THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 14
We are now looking at the last week of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy (Dan.9). Israel has seven years left before the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. It will begin with the appearance of two prophets (Rev.11) on the scene in Israel prophesying for the first 3½ years. Their words will seal 144,000 Jews of Israel and servants of God (Rev.7) who will preach the everlasting gospel until their martyrdom in the middle of the week. Verses 1-5 deal with the identity and task of the 144,000 Jews. Verses 6-13 deal with the gospel they will preach. The events of these 13 verses will take place after the middle of the week. The rest of the chapter (verses 14-20) deals with the preparation for the Battle of Armageddon.
The 144,000 Jewish Servants of God
Verse 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.
Interrupting the visions of the Beast, which will resume and end in subsequent visions in chapter 17, God directed John's eyes to a vision in which 144,000 Jewish men were seen standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. It is important to understand that this vision is not heavenward but earthward (as verse 2 shows). In other words, John saw the Lamb with the 144,000 Jews on (the earthly) Mount Zion and not on the Heavenly Mount and Heavenly Jerusalem that the Apostle Paul speaks about in Hebrews 12:22-24 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, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Here, God is dealing, not with the Church, but with a natural group of 144,000 Jewish men. We know that on the top of Mount Zion is the City of Jerusalem. Both the Mount and the City are the Jews' treasured natural possessions.
Now, the 144,000 Jews standing together with the Lamb on Mount Zion speaks of their positions with their Messiah in that place and in that city during the Age of Regeneration when Christ Jesus shall return to sit on the Throne of David. They are sealed with his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads (NIV). In other words, these Jews have the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Messiah, and thus they possess the NAME of their God. The Name of the Father and the Name of the Lamb are the same Name YAH, YAHWEH, YAHSHUA [JOSHUA, JESUS] (Psa.68:4). Jesus said, I am come in my Father's name (Jhn.5:43).
Verse 2: And I heard a voice from 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:
Verse 3: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
John's attention is now turned upward and heavenward to a voice, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, speaking in Heaven. Yes, God's Voice is divinely sweet yet divinely terrible. In that hour, after the Two Witnesses are killed, the 144,000 Jews shall be as the voice of many waters and as the Voice of God thundering on earth when they shall be scattered all over the world to proclaim the everlasting gospel (verses 6-13) for 1260 days. Though there are other Jews who will receive the revelation of the Name of Jesus Christ, as the Two Prophets prophesy, these 144,000 Jews are chosen and anointed of the Lord as indicated by a new song sung by them before the throne of the Lord God and of which only they could learn.
[Note: Some preachers would take the first three verses together and present a picture that the 144,000 Jews are caught up to the Heavenly Jerusalem and that they are there singing a new song. If they will study the Scriptures carefully, it is the harpers in Heaven who are harping and singing the new song, a song that only the 144,000 Jews could learn and sing while on earth. (Isn't it so with us, true believers of God? Do we not have a new song in our hearts that the Holy Spirit put it there for us to learn and sing since the day we were born of His Spirit?)]
Verse 4: These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
Verse 5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
For they are virgins does not mean that this group of 144,000 Jewish men are natural virgins. Many of them may be married men and have children. However, they are true spiritual virgins to the spiritual Word of God, and they follow very closely the leading of the Lamb of God. These 144,000 Jews are not defiled with the churches referred to as women. A true spiritual Jew will never believe and accept the doctrines of the denominational trinitarian churches. Though there are Jews who are Christians, the majority of them consider the trinitarian gospel as preached by the denominational churches to be a tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. The spiritual Jews will never accept the doctrine of the Trinity of God. They know WHOM and WHAT they worship (cf. Jhn.4:22). Their failure to see Jesus Christ as their Messiah is due largely to their ignorance of the words of their prophets and the fulfillment of the Scriptures concerning the Lord's Christ. But to ask them to accept Jesus Christ as the 'second Person' and the Holy Spirit as the 'third Person' of the Godhead is tantamount to practising idolatry. To them the doctrine of the Trinity itself is paganish and can be traced back to the days of Nimrod, the son of Cush, the son of Ham. For the true Israelites, there is but one God: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deut.6:4). Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else (Isa.45:22). Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any (Isa.44:8b).
