An Interlude: The Song of the 144,000
1 Then I looked, and here was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand, who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 I also heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. Now the sound I heard was like that made by harpists playing their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth.
4 These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from humanity as first-fruits to God and to the Lamb, 5 and no lie was found on their lips; they are blameless.
Three Angels and Three Messages
6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He declared in a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!”
8 A second angel followed the first, declaring: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great city! She made all the nations drink of the wine of her immoral passion.”
9 A third angel followed the first two, declaring in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, 10 that person will also drink of the wine of God’s anger that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulphur in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke from their torture will go up forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have no rest day or night, along with anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 12 This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this:
‘Blessed are the dead,
those who die in the Lord from this moment on!’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their hard work, because their deeds will follow them.”
14 Then I looked, and a white cloud appeared, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man! He had a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple, shouting in a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and start to reap, because the time to reap has come, since the earth’s harvest is ripe!” 16 So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Another angel, who was in charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to the angel who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes off the vine of the earth, because its grapes are now ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth and tossed them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. 20 Then the wine-press was stomped outside the city, and blood poured out of the wine-press up to the height of horses’ bridles for a distance of almost two hundred miles.