People's New Testament
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
14:1 The Triumph of Christ SUMMARY OF REVELATION 14: The Lamb and His Saints on Mt. Zion. The New Song. The Angel of the Everlasting Gospel. Blessed Are Those That Die in the Lord. The Son of Man in the Clouds. The Harvest of the Earth. The Elect Gathered. The Clusters of the Vine of the Earth Cut Off. Trodden Down in the Wine-Press. And I looked, and, lo. This is the usual formula in Revelation which introduces a new vision. The Lamb stood. In Re 13:11, a false lamb has been seen, one that had a voice like a dragon. Here, in contrast, is seen the Lamb of God, the same as in Re 5:6,7, taking the book with seven seals. On the Mount Sion. Here and in Heb 12:22 are the only places in the New Testament where this expression occurs. It is equivalent to the Jerusalem above of Ga 4:26 Heb 12:22. Mount Zion, the city of the great King, the seat of the worship of God in Jerusalem, was a type, and is used as a symbol of the true Church. In Heb 12:22, the saints who have entered into the covenant of Christ are said to have come, not to the mount that could not be touched, but to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. It is there used for the church of the saints, and such is its meaning in the passage. With him an hundred and forty four thousand, etc. In Re 7:4 the same number are spoken of as sealed from the twelve tribes of Israel. It means there, a great, indefinite number. Here, I take that the meaning is the same. It is a great multitude, a round number, who are associated with the Lamb.
And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven. Whose voice is not stated, but it was a mighty voice, the voice of harpers harping with their harps. Always when great triumph are achieved or about to be achieved, heaven rings with the praises of singers. Compare Re 5:8,9 7:10-12 11:17
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne. A song that has some new features. It was sung in the presence of the Father and the attending princes of heaven. No man could learn that song but the hundred and forty four thousand. None could understand the song but them, those who had been redeemed.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women. This thought is always a symbol of purity of life; of refusing sinful intercourse with the world. Spiritual adultery or fornication is being wedded to the world and partaking of its sins. For they are virgins. This term is a symbol, and means that their lives are not defiled by the world. See 2Co 11:2. Being the firstfruits unto God, and to the Lamb. First fruits were always dedicated to God. See Nu 18:12. These holy ones are set apart and dedicated to God and the Lamb.
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
14:5 For they are without fault before the throne of God. This verse states that their lives were holy and pleasing to God and the Lamb.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven. I saw another angel flying in mid heaven (Revised Version). An angel is a messenger. Any agency that does God's work or carries his message may be an angel. This angel is a symbol. (1) His flying indicates some movement or change that shall take place with great rapidity. (2) The fact that he has the everlasting gospel shows that the movement symbolized is the evangelization of the world. (3) That the movement will be world wide is shown in that he speaks to all races. (4) His proclamation shows that he not only offers the glad tidings, but declares the consequences of their rejection. Having the everlasting gospel to preach to them. This all implies that the purification of the Church will be followed by a mighty gospel impulse which will sweep over the world. There is a sublime missionary spirit on the part of the revived Church. Full of zeal, breathing the spirit of the Master, permeated with the apostolic spirit, as in the days of old it will go everywhere preaching the world. The old, old story told by a holy people, told with a burning zeal and overflowing love, shall exhibit its divine power in the salvation of the nations.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
14:8 There followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen. As a result of the great gospel revival shown in Re 14:6,7, the city of sin, here called Babylon, but called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (Re 11:8) shall fall. Because she made all nations drink of the wine of wrath. So called either because her wrath was manifested in persecution against those who refused to drink, or because the wine of God's wrath shall be poured on her. See Re 14:10. Of her fornication. This Babylon was a city of fornication, of unholy alliance with the world, wedded to the prince of this world instead of to Christ, and made the nations sin with her, or drink her wine.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
14:9 And the third angel followed them. This angel proclaims God's judgment on all that worshippeth the beast and his image. See Re 13:8.
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Those who received the mark of the beast, worshiped the beast, drank the wine of Babylon, shall drink the wine of God's wrath. His judgments shall be poured out on them. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone. These are symbols, just as wine and cup are symbols. The meaning is that they shall suffer bitter anguish.
