Tuesday, 30 March 2021
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. Revelation 14:1
There are two major differences in source texts in this verse. One is that it says, “the Lamb” instead of “a Lamb.” The other is that it adds a few words, saying, “had His name and His Father’s name.” With that noted, John begins Chapter 14 with a new vision. It is a vision tied into that of Chapter 7. This interlude is given before returning to the bowl judgments which follow the trumpet judgments. Of this interlude, John begins with, “Then I looked.”
John’s attention is drawn away from the vision of the two beasts (one out of the sea and one out of the earth) to a new scene. Continuing, he says, “and behold, a Lamb.” As noted, some manuscripts say, “the Lamb.” Either way, it is Christ Jesus. He is being depicted here as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (verse 13:8). In other words, the scene is speaking of the atoning nature of Christ’s work. Of this Lamb, John says He is “standing on Mount Zion.”
The vision is a heavenly one, depicting victory in the Lamb. He is standing. Mount Zion was originally a designation for a hill at the south edge of Jerusalem captured by David in 2 Samuel 5:7. The name is developed in the Old Testament, especially in Isaiah, to refer to the whole city of Jerusalem and which speaks of the place of the worship of the Lord on earth. It is the place of the temple and all of its associated rituals.
The term is used to refer to the same location in the future as well. It is from this place that Isaiah says –
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:2-4
Isaiah’s words describe the rule of Messiah from Jerusalem during the millennium. However, that only is an anticipation of the true worship in the heavenly Mount Zion. This is referred to in the book of Hebrews –
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
Even if Christ’s reign in the millennium is literally from Jerusalem, as noted by Isaiah, it is still a heavenly reign because Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament types found in the temple, its rites, and in its worship. To worship Jesus is what all of those things anticipated. With that noted, John next says, “and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand.”
The one hundred and forty-four thousand are those mentioned in Revelation 7:3-8. They are Jews, redeemed as “firstfruits to God and to the Lamb” (14:4). They have been taken from the tribes of Israel. Being firstfruits, they are reflective of a greater harvest to come. Of them, John next says, “having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” As noted above, various texts say, “His name and His Father’s name.”
In verse 7:3, it said they were sealed as “the servants of God on their foreheads.” The variation in the text of Revelation 14:1 means that someone either wanted to diminish the notion of Jesus’ deity by removing the words in question, or someone wanted to solidify it by adding them in. The former seems more likely. Either way, however, these Jews are sealed, having been saved by the atoning work of Christ. They are His forever.
Of these redeemed, the common teaching is that they are going to be evangelists during the tribulation period. This may be true, but that is not stated anywhere in Revelation. The word simply states that they are sealed, having the name of God written on their foreheads. From there, more will be said of them, but nothing refers to them in an evangelistic capacity. Being firstfruits, they are reflective of a much greater harvest – whether by their evangelism or some other way.
Life application: The previous chapter referred to the beasts out of the sea and earth, and of the mark of the beast. This chapter begins with those Jews who are sealed (meaning saved), and it will refer later to those who do not take the mark and who “die in the Lord.”
In other words, the sides are being divided up. Those who accept the number of the beast and bow allegiance to him will be eternally condemned. Those who follow the Lamb will be His forever. Even if they die, they will be raised to eternal life. The contrast couldn’t be clearer, and the consequences of the choice will be fixed.
Now, during the church age, we have the choice of following Christ or rejecting Him. Once the decision for Christ is made by a person who accepts the gospel and believes, he will be saved forever. During this time, we have our own trials to face, but they are nothing compared to what lies ahead during the tribulation.
Those who are wise now will avoid entering that time of trouble by receiving the Gift of God through remission of sins. This was made possible through the shed blood of the Lamb of God. Believe today! Seek after God as He has presented Himself, and call out for His Gift of life and restoration. He is JESUS.
Great and mighty is the Lord God! How wonderful to know that despite the wickedness in the world today, the battle is already won. Jesus has prevailed and will return again to rule all nations. May that day be soon! Hallelujah and amen.