Royally Rewarded Loyalty
Bring any concerns of this day to the Lord. Lay them with him and pray for a focused spirit in his presence.
Read REVELATION 14:1-13
 Then 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.  And 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.  And 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 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.  These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.  No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.  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.  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.”  A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”  A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,  he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”  This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.  Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: 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.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat kind of people are commended here (5,12)?
Apocalyptic literature is mysterious, baffling and obscure and, yet, like poetry, it can connect deeply with our emotions and imaginations, giving us a whole new level of insight into the incredible story of salvation. In today’s reading we are bombarded with sounds, smells and sights that transport us to a scene outside our experience. You can almost sense John’s desperation to capture the essence of the vision: The sound was like rushing waters and thunder and harps and there was singing, too. How can I get them to understand what it sounded like? I can still hear it in my head, but I just can’t pin down quite what it’s like.
There are many details in Revelation that snag at us and slow down our reading as we long to understand what we are told. Who are the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth (1)? What are we to understand by “Babylon the Great” (8)? What does it mean to receive the mark of the beast (11)? We could get bogged down in complicated interpretation or we could glory in the clear message of this colorful picture. Worship God, remain loyal to Jesus and you will be blessed, now and for all time.
Read this passage again slowly while looking for the various ways God will use it to encourage and direct you.
Lord Jesus Christ, help me to endure patiently the suffering that I may confront, and remain faithful to You all my life.
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