Setting

The dragon and his beasts have exercised their power and authority on earth. They have oppressed and even killed the saints. In this chapter, John first sees the serene vision of the Lamb and the 144,000 who are pure and blameless. Then three angels cry out with messages of the gospel and of the impending judgment. Following the proclamations comes the great harvest, in which God pours out His wrath in full on the earth.

Key Verse

(14:13)

Did You Know...?

1. Mount Zion (14:1): “Mount Zion may refer to the hilly area in southeast Jerusalem, the temple mount, the whole city of Jerusalem, or, as in postexilic days, the whole land of Judah and the whole Israelite nation… In the prophetic tradition, Zion came to symbolize the place where the Messiah would gather to himself a great company of the redeemed (Ps 48:1 ff.; Isa 24:23; Joel 2:32; Obad 17, 21; Mic 4:1, 7; Zech 14:10).” 
2. Babylon (14:8): “Ancient Babylon in Mesopotamia was the political, commercial and religious center of a world empire. It was noted for its luxury and moral decadence.” [ref]
3. Cup of His indignation (14:10): “In the OT God’s wrath is commonly pictured as a cup of wine to be drunk (Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15).” [ref]
4. Winepress (14:19): “A rock-hewn trough about eight feet square with a channel leading to a lower and smaller trough. Grapes were thrown into the upper vat and tramped with bare feet. The juice was collected in the lower vat. At times mechanical pressure was added. The treading of grapes was a common OT figure for the execution of divine wrath (see Isa 63:3; La 1:15; Joel 3:13).” [ref]
5. 1,600 furlongs/stadia (14:20): “about 180 miles (about 300 kilometers). It is approximately the length of Palestine from north to south.” [ref]

Outline

  • The Lamb and the 144,000
    (14:1-5)
  • Proclamation of the First Angel
    (14:6-7)
  • Proclamation of the Second Angel
    (14:8)
  • Proclamation of the Third Angel
    (14:9-11)
  • Patience of the saints; Beatitude
    (14:12-13)
  • Reaping of the Harvest on Earth
    (14:14-16)
  • Gathering of Grapes, Winepress of God’s Wrath
    (14:17-20)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    How is this chapter an appropriate conclusion to chapters 12-14?

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    Chapter 14 reveals the true victor in the war between the dragon and the woman’s offspring. The dragon’s fierce attack and the beast’s arrogant blasphemy against God proved to be futile. The Lamb and His followers stand firmly on Mount Zion (1-5), but the followers of the beast now have to suffer judgment and torment (6-20).

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Segment Analysis

  • 14:1-5

    1.

    In what ways is this passage a sharp contrast from the previous scene?

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    The previous scene was full of brutality, deception, oppression, and bloodshed. The scene of Mount Zion is peaceful, joyful, and sinless.

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  • 2.

    Compare this vision with 7:1-8 and record the differences.

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    In chapter 7, the 144,000 were sealed before the angels harmed the earth and the sea. John heard of their number but did not see them in a vision. In chapter 14, however, John sees the 144,000 with the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion.

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  • 3.

    How is this scene an encouragement to believers?

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    This vision indicates that God’s elect have a sure place in heaven despite the dragon’s attempt to destroy God’s children. By the redeeming work of the Lamb, we are kept from Satan’s harm. If we follow Him wherever He goes, we can stand firm in God’s kingdom.

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  • 4.

    What is Mount Zion symbolic of? (cf. Heb 12:22,23; Ps 48:2,3; 132:13)

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    Mount Zion, on which Jerusalem was built, was a symbol of God’s dwelling place. In the NT, it has come to prefigure the church, the assembly of the redeemed. That the Lamb stands on Mount Zion represents that Christ is the savior of the church (Eph 5:23).

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  • 5.

    What characterizes the 144,000?

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    They have the Father’s name written on their foreheads (1). Also verses 4-5.

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  • 6.

    What is the significance of the name of the Father? Compare this with 13:16.

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    Whereas the unsaved bear the mark of the name of the beast, the people of God have the name of the Father on their foreheads. Having the name of the Father means that God acknowledges them as His treasured possession (cf. Eph 1:13-14; Rev 3:12; 7:3).

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  • 7.

    What is the relationship between the 144,000 and the Lamb? What is your relationship with the Lamb?

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    Whereas the unsaved bear the mark of the name of the beast, the people of God have the name of the Father on their foreheads. Having the name of the Father means that God acknowledges them as His treasured possession (cf. Eph 1:13-14; Rev 3:12; 7:3).

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  • 8.

    What is the significance of the new song? Why is it that only the 144,000 could learn the new song?

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    For the meaning of the new song, see Lesson 4, question 17 (cf. Rev 5:9). Here, the heavenly voices and harpists sing the new song, which only the 144,000 can learn. This song, which is about the salvation of the Lamb, is something only the redeemed people can identify with and sing, for only they have experienced and accepted the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  • 9.

    What does the context tell us about the meaning of “not defiled with women”? (cf. 2Cor 11:2,3)

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    Twice the passage mentions that the 144,000 were redeemed from the earth (3,4). Verse 4 states that they follow the Lamb wherever He goes. From this context, we understand that their status as not being defiled with women is symbolic of their loyalty to the Lamb, their Lord and Redeemer, and that they had not conformed to the sinful lifestyles and false teachings of the world.

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  • 10.

    How should we “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”?

