An Interlude of Angelic Messages, Revelation Chapter 14 Verses 6-20 (NASB)

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    And I saw another ANGEL flying in midheaven, having an ETERNAL GOSPEL

It is an ANGEL this time flying as only angels can do in midheaven preaching an ETERNAL GOSPEL. The ETERNAL GOSPEL means it has existed for all time, even before the fall of man. Perhaps it's this ETERNAL GOSPEL that God is explaining to Adam when He walked with him (Genesis 3:8-13). Now as then, the moral code passed in this ETERNAL GOSPEL is CHOICE.  The CHOICE between 'knowledge of good and evil' (Genesis 3:1-7).

Recall that another angel, Satan, deceived man into sin by man's CHOICE. This 'another angel' says that judgment for those sins is near. Soon earthlings must 'FEAR GOD, GIVE HIM GLORY, AND WORSHIP HIM' (next verse) or ...... the CHOICE is in verse 9.

Now this ETERNAL GOSPEL does not set aside the 'gospel of the grace of God' (Acts 20:24) but rather embraces it.  The CHOICE during this time of grace still is yours, 'Accept Christ (good) or Satan (evil)'. However, with the uptaking of the believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-58), the CHOICE comes down to taking the 'MARK of the BEAST' (evil - verse 9) or refusing it. This ANGEL is warning that the judgment time is very near for those who CHOOSE the MARK.

    to PREACH
            *  to those who live on the earth, and
            *  to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;

The command to PREACH was first given to us believers (Mark 16:14-18), but here in the final half of the tribulation, the message is so terrible (JUDGMENT/REAPING) that an ANGEL has to deliver it.  The devil (AntiChrist) will be so oppressive that any persons who refuse to take his MARK will not dare expose themselves or talk about their CHOICE for fear of capture and certain death.  However, the devil can't touch this angel since he is flying in midheaven.  The devil has been tossed out of heaven (Revelation 12:9)

All who are alive will hear it as well as governments and leaders (see comment in Revelation 7:9).

Incidentally, this is the last time the word GOSPEL (good news) is used in the Bible.  For earthlings, particularly those who take the MARK, there is NO MORE GOOD NEWS!
    and he said with a loud voice,

At this time, only an angel's voice could be loud enough to overcome the loud boastings of the Satanic Trilogy (Revelation 13:5 and Revelation 13:15)

    FEAR GOD, and (CONVICTION)

This is not only a Revelation conclusion. "The Preacher" (Solomon) in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 concludes that we should  "FEAR GOD, and keep His commandments....".

We used to hear "hell fire and damnation" sermons and people were saved.  These sermons are much less frequent now. Ever wonder why? Conviction by a reverent fear of God was used in New Testament times, too (Jude 23).

    GIVE HIM GLORY, because the HOUR of HIS JUDGMENT has come; and (CONVERSION)

Note that the HOUR and not DAY is used here. Time is really getting short (Revelation 12:12).

This is the first use of the term "judgment" in the Revelation. Previously, the word used was "wrath". Later on in Revelation, "judgment" is carried out (Revelation 16:7; Revelation 18:10; and Revelation 19:2)

    WORSHIP HIM who made heaven and the earth and the sea and springs of waters." (CONSECRATION)

This parallels with the trumpets and bowls and lends support that the Revelation is really "parallel consecutive" in form.


TRUMPETS BOWLS
Heaven 4th trumpet (Revelation 8:12) 4th bowl (Revelation 16:8)
Earth 1st trumpet (Revelation 8:7) 1st bowl (Revelation 16:2)
Sea 2nd trumpet (Revelation 8:8) 2nd bowl (Revelation 16:3)
Springs of water 3rd trumpet (Revelation 8:10) 3rd bowl (Revelation 16:4)

So the question is: WHOM DO WE REALLY WORSHIP?  (Romans 1:18-32)

    And another angel, a second one, followed, saying,

This angel is distinct from the first one (verse 6).  However, the word 'followed' implies that this one also in flying in mid heaven. Like the first angel, this one has a distinct message:

    "FALLEN, FALLEN, is BABYLON the GREAT,

This is the first specific mention of BABYLON in Revelation.  Again, there is a literal Babylon and a symbolic one. The literal one is the Babylon of the Old Testament. The old city of Babylon generate much discussion by both the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 13 and 14) and the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 50 and 51).  Both prophesied its complete destruction.

