Lesson 49 – Revelation 14:14 -16:11
Lesson 49 – Revelation 14:14 -16:11
Revelation 14:14 Jesus is going to be victorious over the ungodly the world. This is the great announcement of the two angels in this passage. Jesus is coming back, and He is going to harvest the earth reaping those who believe in Him and take them to heaven with Him. But He is going to judge the ungodly and evil of this earth, and His followers will be vindicated: the world will see and know that Jesus is truly the Son of God who came to earth to save man, that He is exactly who He claimed to be: the Son of God, the Lord of the universe. But it will be too late. He is returning in judgment. He came the first time in mercy and grace to save people; but then in glory and majesty to judge the earth.
What especially caught John’s attention was a white cloud, reminiscent of Daniel 7:13–14. John saw sitting on the cloud one like a son of man, the Lord Jesus, coming to establish His kingdom in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. The description son of man was the Lord’s favorite title for Himself during His earthly ministry which is best described Philippians 2:7-8.
The golden crown is not from the Greek word diadma which was a crown worn by a king but the stephanos worn by victors in war or athletic events; it is the crown of triumph (Philippians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4). It pictures the Son of Man not in His identity as the sovereign ruler, but as the conqueror victorious over all His enemies (Matt. 24:30). The sharp sickle were used to harvest grain; and gives us a picture of the Lord Jesus cutting the wheat leaving the separation of the wheat from the chaff to the angels (Mat 13:30).
Revelation 14:15-16 Here we see the harvest of the earth, the separation of believers from the ungodly and evil of the earth. Jesus Christ is over the earth with a sickle in His hand, and in a moment’s time every eye sees Him. Another angel comes out of the temple of God in heaven from the presence of God bringing the message of God that the harvest of the earth is ripe. The time for God’s Son, the Son of Man, to reap has come. When Joel wished to say that judgment was near, he said: “Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe” (Joel 3:13).
Note that it is time for Him to reap His harvest, those who belong to Him. It is time for Him to separate His own followers from the ungodly and evil and to take His followers to be with Him. Keep in mind that this is speaking of the end time, right before the world is to end. The believers, the followers of Christ on earth during those days, will have suffered enough at the hands of the antichrist and a godless world.
Revelation 14:17-19 – The vision of the grain harvest is followed by the vision of the grape harvest; this judgment is more dramatic because of the imagery of the winepress. This is a second angel, who does not come from God’s presence but from the altar of incense where the prayers of God’s people are kept, and where the martyred saints of Christ are stationed in heaven (Revelation 6:9-11). This angel has the fire of God’s judgment which is to be cast on the earth consuming all unbelievers. The angel cries out for judgment to begin. The ungodly and evil are said to be clusters of grapes hanging on the vine of the earth.
There are two vines in the earth: the vine of Jesus and the vine of the world (John 15:5). We have the choice of which vine we will be a part of. The angel lifts the sickle of eternal judgment into the vine of the earth and they are cut down and cast into the winepress of God’s wrath.
The winepress was a trough usually made out of either stone or brick that was placed over a large vat. The grapes of the vine were placed into the trough and then the servants would trample the grapes and the juice would flow through holes in the bottom of the trough into the vat underneath. This is a picture of the wrath of God. God’s wrath will be like the trampling of grapes underfoot. The picture is that of no mercy, no compromise, and no grace. The grapes were trampled until every single grape was crushed. God’s wrath will be thorough. Not a single person shall escape the wrath of God.
All the ungodly of this world will be placed in the winepress of God’s holy wrath. God’s wrath will execute perfect justice. He will show no partiality, no favoritism, and no discrimination. God will see that all persons receive exactly what they deserve, exactly what their works were on earth (Isaiah 63:3; Romans 1:18; 2 Peter 3:7).
Revelation 14:20 The winepress of God’s judgment is trampled down “outside the city.” “The city” always refers to Jerusalem. This is a reference to what the Bible calls the great battle of Armageddon. This is a picture of the armed forces of the world gathering outside Jerusalem under the leadership of the Antichrist. This battle is the quickest defeat in human history occurs against the greatest army ever amassed by man. The Antichrist and the armies of his military might are destroyed by the very Word of the Lord’s mouth and by the glory of His appearance (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Isaiah and Joel pictures the scene as well as later in Revelation (Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:9-17; Revelation 19:13-21).
The bloodbath of the Battle of Armageddon will be so widespread that blood will come out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles (about four feet deep), for a distance of two hundred miles. This is likely an hyperbole to suggest that the blood will splatter into the air so abundantly and along the whole length of the battle. When the slaughter reaches its peak, blood will flow in troughs and streambeds. This passage seems to suggest that Armageddon will actually be a slaughter rather than a battle. Those who refuse to repent, even after repeated warnings, will learn firsthand the truth that “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Revelation 15:1-4 Now, the seventh trumpet blasts forth its judgments. And the judgments come fast and furious. There is the sign of God’s judgment in heaven. The sign is described as great and awesome with seven angels or messengers prepared to go forth for God with seven plagues that are said to be the last plagues which is a sign of God’s wrath. The reason for the judgment is explained, it is because the beast, the Antichrist, will launch the worst holocaust the world has ever seen. Literally millions of believers will be slaughtered during his rule on earth.
