Every good story has a climax toward the end. That final surge of emotion before the resolving action. The story of this age isn’t any different. So far we’ve seen the world in its state of chaos. The great evils of mankind corporate and individually have broken the order in God’s good world. The 144,000 seen in this passage is the same as in the seal vision. They are those who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. The point in this passage is to encourage faithfulness. It says they have not defiled themselves with women, not because they are literal virgins, but because they have not bowed down to idols. They are the army of the lamb and they are now victorious. They achieved victory through patience and, even, death. We now see a procession, the eternal gospel being announced to the world, the fall of Babylon, and the curse upon all who receive the mark. Jesus said that the good news of the kingdom would reach the ends of the earth and then the end would come. The fall of Babylon is talked about in a later chapter, both being the same event with a slightly different perspective. The mark of the beast was talked about in the post before, but in this context it is primarily talking about the final battle and pointing to the passage directly after the fall of Babylon. So revelation is sort of laying a place marker. Now we come to the reaping of the harvest of the earth, shown with two images the harvest of wheat and the harvest of grapes. The grapes are martyred saints, there will be a severe persecution as has never been seen before, right before the second coming. The ones still left on earth are shown as wheat, they will be taken without seeing death. I hate to use the word “rapture” because of its connotations, but this is the rapture of the church. It happens right before the bowls of wrath because God will not pour His wrath on His people. This passage gives us assurance, whether we survive until His coming or die, we are okay. It also shows us that the martyr’s death is not in vain, for as we will see soon, they are the grapes of God’s holy wrath and He will vindicate His people.