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Revelation 14

 

Chapter 13, left us with the terrifying “image of the beast” its “mark” with economic sanction and the threat of death imposed upon all dissenters. In answer to the question posed in Revelation 6:17 “who shall be able to stand?” it would be easy to conclude: “nobody would be able to stand” against the “threefold union,” let alone be prepared to stand in the second coming of the “lamb.”

In contrast, this chapter brings good news. It, in essence, alludes to the ultimate victory of the “white horse” icon that goes “forth conquering,” and ultimately, “to conquer” (Revelation 6:2) once and for all. So, there will be those who “shall be able to stand,” not only when others call for “the mountains and rocks [to] fall on [them and] hide [them] from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:17) but who stood even though they could not “buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). Knowing that this will be “the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed” will certainly strengthen the resolve and courage of the saints as they face that daunting situation.

Although there are challenging aspects to Revelation 14, we are assured that “The fourteenth chapter of Revelation is a chapter of the deepest interest. This scripture will soon be understood in all its bearings, and the messages given to John the revelator will be repeated with distinct utterance.”[1] So, lets do our best to understand it distinctly in order to be able to repeat it distinctly.

By now, having studied chapters 12 and 13, it should be evident that the progression formate of the seven churches, seven seals and seven trumpets outlined in chapters 3-11 has changed into a formate more like that of recapitulation. Note again that the last church (Laodicea) brought in the seven seals. The last seal (the “seventh” of ch.8) brought in the seven trumpets. Chapter 12 then gives us a sweeping outline of the Great Controversy between good and evil. It first alludes to the true church, then points back into prehistoric time when there was “war in heaven” and ending with the last confrontation between the dragon and the church. In that outline, the two crucial phases of that final struggle are depicted: the historic “dark age,” and the future “dark age.”

Chapter 13 then alludes to one of the most crucial events of all time. It is set up by the “sea beast” and the “earth beast” powers that will marshal the whole world into falling into Satan’s trap. It is called the “hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). In essence, it gives us details of the events that will occur when the judgment depicted in chapter 5, turns from the dead to the living.

That turning point in the judgment was first introduced in the fifth seal scenario of Revelation 6:9-11 when the question was asked: “How long, O Lord . . . dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on that that dwell on the earth?” In other words: “how long is it going to be until the judgment passes from the dead to the living?” Therefore, chapter 13 basically recapitulates the fifth seal scenario of Revelation 6:9-11.

Therefore, from chapter 13 and onwards to the end of the book of Revelation we will see a focusing (or review, recapitulation and deeper insights) on many of the features of the seven churches, seals and trumpets.

That understanding, I believe, should help us to begin study of chapter 14.

Verse 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.

The last time John “looked,” he saw “a pale horse” whose rider “was Death, and Hell followed . . .” (Rev.6:8). This time the scene is far more pleasant. The “Lamb,” last mentioned in Rev.13:8 as being “slain from the foundation of the world,” now is seen standing on “mount Sion” which, in John’s time, was the site of the earthly tabernacle. However, that tabernacle had been laid in ruins by the Roman army some thirty years previously in 70 AD. Therefore, “Sion” represents the new site of God’s government in heaven where Christ assumed His position and was “set down with [His] Father in his throng” (Rev.3:21) in heaven. He took His position there after His ascension back in 31 AD.

Now, He and His Father are not alone. With Him, in heaven, are the “hundred forty and four thousand” featured previously in the sixth seal scenario of Rev.7:4-8. There, John only “heard the number” of them while he actually “beheld . . . a great multitude, which no man could number” (Rev.7:4,9). Here he actually sees the 144,000 in heaven with no mention of the “great multitude.”

Nevertheless, we can assume the presence of the “great multitude” that the 144,000 were a part of because both scenes are in the same time and place with that of chapter 7. There, they are “before the throne” in heaven (v.9) and here, they are on “mount Sion” also in heaven soon after the second coming, and, we can assume, before the throne as well.  John was told that the “great multitude . . . came out of [the] great tribulation” (Rev.7:14), the same “tribulation” that the 144,000 also “came out of.” [2]

Having studied the seven trumpet scenario, beginning in Rev.8:6 after Jesus cast down the censer in Rev.8:5, we know that “the great tribulation” took place during the trumpet events. And we can also be assured that the 144,000 along with the “great multitude” were able to “stand” throughout that time and must now be in heaven standing  with the Lamb and the 144,000.

But, that’s not all. Bear in mind that the general resurrection of all the dead who had died in Christ, did not take place until the last of the seven trumpets (the “third woe” of Rev.11:14),had been sounded. Paul suggests that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump [“the last trump” 1 Cor.15:52] of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” Therefore, the resurrection takes place during the great consummation (when the Lord actually descends), the final event at the end of the trumpet scenario.

Picture 18Here in verse one, we see the 144,000 “having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” That takes us back again to chapter 7 where “four angels” were seen “standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth” in order to protect the earth, sea and trees until the “servants of our God” could be “sealed in their foreheads.” (see Rev.7:3) That “seal” contains the “Fathers’ name” representing His divine nature which displaced their previous human natures. But, “even after the saints are sealed with the seal of the living God, His elect will have trials individually. Personal afflictions will come: but the furnace is closely watched by and eye that will not suffer the gold to be consumed. . . . They are God’s property, His possession.” [3] To “be consumed” suggests that yielding to the trials and afflictions is still a possibility even after being sealed! Therefore, their power of choice has not been removed even with the “seal in their foreheads!” As a result, the “seal” simply means that God is prepared to stake His honor on the character and behavior of those men and women during post probationary time when yielding in any way to affliction and trial would result in God’s defeat and Satan’s victory in that final stage of the Great Controversy. But, God predicts that will not happen not because it could not, but because the saints will refuse (by God’s sustaining grace) to yield.

The prime example of just such a scenario is that of the man Job. God staked His reputation on Job when He suggested to Satan “all that he hath is in thy power” and “he is in thine hand.” (see Job 1:12; 2:6). God allowed Satan to afflict him to the max. He actually depended upon Job not to dishonor Him by sinning or to charge Him “foolishly.” So, God honored him greatly because He was staking His reputation before all the other “sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1) of the universe, depending on him to vindicate His name. What an honor!