The Revelation' Babylon most likely is a symbolic Babylon. Like the one of old built by Nimrod, there really are two symbolic Babylons. As Tim LaHaye describes it in his book 'Revelation', "These two Babylons begun by Nimrod are (1) false religion, which emphasizes idolatry, and (2) commercialization, which causes men to become materialistically oriented."  We will cover this symbolic Babylon in much more detail in Revelation 17 and 18.  Incidentally, this Babylon, too, will be destroyed.

    she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the Passion of her IMMORALITY."
This phrase is expanded in Revelation 18:1-8. The call to "come out" (Revelation 18:4) is not given here. Thus this angel is just giving us a "sound bite" here in this verse. If the Bible is around at the time this angel flies, mankind will know that the "come out" command had already been given in Hebrews 12:25-29.
    And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice,

A third, distinct angel makes this warning with a LOUD voice (to overcome the "noise" of the world and the BEAST worshipping).

This angel gives a choice (most solemn - this verse),
    the choice's consequence (most awful - next verse),
        and the resultant duration (most final - verse 11).

THE CHOICE:

    "If anyone (1) WORSHIPS THE BEAST and HIS IMAGE, and

We have seen this before in Revelation 13:3-8!

Worship is a decision which is active and overt. This is much like a person who "loves this actor or actress" and "has to see that movie because so-and-so is in it". But when one considers what they are worshipping, compare this to what Paul writes in Romans 1:18-25.

    (2) RECEIVES A MARK on his forehead or upon his hand,

Check out Revelation 13:16-17.

This is the overt part: the MARK will be visible and once a person takes it, their doom (verse 10) is sealed forever (verse 11). To those people remaining on the earth at the time when this verse takes place, the alternative (Matthew 10:28) doesn't matter anymore. They feel they have to WORSHIP the BEAST to SURVIVE (Luke 9:23-27).
    he also will drink of the WINE of the WRATH OF GOD,

Today in this "mercy and grace" period, we cannot fully comprehend the "WRATH OF GOD".  We wonder how a loving God can be this way. But God, first of all, is holy, and a holy and righteous God will not tolerate any other gods before Him (Exodus 20:1-3-17) including the beast and his marking system.

In verses 9-11, this WRATH is placed on each individual who CHOOSES the mark of the beast.  However, countries also will come under the same WRATH (Jeremiah 25:15-29).

    which is mixed in full strength in the cup of HIS ANGER;

This is not diluted (with water, implied). If one believes the relationship between water and spirits, then this says these individuals will not be able to get assistance from evil spirits to ease the torment.  It is their CHOICE to take the mark, and thus they must suffer the FULL CONSEQUENCES.

    and he will be TORMENTED with fire and brimstone
        *  in the presence of the HOLY ANGELS and
        *  in the presence of the LAMB.
Revelation is about "presence" as in chapter 4. Individual pride and arrogance don't stand a chance in the presence of purity.  And since the angels and the Lamb are "forever" beings, this torment is forever. The strict separation of evil from good is monitored by the holy angels and by Christ himself (Matthew 25:46, Romans 2:3-11, and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).
    "And the smoke of their TORMENT goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night,

Individually, these people received the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16); now collectively they face a forever TORMENT.

Fire and smoke are associated with Hell (Mark 9:38-50) and the "wood" (persons who chose the mark) is being stacked up waiting for the breath of God (Isaiah 30:27-33).  Yes, there is a Hell, or spiritual burning place.  These individuals get there in this verse, followed by the beast and false prophet (Revelation 19:19-21), and finally the devil himself is confined there FOREVER (Revelation 20:10).

