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Revelation  ◦   Chapter 14

1Then I looked and saw Jesus the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, which represented the place of victory over sin. He was with the 144,000 who had been healed and had the character of Jesus and the Father completely restored in their minds, which was symbolized by the name of the Father and Son written on their foreheads.2I heard the sound of God’s presence–like the ocean roar or deep thunder–and with it, what sounded like many harps being played together, symbolizing the beautiful melody that comes from the lives of the healed.3As God and the four living beings and the elders were watching, the healed lived Christlike lives that were like the sound of beautiful music — a song which only the 144,000 who had been redeemed from earth could sing.4These are the ones who did not corrupt themselves by filling their hearts with false views of God or practicing Satan’s methods — they kept their characters pure. They follow Jesus the Lamb wherever he goes, always revealing the truth about him. They were redeemed from fallen humanity and are the first fruits — the first ones so settled into the truth about God and the Lamb that nothing could move them.5No lie about God was found in their testimony; they are without blame.

6Then I saw another messenger flying in midair, and he had the eternal good news about God's character of love to proclaim to everyone living on earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people–which represents a movement of people who arise to proclaim the truth about God's character of love throughout the world.7He said in a clear, resounding voice, "Be in awe of God, and glorify him by living his methods of love, because the hour has come for everyone to make a judgment about God, and worship the Designer, Creator and Builder who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and springs of water– all of which operate upon his law of love."

8A second messenger followed the first, proclaiming throughout the world: "Don't trust Babylon the Great — a symbolic description of religions that misrepresent God — as it is fallen into the lies about God and intoxicates the world with its pagan views of God, maddening the people with its adulterous idea that God coerces and must inflict punishment if not properly appeased."

9And a third messenger followed the first two and proclaimed in a voice that was heard throughout the world: "If anyone gives worth and honor to the beastly system of coercion by choosing the methods of the beast and thus marking themselves as ‘loyal in heart’ by embracing the character of the beast, or marking themselves as ‘loyal in deed’ by practicing his methods,10they will reap the full fury of unremedied sin when God no longer shields them from their destructive choice. They will experience immeasurable torment of mind and burning anguish of heart when they stand in God's fiery presence and are bathed in unquenchable fire of truth and love–all in the very presence of Jesus and the holy angels.11The memory of their suffering and the lesson of their self-destructive choice will never be forgotten throughout all eternity. There will be no peace of mind–day or night–for those who prefer the methods of the beast and model after him, or for any who choose to mark themselves as followers of the beast."12This requires patient endurance on the part of the healed, who live God's methods of love and remain true to Jesus.

13Then I heard another voice from heaven say, "Write this: Happy are those who die to sin and self, trusting the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from working to save self, and their loving deeds will follow them."

14I looked, and I saw Jesus, the Son of Man, surrounded by a cloud of brilliant angels, wearing a crown of gold on his head — symbolic of his perfect character and rule of love. He had a sharp sickle in his hand, symbolizing his intent to bring his followers home.15Then another messenger came out of the heavenly temple and called in a clear voice to Jesus, who was in the cloud of angels: "Take your sickle and cut your followers free from all earthly ties and bring them home! The time to reap has come, because your people have matured and are ready to be cut free."16So Jesus, seated amongst the cloud of angels, swung his sickle and all throughout the earth his people were cut free and brought to heaven.

17Then another angel came out from the temple in heaven, and he had his own sharp sickle.18Yet another angel came, from the altar, with the authority of the fire of truth, and called in a loud voice to the angel with the sharp sickle: "Take your sharp sickle and gather the cluster of those who–like grapes–have ripened, but ripened on the vine of earth's principles; for they are fully hardened in their selfish ways."19The angel swung his sickle and gathered those who–like grape clusters–were ripened into complete rebellion against God, and he threw them into the winepress where they were pressed down under the destructive force of unremedied sin when God no longer shielded them from their destructive choice.20When God finally let go, they were crushed–outside the city of God–under the weight of guilt, shame, despair and fear that unremedied sin brings. Their lives ebbed away, and the dead were piled up 6 feet (1.8 meters) high for nearly 200 miles (320 kilometers) around the city.