
their description doesn't exactly match up with the description of those
in chapter 7. Some of those
holding to this view see these people as special saints throughout the
history of the church.
is what we learn about the 144,000 as seen in Revelation 7.
They are Jews, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of
is what we learn about the 144,000 as seen here in Revelation 14.
They had the name of the Lamb and the Father written on their
forehead. They sang a new song
that only they could sing. They
were redeemed from all the earth. They
did not defile themselves with women.
They followed the Lamb. They
were purchased from among men. They were firstfruits of the Lamb.
They had no lie in their mouths.
the moment, I'm not sure what side of the issue to fall on.
I've traditionally seen these 144,000 as the same 144,000 we saw in
chapter 7, but, of late I am less convinced at that.
To me, the fact that these are associated with the earth suggests
they are not just Jews as those in chapter 7.
this 144,000 is the same as those in chapter 7 that would mean the 144,000
chapter 7 Jews would have had to be raptured to heaven since they're seen
in heaven here.
Of course, that depends on if you believe this chapter is a scene
They could not have died because in chapter 7 they have a mark that
prevents them from being killed by the anti-Christ.
not beyond the stretch of our imagination that there can't be two groups
We should view this number in its Biblical significance.
The number 12 in Biblical terms is the number of governmental rule.
Twelve times twelve would denote complete governmental rule.
These 144,000 could be a special group of believers set aside for a
special ministry of ruling.
see that Jesus is with the 144,000. This
appears to be a special meeting with these people. These men had the name
of the Father and the name of the Son on their foreheads, as seen in verse
1. Some suggest that this is the
mark that was on the foreheads of the 144,000 we see back in chapter 7.
If that is so, then there is just one group and not two groups, but
again, that is speculative.
verse 2 we see that John hears a great sound from Heaven, like a great
rushing water and thunder. This
3 tells us that these harpists sang a new song before the throne and the
four living creatures and the twenty four elders.
This sounds very much like what we saw in chapter 5, but I don't
believe it's the same event.
also says that only the 144,000 could actually learn this particular song.
I believe this song was special for them because they were a
special chosen group of people to carry the gospel to the world.
Of course, this is only the case if you understand these 144,000 to
be the same 144,000 we see in Revelation 7.
144,000 have been redeemed from the earth, according to verse 3.
This doesn't mean that there aren't others redeemed from the earth
because we've seen earlier that there will be many redeemed men and women
from the earth during the tribulation.
I think this phrase is just meant to add to the fact that these are
special people and have a special place in heaven.
We should know that Christians will be rewarded for their work done
for Jesus. Not all will have
the same reward. These 144,000
have a special reward because of the work they have done through the
verse 4 we note that these people were not “defiled by women”.
This clearly means that these were men and not women.
Some say that this means that these men had been single and had
never been married. There’s
one problem I see in this thinking and that is a man who is married to a
woman is not considered to be defiled by women in the Bible.
I believe what is being spoken of here is that these men were pure.
They did not have sex outside of marriage.
Nowhere in the Bible does it even hint that sex in the context of
marriage defiles someone.
The reason why some suggest that these men are
single, unmarried men, is because the Greek word translated here as
undefiled is the Greek word for virgin.
It's the only place in the New Testament where, in Greek, men are
called virgins. So, in one
sense of the word, one has to translate this verse according to his
should note that during the rule of the anti-Christ, part of the
attraction to him and his religion is the promotion of free sex.
Like the religions of old, sex outside of marriage will be part and
parcel of the religious life of the day.
There is nothing new about that.
in verse 4 John says that these men “were first fruits”.
Somes suggest that these men
have been raptured at the mid point of the tribulation.
They feel that the rapture takes place at the mid point of the
tribulation and not before. Others
suggest that there are actually two raptures, one before the tribulation and one at
the mid point.
4 states that these 144,000 men were purchased.
This is simply repeating what was said in verse 3.
They were redeemed. Being
redeemed and being purchased are the same thing. Jesus paid the price to
God His Father to purchase men and women for Himself.
5 tells us that no lie was found in the mouths of these 144,000 men.
They were blameless. Clearly,
they had the power to go through the tribulation.
This power also made them blameless, and blameless they would have
to be to survive the tribulation.
are many controversial parts to the book of Revelation, but this is one of
the more controversial.
You have to decide where this event takes place and just who these
In verses 6 and 7 we see yet another angel flying across the sky. This angel is proclaiming the eternal gospel to everyone on earth. Preaching the gospel has always been the job of humans, not angels. I've often pointed out even Jesus didn't preach the gospel to Paul in Acts 9. Jesus told His followers to preach the gospel. He'd be with them and confirm the preaching with miracles, but that doesn't seem to be the result of this last supernatural preaching of the gospel.
might ask why angels would preach the gospel now.
