Revelation 14:6-20 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does John describe in Revelation 14:6 (printed below?) Of what does this remind us?

Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. (Revelation 14:6)

The angel flying in mid-air (where he can be seen and heard by all the world), bearing the eternal gospel, reminds us of the angel who appeared to the shepherds at the time of the Savior’s birth (cp. Luke 2:8-11). This angel of Revelation 14:6 appears to represent the proclamation of the gospel throughout the New Testament era: beginning with the initial revelation to the shepherds and continuing through the witness of the church (note Matthew 28:18-20).

2. As the angel proclaims the gospel message, what does he say? See Revelation 14:7 (printed below)

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7)

Notice that the proclamation of the gospel comes with the commandment, “Fear God and give him glory,” and the call to worship him, the One who is the Creator of all. Stated another way, the gospel contains a call both to faith in Christ and to repentance (note Acts 20:20-21). In the light of New Testament teaching, the true preaching of the gospel includes the proclamation of what God has done for man’s salvation at the cross of Calvary (2 Corinthians 5:20-21) and the commandment to respond to Christ’s work with faith and repentance—trusting in Him as our Savior and submitting ourselves unto Him as our Lord.

3. What does a second angel announce in verse 8 (printed below?) What do you think “Babylon” represents?

A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen!—the one who caused the nations to drink the wine of the passion of her immorality.” (Revelation 14:8)

To understand what “Babylon the Great” represents, we may look back to the spirit and purpose of ancient Babylon: it was a society built by man and for man (cp. Daniel 4:30). We may also look ahead to Revelation 17-18, where “Babylon the Great” is described as a hedonistic, materialistic, and lawless society. “Babylon the Great” represents the spirit of rebellion against the moral law of God and the unrestrained pursuit of the passions of the sinful heart, as well as the societies of history that epitomize that spirit. “Babylon the Great” seduced “the nations to drink the wine of the passion of her immorality.” All the peoples of the world yield themselves to their passions as opposed to submitting themselves to the moral law of God and are drawn to a society or community that offers them the opportunity to so indulge their illicit passions. The angel of God proclaims, “Babylon the Great” has fallen— the use of the Greek past tense underscores the certainty of the divine judgment against “Babylon.”

4. Describe the fall of “Babylon” as it is portrayed in verses 14-20 (printed below)

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone who looked like the Son of Man; he had a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. (15) Another angel came out of the temple, and he cried out in a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap; for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (16) So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. (17) Another angel came out of the temple that is in heaven, he also had a sharp sickle. (18) Still another angel, he who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the earth’s vineyard, for her grapes are fully ripe.” (19) Then the angel swung his sickle upon the earth, gathered the grapes of the earth, and dumped them into the winepress, the great winepress of the wrath of God. (20) They trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of it, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of about one hundred and eighty miles. (Revelation 14:14-20)

The execution of that final judgment of “Babylon” is graphically pictured in verses 14-20. Verses 14-15 portray the Lord Jesus, as the Messiah and the Servant of God, carrying out His Father’s will of carrying out His righteous judgment against “Babylon.” The judgment will occur on the day appointed by God: the angel gives the one who looked like the Son of Man the signal to judge “because the harvest of the earth is ripe” (verse 15b). It will be the day when God expresses His righteous wrath against sinful mankind to the fullest extent: the awesomeness and awfulness of the final judgment is presented by using the imagery of the grape harvest (verses 18-20).

5. What message of comfort and assurance is given to the servants of God? See Revelation 14:13 (printed below)

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.” “Indeed,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors; for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

This message from God for those who trust in Him and serve Him is this: “Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.” The believer in Christ, upon his death, enters into a state of blessing that far surpasses this present state of life on earth (cp. Philippians 1:21,23; Psalm 16:11). Also, the meaning of this message seems to include the fact that, in view of all that is coming upon the world and what lies in store for the church, it is a blessing for the Christian to depart this present earthly life rather than remain on the earth until the Lord’s coming (cp. Isaiah 57:1-2). The Holy Spirit assures us that upon departing from this present world and entering into glory, Christians shall “rest from their labors.” Furthermore, “their deeds will follow them.” What is being referred to here are the Christian’s “works of faith” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)—works that stem from faith and are inspired and stimulated by faith—these deeds accompany him into the kingdom of God where they have perpetual value and receive a full reward (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:58).