Revelation 14 is today's reading. Chapter 13 saw the rise of the beast and the false prophet who inflicted awful harm upon the earth. Now it's God's turn: -vss 1-5: the Lamb (Jesus) and the sealed victors of God step on the stage in this second vision. Perhaps, as some believe, these 144,000 are the Jewish believers left behind during the 1,000 year reign to evengelize the entire world. Or perhaps, as others believe, they are the perfect, complete number of all the saints who have died in Christ returning with Jesus. It centers on Mt. Zion with those of the "seal" of God on their foreheads (the mind of Christ). Singers with harps appear and sing a new song of victory through the Lamb. They are spiritually pure in Christ, the "firstfruits for God" and "in their mouth was found no lie".
-vss 6-13: Three angels announce the hour of God's judgment, the fall of Babylon (in John's day Babylon, which carried the Jews into captivity, is symbolic of all the world powers that rejected God and lived by their own lusts and desires), and the eternal punishment of the beast's worshipers (of all times, those who worship what the beast loves: money, sex and power). The beast's worshipers will "drink the wine of God's wrath" (praise God that Jesus drank the "cup" of God's wrath for his followers upon himself instead of us). The smoke and torment of hell "goes up forever and ever", thus showing that the wicked are not annihilated or given a second chance or over time perhaps "love wins", as Rob Bell has suggested in a recent book by that title. Vss 9-11 are some the Bible's most powerful verses to refute his wrong teaching.
-vss 14-20: The harvest of the earth and vine. Personally, I believe the harvest of the earth is the saints of God, the wheat in the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13 and the vine is the harvest of the lost, the tares in the same parable. The harvest for the lost is plentiful but the laborers are few. As the days lead up to this, we all need to see the Son of Man seated on the cloud, wearing a "golden crown" (vs 14). He is in control no matter what may be going on.
If these final verses are true, we can't just sit around as followers of Jesus and let someone else do the job of evangelism before he returns. We need to be forthright and strong in sharing our faith. The laborers should not be "few" if what we read is true.
God wins. The victory is his. But until his return the "harvest is plentiful." Let's never forget it!