SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter begins with the lamb (representing Jesus) and 144,000 people (representing those who chose to put their faith in Jesus during their lives on earth) worshipping in heaven.
- We're told that those so marked were virgins in that they “did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.” This almost certainly isn’t literal but applies instead to these people staying faithful to God and refusing to worship the beast.
- Three angels appear: one proclaiming the everlasting gospel (good news); another, the downfall of Babylon; and a third, the wrath of God on those who chose to worship the beast.
- There are also two harvests. In Israel's history there were two main harvests - grain in the Spring and fruit in the late Summer. But the harvesting in this chapter probably represents God gathering people for their final judgment.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- This chapter lets us know there is judgment coming. Those who chose not to put their faith in God will experience the "winepress of God's wrath" (verse 19). But for those who chose to respond to the "everlasting gospel" (the good news that God offers to take away the sin and condemnation of those who let Jesus be the lamb who sacrifices for them), then "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- We don't like the idea of God's wrath against sinful people, or that people who die without their sin being forgiven will face judgment and an eternity of separation from God and, honestly, God doesn't like it either. This is why we (like the angel) need to be people who proclaim the everlasting gospel. We need to let people know that God loves them and has made an offer to forgive their sins if they would just put their faith in Jesus.
- One great way to help people get on a path towards knowing and putting their faith in Jesus is to get them to come to church. People are more open to going to church on the week of Christmas than maybe any other time. So… who are you inviting to Verve's Christmas Eve services?