As we begin chapter 14, we are continuing a parenthetical section that provides information that helps us better understand unfolding events of the tribulation period. After the sounding of the 7th trumpet judgment, it was revealed that Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and banished to earth. Point is made that he is very angry and eager to take out his wrath on the Jewish people. Immediately after that we see the Antichrist and his false prophet rising to positions of global power and authority. John reveals that the Antichrist will be given power to overcome the saints at that time, and I believe that includes the 144,000 witnesses that were sealed after the rapture.
Revelation 14:1 “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. 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: 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. 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. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
I think the specific number of 144,000 seen with the Lamb and the fact that they are sealed with the Father’s name in their foreheads directly connects them to the witnesses identified in chapter 7.
Revelation 7:3–4 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
Just as with the two witnesses, I believe these witnesses had completed the ministry to which God had appointed them and then died as martyrs for their faith. They will not have to endure the hardships of the “great” tribulation, the last 3.5 years before Jesus returns as King of kings.
An upcoming verse states that God sends an angel to declare the gospel. I think this is necessitated by the fact that His original appointed messengers are no longer on the scene.
I decided to do a word search on “Sion” to see if it gave further insight, and I think there is a verse in Hebrews provides some insight.
Hebrews 12:22 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….
To interpret Sion as the heavenly Jerusalem makes sense with the chronological flow unfolding in John’s narrative.
John hears a voice from heaven that again has the description previously associated with Jesus (Rev. 1:15, 10:3). There is a verse in Ezekiel that uses this description to describe the voice of God, which provides another affirmation of Father and Son as one.
Ezekiel 1:24 “And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.”
He also hears the voice of harpers (a singer, one who plays and sings to the lyre) singing as they play their harps.
Point is made that these men are singing a special worship song that only the 144,000 can learn. The 144,000 are described as virgins (chaste), celibate men that have been set apart as the firstfruits of redeemed Israel, those who accept Jesus as the Messiah, according to the principal established in Exodus.
Exodus 13:2 & 12 “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.”
When these servants speak, they are without guile (deceit or trickery). They stand in the presence of God before the throne without fault (unblemished, without blame). They are speaking the truth. There appears to be a verse in Zephaniah that applies here.
Zephaniah 3:13 “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”
(to be continued…)