But, Job was only one man. In the case presented here in Revelation 7 and 14, God is clearly planning to put on a mass demonstration by according the same honor to the 144,000 and the “great multitude!”

But, even prior to surviving the post probationary time of Jacob’s trouble, they had passed the probationary “image of the beast” “test” depicted in Revelation 13:15-17. That was “the test that the people of Picture 17God must have before they are sealed.” [4] They were sealed with the “Father’s name written [only] in their foreheads” after having rejected the “mark of the beast” that could have been placed on either their forehead or their hand (Revelation 13:16).

Although John saw many who “were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” (Revelation 20:4), the 144,000 [5] were preserved alive. Having no certainty that they would be kept alive, they too, had to face the very real possibility of being killed along with the many who had fallen “by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil” for “many days.” (Dan.11:33).

Nevertheless, instead of fleeing to the mountains, they, who understood “among the people” and knew “their God,’ had been “strong” (see Daniel 11:32,ee) and courageously “instruct[ed]” “many.” But, when the events associated with the seven trumpets began, they knew their work was over and the little time to seek refuge had come. That time is spoken of in Isaiah 26:20 where God says “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut they doors about thee: hid thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”

“Why were thy [the 144,000] so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory. They were ever keeping in view the great and blessed hope that is before them. What is it? It is an eternal weight of glory. Nothing could surpass it.” [6]

Their experience is represented by “the two candlesticks” seen “standing before the God of the earth (Rev.11:4) proclaiming the “solemn warning” to the whole world against “the mark of the beast.” Their effort filled “the earth with the knowledge of God . . . as the waters cover the sea.” [7] It appears that the success of their work will exceed all expectation. Check out Zechariah 13:8,9: “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall b left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”

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:

Note, two voices are depicted here: “a voice from heaven” and “the voice of harpers.” The “voice from heaven” was last heard inviting the “two witness” to “Come up hither” (Revelation 11:12) and even before had told John to “seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered” (Revelation 10:4).

Since the sound of his “voice” was like “many waters,” it must be the sound of Jesus’ voice that had “the sound of many waters” as well as “of a trumpet” instead of “thunder” in Revelation 1:10, 15. Therefore, “the voice from heaven” must belong to Jesus seen here rejoicing over the fruits of His great sacrifice because He loved them and had washed them from their sins in is own blood (see Revelation 1:5).

The second “voice,” depicted as “harpers harping with their harps” and singing in the next verse, is that of “the hundred and forty and four thousand” who, in spite of singing and playing with all their might could not drown out the thunderous voice of Jesus as He celebrated with them over their great victory after having stood “with a wonderful truth right before the whole world” and receiving “their opposition” without murmur or complaint[8] just as Jesus did during His earthly ministry.

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 pronoun “they” refers to both of the  “voices” heard in verse two, that of Jesus and the 144,000. Although “no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand” because of what they had suffered, Jesus, even though “he were a Son, [also] learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). “His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). Therefore, Jesus not only “could learn that song,” here He is leading that song!

Their experience was “of such a personal nature that only those who pass through it can appreciate its significance. To them the song is a treasured and comprehensive summation of the experiences though which they have passed in the closing stages of the conflict between good and evil.”[9] But, no such experience would be possible without Jesus’ sustaining grace represented by “much incense, that he [offered] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne” (Revelation 8:3) in heaven after leaving the most Holy place. What the saints experienced, He experienced. What they suffered, He suffered. Their “experience” was His.

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.

Being undefiled “with women” is symbolic action language referring “to a specific point, or period, of time . . . when the coalition of religious elements, symbolized by ‘women’ will bring every pressure to bear upon the saints to renounce their fealty to God and His commandments and to join their organization. Any yielding would be an act of defilement. Now standing victoriously upon Mt. Zion, the saints are commended for their fidelity.”[10]

According to Revelation 7:4-8 all the names of the 144,000 are those of men. Here they are called “virgins.” Therefore, this is symbolic language representing their untainted theology, not their gender. It puts them in the class of “they that understand among the people [who] shall instruct many” after the “vile person” and those who forsook “the holy covenant,” polluted “the sanctuary of strength [took] away the daily, and [placed] the abomination that maketh desolate” in Daniel 11:30, 31, 33.

Being those who “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” stipulates they followed Him on earth regardless of the adverse circumstance that surrounded them, “not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.”[11] Having “been translated from the earth, from among the living . . . they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have ‘washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’”[12]

Not only are they called “virgins,” they are also called “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” The Commentary suggests two alternative explanations: “The 144,000 may thus be considered as ‘firstfruits’ either in the sense of being a part of a larger harvest or in the sense of being a gift, or offering, to God.”[13]

The latter suggestion fails to distinguish the difference between the saved of all the ages and the special group who have “been translated from the earth, from among the living” without seeing death. The former suggestion satisfies the conditions specified in chapter 7 where John “beheld . . . a great multitude, which no man could number . . . clothed with white robes . . . which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” in Revelation 7:9,12, 13.[14]

Therefore, the 144,000 are “part of a larger harvest,” the “great multitude, which no man could number,” depicted in the Old Testament as “the third part” “in all the land” whom God “will bring through the fire,” or the “great tribulation” that will “refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, it is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:8,9). [15]

Gabriel’s exposition in Daniel 11:33 touched briefly on that theme saying: “they that understand among the people shall instruct many” implying that those who “understand (the 144,000?)” will be greatly outnumbered by those who are instructed. Although all will “fall . . . by captivity, and by spoil,” not all will be killed “by the sword” or “by flame.” Even though “some of them of understanding shall fall,”[16] implying that knowledge alone cannot save, “many,” seeing the moral failure of some of their instructors yet remain faithful, will gain an experience that will “purge, and make them white, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 11:35). The surviving “instructors” who depend on the blood of Christ rather than their knowledge, could well be represented by the 144,000 who, at last, will stand with Jesus on Mt. Zion.

