Revelation 14-1-20 Part 6

1)    Then I looked and, lo, a Lamb having been standing upon the mount – Zion; and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousands having had His Name and His Father’s Name written on their foreheads.

2)    Then I heard sound from the heaven as sound from many waters and as sound from great thunder; then the sound that I heard as harpers harping in their harps;

3)    and they sing a new song before the throne and in the presence of the four creatures and the twenty four elders, and no one is enabled to understand the song except the hundred and forty-four thousands of the land who have been bought.

4)    These are the ones not defiled with women, for they are chaste; these are the ones following the Lamb wherever He leads; these firstfruit were bought from the men to God and to the Lamb,

5)    and falsehood was not found in their mouth; they are blameless.

6)    Then I saw a messenger flying in mid-heaven having age-enduring proclamation to proclaim against those dwelling on the land, and upon the nations and tribes and tongues and people

7)    declaring in a great sound ‘Fear ye The God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and do homage to The One having made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.’

8)    Then another, a second, followed saying ‘Fallen!  Babylon the great, from whom the wine of the passion of her fornication all the nations have drunk, is fallen!’

9)    Then another messenger, a third, followed them saying in a great sound ‘If anyone adores the beast and the image of it and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10) he will also drink from the wine, having been previously prepared unmixed, of the wrath of God in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented in fire and brimstone in the presence of holy messengers and in the presence of the Lamb,

11) and the smoke of their torment rises into ages of ages, and they have no rest day or night.’  These are the ones who adore the beast and its image and anyone taking the mark of its name;

12) whereas the perseverance of the saints is in this:  they are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13) Then I heard sound from the heaven telling me, write ‘Blessed the dead who die henceforth in Kurios; the Spirit says that they will receive rest from their travails for their works follow together with them.’

14) Then I looked and, lo, a white cloud; and on the cloud the seated likeness of Son of Man having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

15) And another messenger came out from the Holy Place crying out in a great sound to the One seated upon the cloud, ‘Send in Your sickle and reap for the hour is come to reap, for the harvest of the land is ripened.’

16) And the One sitting upon the cloud thrust His sickle upon the land and the land was reaped.

17) Then another messenger came forth from the Holy Place in the heaven, it also having a sharp sickle.

18) Then another messenger came forth from the altar having authority over the fire, and it called out with a great sound saying to the one with the sharp sickle, ‘Thrust your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the land, for her clusters have ripened.’

19) And the messenger thrust its sickle into the land and gathered the vine of the land and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20) And the winepress was trodden outside the city; and blood came forth from the winepress as high as the horses’ bridles for a thousand six hundred stadia.


As the chapter begins, John is shown the hundred and forty-four thousands of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  As God had promised, these are the redeemed of Israel.  He has kept them for Himself, and they have been bought from the land and rescued from the torrent of wrath to come.  They are standing with the Lamb of God on the new Mount Zion – the mountain over all the mountains of the earth.

That “mount” is the Rock cut without hands from the old Mount Zion… the old Mount Zion to be thrown burning into the sea.

The perfect number of God’s elect from Jacob is the firstfruit of the resurrection, bought with a great price.  Jacob is Israel; and what John is shown here is the fullness of God’s promise to save Israel.

Once again (because it’s important), it is a perfect number (it’s perfect because these are the ones who have been bought with a great price); and they all stand - the firstfruit of the Church of Jesus Christ – (they all stand) with the Lamb on the new Zion, which will grow to cover the earth.  And thus (as the apostle Paul had said) all Israel shall be saved.

And at the sight of all those of Jacob who God had kept for Himself, John now sees and hears the great response from the tabernacle - the great sights and sounds from the cloud of glory; for the events both seen and prophesied in the older Scripture are now coming to pass here in the last days.

The rushing sound of the wings of the cherubim; the thundering sound of the voice of the Lord of Hosts; and the cosmic hymn of joy filling all of God’s created realm.  These are all things that John is shown occurring in the tabernacle of the Lord of Hosts.  And all of these sights and sounds are foreshadowed and prophesied and revealed previously! 

Salvation; victory!  God’s promised Messiah had completed His work of atonement!  He had overcome!  And He would rule the nations with a rod of iron; and His Kingdom would fill the earth; and kings and nations and tribes and tongues would bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of Kings… all prophesied earlier in God’s Word.  John makes those connections; the Churches that received this letter would make the connections; we are to make the connections.

