Revelation #24 Revelation 14:1 End Times Final Warning


Revelation #24  Revelation 14:1 End Times Final Warning


We’ve made some significant headway in making sense of the figurative language John is using giving us another understanding of who Jesus is. We identified the Dragon as Satan, the Beast from the Sea as the Roman Empire as personified in the Roman Emperor, and the Beast from the Earth as the religious system that supports the Beast from the Sea, the system of Emperor and Empire worship.  We also explained the Mark of the Beast, the 666.  We suggested that since 7 is the number for completion and perfection, 6 isn’t a 7, a 6 is symbolic of the incomplete and the imperfect.  Six hundred sixty-six is a number of complete and utter failure.  The Dragon’s war against believers will not be successful, the Beasts will come to ruin and defeat.


Chapter 11 ended with a song of victory after the 7th trumpet sounded.  If John was writing another series of 7, chapter 12 would have been the start of the sequence. Chapter 14 can be likened to the 6th event or perspective.  John’s vision starts with a look into heaven, some good news, and then the intense time happening on the earth.  A new character comes into play named Babylon.  This is all followed by what we can understand as the 7th event which gives us a glimpse of the culmination of God’s plan.


Revelation 14:1-5 (MSG)

I saw—it took my breath away!—the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, One Hundred and Forty-four Thousand standing there with him, his Name and the Name of his Father inscribed on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice out of Heaven, the sound like a cataract, like the crash of thunder.


The Beast from the Earth, religious authority, has marked all the inhabitants of the world, all those that worship the Beast from the Sea, civil authority, who receive all its power from Satan. For those who worship the Beast, the mark is a sign of triumph, but 666 ironically is the brand that signifies failure. So again, John’s symmetry comes into play.  One group is the Beast with all its branded followers.  The other group is the Lamb with all His sealed followers.


The Lamb is standing on Mount Zion.  In the Old Testament Mount Zion is often a simile for Jerusalem. Jerusalem was built upon Zion. Today a Zionist is a person who adheres to Jewish customs.  Zionists can take on all kinds of political agendas but what we need to see is that Zion refers to Jerusalem.  That the Lamb stands upon Mount Zion informs us that John is not writing about the physical city of Jerusalem.  Later in his vision, John sees a new Jerusalem.  This new Jerusalem is the counterbalance to Babylon introduced in this chapter. The Lamb is standing victorious.  12 is the number that stands for the people of God, how many stand with the Lamb? 12 times 12 and that a thousand times over, a multitude too large to count. The seal of God is on their foreheads.  Now you certainly can understand literally that there is some sort of seal signifying ownership and the protection of God imprinted on foreheads. We are much better off understanding this seal as yet another metaphor that speaks of one’s spiritual transformation and allegiance to God that comes when a person bends their knee to the Lordship of Christ.  Or better still, this seal could also be understood as the indwelling Holy Spirit. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote that when you bend the knee to Jesus, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). The loud voice, is the unified voice of the redeemed shouting their praise to the Lamb just before they burst into song.


Revelation 14:2b-5

And then I heard music, harp music and the harpists singing a new song before the Throne and the Four Animals and the Elders. Only the Hundred and Forty-four Thousand could learn to sing the song. They were bought from earth, lived without compromise, virgin-fresh before God. Wherever the Lamb went, they followed. They were bought from humankind, first fruits of the harvest for God and the Lamb. Not a false word in their mouths. A perfect offering.


Harp music is always the music of praise. The voices of the multitude sync up and begin to sing a new song.  The old song may have dealt with the persecution and suffering endured while waiting for Jesus' return. This new song is about His triumph and deliverance, redemption, and salvation of the believers. From the earth, every race, every language, every time that has lived righteously, that has lived without compromise, without giving into the demands of the Beasts, are here. When we read the Revelation, we must realize that once we get to chapter 4 time is not sequential, that what we read does not necessarily move from time A to time B, events building upon one another, John’s vision is very fluid, moving through time back and forth as well as from heaven to earth and back again. This being the case, we are safe with the conclusion that the 144,000 singers represent all believers from all times.  That they are brought from the earth may well mean that they accepted God’s invitation in Christ and have been brought out of unbelief into a right relationship with God.


Virgin-fresh has caused a lot of excitement through the centuries as folks have offered explanations.  The New International Version translates verse 4 as “These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.”  Well, then, only men are saved, and only celibate men are saved. Makes you wonder if 144,000 might be a bit inflated.  You box yourself into conundrums when you decide to understand Revelation literally. The better understanding of virgin-fresh comes from the Old Testament where idolatry and adultery are tied together.  A person is committed to God but commits spiritual adultery if they worship some idol.  No gender is involved, it’s all about spiritual fidelity.


Things have moved from rough times to intense times and now before the catastrophic times, God orchestrates one more call to enter into a right relationship with Him.