In that period of God's final dealing with the nation of Israel, the 144,000 Jews are specially redeemed from among mankind and set apart as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb. They are the firstfruits chosen during this final week of Daniel's Seventy Weeks. They are faultless and true to the testimony they hold of the revelation of Jesus Christ and the everlasting gospel that they are ordained to preach. They do not receive these things from the denominational churches but by the revelation of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Two Prophets.
Though many Jews will die as faithful servants to the Word of God in that dark hour when Satan is incarnated in the Romish Pope (Rev.6:11), the 144,000 Jews will be kept alive by the hand of God throughout the 3½ years of Great Tribulation. These 144,000 Jews are ordained to nourish the Woman Israel, to preach the everlasting gospel and to call judgment upon Mystery Babylon. The Spirit of the Lamb of God will lead and direct their actions and utterances until the Lord Himself shall return to earth to fight in the Battle of Armageddon and to set up the Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28). [Note: Some preachers are teaching that the 144,000 Jews will be killed among those mentioned in Revelation 6:11. To teach that the 144,000 Jews will die is to contradict the Scriptures which show that they are sealed by the Holy Spirit for a purpose for the whole period of 42 months. However, it would not be wrong to say that God has also a purpose for them in the Age of Regeneration, perhaps as spiritual 'eunuchs', to serve in the 'Temple' where Christ Jesus and His Wife will sit and reign. Consider the words of John the Baptist when he said, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled (Jhn.3:29).]
The Everlasting Gospel
Verse 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,
Verse 7: Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This everlasting gospel that the angel has to preach around the world is done through the 'mouthpiece' of the 144,000 Jews on the earth. The everlasting gospel or eternal gospel is not a gospel for eternity but rather an age (everlasting gospel, Greek aionios gospel) that age (or period) of the Great Tribulation. Also, it is not the Gospel message of Salvation that the Church of the Living God now possesses. The Gospel which we have is to repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). The Gospel which the 144,000 Jews will preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people is to fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. This is but the first of three messages of the everlasting gospel. This 'first message' wakes the people up to worship God and God alone. Mankind hardly knows the True God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It is also a message that hits out against the spirit of Communism. Notice that there will be no healing or miracle, but God will vindicate the 144,000 Jews for His Word's sake.
Yes, during the hour of the Great Tribulation, the world will hear the Word of God preached for the last time. The everlasting gospel will be a good news to Israel and all who are passing through the 'fire' of the Great Tribulation because it declares that their troubles will soon end in the judgement and destruction of the Antichrist. The members of the 144,000 Jews will accompany Israel as she flees from the wrath of the Antichrist to her place prepared by God (cf. Rev.12:14). There the 144,000 Jews will feed her and preach the everlasting gospel. There will hardly be any hindrance as many of them are able to speak more than their mother tongue, being immigrants from other countries after World War II. Also, as citizens of those countries, it is just as easy for them to go back there.
Verse 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.
The 'second message' of the everlasting gospel speaks out against the woman, Mystery Babylon. It will speak out against that spirit of Roman Catholicism. Because of her avaricious appetite, the Roman Church has gotten many people drunk with the passionate wine of her false doctrines. That is what one third of the people of the world are drinking today false religious ideas, teachings and man's philosophies which are basically Babylonish and Romanish. But the 144,000 Jews will preach real hard against the Roman Church and condemn the system. Undoubtedly, they will bring up to the attention of the world her murderous act of killing millions of people during the periods of Dark Ages and the Spanish Inquisition just as she will be torturing and killing again at that hour. They will expose all her past evil deeds that she had done against the Jews, the Christians and all those who would not bow down to her. Finally, they will proclaim her fall and declare the judgement of God upon her.
