NT Prophecy – Revelation 14-15

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

  • Revelation 14:1-20

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple—that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was opened. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

  • Revelation 15:1-8

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Revelation 14-16 ‘God’s wrath’: ”Chapters 14 through 16 deal largely with a description of the vials of God’s wrath.  These containers of God’s wrath are exactly the same as the terrible judgments of which Jesus spoke when He said that ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time, God’s wrath would be poured out upon the earth.1”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring Through the Bible

Revelation 14:1-5 ‘The 144,000 in Glory’: “The 144,000 Jewish witnesses who were ‘sealed’ and protected by the Lord (7:4) are now with the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Mount Zion. This is not the earthly Mount Zion but the heavenly (14:3). In contrast to the lost on earth, who have the name of the Antichrist on their foreheads or right hand (13:16-17), the 144,000 sealed jews have the name of Christ and His Father ‘written on their foreheads’ (14:1). They are singing ‘a new song’ in heaven, along with a heavenly chorus, before the throne of God (verse 3). And because of their experiences as the Lord’s witnesses, ‘no one could learn the song.’ Evidently there will be a point at which the Lord will remove His seal on them, making it possible for them to be martyred. These Jews will live undefiled lives, keeping themselves chaste with women and refraining from lying (verse 5). They will follow ‘the Lamb wherever He goes,’ meaning they will let Him lead them through their witnessing endeavors here on earth’ (verse 4).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 14:3 ‘a song learned on earth’: ”Heaven is not the place to learn that song; it must be learned on the earth. We must learn here the notes of free grace and dying love. And when we have mastered their melody, we will be able to offer to the Lord the tribute of a grateful heart, even in heaven, and blend it with the eternal harmonies.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 14:4 ‘not defiled with women’: “An illustration of God’s ability to keep believers remarkably pure in the midst of great difficulty. This phrase indicates that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will have not only resisted the perverse system of Antichrist, but they will have also resisted all temptations to illicit sex. Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2. follow the Lamb. This indicates partisanship for Jesus Christ. The victorious 144,000 are unwaveringly loyal to Him, whatever the cost (cf. Matt. 16:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23; John 10:27; 12:26; 14:15). firstfruits. Like the OT firstfruits offerings, these men will be set apart for special service to God (cf. Deut. 26:1-11). Some see firstfruits as the first large group of redeemed Israel (see note on 11:13), saved much earlier, and representative of more converts to follow (cf. Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15), the first fruits of a redeemed Israel (Rom. 11:1-5, 11-15, 25-27).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 14:5 ‘blameless’: What a wonderful change it will be for those who were once great sinners to be found blameless. They are cleansed from all of the guilt of sin and from all of the depravity that the addiction of sin brings. Part of the joy of heaven will be a long surprise, an endless wonder. If we are permitted to remember what we used to be, we will say, ‘Yet here I am, clean as the driven snow, washed in the blood of Jesus and renewed by the Spirit of God.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 14:6-7 ‘’: “John the Apostle here sees ‘flying in mid-heaven’ another angel preaching ‘an eternal gospel’ to all who live on the earth (verse 6).  The ‘gospel’ (Greek, euangelion, ‘good news’) of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) may certainly be in view here, but there may be more meaning to the word in this context, Walvoord writes,
“ ‘Some expositors use the term “gospel” to include all the revelations God has given in Christ and hence conclude that there is only one gospel with various phases of truth belonging to the gospel. … The everlasting gospel seems to be neither the gospel of grace nor the gospel of the kingdom, but rather the good news that God at last is about to deal with the world in righteousness and establish His sovereignty over the world. This is an ageless gospel in the sense that God’s righteousness is ageless (Revelation, p. 217).’ ”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 14:6 ‘midst of heaven’: “From a Greek term (‘mid-heaven’) denoting the point in the noonday sky where the sun reaches its zenith. This is the highest and brightest point, where all can see and hear. the everlasting gospel. The angel is preaching the good news concerning everlasting life and entrance into the kingdom of God (cf. Matt. 24:14; 1 Cor. 15:1-10). He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb. It is also called, in the NT, the gospel of God, the gospel of grace, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom. It is good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe. The whole world will hear this preaching by the angel as God graciously calls all to salvation.