Video Title: Does God specifically protect the 144,000, and if so, why?
Article Title: End Times 24, Revelation 14:1-5, The 144,000 On Mount Zion.
A. In any, and every, setting in the Bible, there is a specific scripture that must be considered. As we consider the verses of this article, we must consider the words of that verse, Romans 8:28, as follows:
1. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
2. Let’s consider God’s purpose for the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah:
a. Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
b. The calling on the life of Jeremiah took place before he was conceived. There was nothing that could have prevented the purpose that God for Jeremiah from being fulfilled.
3. Let’s consider God’s purpose for another Jew, the Apostle Paul:
a. Galatians 1:15-16
“15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,..”
b. The calling on the life of the Apostle Paul took place from the time of his birth. There was no force that could have undone God’s calling and purpose for the life of Paul.
4. We have discussed the individual lives of Jeremiah and Paul. Now, let’s consider the purpose that God has planned for millions of born again believers in Christ:
a. Revelation 3:10
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
b. In this verse, the “hour of testing” relates to the Tribulation, which will come upon those “who dwell upon the earth;” these are people whom had not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior prior to the Rapture of the church (1 Thes 4:16-17). Other verses that relate to “earth dwellers are:” Rev 6:10, 8:13, 11:10; 13:8, 13:14 and 17:8. As the chapters increase in number, the tribulation increases in severity for those “who dwell on the earth.” Believers in Christ have the promise of God that they will be saved from the hour of testing, which is more correct in saying, “out of the hour of testing.” Christ said that “he will keep” those who have kept the word of “His” perseverance. It is not of the believer’s perseverance that brings about eternal life; Jude 24 says that Christ keeps us from stumbling. Also, once we have been born again, we can not be unborn. Each believer is a part of the body of Christ, which is the Bride of Christ (Eph 5:22-32). Christ is the Bridegroom of all bridegrooms; He is not going to leave His prized possession on this earth (His bride) with the knowledge that He will be submitting her to the tribulation judgments that He and angels will be pouring out on those “who dwell on the earth.” See Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1, etc. (Ref: Walvoord, Ryrie, MacArthur, Hocking, Patterson). The key teaching of Rev 3:10 is that born again believers in Christ will be “saved out of the tribulation.” The object of the Tribulation is Israel (Jer 30:7). The purpose of the Tribulation is to draw unbelieving Jews to saving faith in Christ (Mt 23:37-39; Zech 12:10). There is no mention of the church being in the Tribulation anywhere in Scripture; neither is there any purpose. Consider that which happens when we are born again: (1) Our spirit dwells within the Spirit of “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” (John 14:20). (2) Our spirit is as righteous as the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). The righteousness that we attain when we are born again does not increase or decrease; we are the “righteousness of Christ;” period! (3) Once the Spirit of Christ “dwells within” our spirit (Col 1:27), nothing that we may do can force the Spirit of Christ out of our Spirit (John 10:28-31). (4) God has given us eternal life (1 John 5:11). (5) Nothing about the Tribulation can make us (The Bride of Christ), more righteous. (6) Nothing about the Tribulation can make us (the Bride of Christ) more holy, or more worthy, for spending eternity with God.
5. We will now consider God’s purpose for “the 144,000 Jews” in Revelation Chapter 7.
a. Revelation 7:3-4
3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
b. In these verses (7:3-4) we see that the 144,000 Jews are sealed. The seal on their foreheads symbolizes protection and ownership and God’s intention to protect the 12 tribes of vs 4 during the Tribulation (Walvoord). Will the seal be spiritual, or a physical mark? Your guess is as good as those of the many theologians that I checked; they have differing ideas.
6. We will now consider God’s purpose for “the 144,000 Jews” in Revelation Chapter 14.
a. Revelation 14:1
“Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”
b. In this verse (14:1) we see that all of the 144,000 Jews, having been sealed (7:3-4), are still alive. The purpose of these Jews is to witness to others who were left behind from the Rapture. The church has been raptured, and is no longer present on earth; so, the role of witnessing goes to these 144,000 Jews (J. Dwight Pentecost). By divine sovereignty, the 144,000 are chosen by God for His purposes. We see that the 144,000 have survived the tribulation (with all of its Godly judgments), and have gone directly to the millennium (kingdom age), where they (all 144,000 Jews of Rev 7:3-4) are alive at the second coming of Christ (Matt 24:29-31). Mt. Zion is on earth, and not in heaven (Walvoord).
7. The conclusion of the salvation of the church and the 144,000 Jews is that the church is saved from (saved out of) the time of the Tribulation, whereas, the 144,000 Jews are saved “through the Tribulation.”
II. Text. Revelation 14:1-5.
The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion
1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
III. Translation Considerations. . “The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation was chosen for this, and other studies, because of two main reasons. First, the NASB capitalizes the first letter of pronouns that relate to God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); not all Bible translations show that same respect for God. Second, the NASB has a history of correctness in translation.”