There may be varying answers. Right
now as I write there are Muslims who are converting to Jesus because they
claim angels have come to them with the gospel.
It might well be that most, if not all; the believers have been
executed by this time in the tribulation.
That's assuming you believe Revelation is in chronological order.
Whatever the case, this seems to me to be one last miraculous
opportunity for those in the world to come to Jesus.
said that before the end came, the gospel would be preached to all
nations. This might be the
final fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy.
I believe the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists seen in
chapter 7 is also a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy, but this event, might
well be the final fulfillment.
might want to note the gospel that this angel preached.
It was not an easy come to the altar and get saved quick gospel.
The first words of the gospel he preached was “fear God and give
Him glory”. This is not a
gospel of what we can get from Jesus, but what we can give to Him as we
fear Him. The premise of the
true gospel of Christ is recognizing who He is and fearing Him, which
means giving our lives to Him in complete reverence.
I do believe that fear means fear.
It is more than reverence as many believe today.
part of the eternal gospel the angel proclaims that the hour of God's
judgment has now come. This is
one reason why many believe the tribulation, or, the Great Tribulation,
actually begins right here, and, it is the last half of the last seven
years of this age. Note the
word "hour". This
places an emphasis on these last three and a half years in the sense that
right now, this immediate moment, final judgment has come.
the moment I just don't know how this angel will proclaim the gospel of
judgment. Will he swoop across
the sky and scream it out? Will
he speak to the hearts of men and women?
I just don't know.
I should make comment on the fact that this gospel is
called the "eternal gospel".
Is this a gospel that is different than the one Paul, Peter, and
the rest taught? No, it is not
a different gospel. We need to
understand that there is only one gospel, but the only one gospel consists
of many gospel truths. The
gospel is not simply believe and get saved.
It includes, as it does here, the awesome nature of who God is and
that He will at some point call His court and judge both individuals and
the nations of this world.
verse 8 we see a second angel announcing that the great
two great cities in the Bible are
who believe Babylon
is a literal city in prophecy point to its rebuilding during the 1990's.
Here in the 21st century there is a city called
can easily see that there will be a literal city of Babylon
the words "maddening wine of her adultery".
The adultery mentioned here should be understood in the fact that
man, who was created to be married to his God, has committed a maddening
adultery by marrying himself to his own system.
With the use of the word "wine" his adultery is portrayed
in terms of a drunken stupor. Like
a drunk, man has gone crazy over himself and what he has made.
He's lost all reasonable sensibility.
To be precise, even though the angel announces that
verses 9 through 13 we see the third angel.
He proclaims that those who worshipped the beast and take his mark
will experience God's wrath in full. Receiving
the mark is tied to worshipping the beast.
Some have asked, “What happens if a person gets the mark of the
beast against his will”? Maybe
the person is mentally ill and is not capable of refusing the mark.
This might be an answer to this question.
We have two thoughts here. One
thought is a person getting the mark and another thought is a person
worshipping the beast. It
might be possible that getting the mark and not worshipping the beast
would exclude you from God’s wrath.
On the other hand, we know that those who got the mark received
God’s wrath, so it is a debatable point.
One thing we do know is that God is just and all that He does is
is still another thought you might consider.
The text says that those who receive the mark of the beast, not
those who get it.
The word receive might imply a willing act of receiving.
Someone who is forced to get the mark of the beast or unknowingly
gets it is not receiving it willfully.
He or she might well be exempt from the torment of the wrath of
the second century when Roman Emperors were executing Christians for not
confessing that Caesar is Lord, there was a debate over this issue within
Some suggested that they outwardly confess Caesar being lord but
inwardly denying it.
They basically suggested this so they could live and preach the
convinced that would be the wrong thing to do.
I'm equally convinced that the Apostle Paul's most important
witness to Jesus was his execution for Jesus' sake.
Martyrdom is the ultimate witness. I say that to say this.
The same debate may well take place concerning the mark of the
beast during the tribulation.
don't believe that the true believer will receive the mark of the beast.
I don't think a believer could be tricked into getting the mark.
This is a very serious thing. True
believers will have the strength to withstand the anti-Christ, even if it
means their death.
verse 10 we see the “cup of God’s wrath” being poured out on those
who do not have God’s mark on them.
The words “cup of wrath” should remind you of Jesus in the
garden, when He asked His Father if this cup could pass Him by. Of course,
we know the cup of God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus.
For those of us who accept that Jesus received God’s wrath on our
behalf, we will escape God’s wrath at this point in time. Those
who reject Jesus' provision will experience what He experienced on the
cross but for all of eternity as verse 11 states.
wrath was poured out on Jesus. It
will be poured out again and probably with much more severity on those who
refuse to come to Jesus. The
word "wine" was used in the last segment concerning
verses 10 and 11 we see that God’s wrath will be poured out in front of
His Holy angels and will last for ever and ever.
