Revelation | 1-3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14:1-5 | 14:6-20 | 15 | 16:1-7 | 16:8-21 | 17 | 18 | 19:1-10 | 19:11-21 | 20-22 | PDF |


Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.

Revelation 14:6-20 Bible Study Guide With Discussion Questions – Three Messages and Two Harvests

Outline

I. The Lamb And the 144,000 (1-5)
II. Three Angelic Messages (6-13)
III. The Harvest Of The Earth (14-20)

II. Three Angelic Messages (6-13)

Discussion Questions

  • Who were these three messages directed to?
  • Why does the angel speak with a loud voice?
  • What is the content of the first message? The second? The third?
  • For what purpose does God send these messages?
  • What do these messages show us about the Lord’s character?
  • What is Babylon the great?
  • What will happen if someone ignores the third warning and takes the mark of the beast?
  • According to verse 12, how should a believer respond to these messages?
  • What practical things can you do now to build up your endurance for future spiritual challenges?
  • What does it mean to die in the Lord? How will they be blessed?

Cross-References

Hebrews 1:14 – Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Psalm 103:20 – Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!

Isaiah 43:7 – Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:21 – The people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.

Matthew 10:28 – And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Romans 5:3-4 – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Three angelic messages – The vast majority of the time, God uses people to witness to other people. Only on very rare occasions does He directly intervene by sending angelic messengers. But that is what we see happening in this passage. Three times He sends an angelic messenger flying around the earth with special messages.

We see that those messages will go out to “every nation and tribe and language and people.” No one will be left out.

Reflect: Why do you think in this case God sends angels with these messages (considering He normally sends people)?

It will be a time that will be very difficult for believers to openly share the gospel. The 144,000 are already martyred. Those who speak out in public for the Lord will quickly be arrested and martyred as well.

But God is not done. He is going to accomplish His plans with or without man. When people will be unable to spread the message, He will do it in another way. From this, we see God’s mercy. Every person on earth will hear these messages. Everyone who has not yet taken the mark will have yet another chance to repent.

One of the most common questions people pose is “what will happen to the person who has never heard the gospel?”

I believe that this passage shows us that God can and does work in ways we may not expect to spread His message. In the Old Testament, Melchizedek was a priest and a king who believed in the true God. Presumably, he led people in his kingdom to do the same. Where and how did he hear about the Lord? We don’t know. But he did. God got the message to him.

I once heard a story of a missionary who went to an isolated tribe to share the good news. When he got there, he found that they were immediately ready to accept the gospel. They said that they knew there was a good and loving Creator and were waiting to hear more about Him. They had received angelic visions where the messengers told them that someone would come and introduce them to the true God.

Isaiah 59:1 Bible verse

God is not restrained to save those whom He wishes by anything, including the church’s failure to go, whether that is because of disobedience or intense persecution, or any other reason.

Application: Be encouraged to trust more fully in the goodness and mercy of God.

2. The first message –

Revelation 14:7 – Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Here is a call to fear God and worship Him. During this period the antichrist will demand the world’s worship. He and his false prophet will do many signs to deceive the world. The goal will be to convince people that he himself is God.

Yet the angel’s message is simple. Worship the God who made heaven and earth, not this imposter. Fear Him. It will be hard for many people at that time not to fear the world government. It will have a lot of visible power, even to the point of executing believers.

Luke 12:4-5 – I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

Application: We do not live in such an extreme time as the tribulation. But many authorities seek to pressure and intimidate believers. A boss may threaten to fire you if you don’t forge papers. A teacher may threaten to fail you if you don’t bow to the LGBT movement. They have no power over your soul. Fear God and not man.

3. The second message –

Revelation 14:8 – “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

Babylon the great is described more in Revelation 17-18. It is the world system that sets itself up in opposition to God. Satan is behind this world system. It is present throughout all ages (first seen clearly at the time of the Tower of Babel), but in the tribulation his government will take over as THE world power. As always, Satan will seek to win people to his side through lies. Making false promises is what he does. He will promise fun, wealth, luxury, thrill, and sexual pleasures.