IV. Comment Providers. BKC=The Bible Knowledge Commentary. DHC=David Hocking Commentary; HC=Holman Commentary; MSB=MacArthur Study Bible; MBC=Moody Bible Commentary; NAC=New American Commentary; NIV=NIV Study Bible; NKJV= New King James Study Bible; RLT=Robert L. Thomas Commentary; RC=Ryrie Commentary; RSB=Ryrie Study Bible; SRN=Scofield Reference Notes; WRC= Walvoord Commentary. Credentials for individual commentators can be found on my “About Sources” page.
V. Dates of scriptures come from the Scofield Study Bible, copyright 1909.
VI. Comments. Revelation 14:1-5 (MSB).
A. 14:1 “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”
1. “a Lamb.” See note on Rev 5:6, as follows:
a. “Lamb.” Hearing of a lion, John turns to see a lamb (lit. “a little, pet lamb”). God required the Jews to bring the Passover lamb into their houses for 4 days, essentially making it a pet, before it was to be violently slain (Ex. 12:3, 6). This is the true Passover Lamb, God’s Son (cf. Is. 53:7; Jer. 11:19; John 1:29).
b. “as though it had been slain.” The scars from its slaughter are still clearly visible, but it is standing—it is alive. seven horns. In Scripture, horns always symbolize power, because in the animal kingdom they are used to exert power and inflict wounds in combat.
c. “Seven horns” signify complete or perfect power. Unlike other defenseless lambs, this One has complete, sovereign power.
d. “seven eyes . . . seven Spirits.” Cf. 4:5; see note on Rev 1:4, as follows:
(1) “seven churches which are in Asia.” Asia Minor, equivalent to modern Turkey, was composed of 7 postal districts. At the center of those districts were 7 key cities which served as central points for the dissemination of information. It is to the churches in those cities that John writes.
(2) “who is and who was and who is to come.” God’s eternal presence is not limited by time. He has always been present and will come in the future.
(3) “the seven Spirits.” There are two possible meanings: 1) a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (Is. 11:2); or 2) more likely, it is a reference to the lampstand with 7 lamps (a menorah) in Zechariah—also a description of the Holy Spirit (see notes on 4:5; 5:6; Zech. 4:1–10). In either case, 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
2. “Mount Zion.” The city of Jerusalem, where Messiah will return and plant His feet (cf. Pss. 2; 48:1, 2; Is. 24:23).
3. “one hundred and forty-four thousand.” See note on Rev 7:4, as follows:
a. “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).
b. “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.
4. “name.” The counterpart to the mark of the beast. It is the stamp that will identify the 144,000 as belonging to God (See note on Rev 13:6).
B. 14:2. “And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.”
1. “harps.” See note on Rev 5:8, as follows.
a. “harp.” 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.
b. “bowls full of incense.” These golden, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple. Incense was a normal part of the OT ritual. Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God. That symbolized the people’s prayers rising to Him.
c. “prayers of the saints.” Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed concerning ultimate and final redemption.
C. 14:3. “And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.”
1. “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 (cf. Pss. 33:1–3; 40:3; 96:1; 144:9, 10; 149; Luke 15:10; see note on Rev 5:9).
2. “the four living creatures, and the elders.” See notes on Rev 4:4, 6.
a. Rev 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).
b. Rev 4:6 “sea of glass.” There is no sea in heaven (21:1), but the crystal pavement that serves as the floor of God’s throne stretches out like a great, glistening sea (cf. Ex. 24:10; Ezek. 1:22). 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). full of eyes. Although not omniscient—an attribute reserved for God alone—these angels have a comprehensive knowledge and perception. Nothing escapes their scrutiny (cf. v. 8).
D. 14:4. “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.”
1. “not defiled with women.” An illustration of God’s ability to keep believers remarkably pure in the midst of great difficulty. This phrase indicates that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will have not only resisted the perverse system of Antichrist, but they will have also resisted all temptations to illicit sex. Cf. 2 Cor. 11:2.
2. “follow the Lamb.” This indicates partisanship for Jesus Christ. The victorious 144,000 are unwaveringly loyal to Him, whatever the cost (cf. Matt. 16:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23; John 10:27; 12:26; 14:15).
3. “firstfruits.” Like the OT firstfruits offerings, these men will be set apart for special service to God (cf. Deut. 26:1–11). Some see firstfruits as the first large group of redeemed Israel (see note on 11:13), saved much earlier, and representative of more converts to follow (cf. Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15), the first fruits of a redeemed Israel (Rom. 11:1–5, 11–15, 25–27).
E. 14:5. “And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.”
1. “no deceit.” The 144,000 speak God’s truth accurately and precisely, with no exaggeration or understatement (cf. Zeph. 3:13).
2. “without fault.” Not sinless, but sanctified (see Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22).
VII. Video details. Does God specifically protect the 144,000, and if so, why?
John Ankerberg Show. From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hindson, and, Dr. Mark Hitchcock. For speaker credentials, see my “About Sources” page.
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