In our study of Revelation chapter fourteen, John gives us an overview of the coming harvest of the earth. This harvest is when those that have rejected God's grace and mercy receive their just punishment. This chapter gives us the big picture and the next six chapters will fill in more of the details.
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Then I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Tziyon; and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.
In chapter 13, we were introduced to the unholy trinity and saw that they were given power for a period of time. Here, we see an end to that period of time as Yeshua shows up on Mount Zion. With him are the 144,000 Jewish witnesses that we were introduced to in chapter 7.
I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing waters and like the sound of pealing thunder; the sound I heard was also like that of harpists playing on their harps.
The great celebration is starting as the redeemed know that Yeshua is about to deal with the devil and the beasts. It was loud but it was also beautiful as they worship God.
They were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living beings and the elders, and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who have been ransomed from the world.
The witnesses sang a song that God had given only to them as they were unique in the mission that he had given them. There are those that have misinterpreted this verse and twist it to say that there will only be 144,000 people saved but that is not what it is saying at all.
These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been ransomed from among humanity as firstfruits for God and the Lamb on their lips no lie was found - they are without defect.
During this time of Great Tribulation, the sexual immorality will be so great but these witnesses remained pure. The firstfruits were the choicest part of the harvest as they were picked at just the right time. These men were totally sold out to Yeshua and were found blameless because their actions matched their faith in Yeshua Messiah.
Next I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven with everlasting Good News to proclaim to those living on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people.
Now, we are introduced to the first angel of this chapter and this angel is to share the gospel with all of the earth. There have been many people who have said that Yeshua would not come back today because not all peoples have heard the gospel. But, at the appointed time, all people will here as this angel will fly over all the earth and proclaim the gospel. It could happen today!
In a loud voice he said, "Fear God, give him glory, for the hour has come when he will pass judgment! Worship the One who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!"
The message that the angel shares with those that are left on the earth is a simple call to worship the Creator. That is why we were created and it is a call to get back to the way it was before sin entered the world.
Another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "She has fallen! She has fallen! Bavel the Great! She made all the nations drink the wine of God's fury caused by her whoring!"
We are introduced to the second angel that is flying over the earth. This angel is announcing the end of the world system of idolatry that was set up by the beasts and Satan.
Another angel, a third one, followed them and said in a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will indeed drink the wine of God's fury poured undiluted into the cup of his rage.
The third angel tells of the punishment for those that worship the beast. All of God's fury is going to be poured out on them as well. This is a final warning to the people as they have heard the gospel.
He will be tormented by fire and sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb, and the smoke from their tormenting goes up forever and ever. They have no rest, day or night, those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of its name."
The third angel goes into detail about the coming punishment for those that worship the beast. Many don't accept the fact that there is a hell and it is not a place where you want to be. Many even think that it is a place where the party and sins that you lived in on the earth just continue but, here, we see the reality which is unending torment.
This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God's people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua's faithfulness.
This verse is talking about the Christians that are left on the earth at this time which are the 144,000 Jewish witnesses. They will need to stand strong through this awful period.
Next I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write: 'How blessed are the dead who die united with the Lord, from now on!' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'now they may rest from their efforts, for the things they have accomplished follow along with them.'"
Happy is the man who dies and knows Christ? Yes, and they get to rest from the struggles with sin and Satan. Their works will be judged on the last day when they will receive their rewards. (see Revelation 20)
Then I looked, and there before me was a white cloud. Sitting on the cloud was someone like a Son of Man with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
The whole earth has been warned and now it is time for the judgment. John saw Yeshua returning on a cloud just as the prophet Daniel had seen (in Daniel 7:13). Yeshua is carrying a sickle which is a sharp tool that was used to cut down standing grain for the harvest.
Another angel came out of the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, "Start using your sickle to reap, because the time to reap has come - the earth's harvest is ripe!"
Another angel came from the temple in heaven to tell Yeshua it is time for the harvest. That is what Yeshua was talking about when he said that he did not know the day and the hour (see Matthew 24:36). Even today, there are many people trying to say that they know the day but, when those predictions fail, we see the truth in the word of God.
The one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
The first step in the harvest is to separate the fruit from the rest of the plant such as the roots or the vine. Yeshua begins this harvest with one swing of his sickle over the entire earth.
Another angel came out of the Temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then out from the altar went yet another angel, who was in charge of the fire; and he called in a loud voice to the one with the sharp sickle, "Use your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because they are ripe!"
Now, we see the final two angels of the harvest show up and the first is to separate the grapes from the vine. We have to remember that this is the harvest of the wicked and they are not gathered for eternal life but for punishment as we will see.
The angel swung his sickle down onto the earth, gathered the earth's grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's fury. The winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress as high as the horses' bridles for two hundred miles!
The people are gathered at a place called Armageddon to receive the wrath of God. The magnitude is staggering as we see that blood flowed at a depth of about six feet for a distance of about 180 miles. That distance is the distance from Dan to Beersheba.