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 14:8 ‘Babylon’s Fall’: “Another angel will follow the one mentioned in Revelation 14:6-7 and cry out, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality’ (verse 8). The words ‘fallen’ (Greek, pimpo) are both in the Greek aorist tense, indicating a certainty of what is to come. The fall of Babylon is yet future in Revelation (chapters 17-18).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 14:9-12 ‘The Doom of the Worshippers of the Beast’: “At this point a third angel comes forth, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God’ (verses 9-10). As the Tribulation progresses in the book of Revelation, people are pushed against the wall spiritually to make a decision as to whom they will serve. To follow and worship the beast brings on even heavier judgment from God. But to serve the Lord will likely mean martyrdom and death. There is no middle ground! The severity and quickness of God’s promised judgment seems to indicate that the people of the world will fully understand the issues and the decisions they must make. They will not be ignorant of the spiritual struggle taking place between God and the powers of darkness.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 14:10 ‘cup of His indignation’: “Anyone loyal to the Antichrist and his kingdom will suffer the outpouring of God’s collected wrath, done with the full force of His divine anger and unmitigated vengeance (cf. Ps. 75:8; Is. 51:17; Jer. 25:15, 16). Divine wrath is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people God does not like. It is the settled, steady, merciless, graceless, and compassionless response of a righteous God against sin. fire and brimstone. These two elements are often associated in Scripture with the torment of divine punishment (Gen. 19:24, 25; Is. 34:8-10). Here, the reference is to hell, the lake of fire (cf. 19:20; 20:10; 21:8). Brimstone is a fiery sulfur (see note on 9:17).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 14:12 ‘enduring offense’: ”Those who are to be crowned in heaven must bear the cross on earth. No cross, no crown. Many would be saints if everybody would encourage them. But as soon as a hard word is spoken, they are offended. Those who are to sing Christ’s praise in heaven must first be willing to bear Christ’s shame below. They must be numbered with him in humiliation, or they cannot expect to be partakers with him in glory. God grant us grace to have the endurance of the saints—-the endurance that courts no one’s smile and fears no one’s frown but can endure all things for Jesus’s sake.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 14:13 ‘Blessings on the Martyred Believers’: “Those saints who perish during the Tribulation and who ‘die in the Lord from now on’ are given a pronouncement of a special blessing for their martyrdom (verse 13). They are especially blessed in light of this added acclamation: ‘ ”Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” ‘  While in all ages of Christianity there have been martyrs for the faith, these believers will suffer some of the worst torments for the sake of Christ. Some Bible commentators have attempted to interpret these words to extend to all martyrs through the ages, but the context of these words limits their application to those who die under the persecution of the beast. That is evident in the phrase ‘from now on.’”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 14:15 ‘gathering the harvest’: ”This is the gathering in of the godly, who are Christ’s wheat. No angel reaps them but Christ himself with his own sharp sickle and with his own dear hands. He sowed wheat. He himself was the wheat that fell to the ground, died, and brought forth much fruit (Jn 12:24). So he gathers his own sheaves with his own hands. Let this be our prayer: ‘May I be among them. May I be one golden ear in Christ’s great harvest.’ ”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 14:19 ‘no miscarriage of justice’: ”It is not the crowned Christ but an angel who will come to do this work oi judgment.  The wicked will be clearly distinguished from the righteous in that day. Nobody will mistake them then. In that day there will be no way of evading the judge’s infallible judgment. There will be no miscarriage of justice before the bar of God. Again, it will not be Christ who will do this work. An angel will do it—not the crowned King seated on the white cloud (14:14). They would not have anything to do with him, so he will have nothing to do with them except to deliver them over to the angel that has authority over fire and his brother executioner. There can be no possible exaggeration of the wrath oi God. Let no one risk that doom for himself. Let sinners flee to the one refuge God has provided. Whoever will entrust his soul to Jesus Christ will be eternally saved.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Revelation 15:1-8 ‘Prelude to the Seven Bowl Judgments’: “Chapter 15 introduces the final series of plagues to come upon the earth (verse 1). With these plagues ‘the wrath of God is finished.’ These eight verses are a prelude to God’s most severe judgments, or the seven bowls of wrath (chapter 16). This wrath will be like hot, scalding liquid poured out on the earth from heaven.
