Revelation 14:1-5

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

August 20, 1997

Introduction

We're in the middle of the time on earth known as the Tribulation.

We've seen how there will be an evil man known as the antichrist, along with his sidekick, the false prophet, who will together deceive the world, and cause people to worship Satan and the antichrist.

:1-5 The 144,000, cont'd.

:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion

Is this an earthly Zion, or a heavenly one?

Some have chosen to take this as a picture of heaven because of:

Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

But this seems to be the only verse in the Bible that clearly

I've changed my opinion to see this as being the actual, literal place on earth, we know of as Jerusalem, even more specifically the temple mount.

"Zion" is found 162 times in the Bible (only 7 times in NT), and it seems only one time is clearly meant to be a heavenly Zion, not a very weighty argument.

Here's an interesting verse

Joe 2:30-32 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

And

Ob 1:15-17 For the day of the LORD [is] near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, [so] shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

Is Jesus physically there, or just spiritually?

Some have seen this as a look into the future when Jesus has come back, and is standing victoriously in Jerusalem after having conquered His enemies.

To me, I don't think we have to jerk this passage out of the time context we've been in, which is in the middle of the tribulation.

I see Jesus as standing here in the Spirit, with His 144,000.

We see a picture of this in the book of Daniel, when the three young boys stood up against Nebuchadnezzar's idolatry (Dan.3).

There was a fourth person in the furnace with them, one like the Son of God.

Jesus promised His presence with us:

(Mat 18:20 KJV) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

(Mat 28:19-20 KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I see this as Jesus standing with His witnesses, protecting them from the destruction and persecution going on around them.

Remember that these 144,000 received a "seal" at the beginning of the tribulation, something that would offer them protection:

(Rev 7:2-4 KJV) And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, {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.

Lesson:

You're not alone.

Jesus is with you.

His angels are around you.

(Psa 91 KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. {2} I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. {3} Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. {4} He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. {5} Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; {6} Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. {7} A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. {8} Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. {9} Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; {10} There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. {11} For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. {12} They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. {13} Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. {14} Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. {15} He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. {16} With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

This doesn't mean we have the license to go out and do risky, dangerous things whenever we want to.

Satan quoted from this Psalm (Mat. 4) to try to get Jesus to go bungie jumping from the temple without the bungie cord. Jesus just said "no".

But it does mean that when we are walking in God's will, we have nothing to fear.

Ps 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

:1 and with him an hundred forty and four thousand

There is no reason not to identify these as the same 144,000 we saw back in chapter 7.

They are Jewish men, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes.

:1 having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

We saw back in chapter 7 that these men were sealed on their foreheads with something that would protect them from the ravages of the tribulation.

Now we understand that the "seal" was actually God's name on their foreheads.

The Jehovah's Witnesses say that since God's name is Jehovah, that this is them.

The problem is that God's name isn't Jehovah, but Jehovah is a misunderstanding of the Hebrew scribes writing of YHWH.

The Hebrew scribes didn't feel worthy enough to speak God's name, and so when they wrote it, they added the vowels of adonai to the consonants of YHWH, forcing the reader to remember to say adonai instead of Yahweh. When you don't understand this, you mispronounce the word as "Yuhoowah", or, "Jehovah".

The Bible says there is safety in God's name:

Pr 18:10 The name of the LORD [is] a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Whereas the unbelievers in the world will have a mark on their forehead that will have something to do with either the number or the name of the antichrist (Rev. 13:16,17), these men will have the name of God on their foreheads.

I think it's possible that this name might be invisible, in the realm of the Spirit.

Ezekiel saw a vision of an angel putting a mark (Eze 9:4) on the foreheads of those in Jerusalem who were grieved at the wickedness of the city. It was an invisible mark, seen only in the spirit.

Those with this mark were not to be killed during the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.

:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder:

It may be that this voice is the voice of God, since it has been described this way in Scripture (Eze 1:24; 43:2; Rev. 1:15).

But I think that instead, it is just the noise of a great multitude in heaven, like the roar of a crowd. We'll see just this exact thing later on:

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.

:2 and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

Again, this is where we get the idea that people will be playing harps in heaven.

Or maybe pianos or guitars!

:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders:

Who is the "they" singing this song?

If the 144,000 are in heaven, then perhaps they're the ones singing the song.

But if we want to stay with correct rules of Greek grammar, the "they" should refer to the most recent plural noun, which is the "harpers" in verse 2!

What we're seeing is a whole melting of the realm of the physical and the realm of the spiritual.

These 144,000 are literally standing on a physical place on earth, yet at the same time they are in the presence of the Lamb, and are surrounded with the new song coming from the worshippers in heaven.

