Song of the redeemed (14:1-5)
In 7:1-8 God’s faithful people were seen on earth and in 7:9-17 in heaven. They are now seen with Christ in his kingdom. The reason why they alone can sing the new song is that only saved sinners can know the experience of redemption (14:1-3). Not only have they been cleansed by Christ, but they have kept themselves pure by not giving in to the temptations of the anti-God world. Like the first products of harvest, they belong specially to God (4-5; cf. Exod 23:19).
Angels and the harvest of the earth (14:6-20)
Three angels now make proclamations. The first reminds people of the good news of God’s salvation, adding a warning of judgment and urging sinners to repent (6-7). The second announces judgment on Babylon, symbol of ungodly humankind who, in pride and opposition to God, has corrupted the world (8). The third announces judgment on all who have followed the antichrist (9-11).
John desires that these visions encourage the Christians to be faithful in enduring their sufferings for Christ’s sake. Their sufferings are but temporary, whereas the sufferings of their persecutors will be eternal. Even if they suffer death, they can be assured of eternal rest with their Lord as a fitting reward for their faithfulness (12-13).
Evil has now reached its fulness. Angels have announced judgment, and more angels now carry out that judgment. The sinful world is compared to a harvest field ready for reaping, the reaping being God’s great and final judgment (14-16). The horror of the judgment is further pictured in a grape harvest. As wine is squeezed out when workers tread grapes in a winepress, so the blood of sinners will run over the earth when God acts in his righteous anger (17-20).