Note: while on earth the believers were tormented and persecuted. Now the roles are reversed (see verse 13).  As a believer, I am willing to suffer now for only a lifetime rather than make the wrong choice and be TORMENTED FOREVER. Also, from the physics of this illustration, smoke going up forever may be an indication of the infiniteness of the physical universe.

    those who WORSHIP the beast and his image, and

Recall this was caused by the 'earth beast' - Revelation 13:12-17.

    and whoever RECEIVES the MARK of his name."
This concludes the third midheaven angel's pronouncement (verse 9).
    Here is the PERSEVERANCE of the SAINTS who keep

There are three characteristics of SAINTS:
    1) Perseverance through trials
    2) Keeping God's commandments (as much as possible)
    3) Having a FAITH in JESUS.

Compare this verse with Revelation 13:10.  Note the difference.  This "HERE" includes keeping God's commandments.

In the previous verse, we indicated that we are seeing a role reversal.  HERE we see the SAINTS' viewpoint.

While SAINTS generally means all believers in Christ, here this more targeted at Jewish believers - "he came unto His own .... (John 1:9-13).  The few Jewish believers exhibit the three characteristics above.  As Gentile believers, we will play a supportive role (Matthew 25:31-40-46).

    a)    the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and

These include all God's commandments from Genesis 2:15-17 to Exodus 20:1-17 through Mark 16:14-18. To honor the holiness of God by keeping His commandments shows up as keeping your faith in His Son. God's holiness is the standard (humanly unattainable) while His Son, JESUS, is the way into that holiness (Hebrews 9:11-14). When we accept Jesus as our way, we will persevere.

    b)    their faith in Jesus.

These are not two distinct characteristics where one can chose one or the other.  They support or require each other.  In Jesus' own words, "he who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me .... and shall be loved by My Father." (John 14:20-24).  It is very difficult to have FAITH in someone you don't love or who doesn't love you.

Lastly, the "HERE" in this verse = "In that day....." in John 14:20.


    And I heard a voice from heaven, saying,

Not clear whether this is an angel's voice or Christ's voice.  It is clear that it is NOT an earthly voice.

    "Write, Blessed are the DEAD who DIE IN THE LORD from now on!

These are those who during the tribulation period (Matthew 24:21) refuse to take the mark of the beast (verse 11).

This also is the second beatitude of Revelation.  See Revelation 1:3 for a discussion of these beatitudes.

The expression 'from now on' indicates that this is a very specific time during the tribulation.  This fits with the precise timings in the rest of the Revelation.

    Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may REST from their LABORS, for their DEEDS follow with them."

Other than in Revelation 22:17, this is the only place where the SPIRIT speaks directly.  It is as though, the SPIRIT is being released from His commission to be the Comforter, John 14:15-24. Then as now, He usually is in the background working through the believers.

Also implied here is that even under much distress, believers WILL and DO WORK DILIGENTLY for the Lord.  This continues right until DEATH.  Then, oh how sweet is that FOREVER REST!

The REST is even sweeter because their work is recompensed (rewarded for good work).  See 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24-25; 1 Corinthians 3:5-17; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:24; and Hebrews 6:10.
    And I looked,

The previous verse, John "heard". Now he takes a look, probably because the vision contains a Person he is familiar with.

    and BEHOLD, a WHITE CLOUD,

BEHOLD means PAY ATTENTION. The cloud indicates the Shekinah or "glory of God". Recall that the waters above the firmanent probably are clouds (Genesis 1:7).

WHITE denotes PURITY.

    and sitting on the CLOUD was ONE like a SON OF MAN,

When One is reigning in judgment, the leader, king, or judge usually is seated. Here the Son of Man is SITTING waiting for the pending judgment/harvest. This Son of Man described this scene in Matthew 24:29-31.

There are two contrasts here. First one of water, and second of the Son of Man.

Water:
The Son of Man sits on the WHITE CLOUD; in Revelation 17:1,15, the harlot sits on many waters.  If water is related to spirits' abode, then the cloud denotes the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Son of Man:
Compare the use of "Son of Man" by Christ in Matthew 13:36-37-43.

As Sower
As Reaper
On this earth in poverty (Matthew 8:20) Sitting on white cloud with POWER (sickle)
Made to wear a "crown of thorns" (Matthew 27:29) Sitting here with a GOLDEN CROWN.
    having a GOLDEN CROWN on HIS HEAD, and

See Psalm 21:3 for the prophetic version of this KINGLY picture.  Wearing the CROWN denotes ultimate authority to carry out the task at hand.

    a sharp SICKLE in HIS HAND.

