Jesus is Sovereign over the Future (Revelation 4-22), cont’d.
Revelation 14-15 Preparations in Heaven for the Judgment on Earth (Content Chapter)
Chapters 14 and 15 are Content Chapters for events that will take place during the last days of the Great Tribulation…perhaps during chapter 16 (the Bowl Judgments of God). They appear to focus on those events from the perspective of Heaven. John gives us 7 Observations of things that he sees happening...each in connection with the activity of an angel.
Revelation 14:1-5-Observation #1-The Praise of the 144,000
Jesus is standing on “Mount Zion”…speaking of the Holy City in Heaven. With Him are the 144,000 Jewish evangelists that we met in chapter 7 (:1-8). Their work on earth has been completed and they are now in Heaven. Now, along with music being played by heavenly harpists, they sing a song that is written for them alone. Perhaps it is a song speaking of their ministry and exploits...so only they could sing it in the first person (:4-5). They sing this song before the throne of God…in front of an audience of the four living creatures and the elders. These men have remained celibate (:4), having never been married or with a woman in a sexual relationship. This, along with their determination to be men of integrity (:5), may have been a part of their intentional commitment to God…knowing full well the cost that such a commitment would exact upon their lives. They are the “first fruits” of many more Jews who will be saved during the Tribulation (:4).
Revelation 14:6-8-Observation #2-The Last Invitation of the Gospel
An angel flies though mid-heaven (the sky above the earth) and pronounces that the last opportunity that people will have to respond to God's message of salvation is about to take place…”the hour of His judgment has come” (:7).
Another angel follows behind the first and pronounces that God's final judgment is about to begin. There will be no more opportunity to be saved when it is over. This judgment of “Babylon the great” will be described in detail in chapters 17-18.
Revelation 14:9-13-Observation #3-The Warning to not Worship the Beast
An angel follows the first two and pronounces a warning to not worship the Beast. Eternal judgment is pronounced on those who do (:9-11).
The angel also pronounces a blessing on those who "die in the Lord"…those who persevere and are faithful, not succumbing to the trials and persecution that they are facing (:12-13).
Revelation 14:14-20-Observation #4-The Final Harvest of the Earth
John sees Jesus with a sickle in His hand...prepared to "harvest", to pass judgment over the people of the earth. An angel calls out and announces the beginning of the harvest. Jesus begins the harvest. Another angel comes out and he has a sickle. A third angel calls out to the second angel to harvest, and he does. Notice that those that are being harvested are from “the vine of the earth” (:18,19). This vine represents the religions of earth, man-made religion…as compared to the “true vine”, those who have faith in Jesus. Verse 20 suggests that this time of harvest could be a reference to the battle of Armageddon...since it appears to be a heavenly picture of an earthly event currently taking place (16:16; 19:17-19).
Prayer: Lord, I am aware that there will be judgment for those who are believers and for those who are not. Please help me to live in a manner that is honoring to You...so that on that day when I stand before You, You will be pleased with my life.