Verse 5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

The word “guile” is from a Greek word meaning “craft, deceit” as well as “guile.”[17] It is much like the Hebrew word translated “craft” in Daniel 8:25[18] depicting one of the moral failures of “the king of fierce countenance” who “shall cause craft to prosper in his hand.”

These are the men represented by “the two candlesticks” (Revelation 11:4) whose experience was like that of “Smyrna” and “Philadelphia” (Revelation 2:8-11; 3:7-13), the only two churches that received no condemnation from the Lord in His critique of the seven churches. The message they bore is that of “the two witnesses” who were given “power” to “prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth.” That “power” came from the Holy Oil flowing from “the two olive trees”(Revelation 11:4). Then, God threatens, “if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed” (Revelation 11:5), which is the “third” angel’s message of verses 9 to 11 in this chapter.

The great majority of the world will pronounce them guilty of craft and deceit even though they had “power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6). But, because of the upsetting character of their three messages the world will consider them anything but faultless!

Finally, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against” their messages of doom “and kill them” in the metaphorical sense “because these two prophets, representing the Old and New Testaments in general and Daniel and Revelation in specific, “tormented them that dwelt on the earth” (Revelation 11:10). They were “tormented” in the sense that the message they bore as they “stood before the whole world” which could not be ignored but nevertheless rejected, caused much mental anguish and emotional distress.

But, God vindicated their message when “after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them” after “a great earthquake” destroyed “the tenth part of the city “and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:11-13).

Sometime later, God made “them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not but do lie . . . to come and worship before [their] feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Revelation 3:9).

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,

“This is a symbolic vision. The angel represents God’s saints engaged in the task of proclaiming the everlasting gospel” and it is “also true that literal angels assist men in the task . . .”[19] in giving the messages of the “two witnesses” which is “a wonderful truth right before the whole world . . ..” while receiving “their opposition . . .” from the world.[20]

Now, John begins to get into the content of messages of the “two witnesses” that was born by the 144,000.

Although the first angel is merely called “another angel,” the last one is called “the third angel” in verse 9. Therefore this must be the first. But, the wording suggests a previous “angel” which must be “the seventh angel” who had the “seventh trumpet” (Revelation 11: 15) that will finish “the mystery of God” (Revelation 10:7). But, remember, the trumpet bearing angels do not sound until after Jesus casts “the censer . . into the earth” (Revelation 8:5). We can be grateful that the utterances of the three angels begin in probationary time (after 1844 to be specific) well before Jesus casts down “the censer.”

Therefore: “In these last days it is our duty to ascertain the full meaning of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. . .  The first, second, and third angels’ messages are all united and are revealed in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation from the sixth verse to the close.”[21] Most of us have understood they end at verse 12, while that statement extends the messages to verse 20. So, it is well for us to keep that in mind even though verses 14 to 20 are not well understood.

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.

There are two other loud voices in the book of Revelation that coincide with this message. The first is the “loud voice” of “a strong angel proclaiming ‘who is worthy to open the book’” then saying with another “loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb” (Revelation 5:2, 12) to open it when Jesus passed from the holy to the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 to begin the judgment of the dead.

Then, when the “fifth seal” is opened, the martyrs under the alter are depicted asking God “with a loud voice . . . How long” is it going to be before you “judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Then, they are informed, they must sleep in the grave “for a little season until their fellowservants who should be killed as they were should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11) when the judgment passes from the dead to the living.

So, by this time, it should be evident there are two phases of the investigative judgment that began with the dead in 1844 and ending with the “living” sometime in the near future.[22] Therefore, the message of the first angel saying “the hour of his judgment is come” is inclusive of October 22, 1844 and another point in the future that is impossible to date even though the signs around us warn us with “a loud voice” that the time for the judgment of the living is drawing near.

When it begins, the “earth beast” will exercise all the power of the “sea beast” and require all “both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads” as a sign that they “worship the “sea beast” whose “deadly wound was healed,” or be “killed” (Revelation 13:15-16).

But, in addition to that warning, all who “dwell (that is, ‘live”) on the earth” must decide who they will “worship,” even the skeptic. They will have to chose between “him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” or, soon thereafter, having to choose between two other “gods” named “Wormwood,” (Revelation 8:10, 11) or “Abbadon or Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11), the “destroyer.” There will be no middle ground in the matter. All will be forced to chose one side or the other.

Verse 8: And 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.

“In point of time the second angel follows the first, but it is also true that the first angel continues his ministry when the second angel joins him. In this sense the second angel’s message accompanies that of the first.”[23]

Although “Babylon” is referred to some 251 times in the Old Testament, but only 12 times in the New, half of the New Testament references are in the book of Revelation with the first being mentioned right here.

Nearly all of the previous references to “Babylon” are in the literal sense while John’s are figurative.

By the time John received this vision, the literal city had “virtually ceased to exist.”[24] It lay under the curse of God whose prophet predicted “it shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation” (Isaiah 13:20). Therefore, “Babylon” should be thought of as a metaphor for spiritual confusion. In fact “the Hebrews derogatorily associated it with balal, a word in their language meaning ‘to confuse.”[25]

And, so it applies “to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt.”[26]  This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy, sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches. . . .”[27]

Therefore, “Babylon” comprises a conglomeration of churches under the dominion of the “sea beast” and the “earth beast” of chapter 13. The Protestant churches under the dominion of the “earth beast” once abhorred the “sea beast,” but they are steadily loosing their protest by degrees as the twice used term “fallen” suggests. In fact, the “message will have increasing relevance as the end draws near, and will meet its complete fulfillment with the union of the various religious elements under the leadership of Satan.”[28] When the “union” is complete, it can then be called a “great city.”

