Revelation 14:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 17, 2001


When you’ve got a job to do, it always helps to have the right tool.



HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light.  Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouc...."

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your garage on fire.   Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads.  If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

This morning I want to talk about what it takes to be the right kind of tool in God’s hand.

: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 is Jesus.

mount Sion – or, Mount Zion. Zion is the hill that the city of Jerusalem is built on. But the question is, is this the earthly Zion, or is this a heavenly version of Zion?

If this is the earthly Zion, then these 144,000 are in the earthly city of Jerusalem, and Jesus is standing with them spiritually (since he doesn’t come back until Revelation 19).

But I think that this is probably the “heavenly” Jerusalem.

The word “Zion” has been used to describe the heavenly Jerusalem –
(Heb 12:22 KJV) 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,
And as you read on, there are further references to heaven.
“a voice from heaven” (vs. 2); “a new song before the throne” (vs.3)

In other words, the 144,000 are now in heaven.

an hundred forty and four thousand – These are the people who were called “the servants of our God” back in Revelation 7.  These are Jewish believers who have come to trust in Jesus after the church has been taken in the Rapture.

Father’s name – Back in chapter 7, we were told that the 144,000 were sealed in their foreheads.

(Rev 7:3 KJV) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Now we are told what the “seal” is, it is the name of the Father. The Father’s name is YHWH (“Yahweh”).

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

harpskithara – a harp to which praises of God are sung in heaven.  The Greek word is the basis for our word “guitar”.

:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne …

The 144,000 sing a song that only they can sing.

sungado – to the praise of anyone, to sing

songode – a song, lay, ode

were redeemedagorazo – to be in the market place, to attend it; to do business there, buy or sell

:4  …not defiled with women; for they are virgins…

defiledmoluno – to pollute, stain, contaminate, defile; used in NT of those who have not kept themselves pure from the defilements of sin, who have soiled themselves by fornication and adultery

virginsparthenos – a virgin; one who has never had sexual intercourse

followakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party

he goethhupago – to lead under, bring under; to withdraw one’s self, to go away, depart; the verb is subjunctive in mood, meaning that “wherever the Lamb should go, they will follow”.

firstfruitsaparche – to offer firstlings or firstfruits; to take away the firstfruits of the productions of the earth which was offered to God. The first portion of the dough, from which sacred loaves were to be prepared. Hence term used of persons consecrated to God for all time.; persons superior in excellence to others of the same class

:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

guiledolos – craft, deceit

without faultamomos – without blemish; faultless, unblameable

The man God uses

Since this is Father’s Day, I am going to address the points this morning to the men. But in reality, there isn’t a single thing I’m going to say that doesn’t apply to the women.

Lesson #1

God uses a man who worships

When these guys get to heaven, they have a new song to sing. (vs.3)
God uses men who know how to worship Him.
Jehoshaphat was one of the “good kings”. But one day he found that his kingdom was about to be attacked by an alliance of three of his enemies, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites. Jehoshaphat knew what he needed to do, and he called for the people to fast and pray. Then God sent an answer through a prophet …
(2 Chr 20:15-22 KJV) And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. {16} To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. {17} Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. {18} And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. {19} And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. {20} And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. {21} And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. {22} And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

God had made a wonderful promise to the people that He would fight their battle for them. All they needed to do was to go out to the battle and watch God take care of things.

Note: God didn’t say, “If you will go out and praise my name, then I will deliver you”. God simply told them to go out and watch what He would do.

It was Jehoshaphat who came up with the idea of sending the worship team out front to praise the Lord. Jehoshaphat didn’t praise God in order to have victory, he praised God because he trusted God to keep His promise.

Are you a man in a battle? Do you know that your God cares for you? Are you willing to trust Him? Are you willing to praise Him?

Lesson #2

God uses a man who is pure

These men have not been “defiled with women”. (vs.4)
You need to be careful here, because God isn’t saying that there’s something about women that can make a man unacceptable to God.
If a man is married, there is nothing “defiled” about his relationship with his wife:
(Heb 13:4 NKJV) Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Being “defiled with women” means that you have not had relations with a woman outside of your marriage.
These servants are doubly assured of being pure simply because they are virgins.
Samson (Judges 16)
We tend to think of Samson as a “man’s man”, as some kind of huge, buff guy with muscles bulging out of his shirt.
But keep in mind, the Philistines didn’t have a clue as to where Samson got his strength. If Samson was strong because of his workout program and the size of his muscles, why did the Philistines have to find out his “secret”? I think in reality, Samson probably was just an ordinary looking guy, except for his long hair.

Samson’s real strength was from God. He was a “Nazirite”, one who was supposed to be dedicated to God and who didn’t drink wine. The thing that showed a person was a Nazirite was the fact that they didn’t cut their hair.

Samson had a weakness though, he liked the wrong kind of women.