John then is shown the great creatures from the mercy seat in the tabernacle as they then proceed to speak the will of the Father in the entire created realm; one proclaiming the fear of God for the whole earth, for the hour of judgment had arrived.  For His Own glory His paradise on earth would become a wilderness, and the wilderness nations of the earth would see “springs of water” (as prophesied in Isaiah).  And all creatures in the heaven and upon the earth are to fear Him because of these glorious things that He is about to do.

The second then proclaiming (as prophesied in Jeremiah) that Babylon the Great is fallen; for she – by the “heat” of her passions – had caused all the nations to drink of the wine of her fornication.

And then John is shown the third great creature from the tabernacle.  It follows the first and the second as it fills the mid-heaven with the great sound of its wings and speaks the thundering words of The Lord of Hosts:


”If anyone adores the beast and the image of it and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink from the wine having been previously prepared unmixed of the wrath of God in the cup of His anger.”


From the tabernacle in the cloud of glory, John sees and hears exactly what is prophesied in the older Scripture, for the prophets spoke these very words of God to Israel six and seven hundred years previously.

He also sees and hears the words of Moses from the Pentateuch, for the creatures from the corners of the mercy seat in the tabernacle are prominent there, as well.   Not only in the earthly tabernacle built in the desert, but also in the exodus from Egypt.

In God’s perception, and at His very command, a creature with great wings and the face of an eagle bore all Israel out of Egypt.  And later on (eight hundred years later on) Ezekiel is given that same view, and the same language from God, as the creature from the heavenly tabernacle then planted that seed in the promised land… the seed of the woman, freed from Egypt.  And the seed was to put forth a goodly vine in that earthly paradise.

And here in our text John sees and hears that creature from the tabernacle, flying once again in the mid-heaven, proclaiming the cup of the wrath of God to be poured out on all those remaining in the land, for the “paradise” of God had become Babylon the Greater; for all the surrounding nations have drunk from the wine of her “heat”.

She was to have been a “goodly vine” (having been planted by the creature from the tabernacle), (a goodly vine) with its sprigs and its leaves and its roots bent toward God (Ezekiel’s words); but she produced only the wine of passion for fornication.


Remember what John wrote at the beginning, that this is “Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness…”,  chapter one, verse one.

And Israel’s rejection of, and persecution of, all the prophets sent from God; and her acceptance of all her own false prophets; and her adoration of the image of the beast (the Roman Empire) brings forth the mighty voice of the Lord of Hosts, proclaimed by the cherub, that all those remaining in His earthly paradise will now suffer the unmixed wine of the cup of His wrath.

The cup would contain no mixture of mercy or compassion; it would only contain wrath… like the cup that was poured out on The Lamb.  Jesus Son of God/Son of Man was isolated and abandoned to the catastrophic stroke of His Father.

However, He was God’s sacrifice of reconciliation – the one-and-only sacrifice to Himself in order to atone for the sins of His people; whereas the cup of the wine of His wrath upon those remaining in the land would have no redemptive value at all; for they would all suffer the eternal torment of the lake of fire in the presence of the creatures and in the presence of the Lamb.


Then for the purpose of distinguishing these who are recipients of God’s wrath from the ones seen on Mount Zion with the Lamb, John writes this in verses eleven and twelve:


“These are the ones who adore the beast and its image and anyone taking the mark of its name;

whereas the perseverance of the saints is in this: they are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Then John hears the thunderous sound from above the firmament telling him to write this (recorded by John in verse thirteen):

‘blessed the dead who die henceforth in Kurios; the Spirit says that they will receive rest from their travails for their works follow together with them.’”


These three verses is where we’ll spend the rest of our time this morning (and possibly more next Lord’s Day)… the last half of eleven and verses twelve and thirteen.

Remember that this letter was written to all the firstfruit Churches in the nations for their comfort and assurance.  It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which was given to Him to show His bondservants all that God was bringing to pass here in the last days; and it was all going to take place quickly (after all the ones the Lamb had “bought” were secured).

God had revealed it all through the prophets previously… His perception of the final three and a half years of the siege of Jerusalem, set in the final forty years since the resurrection of The Christ, and that set in the final seventy years since His birth… all of which is foreshadowed in the history and prophesied through the prophets.