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    Following the Lamb means dedicating our entire lives to walking in Christ’s footsteps, obeying Him, and serving Him. It means living a new life in the likeness of the Lord and forsaking the paths of sin. Instead of following our own desires, we must deny ourselves, suffer with Him, and live according to His Spirit (Mt 10:37-38; 16:24; 1Pet 2:21; Rom 8:9-17).

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  • 11.

    How can we be “first fruits” to God and to the Lamb? (cf. Jas 1:18)

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    In the OT, God’s people were commanded to offer their firstfruits, which were the best part of the harvest, to God. Likewise, as God’s beloved children purchased by the Lord with His blood, we belong to the Lord. We must dedicate our hearts and bodies to the Lord and obey Him and serve Him. Such offering is holy and pleasing to God (Rom 12:1,2; 1Cor 6:19,20).

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  • 12.

    Explain the meaning of “in their mouth was found no deceit,” by comparing this verse with 13:5,6,14.

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    Unlike the beasts, which defied God and deceived the people, the 144,000 did not speak words of deceit. They would not believe or profess the false teachings with which Satan misleads the world, but acknowledged the name of Jesus even in the face of persecution and death (21:27; 22:15; cf. Mt 10:32,33). On another dimension, such truthfulness is reflected in walking according to the truth in godly living (Jn 8:44,45; 1Jn 2:4,21,22,27). This aspect of truthfulness explains the phrase “they are without fault before the throne of God.”

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  • 13.

    How does this passage relate to the subsequent verses and chapters? Have you seen this pattern before in Revelation?

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    Here, John sees this wonderful heavenly vision and hears the new song before the pouring out of the final judgment. This pattern is consistent with previous chapters (Heavenly scene of 5:8-14 before the seals of 6:1-17; Heavenly scene of 7:1-17 before the trumpets). Such pattern seems to tell us that God’s redeemed are kept spiritually. The woes and turmoil on earth cannot upset or destroy the citizens of heaven.

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  • 14:6-13

    14a.

    The first angel proclaims the gospel message as judgment is about to begin. What is God’s purpose for doing so?

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    In His abundant mercy, God gives the world another chance to hear the gospel, repent of their sins, and turn to God.

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  • 14b.

    Is this consistent with your earlier observations about God’s acts in Revelation?

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    In the seal and trumpet judgments, we see that God’s intended purpose for sending the calamities was also to bring the people of the earth to repentance. But the people still refused to turn from evil (9:20; 11:9,10,18). Nevertheless, God is patient with them and even now still provides another opportunity to the world by having the angel declare the eternal gospel.

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  • 15.

    Do you feel that it is your commission to preach the everlasting gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and tongue? What are you doing now to fulfill this commission?

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  • 16.

    Explain the meaning of the second proclamation (8).

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    The declaration here finds its fulfillment in chapters 17-18. God’s wrath is ready to be poured out on Babylon, the great city that rules over the kings of the earth and the woman who causes all nations to drink of the wine of her fornication. This announcement serves as both a declaration of judgment and a reminder to the saints to flee from the idolatry and moral corruption of the world.

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  • 17.

    Why are the beast worshippers as guilty as the beast himself?

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    The act of worshipping the beast reflects a heart of sin and unbelief. Because the beast blasphemes against God, his followers must also be in rebellion against God in their hearts. Since they choose to worship and follow Satan, whose end is torment in hell, they will also suffer together with him in hell.

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  • 18a.

    Why are verses 12 and 13 placed here in the passage?

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    This encouragement to the saints seems to suggest that the judgments announced by the angels were yet to be fulfilled. In fact, this may be the most difficult time in the tribulation period, when many will be killed for their faith. That is why the patient endurance of the saints is once again called for (cf. 13:10). The voice from heaven about dying in the Lord further implies that those who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus are likely to be killed in these last hours, before the time of the final harvest.

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  • 18b.

    What does it mean to die in the Lord?

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    It means to be faithful to the Lord, even to the point of death (cf. 2:10). As verse 12 suggests, those who die in the Lord are those who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus to the end. Unlike the beast worshippers, who have no rest day or night, the followers of the Lamb will receive final rest.

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  • 18c.

    How do you feel when you think of death in the Lord? What deeds will follow you when you rest from your labor?

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  • 14:14-20

    19.

    Who might the “One like the Son of Man” be? (cf. Dan 7:13; Rev 1:13)

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    The Lord Jesus Christ.

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  • 20.

    What do the harvest and gathering of grapes symbolize? (cf. Joel 3:13; Jer 51:33; Hos 6:11; Mt 13:30,39-42; Isa 63:1-6; Lam 1:15)

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    The harvest and the gathering of grapes may refer to the same event, i.e. the final separation of the righteous and the wicked. The saved ones will be received into Christ’s kingdom, whereas the wicked will suffer God’s wrath and condemnation.

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  • 21.

    Why did the two angels in 17 and 18 come out of the heavenly temple and altar? Could there be some significance to this?

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    As we have seen in 11:19, the opening of the temple signifies the fulfillment of salvation and God’s invitation of His redeemed ones into His presence. Here, the temple is where one of the angels of harvest comes from, suggesting that the harvest marks the completion of the divine redemptive plan. The altar here reminds us of 6:9-11, where the souls of the martyrs cried out to God for vindication, or 8:3-5, where symbols of judgment followed the offering of the incense (It is not clear whether the altar in 14:18 is the altar of sacrifice or the altar of incense). The time has finally come for God to avenge their blood and fulfill the promise in 13:10. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that the harvest results in a massive outflow of blood from the winepress (20).

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  • 22.

    22. How are you preparing yourself for this final harvest?

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