The Book of Revelation (part 26)
November 18, 2020
The Book of Revelation (part 25)
Revelation 14 – The Lamb, the Angels, and the End
Revelation 4 shows God as the creator, owner, and sustainer of all things. The Sovereign. The Almighty. He alone is worthy to bring fair judgments and justice into a fallen world.
Revelation 5 shows God with a scroll in His right hand, the hand of authority. The scroll is God’s title deed to the earth, He is the earth’s rightful owner and is preparing to take it back from His enemy Satan, who took the authority over it from Adam and Eve when they sinned.
In Revelation 6, we looked at the opening of 6 of the 7 seals on the scroll on God’s right hand.
Revelation 7 is a parenthesis between the 6th and 7th seals, showing God’s protection of Jews before the Day of the Lord wrath begins, and shows the raptured saints in heaven before God’s wrath is poured out.
The rapture of the church occurs after the 6th seal is opened and the cosmic disturbances happen in Revelation 6, beginning with verse 12. The rapture ends this period of severe terror by antiChrist, and prepares the way for the 7th seal to be opened and the Day of the Lord to begin.
Revelation 8 is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, which is when the wrath of God is being poured out.
Understand that there is a clear pattern, or sequence of events, that is transpiring in Revelation.
The scroll in God’s right hand has been unsealed. The church of the Lord Jesus will be here for the breaking of the first 6 seals on the scroll as mentioned in Revelation 6.
But the church is taken out before the 7th seal is broken. The 7th seal opens the scroll in God’s hand. The obvious contents of the scroll are 7 trumpets which begin the wrath of God unleashed on those without Christ who follow Satan’s plans. After the 7 trumpets are 7 bowls containing the final outpouring of the wrath of God.
In Revelation 8 and 9 are the Trumpet Judgments.
Some believe that the time period of the trumpet judgments is about two years or so. It’s really hard to know for sure. We do know that the antiChrist rules for 3½ years and then turns against Israel. From that time to the blowing of the last or 7th trumpet is 3½ years.
The Great Tribulation (the period of intense persecution right after the antiChrist turns against Israel) will last for a year to 1½ years. No one is quite sure. Just think about this, so that when the antiChrist appears with the peace agreement with Israel, you will have an idea of how long we have before the rapture of the church.
Revelation 10 is another interlude (pause) between events and begins a series of events that will culminate with the return of Jesus!
An angel, the Lord Jesus, appears, and a scroll is opened which contains what will happen in Revelation 11 with two witnesses, the 2nd coming of Christ at the blowing of the 7th trumpet, and then the bowl judgments that will cleanse the earth during the 75 extra days after the 70th week of Daniel is completed.
Jesus returns when the 7th trumpet is blown, and is here during the bowl judgments. He goes back and brings believers with Him from heaven to help Him with the last battle (Armageddon).
The events of Revelation 11 are contained in the scroll in the angel’s hand in Revelation 10.
These events include the measuring of the temple, the desecration of Jerusalem, information about the ministry of the two witnesses, and the blowing of the 7th trumpet, which is the 2nd coming of Christ to earth, and the bowl judgments that will be a final cleansing of the earth from sin.
Revelation 12 is looking back over the years of time to give us a broad view of what is happening as God retakes the earth as His own.
There is a tremendous spiritual battle that takes place, Satan and his fallen angels are dethroned from their hierarchy around the earth, and they fall to the earth.
In this chapter, the character of the antiChrist and what he will put the world through during the last 3½ years of his rule on earth will be shown. He will lose and lose big, but he will also leave a terrible path of destruction on earth.
Some serious persecution is ahead. Get ready.
Let me say it again. We are NOT immune from the wrath of man, from persecution. The first years of the 7 years of “Tribulation” are the wrath of antiChrist. The last couple of years of the 7 years are the wrath of God, and we are gone; the rapture has taken us to heaven.
Most Christians in America are simply NOT ready for the antiChrist to appear. MOST christans think we are going to be whisked to heaven in the rapture before he appears. But as I have been teaching, I do not see the rapture occurring before the 7 years of what people call the Tribulation.
In Revelation 14, we are still in the last 3½ years of what people call the Tribulation’s 7 years.
During this last 3½ years, the church is here at the beginning, and then is raptured away before the Day of the Lord wrath of God comes. This is an intense time of the judgment of God on the antiChrist’s reign, after the church goes to heaven in the rapture. The Day of the Lord brings the 7 trumpet judgments that end with the return of Jesus.
