Revelation 14:1.. And 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. These are the same hundred forty and four thousand from chapter 7. They were sealed in their foreheads with the seal of the living God. This event happens before bad things come upon the earth. Now as we come to the final judgment that will be poured out on the earth we see that this group has been delivered by God. We also find out what the seal is. It is the Father of the Lamb's name.
Verse 2.. And 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: Verse 3.. And 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 hundred and forty and four thousand have their own song. God has delivered them in a very special way. A way in which only they can sing. It is their song. The church has it's own song. Back in chapter 5:9.. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Some commentators say that the four and twenty elder that are singing this song don't represent the church. That these are angelic beings. That doesn't make sense. Angelic beings can't relate to being redeemed to God by the blood of Jesus. This song belongs to the church. Not only that, but elders never refer to angelic beings in the bible. Elders always refer to human beings.
Verse 4.. These 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. Verse 5.. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The description of the hundred and forty and four thousand continues. These are men who take an oath of celibacy. They follow Jesus. (The Lamb). They are the first fruits. In other words these are the first of many to come. The first fruits of the Nation of Israel who come to trust in Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. It would be very interesting to see this group start to emerge. A group of men who take an oath of celibacy and choose to follow Jesus. The group is first mentioned back in chapter 7:4. 7:3 directs the four angels not to hurt the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till these servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. So the sealing occurs before the first trumpet is sounded which brings destruction on the earth. It also occurs after the appearing of the antichrist which is pictured in 6:2. This does not necessarily conclude that the group, the 144,000, does not begin to form before the appearing of the antichrist.
Verse 6.. And 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, Verse 7 Saying 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.
In Matt. 24:14 Jesus says " And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. So the failure of the church to reach every person on the earth with the gospel of the kingdom will not prevent the Lord's coming. This task will be performed by an angel. Also note that the gospel of the kingdom is different than the gospel of Christ. The gospel of Christ involves the death and resurrection of our Savior. The gospel of the kingdom involves fearing God and giving Him glory. It involves God establishing his kingdom on the earth.
Remember the disciples were expecting Jesus to establish his kingdom on the earth. This is what they believed until Jesus revealed his true mission. Peter rebuked him. Matt. 16:21-23.
Verse 8.. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, the great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. We get a detailed description of the fall of this great city in chapters 17 and 18. The great city of the earth which makes possible the aquiring of anything imaginable. People drunk or given to that which she can provide. Fornicating, turned away from the one who can truly provide all that we need.
Verse 9.. And 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, Verse 10.. The 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 withe fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: Verse 11: And 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.
So by this point in the tribulation period, many have probably taken the mark of the beast. So why the warning? The reason for the warning is to encourage the saints.
Verse 12.. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Verse 13.. And 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 labors; and their works do follow them.
So with the bowl judgments yet to come and increased pressure from the beast to convert or die, the saints are encouraged to stay the course. The antichrist no doubt will be increasing his forces and preparing for the massive campaign against the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 14.. And 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. This isn't necessarily Jesus, although Jesus is wearing many crowns in chapter 19:12. The following verses start with "And another angel came out". So the cloud sitter of verse 14 is probably an angel.
Verse 15.. And 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. Verse 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. Verse 17.. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. Verse 18.. And 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. Verse 19.. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
Joel 3:13 combines both the wheat and the wine harvests. The idea is that the earth is completely filled with wickedness and ready for the wine press. These verses look forward to the final battle between Jesus and the antichrist (beast kingdom and false prophet). Revelation 19:17-21.
Verse 20.. And the wine press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. From Mageddo to Edom is a thousand and six hundred furlongs or 176 miles.