Verse 9: And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Verse 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:
Verse 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.
This is the third and final phase of the ministry of the 144,000 Jews. Notice the warning in the 'third message'. The consequences of worshipping or identifying with either the Beast or his Image are grievous.
But what is the Beast? It is the first Beast of Revelation chapter 13 that we have already discussed. The Roman Catholic Church shall ride on the beastly system which has been seeking to destroy God's Plan since the time God made a covenant with Abraham concerning the Promised Seed. This will happen when the Seventh Head brings together the Ten Horns (E.U.) with the Roman Catholic Church controlling the whole system. Yes, when the 'Mother Church' begins to ride on the beastly system it will be Romanism in its ugliest moment.
And what is his Image? It is the Ecumenical Church the World Council of Churches that the second Beast (of Revelation 13), which is Protestant-Americanism, created for the first Beast. It is created with the power to speak and to put to death those who will not line up with the system of the Beast. These organized churches have fallen so low from the Word of Truth and have become so much like the Church of Rome. No wonder the Roman Church is later revealed in Revelation 17:5 as the Mother of Harlots for the apostate churches are truly her harlot daughters.
Do you understand the Beast and his Image? Both are devilish and antichrist in spirit. And those who are identified with her in her golden cup of fornication will also have to drink of God's cup of anger which He will pour out upon the system. It is retribution for their disobedience and evil deeds (cf. Jer.51:7-8). That's one reason why our Lord Jesus Christ has to send a messenger with a message to call His Bride out of the system and restore her to the Apostolic Fathers' Faith (cf. Mal.4:5-6). Only then could she be prepared as a Wife and be ready for her translation to the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:6-9). But for the Foolish Virgins and other Christians who shall miss the Rapture, a message by the 144,000 Jews (during the period of the Great Tribulation) will wake them up Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev.18:4). In order that they may avoid having to face the wrath of God, which are poured out upon the system and the wicked ones under the Seven Vials at the end of the Great Tribulation, they have to disassociate themselves completely from the Babylonish system of the Roman Beast. There will be no mercy for all those who have to drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture [that is, not diluted with God's grace or mercy] into the cup of his indignation.
Verse 12: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Who are these saints who so patiently resisted the Beastly system and endured to the end? Notice that they actually refers to two different groups of saints. They that keep the commandments of God are the Faithful Jews who stand for the Word of God; and they that keep the faith of Jesus are the Christians who will not make the Rapture. These two groups are the Great Tribulation saints that the beloved John saw in Revelation 7:9-10: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Their souls shall stand before the thrones of Christ and His Wife and they shall also reign with Him a thousand years. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Rev.20:4).
Verse 13: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Notice the time period. The Great Tribulation will be a time of great suffering. Besides the Faithful Jews, there will be many Christians who will travail under the Beast and who will have to give up their lives as martyrs to inherit the Kingdom of God. The words interjected here are words of blessing and consolation for the martyrs; that from the moment they died in the Lord, they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Read Lk.23:43; 1 Cor.15:58; 2 Cor.5:6-8.) Hence, we understand that our souls will still be conscious as we rest (repose or refresh) in the Lord and not become unconscious at death according to the teachings of the `souls sleep' doctrine.
Preparation for the Battle of Armageddon
Verse 14: And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
Starting from this verse, the rest of the chapter paints an image of judgement. Our Lord Jesus Christ is seen commanding the various spiritual forces upon the earth to carry out certain tasks to bring about Armageddon. This is near the end of Daniel's 70th Week. Here, He is depicted once again as the Lord of Glory, sitting on the cloud (of glory) with a golden crown (of royalty) upon His head. This shows that He has received the authority from His Father, the Almighty God, to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Matt.28:18; 1 Tim.6:15). He has a sharp sickle in His hand, ready to judge and reap the harvest of the earth.
