14 Then I looked, and behold, on (A)Mount Zion (B)stood the Lamb, and with him (C)144,000 who (D)had his name and his Father’s name written (E)on their foreheads.And I heard a voice from heaven (F)like the roar of many waters and (G)like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of (H)harpists playing on their harps,and they were singing (I)a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. (J)No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for (K)they are virgins. It is these (L)who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as (M)firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and (N)in their mouth no lie was found, for they are (O)blameless.

The followers of Satan and the beast may have a mark on their hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16-17). But this mark is just a copy of the idea behind the identifying mark on the foreheads of each one of the 144,000, showing that they belong to the Father.

The Messages of the Three Angels

Then I saw another angel (P)flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to (Q)those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, (R)“Fear God and (S)give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and (T)worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the (U)springs of water.”

This other angel preaches the gospel, but also announces judgment

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, (V)“Fallen, fallen is (W)Babylon the great, (X)she who made all nations drink (Y)the wine of the passion[a] of her sexual immorality.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone (Z)worships the beast and its image and receives (AA)a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink (AB)the wine of God’s wrath, (AC)poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and (AD)he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.11 And (AE)the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and (AF)they have no rest, day or night, these (AG)worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 (AH)Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who (AI)keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.[b]

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: (AJ)Blessed are the dead (AK)who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, (AL)“that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

We can only imagine what courage and comfort this passage will give embattled, persecuted saints during the Great Tribulation. Clearly, God wants to encourage His people to be steadfast in times of trial, focused on what blessed rest and reward awaits them in eternity.

The Harvest of the Earth

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one (AM)like a son of man, (AN)with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel (AO)came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, (AP)“Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for (AQ)the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.18 And another angel came out from the altar, (AR)the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, (AS)for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great (AT)winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And (AU)the winepress was trodden (AV)outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as (AW)a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.[c]

“How different it will be to see him with a crown of gold upon his head from what it was to see him wearing that terrible crown of thorns which the cruel soldiers plaited, and thrust upon his brow! The word used here does not usually refer to the diadem of power, but to the crown won in conflict; and it is very remarkable that it should be said that, when Christ comes to judge the world, he will wear the garland of victory, the crown which he has won in the great battle which he has fought. How significant of his final triumph will that crown of gold be about those brows that were once covered with bloody sweat when he was fighting the battle for our salvation!” (Spurgeon)

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