What does Revelation 14 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
Between chapters 11 and 16, Revelation pauses its in-order description of the end times to introduce certain figures and highlight certain events. One of these events, shown in chapter 14, is a celebration which occurs very near the end of the tribulation.

John's vision here includes Jesus and the same 144,000 sealed believers who were described in chapter 7. These stalwart believers sing a song of praise to God while standing on Zion: the general area of the city of Jerusalem. The sealed believers are further described as spiritually pure, in stark contrast to the wicked people marked as worshippers of the Antichrist (Revelation 14:1–5).

Next John sees three angels delivering messages of warning and prophecy. These messages predict God's impending judgment on sin and evil. Included in these statements is a comment about those who accepted the mark of the beast, described in chapter 13. Those who take that mark are bound for eternal damnation—they are not believers. This further supports the idea that the mark of the beast is not some casual, hidden concept. Those who take it will know they are rejecting God by doing so. This passage ends with a word of encouragement for Christians who suffer persecution for their faith (Revelation 14:6–13).

The last section of chapter 14 depicts Jesus holding a sickle—a farming tool used to cut plants during the harvest. This passage symbolizes the return of Jesus, and the subsequent battle, in terms of a grape harvest. Just as mature grapes are fat and full of juice, the wickedness of unbelievers on earth will have reached a peak at this moment. Just as a winepress crushes and shreds grapes to make wine, the wrath of God will tear apart those who fight against Christ at the end of the tribulation (Revelation 14:14–20).
Verse Context:
Revelation 14:1–5 reports that John saw the Lamb and the 144,000 sealed Jews standing on Mount Zion. This continues Revelation's temporary break from a moment-by-moment account of end-times judgments, looking forward to the end of all things. The 144,000 are those we read about in Revelation 7. They come from the tribes of Israel and receive God's seal on their foreheads (Revelation 7:2–4). They serve God faithfully throughout the tribulation and are among those who survive to enjoy shelter, refreshment, and comfort in Messiah's kingdom (Revelation 7:15–17). There is great rejoicing in heaven as the 144,000 stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
Revelation 14:6–13 reports what three angels announce. The first angel declares God's imminent judgment on Babylon, but first he proclaims the eternal gospel throughout the world. It appears that God gives earth's inhabitants one last chance to repent before He executes His judgment. The second and third angels pronounce judgment on the kingdom of the beast and his worshipers. Revelation 15:1—18:24 fills in the details of the predicted judgments. A voice from heaven encourages those who obey God and maintain steadfast in faith in Christ. The voice pronounces blessing upon those who lay down their lives for Christ.
Revelation 14:14–20 anticipates the judgment of the wicked that takes place at Christ's return. Matthew 13:36–43 and 24:21–46 disclose Jesus' words about this future event. Second Thessalonians 1:5–12 predicts it, and so does Jude 1:14–15. Isaiah 63:1–6 also describes the Lord's day of vengeance on the wicked. This event is poetically described using the image of a winepress, with blood streaming from it as high as a horse's head.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter distinguishes two groups of people: those who believe in Jesus during the tribulation and those who worship the beast. John sees the Lamb, Jesus, and the 144,00 sealed Jewish servants of God standing together on Mount Zion. The scene anticipates the end of the tribulation with the 144,000 celebrating their victory over the beast. Heaven, too, celebrates their triumph. The eternal good news of salvation reaches the ends of the earth, calling upon everyone to turn to God or face His judgment and announcing the collapse of commercial Babylon and the eternal punishment of the beast, whose image so many unbelievers worshiped. This impending judgment is cause for believers to stay loyal to the Lord. Many believers will face martyrdom, but their temporary suffering does not compare with the eternal suffering worshipers of the beast will experience. When Christ returns to earth, the destruction of the wicked will be so complete that blood will flow so high it will reach a horse's bridle.
Chapter Context:
This chapter continues a segment of Revelation which deviates from the chronological account of the end times. These events occur at the end of the tribulation, when Christ returns to defeat all the remaining wickedness on earth. This event is given more details in chapter 19. In Acts 14:19–22 we learn that Paul and Barnabas returned to the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged the believers by saying believers must endure many tribulations before they enter the kingdom. Revelation 14 and 15 offer similar encouragement to stay loyal to Christ in the face of persecution. Chapter 16 resumes a step-by-step account of the end times.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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