REVELATION 14 – 15
Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
The Harvest Is Coming!
John continues to make the contrast between the view from heaven and the view from earth.
The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5): “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”
144,000 = literal or symbolic?
3 (#for God) X 4 (#for Creation) = 12 (#for the Israel or the church/disciples)
12 X 12 = 144 (the church squared, the whole church)
144 X 103 (total completeness) = 144,000 (the whole church in ideal completeness)
Symbol of Christ’s elite warriors, an advance sign (first fruits) of a bigger harvest to come
Virgins – symbol of purity and faithfulness
warriors abstained from sexual relations to be ready (Dt.23:10, Ex.19:15)
o What are the characteristics of the 144,000 redeemed?
o What would it mean for us today to follow the Lamb wherever he goes?
Three Angels and a Blessing (14:6-13): the eternal gospel
Babylon – capital of the empire that destroyed Judah and took its people into exile (597 BC); John uses Babylon to represent Rome; a symbol of wickedness, idolatry, immorality, cruelty.
o The angels bring a message of the “eternal gospel” – the forever good news. What are the three components of that message, one from each angel?
Angel #1 = God, who created everything, is now going to fix everything
Angel #2 = Evil has fallen
Angel #3 = God’s judgment will be just and complete
o Compare 14:12 and 13:10b. How do these visions support this basic message John is sending to the churches?
o Verse 13 contains the second beatitude/blessing of the book of Revelation. What does it mean?
The Harvest (14:14-20):
See Joel 3:9-16; See Isaiah 63:1-6.
o Now read John 4:31-38. What role does Jesus say that his disciples have in the harvest?
God’s anger and God’s salvation meet in Christ’s work on the cross (outside of the city), as they also meet in the work of the saints’ patient endurance and suffering on behalf of the Gospel (Stephen martyred outside of the city)
Prelude to the final plagues (15:1-8):
The Song of Moses = Exodus 15:1-18, celebrates God’s victory of Egypt after bringing Israel through the Red Sea; sung by Jews on Sabbath evenings – a song of freedom and deliverance.
Tabernacle of the Testimony = The stone tablets containing the Law were the testimony of the covenant God had with Israel, carried in a wooden chest in a special tent/tabernacle.
Bowls of God’s wrath 15:7 = the cup of His wrath promised in 14:10.
o Why will all the nations come to worship God? (See also Psalm 98:7-9: Why is creation celebrating?) Why is judgment good news?
“For John, as for all the early Christians, there was one great act of judgment above all others which was already compelling people from many nations to worship Israel’s God. God had raised Jesus from the dead, after his condemnation as a false Messiah. God had reversed the verdict of the human court! He had done the unthinkable, and had demonstrated Jesus to be Messiah after all! What’s more, the resurrection proved that the cross itself had been the great, spectacular act of judgment, in which sin and death were themselves being condemned and executed.
“Now, having done all that in Jesus the Messiah, Israel’s God was demonstrating that the followers of Jesus were his true people, not least through their faithful testimony to Jesus, even on the peril of the own death. This is the further ‘judgment’ which flows from the ‘judgment’ revealed in the lamb.
“It is therefore the martyrs, those who have ‘won the victory over the monster and over its image, and over the number of its name’, who have discovered that they have come through death, as the Israelites had come through the Red Sea, and are now standing, like Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15, singing a new song of praise for the fresh act of judgment which God had performed.” N.T. Wright
What one truth from this passage stands out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Navpress, A life-changing encounter with God’s Word from the book of Revelation, 2011
N.T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 2011