Revelation 14:1 (NKJV)
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
These are the 144,000 Jews who are marked by God in Revelation 7 and preserved from death during the great tribulation and the Day of the Lord.
Revelation 7:2-4 (NKJV)
Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, (3) saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (4) And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
The Lamb is standing with them. The Lamb is the Lord Jesus, the same Lamb that we see standing in Revelation 5 breaking the seals on the scroll.
The 144,000 are sealed, denoting that God owns them and protects them.
Revelation 14:2-3 (NKJV)
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. (3) They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
The vision moves from earth with the 144,000 to heaven with the elders, the living beings, and the raptured saints. John doesn’t see them, but he does hear them:
Revelation 7:9-12 (NKJV)
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, (10) and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (11) All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, (12) saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 14 contains what Revelation 7 contained: the 144,000 Jews that are sealed, and the saints of God after the rapture.
Revelation 14 gives more information about the 144,000.
The vision goes back to the earth in the next verses:
Revelation 14:4-5 (NKJV)
These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. (5) And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault [before the throne of God.]
“Before the throne of God” is not found in most translations, so the scene is speaking of the 144,000 on earth who are found by God to be pure.
Revelation 14:5 (NIV)
No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Revelation 14:5 (NLT)
They have told no lies; they are without blame.
Verse 4 is not saying that they were celibate and never married. It is saying that they did not participate in the lawless, sexual looseness propagated by the antiChrist and his rule.
Sexual promiscuity was so bad during this time that some think it may have even been a part of religion, as all religions sought the same god and worshiped with male and female prostitutes during this time. This is exactly the way it was during Old Testament times and during the 1st century in Rome.
The 144,000 are following the Lamb of God as their shepherd. They refuse to follow the antiChrist and his regime.
Firstfruit to God may indicate that they are evangelizing people during this time after the raptured church has left earth.
Next, three angels have a message to give that is opposite of the message given by the Satan, the False prophet, and the antiChrist:
Revelation 14:6-7 (NKJV)
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — (7) saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
The first angel mentions that God’s judgment is looming for those who refuse to obey Him. This is when the Day of the Lord begins with the 7 trumpets and the vegetation, water, and atmosphere being affected.
Revelation 14:8 (NKJV)
And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
The 2nd angel declares that Babylon is judged and is fallen. Babylon refers to a city in the Middle East, and also to a system of religion and politics that rebels against God, His laws, and His kingdom.
From the beginning of time, this Babylonian system has had two main ideas: create a religious system opposed to God’s kingdom, and create a one-world, lawless government.
Revelation 14:9-11 (NKJV)
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, (10) he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (11) And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
The third angel gives a warning to those who take the mark of the kingdom of the antiChrist. They will go to hell. There is no salvation possible.
The first angel warns that people should trust God, not the kingdom of the antiChrist, which will soon be given over to judgment.
The second angel warns of Babylon’s fall in one day (Rev. 17-18) and of the fall of the one-world government imposed on the world by the antiChrist.
The third angel warns people to refuse the mark given by the antiChrist, or they will receive his judgment in the end.
Some believe that these proclamations may usher in a tremendous revival before the bowl judgments. The third angel speaks a bit more:
Revelation 14:12 (NKJV)
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
This angel encourages people to remain faithful to God in the most difficult time in all of human history.
Revelation 14:13 (NKJV)
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
A comforting voice from heaven now speaks to John, saying that the dead are really alive before God. They endured and now are totally blessed – totally alive!
Now, it is revealed to John that there are two reapings of the earth that will occur:
Revelation 14:14-16 (NKJV)
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. (15) And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (16) So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
This first reaping is the harvest by a rapture of the people who gave their lives to Jesus during the reign of the antiChrist. This happens just before the final bowl judgments.
Notice that there is no mention of judgment on this group of people. These people did not yield to the antiChrist and his rule. They are raptured just like the church is before the trumpet judgments hit in Revelation 8 and 9.
It also includes those who were saved and were martyred after the rapture of the church.
Revelation 14:17-20 (NKJV)
Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. (18) And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” (19) So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. (20) And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
This second reaping is a cleansing of the earth of those who have defiled it by sin, and who have yielded to the antiChrist.
This 2nd reaping includes the bowl judgments and the battle of Armageddon.
In chapter 13, the antiChrist thinks he has conquered, but in chapter 14 it is the Lamb who reigns in the end!