Study Notes

Revelation 14:1-20


The setting is this: at the 3 1/2 year mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation, the antichrist walked into the newly-rebuilt temple, putting a stop to the sacrifices and claiming to be god. A world-wide persecution of the Jews broke out that day. Many of the Jews in Judea fled into the wilderness, pursued by the armies of the antichrist, but the earth opened up and swallowed them. These Jews were brought to safety, presumably in the city of Petra, where they will spend the next 3 1/2 years. The antichrist turned his attention to killing the rest of the Jews in the world.

Then there was an assasination attempt. Actually, it was more than an attempt, it was successful. The antichrist was killed. But he rose from the dead! The after-effects seemed to be only a blind eye and a withered arm. The antichrist's right-hand man, the false prophet, commissioned an image of the antichrist to be built, and somehow, miraculously, gave it breath and speech. It was commanded that everyone on the earth worship this image of the beast, and receive a mark on them, demonstrating their worship of, and loyalty to, the beast. It became impossible to even buy or sell without this mark.

So chronologically, we are somewhere between the halfway point and the end of the Tribulation.

14:1-5 The Lamb On Mount Zion

You may recall that Mount Zion is the hill overlooking Jerusalem, where Temple Mount is. But the mountain in Jerusalem is not the only place called Mount Zion. The writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant...

Just as there is a Mount Zion on earth, there is a Mount Zion in heaven. A Zion that overlooks the heavenly Jerusalem. These 144,000 are not on earth, they are in heaven. That is why they are before the throne and the four cherubim. They died earthly deaths and are now in heaven. That is why they have been purchased FROM the earth.

The 144,000

Now, who are these 144,000? They are the bond-servants of God that we were introduced to in chapter seven. At the time, they were on earth, but now they are in heaven. We presume that they have been killed as a result of the persecution that the antichrist has initiated throughout the world.

A Song No One Else Can Learn

Here we see that the 144,000 are allowed to learn a song that no one else can learn. Why is this? Because they have a unique place in the kingdom of God.

The church also has a unique place in the plan and kingdom of God. We are the bride of Jesus Christ. We will be ruling and reigning with Christ for the 1,000 years of the Millennial Kingdom. We will have a special place in the kingdom. So too, do the 144,000. They will have their own song that we cannot learn. They will "follow the Lamb wherever He goes."

First Fruits

They are also the first fruits to God. What does this mean? Part of the Old Testament Law given to the Jews included the giving of the "first fruits." The people were directed to give the very first of their crops as an offering to God. And it wasn't just the crops — it was everything: grain, new wine, oil, and the first shearing of their sheep.

By presenting these offerings of first fruits, they were saying that these blessings came from the Lord, and they were expecting more to come. They gave the Lord the first fruits of the soil, knowing that more would grow. They gave the Lord the first fruits of the shearing of the sheep, because they knew that there would be more. Jesus was called the first fruits from among the dead. His resurrection told us that there would be more.

The 144,000 are called "first fruits to God and to the Lamb." This means that they are the first of many millions to be saved during the Tribulation.

14:6-7 The First Angel's Message

Midheaven is a term used to describe the sky, the place where the birds fly (Rev. 19:17). This angel is flying in mid-heaven, in the sky. He is proclaiming an eternal gospel. What is the gospel that he is preaching? Is it, "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Just trust Jesus, and everything will be hunky-dory." No. This gospel is a five-fold message. And as we examine these five things, we find that our gospel preaching has lost most, if not all, of these messages.

He Is To Be Feared

The fear of the Lord is something that has been completely lost from the church in this century. We've preached the love of Jesus so much that we have neglected the hundreds of times that the Bible demonstrates the fear of God.

In Genesis, the men in Gher-AWR were wicked because they did not fear God (Gen. 20:11).

In Exodus, it was the men who feared God that were made leaders (Exo. 18:21).

In Leviticus, we are told that the way to avoid wronging one another is to fear God (Lev. 25:17).

In the Proverbs, the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil (Prov. 16:6).

But this is not just an Old Testament teaching. The New Testament also teaches this.

In Acts, the church was being built up and comforted by the Holy Spirit because they were going on in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31).

In Romans, people are condemned because there is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:18).

2Corinthians tells us that we can perfect holiness in the fear of God (2Cor. 7:1).

1Peter tells us many ways to live righteously, including the fear of God (1Pet. 2:17).

It all comes down to one teaching: if you fear God, you will avoid sin. If we're not teaching people to fear God, they have no motivation to stop sinning. Jesus said,

Luke 12:5 "...I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"

He is greatly to be feared.

He Is To Be Given Glory

Man takes credit for everything. We take pride in our abilities and accomplishments. We have self-confidence and trust in our money and strength. But who are we to boast? God is holding the molecules of our bodies together (Col. 1:17). God is the source of every good thing we receive (James 1:17). We must give Him the credit for all things, we must give Him the glory. Psalm 115 begins,

Ps. 115:1 NOT to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Thy name give glory Because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth.

