Revelation 14: Christ Returns

Posted on March 4, 2021

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By David Ettinger

What This Is
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

Read Chapter 4-5 notes here.
Read Chapter 6 notes here.

Read Chapter 7 notes here.
Read Chapter 8 notes here.
Read Chapter 9 notes here.
Read Chapter 10 notes here.
Read Chapter 11 notes here.
Read Chapter 12 notes here.
Read Chapter 13 notes here.

Overview
Chapter 14 is a preview of:

1) Christ at His coming.

2) The judgment of the wicked.

Also in view are the major elements of end-time judgment, which are:

1) The 144,000 as a token of God’s delivering power.

2) The prediction of the fall of Babylon (the false world religious system).

3) The doom of the armies that oppose Christ at His second coming.

4) Judgment of the world leader (the Antichrist) and his “prophet.”

5) The blessedness of those who die in the Great Tribulation.

6) The judgment of God on apostasy and blasphemy.

Verse 1
* Just as those who follow the Antichrist will have the mark of the beast, so the 144,000 will have the mark of Jesus and of God.

* Having the name of Jesus and God written on their foreheads indicates possession and safety.

* These are Jewish believers in Christ.

Verse 2
* The sounds John hears are a demonstration of God’s power.

* NOTE: We see the Antichrist as the “beast out of the sea” and his prophet as the “beast out of the earth,” but we see the Lamb’s power as coming out of Heaven.

* Odd imagery: The sound is like rushing waters and peals of thunder, but also like that of harpists playing their harps.

Verse 3
* “And they sang a new song.”

* Some believe the “heavenly choir” is singing. The choir, many believe, is made up of the martyred saints of Revelation 7:9-17.

* In Revelation 5:9-10, we see the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders singing a song. Here, the song is sung before, or to, the 4 living creatures and 24 elders.

* Only the 144,000 can learn the song.

Verse 4
* The 144,000 not defiling themselves with women probably refers to their spiritual state.

* See Ezekiel 16:30-33; 38-39.

* Not defiling themselves probably means they did not take the mark of the beast as did much of world in Chapter 13.

* They have remained pure and faithful to God.

* The firstfruit: In ancient Israel, when the barley harvest came up out of the ground, one was to cut the firstfruit – or first sheaf – give it to the priest to wave before the Lord, and the Lord would accept it. When God accepted it, it was a sign that more would follow (Leviticus 23:9-14).

* It could well be that the 144,000 are the first of all the Jewish people who will come to Christ at the end of the age.

* Zechariah 13:8 tells us that two-thirds of the Jewish will be destroyed, but that one-third will be redeemed.

Verse 5
* In Ephesians 1:4, 5:27, and Jude 24, we are told that Christians should be holy, blameless, and without fault.

Verse 6
* The Eternal Gospel is being proclaimed.

* Even though the Gospel is being proclaimed to all the inhabitants of Earth, the context is not one of salvation.

Verse 7
* The primary message is that God is getting ready to judge the wicked.

* The Gospel is indeed God’s “Good News” to those who have believed in it during the Great Tribulation, because their deliverance is near.

* It is interesting to note, however, that the command to worship God is issued, that salvation will seemingly still be offered until the very end.

* Ultimately, though, this is a pronouncement of judgment.

Verse 8
* The second angel announces the fall of Babylon the Great.

* Babylon the Great is the world’s false religious system.

* This false religious system, in one way or another, has consumed all of the world’s nations.

* NOTE: The announcement that Babylon has fallen doesn’t indicate that we are at the end of the Great Tribulation and that the fall already occurred. The message is more like: “The Lord has returned, and you, Babylon, are as good as dead.”

* The fall of Babylon is recorded in Chapter 18.

Verse 9
* Those sentenced to judgment are identified as those who have:

1) Worshiped the beast and his image.

2) Received the mark of the beast.

Verse 10
* The cup of God’s fury is being poured out “full strength,” which means “undiluted.”

* In 1 Timothy 5:23, when Paul urges Timothy to take a little wine for his various illnesses, the wine referred to is diluted, possibly as much as 9 parts water to 1 part wine. In verse 10 of Revelation, however, we see God’s wrath as being totally undiluted, at full strength.

