Reading: Revelation 14
1Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
6Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people....
8A second angel followed and said, "'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,' which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
9A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name." 12This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus....
14I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 17Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." (Rev. 14:1-3,6,8-12,14-18, selected verses)
Reflecting and Thinking
Today's text surveys the elements of this "interlude" and shows parallels to the interlude which followed the six seals. Note: Read the entire chapter if time permits.
In Chapter 7, we met 144000 who were sealed or protected on earth and a Great Multitude in heaven who had endured tribulation. Here we again meet the 144000, only this time they are in heaven having been redeemed from the earth. Three angels (vs. 6-12) show us the gospel which is proclaimed just as broadly as the authority of the sea beast (cf. 13:7), the fall of Babylon, and judgment against the beasts of Chapter 13 (which again calls for endurance among God's people). Afterward three angels support the work of one like a son of man, sitting on a cloud as indication of authority, to harvest the earth. The judgment of the earth is nigh.
While some of the details of this section of Revelation are difficult, based on the survey comments in this devotional series, what do you understand to be the basic message? Who is in control? Whose purpose and will are being fulfilled on earth today? Whose purpose and will are being fulfilled in your life?
Dear God, help us live by faith and believe the outcomes you have promised. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.