“The scenes of the betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ have been reenacted, and will again be reenacted on an immense scale. People will be filled with the attributes of Satan. The delusions of the archenemy of God and man will have great power. Those who have given their affections to any leader but Christ will find themselves under the control, body, soul, and spirit of an infatuation that is so entrancing that under its power souls turn away from hearing the truth to believe a lie. . . . In the churches which have departed from truth and righteousness, it is being revealed what human nature will be and do when the love of God is not an abiding principle in the soul. We need not be surprised at anything that may take place now. We need not marvel at any developments of horror. Those who trample under their unholy feet the law of God have the same spirit as had the men who insulted and betrayed Jesus. Without any compunctions of conscience they will do the deeds of their father the devil. . . .”[29]

“Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished, throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Rev. 14:8 is yet future.”[30] That will be the time when the Investigative Judgment of the dead, will pass from the dead to the living. It will be the “test that the people of God must have before they are sealed.”

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,

This is the first time one of these three angels are numbered which gives reason to accept the other two as the “first” and the “second.” Obviously, since “the perfect fulfillment” of the second angel’s message is “yet future,” the “third” is also future.

But, unlike the previous two that are in operation contemporaneously, this is a message of things yet to come when the progressive fall of Babylon depicted by the second angel, has reached its lowest level.

Furthermore, it is worship of the “sea beast” whose “deadly wound was healed,” that is being addressed there. Although the “sea beast” has been in existence for many centuries, it is still waiting for the “earth beast” to create the “image” and the “mark.” Without its help, the “deadly wound” suffered by the “sea beast” would never heal. And, unless the “earth beast” fully repudiates its precious principle of separation of church and state, it would never permit the development of the terrible abominations called the “image” and the “mark.”

Since it is “popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance” that will be most responsible for breaking down that precious wall between church and state, the people need to be informed of its terrible danger and “legislators,” who will be forced to chose between protecting the Constitution and winning “public favor,”[31] need every encouragement we can give them to prevent this from happening. But, when it comes, as the Bible predicts it surely will, it will force the United States of America back into the Dark Age that its forefathers strove valiantly to prevent.

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 with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

So, the “hard core” worshipers who receive the “mark” in their foreheads, or the reluctant, whether they are completely indifferent, uncertain or may even entertain grave reservations about such an institution yet accept it in their “hands” for reasons of expediency, all come under censure from God and all will suffer His divine displeasure.

Consequently, all will be forced to choose between the suffering the painful inconvenience of economic sanctions and the terrifying specter of violent death at the hands of men, or facing the prospect of torment “with fire and brimstone” from God Himself. There will be no middle ground. Neutrality will be nonexistent. While the former prospect is certainly the lesser of two evils, human nature, being what it is, the great majority of humanity will chose the latter because God, who has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11) will postpone the demonstration of His “wrath” as long as possible and the wicked, who entertain no fear of God’s “wrath,” will decide in favor of the moment, rather than taking into consideration the long range view.

The “long range view,” consisting of torment “with fire and brimstone,” with “the smoke” from it ascending “up for ever and ever,” is awful! But, it does not come at the end of the judgment of the living or even at the end of the “third woe,” but at the end of the “thousand years” of the assessory judgment (see Revelation 20) just before the wicked are cast into the “lake of fire.” Furthermore, the “fire and brimstone” will fall upon all the wicked who ever lived from the beginning to the end of time. Most of them, by far, will never have heard of an “image to the beast” or received its “mark.” How, in the name of fairness, would it be right for them to suffer the same punishment as those who actually received the “mark?”

It is for that reason that our merciful, gracious and just God will delay the outpouring of His wrath for so long a time. He allows the development of the “image” and the “mark” to act as a catalyst to accelerate the great controversy between good and evil to a decisive end point in the “dark age” of the future.

While spiritual and moral corruption might have seemed excusable to the angels during “dark age” of history when the populace was held in ignorance of God and the Bible, the future “dark age” will be developed in the full light of the gospel making spiritual ignorance completely inexcusable.

The “image” and “mark” scenario will reveal to the entire universe that there was really no excuse for the moral and spiritual corruption that existed even during the historic “dark age” in spite of the prevailing ignorance of God and the Bible. Enlightenment, in and of itself, could not prevent the overspreading of the darkness of corruption.  “While ignorance may lessen the guilt of the transgressor, it will not be a sufficient excuse for it in the day of Judgment.”[32]

Therefore, God will be fully vindicated “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” to compel all the wicked, regardless of the circumstances or age in which they happened to live, to “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out” full strength “into the cup of his indignation.

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.

At first glance this verse has all the earmarks of eternal “torment” with people burning “for ever and ever” without any hope of relief “day nor night,” just because they chose to “worship the beast” instead of God. But, that conclusion would portray God as a fiend, one who enjoys hearing cries of anguish throughout limitless time; a picture completely at odds with One who finds “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 11:33). Furthermore, how could justice be served by punishing a frail human being forever when, at the most he would have been alive for only six or seven decades. It would be impossible for him to sin enough to justify eternal punishment.

Consequently, while “the smoke of their torment” will ascend “up for ever,” perhaps as a reminder of what sin brings, it originates from a burning fire that lasts for only a brief period of time. In other words, while they may have suffered a short period of “torment,” it does not last forever.  “Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished according to their deeds.”[33] In other words, the punishment will match the crime, no more, no less.

As it is, the third message is “the most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals,”[34] and it “. . . is the last message. There are no more to follow, no more invitations of mercy to be given after this message shall have done its work.”[35] “Those who have the privilege of hearing this message, and who persist in refusing to heed the warning, cast away their last hope of salvation. There will be no second probation.”[36] But, God is merciful even when He destroys. He “. . . is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Verse 12: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

The word “patience” is significant, implying the power and strength to endure delay. It suggests that those who received the “mark” were able to keep on buying and selling like always, and were enjoying the “good life.” It was business as usual for those who worshiped the breast wholeheartedly or halfheartedly, even indifferently.

Not so for those that kept “the commandment of God and the faith of Jesus.” In fact, God’s people were “in great distress, weeping and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep.

