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I. Introduction. Chapter 14 brings to a conclusion the material found in the section of chapters 12 through 14. Chapter 12 deals with the important characters of the period, chapter 13 with the wicked rulers of the period, and chapter 14 with the ultimate triumph of Christ. All of this material is not chronological but prepares the way for the climax which begins in chapter 15. Chapter 14 consists of a series of pronouncements and visions assuring the reader of the ultimate triumph of Christ and the judgment of the wicked. Much of the chapter is prophetic of events that have not yet taken place, but which are now impending. The chapter begins with the assurance that the Lamb will ultimately stand in triumph on Mount Zion with his followers, and it concludes with a series of pronouncements of judgments upon the wicked (Revelation Commentary, John F. Walvoord, https://bible.org/seriespage/14-victory-lamb-and-his-followers).
II. Video A. Who are the 144,000, and what power has God given to them? (See video details at the bottom of the page).
III. Subject Of Study. The Lamb And The 144,000.
A. Text. Revelation 14:1-5 (NKJV)
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. 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. 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. 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.
B. Comments. Consider the understanding of the following highly regarded theologians on Rev 14:1-5.
1. Ryrie Study Bible. Charles Ryrie (deceased). https://www.moodypublishers.com/authors/r/charles-ryrie/
14:1 “the Lamb,” Christ. “144,000,” The same group that is mentioned in 7:4: “One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed.” (Their work on earth is done; they survived the tribulation.)
14:4 “not…defiled with women.” This may simply mean that the 144,000 were unmarried, or it may indicate their state of separation unto God (2 Cor 11:2). “first fruits,” The salvation of the 144,000 will precede the salvation of a larger group of Israelites, who will turn to the Lord at the end of the Tribulation (Isa 2:3, Rom 11:15).
2. MacArthur Study Bible. https://www.gty.org/
14:2 harps. (note from 5:8). These ancient stringed instruments not only accompanied the songs of God’s people (1 Chr 25:6; Ps 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (cf. 1 Sam 10:5). The 24 elders, representative of the redeemed church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled.
14:3 new song. The song of redemption, which is being sung by all the redeemed saints in one gigantic choir. They are rejoicing over the accomplishment of God’s entire redemptive work before Christ’s return (Ps 33:1–3; 40:3; 96:1; 144:9, 10; 149; Luke 15:10; see note on 5:9). the four living creatures, and the elders. See notes on 4:4, 6.
Note: 5:9. This new song anticipates the final, glorious redemption that God is about to begin.
Note: 4:4. twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (19:7, 8), and their golden crowns (2:10) all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (vv. 9–11; 5:5–14; 7:11–17; 11:16–18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7 year tribulation time (cf. Dan. 12:1–3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8–10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1–4).
Note: 4:6. four living creatures. Lit. “four living ones or beings.” These are the cherubim (sing., cherub), those angels frequently referred to in the OT in connection with God’s presence, power, and holiness. Although John’s description is not identical to Ezekiel’s, they are obviously both referring to the same supernatural and indescribable beings (Pss. 80:1; 99:1; see notes on Ezek. 1:4–25; 10:15).
14:5 no deceit. The 144,000 speak God’s truth accurately and precisely, with no exaggeration or understatement (Zeph 3:13). without fault. Not sinless, but sanctified (see Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22).
3. Scofield Reference Notes. C.I. Scofield, (deceased) https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn.html
14:4 Redemption. Rom 3:24, “to deliver by paying a price.” The N.T. doctrine. The N.T. records the fulfillment of the O.T. types and prophecies of redemption through the sacrifice of Christ.
Video B. Does God specifically protect the 144,000, and if so, why? (See video details at the bottom of the page.)
4. Things To Come. Prophecy study of J. Dwight Pentecost (deceased). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Dwight_Pentecost
Things To Come, Page 300.In Chapter 7, the 144,000 are sealed by God, set apart to a special ministry, before the Great Tribulation begins. They seem to be sealed at the very outset of the tribulation period. In all probability, the multitude of Gentiles, described in the passage that follows (Rev 7:9-17), has come to a knowledge of salvation through the ministry of this group. In Chapter 14 the same group is pictured at the termination of the tribulation, when the kingdom is established. The returning King is on Mt. Zion, as was predicted of Him (Zech 14:4). At his return the faithful witnesses gather unto Him, having been redeemed (Rev 14:4) and having faithfully witnessed in the midst of apostasy (Rev 14:4-5). They are called “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4), that is they are the first of the harvest of the tribulation period that will come into the millennium to populate the millennial earth. As the judgments are about to be poured out upon Babylon (Rev 14:8), upon the Beast (Rev 14:9-12), upon the Gentiles (Rev 14:14-17), and upon unbelieving Israel (Rev 14:18-20), these 144,000 are viewed as being preserved through all that the the earth experiences so that they they may be the firstfruits of that period.
IV. Saved “through the tribulation.”
As has been explained in this article, the 144,000 Jewish missionaries will be protected by God, and will be saved “through the tribulation.”
Revelation 7:4 (NKJV) 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
MacArthur note. 7:4. One hundred and forty-four thousand. A missionary corps of redeemed Jews who are instrumental in the salvation of many Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation (vv. 9–17). They will be the firstfruits of a new redeemed Israel (v. 4; Zech. 12:10). Finally, Israel will be the witness nation she refused to be in the OT (see notes on Rom. 11:25–27). all the tribes of the children of Israel. By sovereign election, God will seal 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes, promising His protection while they accomplish their mission.
V. Video Details.
A. John Ankerberg Show. Sep 28, 2018. From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and, Dr. Mark Hitchcock. To obtain this entire series, please visit https://www.jashow.org/resources/the-…(Check the credentials of each man on my Page, “About Sources And Links.”)
B. John Ankerberg Show. Oct 1, 2018. From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and, Dr. Mark Hitchcock.
VI. Additional biographical information on the sources of information that are mentioned in this article, as well as other credible sources, can be found on the Page in this blog, “About Sources.”
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