Revelation 14

The Lamb and the Judgment

Mount Zion

Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1).

Originally “Zion” referred only to the site of the ancient Jebusite fortress conquered by David (2 Sam 5:7; 1 Kgs 8:1; 1 Chr 11:5; 2 Chr 5:2). A later tradition, dating to the Byzantine period, identified the Western Hill of Jerusalem as Mount Zion. The reference here is to what was known as Mount Zion throughout most of the biblical period: the location of the first and second temples. This aerial view shows Mount Zion from the east.

Many Waters

And I heard a sound from heaven, like the roar of many waters (Revelation 14:2).

The sound that John heard was similar to the noise made by the crashing water of a great waterfall. There are not many large waterfalls in the Mediterranean world, but John might have been familiar with this one at Banias, near Caesarea Philippi (cf. Matt 16:13).

A New Song

And they sang a new song before the throne (Revelation 14:3).

The phrase “new song” occurs nine times in the Bible; the occurrence in Revelation 14:3 is the last. The other occurrences are in Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; and Revelation 5:9. This statue of Terpsichore is from the time of Hadrian, only a short time later than the composition of Revelation. Terpsichore was one of the nine muses in Greek mythology. This statue illustrates how people contemporary with the composition of Revelation likely thought of music. This statue was photographed at the Vatican Museums.

Mixed Drink

He will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of His anger (Revelation 14:10).

In the 1st century AD, wine was almost always diluted with water, rather than drunk unmixed. Usually the ratio of water to wine was between 2 to 1 and 4 to 1. Unmixed wine would have been thought of as excessively strong. This ancient vessel for mixing wine and water was photographed at the Thessalonica Archaeological Museum.

Writing Implements

Then I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write” (Revelation 14:13).

The imperative to John, “Write!” occurs twelve times in Revelation. These writing instruments were discovered at Augusta Emerita (modern Merida in Spain). August Emerita was founded as a colony by Augustus in 25 BC.

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