Lesson:

Listen to the music.

I have this funny idea that worship is going on continually around us, but that we're just not tuned in to it.

I remember once a long time ago waking up in the middle of the night, hearing incredibly beautiful worship music coming out of my clock radio.

I don't know if it was just goofy timer problem, or if I was really hearing the worship of heaven, but it was absolutely beautiful.

Do you have a desire to hear the music of heaven?

I have this feeling that sometimes as we're worshipping, we're hearing it.

Whenever I hear tapes of our worship, I think to myself, "that sounds terrible! It didn't sound like that at all!"

I wonder if what I'm hearing is partly the worship of heaven joining us as we praise our God.

Henry David Thoreau said, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer."

Do you hear the musicians of heaven?

:3 and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

Somehow, these 144,000 are able to learn a new song, a song that comes from heaven itself.

Nobody else is able to sing this song, or more correctly, is able to learn it.

What is it?

Who knows?

:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.

Some have suggested that this is talking about spiritual fornication, as those who follow after the "Jezebel" of Rev. 2:20, or the "mother of all harlots" in Rev. 17. That's possible.

I think the more plain meaning is probably the better though, that these are simply men who have not married, neither have they had sex with women.

It's not that it's wrong to be married, or it's wrong to have sex with your wife if you're married, but that these men haven't sinned sexually with women in any way.

That's quite miraculous, considering the incredibly sensual society we live in.

Lesson:

It's okay to be single.

There's great pressure on men and women today to be married.

You're somehow made to think you're not complete if you're not married.

Those of us married people in the church can even contribute to that feeling.

But a single man or woman who has dedicated their life to the Lord can accomplish great things, if God has given them the gift of celibacy.

Jesus said,

(Mat 19:12 KJV) For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Paul wrote,

(1 Cor 7:7-9 KJV) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. {8} I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. {9} But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Why is it good to remain single, if possible?

You have much more time to devote to serve the Lord!

(1 Cor 7:29-33 KJV) But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; {30} And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; {31} And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. {32} But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: {33} But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

:4 These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.

I love this.

It reminds me of that old nursery rhyme, but turned around.

Mary's little lamb followed her everywhere she went.

These men will follow the Lamb everywhere He goes!

Lesson:

Where is He leading you?

Do you have a sense that Jesus is leading you somewhere?

Don't forget that He'll never leave you, all you have to do is just follow Him!

I'm really quite an old stick in the mud when it comes to trying new things.

I'd much rather just do the same old thing day in and day out, it's much safer that way.

But I'm finding that it can be quite exciting to actually get up and risk a little and go where you believe the Lord is leading.

The only way to change a car's direction is to get it moving, so get moving!

:4 These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

These were the first ones in the tribulation to be saved.

:5 And in their mouth was found no guile

guile - dolos - craft, deceit, guile

These days, we've become quite callused toward our leaders, where we don't even quite expect that anyone would be completely honest.

Greg Laurie was mentioning in one of his messages lately that one of the polls showed that almost all Americans expect to lie a few times during the day.

Lesson:

Speak with integrity.

Illustration

When the devil's success rate goes up, the pastor's stock in the eyes of the community goes down. In a recent Wall Street Journal survey, 1,000 corporate executives were asked to name their most trusted confidant when faced with an ethical problem. Only 1% said that they would consult a pastor. Shocking! I'm sure that there are many reasons for ignoring those who supposedly represent God, but I know that a large part of it is explained by the "integrity gap" in the ministry.

Psychology Today published their results of the ranking of 100 professions according to their level of respectability, desirability, and prestige. Pastors ranked 52nd, just below manufacturing foremen and just ahead of power station operators. Why? Perceived lack of credibility in the community. Although hypocrisy abounds, there is no room for pastors who are financially irresponsible, sensually stalking women, half-hearted in the ministry, empire builders, glory seekers or money grubbers.

These guys won't have this problem!

Just because we aren't part of the 144,000 doesn't mean we shouldn't have integrity.

John Wesley once said, "Give me a hundred men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin, and I will shake the whole world for Christ."

During the Tribulation, God's going to use 144,000, not just 100.

:5 for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Does this mean that these men were perfect?

No, it just means they are forgiven. It means that Jesus is at work in their lives.

Lesson:

Let Him cleanse you.

This is God's work in our lives, not our work.

We don't clean up our lives, we let God do it.

Eph 5:27 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.

Col 1:21-22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

That doesn't mean we don't have a hand in it.

We need to let Him do His work.

Don't hinder what He wants to do in you.