What a fascinating chapter we have in Revelation chapter 14! This unique and important chapter details for us the exact order of major events leading into the Great Tribulation – the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation – when the Antichrist will rule the world with his Mark of The Beast economic and worship system, and climaxing with the Lord’s Second Coming. With this chapter, we are able to attempt to piece together other prophetic events given to us in Scripture within this outline.
This passage of Scripture is especially important with regard to Revelation chapters 17 and 18, outlining vital information that the prophecy student needs to consider. Many past articles are referenced within this article as a resource for the reader.
Revelation chapter 14 – in chronological order and occurring at the midway point of the Tribulation – has five major events:
- The 144,000 Israeli Evangelists are taken to heaven.
- An angel declaring the “everlasting gospel” all over the earth.
- The fall of Mystery Babylon – The Whore of Babylon and the city where she sits –
of Revelation 17 and 18.
- The initiating of Antichrist’s Mark of The Beast economic and worship system, and a warning to those who may take The Mark.
- An encouraging word for the Saints living in the Great Tribulation.
These five events will culminate in Christ’s glorious Second Coming, which concludes this wonderful and illuminating chapter.
To change things up a bit, we will be looking into this study using The Complete Jewish Bible, a uniquely Jewish translation that I have come to appreciate.
“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. 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. 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. 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” (Revelation 14:1-5).
What a beautiful passage of Scripture this is!
The 144,000 Israeli evangelists are comprised of 12,000 virgin men from each of the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8) and will, no doubt, be present in every nation on earth and whose duration of testimony seems to be from the rapture of the church until the midway point of the Tribulation (An Interpretive Scenario of the Abomination of Desolation) just before the Abomination of Desolation and in simultaneity with the Two Witnesses (Can We Know the Identity of the Two Witnesses?) in Jerusalem.
I suspect that the majority, if not all, will be Orthodox Israelites steeped in the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh and who will have been, after the rapture, touched by the Holy Spirit with their eyes opened to seeing Messiah Yeshua as He is in the Holy Scriptures.
It is they, I believe, who will have the wisdom to calculate the number of the beast (666: A Study of Revelation 13:18), warn the people of the earth who the Antichrist is and what he will do, and help prepare the Israelites in the land of Israel for the Abomination of Desolation and their fleeing to the mountains of Petra/Mt. Seir (Possibilities: The Ezekiel 39 Aftermath) during the Great Tribulation.
After their ministry and testimony, they will, it seems, be transported to Jerusalem to meet their awaiting Messiah to take them to heaven, very similar to the rapture of the church. While the church meets the Lord in the air at the rapture, Jesus actually comes to Jerusalem and meets the 144,000 Witnesses, and immediately they are found in heaven “singing a new song before the throne and before the four living beings and the elders.”
I suggest that this translation of the 144,000 to heaven as “firstfruits” – which seems to parallel the resurrection of the Two Witnesses, also in Jerusalem – heralds the resurrection of the Old Testament Saints with all of the Tribulation Saints who have died between the rapture of the church and these events in the middle of the Tribulation so they may all attend the Marriage Supper of The Lamb (Resurrections and The Marriage Supper of The Lamb).
“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. 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!'” (Revelation 14:6-7).
Now it’s an angel’s turn, after the 144,000 Israeli evangelists and the Two Witnesses have been taken to heaven, to announce the “everlasting gospel… unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” so they shall have no excuse and understand what that glorious gospel is (KJV).
It is significant that this angel stresses God’s creative works to a world that has utterly rejected the Lord’s creation 6,000 years prior. Unfortunately, most will not heed this proclamation, but thank the Lord and His grace and mercy that many will!
“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!‘” (Revelation 14:8). (emphasis mine)
This is the absolute proof that this Babylon is not the Babylon of the Antichrist and his Mark of The Beast economic and worship system, as is documented with detail in my article A Combined Interpretive Scenario of Revelation 17 & 18.
The following third angel in Revelation 14:9-11, who follows this second angel, is declaring Antichrist’s Mark of The Beast economic and worship system.