“The apostle is given a vision of heaven and the Tribulation martyrs who had victory over the beast by refusing to pay homage to him and take his mark of loyalty (15:2). These saints are standing in heaven on ‘a sea of glass mixed with fire.’ ”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Revelation 15:1-4 ‘The Song of Moses and the Lamb’: “Unannounced and with no introduction, seven angels appear (1S:1). John calls it a great and marvelous sign, just as he called the woman clothed with the sun (12:1). He does not say how he knows the angels have the seven last plagues. Interestingly this scene is reenacted, somewhat differently, in the next vision (15:5-8) where the seven angels come out of the temple and are given the seven bowls of wrath. These are the last plagues because with them the end of the age arrives (see the similar statements in 10:7 and 15:8). John was not certain but what he saw looked like a perfectly undisturbed sea that reflected light upwards with a crowd of people standing around the edges (15:2). We may probably identify this sea with the glassy sea before the throne which reflected the seven burning lamps (4:5~6). The crowd is identified as those who had triumphed over the Beast, his image, and his number (666). Most probably they are the martyrs mentioned in 12:11 and 13:7-10. The martyrs are given harps with which to extol God (15:3; see 14:2-3) and they do so as did Moses following the parting of the sea (Exod. 14:29-15:18). It is called Moses’ song because it models on what he sang in praise of God commemorating God’s victory over the Egyptians and the gods of Egypt (Exod. 12:12), but it is, even more, the Lamb’s song because it commemorates his victory over all the evil forces of the world and every form of idolatry. In the form of a loose paraphrase of what Moses sang, the song is a collection of heartfelt sentiments drawn from the Old Testament. The martyrs sing of the marvelous deeds of God (see Pss. 105:5; 111:2; 139:14). The power of God is praised as an encouragement to his people (Amos 4:13; Rev. 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22). God’s justice and fidelity are praised (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 145:17; Rev. 16:5, 7; 19:2). The song continues in words closely paralleling Jeremiah 10:7 stressing the sovereign and universal rule of God over all the earth. All nations will come and worship him (Pss. 22:29; 86:9; Isa. 19:21; 66:23; Rev. 21:22-24).”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 15:3-4 ‘song of Moses’: “Sung by the people of Israel immediately after their passage through the Red Sea and their deliverance from the Egyptian armies (Ex. 15:1-21; cf. Deut. 32:1-43), this was a song of victory and deliverance that the redeemed who overcome Antichrist and his system will readily identify with. song of the Lamb. See 5:8-14. These two songs celebrate two great redemptive events: (1) deliverance of Israel by God from Egypt through Moses; and (2) deliverance of sinners by God from sin through Christ. Great and marvelous are Your works. This statement from the song of the Lamb extols God’s powerful works in creation as He providentially upholds the universe (cf. Ps. 139:14). Almighty. God is omnipotent (cf. Amos 4:13). King of the saints. God is sovereign over the redeemed of every nation (cf. Jer. 10:7).
“God’s holy and perfect character inevitably demands that He judge (cf. Ps. 19:9; Nah. 1:3, 6). After God’s righteous judgment is complete, He will set up Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth, and the elect from every nation will come and worship Him (cf. Ps. 66:4; Is. 66:23; Phil. 2:9-11).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Revelation 15:5-8 ‘The Seven Angels with the Seven Last Plagues’: “John sees a vision of the heavenly counterpart of the earthly tabernacle (see Exod. 38:21; Num. 10:11). The last time the temple was opened to John he saw the ark of the covenant (Rev. 11:19), signifying God’s faithfulness. This time it is opened, but we are not told what John saw. Rather, he focuses his attention on the seven angels with the seven plagues as they emerge wearing shining linen garments with golden sashes. The angels are assigned the task of pouring out the wrath of God from the golden bowls they were given. In the Old Testament the glory of God was symbolized by clouds of smoke (Exod. 19:18; Isa. 6:4; Ezek. 10:4). Here the smoke shows that God, in all of his power and glory, is present. The exit of the angels and the smoke of God’s presence signaled that an unalterable chain of events had now been set in motion. Similar things had occurred in Israel’s early history (Exod. 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron. 5:13-14).”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 15:7 ‘seven golden bowls’: “These are shallow saucers, familiar items often associated with various functions of the temple worship (1 Kin. 7:50; 2 Kin. 12:13; 25:15), such as wine (Amos 6:6) and blood sacrifice (EX. 27:3). Their flat shallowness pictures how the divine judgments will be emptied instantly, rather than slowly poured, drowning those who refused to drink the cup of salvation. wrath of God. See notes on … 14:10.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Coffee and Revelation – Introduction
In going to the website of the Wee Flea, you can search for any episodes of “Coffee and Revelation” that may have been uploaded pertaining to these chapters.   At the time this post was published, Rev. Robertson had not finished his video series.
Coffee and Revelation – Part 64, Revelation 14:1-5
Coffee and Revelation – Part 65, Revelation 14:6-7