It’s all shown to John (and the Churches) from Yahveh’s perspective and in His language… as previously revealed, in order that all those who belonged to Him could read and hear the preaching of the Revelation, and rest confidently in the absolute authority of Almighty God the Lord of Hosts.  Nothing was happening by accident.

Satanos was being mocked and tricked and used; the nations gathering to take dominion from Yahveh and His Messiah were being laughed at and mocked and used.  By His Own great creatures at the mercy seat, He was the One drawing the nations out of the sea of depraved humanity for His Own purposes.

The prophesied wine of the cup of His wrath had been poured out in a flood of catastrophic proportions upon His Lamb – the Savior of His elect people.  And now, in the last days, the most momentous event in the history of man was to take place quickly as the covenantal termination of God’s paradise on earth would take place; for the Savior of the world had been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth.

The wrath of the Lamb would now be directed toward those (as our Lord promised) who pursued and persecuted and killed those for whom He shed His blood; for this generation, He said, would suffer the blood of all the righteous in history.

And God’s paradise – Israel – would cease to exist; and the pagan nations would be recipients of all the covenantal benefits in Christ Jesus the Lord… all of this already foreshadowed and prophesied from the beginning.  All of this shown to John, and all for the comfort and assurance of those “bought from the land” and scattered abroad in the nations – The Church of Jesus Christ.

When the letter is read and preached in all the Churches, those who belong to Him can hear and see the whole of the Revelation from the beginning; they can hear God’s perspective of His creation in all the same language written previously; they can make all those connections and understand the providential authority of God over His entire history; they can understand the complete continuity of all that God had brought to pass.

And now, in these three verses, since His Church is being “proved” in affliction and persecution and death, our Lord shows them clarity as to their status before Yahveh of Old in His holy tabernacle.

And since the Church is being proved (as this epistle is being written), and will be further proved in terrible affliction, the ones who are “in Christ” by virtue of having been bought with a great price, will be “manifest”.

And their status before the Lord of Hosts is contrasted with those remaining in the land who adore the beast (the fourth beast of God’s history) and its image, and receive its “mark”.  In the final destruction of that unique but obsolete covenantal paradise of God, “all those who fornicate with the beast will be tormented in fire and brimstone in the presence of holy messengers and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment rises into ages of ages, and they have no rest day or night.”

Whereas the perseverance of the saints is in this!  They’re the ones for whom our Lord shed His blood; they’re the ones who have his mark; they’re the ones who are keeping His Commandments and persevering in His Faith.  They’re the ones being preserved by the providential love of God; for they are “rebirthed” from their former heritage and into Christ – In Whom they have a new heritage.

The patient confidence, the hope, the expectation and faith of the Lamb’s “little ones” is in the justice of His authority over all things, and the anticipated certainty of His judgment shortly to come, and the fear of The One Who is able to destroy the entire person eternally in the lake of fire.

The apostle James (the brother of John), understood what was shortly to come to pass.  And he wrote to the Churches about being patient and expectant – anticipating what was to occur!  Listen to him from chapter five of his letter:


7)    Be patient then brothers until the Parousia (presence) of the Lord; lo, the farmer anticipates the precious fruit of the earth, being patient for it until he receives the early and latter rain.

8)    You also be patient; confirm your hearts, because the Parousia (presence) of the Lord is at hand.

9)    Don’t be scornful of one another, brothers, that you yourselves may not be judged; lo, The Judge stands right at the door.


Inherent in the faithfulness of the Lamb’s firstfruit was patience and anticipation of the Lord’s Parousia.  In the seven letters sent to the seven Churches (chapter three) Jesus warned them about the false prophets among them who ridiculed them for anticipating all that the Lord promised that He would do here in the “last days”.  These murmurers scoffed at them, saying “where is He?  If it’s true, why is it taking so long?  Nothing’s going to happen; everything’s just going to continue on the way it is!”

But, you see, our Lord “confirmed” all of His Churches in the nations by sending them this full letter via the apostle John – the beloved pastor at Ephesus, and well-known by all the Churches.  And the letter contains over six hundred references to Moses and the prophets, using the very language of God in the entire corpus of Scripture, to confirm all the firstfruit of the Lamb.  THIS is what our God is doing.  HERE is His perspective from the beginning.  So be patient until ALL of your brothers are secured from the wrath of God.  It is the last hour; and the Judge is “at the door”.  Anticipate!  Be patient and anticipate!


And keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus.

The perseverance of the saints is necessarily bound up in the fact that they keep the Commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.  In opposition to all forms of idolatry, Christians keep the Faith.

And the Scripture knows nothing of a lawless Christianity.  It knows nothing of an adoration, or devotion, that denies the content of the Faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude three).  Our Lord commands obedience and perseverance in the face of all kinds of opposition, even when there are consequences.

The readers and hearers of the words of this letter would have well-known that keeping God’s Commandments and holding the Faith of Jesus would not only mean pursuit and persecution from judaists, but would also mean terrible antagonism and hostility, even unto death, from the satanically motivated fourth beast of God’s history.

And that’s why John hears (and records here in verse thirteen) the thunderous voice of God as He provides His people comfort and assurance – even in their deaths for the Faith:  “Blessed the dead who die henceforth In Kurios.

There’s a lot to be said here, but let me just mention, as I’ve done before, that Kurios is a proper name in the New Testament.  Just as Yahveh in the older Scripture has been translated into English, so Kurios in the New Testament has been translated into English.

But because of the grandeur of the names, I simply refuse the common translation which is “the Lord”.  That’s the way Yahveh is translated all through the Hebrew text; and that’s the way Kurios is translated here in the Greek text of the newer Scripture.

But who ever decided that a proper name should be translated?  Both are personal names; and the names refer to sublime, majestic personage.  They both bear immeasurable significance.  And what’s the reason for putting a “the” in front of a proper name?

We don’t say “the Holli”, or “the Kelley”, or “the Richard”.  Neither should we say “the Yahveh”, or “the Kurios”.  Nevertheless, both have been translated “the Lord” in English.  I, personally, think that’s preposterous.

Rather, we should be using the proper name when that’s the way it’s been revealed in the text!  And with the proper name there should come a flood of glory and majesty as we become conscious of the One Whose Name reveals His Person!

The name “Kurios” refers directly to the resurrected, ascended and crowned Son of God/Son of Man – God the Son; Jesus, the Christ of God.  The very essence of the name “KURIOS” carries with it the sense of One Who has all power and authority.

So, when you’re reading the letters of the apostles, and they refer to “the Lord”, in most every case the name “Kurios” is what they wrote.  And they’re referring to Him as the newly crowned God-man Who, having submitted to His Father even to the cross, and having made the one sacrifice for the sin of the world, and who has overcome death and hades (putting death to death), has now been given all authority in the heavens and upon the earth; and Who has been given the nations as His inheritance; and Who exercises all that power and authority for the cleansing of the creation for the glory of His Father!  “For the government (the authority) shall rest on His shoulder; and He shall reign into the ages!”

Now can you think of any reason that John should hear the name “Kurios” come from the Lord of Hosts (as it is written by John here in verse thirteen)?

But, of course!

John has seen Him (chapter one) in all His glory!  He has been given all power and authority in the heaven and upon the earth.  And the thundering of the Lord of Hosts from His tabernacle has called Him “KURIOS”!

He is LIFE; and He has put death to death, and has been given all authority over everything.

One of the greatest works of the reformation was Puritan pastor John Owen’s treatise called “The Death of Death In The Death of Christ”.  It should be considered as “indispensable” reading; for the Gospel of God is the power of God into salvation for all who are faithing”.

Kurios – Mighty God the Son – has put death to death and ascended to the Right of the Father; and He has complete authority over everything created.

“Blessed the dead who die henceforth IN KURIOS” (verse thirteen)….  In the One Who put death to death! 

EN CHRISTO, the apostle Paul says of the ones raised out of death In Christ.  EN KURIOS says the Lord of Hosts of all who are IN HIM Who now has all power and authority in the created realm.

The ones receiving this letter from John are to understand that death has been overcome in the resurrection of The Son of Man, for all who are rebirthed into Him are raised In Him.  Death is no longer a “victor”, or an “overcomer”; the God-man is the Overcomer of death!

Therefore all of these of the house of Jacob, the firstfruit of the resurrection; all of these marked and rescued and scattered into the nations and forming Churches; all of these who are pursued and persecuted by judaists; all who are under threat of violence and death at the hand of the great beast….  All of these who die henceforth EN KURIOS are blessed.

