14:1-5 The 144,000, first seen on earth in 7:4-8 (see note there), are now seen on the heavenly Mount Zion with Christ, the Lamb. The beast cannot touch them, even though they do not have its mark (13:16-17), because they have Christ’s and the Father’s name on their foreheads. The new song cannot be the same as the one in 5:9-10 because this one can only be learned by the 144,000. On the four living creatures, see note at 4:6-7. On the elders, see note at 4:3-4. In their spiritual purity, they are fitting firstfruits (either the first produce to be harvested, the best of the harvest, or both) of the Lord’s final harvest (vv. 14-20). This wording implies that many others are yet to come into the gospel “harvest” (i.e., to saving faith; see vv. 6-7).
14:6-7 Some interpreters think the gospel is not expressed in Revelation. However, the Greek word translated “gospel” (euangelion) is present, and the climactic preaching calls us to: (1) fear God, and (2) give him glory, recognizing the certainty of judgment if one does otherwise.
14:8-11 The fall of Babylon and God’s wrath will be expanded in 16:17-21 and 18:1-19:3. The mention of sexual immorality recalls the same problem in the churches at Pergamum and Thyatira (2:14,20-21). While those who die in the Lord will find “rest” (14:13), there will be no rest day or night for anyone who worships the beast and receives its mark.
14:12-13 Blessed marks the second beatitude in Revelation (see notes at 1:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:4-6; 22:6-7; 22:14-15,17). Believers (the saints) who persevere in keeping God’s commands and faith in Jesus will be blessed with the reward of their godly works (20:12; 2Co 5:10).
14:14-20 Some believe that the one like the Son of Man in this section must be an angel because of the unlikelihood of Christ receiving the command from another angel to reap . . . the harvest. But the Son of Man associated with a cloud is a clear allusion to Dn 7:13, where the Messiah is definitely in view. This section visualizes the “harvest . . . at the end of the age” (Mt 13:38-43), when the “good seed” and the “weeds” are separated to their eternal destinies. The wheat harvest apparently gleans those responding positively to the climactic preaching of the gospel (see notes at Rv 14:6-7; 15:2-4). A recent view holds that 14:14-16 is the point at which the church is raptured. This is highly unlikely. The harvest of grapes leads to the judgment pictured here as the great winepress of God’s wrath. Since the winepress imagery related to divine wrath is seen in connection with the second coming of Christ (19:15), the events of 14:17-20 must occur at that point. If taken literally, when the “grapes of wrath” are trampled in Christ’s winepress (19:15) outside the city (Jerusalem, apparently), the blood (from the climactic battle at his second coming in 19:19,21) rises to the height of horses’ bridles for some 180 miles. This is roughly the length of Israel from north to south. Some view this horrific description as symbolic of God’s righteous judgment resulting in the deaths of many of the unrepentant.