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Rev 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile (Gr. deceit, a trick, bait, wile, craft, subtlety): for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Because it has been a while since we broke away from our Revelation study, and there are many new faces here…..I want you to know that the entire series up to this point is in our Website and can be viewed on video or listened to on audio.
Also, I want you to know up front that we are interpreting Revelation from a pre-tribulational, pre-milleneal view of the book. This means that we believe that Jesus is coming back for His church, before the 70th week of Daniel (coincides with 7 year tribulation period), and we also believe that He is physically returning to the earth after the 70th week of Daniel to set up His 1,000 kingdom on earth.
Re 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
A Lamb – This of course is a description of The Lord Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God Who laid down His life to atone for the sins of the world (Is. 53:7; John 1:29; Rev 5.6,13.8).
- Elsewhere in the Revelation, Jesus is depicted as, The Lamb of God that is glorified (5.8; 12,13), exalted (7.9,10), Redeemer (7.14), Shepherd (7.17), and Lord of lords, and King of kings (17.14).
Here in verse 1, Jesus, The Lamb stands on Mount Sion (KJV) Zion with the 144,000. We will look at the identity of the 144,000 in a moment.
- In the Scripture, a distinction is made between earthly and heavenly Zion, and between earthly and heavenly Jerusalem, and whenever the distinction between the two is made, it is clearly made for a reason because the two are not the same location.
In describing our eternal home in the heavens, The Holy Spirit says to the regenerated child of God.
- Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
- Gal 4. 25 Jerusalem which now is (present cty), and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
- Re 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
- John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
In describing the earthly Zion, which is the ancient name for the hills that make up the city of Jerusalem – we read this:
- Ps 48:1 ¶ <<A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.>> Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. 2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
- Mic 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
- It is also at this time that we read in Isa 2 that they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isa 2.4). This is a reference to the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth.
So, the interpretation of the location of verse 1 depends on whether a person believes that this is a scene in heaven or one on earth.
Speaking prophetically of the Second Coming of Christ to the earth, we read
- Ps 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I believe that this verse is speaking of the time after the physical return of Jesus to the earth at the end of the great tribulation period, at which time these 144,000 Messianic Jews will reunite with Him on Mount Zion. I will explain why I believe they are Messianic Jews in a moment.
Now, to be biblically correct, we know for sure that when Jesus Christ returns at His Second coming, He will not be landing on Mt Zion, but on the land on the Mount of Olives. How do we know that?
- Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
- Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (This did not happen in 70AD…go to Jerusalem and see for yourself!)
- From the very same location that Jesus Christ ascended up bodily into heaven, The Lord Jesus Christ is going to physically return to the earth.
- When that takes place, Jesus Christ will set up His 1,000 year kingdom reign. How do we know that? Because that specific number is mentioned 6 times in Revelation 20.
- Some people teach and believe that we are in the kingdom age now….Beloved, we are not in the kingdom age this morning. Trust me, it will be a whole lot better than the condition of planet earth today. Yes, for those who are born again, the kingdom of God is within us, but we are not in the kingdom age right now.
Who are the 144,000 with their Father’s Name in their foreheads?
- These 144,000 were last seen in Revelation 7.4-9. After the horrific events of the 6th seal in Rev 6.12-17, the terror stricken people of the earth are recorded as saying to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
- It is against this backdrop that the 144,000 were introduced. They will survive Satan’s wrath and persecution because the seal of God’s protection is upon them. They will stand the day of God’s wrath.
- The followers of Satan and the beast may have a mark on their hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16-17), but these 144,000 Messianic Jews have the Name of their Father written in their foreheads.
- By comparing the group in Rev 7 to the one here in Rev 14, we see that not one of these sealed Jews is lost…that should be of great comfort to those of you who are born again…
- Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
- NT saints are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1.13), not in our foreheads, but in our hearts.
How do we know that the 144,000 are Jewish believers? In Rev 7.4-9, they were specifically identified this way:
- Re 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
- Please note the command is given in Rev 7 3, do not hurt the earth, the sea or trees etc; well beloved, a careful reading of Revelation 6 reveals that there is a whole lot of hurt that takes place on planet earth.
- This section of Scripture is one of the parenthetical chapters in the Revelation. Parenthetical meaning that it provides for us information that is relative to events either leading up to or included the 70th week of Daniel, but not necessarily in chronological order.
- So these 144,000 are identified as a group of Jewish believers of all the tribes of the children of Israel. who are given a seal of protection prior to the unfolding of the great tribulation period and after the rapture of the church (1 Thess 4.13-18).
- This phrase children of Israel is found in 662 places in the Scriptures, including 13 times in the NT, and not once is it used as a reference to the church or the body of Christ.
- In other words, the 144,000 are not spiritual Jews and they are not the Israel of God as found in Galatians 6. They are physical Jews from the physical 12 tribes of Israel.
- There are some that teach that after the Northern Kingdom of Israel went into captivity in 722 b.c., they were lost, and are now replaced by descendants from Europe and the USA. This is known as the British Israelism view.
- Beloved, the 10 tribes of Israel are not lost. Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
- This is one of 2 references to the 12 tribes in the NT. There are 2 specific references to the 12 tribes of Israel, 1 to the 12 tribes of the children of Israel.
- None of these passages refer to church. The church is never referred to as a tribe.
- It is also worth noting that in Rev 21.12 & 14, The Holy Spirit makes a distinction made between the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles of The Lamb.