“They charged us with taking an independent position from all the rest of the world. They had cut off our resources so that we could not buy or sell, and referred to our abject poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how we could live without the world; we were dependent upon the world, and we must concede to the customs, practices, and laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the only people in the world whom the Lord favored, the appearances were awfully against us. They declared that they had the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels from heaven talked with them and walked with them, that great power and signs and wonders were performed among them, and this was the temporal millennium that they had been expecting so long. The whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land and the law of God, and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth.”[37]

“In the last days Satan will appear as an angel of light, with great power and heavenly glory, and claim to be the Lord of the whole earth. He will declare that the Sabbath has been changed from the seventh to the first day of the week; and as lord of the first day of the week he will present this spurious sabbath as a test of loyalty to him. Then will take place the final fulfillment of the Revelator’s prophecy. [Rev. 13:4-18, quoted.] . . . In connection with this scripture, the entire fourteenth chapter of Revelation should be studied much by God’s people. Verses nine to eleven bring to view the special message of warning against worshiping the beast and his image, and receiving his mark in the forehead or in the hand. This warning is to be given to the world by those who are mentioned in the twelfth verse as keeping ‘the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’”[38]

It seems, therefore, “this warning is to be given to the world by the hundred forty and four thousand mentioned in the first verse, the “remnant” of the woman’s “seed” in 12:17, the “two candlesticks” in 11:4 and the “holy city” of 11:2.

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 labours; and their works do follow them.

This is a sober reminder that giving the three angels’ messages depicted in the previous verses will, during the times of the fifth and sixth seals, require a faith that will not waver even in the face of death, let alone the problems associated with boycott. As we have already learned, “The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in fear of death by starvation or by violence,”[39] but their blood will be as seed, sown to yield a great harvest for God.

Consequently, “happy[40] are the dead which die in the Lord” for courageously sharing “the word of God, and . . . the testimony which they held” (see Revelation 6:9) even though many will even be “beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God” especially in the final days of earth’s history when the faithful will refuse to worship “the beast, neither his image, neither had receive his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” (Revelation 20:4).

Therefore, it seems, this verse is a dividing point between the probationary times of the fifth and sixth seals and the post probationary time of the seventh as we shall discover in the remaining verses of this chapter.

During that post probationary scenario “the Holy One who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty power and turn their captivity. ‘They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.’ Malachi 3:17. If the blood of Christ’s faithful witnesses were shed at this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as seed sown to yield a harvest for God. Their fidelity would not be a testimony to convince others of the truth; for the obdurate heart has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more. If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their enemies, it would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist: ‘In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.’ Psalm 27:5. Christ has spoken: ‘Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.’ Isaiah 26:20, 21. Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have patiently waited for His coming and whose names are written in the book of life.”[41]

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.

The Commentary states that “verses 14-20 are a symbolic vision of the coming of Christ. . . The nature of the three angels’ messages and the fact that immediately following them the coming of Christ is discussed, show that the three messages are God’s final message of warning to the world.”[42]

Here we see “one . . . like unto the Son of man,” Jesus, having left the heavenly sanctuary taking His place “upon” “a white cloud” which “was not the holy place, but entirely separate from the holy and most holy place, entirely separate from the sanctuary.”[43]

It is the same cloud, that at first will appear as “a small black cloud . . . about half as large as a man’s hand [but] as it drew nearer . . . became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud.”[44] Therefore, the “white cloud” could be considered a space platform Jesus uses as a vehicle for His second coming from heaven to planet earth.

Following the route He had just taken, He had moved from the second apartment back into the first, carrying with Him “a golden censer.” Taking the “incense” from the censer and placing it “upon the golden altar,” He then took “fire of the altar,” filled the “golden censer” with the burning embers, and “cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:3-5) signifying the end of His priestly ministry of mercy in the heavenly sanctuary. This movement also signifies the beginning of the trumpet scenario when the seven angels, who had just been given “seventh trumpets” (verse 2) began to sound them, one after another (verses 6,7). Consequently, this is the beginning stage of what we can call “the premillennial executive judgment,” or “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

So, after exiting the door of the sanctuary, Jesus took his place on “a white cloud . . . having on his head a golden crown”[45] and holding “in his hand a sharp sickle,” an instrument with which “to gather the harvest.”[46]

Obviously, therefore, this verse is another reference to post probationary time, just as we found in Revelation 8:3-5 and 11:7 followed by the trumpet scenario beginning in the following verses of chapter 8 and on into chapter 9; then 11:7-19.

Therefore, by this time, the “four winds of earth” (Revelation 7:1) will have been released, the saints will have been sealed,[47] and Satan will have been given total control of the wicked during the first six trumpets, which is the first part of the seven trumpet scenario of the post probationary time of Jacob’s trouble.

At this point, there will be no middle ground, all will have registered their irrevocable decision for or against, yea or nay, yes or no in regard to the beast, image and mark during the judgment of the living. Their decisions will be irrevocable because Jesus will have left the “temple” where He had been making intercession for those wishing to confess their sins.

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.

This is where things can get confusing. But, a quick survey of verses 15 to 19 shows three angels being featured with only one other in verse 17 (besides the “Son of man) bearing “a sharp sickle,” while still another, in verse 18, has “power over fire.”

Note that this other “angel” who “came out of the temple” has no “sickle.” He urgently cries to the “son of man” sitting on the cloud, telling him “the time is come” for Him to use His “sickle” and “reap . . . the harvest of the earth” because it “is ripe.”