It is God’s will that no one should choose to perish (2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16, Ezekiel 18:32). That everyone lives in the light and love of His presence. 

Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV)

'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!


A person decides to turn when they bend the knee to the Lordship of Christ.  The choice to make is a commitment to forsake sinful dysfunction and align themselves with Kingdom values found through obedience to God’s commands and the teachings of Christ.


God gives the final call before the door of grace is closed.  God’s angelic messengers bring the final call to repentance, proclaim the fall of  Babylon, and the coming of judgment based on people’s personal decisions.


Rev 14:6-11 (MSG)

I saw another Angel soaring in Middle Heaven. He had an Eternal Message to preach to all who were still on earth, every nation and tribe, every tongue and people. He preached in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory! His hour of judgment has come! Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and freshwater!"


Worship is giving God His due.  Worship is recognizing who God is, Creator, Maker, Redeemer, Sovereign, the One who will complete His plan for humanity.  This is the final call for repentance, the last chance to turn from the Beast and run to the Lamb.


8 A second Angel followed, calling out, "Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon ruined! She made all the nations drunk on the wine of her whoring!"


We will read more about Babylon the Great in chapters 17 and 18.  It will be made clear then, for now, we need to understand that Babylon is another city reference.  Jesus stands upon New Jerusalem; the Beast stands upon Babylon.  Babylon represents wealth, power, and moral corruption, all culture that is in opposition to God (Daniel 4:28-31).  It is spiritually the place of humanity’s captivity.  John uses the name as a cover for Rome. John calls the city Babylon the Great; the Great part is a bit of sarcasm because the culture, the society, may think it is great but it is a cesspool of spiritual corruption. 


9 A third Angel followed, shouting, warning, "If anyone worships the Beast and its image and takes the mark on forehead or hand, that person will drink the wine of God's wrath, prepared unmixed in his chalice of anger, and suffer torment from fire and brimstone in the presence of Holy Angels, in the presence of the Lamb. Smoke from their torment will rise age after age. No respite for those who worship the Beast and its image, who take the mark of its name."


This third angel foretells the fate awaiting all those who worship the Beast. If you failed to worship the Beast you were prohibited from buying and selling and be put to physical death.  Here is a reversal, the warning is if you worship the Beast, it is you who will suffer death, a spiritual death.


Three is a God number.  What we can surmise from three angels is that it is God’s message to the world to repent, realize the mess they are in as symbolized by living in Babylon, and what will happen if they don’t repent.  This is God’s fair warning, yet another expression of His love for His creation, His love for you.  The message of the angels is God’s attempt to urge people to get right with Him before it’s too late.


Revelation 14:12-13 (MSG)


12 Meanwhile, the saints stand passionately patient, keeping God's commands, staying faithful to Jesus.


John again reiterates his message to believers.  The Beast whom we can call the anti-Christ, for John the Roman Empire and its Emperor, and the second Beast, for John the demand of Empire and Emperor worship, and Babylon, for John the city of Rome itself have conspired together to make a commitment to Christ very costly.  If we pluck John's vision out of time and we see the Beast, the anti-Christ as civil authority, the ruling elite, the government, that is opposed to God’s rule, and the second beast as religious authority that supports civil authority and understand Babylon to represent any culture or society that has rejected God as a whole, this message becomes timeless.  It speaks to every generation that reads it. The pressure exerted by the Dragon through the Beasts and the society driven by egoism is immense. Give in, compromise, worship your God, but also the Beast, and indulge in all the activities of a godless society, it’s your right, it’s your choice. Come on in the water is fine, everybody is doing it.


John’s word is the same for every generation.  Meanwhile, while all hell is breaking loose in the world around us, stand passionately in your faith. Passion is such a powerful force, passion is what you are emotionally invested in, and it stirs your inner world, an integral part of who you are. Faith is trust in God that moves you to action, so much more than just believing, faith is the way of living your life. In the rough, intense, and catastrophic times, it is faith that keeps you on the right path.  Job in a catastrophic time said: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him… Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance…” (Job 13:15-16).


The hard times mean you must be patient.  Things always move too slowly when you are in hard times.  While you are forced to be patient, you are to keep God’s commands.  Temptation’s question is “If this is what happens when I am obedient to God, why bother?” Those who are patient, long-suffering, and continue to obey are demonstrating their loyalty to Jesus. As we will read for those who remain loyal there is an ultimate victory coming.


We will pick up on verse 13 next time as we consider the great harvest.


The biggest takeaway from what we have explored today is to live a life of no compromise.  Because of the subtleties of the enemy, this requires you to partner with the Holy Spirit to discern in all your interactions with the world and its systems what is in accord with God’s values from what are anti-Christ values.


Victory belongs to those who obey God’s commands and remain faithful to Jesus.


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