- I have taken a bit of time explaining to you from Scripture alone that the children of Israel and the tribes of Israel have always been and always will be a reference to the nation of Israel and not the church.
- Whenever someone interprets this group to be the church instead of physical biological Jews, they are usually coming from a Reformed theological position, which basically states that the church has replaced the nation of Israel. John Macarthur is the best known Reformed theologians who is the exceptions to this rule of interpretation.
- By the way, by spiritualizing or allegorizing the book of Revelation, you can make it say whatever you want it to say even when God doesn’t say it. By “spiritualizing” the144,000, some say that it is simply a spiritual number meant to speak of the church, but that is not what the Bible says.
- This is the same eror that is made by the non-Christian cults who insist that this number “spiritually” refers to their group, who have rediscovered the gospel that was lost after the apostles died.
- Beloved, these 144,000 are not the body of Christ, they are not JW’s or Mormons or Branch Davidians…..they are Messianic Jews
I have to read what CHS wrote about this mark of The Father on these 144,000
What a deal of fuss is made on earth about our distinctions! We think such a deal about belonging to this denomination, and the other. Why, if you were to go to heaven’s gates, and ask if they had any Baptists there, the angel would only look at you, and not answer you, if you were to ask if they had any Wesleyans, or members of the Established Church, he would say, ‘Nothing of the sort;’ but if you were to ask him whether they had any Christians there, ‘Ay,’ he would say, ‘an abundance of them: they are all one now - all called by one name; the old brand has been obliterated, and now they have not the name of this man or the other, they have the name of God, even their Father, stamped on their brow. (Spurgeon)
- The only mark of identification to distinguish God's people in heaven will be God's name rather than any "denominational" distinction.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
- This is not he first time that John hears a voice from heaven and it will not be the last time. This voice is like the sound of many waters and like the sound of thunder. I am not expecting the noise level in heaven to be like the public library!
- A similar sounding voice like many waters and mighty thunders is heard in Rev 19.6 making this majestic declaration:
- Re 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps:
Harps are frequently associated in the OT with joyous praise.
- 2Sa 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
- Neh 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.
- We remember that earlier in the Revelation 5:8, the 24 elders have harps. We will see this reference to harps again in Rev 15.2,3. There are some groups who believe that it is wrong for the church to have any musical instruments in the sanctuary of God, and I fully respect their convictions, but we know for a fact that there were a number of musical instruments used in temple worship (Psa 150 for example) and before the throne we read of harps. I fully expect to see and hear harp music in heaven.
In verse 3 we see that there is a new song that is being sung before the throne of God that only the 144,000 can learn.
I love the lyrics of the songs that are being sung in heaven:
- Rev 5.9 Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation
- Rev 15.3 Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins (NIV; kept themselves pure; NASB; kept themselves chaste). These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
- To be fair, there are those who hold to the idea that the 144,000 may be all women, because they are called virgins….others say that they are all males who have never been married before…still others say it is both Jewish men and women who have been faithful to God and will not defiled by the immorality that will be common during the tribulation period.
- The KJV virgins is the Greek parthenos, which means unmarried daughter or women, but the text reads that these virgins are not defiled with women.
- Not defiled with women. In the midst of the morally unrestrained climate of unregenerate men where iniquity will abound, these 144,000 men will be beacons of moral purity for the glory of God and the Lamb, Jesus Christ. This does not mean that they were not married, since sex within the covenant of marriage is holy and undefiled.
- Sexual purity is essential to triumphant Christian living.
- 1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
- Those who would know Jesus intimately and serve Him effectively must purpose with all of their heart to live holy and pure lives.
- Follow The Lamb wherever He goes- They are totally devoted to Him.
- Redeemed from among men - agorazo (Gk.) to go to market, to purchase. In this context referring to those purchased by the blood of the Lamb. It is the same Greek word translated redeemed in Rev 5.9,10
- Rev 5.9 for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
- Every single person who is saved during the Tribulation will be saved in exactly the same manner as anyone today: by grace, through a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
- Even though the rapture ends God’s dealings with the church as such on the earth, it certainly does not change the way people come to salvation or become part of the larger family of God, which includes all the redeemed, before and after the church.
- Firstfruits unto God and unto The Lamb - aparche (Gk.) In the OT, the firstfruits were the first part of the crop that was harvested, in order to be presented to God and then be used in His service.
- In reference to the 144,000 being called "firstfruits to God", it speaks of them being set apart for His service during the 70th week of Daniel/ 7 year tribulation period.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile (Gr. deceit, a trick, bait, wile, craft, subtlety): for they are without fault before the throne of God.
- Without fault. Positionally, they are without fault because of the application of the blood of the spotless Lamb of God upon their souls, and are sealed by the Spirit of the Living God.
- Eph 5.25 Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
- It is by only faith in the blood of The Lord Jesus Christ that the debt of our sin and the wrath of God that we deserve is removed.
- Without fault. Practically; above reproach.
- Jude 1:24 Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy; 25 to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty and might and authority, even now and forever. Amen.
- My friend that is what Jesus promises you when you repent of your sin and trust the keeping of your soul to His care…..
Question, do you know for sure that your life has been sealed by the Holy Spirit of God? Have you repented of your sin and turned to Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness that only He can provide for your sin?
- Ro 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
- May the Spirit of God convict you of your sin, and draw you to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 15.3 Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
- Ac 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Trust Christ today…receive the gift of eternal life.