GOD’S VICTORY ON MOUNT ZION REVELATION 14
- High on A Hilltop. (1-3)
a. A Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand: These 144,000 were last seen in Revelation 7, where they were identified as a group of Jewish believers who minister during the great tribulation and are given a seal of protection throughout that period. Since they stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb, it shows that they emerge victorious from the great tribulation. The beast of Revelation 13 certainly has not defeated the 144,000; here they are triumphant, worshipping, and standing firm with Jesus.
i. Revelation 14 will answer two important questions raised by Revelation 13. The beast of Revelation 13 was terrifying and awesome; he even can make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). So it is fair to ask, “Is the beast completely victorious over all God’s people?” The presence of the 144,000 on Mount Zion with the Lamb emphatically says “no.” The second question has to do with this Satanic dictator himself: “What happens to the beast and his followers?” The rest of Revelation 14 will answer that question.
ii. In Revelation 7, the 144,000 are seen at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. In Revelation 14, it shows them in triumph at the end of the Great Tribulation.
b. Standing on Mount Zion: They gathered on Mount Zion because Zion – the ancient name for the hills that make up Jerusalem – is the place where the Messiah gathers His redeemed and reigns over the earth (Psalm 48, Isaiah 24:23, Joel 2:32, Obadiah 17 and 21, Micah 4:1, 4:7).
The 144,000 are like the young Jewish men who survived the fiery furnace in Daniel 3:19-25. They prove God’s ability to preserve His people.
c. Having His Father’s name written on their foreheads: The followers of Satan and the beast may have a mark on their hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16-17). But this mark is just a copy of the idea behind the identifying mark on the foreheads of each one of the 144,000, showing that they belong to the Father.
- “And who were these people, ‘having his Father’s name written in their foreheads? Those which have accepted Christ as savior.
- The voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder: This is the voice of God (Revelation 1:15and 4:5). Perhaps God spoke here to proclaim His approval of these 144,000 faithful servants in the spirit of Matthew 25:21: Well done, good and faithful servant.
e. And I heard the sound of harps playing: We remember that the elders of Revelation 5:8 have harps. Perhaps this is where their music is heard, to accompany the worshipful singing of the 144,000 as they sing a new song, unique to them.
f. And they sang as it were a new song before the throne: In Revelation 14:1, the 144,000 have their feet firmly planted on an earthly Mount Zion. Yet their praise takes them right to the presence of God, right before the throne. In our praise and worship, we really can transport ourselves and be heard in heavenly places.
“Heaven is not the place to learn that song; it must be learned on the earth. You must learn here the notes of free grace and dying love; and when you have mastered their melody, you will be able to offer to the Lord the tribute of a grateful heart, even in heaven, and blend it with the harmonies eternal.” (Spurgeon)
2. (4-5) The description of the 144,000.
These are the ones who were not defiled with the “world church”, Rev. 14:8; 17:1-5. 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. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
b. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes: These 144,000 are of Jewish heritage (Revelation 7:4-8). Yet they are also clearly believers in Jesus, otherwise they would not stand with the Lamb, follow the Lamb wherever He goes, and could not be without fault before the throne of God.
i. Each of the vast multitude saved during the Tribulation will be saved in exactly the same manner as anyone today: by grace, through a personal faith in Jesus Christ unto salvation. Even though the rapture of the church ends God’s dealings with the church as such on the earth, it certainly does not change the way people come to salvation or become part of the larger family of God, which includes all the redeemed, before and after the church.
c. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb: Because the 144,000 are the beginnings of a greater harvest they are firstfruits, the “godly nucleus of Israel which is the token of redemption of the nation.” (Walvoord)
B. Holler From Heaven. (6-7)
Because the judgment of God is so evident on the earth in great tribulation, it is no wonder why the crowd of those saved through the great tribulation can’t be numbered (Revelation 7:9-14).
1. An angel preaches the gospel. Some today like to identify their ministry or technology with this angel flying in the midst of heaven. One prominent television ministry named the satelite they use “Angel One” in a hoped-for fulfillment of this verse. The desire to connect contemporary technology or events with this angel is nothing new. Adam Clarke, writing from the late 18th century says, “But the vision seems truly descriptive of a late institution, entitled The British and Foreign Bible Society, whose object it is to print and circulate the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, through all the habitable world, and in all the languages spoken on the face of the earth.”
ii. John Trapp, writing in the late 17th century, saw a fulfillment of his own: “This is held to be John Wicliff, who wrote more than two hundred volumes against the pope, and was a means of much good to many.”
b. Fear God and give glory to Him: This is what the angel will tell the whole world to do. They can do this and give glory to God and worship Him willingly in this life, or be compelled to give glory to Him later. Philippians 2:9-11 sWherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
iii. John says this is the everlasting gospel, and it may sound different that the gospel we hear preached today. It isn’t all that different. To every nation, tribe, tongue, and people: This can be a valid fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 24:14that the gospel would be preached to all the world before His second coming. But this can never be a valid excuse for neglecting the urgency of missions. God has not given the responsibility for spreading the Gospel to angels, but unto His people.
i. However, this is the only place in the New Testament where we see angels preaching the Gospel. In God’s sublime wisdom, He has chosen to give that responsibility to people alone, apart from the rarest of exceptions.