Not to us, O Lord. Not to us.

He Is Going To Judge

From Genesis to Revelation and everywhere in between, the judgment of sin is proclaimed. No one can escape this judgment, for it will come at death, and everyone dies.

Hebr. 9:27 is appointed for men to die once and after this {comes} judgment,

Everyone will be judged.

He Is To Be Worshipped

Part of the five-fold gospel message is to worship the Lord. Worship is more than the music played in church before the message. Worship is a giving of yourself to God. An acknowledgement of His greatness, His love, His grace, His mercy. It is a pouring out of yourself, a bowing down, an act of humility.

Ps. 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Be a worshipper of God.

He Is The Creator

Finally, He is the Creator.

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1 goes on to explain that God made everything in six days. Do you believe that? The world has convinced many in the church that it's not true. Many in the church believe that there were millions of years of the earth forming and then more millions of years of dinosaurs before man came on the scene. We've been programmed by the evolutionary society we live in to believe that the millions of years are scientific fact. They are NOT scientific fact. They are pure theory.

Let me make a controversial statement: if you believe in the millions of years, you cannot believe the gospel as proclaimed in Scripture. "What? Why not," you might ask. "Why couldn't God have taken millions of years, creating the dinosaurs and things long before Adam? I have no trouble reconciling an earth millions of years old with the Bible account in Genesis!" But the answer is simple. On the sixth day of creation,

Gen. 1:31 ...God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

But dinosaur fossils have been discovered with evidence of arthritis, cancerous tumors, gout, and other diseases. If the days of Genesis were millions of years, then God created these afflictions and called them good!

There is another problem, a bigger problem, a doctrinal problem. You see, the Bible teaches that Adam and Eve's sin was what brought death into the world. But the belief in millions of years puts the garden of Eden on top of layer upon layer of death and decay. If Adam's original sin isn't really what brought death into the world, then the entire foundation of Scripture crumbles away. There is no original sin through Adam, and therfore no forgiveness of sin through the last Adam, Jesus Christ.

I believe that this is such an important thing to understand that, beginning in January, we are going to be doing a Sunday night series called "Answers In Genesis." We will learn about the fallacy of evolutionary theory, and look at the obvious facts for creation. Watch your bulletin for the start date.

So here is the gospel: God is to be feared, He is to be given glory, He is going to judge, He is to be worshipped, and He is the Creator. Once you lay this foundation in someone's understand, it is easy to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as God who came to earth and died to forgive your sin.

The angel preaching this gospel to the earth is the first of seven angels we will see in this chapter.

14:8 The Second Angel's Message

The second angel follows, proclaiming the destruction of Babylon the great. What is Babylon the great? It is a city that will receive the wrath of God for taking the world deeper into immorality. We will see how and why in a few more chapters.

14:9-11 The Third Angel's Message

The third angel follows the first two, proclaiming to the world the eternal damnation of all who accept the mark of the beast. Notice this: Many in the church have tried to explain away eternal judgment. Denying the existence of hell, claiming that a loving God wouldn't allow it. But each of us has an eternal soul. It will spend eternity in the way that we've chosen. Either we've chosen to accept God, or reject Him. And however you've chosen God in this life, God will grant you that choice for eternity.

Hell is the destination for those who have rejected His gospel. It is a real place, and it is eternal.

Rev. 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night..."

Matt. 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

There is no time in which you simply cease to exist. Eternity will be spent in reward or punishment.

14:12-13 Blessed Are Those Who Die

The time on earth will be so horrible, that dying will be a blessing. Remember that Paul, rough as he had it, was torn between living and dying.

Phil. 1:23-24 ...I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

But those who die in the Tribulation period will not have the pull from both sides. It'll be a blessing. If you read the next four and a half chapters of the book of Revelation, you will see why. As bad as things have been on earth so far in the Tribulation, it is a living nightmare from here on out.

14:14-16 Like A Son of Man

There are four personalities in this section of Scripture - three angels and one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds. Who is the Son of Man? Jesus Christ (Dan. 7:13-14). Notice: He is not yet come to the earth. He remains sitting on a white cloud. This is not the final judgment of the earth, but a reaping of the earth. What is being reaped? Jesus described this in Matthew 13.

Matt. 13:24-30 He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!' And the slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' But he said, ‘No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

Matt. 13:36-43 Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." And He answered and said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and {as for} the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil {one;} and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Jesus is reaping the earth with the harvest of separating of the tares and the wheat. At this point in the world, it is time to finalize everything. Those who have faith in Christ will die and go to heaven. Those who blaspheme Christ are set apart for the judgment of Christ on the earth.

14:17-20 The Wine Press

Once the wheat was separated from the tares, the wrath of God is poured out in vengeance. The next four chapters will painfully illustrate this fact.

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