Babylon is Fallen and the Harvest
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
The lamb is Christ. Mount Sion is the church (Hebrews 12:22-23). The 144,000 with the name of Jehovah written in their foreheads are the converted Jews.
2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
Read Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16; Ezekiel 1:24; Ezekiel 43:2; 2 Samuel 22:14; Job 37:4; Psalm 29:3; Psalm 77:18. This is the voice of God. Please note that the water, the thunder, and the harps are all symbols, not literal [so this is not authorization for mechanical instruments in worship. The harps are used in worship to God here, even symbolically. The voice (singular) is associated with the harps (plural).]
3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
The original song is the song of Moses (Exodus 15) after coming out of Egyptian bondage. The new song is the song of the former Jews converted to Christianity. They have, in a figurative sense, come out of spiritual bondage to metaphorical Egypt (the Jewish nation). Redeemed from the earth is again a metaphor for being redeemed from among the Jewish people or nation.
4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
This is further identification of the 144,000 as Jews (and further evidence that metaphorical use of the term “earth” represents the Jewish people).
A. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.Edit
Neither adulterers nor given to harlotry in a spiritual sense. These former Jews do not participate in the activities taught by the earth beast and worship of the sea beast’s image. They are, spiritually speaking, as pure as virgins.
B. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.Edit
They follow Christ even to the point of martyrdom.
C. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.Edit
The first converts to Christianity were all Jews (Acts 2-11).
5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
In contrast to the earth beast, there is no deceit in those former Jews who preach the gospel. They have no fault (sin) according to God’s Law because they are continually washed in the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7).
6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
A. I saw another angel fly in the midst of heavenEdit
Another messenger doing the same as the one in Revelation 8:13.
B. having the everlasting gospel to preach...Edit
Has a different message than the woes the first messenger brought. This messenger has good news for the converted Jews both in Palestine and to the scattered tribes of Israel (144,000 was all 12 tribes, not just the 3 remaining) throughout the world.
7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
The messenger’s message is to give glory to God because He is now going to fulfill His promise to bring judgment against the Jewish nation who persecuted the church. They are reminded that God is Creator not of the physical universe (though this is a secondary effect), but of the governments, the Jewish nation, the Roman nation, and the trade sources (see Revelation 8:10) all being maneuvered during these events.
8And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
A. there followed another angelEdit
Following the previous messenger of verse 6, another messenger comes with a related message.
B. Babylon is fallen, is fallenEdit
Certainly this is not literal as literal Babylon fell ages past. This is representative Babylon spoken of as fallen (an absolute assurance of what will happen). We must determine what Babylon represents.
C. that great cityEdit
That great city is a specific reference. The only “great city” John has written of in this entire book is Jerusalem. Therefore Babylon is Jerusalem.
D. because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.Edit
The cause of the fall of Babylon/Jerusalem is because she made all nations to “drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”.
- Drink the wine – participate in.
- The wrath – the wine represents the wrath (of God) because of the fornication, not the fornication itself.
- Her fornication – this goes back to the information in chapter 13, the willing participation in the idolatry, economic benefits, and military dependence of Rome by the Jews.
9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
A third messenger follows the other two with a related message.
God will punish anyone who gives into the earth beast, the pressure to worship Caesar even if just to trade.
11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
The smoke again is indicative of the destruction of a wicked city just like Sodom and Gomorrah. In this case, the smoke is that of Jerusalem and indicates the complete destruction of any who would act as Jerusalem has acted. They would be destroyed along with Judaism.
12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Again, that which the Christians had waited for had come and their patience had been rewarded.
13And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
John is told now to write that those who die for the cause of Christ are blessed. Their work is done, but their work continues to be effective. (Later this will give us an indication of how the martyrs/beheaded are said to rule for 1000 years.)
14And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
Christ/Michael/the rider on the white horse, coming to reap the great harvest (Read Matthew 13).
15And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
A. another angel came out of the templeEdit
A messenger with the authority of God from the Old Testament, that is with a message based on the prophecies of the Old Testament.
B. crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloudEdit
The messenger gives Christ a message. This isn’t an angel filling in ignorance on Christ’s part, this is akin to a messenger on the field delivering a report to a general.
C. Thrust in thy sickle, and reap...Edit
The time according to prophecy has come to fulfill that prophecy (including Matthew 13).
16And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
The Romans attack the Jews as previously envisioned in the first half of Revelation harvesting both those who were wicked/ignorant (willingly or otherwise) of the impending events and the faithful Christians who were not taken by surprise (1 Thess 5:1-7).
17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
This is simply a vivid metaphor for the Roman attack on Judah, the end result of God’s wrath for the Jews unfaithfulness to Him. The symbols are all familiar by now. The earth is the Jewish people, the city is Jerusalem, the wine is representative of the blood that flowed so freely throughout the land of Palestine. Even the vine or branch is an allusion to the vine branch of Romans 11, the Jewish people.
In Truth and Love.