A CHOICE TO MAKE
Gracious Lord, may the work of my hands praise you and may the intentions of my heart honor you.
Read REVELATION 14:6-20
The Three Angels
6 Then 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. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’[a] which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
9 A 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, 10 they, 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. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever 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.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Harvesting the Earth and Trampling the Winepress
14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man[b] with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then 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.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still 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.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.[c]
- Revelation 14:8 Isaiah 21:9
- Revelation 14:14 See Daniel 7:13.
- Revelation 14:20 That is, about 180 miles or about 300 kilometers
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPeople are uncomfortable with the idea of God’s judgment, yet social media pile-ons and cancel culture reveal a deep longing for justice and restitution. Are there any contradictions in your own attitudes toward judgment?
In this passage John assumes that everyone worships something. There is therefore a choice to be made between two stark alternatives: in Revelation’s ‘worship war’, angels (v 6) call individuals from ‘every nation, tribe, language and people’ (v 6) to ‘fear God and give him glory’ (v 7a), pitting the worship of the Creator against the idolatrous worship of the beast (vs 9–11).
John uses two metaphors of harvest, one of grain (vs 14,15) and the other of grapes (v 19), to introduce the rest of the themes of Revelation – the gathering of God’s people and the judgment that is coming. The great harvest of vs 14–16 refers to the salvation of people from every nation (Zechariah 2:11; Isaiah 49:6; Jeremiah 16:19), while the trampling of the grapes of wrath in verses 17–20 depicts God’s judgment on his enemies. John alludes to the certain doom that will come to an empire that appears as all-powerful.
At the end of Revelation 13, it almost seemed like Satan and the Antichrist might win, but Revelation 14 shows who is really triumphant, powerful, and in control: the Messiah and his people. Praise him for that.
Heavenly Father, I ask that my questions will lead to understanding, my uncertainties will lead to trust, and my honest faith will lead to hope.
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