Revelation 14:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 25, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.

As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

We are somewhere in the middle of the Tribulation period, when the antichrist is unmasked as pure evil and turns to kill the Jews, specifically those who have come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah.

14:1-5 Lamb’s Men

:1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.

:1 one hundred and forty-four thousand

We saw these individuals back in Revelation 7.

They were called “the servants of our God” (Rev. 7:3)
They will all be Jewish men, twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel (Rev. 7:5-8).
(Re 7:5–8 NKJV) —5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; 6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; 7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; 8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

The main people that God will be working through in the Tribulation will be these Jewish men who have come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. 

This week I came across an interesting clip about a revered Jewish rabbi.

Play clip about Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri
To be fair, one Jewish response to this is that Rabbi Kaduri was not talking about Jesus, but about someone named Yehoshua, though this is a form of the name Joshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus.
Also note – Ariel Sharon is still alive in a comatose state in an Israeli hospital.  He has been in a coma since 2006.  Interesting stuff.  Worth considering.

:1 Mount Zion

Play Mount Zion map clip

Zion – “parched place”

One of the hills that the city of Jerusalem in Israel sits upon is called “Mount Zion”.

There is also a heavenly version of Mount Zion.

The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers that as believers their goal isn’t to come to an earthly Mount Sinai, …
(Heb 12:22 NKJV) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
We’re going to see that the 144,000 are going to be singing before the throne of God.  They are in heaven.
That means that by this time in the Tribulation, they’ve all been martyred and now they are in heaven.

:1 name written on their foreheads

The 144,000 have God’s name on their foreheads.

It could be that they have the actual name “Yahweh” written on their foreheads.
Or possibly, the four Hebrew letters of God’s name, YHWH, יְהוָ֞ה
We consider this God’s name because that’s what God told Moses (Ex. 3:14)
(Ex 3:14–15 NKJV) —14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

The phrase “I AM” is related in Hebrew to the name Yahweh.  It’s in verse 15 that the actual name “Yahweh” is used.  In our English Bibles, the translators will use the word “LORD” in all capital letters to let you know that the Hebrew text is actually using the name of God, Yahweh.

We saw at the beginning of the Tribulation that the 144,000 had a special “seal” on their foreheads (Rev. 7:3)

(Re 7:3 NKJV) —3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Perhaps the “seal” is the name of God on their foreheads.
Their “seal” was symbolic of God’s protection over them during the Tribulation, in particular protection from being harmed by the demonic locust creatures that came out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 9)
(Re 9:4 NKJV) They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
If their “seal” was actually God’s name, that fits another verse:

(Pr 18:10 NKJV) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

The name of “Yahweh” is a strong tower.

Here’s a wild idea – we talked last week about the false prophet requiring everyone to have a “mark” on their right hand or forehead in order to conduct financial transactions.

We talked about how this might be a type of “counterfeit”, copying what the Orthodox Jews do in wearing phylacteries on their foreheads and right arms.
Could it also be an “imitation” of the seal of these 144,000?
Their “mark” protected them from the demon locusts.  Could it be that the false prophet will market his “mark” as some sort of protection or benefit to the world?  Something like, “Those crazy Jews think their mark keeps them safe, but we have a new and improved mark!”

:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.

:2 voicephone – a sound, a tone; a voice; speech

:2 soundphone – a sound, a tone; a voice; speech

:2 the voice of many waters

Jesus was described this way back in chapter 1:

(Re 1:15 NKJV) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

The phrase is also used to describe the voices of the multitude in heaven:

(Re 19:6 NKJV) —6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

:2 harpskithara – a harp

Our word “guitar” comes from this word.

The Greek text is literally, “the sound of harpists harping on their harps”

:3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

:3 they sangado – to the praise of anyone, to sing

:3 songode – a song, lay, ode

:3 newkainos – new, fresh, unworn

:3 They sang … before the throne

When I was in high school and college, I sang in a bunch of school choirs.  And sometimes if you are in a fairly decent choir, you are invited to sing in some pretty cool places, and to sing before some important audiences.

I always used to get pretty nervous when we sang in front of special audiences.

This group of the 144,000 is allowed to sing before the very throne of God in heaven.

I wonder if any of them will be just a tad bit nervous.
To be honest, we sing in front of the same audience.
Whether you realized it or not, today you too were singing before the very same throne of God.

:3 coulddunamai – to be able; to be capable

:3 learnmanthano – to learn, be appraised

This is the word that’s at the root of the word “disciple” (mathetes)

:3 no one could learn that song except …

No one else was able to pick up that “tune” because the tune was unique to this group of individuals.


Your song

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that we want to be like such and such a person.  We wish our life was like their life.  We want to learn their “song”.
There is value in learning from others and imitating the good things about their lives.
This is what “discipleship” is all about – learning from another person, observing their life, listening to what they say.
Yet you will get a lot farther in life if you learn to find out what plan or “song” that God has for you.
Though we can learn from others, we can’t live their life.
This was the problem that Peter had with John.
After the resurrection, Jesus was speaking with Peter and telling him about the suffering that was up ahead of him.
(Jn 21:18–22 NKJV) —18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Those are some pretty difficult things to hear about your future.  Not many of us would be too excited to hear that we have a life of difficulty ahead of us.