People love free handouts. And the nations of the world will line up for the free fun that is being offered.

The angelic message is a warning that these pleasures are fleeting. The government, the system, and everyone in it will fall.

Application: Do not love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15-16). The world offers “free” pleasures like porn. It is not free at all. All of these sinful pleasures come with a cost. And any pleasures are temporary and not fulfilling.

4. The third message –

Revelation 14:9-11 – “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Here is the counter to the antichrist’s propaganda machine. Surely, his PR team will be active all over media extolling the amazing benefits and utopia awaiting those who receive this mark. The convenience, the belonging, and the protections it offers those who take it will be lauded. It will most likely sound like taking the mark will be the ticket to a worldwide paradise, a place of unity and fun for all.

But the angel will give a different message. He announces eternal doom and judgment upon those who decide in favor of the beast by taking the mark and worshiping him. Doom is eternal and never ending because those in hell will continue sinning for eternity without ever repenting.

Reflect: Why do people risk eternity in hell for the sake of a short-term sinful pleasure?

5. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints –

Persecution is going to get worse. Believers will be reviled for their faith. Those taking the name of Christ will have a target on their backs. Many will be martyred. Deliverance is not promised. They are called to endure to the end. And knowing that death will bring them instantly to the Lord, gives hope and boldness to be a good witness in the face of extreme persecution.

If believers at that time are called to endure the most wicked government in world history, then we must certainly endure now. To receive God’s blessing, we must keep the command to endure.

It is easy to trust in and follow God when things are going smoothly, but how about when things are difficult? There are many challenges which might be hard to endure:

  • Family separation
  • Chronic pain
  • Health issues
  • Failures in business or school
  • Childlessness
  • Deaths of loved ones
  • Hostility and pressure from the world

Revelation is a call to endure to the end. It is much easier to start than to finish. According to some statistics, 17% of people drop out of marathon races and don’t finish. I expect the number is much higher for people who profess Christ.

If you think about your own circle, you can probably remember a number of people who used to be faithful churchgoers who disappeared. I can think of many I have known over the years. Many of the temptations facing the churches we saw before are reasons: complacency, persecution, loss of their first love, and sexual immorality.

What is the solution?

Philippians 1:6 Bible verse

We trust in Christ’s power in our lives. At the same time, we are to cooperate with Him. A marathon is finished one step at a time. When you are tired and thirsty and weak, each step can be a challenge. If you think about the finish line so far away it would be easy to get discouraged. One step at a time.

The Christian life is the same. Every day is a new battle. Each day we are called to be faithful and endure. Once you add up all of those steps, and all of those days, it will take you to the finish line, where the eternal blessings await.

III. The Harvest Of The Earth (14-20)

Discussion Questions

  • Who is this seated on the cloud?\
  • What does the crown represent? What about the sickle?
  • If it is Jesus on the cloud, then how can we understand the term “another angel?” And also, how can we understand an angel seemingly giving Him instructions?
  • What is being reaped in this passage?
  • What does it mean to “gather the clusters from the vine of the earth?”
  • Why are judgment and death called “reaping?”
  • What is the great winepress of the wrath of God?
  • What does this passage teach us about God’s character?
  • What is the result of God’s wrath here on earth?

Cross-References

Mark 4:29 – But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

John 12:48 – The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

John 5:22 – The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.

Jude 1:15 – To execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. The identity of the one seated on the cloud – At first glance it appears that this might refer to Jesus. The “Son of Man” is often a Messianic phrase which refers to the Messiah. However, in this case it appears that this may not be Jesus for three reasons.

A. The Greek word for crown here is “stefanos.” That is not the type of crown that kings wear. Rather, it is the type of crown that athletes wore to denote their victory. It is the same type of crown that will be given to believers who overcome. A diadem is the crown that kings wear and the word that is used for the many crowns on Jesus’ head in Revelation 19:12.