Since this “angel came out of the temple” in heaven, he must be a heavenly angel, right? Not necessarily. Consider this amazing statement:

“The Lord has shown me in vision, that Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and entered the Holy of Holies, at the 7th month 1844; but Michael’s standing up (Dan.12:1) to deliver his people, is in the future. (Par) This will not take place, until Jesus has finished his priestly office in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and lays off his priestly attire, and puts on his most kingly robes, and crown, to ride forth on the cloudy chariot, to ‘thresh the heathen in anger,’ and deliver his people. (Par) Then Jesus will have the sharp sickle in his hand, (Rev.14:14) and then the saints will cry day and night to Jesus on the cloud, to thrust in his sharp sickle and reap. (Par) This, will be the time of Jacob’s trouble, (Jer.30:5-8) out of which, the saints will be delivered by the voice of God.”[48]

Therefore, this other “angel” represents the “saints” on earth who had seen “the perfect chain of truth in the [three] angel’s messages, and gladly received it. They embraced them in their order, and followed Jesus by faith into the heavenly Sanctuary.”[49] “The work which Christ is doing in the sanctuary above . . . engage[ed] the thoughts and [were] the burden of the conversation, because by faith [they have] entered into the sanctuary. [They are] on earth, but [their] sympathies are in harmony with the work that Christ is doing in heaven.”[50]

Therefore, this “angel,” who has no “sickle,” must represent the saints on earth, not in heaven. But, this verse says they know that “the time is come . . . to reap.” How do they know that? Obviously, they had studied the book of Revelation deeply. They rightly interpreted the trumpet events beginning in Rev.8: 6-9 and knew without question that Jesus had “cast” the “censer” “into the earth”  (Rev.8:5) just before the “hail and fire mingled with blood” had been “cast upon the earth” (Rev.8:7).

But, this cannot be understood to mean they were able to anticipate beforehand, the exact “time” Jesus would leave the heavenly sanctuary prospectively or beforehand. It was only retrospectively after the trumpet events began that they could ascertain what had happened in the heavenly sanctuary, and that Jesus had left the heavenly sanctuary by the events that had just taken place that harmonized with the initial trumpet events of Revelation 8:7-13.

Verse 16: And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

This is Jesus, “one . . . like unto the Son of man” sitting on the “white cloud” in verse 14 just after He left the sanctuary and after He had just “cast the censer into the earth.”  Afterwards, we see “the saints” of verse 15 loudly “crying” for Him” to “Thrust in thy sickle, and reap” because “the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Here, Jesus responds by thrusting “in his sickle” suggesting, even though this is the post probationary time of Jacob’s trouble, He still listens to the prayers of His people!

Although the Commentary suggests: “This represents the gathering of the righteous”[53] which is the second coming, note the following verses, especially verse 20 which denote negativity and adversity instead of Jesus coming in mercy to rescue the righteous, a time of trouble preceding the second coming.

Therefore, the Commentaries’ suggestion actually  jumps ahead of what verses 17 to 20 depict.

But, if the reaping is not specific for the second coming, what is it?  The word “reaped” is from “therizo” not only meaning “reap” or “harvest,” the “proverbial expression for sowing and reaping, but also “cut off” or “destroy.”[54] Therefore, we can know they are things that will happen during the seven trumpets, especially the three woes of chapters 9, 11:7-19 and chapter 16, all of which precede the second coming.

Verse 17: And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

This verse is nearly the same as verse 15 except that this “angel” has “a sharp sickle” like Jesus in verses 14 and 16.  He emerges from “the temple” like the “angel” in verse 15 who also “came out of the temple.” But, there is a difference. Note that this “angel” comes out of the temple “which is in heaven.”  Compare that with verse 15 where that “angel” only comes “out of the temple” with no mention of it being in heaven. That omission makes allowance for the conclusion that the symbolic angel in verse 15 was not “in heaven” literally, but spiritually in the thoughts and hopes of the saints on earth in contrast to this “angel” who actually “is in heaven.”

Therefore, this is a literal “angel . . . in heaven” who must have followed immediately behind “one like unto the Son of man” in verses 14, 16, and 18. Furthermore this must be the Lord’s helper angel, maybe even the angel Gabriel who is named in Daniel 8:16 and 9:21 or the destroying angel who “stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it” in 2 Samuel 24:16 or even “the angel of the Lord [who] went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscrore and five thousand” in 2 Kings 29:35. And, of course, the destroying angel “who passed over … when he smote the Egyptians…” (Exodus 12:27).

Note in verse 18 that he does not use his “sickle” until the “angel . . . which had power over fire” issues the command to “thrust in” the “sickle;” additional evidence that this angel obeys the command of the highest angel who can only be “the Son of man” seen sitting on the “cloud” of verses 14 and 16.

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.

Here, for the third time (see verses 15 and 17), we have “another angel.” This one comes “out from the altar” instead of the “temple.” However, the “altar” must be the same “altar” of Rev.8:3 and 9:13, the altar of incense positioned just before the vail that divides the first apartment of the “temple” from the second apartment. Going back to the scene in Rev.8:3-5, we see Jesus (called “one like the Son of man” in the 14th verse of this chapter) coming out of the second apartment, standing by “the altar” and placing the “incense” that He takes out of His censer and placing it on the “golden altar” then taking fire from the “altar” and filling the censer completely with “fire of the altar” casts it “into the earth.” In order to do such a thing, obviously, He had “power over fire!”

Even though no sickle is mentioned here, having “power over fire” indicates His power and authority to be superior even to that represented by the “sickle.”

Therefore, this “angel” can be none other than the “one like unto the Son of man” depicted in verse 14 who had just left the temple and had taken His place on “a white cloud”!

Now he cries “with a loud cry” to the other “angel” of verse 17 to use his sickle to “gather” the harvest, words similar to that of the “angel” of verse 15 who also cried to Jesus to “reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Therefore, this is Jesus delegating authority to His helper angel in accordance with the cry of the saints in verse 15. Therefore, Jesus is agreeing with the angel of verse 15 that the “grapes” “of the vine of the earth . . . are [indeed] fully ripe.”

Even though verse 16 depicts Jesus thrusting “in his sickle on the earth,” it is His helper angel who does the actual thrusting after being ordered to do so in this verse.

What does the “the vine of the earth” represent? The Commentary suggests “the vintage represents the wicked gathered for destruction” instead of the “gathering of the righteous” as it suggested in its comment on verse 16. [55] The scenario depicted in verses 19 and 20 should serve to confirm the impression that “the vine of the earth” does indeed represent “the wicked gathered for destruction.”

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 winepress of the wrath of God.

This must be the “angel” of verse 17 who may be called God’s destroying angel acting in accordance to the command given by Jesus, the One who has “power over fire” in verse 18.

The most obvious parallel to “the great winepress” is “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” that is trodden by the rider of “a white horse . . . clothed with a vesture dipped in blood” and named “Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” in Revelation 19:15, 11, 13.

