Revelation 14 and 15
By Pastor Jeff
There used to be a time when documents delivered bore a seal which stated who the sender, or owner of the letter, was from. In the following passages, the writer is seeing a seal placed upon the believers of God. I would say the question we must ask ourselves is what seal has been placed upon us? For who's do we belong?
The Lamb and the 144,000
While Satan thrashes earth in his death throes, John sees the true situation of God’s people. He sees the Lamb, Jesus Christ, standing on Mount Zion—the central place of God’s kingdom and community. With Christ is a multitude of 144,000 saints. This number is based on twelves. The twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of Christ are now multiplied together 1,000 times, symbolizing the complete gathering of the faithful, from Israel and the church.
Instead of the mark of the beast, God’s people have on their foreheads the name of Jesus and God his Father. The 144,000 are ‘the redeemed’. Christ has rescued them from the power of sin and death by giving his life for them on the cross. For their part, they have committed themselves totally to him. Their lives have been marked by self-control, honesty and a clear conscience. Sex within marriage and the joys of family life are among God’s greatest gifts; but here are some who have honored God by leading single and celibate lives.
The three angels
John sees three angels. The first has the gospel of Jesus Christ to proclaim to all the peoples of the world. The second declares the fall of Babylon—the evil beast which has bullied, corrupted and seduced humankind. The third proclaims the consequences of worshipping the beast. Those who worship the beast will receive the full fury of God’s judgment. Those who die for their faith in Christ will find peace and rest.
The harvest of the earth
Now John sees someone ‘like a son of man’ harvesting the earth. Harvest is a picture of judgment. The good grain or grapes are saved, while weeds and stubble are burned.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus imagined Judgment Day as God’s harvest time. Jesus told his disciples that only God the Father knows when the judgment Day will be. Here, in John’s vision, an angel brings God’s word that the harvest is to begin. The ‘son of man’ (which may be Christ himself) harvests and gathers God’s faithful people. An angel with a sharp sickle harvests ripe grapes, which represent the wicked. They are destroyed in the great winepress of God’s wrath. Their blood flows a distance of 1,600 stadia, which is about 180 miles. This is the length of Palestine from north to south.
Seven angels with seven plagues
John sees another scene of triumph in heaven. All those who share Christ’s victory are singing a heavenly version of the Song of Moses (Exodus 15). The anthem is swollen to cosmic dimensions by the triumph of the Lamb, Christ Jesus.
Seven angels stand dressed in the livery of white and gold, waiting to administer the seven last plagues.