This image replicates that given in Joel 3:9-13-16.

One general observation:  In the Old Testament, the feast of the tabernacles followed the harvest. So here, too, the harvest comes before the celebration (Revelation 19:1-10).
    And another angel came out of the TEMPLE,

The previous three angels were flying in midheaven (implied in verses 6, 8, and 9).  This angel comes out of the TEMPLE.

This creates a spatial problem. Is John seeing a glimpse of the new heaven (Revelation 21:22) where the TEMPLE is the LAMB (Son of Man - previous verse)? Or is it the previous TEMPLE which was opened in heaven (Revelation 11:19)?  They could be one and the same.

    crying out with a LOUD VOICE to HIM who sat on the cloud,

It appears that this angel is coming directly from Christ and is repeating what he is ordered to announce.  This fulfills one of Christ's missions given to Him to perform upon this earth (John 5:17-27-29).

The LOUD VOICE indicates this isn't a localized announcement but rather one to be heard over all the earth.

    "Put in your SICKLE and REAP,

This is related to judgment. See Joel 3:9-13-16 and Psalm 75:6-8.

GOD IS THE JUDGE OF THIS EARTH!
    because the HOUR to REAP has come,

The timing, again as in the rest of Revelation, is precise down to the HOUR. This implies the reaping is NOT a prolonged event. Indeed, if it were, some of the harvest would spoil.

Reaping is a judgment process and particularly upon Babylon (Revelation chapters 18 and on). This parallels with prophesy in Jeremiah 51:33 and the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) and the explanation (Matthew 13:36-43).

    because the HARVEST of the earth is RIPE.

The word "RIPE" here has the connotation of really ripe almost to the point of being overripe. But this is exactly when a harvest should be done and be done quickly.

Christ refers to this in Matthew 7:16-20. With this harvest, the mocking of God will cease (Galatians 6:6-8-10) and the principles of judgment (Romans 2:1-16) will be executed.
    And He who sat on the CLOUD swung His SICKLE over the earth;

It is harvest time. Farmers will tell you they have to wait until the moisture content is below a certain level before they will combine a field.  Here the grain is DRY (see previous verse) and READY.

The Lord Jesus begins the harvest with one swing of the sickle. The sickle probably is His word (the sharp two-edged sword - Revelation 1:16).  It is a pure effortless swing of ultimate judgment. It is so easy for Him to perform this judgment act that He doesn't even have to stand up (like we probably would do to swing a sickle). He just sits there on the waters above the expanse (heaven - Genesis 1:6-8).

    and the EARTH WAS REAPED.

This is what 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 is all about.  In the Old Testament, this is what is prophesied in Jeremiah 51:33, and relates this verse with Revelation 14:8 (as daughter of Babylon).

One swing of the SICKLE, and the EARTH WAS REAPED. How completed, how absolute, how FINAL this judgment is!
    And another ANGEL came out of the TEMPLE which is in HEAVEN,

This is the second angel who received his orders in the heavenly temple. The first one is noted in verse 15. Again, Jesus said angels would be used to do the actual judgment acts in the end of the age (Matthew 13:47-49-52).

That this angel comes from the TEMPLE denotes this will be a "religious" harvest, i.e. a separation of FALSEHOODS (LIES) from the TRUTH. As Henry Morris suggests, coming from the TEMPLE would make this one of the 'presence angels' (Revelation 8:2).

    and he also had a SHARP SICKLE.

This can only denote a destructive (not good) purging. Those who will be cut by this SHARP SICKLE are those who exchanged the TRUTH of GOD for a LIE (Romans 1:18-25-32).

This SICKLE will be different than the one used in verse 14. This one is more curved to selectively cut the clusters of grapes (in the next verse). The SICKLE in verse 14 may be more like a scythe and makes a broad cut. Both SICKLES are equally effective because they are SHARP.
    And another ANGEL, the one who has POWER over FIRE,

This may be the same angel with the golden censer (Revelation 8:3-5) and the one who "worked the miracle" in 1 Kings 18:17-41.