2. (8) An angel announces Babylon’s fall.
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.”
a. Babylon is fallen: More on Babylon will come in Revelation 17. For now, it is enough to see it representing mankind in organized rebellion against God.
i. “Prophetically, ‘Babylon’ sometimes refers to a literal city, sometimes to a religious system, sometime the modern church, sometimes to a political system, all stemming from the evil character of historic Babylon.” (Walvoord)
b. Because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication: When we are told that Babylon has led all nations into fornication, the main idea is spiritual fornication – the worship of other gods. However, we are never surprised to see spiritual fornication accompanied with literal immorality.
3. (9-11) A third angel warns of coming judgment.ark will be clear enough.
i. Although, receiving the mark may seem innocent enough to those who dwell on the earth. In their eyes it may not seem like much more that a mere pledge of allegiance and devotion to the Antichrist and his government. It was the same way in the first few centuries of Christianity, when to burn a pinch of incense to an image of Caesar, and to pledge “Caesar is Lord” was regarded as an innocent act of civic duty to the ancient pagans.
b. 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: the wine of the wrath of God(full strength.).
- The idea that God holds a cup of wrath, which He makes those under judgment drink is expressed more than thirteen times in the Bible (Psalm 75:8 and Jeremiah 25:15 are examples).
- The ancient Greek word orge is the common word for God’s anger in the New Testament. The ancient word thymos is used only 11 times, and 10 of the 11 are in Revelation. Usually, God’s anger towards sinners does not flash against them; it is simply His settled opposition against sin and unrighteousness. But in the Book of Revelation, which so clearly describes God’s ultimate judgment, the term for passionate anger is used much more often.
v. “In describing the worshippers of the beast, the word worship as well as the word receive in verse 11 is in the present tense emphasizing continued worship of the beast over a long period of time… the same present tense is used in describing their torment. As the worship of the beast is not interrupted by repentance, so their torment is not interrupted when repentance is too late.” (Walvoord)
4. (12-13) The blessedness of the saints, even in the Great Tribulation.
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 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.”
ai. We can only imagine what courage and comfort this passage will give embattled, persecuted saints during the Great Tribulation. Clearly, God wants to encourage His people to be steadfast in times of trial, focused on what blessed rest and reward awaits them in eternity.
C. Harvest Time (14-16)
a. On the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle: Some find it difficult to see Jesus as the One gathering the harvest here. They have a hard time with Jesus responding to another angel who came out of the temple. But it is unlikely that anyone called the Son of Man, and wearing a golden crown is anyone but Jesus.
b. For the harvest of the earth is ripe: This ancient Greek word for ripe has a negative sense, “to become dry or withered.” The idea is of something that is over-ripe. This means that God will judge the earth only when it is over-ripe for judgment. He doesn’t rush into judgment.
(17-20) The winepress of God.
a. Another angel who came out from the altar, who had power over fire: “These allusions seem to indicate that the angel is acting in response to the prayers of the saints for divine judgment on wickedness.Rev. 6:10”
b. The great winepress of the wrath of God: This vivid picture of judgment was the inspiration for The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
He is trampling out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on!
c. Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe: The image of the Second Coming of Jesus as a harvest is also communicated in Matthew 13:24-30 and 13:36-43, with the parable of the wheat and the tares. The implication is that true believers will not be separated from those who merely go to church until the final harvest.
“What strength have grapes against the weight and power of a man when he comes to set his feet upon them? And the riper they are, the more helpless… The heel of Omnipotence is upon them, and they can only break and sink beneath it.” (Seiss)
d. Blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs: This probably describes blood splatteringup to the horses’ bridles, a picture of tremendous carnage in the battle of Armageddon described in Revelation 16:16 and 19:11-19. It is not likely a description of a river of blood running the length of the Promised Land and as high as a horse’s bridle is. This would be an almost incomprehensible river of blood.
i. In ancient times, a battle area extending one thousand six hundred furlongs (approximately 200 miles) was beyond all known conflict – but not in modern warfare. “The area covered, 1,600 furlongs, is approximately 200 miles, and specifies that the area within a 200-mile radius from Jerusalem will be gathered at the time of the second coming of Christ.” (Walvoord)
ii. But this vivid, powerful description shows how complete the judgment of God is. Revelation 14 is the perfect answer to Revelation 13. At the end of Revelation 13, it almost seemed like Satan and the Antichrist might win. But Revelation 14 shows who is really triumphant, powerful, and in control: God, His Messiah, and His people; not Satan, his messiah (the Antichrist) and his followers.
Victory Baptist Church 14 August 2019 victory palmetto.com