Do you remember being a child and watching scary movies? Sometimes, when the monster was about to attack or the action got really tense, it seemed prudent to hide under a blanket, or cover your eyes, or suddenly get interested in something else until the tension eased in the story. Who am I kidding…I’m still like that. However, as a young tyke, I can remember my mom noticing my worry and reminding me: “it’s just a movie, it’s not real”. If it were a movie she had already seen, she would sometimes let me know how it ended: “It’s okay, they’ll stop the monster, I’ve seen this”. I don’t think people cared about spoilers then as much as they do now.
Anyway, as we are returning to our study in Revelation, we’ll be reading chapter 14, where we’ll be getting some reassurance in the midst of some really tense images. The chapter intends to remind those who follow Jesus about their destination. (spoiler) There’s a good ending for those who believe.
In v 1-5 we are greeted with some familiar characters – the Lamb and the 144,000 followers of the Lamb. We first met these 144K back in chapter 7, and we concluded that they were most likely a symbolic representation of God’s redeemed people throughout time. They showed up as an interlude between the 6th and 7th seal…a quick look at God’s protection of his people, right before we saw the finale of history.
As we look at how these people are described in v 4-5, what significance do we assign to each of these symbolic characteristics?
Verses 6-12 has a vision of three angels, or messengers, each declaring invitations and warnings. The first angel has the invitation of the gospel. To whom is that gospel offered? What similarities do you see between those people and the people of chapter 13? What does this tell us about God’s heart?
This chapter is pretty loaded with disturbing pictures and forecasts – most of which we’ll try to unpack on this teaching.