The Commentary suggests Isaiah 63:2, 3[56] where Christ, depicted as He “that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments” declares: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.”

Obviously, at this point, “the vine of the earth” must represent “the nations” that “he should smite . . . and rule . . . . with a rod of iron,” (Revelation 2:27; 12:15 and 19:15) “the people” who He “will tread  . . . in [his] anger, and trample them in [His] fury” in Isaiah 63:6. Note also the term “into the earth,” the same terminology used in Revelation 8:5 where “the angel took the censer . . . and cast it into the earth:”

Verse 20: And 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 not the same punishment of the wicked depicted in verse 10 where they “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone” during post millennial time. While the parallel to the “winepress” of verse 19 appears to be a metaphor of what takes place worldwide during the second coming, this “winepress” is more localized to a place “without the city.”

If this “city” were New Jerusalem of Revelation 3:12, this picture would take us forward to the post millennial time of “the lake of fire” in Revelation 20. And, it could not be the “holy city” of Revelation 11:2 because it, rather than the “winepress,” is “tread under foot.”

But, it could be the unholy “city” of Revelation 11:8 where the “dead bodies” of the “two witness” are seen lying “in the street of [it] . . . which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Furthermore, “they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations” celebrated the demise of the “two witnesses” for “three days and an half.” But, “the tenth part of the city fell” because of an “earthquake” that slew “seven thousand” of the celebrating “men” just before the “second woe [was] past” (Revelation 11:8, 9, 10, 13, 14).

The Commentary suggests this “picture is probably drawn from OT prophecies describing the destruction of God’s enemies outside Jerusalem.”[57] But, if this is the place “were also our Lord was crucified,” and likened, spiritually, to Sodom and Egypt, God’s enemies are inside “Jerusalem” as well as outside!

The next part of this verse depicting “blood” coming “out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles” seems symbolic until we consider the number: “a thousand and six hundred furlongs” which is “about 184 [literal] miles.”[58] Since that figure is literal, the whole verse requires a literal application.

Therefore, this “city” must be Jerusalem where the “vile person”[Daniel 11:21] “shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain” (Daniel 11:45) after “the king of the south push[ed] at him” (Daniel 11:40). That was when “the fifth angel sounded” (Revelation 9:1) his trumpet: and the king of the north [came] against him like a whirlwind” (Daniel 11:40) when “the sixth angel sounded” calling forth an “army of . . . horsemen” numbering “two hundred thousand thousand . . . for to slay the third part of men” (Revelation 9:16, 15, 18).

This is the battle of the sixth trumpet, or second woe, when the armies of the red horse people emerge after “the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates” were “loosed” (Revelation 9:14) to take vengeance against pale horse people. It will be the bloodiest conflict this world has ever seen and, it will be the last. Consider this quote: “I saw that the judgments were just upon us, and that the trouble would soon be to this land, and that blood would flow in streams. The angel said, ‘It will soon be even to the horses’ bridles.’ That was an awful time.”[59] Although a bit ambiguous as to a historic or a future scenario, that statement  is suggestive of a literal fulfillment.

Consequently, since the first six trumpets of Revelation 8:7-13; 9:1-21 and 11:7-13 depict Satan’s deceptive and destructive work, we should conclude that the “sickle” depicted in verses 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of this chapter represent God’s passive/indirect form of punishment that begins when the “four winds of the earth” (Revelation 7:1) that represent “the terrible power of Satan” will have been released. Chapters 15 and 16 will depict God’s active/ direct form of punishment.

Summary of chapter 14: Like chapter 13 that consists of two parts divided between the sea and the earth beasts, this chapter also consists of two basic parts with the first consisting of the 144,000 in a heavenly scene coupled with the three angel’s messages they bear during probationary time, followed, in the last part, by events portrayed figuratively of things that will take place in heaven during post probationary time. In the first part we first hear the voice of the Lamb singing along with the harpsters accompanying themselves as they also sing the “new song.” The fact that the 144,000 are called “firstfruits” leaves open the possibility that the “great multitude” spoken of in chapter 7, also accompany them. The three angel’s messages born by God’s church ever since 1844, when the judgment of the dead began, is amplified by the “loud voice” of the 144,000 especially the third message warning all earth dwellers that God will destroy them if they worship the beast and his image and receive the mark of his name that is depicted in chapter 13 which is the test that the living must receive before they can be sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads. The saints, those who give the warning and those who heed it are called “they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” instead of the commandments of men configured as the image and mark of the beast. The last part of chapter 14 beginning in verse 14 depicts Jesus sitting on a “white cloud” that is apart from the “temple” or sanctuary in heaven. Therefore, the somewhat confusing spectacle of angels coming out of the temple, some with sickle, can be better understood if we take into consideration what EGW says about the angel of verse 15 who represents the saints on earth, but who dwell in heaven spiritually and understand that Jesus, their Lord and Master, has left the heavenly sanctuary and is now on His way to earth to rescue them. During the time of that transit, the post probationary seven trumpet events will be taking place on earth, the last of which ends with the sixth trumpet where “blood comes up even to the horse’ bridles.” Having learned that the events occurring during the first six trumpets come from the hand of Satan after the “four winds of earth” have been released, therefore, the “sickle” in the hand of the destroying angel in verse 19 represents God’s passive/indirect form of punishment. The next two chapters will refer to His active/direct form of punishment.

———————————————————————————————————————————————

[1] Review and Herald 10-13-04

[2] Of all other Bible translations I have checked, all use the definite article “the” except the KJV. Therefore, it seems proper to insert it here. Note GC 649 where the “hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men . . .” are depicted having come “out of [the] great tribulation” referred to in Rev.7:14-17, the same “tribulation” the “great multitude of verse 9 “came out of.”

[3] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers page 446

[4] 1888 Materials 701; Manuscript Releases Vol.15, page 15; SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, 976;  etc.