* We also see the “cup of God’s wrath” vividly in Jeremiah 25:15-29.
* The torment of those who follow the beast is painfully described.

* Though the concept of eternal punishment is difficult for many to receive, it is clearly taught in the Bible.

Verse 11
* Interpretation: Those who take the mark of the beat will be consigned to Hell, to eternal damnation.

* There is a tremendous somberness in this verse.

* NOTE: Those who are of God and suffer – both now and during the Great Tribulation – will suffer for only a short while. But those who take the mark of the beast will suffer for eternity.

* We see Hell as a place of constant, ceaseless torment.

Verse 12
* The message to the believer is patience, to be an overcome, to be true to God and God alone. There are going to be great difficulties, but ride them out.

* Those who suffer from the hand of Satan and wicked men and women during the Great Tribulation can take comfort in the fact that their sufferings will be temporary.

Verse 13
* A voice from Heaven now addresses those saints who are being persecuted.

* “Blessed are those who die in the Lord …” A reminder that there will be martyrs (Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:7).

* “Blessed” can mean “living.” There is almost a play on words here that says, “Living are the dead in Christ.”

* The basic message of this verse is that death will be better than life to the believer in the Great Tribulation because those who die pass onto the blessing of the Lord.

Verses 14-20

* This section covers 2 aspects of the Great Tribulation period:

1) 2 reapings of the Earth.

2) An overall vision of Armageddon and God’s judgment of Earth.

Verse 14
* “White Cloud”: Clouds represent God’s glory (Exodus 13:21; Matthew 24:31; Acts 1:9). White represents God’s purity.

* “Son of Man”: Daniel 7:13; Matthew 25:31. This title of Jesus refers to His coming to Earth as a man and identifying Himself with the human race.

* “Crown of gold”: Jesus as King.

* “Sickle”: Jesus to “harvest” Earth.

Verse 15
* The temple referred to here is probably the one in Jerusalem since verse 17 specifically mentions a temple in Heaven. If so, this would be an indication that the angel is signaling that everything on Earth is ready, or “ripe.”

* It is time for judgment.

Verse 16
* This is a gathering of the wicked for judgment.

* Note the swiftness by which the reaping occurs.

* This could be a fulfillment of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30).

Verse 17
* The next angel we see is from Heaven. It is as if a representative from Heaven is saying, “Everything is in order up here, you can continue with your work down on Earth.”

* The sharp sickle indicates more judgment, judgment of a more severe nature.

Verse 18
* The next angel, who has charge of the fire, could well represent the means by which judgment will fall upon Earth during the Great Tribulation (2 Peter 3:10).

* The altar is the place of sacrifice. There is about to be a huge sacrifice on Earth, a sacrifice consisting of millions of human lives.

* This angel seems to work in tandem with angel of verse 17, giving him the order to carry out his judgment.

* The symbolism of harvesting grapes is used as an illustration of divine judgment on Earth.

* The evil of the world and of humanity has come to its ripest point, a point where God can judge it at the time of Armageddon.

Verse 19
* The angel of verse 17 begins the action of judgment.

* The grapes are wicked men and women.

* The winepress represents God’s wrath.

Verse 20
* This is a picture of the final world battle at Armageddon.

ARMAGEDDON

* From the Hebrew Har (mountain) Megiddo (an ancient city). In the Greek, the H in Har is dropped and the word translates as Armageddon.

* Mount Megiddo is the southern rim of the Esdralon Valley, which is a very large valley.

* From that mountain, one can see any army trying to enter Israel.

* More wars have been fought in the Esdralon Valley than on any spot on Earth.

* Napoleon called it the most natural battlefield in the world.

* It is where the final world battle will occur, where the armies of Earth will all converge.

THE FINAL BATTLE

* The final battle will take place in an area spread out over 180 miles.

* The blood rising as high as a horse’s bridle (about 4½ feet) does not mean there will be a 180-mile by 4½ -foot high area of blood.

* The imagery is of a winepress squeezing grapes. When the grapes are squeezed, the juice splashes up. The final battle will be so fierce that the blood – when trampled upon – will splash up as high as a horse’s bridle.