Revelation 14

Unwelcome Biblical topical - HELL
Why are we resistant to teaching on it? - demonstrates we need such teaching.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41, Matthew 23:37).
Jesus taught on hell (Matthew 10:28, Matthew 13:50, Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:46, Luke 16:27-28)
-- This from the same Jesus who died and rose again to save us from it.
Jesus needs to be our model. Need to teach about Hell - clearly, faithfully and tearfully.

Revelation 14 is centred on the topic of Hell, it consists of these 3 sections.
vv1-5 A contrast.
vv 6-13 A cry.
vv 14-20 A certainty.

The Contrast vv1-5
This takes us back to Revelation 13 where we saw those who had the beast's mark on body parts which speak of thoughts and actions. Now, in contrast, we see those who have the mark of the lamb and his Father's name instead. This is not the counterfeit lamb of Revelation 13v3. This is the slain lamb of Revelation 5.

In Revelation 13:16 everyone was marked by the beast.
In Revelation 13:7 we see the beast ruled over everyone.

Everyone is marked by the beast with one exception - those written in lamb's book of life.
In the entire Cosmos we have two groups of people - those marked by the beast, those in book of life.

Only 144,000 are marked by the lamb. See also Revelation 3:12.
We met this number before in Revelation 7 - it is not to be read literally, it is a number representing the people of God in totality.

What do we learn about the people of God here? - in contrast to be people of the beast.
1. They are in presence of God and God with them.
2a. Roar of water and peal of thunder speaks of the presence of the divine.
2b. in the Bible the harp is symbolised as an instrument of joy, God's voice is a voice of joy.
3. The people of God sing a new song, the song of the redeemed. See Revelation 15:3-4.
This is different to the song of those around the throne in Revelation 4.
This is a redemption song, only those marked by the Lamb can sing this song.
They sing this song before the throne.
4a. The people of God are faithful, righteous - they don't sleep around on Jesus.
This is the antithesis of the spritual adultery whch characterises those marked with the beast.
See Jeremiah 18:13 - Israel being unfaithful, elsewhere idolatry defined as adultery.
This analogy is now used of the church (Ephesians 5)
Paul compares the relationship between husband and wife with that between Jesus and his bride, the church.
Jesus sanctifies the church and will present her blameless at the marriage supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:6-8).
4b. Those marked by the lamb follow the lamb (Mark 8:34-38).
5. The people of God offer themselves a firstfruits.
This is sacrificial language. See Romans 12:1-2.
They live a life of sacrifice because of the mercies they have received.
6. The people of God reject what is false.
After rejecting the lie they are following the lamb and pursuing truth (John 14:6).

These verses are to encourage us, remind us who we are, especially after reading Revelation 12 and 13.
We have an enemy seeking to deceive us, destroy us, accuse us, discourage us.
These verses take our eyes off what is around us and point us to the slain lamb on the throne.
This is who I am in Christ, God is with me, I am blameless because of Jesus.

The Cry vv6-13
There are 3 cries and a call here.
Verses 6 onwards of Revelation are horrific, the judgements on the beast and those who follow the beast are depicted here.
Here we will limit ourselves to consider some bigger ideas around hell (not neatnik the subject).

1 (vv6-7). Only a humble response to the Gospel will keep us from hell. Jesus came with a purpose - to die for our sins. He was buried dead, arose from the dead (defeating death), ascended into Heaven (where he now sits with authority at the right hand of the Father) and he is coming back. We need to receive that work of Jesus on our behalf by faith, that's the only way - by faith. See the response to the Gospel in Acts 2:37-38.
2 (v8). Our world today evidences the judgement to come. The phrases "drunk", "maddening wine", "passion" which different translations use can also interpreted as "wrath". The people of the beast are represented by Babylon, the people of God are represented by Jerusalem. One day Baylon will fall, that is evidenced by how "maddening" things are now. Things get worse and worse and worse. Compare with Romans 1:28-32 - there comes a point at which God hands us over (gives us what we want, the passive wrath of God). All is not bad, but what we see evidences God's common grace, it also evidences we are made in the image of God. The evil we see evidences the depth of mankind's depravity. As bowls poured out God removes his hands more and more. See 2 Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24,25 - same thing, described in different ways. Note contrast between verses Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 14:4.
3 (vv9-11). Hell is a place where God's passive wrath turns active. The wine is poured out full strength, not watered down. Hell, like the cross, is justice worked out. Ideas such as annihilationism and universalism are not Biblical. There is another contrast here with Revelation 13 where the beast brought judgement on the followers of Jesus, here we have Jesus bringing judgement on the beast. You either follow Jesus of follow the beast. This is the answer to the cry of the martyrs we saw in Revelation 6:10, the cry for justice. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus warned us not to fear those who can harm the body, but fear him who can destroy you in hell. See also Revelation 2:10.

Nothing in the Bible suggests that there is any confession of sin in hell. Jesus talked about weeping and gnashing of teeth - this is a picture of anger.

Salvation is not heaven, salvation is knowing God. Those in hell do not want to know God. Its God's kindness which leads to repentance, not punishment. Hell is the ghastly outcome of freewill when God is fully removed. What do you really want? vv12-14 call us to be faithfull and persevere to the end.

The Certainty vv14-20
Two images here speak of this certainty.
1. The harvest of wheat (Matthew 13:24-30).
2. The harvest of grapes (Mark 2:2).
All harvests reach a time of reaping.

In these verses the worker is God and the grapes are people.
In the story of God his people and Israel are often depicted as a vineyard, in this analogy there are grapes here which don't belong and are removed.

Although these verses are symbolic the time spoken of is for real, the people of God and the people of the beast will be separated for ever.

This section ends in v20 with a picture of grace - **WHERE**, lot of hell here!
Where are the grapes taken? They are taken outside the city - away from the people of God.
The New Jerusalem is not a place, it is a people - see Revelation 21:2,9-10.

Jesus suffered outside the city John 19:16b-17, Hebrews 13.
Jesus was removed and trodden on for us. Jesus wants us inside the city.
In parable of tenants, son killed outside the vineyard (Matthew 22:37-39).

Revelation 14 is ghastly and real, but it does not have to be our reality.
This is what puts the good in Good Friday.
Jesus was cut off, poured out, crushed for us (Luke 22:20).

Further Reading

Revelation 16:2
Revelation 19:20, 20:4
Revelation 13:16-19
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Matthew 7:15-23