B. In verse 15 it says that “another angel” came out of the temple. So there was angel described before this one, hence the use of the word “another.” While it could refer back to some angel mentioned previously in Revelation, the most immediate context is the being in verse 14.

C. This angel in verse 15 gives a command to the being in verse 14 to “put in your sickle…” It would seem unlikely that an angel would give Jesus a command.

For these three reasons, it is more likely that the one seated on the cloud like a son of man is an angel. And this specific angel appeared like a man. Perhaps this is emphasized because not all angels do look like men (as evidenced by the the four living creatures and other beings described in the book of Revelation.)

There are other cases where God uses angels to reap the earth (Matthew 24:31).

2. The first harvest – Verses 15-16 describe the first harvest that is reaped by this angel with his sickle. This ties in with verse 13 which describes the martyrdom believers are going to face.

Revelation 14:13 – And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

The second half of the tribulation will be a time when believers are martyred in huge numbers. It is also prophesied in Daniel 7:25.

Daniel 7:25 – He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.

Reaping a harvest in the Bible is generally a good thing. And this first harvest seems to be a harvest of believers. Believers who hear the message of Revelation 14:14-16 should be encouraged. While it may appear to them that they are under the power and dominion of the evil one, God is sovereign. And God views this as a good thing.

Consider this. The world at that time will be the most wicked in all of human history. Satan will be openly worshiped. Everyone will want to hunt down and kill believers. So God says, “OK.” And He allows believers to be martyred, thus removing them from the earth and taking them immediately to the safety of His presence.

Death for believers at that time will not be a curse. It will be a blessing, just as when a harvest of good crops is brought in. This harvest does not occur all at once, but during the period of the second half of the tribulation.

Application: Looking at persecution in the short term can be disheartening. It may even discourage believers from sharing their faith because of fear of the consequences. But when we look at it from God’s perspective, we see that to Him martyrdom of saints is precious (Psalm 116:15). It means we come into His presence quickly. Let us strive to look beyond the short term persecution and to the heavenly reward for being faithful. Focusing on the eternal perspective can give us hope and boldness.

3. The second harvest –

Revelation 14:17 – Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.

This is a second and different harvest carried out be a different angel. In this case also the angel receives a command to “put in the sickle.” There is a difference in how the harvest is described.

Revelation 14:18 Bible verse

Here the harvest is of grapes. These grapes of the vine will be gathered and thrown into the great winepress of the wrath of God. In a winepress, grapes are smashed and crushed so that the juices can flow out. It is a violent image. The term used in verse 20 is that they will be “trodden.”

There is a comfort for believers in that this will happen “outside of the city.” Most likely that is a reference to Jerusalem and a reminder that the judgment will target unbelievers who are targeting God’s people.

It will result in death and destruction. Vast numbers of the unbelieving will be slain as a result of God’s wrath. The blood will flow to the height of a horse’s bridle for 1600 stadia. A stadia is a Greek unit of measurement equivalent to about 600 feet (192 meters). So the total distance described here will be about 180 miles (300 Km).

All of this points clearly to the fact that the second harvest is one of divine judgment. God’s wrath will be poured out against those who continue to rebel against Him. Both of these harvests are described in poetic terms.

4. The timeline – When will these things happen?

Both of these harvests appear to be summaries of what is going to happen over the second half the tribulation. First, believers will be martyred. After that, will come God’s divine retribution for those who supported and caused it. So this chapter seems to be forward looking, rather than something which takes place at this precise moment in the timeline.

And seen that way, it is meant to encourage the saints. It is a call for endurance (verse 12). Yes, believers will be martyred. But that is a blessing for them. And unbelievers will be judged. Knowing what is coming will give the believers strength to endure. If they did not know ahead of time, they might conclude that God is absent or that He is actually losing the war. When they see the result of God’s wrath against believers, they will also be reminded that the temporary pleasures of sin (including avoiding persecution) is not worth it.

Revelation 15
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