Our original forefathers who received this letter and heard it read and preached, would have understood that death had been put to death in the resurrection of God-man.  And when reading the early leaders of the Churches that had been established all through the Roman empire, one can’t help but be struck by the note of victory in their writings; for they were constantly faced with death for the sake of Christ.

I’d like for you to listen to two or three of them as I read what they wrote while being faced with horrible tortures and death because of The Faith.

Here are the words of Ignatius, an elder in the Churches at Rome, before he was fed to wild animals in about 107AD:  “Supplicate the Lord for me that through these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God.  I do not enjoin you, as Peter and Paul did.  They were apostles, I am a convict.  They were free, but I am a slave to this very hour.  Yet if I shall suffer, then am I a freed-man in Jesus Christ, and I shall rise free in Him.  Now I am learning to put away every desire.”

Eusebius, an elder of the Churches in Caesarea in the late second century and early third, was a great theologian and preacher.  He had also been a witness to the most insane and wicked tortures and deaths of fellow believers.  God had preserved him through much, and gave him to be the one who baptized the first holy Roman emperor – Constantine – when that fourth beast of history had been shattered and scattered into pieces by 327AD.

Listen to his words (speaking of those of The Faith who had been seized and taken before judges):


“We were witnesses to the most admirable ardor of mind, and the truly divine energy and ardor of those that (faithed) in the Christ of God.  For as soon as the sentence was pronounced against the first, others rushed forward confessing they were also Christians… most indifferent to the dreadful and multiform tortures that awaited them, but declaring themselves fully and in the most undaunted manner on the religion which acknowledges only the one supreme God.  They received, indeed, the final sentence of death with gladness and exultation, so far as even to sing and send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, until they breathed their last.”


Lastly, listen to Athanasius (whose creed we read earlier as our affirmation of faith).  This man was an Egyptian (Gentile Christian) who attended the first Council of Nicea in 325AD, and became the patriarch elder in Alexandria, Egypt in 329AD. 

In his “Defense of The Faith” he wrote these words (in part):


“All of the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it… by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead.

“… now that the Savior has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, but all those who believe In Christ tread it underfoot as nothing, and prefer to die rather than deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die they do not perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the resurrection.

“So weak has death become that … those who used to be taken in by it, mock it now as a dead thing robbed of all its strength.  So has death been conquered and branded for what it is by the Savior on the cross.  It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and, as witnesses to Him, deride it, scoffing and saying, ‘O death, where is thy victory?  O grave, where is thy sting?’”


Athanasius was one of the great patriarchs of the early Church.  The “affirmation” that we read is his defense against the pseudoteacher Arius, whose teaching claimed that Jesus Christ was not God the Son, but a “created being”.  As you consider his affirmation (and I hope you read it again carefully), it is a defense of the Trinitarian faith revealed by God in His holy Word.

If you were to trace the heresies of the pseudoteachers through the history of Christ’s Church, they all (in one way or another) are attacks against the Trinity… One God – Father, Son, Spirit.  And arianism (the attack against the divinity of God the Son) is a satanically motivated heresy now held by over a billion islamists.  And powerful people all over the world proclaim islam as one of the world’s great “religions”.

Athanasius’ creed IS the defense against arianism, for it “holds the Faith of Jesus”.  And “The Death of Death In the Death of Christ” (as John writes in our text) is the critical issue; for save the death and resurrection of GOD THE SON, there is no life for cursed mankind.

“Blessed the dead who die henceforth EN KURIOS”.  Only in Mighty God the Son are the dead blessed.

Outside the Trinitarian Christian Faith, mankind just has to “reconcile itself” to death (in great fear, by the way).  It remains a complete mystery that begs for an explanation.

But EN KURIOS death is revealed for what it is… a despised, defeated enemy of life.  We can laugh at it, and mock it, deride it - scoff at it; for it no longer is a mystery, and therefore it’s no longer fearsome.

Our forefathers faced it every day while in the belly of the fourth beast of history.  They knew that the only good enemy was a dead one.  And they knew, from the apostles and from this letter from John, that death was dead EN KURIOS.

There is more to say here; we’ll continue it next Lord’s Day.