Fire is used to burn the branches that were cut off the vine (John 15:1-6-17). This is the last judgment for apostate branches (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Matthew 3:11-12).

Physically, fire is an "oxidation" process and performs a rapid conversion of matter into other constituentants while generating heat and light. Thus the actual angel who will apparently do the conversion calls out to get on with the harvest so he can do his work (the final purging of evil within and among men).

    came out from the ALTAR;

The altar in the Old Testament was where atonement was made for sins through animal sacrifices.  Christ became the "final sacrifice" according to Hebrews 13:10.

Some scholars believe this is the same altar in Revelation 6:9 and Revelation 8:5. The request for vengeance has been heard.

    and he called with a LOUD VOICE to him who had the SHARP SICKLE, saying,

This is the way angels talk in this chapter: verses 7, 9, and 15.

    "Put in your SHARP SICKLE,

In previous verse, the angel is holding it. Again, SHARP denotes this SICKLE is "very effective and thorough". There is no chance any grapes will be left or escape being harvested. That chance to escape disappeared long ago. You have the chance TODAY to escape this harvest.

    and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because HER GRAPES ARE RIPE."
This expression says the grapes are at their plumpest and juiciest.  How deceived are these people (they took the mark of the beast, remember) to think that their life is SO RICH AND FULL?  But they will be cut (Joel 3:13). Note the correlation of the "vine of the earth" to the EARTH BEAST (Revelation 13:13) complete with the imitation of power over fire.
    And the ANGEL swung his SICKLE to the earth, and

This angel knows which CLUSTERS he will gather.  It is obvious by the "MARK of the BEAST" (Revelation 13:16).

The tense of the verb "SWUNG" implies that this gathering event (next verse, Revelation 16:16, and Revelation 19:19) is completed in the future over some span of time.  As we will see, the seven bowls are a part of this vintage.

    gathered the CLUSTERS from the VINE OF THE EARTH, and

CLUSTER are groupings of grapes. This implies that the vintage will work on various areas. These areas are what man, a product of the earth (Genesis 2:7), take pride in. Follow the seven bowls in each of their "CLUSTER" area, and note how it is an area man has taken some measures to control.

    threw them into the GREAT WINE PRESS of the WRATH OF GOD.

The concept of the "WRATH OF GOD" is difficult for those of us 'under grace'. But it exists, and it is Christ Himself who executes it (Revelation 19:15).

The seven bowls of chapter 16 are a direct reference to the WRATH OF GOD.
    And the WINE PRESS was trodden outside the city,

When grapes were ready, and wine was to be made, this was the way it was done.  It was a messy process of putting the grapes in a vat and stomping the juice out of them.  Because of the mess, the wine press usually was outside the city near the vineyards.

However, symbolically, Christ was crucified outside the city (Hebrews 13:12), and His Blood flowed as the grape juice. It is fitting that the final judgment of the world would begin outside the city.

Some commentators say this "wine press" judgment is for Jews only. They refer to what John had written earlier, "He came to his own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (John 1:9-11-13).

    and BLOOD came out from the WINE PRESS,

This fulfills the truth given to Noah (Genesis 9:6-7), "Whoever sheds man's blood (Christ's blood), by man (Son of Man) his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man."

Joel 3:9-13-16 confirms this through prophesy. That there is a day of vengence is foretold in Isaiah 34:1-8. The actual mechanisms to squeeze out this BLOOD are in the seven bowls (chapter 16).

  • up to the horses' bridles,
This is difficult to interpret. It may be both literal and figurative. One could interpret Revelation 19:13 that the BLOOD stain on Christ's robe came up as high as the bridle as He sat on the white horse (Revelation 19:11).
  • for a distance of two hundred miles.
Many scholars believe this location is Israel with the center at HarMagedon (Revelation 16:16). They see the 200 million armies of horsemen of Revelation 9:16 merging into this 200 mile area. This may be. However, Christ and true believers have always had a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-12-20). This may be a spiritual zone around Jerusalem with heavy demonic activity. What we have in this verse then is a response to the sixth trumpet - "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates" (Revelation 9:14).
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only