With his first wife, he wanted to marry a gal who wasn’t a believer (Judg. 14).

Another time he was almost caught by the Philistines when he went to visit a prostitute (Judg. 16).

His worst mistake came when he met a gal named Delilah:

(Judg 16:4-6; 15-21 KJV) And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. {5} And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. {6} And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.

First, why does Samson want to hang around with a woman who wants to bind and afflict him?

Second, if Samson is such a godly man, why doesn’t she know that God is his strength? Has he never talked to her about God?

As the story progresses, Samson keeps playing games with Delilah, telling her one lie after another about his strength.  And each time she says, “The Philistines are upon thee” and he’s not fazed.

Why does Samson keep playing this game? Can’t he see how dangerous it is?

This is exactly how sin gets us. We like the thrill of the temptation. Like a moth, we like to see just how close we can fly to the fire without being burnt. But in the end we’re toast.

{15} And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. {16} And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; {17} That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. {18} And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath showed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. {19} And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. {20} And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. {21} But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.

I think one of the saddest statements in Scripture is that Samson didn’t even know that God had left him. The work of God in his life was so “natural” that he didn’t even realize that it had gone.

I wonder sometimes if we can simply go too far in testing the Lord’s patience before He will simply let us fall flat on our face.


Who is “WE”?

Once there was a famous organist giving a recital in an eastern church. The instrument was not supplied air electrically; it had to be pumped by hand. A young boy was engaged to do this for the occasion. Everything was going along fine until the lad put his head around the side of the organ and whispered, “We are doing pretty good, aren’t we?” “What do you mean by ‘we’?” objected the organist. A few minutes later, in the midst of a beautiful strain, the organ suddenly stopped giving out any music. Desperately the organist tried all the stops. No use. Then again he saw the head of the boy bob around the corner, a broad smile on his face. He said, “Now do you know who I mean by ‘we’?”

Sometimes we can do some amazing things, but do we give credit to the one who is really putting the “wind in our sails”?

You might say, “Well even though Samson had a problem with women, look at all the incredible things he did in his life!”

I think that God did incredible things despite Samson’s problems. In reality, the greatest thing Samson ever did was accomplished by his own tragic death, after he had been captured, blinded, and humiliated by the Philistines, and he ended up bringing down the entire temple of Dagon upon himself and the Philistines.

Samson is the example of what not to do.

Lesson #3

God uses a man who follows Jesus

One of the qualities of the 144,000 is that they “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth”. (vs.4)
Should the Lamb head west, they go west.  Should the Lamb go north, they go north.
They get their directions from Jesus.  They go wherever Jesus goes.
To be able to get your directions from Jesus, you need to be able to hear His voice.
The prophet Elijah learned that God doesn’t always speak with a loud voice.  Sometimes God speaks with a “still, small voice”.
The problem is, sometimes our lives are too noisy to be able to hear God’s voice.
The Cricket
A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native American said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend said, “What? You must be crazy. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!” “No, I’m sure of it,” the Native American said, “I heard a cricket.” “That’s crazy,” said the friend. The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed. “That’s incredible,” said his friend. “You must have superhuman ears.” “No,” said the Native American. “My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.” “But that can’t be!” said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise.” “Yes, it’s true,” came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs. “See what I mean ?” asked the Native American. “It all depends on what’s important to you.”
Do you spend time listening to Jesus?  Do you spend time in God’s Word?  If God spoke to you, would you be able to hear Him?

Lesson #4

God uses an honest man

“In their mouth was found no guile”. (vs. 5)
One of the things that happened in the earliest days of the church, was that people learned to share with those in need.  In fact, you received quite a few pats on the back if you would give a large gift to the give to the poor.
(Acts 5:1-11 KJV)  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, {2} And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it, at the apostles' feet. {3} But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {4} Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. {5} And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. {6} And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. {7} And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. {8} And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. {9} Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. {10} Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. {11} And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
What did Ananias and Sapphira do wrong?  It wasn’t that they didn’t give everything to the church, it was that they pretended to give everything they had to the church when they hadn’t.  They pretended to be something that they weren’t.
The man that God uses is a man who has learned to be honest about where he’s at.  The man that God uses is a man who always speaks the truth.

Lesson #5

God uses a man who has been washed

These servants are those who have been “redeemed”.  They are “without fault before the throne”. (vs. 4,5)
Though this does mean that these were guys who did the right things, in reality it is impossible for a person to live their life without sinning.  The only way for a human being to be “without fault before the throne” is to have been washed clean of all his sins.
The Bible says,
(1 John 1:7 KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Gospel – Jesus died on the cross to pay for all of your sins.  He offers to you complete forgiveness for everything you’ve ever done if you will simply turn to Him and ask for His help.
You may have failed terribly in some of the things that we’ve talked about today, but God offers you this morning a fresh start.  He offers you a second chance.