Lesson: IV.A.4: The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1-5)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

 Here God claims His own and begins the final harvest.

Here God claims His own and begins the final harvest.

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 11/21/16

Lesson: IV.A.4: The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1-5)

Revelation 14:1-5 (KJV)
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: for they are without fault before the throne of God.


Introduction

Introduction to Chapter 14
With chapter 14 there comes a change and a turning of the tide. The ebb sets in and flows faster and ever faster, as God takes over in direct and determined intervention in the affairs of men. From here on, we have set before us a picture of a world rescued by God. This is a long section of the book and covers a very long period of time. It runs on to the end of chapter 20, and thus covers the final throes of the great tribulation, the battle of Armageddon, the golden millennial` age, the final rebellion of Satan, the great white throne judgment, and onto the edge of eternity.

In chapter 14, we see God’s response to the attack of the two beasts described in chapter 13. The beast’s goal, from the beginning, has been to stop the Messiah, destroy the Jews and persecute the church. Here God claims His own and begins the final harvest.

Chapter 14 gives a glimpse into eternity to show believers what awaits them if they endure. Their suffering will not be meaningless; it will only be a prelude into eternity with God. This chapter explains what will happen to those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast, and what will happen eventually to the beast and his servants.


Introduction to Verses. 1-5

If I were to give a title to this chapter it would be “Protection.” In this lesson, God prevents the plan of the beast from coming to fruition by sealing 144,000 people to keep them from being killed by the beast. He will seal them with a sign on their foreheads (1).

We have met this company before. This is the illustrious company of the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel, who are sealed (Revelation 7). These sealed ones have been preserved unharmed throughout the great tribulation, despite the rage of the dragon and the beast. Unscathed, they have marched right down those dreadful years with horrors abounding on every hand and with every demon from the pit clutching at them in vain. In chapter seven this company is seen anticipating the great tribulation which, at the time, lay ahead. They are now seen anticipating the great triumph, which at that time, lay ahead.


Commentary

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.

The Lamb is none other than the Jew’s Messiah and Deliverer, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. John has dramatically shown the great powers of satanic evil embodied in the two beasts as they have forced the world into idolatry. Now he abruptly shows us a vision of the Lamb and His army standing on Mount Zion. It is refreshing to have Him appear when almost all of the people on the earth are worshipping Satan. The place of his appearing is “Mount Zion.” In constructing this image, the author may have in mind Psalm 2: “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:6). In traditional Judaism, this is the place where the remnant of Israel would be gathered together in the messianic age (Joel 3:5; Obadiah 17; Micah 4:6-8; Zephaniah 3:12-20).

Note: Most Bible versions give the place of Christ’s appearing as “Mount Zion,” (earthly Jerusalem) however some versions have translated this place as “Mount Sion” (heavenly Jerusalem), and that the scene anticipates Christ coronation and the establishment of His kingdom when he returns to earth (Zechariah 14:4).

This is an earthly scene, a picture of Christ returning to reign at the selected place from which He shall rule gloriously. This is not the “heavenly Jerusalem,” sometimes called “Mount Sion”: “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” (Hebrews 12:22; KJV). The Lamb seen standing on this mount is also a prophetic forecast of Christ’s return to the earth as recorded in Zechariah 14:4 as well as here. The Lord Jesus is going to reign from Jerusalem. God, Himself called it the city of the Great King. And in Psalm 2:6 He says this: “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” It is the Father’s intention to place the Lord Jesus upon the throne of David in Jerusalem, and specifically at Mount Zion. This scene in Revelation 14 is the assurance to God’s people that He cares for His own and finally will take them to Glory. God always has His faithful people, no matter how wicked the world may become.

In his description of the beasts, John repeatedly reminded us that the authority behind the land beast was the sea beast, which in turn had his authority and power from the dragon who was a defeated angel on borrowed time. Standing back of the Lamb was the power of the omnipotent Creator.

Who are these 144,000? I believe that the 144,000 in this chapter are the same group of 144,000 in chapter 7. I see no reason for making the number 144,000 symbolical in this chapter. They are the saved and the sealed, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, and they have been faithful to the trust committed to them from the time they were called. During the reign of the Antichrist, they are God’s witnesses, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and announcing the coming of the King. Notice that the Lamb is standing with them on Mount Sion. Although He is in His person the Lamb, He is also the Shepherd. Remember that He started out with 144,000 and that He came through the Great Tribulation with 144,000. He didn’t lose one.

The first thing we are told about these 144,000 is that “They are an exalted company.” This is evident from what John says. “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.” Not one of their number is missing. There were a hundred and forty-four thousand before the tribulation began; all are safe now in heaven. “Mount Sion” is probably the heavenly Jerusalem, but here, it may refer to the earthly location where Christ will begin his millennial reign, or it may refer to the Church, the heavenly mount Zion—“You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels in joyful assembly” (Hebrews 12:12). The heavenly Jerusalem is evidently in view because the Lord has not yet descended to earth. Also, events in the immediate situation seem clearly connected with the activity of Heaven. We are not told how or when these Jewish believers were caught up to heaven. But there they are, the firstfruits of the tribulation harvest (5), standing now in the very location described by John in chapters four and five; standing before God, before the living creatures, and before the twenty-four elders. “And I looked” indicates that John is still the spectator to these events.

In chapter 7 we are told that they are sealed in their foreheads (7:3-4). The 144,000 men mentioned in 7:4 had been sealed against the difficulties to come on earth. That is, all those who have been or will be saved are protected spiritually and sealed for heaven. In this passage, all those who have been sealed and promised heaven we’re standing with Christ. In other words, no believers will be lost, forgotten, or misplaced. Everyone who has been sealed with God’s seal will one day be with Christ. All believers throughout history will be with Christ. The promise is certain. The number will be complete.
Here we are told what that sealing is and why they are sealed. The company is clearly identified with Jesus Christ and the Father. It seems that the seal is visible to the eye, not the invisible seal of the Holy Spirit, as is the case with Christians in this dispensation (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). In chapter 13 the mark of the beast is upon each of His worshippers. In chapter 14 God puts His mark upon them who worship Him. The idea surrounding the sign on the forehead is that God is marking those individuals as His and His alone. The marking of the forehead is an Eastern practice, both in the first century and today. A person places the mark of the god he or she serves on his or her forehead. When God marks his name on these people, he is declaring them His exclusive property.

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