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. This is also a symbol suggested by fire and brimstone. The thought of this verse is the eternal unrest and pain of those who have followed the beast.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
14:12 Here is the patience of the saints. The thought that the enemies who oppress them and torture them will be finally utterly overcome gives the saints patience to endure.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
14:13 I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write. We are not told whose voice, but it is a voice of authority. The words to be written are next stated. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Not all the dead, but those dead who die in the Lord. Only those die in the Lord who are in the Lord when they die. The Christian life, begun by faith and baptism into Christ (Ro 6:3), is a life in Christ. To be assured of this blessed death one must live a Christian life. From henceforth. Probably from the time of this utterance to John, though some have supposed that the time meant is that of the Lord's coming, which is declared in Re 14:14. Yea, saith the Spirit. The Spirit confirms the blessing pronounced and states the reason. That they may rest from their labours. Yet though they rest their labors are not lost; they follow them to eternity to speak for them.
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
14:14 Upon the cloud one sat like the Son of Man. Jesus has himself said that the Son of man shall be seen coming upon the clouds of heaven (Mt 24:30). John here sees the Son of Man sitting upon a white cloud. The Savior said that his coming shall be with great power and glory (Mt 24:30). John now sees upon the head of the Son of man a golden crown. The Savior said that he will send his angels to gather the elect (Mt 24:31). John hears an angel bid him who sat upon the cloud, to reap the earth, for its harvest was ripe.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
14:15 Thrust in thy sickle, and reap. There is gathered first the ripened harvest of the elect of God. It is an angel that came out of the temple of God as a messenger of God, carrying to the Son the Father's command to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth. Then a longing, waiting Church, loving the appearing of the Son of man (2Ti 4:8), shall first be gathered into the heavenly garner. The ripe sheaves are gathered.
And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
14:16 And the earth was reaped. The harvest of souls is ended forever. But those who are upon the earth shall not be taken before them that are asleep (1Th 4:15). At the voice of the archangel the dead shall wake from their long sleep in the embrace of earth. Death shall be swallowed up in victory (1Co 15:54). See also Re 14:13.
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
14:17 Another angel came out of the temple... having a sharp sickle. The ripened harvest of the saints has been gathered first. That was symbolized in Re 14:14-16. The gathering of the wicked to judgment is now shown in the symbols. Another angel comes forth with a sickle in his hand. Christ, by his angels, was the great reaper of the righteous harvest. They that are Christ's are gathered by him at his coming, but the wicked are gathered by another, here presented as an angel reaper.
And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
14:18 Another angel came out from the altar. The altar of burnt offerings.
Which had the power over fire. This angel, one that has power over fire, comes forth from the altar where fire was kept burning. Fire is an emblem of punishment, of destruction.
Thrust in thy sickle. He bids the angel who holds the sickle to begin his work, to put forth his sickle and cut off
the clusters of the vine of the earth for they are ripe. Grapes are chosen as a symbol of the wicked because of their harmony with the figure that describes the fate of the wicked. The vine of the earth means the world that lieth in sin, earth being used in an unfavorable sense thus far in Revelation.
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
14:19 Cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. They were cast into the wine-press, then trodden under foot, and from the bruised and bleeding mass ran red juice like blood. The symbol implied delivery over to punishment and destruction. As the grapes were trodden and crushed in the wine-press, so the clusters of the vine of the earth (Re 14:18) are crushed under the wrath of God.
And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
14:20 And the winepress was trodden without the city. The city, whenever it is not shown to be a wicked city, is Jerusalem, the Apocalyptic symbol of the Church. These judgments are without the church, judgments upon the world.
And blood came out of the winepress. This is what John saw. The pressed juice of the grapes ran out red like blood, and ran in a mighty stream, deep as the bridle bits of the horses,
a thousand and six hundred furlongs; about 200 miles. There has been much discussion concerning what this distance signifies. Some have cited the fact that Palestine is about 200 miles long, and held that a fearful carnage in that country is predicted. Others have noted the fact that Italy is about 200 miles wide, and held that this country is to be the scene of a terrible conflict. In my opinion, the whole is symbolic of the terrible judgments of the wicked in that day. The figure, 40 x 40, or 4 x 4, multiplied by 10 x 10, imply the universality of the judgment. The four quarters, the four winds, the four corners of the earth are often mentioned, and four is held to be an Apocalyptical symbol of the earth, while ten, like seven, is a perfect, or sacred number.