Revelation 14

Chapter fourteen begins with John’s vision of the 144,000 Jews from chapter seven. John saw these people standing with Jesus in Jerusalem. This means that the Tribulation has ended and Jesus’ kingdom is being established. Whether they were martyred during the Beast’s war on the saints or whether they survived is unclear. However, they will all stand together with the Lamb in his kingdom.

The next section reveals four messages or declarations that John heard. The first will be the eternal gospel announced by an angel flying through the skies. There will be no one during the second half of the Tribulation who will not know the gospel. The second will be a second angel declaring the fall of Babylon. Whether the references to Babylon in the upcoming chapters should be taken literally or symbolically for the Beast’s kingdom is debated, although there is good reason to believe it may be both. The third declaration will be the final pronouncement of judgment on all those who took the mark of the beast. It is important to note that this mark can be refused, but no one who receives the mark will be able to be saved. The final pronouncement will come from heaven, rather than from an angel. As opposed to those who will die in judgment, “Blessed are the dead, those who die in the Lord from this moment on!” (Revelation 14:13), because they will not have to experience the destruction yet to come. The fate of those who will worship the Lamb and those who will worship the Beast could not be more different.

In the final section of the chapter, John saw the same vision as Daniel 7:13, where the Son of Man was coming in judgment. The visual was of a sickle being used to harvest grapes, which would be stomped in “the great winepress of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:19). The mass deaths of this judgment will produce enough blood to reach “to the height of horses’ bridles for a distance of almost two hundred miles” (Revelation 14:20). The reference to the altar in Revelation 14:18 may connect this judgment to the vengeance promised the martyrs of the fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-11). Because of the recurring use of the winepress illustration, this “harvest judgment” should probably be understood as the battles at Bozrah and Armageddon (Isaiah 63:1-6; Revelation 19:11-21) when Christ returns.