The declaration of the second angel, in Revelation 14:8 (above), is proclaiming, “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!”
This statement, should the reader become confused, is echoed in Revelation 18:
“He cried out in a strong voice, ‘She has fallen! She has fallen! Bavel the Great! She has become a home for demons, a prison for every unclean spirit, a prison for every unclean, hated bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring — yes, the kings of the earth went whoring with her, and from her unrestrained love of luxury the world’s businessmen have grown rich'” (Revelation 18:2-3, CJB). (emphasis mine)
As I pointed out in my article, A Combined Interpretive Scenario of Revelation 17 & 18, Revelation 18 is not a reference to the Antichrist kingdom – separate from Revelation 17 – but is a continuation of the Whore of Babylon in chapter 17 with an emphasis on the city where the Whore sits and of her opulence, wealth, and wickedness. And with these additional details, describes her in more depth as to her identity and her end, which will come in about the middle of the Tribulation at the hands of the Antichrist and 10 kings, as the 10 kings will, after destroying her and her city, hand their worldwide empires over to the Antichrist for the last three and one-half years, just as the following third angel (below in Rev. 14:9-11) will declare.
I find it hard to believe that so many in the prophetic community just don’t see, or at least consider, this interpretive scenario. I realize that once an interpretation or view has come into favor and has made the rounds in popular books, lectures, seminaries, etc., that people have the natural tendency to jump on a particular “bandwagon” and accept the popular teaching without ever really investigating the view for themselves. I’ve found this to be the case in many other positions of popular prophecy teaching and have written articles explaining how these traditional teachings might not actually be correct.
Revelation chapter 14’s Tribulation Outline, to me, is proof-positive that the Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18 have absolutely nothing to do with the Antichrist’s Babylon that will be destroyed at Christ’s Second Coming:
“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (Revelation 16:17-21, KJV).
This Babylon in Revelation 16, with the last vial judgment (and therefore the last judgment of God as Christ comes back to earth), is Antichrist’s Babylon, as I have detailed in past articles.
Now that the Whore of Babylon has been destroyed and the 10 kings have given their worldwide kingdoms into the hands of Antichrist, the third angel makes his proclamation in Revelation 14 – declaring the coming Great Tribulation and a warning to those still living after the midway point of the Tribulation – not to take the Mark of The Beast:
“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. 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'” (Revelation 14:9-11).
The Great Tribulation – the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation – will be Satan’s great plan (allowed and ordained by God and His Word) come to fruition as he possesses the Antichrist and implements his Mark of The Beast economic and worship system. The warning to the inhabitants of the earth not to take the Mark is made clear, and the ramifications of taking this Mark are laid out.
Next, we have an admonition for the Saints of God who refuse The Mark of The Beast to endure and a blessed reassurance that, “… 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.’
“This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God’s people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness. 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'” (Revelation 14:12-13).
Finally, the heavenly imagery of the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:
“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. 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!’ The one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 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!’ 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!” (Revelation 14:14-20).
“Who is this, coming from Edom, from Botzrah with clothing stained crimson, so magnificently dressed, so stately in his great strength? ‘It is I, who speak victoriously, I, well able to save.’ Why is your apparel red, your clothes like someone treading a winepress? ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; from the peoples, not one was with me. So I trod them in my anger, trampled them in my fury; so their lifeblood spurted out on my clothing, and I have stained all my garments; for the day of vengeance that was in my heart and my year of redemption have come'” (Isaiah 63:1-4, CJB).
And we all know what follows next: The glorious 1,000-year reign of Jesus our blessed Creator, Savior, and King – most commonly known as Christ’s Millennial Kingdom! Let us all rejoice that the promises of God to His chosen people, Israel, and to the bride of His dear Son, Jesus Christ, will finally be realized! What a grand and glorious ‘day’ that will be (The Prophetic Third Day)!!!
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I am still taking questions for the Questions From the Body of Christ series. If you or someone you know has a question pertaining to the Word of God – theology, difficult passages, eschatology, etc. – I would really like to hear from you.