My Thoughts

Again, the scholars covered these chapters much better than I could have done.

The 144,000 were not defiled by women.  That would be in two senses:  not falling for the temptation of the Antichrist, but also the basic physical urges of having a family.  They were dedicated to serving the Lord.  The idea that Rev. Spurgeon discusses is that they were blameless.  When you see “blameless” used in Titus, it refers to church leaders being blameless.  Some scholars say that the context is that no one could levy an accusation against them in a court of law.  At least that concept more so than sinless.

And then we essentially have three “fly overs.”  People have postulated with each passing generation how Jesus will appear to everyone all at once.  That is still a mystery, but I can visualize these angels doing like military aircraft do at major sporting events, a fly over.  The stadium rocks from the excitement, but also the concussion of the extreme noise.  I would think that the angels would easily get everyone’s attention.

Rev. MacArthur, not copied above, says that 1600 stadia is roughly the distance from the northern part of Israel to Moab.

And while the seals and the trumpets were introduced and then they happened, there is build up for the bowls of God’s wrath.  For one, the stage must be set to show how far into the toilet the earth gets.  But for another, this is the final judgment in seven plagues.  As Rev. MacArthur states, the bowls are shallow so that they pour quickly.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

Revelation 14, The Lamb and the 144,000: 1. How are you like (and unlike) the 144,000? Why do you follow the Lamb?
Revelation 14, The Three Angels: 1. What have you done to help proclaim the gospel to every nation, tribe, language, and people?
“2. How do you look upon death: As a rest? A reward? A new phase in the journey?
“3. What would you like to be doing when God calls you home?
Revelation 14, The Harvest of the Earth: “1. How ripe do you think the world is now? Do you feel that the end of the world is close at hand? Why or why not? How does this affect your lifestyle[s]?”
Revelation 15: “1. How does this passage make you feel? Why? What does it make you want to do? Why?
“2. What great and mighty deeds has God done in your life for which you will praise him today? How appropriate is the song in this passage to your experience with God? Why?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are three sets of questions for chapter 14 and one set of questions for chapter 15.

Substitute whatever group for any reference to a small group or ask who could come to your aid.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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