Revelation 14

Chapter 14

The Song of the Martyrs.[a] 1 Next in my vision, I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand[b] people who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound from heaven like that of a mighty torrent or a loud peal of thunder. It was like the sound of harpists playing their harps.

3 They were singing a new song[c] before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women.[d] They are virgins, and they follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed as the firstfruits of mankind for God and for the Lamb. 5 No lie was found on their lips. They are irreproachable.

The Nearness of the Judgment.[e] 6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to all those who live on the earth, to every nation, race, language, and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the time has come for his judgment. Worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

8 A second angel followed him, saying:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has made all the nations drink
the wine of the wrath of her immorality.”

9 A third angel followed them, crying out in a loud voice, “Anyone who worships the beast or its image and receives its mark on his forehead or hand 10 will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured undiluted into the cup of his wrath.[f] Such people will be tormented in burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever. There will be no respite day or night for those who worship the beast or its image or for those who receive the mark of its name.”

12 This demands patient endurance on the part of the saints who keep the commandments of God and remain faithful to Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed[g] are those who die in the Lord from now on.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will find rest from their labors, for their deeds go with them.”

14 One Like a Son of Man.[h] Now in my vision, I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man,”[i] with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Another angel then came out of the temple and called out in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So the one who was seated on the cloud swept over the earth with his sickle, and the earth was harvested.

17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he, too, had a sharp sickle. 18 Then from the altar came forth still another angel who was in charge of the fire, and he cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vines of the earth, for her grapes are ripe.”

19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered in its vintage, which he then cast into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 The winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress to the height of a horse’s bridle for a distance of two hundred miles.

Footnotes

  1. Revelation 14:1 The great hopes of the Prophets (e.g., Isa 2:1-5) are here realized; the new chosen people, in a full and perfect number, gather at Zion, the mount of definitive encounter with God. The martyrs sing the new song of deliverance and victory (see Ex 15:1-18; Pss 33:1-3; 98:1). It expresses the virginal joy of those who have remained faithful to God, those who have not committed falsehood, adultery, and fornication—i.e., in the language of the Bible, those who have not succumbed to the worship of false gods. They have not followed the emperor but only Christ. They have been, as it were, espoused to Christ (see Rev 19:9; 21:2; 2 Cor 11:2).
  2. Revelation 14:1 One hundred and forty-four thousand: that is, twelve thousand from each tribe.
  3. Revelation 14:3 New song: see note on Rev 5:9.
  4. Revelation 14:4 The ones who have not defiled themselves with women: this probably refers to those who avoided defiling relationships with the pagan world. Follow the Lamb: as disciples (see Mt 19:21; Mk 8:34). Firstfruits: a word used to refer to the first converts in a region (see Rom 16:5) and the first to rise from the dead (see 1 Cor 15:20). The author of this Book regards believers as choice offerings to God and the Lamb.
  5. Revelation 14:6 In the Old Testament, Babylon had become a symbol of every empire that was hostile to the People of God.
  6. Revelation 14:10 Cup of his wrath: the Old Testament commonly portrays the wrath of God by a cup of wine to be drunk (see Ps 75:9; Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15). Burning sulfur: this figured prominently in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Gen 19:24), and Ps 11:6 speaks of a similar fate awaiting the wicked. The figure is also found elsewhere in the Old Testament and in the final chapters of Rev (19:20; 20:10; 21:8).
  7. Revelation 14:13 Blessed: the second beatitude (see note on Rev 1:3).
  8. Revelation 14:14 “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven,” Jesus had declared in the presence of the high priest who condemned him (Mk 14:62, inspired by Dan 7:13). The Judgment is near; the time of vintage and harvest is its classic image in the Bible, evoking the reaping or storing of fruits as well as the harsh plundering of the terrain and the relentless gathering of the produce.
    The winepress, in which the grapes are crushed, is an image of a battle aimed at savage extermination (see Isa 63:2-3); as such, it yields blood and not juice. Here the entire earth is involved; the two hundred miles, literally, “1600 stadia” (4 x 4 x 100), indicate this universality. The Judgment takes place outside Jerusalem—the author wants to indicate that those condemned are excluded from the assembly united around God.
  9. Revelation 14:14 Son of man: see note on Mt 8:20.

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