[5] According to Revelation 7:13,14, the white robed “great multitude” that John saw in verse 9, “came out of” the same “great tribulation.” That is the same “tribulation” that the 144,000 survive according to Great Controversy page 649,  where EGW asserts that “the hundred and forty and four thousand . . . having been translated . . . ‘ . . . are they which came out of great tribulation’ [Rev.7:14-17].”

[6] see Sermons and Talks Vol. 1,  pages 72, 73 (ellipses supplied)

[7] see Review and Herald 10-13-04; also Isaiah 11:9 & Habakkuk 2:14

[8] Here is the whole quote from Sermons and Talks Vol.1, pages 72, 73: “Why were they [the 144,000] so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory. They were ever keeping in view the great and blessed hope that is before them. What is it? It is an eternal weight of glory. Nothing could surpass it.” No murmuring or complaining depicted there!

[9] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 826 (left column under “No man could learn.”)

[10] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 826 (left column under “4. Defiled.”)

[11] Acts of the Apostles page 591

[12] Great Controversy page 649 (note Rev.7:14-17 quoted—about the “great multitude”)

[13] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 827 (first paragraph left Column)

[14] According to the Online Computer Lexicon: “firstfruits” is from: “aparch” (Strong’s #536) The definition that seems to apply here is: “persons superior in excellence to others of the same class.” In this case, the “same class” would be the living and “others” would be the “great multitude.”

[15] Interestingly, Paul depicts “Christ,” who was “risen from the dead” became “the firstfruits of them that slept.”[1 Cor.15:20] That parallels John’s statement saying: “Jesus Christ” is “the first begotten of the dead.”[Rev.1:5] Since it is impossible to have two different “firstfruits” of the same thing, it stands to reason that the 144,000 are the “firstfruits of the living.”

[16] the word “fall” could also specify martyrdom by “sword” and “flame” as well as moral failure. In that case, “some” of the instructors would be like “Antipas . . . my faithful martyr” in Revelation 2:13. But, because martyrdom will not occur after the close of probation (see GC 634), those instructors would necessarily be slain sometime during the fifth and sixth seal scenarios of Revelation 6:9 to 7:17.

[17] “guile” from: “dolos” (Strong’s #1388) “guile, subtilty, deceit, craft.”

[18] “craft” from: “mirmah” (Strong’s #4820) “deceit, treachery.”

[19] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 827 (left column under “Angel.”)

[20] paraphrasing a statement found in Sermons and Talks Vol.1, pages 72, 73

[21] Last Day Events 68; Manuscript Releases Vol. 13, page 68 (italics supplied)

[22] There are several references in the Spirit of Prophecy bearing on this point. To mention a few, check up on 1888 Materials page 326; Testimonies for the Church Vol.5, 692; Great Controversy 426 etc.

[23] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 828 (right column under “8. Followed.”)

[24] “Over the centuries the city gradually lost more and more of its importance and eventually, toward the close of the 1st century A.D. virtually ceased to exist.” (SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 829 [top right column[)

[25] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 829 (top left column)

[26] Great Controversy page 383

[27] Evangelism 365

[28] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 830 (right column, middle of 2nd paragraph)

[29] Selected Messages Vol.3 pages 415, 416

[30] Great Controversy pages 389, 390

[31] see Great Controversy page 592

[32] Signs of the Times 7-22-80

[33] Great Controversy page 673

[34] Story of Redemption page 383

[35] Testimonies for the Church Vol.5 page 207

[36] Testimonies for the Church Vol. 6 page 19

[37] Manuscript Releases Vol. 21, pages 325, 326

[38] Manuscript Releases Vol. 19, page 282 (italics supplied; & two paragraphs run together separated by the ellipse)

[39] Great Controversy page 634

[40] the word “blessed” in this verse is from “makarios” (Strong’s #3107) also meaning “happy, happier”

[41] Great Controversy page 634

[42] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 (left column under “14. A white cloud.”)

[43] see Spaulding and Magan Collection 2, PR 2; see also A Word to the Little Flock page 15, 20

[44] Spiritual Gifts Vol.2, page 32 (ellipses and bracket supplied)

[45] “crown” here is from “stephanos” (Strong’s #4735) “a mark of royal or exalted rank” or “the wrath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games.”

[46] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 (left column under “Sharp sickle.”)

[47] Revelation 7:3,4 “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands.” (Manuscript Releases Vol. 21, page 52; italics supplied) “The destroying angel is soon to go forth again, not to destroy the first-born only [as in Egypt], but to slay utterly old and young, both men and women and little children who have not the mark.” (Manuscript Releases Vol. 5 page 205; bracket not supplied) The “destroying angel,” in this case could be parallel to the seven trumpet bearing angels of Revelation 8:2.

[48] Word to the Little Flock, page 12 (italics supplied; “Par” means: “paragraph”) Without this precious statement, we could never determine with any degree of certainty that this “angel” represents the last day saints on earth who dwell in heaven in the spiritual sense.

[49] Spiritual Gifts Vol. 1, page 165, 166 (bracket supplied)

[50] Manuscript Releases Vol. 11, pages 54 and 55, paragraph 3 (this passage references the “true Christian” singular, but the concept also harmonizes with “the saints” plural. Therefore, the brackets & ellipses are supplied)

[51] “time” from: “hora” (Strong’s #5610) “hour” x 89; “time” x 11; “season” x3 in the NT

[52] “One saying of the Saviour must not be made to destroy another. Though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of his coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near. We are further taught that to disregard his warning, and refuse or neglect to know when his advent is near, will be as fatal for us, as it was for those who lived in the days of Noah not to know when the flood was coming.” (Great Controversy page 371; the last two italics supplied)

[53] see SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 right column Paragraph  2

[54] see Strong’s #2325

[55] see SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 Such a discrepancy (compare the comment made on verse 16 with that of verse 18) should place us on notice that the authors of the Commentary are human just as ourselves and we can place our dependance only on God and His written word, not on man.

[56] see  SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 (right column under “19. Winepress.”)

[57] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 834 (right column under “Without the city.” Italics supplied.)

[58] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 835 (top left column)

[59] Manuscript Releases Vol.16, page 33.