Morning Bible Study
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
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
:1 one hundred and
We saw these
individuals back in Revelation 7.
called “the servants of our God” (Rev.
They will all
be Jewish men, twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel (Rev. 7:5-8).
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.
To be fair, one
Jewish response to this is that Rabbi Kaduri was not talking about Jesus, but
about someone named
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
One of the hills that the city of Jerusalem in Israel sits upon is called
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, …
12:22 NKJV) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,
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
:1 name written on
The 144,000 have God’s name on their foreheads.
It could be
that they have the actual name “Yahweh” written on their foreheads.
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
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)
“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)
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
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.
His feet were
like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many
– kithara – 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 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
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 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.
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
There is value in learning from others and imitating the good things about
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.
resurrection, Jesus was speaking with Peter and telling him about the suffering
that was up ahead of him.
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.
:5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault
before the throne of God.
Jesus saw Nathanael
coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no
:4 These are the
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.
sex outside of marriage that “defiles” you.
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.
2:20–22 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
We all have various kinds of “vessels” that we use at
might use a certain bucket for mopping the floors, or even bailing water out of
a stopped up toilet.
you probably won’t use that same bucket to serve orange juice to your
kids for breakfast. Right?
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
prophesied this about Jesus:
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
They are “without fault” (vs.5)
This might be speaking of them being perfect, but I think it indicates that
they’ve been forgiven.
– amomos (“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
(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
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
You may have failed terribly in some of the things that we’ve talked about
today, but God offers a second chance.