Peter turns to look at John the apostle …

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Peter and John were buddies, but they would eventually walk very different paths.

Peter had to learn that he had to walk the path that Jesus had for him.  He couldn’t worry about the path that Jesus had for John.

This was the lesson that Esther had to embrace – that God had a special plan for her life, designed just for her.
She might have not liked the idea that she was raised by her cousin Mordecai instead of her parents.
She might not have like the idea that she was entered into the  beauty contest of King Ahasuerus.
Other people may have envied her winning the beauty contest and becoming the Queen of Persia.
But all of this was to lead up to the time when her people, the Jews, faced extermination at the hand of Haman the Agagite.
It was her cousin Mordecai that pointed out her unique call in life:

(Es 4:14 NKJV) For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther’s path was specially designed for her.  No one could live her life for her.

What is your “song”?
Your song is who you are.  It’s the experiences you’ve had.  It’s the strengths and weaknesses you bring to the table.  It’s your education (or lack of).  It’s your gifting.  It’s your personality.  It’s your calling.

Only you can sing your song.

:4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

:4 womengune – a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow

:4 defiledmoluno – to pollute, stain, contaminate; to smear with mud or filth, spoil, disgrace

:4 virginsparthenos – a virgin; a man who has never had intercourse with women

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

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

:4 firstfruitsaparche (“from” + “first”) – to offer firstlings or firstfruits

:4 being firstfruits to God

One suggestion is that these might have been the first ones to come to salvation after the Rapture of the Church.

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

:5 mouthstoma – the mouth

:5 foundheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought; to find by enquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation

These were men who stood the test.  If people “looked”, they would not “find” deceit.

:5 deceitdolos – craft, deceit, guile

This is the word that Jesus used to describe Nathanael, that he didn’t have any deceit.

(Jn 1:47 NKJV) Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”

:4 These are the ones


Being Useful

These are the guys who are going to be used by God in a big way during the darkest days on our planet.  What makes them so “useful” to God?  4 things…

1. Useful:  Pure

These men were not “defiled” by women because they were virgins.
It’s important to understand that the defilement that comes from sex only comes when you take sex outside of the boundaries that God designed it for.
There is no defilement when sex is with your spouse.

(Heb 13:4 NKJV) Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

It’s sex outside of marriage that “defiles” you.

Because these men will be “virgins” and won’t have had sex, then the defilement that comes from sex outside of marriage isn’t going to be a problem for them.
Purity is an important trait in being useful to God.
(2 Ti 2:20–22 NKJV) —20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

We all have various kinds of “vessels” that we use at home.

You might use a certain bucket for mopping the floors, or even bailing water out of a stopped up toilet.

But you probably won’t use that same bucket to serve orange juice to your kids for breakfast.  Right?

You use a “clean” vessel to serve your kids.

The same works in how we serve the Lord.  God prefers to use a “clean” vessel.

2. Useful: Follower

:4 They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
In the old nursery rhyme, Mary had a little lamb that followed her wherever she went.  But these men will follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
It’s not that God isn’t looking for “leaders”, but the leaders that God is looking for are men and women who learn to follow the True Leader, Jesus Christ.
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 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?

3. Useful: Honest

:5 “in their mouth was found no deceit”
The language indicates that someone is looking for something (deceit), and can’t find it.

These are men who hold up under scrutiny.

You can look for dishonesty, but you won’t find it.

PlayPurse” video.
Isaiah prophesied this about Jesus:
(Is 53:9 NKJV) And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

The Lamb that these men follow, was not deceitful.

4. Useful: Cleansed

These men were “redeemed”, or purchased with a price.
They are “without fault” (vs.5)
This might be speaking of them being perfect, but I think it indicates that they’ve been forgiven.
without faultamomos (“not” + “blemish”) – as a sacrifice without spot; faultless, unblameable
This was one of the concepts behind an acceptable sacrifice – you don’t offer to God an animal that’s sick and about to die, or one that’s got a broken leg.
You give God your best to sacrifice.  Look at how “amomos” is used …
This was the kind of sacrifice Jesus was.

(Heb 9:14 NKJV) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

God desires that we all would be without fault, perfect.

(Eph 1:4 NKJV) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Yet the only way we can be “without fault” is through Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

(1 Pe 1:17–19 NKJV) —17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

He gave up His perfect, sinless life, to pay for our sins, so that we could be washed and made “faultless”.
How do we become forgiven and “spotless” when we’ve got so many faults?

(1 Jn 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When we come to Jesus and confess our sins, He cleanses us, He removes every spot and wrinkle.

Once He cleanses you, He is also able to keep us “faultless”

(Jud 24 NKJV) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

This is where usefulness really starts, by allowing Jesus to forgive you and cleanse you, and keep you from sin.
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 a second chance.