Verse 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 is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Notice that the harvest of the earth is ripe, that is, the harvest of the earth has become dry, which means that the harvest is due for the reaping. The world today is corrupt, degenerate, rotten, perverse and the earth will no longer sustain the kind of life that God had intended it to be. Humanity is drying up and unfruitful.
Verse 16: And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
With one swing of His sickle over the earth, the harvest is reaped and gathered. Of course, this vision of the Apostle John has yet to be fulfilled. But it will be fulfilled near the end of the 3½ years of the Great Tribulation. That's when Christ shall command the various good and evil spirits, which influence the religious, economic, political and military forces in the spirit realm, to bring this prophetic vision to pass. The world emotions will be stirred up towards the great Battle of Armageddon. The swinging of the sickle over the earth looses the four angels that are bound in the Euphrates River under the blowing of the Sixth Trumpet (Rev.9:14; 7:1). This is in line with what will take place when the Sixth Vial is poured out upon the earth: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev.16:12-14).
Verse 17: And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
Verse 18: And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
Verse 19: And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
[Note: Some preachers have interpreted these last few verses as referring to the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13 and that the parable will be fulfilled as described here. Verses 14-16 are interpreted as referring to the gathering in of the wheat and verses 17-20 as the burning of the tares. Then there are others who have tried to harmonize the words of John the Baptist concerning the Wheat and the Chaff in Matthew 3:12 and Luke 3:17 with these verses. All these interpretations are completely erroneous. In the first place, no wheat or tare or chaff is mentioned here or even hinted at. The wheat are the true Bible believers, the tares are the false believers and the make-believers, but the overripe grapes (the only ones mentioned here specifically) are the ungodly, evil and wicked nations of people of the world. The wheat are gathered into the garner, the tares are gathered for the burning, but the overripe grapes are gathered into the winepress (battlefield) for the trampling. Read Joel 3:13. Natural overripe grapes are only fit for the winepress where they are trampled upon for the making of wine.]
After the command of Christ is carried out, the clusters of grapes of the vines of the earth shall become fully ripe. The vintage (harvest) is ready and full. And the angels which are responsible for carrying out the Lord's command will gather all the ripen vines together and cast them into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The angel which had power over fire is going to thoroughly purge this earth and rid it of sin (cf. Isa.24:1). He came out from the altar under which are found the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. He is carrying out the vengeance of God (Rev.6:9-10).
Verse 20: And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
The staggering proportions of this conflict are inconceivable. This great winepress or battlefield is outside the City of Jerusalem. It covers the area from Megiddo on the north (Zech.12:11; Rev.16:16) to Edom on the south (Isa.34:5,6; 63:1), a distance of 1600 furlongs or about 200 miles, and from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the hills of Moab on the east, a distance of nearly 100 miles. The Battle of Armageddon straddles three important valleys found in the battlefield, namely, the Valley of Esdraelon (which is part of the Valley of Jezreel), the Valley of Megiddo (Zech.12:11) and the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2,12). And at the center of the entire 'war zone' will be the City of Jerusalem (Zech.14:1,2).
Figuratively speaking, God will gather all those overripe clusters of luscious grapes and put them in that great battlefield and, with the ease of a treader of grapes, will trample them to crush their bloody 'life juice' out into the winepress. Yes, the land shall be soaked with blood (Isa.34:7). There may be as many as 350 or 400 million men involved in this great battle. Blood will literally flow in great volume and dead bodies will pile up (as much as five feet) high as indicated by the phrase even unto the horse bridles. (The mention of the word horse does not mean that real horses are solely used in this war. Today's `war' horses are mechanical beasts.) Yes, there will be massive destruction and great carnage as God gives command for the fighting of this great battle:
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:9-14).
Yes, as the King, Christ shall give command for the fighting of this great battle:
Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD (Jer.25:30-31).
For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth (Isa.63:4,6).
In Revelation chapter 19 the Apostle John is given a further vision of this great winepress into which the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God will be poured (Rev.19:15).
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Revelation Chapter 15
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