This is the best way to say that these people will be punished for
all of eternity. This speaks
interesting to note is that many people say that hell, or, the
punishment spoken of in verse 10 is in the presence of the angels.
Some might suggest that this is not the
might wonder if the saints will see this burning infernal while in heaven
and on the new earth. I don't
think they will. The text does
not say they will. Besides, we
know that all tears, sorrow, and torment, will no longer exist in the
hearts of the saints in the next life.
If they could see their loved ones burning in this fire, I suggest
they would be filled with tears, sadness and torment.
the words "mark of his name" in verse 11.
This gives us a bit of a clue to what the mark of the beast is.
It has something to do with the name of the anti-Christ.
verse 12 we note that this calls for patient endurance on the part of the
saints. I believe this means
that the saints will have to endure the persecution of the anti-Christ and
his regime. Most of these
saints will be martyred for their association with Jesus, but their
martyrdom in the eyes of God is a blessed thing to behold according to
section closes with the announcement that those saints who have died in
the Lord are blessed and their works will follow them. Those who die as
Christians during the tribulation will be greatly rewarded and their works
will be recognized long after they pass from this earthly life.
The question can be asked, “What works are you and I doing now as
Christians”? Will they be
recognized, or will they burn up in the fire of judgment?
in 1 Corinthians 3:12 tells us that Jesus will judge our works.
Those works that are done in pure faith in Him will be judged and
rewarded for. Those works not
done in faith for Jesus will be burned up.
The saints won't be judged but their works will be judged.
persecuted saints during the tribulation, as the persecuted saints
throughout history, realize that their eternal life is way more important
than their present life here on earth.
That should be our mentality as well.
section ends in verse 13 with the Holy Spirit confirming what the angel
has proclaimed. The Holy
Spirit also says that these persecuted saints will be rewarded richly for
their labour in the Lord.
verse 14 to 16 we see one who looks like the Son of man sitting on the
clouds. Everyone believes that
the one who looks like the Son of man is Jesus and that is who I believe
has a sickle in His hand and is getting ready to harvest the earth.
At this point another angel came from the temple in Heaven
announcing to Jesus that the earth is ripe for harvest. The Greek word
that is translated as ripe actually means, overly ripe, and even dried up.
This suggests that God has had enough.
The time of the White Throne Judgment as seen in Revelation 20 is
about to take place.
Jesus left this earth, He was taken up in the clouds and Scripture tells
us that He will return in like fashion, as in the clouds.
This text states that Jesus is in the clouds.
This speaks of His return to earth.
might wonder why Jesus is told by an angel to reap the earth.
Why wouldn't Jesus know to do this on His own?
Well, Jesus Himself said that not even He knew the time of His
return. Only His Father knew
this. I see the Father telling
the angel to tell Jesus that it is now time for His return.
For clarity sake I must make mention that Jesus is
not reaping the saints from the earth here as some suggest.
He is reaping the sinners. Joel
3:13 speaks of this very moment when Joel says to swing the sickle for the
harvest is ripe. We're not
talking about Christians being rewarded for their works.
We're talking about sinners and nations being judged in final
16 states that Jesus now reaps the earth.
The question should be asked if this reaping took place right here
in the narrative or is it yet to come after the seven bowl judgments.
Some suggest that this is a mid-tribulation rapture.
I suggest that it's a glimpse into the future beyond the seven
bowls when Jesus comes back to earth.
Remember, at this point in the book of Revelation we've stepped
back from the events that take place on earth.
This is an interlude, filling us in on some important information.
You might even view this passage as Jesus getting
prepared to reap the earth.
verse 16 and 17 we see two more angels.
One has a sickle and the other is in charge of the fire on the
altar. The angel in charge of
the fire told the other angel to use hiss sickle and gather the clusters
of grapes from the earth because it was ripe already and needed to be
may sound confusing to you. Jesus
just took His sickle and reaped the earth and this angel is told to take
his sickle and gather the clusters. There
are two things going on here. Jesus
reaps the earth. The angel
gathers what Jesus reaps. The
mentioning of grapes and winepress tell us that this isn't Christians
being reaped. It's the
non-Christians that are being reaped.
The angel is assisting Jesus by gathering the wicked for the White
Throne Judgment and the
verse 20 John sees the result of this harvest.
He sees a river of blood outside the city that was 180 miles long
and as high as a horses bridle. This
river of blood might be in reference to the result of the last great war
when Jesus returns to earth to fight the nations armies of the world.
view the city mentioned here in verse 20 to be