These verses show the believers in heaven. They are seen on the sea of glass that stretches out before the throne of God (Revelation 4:6). We are told that the glass is mingled with fire. This symbolizes the fire of persecution they went through, and the fire of judgment that is about to fall on the ungodly of the earth.
We are told that the martyred believers will be victorious over the Antichrist, the will possess harps which will be used in praising and worshiping God, and they will sing two great songs of victory: the song of the Lamb and the song of Moses that was sung by the children of Israel when they crossed the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-19).
They sing to the Almighty God, praising His works. They sing to the King declaring the justice and truth of His ways, and of the blessings for fearing His name, and rejoicing that He is going to judge the earth.
Revelation 15:5-8 The phrase “after these things I looked” introduces a new vision. John’s attention is drawn away from the saints singing their praises before God’s throne. We see here the judgment of God sent forth. The door to the “temple of the tabernacle” is opened up. This refers to the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, that is, to the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place. The judgment of God will come from the very presence and heart of God Himself.
The seven angels come out from the Most Holy Place holding the seven plagues in their hands. They are dressed in pure and white linen, a symbol of the holiness of heaven. God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice are now brought to this world, to rule and reign throughout the earth. The gold belts are symbols of royalty, authority and power.
The seven angels are given seven gold bowls that are fitted with the wrath of God. They will be poured out on the earth quickly and efficiently. The door to the temple of God which is the place of heaven and salvation will be closed when the angels come out. No one will be able to enter heaven any longer, not until the seven judgments are completed.
Revelation 16:1-2 John hears a great voice shouting out to pour the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth. This voice must be the voice of God who alone has the authority to end world history. This is what Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:6-7.
The first bowl judgment is poured out on the earth. This judgment appears to be some kind of ulcerous cancer like sore. These sores will be malignant, open and foul, and painful and will be humiliating and embarrassing. They will cause agony and torture, giving no rest during the day or night. They will be incurable and there will be no relief from the pain.
This judgment is poured out only on the Antichrist and his followers, those who have received the mark of the beast and worship him and his government. This brings to mind the judgment of boils that fell on the Egyptians (Exodus 9:8-11).
Revelation 16:3-7 – The second bowl judgment is poured out on the sea. This probably refers to the Mediterranean sea and not to all the oceans of the world. If it were all the oceans, little human life of any kind could survive. This is especially true in the next judgment. The center of the Antichrist’s power will be in the Middle East and in Europe that was part of the old Roman Empire that’s why most believe that the concentration of judgments will probably be there.
The sea will become infected with some kind of blood red contamination and all sea life within it will be killed. When I was in Florida, they experience a mild form of this with the red tide which pollutes the water, sometimes so bad that fish and other sea life are destroyed. Fishing and harvesting of sea life for food is affected for months.
The third bowl judgment is poured out on the fresh waters where the Antichrist and his followers are concentrated. The effect of fresh water pollution is much more devastating as there will be little water available for drinking and washing throughout the Middle East and Europe where Antichrist’s power is concentrated. In the midst of the third judgment, Jesus reminds John and all others why God is pouring out His wrath on the earth. First, because of the mass murders launched by the Antichrist (Revelation 16:16); Secondly because God is true and righteous; He is just (Revelation 16:7). God’s cup of wrath against the nations is full and His judgment has come. The angel declares that God is perfectly just, that He executes exactly what the ungodly and evil deserve. Once again we are reminded of God’s judgment on Egypt when their rivers were polluted by God with some kind of blood red pollution (Exodus 7:17-25).
Revelation 16:8-11 The fourth bowl judgment is poured out on the sun. Severe heat and radiation from the sun are going to scorch those who have survived the previous bowls. The sun will burn people with a blazing, fierce heat. They will be in misery and torment. The ungodly will still not repent in spite of all of this. They will do what unbelievers have usually done when things go bad: curse and blaspheme the name of God.
The fifth bowl judgment is poured out on the seat or throne of the Antichrist. The whole kingdom of the Antichrist and his followers will be full of darkness. This is not referring to spiritual darkness, but to some phenomena that blots out the light and heat of the day. This will be a stunning change from the scorching light and heat of the fourth judgment. This judgment seems to exclude the nations who are not actively included in the Antichrist’s kingdom. Joel and Jesus spoke of this heavy, black darkness (Joel 2:1-2; Matthew 24:29), this too happened in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23).
The sixth bowl judgment. It is poured out on the Euphrates River. The purpose of this sixth judgment is to prepare the nations and armies of the world for the great battle of Armageddon. The Euphrates is the longest and by far the most important river of western Asia. It is 1780 miles long and ranges from 300 to 1200 yards wide. Its depth ranges from about 10 to 30 feet. The reason for the drying up of the Euphrates is to allow a great armed confederation of nations to form and march against Israel. This confederation is called the “kings of the east.”