REVELATION CHAPTER 14:1-7  


 

REVELATION CHAPTER 14:1-7

The events of Revelation 14 fall BETWEEN the rapture (6th seal) and the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:15). It is a summary of God’s tactical victory over Satan’s messiah strategy.
To understand where this passage fits into the whole end-times scenario, we need to back up just a bit and review some of the chronology of the Book of The Revelation.

The first 6 seals take us from the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel, beyond the midpoint of the week and the start of the tribulation, to the return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky at the 6th seal. It is at this time that the rapture will occur.

Then He will send forth His angels led by the Arch angel Michael, with the trumpet of God (call to assembly) and gather His elect (believers in Jesus) from all over the world and take them from the earth to meet Him in the clouds of the sky.

All the rapture passages indicate, in my view, that the saints are gathered out
of the earth IMMEDIATELY when the Lord appears in the clouds of the sky.
There is really no room for CHRONOLOGICAL points because there is nothing in between his arrival and the gathering.
The information about the 6th seal operates on that premise. The return is described; the focus is on the judgment that is now going to come to the earth dwellers.
AT verses 15-16, when these guys are all in a panic (and taking action to hide) the rapture has ALREADY OCCURRED. 
The ones who are left are scared to death.
Every eye has seen the arrival of Jesus (Rev. 1:7).
They have seen the sign of the Son of man (Mat. 24:30).
They have seen the arrival of the Son of man.
They have seen the mighty angels in flaming fire (2Thes. 1:7).
They have seen the arrival of the glory of the great God (Titus
2:13).
And they have seen the removal of Christians.
Now they are taking steps to ESCAPE. The image of saying "to the rocks of the mountains" is symbolic for a dramatic effect within John's vision.

They know that something terrible is about to happen.
They know that the great day of their wrath IS come.
That is, IT IS HERE. (the aorist tense indicates immediate presence.
This means that the time period is upon them, not necessarily the pouring out of judgment, for that comes in a few days).
There is no allowance for the rapture AFTER these guys begin to run away.
Why the angel does not show John the ACT of the rapture is academic.
He does not and that’s that. Who says that he MUST?
So when we get to Revelation 7:1-8,
1. The Lord has ALREADY arrived.
2. The Lord through the agency of angels has ALREADY gathered the saints.
3. The people of the earth are running away trying to hide from having
seen the arrival of The Son of Man.

Since there is no allowance for the rapture AFTER the events mentioned in Revelation 6:15-17, it MUST occur between verses 14 and 15.

Chapter 7 then picks up chronologically after the “dust has settled” as it were, and we have the first new converts after the rapture.
They are called FIRST-FRUITS at Rev. 14:4.
They are converted from among men as first-fruits to God.
That can only mean that they are saved AFTER the rapture because they are the FIRST ONES.
After the rapture, the 144,000 will be converted and sealed to protect them from God’s wrath via the trumpets (hurt not the earth until they are sealed) which is now to be poured out on the earth. Rev. 7:1-8

As noted in my commentary on Revelation chapter 7, the order presented
there has led some to think that the sealing occurs before the rapture.
However, verses 7:9ff do not portray the rapture.
They portray the RESULTS of the rapture,
which is the multitude of saints now present in heaven.

The order is:

1. The rapture must occur at the 6th seal of Revelation 6:12-17.
There is no way the rapture can occur after the unbelievers start running
away in Rev. 6:15-16.
2. All we have at Revelation 7 are two places to look after the arrival of the Lord at the 6th seal.
   A. First we look on the earth: what is going on the earth after the rapture?
      1. We have the unbelievers running all over like chickens with no heads.
      2. We have a specific event of sealing the FIRST-FRUIT converts from among the Jews who are left.
   B. Then the angel shows John what is going on in heaven.
      What is going on in heaven?
      Something NEW has happened (not is happening).
      When John is shown heaven again, he sees that there is now a great multitude gathered on the once empty sea of glass. He does not see them arriving.
      The angel asks him - from where DID THESE COME (aorist tense)?
      The answer: they are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.

3. After the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants of God, the wrath of God begins to be poured out through the 7 trumpets.
These are covered in chapters 8-10.

Chapter 11 BACKS UP to the midpoint of the 70th week when the tribulation officially begins via the oppressive reign of the beast. Verse one represents an evaluation AT the midpoint of the week of what has been going on from the beginning of the week.
The temple is already there. The people are already falsely worshipping
before the measuring begins. From the midpoint onward, there will be no more such worshipping there, for the beast will have placed his image in the Holy Place as per Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thes. 2:4 and Daniel 9:27. From verse 2 forward, we see the 2nd half of the week portrayed with two points of focus. (1) the Gentile domination of the temple area in verse 2 through the reign of the beast.
And (2) the ministry of the two witnesses, who prophesy for 1260 days; from the beginning of the tribulation until the end of the 70th week.

Their ministry takes place before and after the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky; both before and after the rapture of the church; and before and after the wrath of God is being poured out on the earth via the trumpet judgments.
 There is no mention of these events, just the chronological factor of 1260 days PLUS an additional 3 1/2 days.

Verses 1-6, their ministry will last 1260 days; the last 3 1/2 years
of the 7 year 70th week of Daniel.
Verse 7, When the 1260 days is over they will be killed by the beast
And then will begin the 30 days of God’s final wrath on the
world which will culminate in Armageddon and the cleansing
of the temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 12:11).
Verses 8-12, For the first 3 1/2 days of this 30 day period, the two
witnesses will lie in the street and then be raised and
ascend into heaven on the 4th day.
Verse 13, On the 4th day there will occur a massive earthquake which
will bring about the salvation of a large group in Jerusalem.
Verses 14-19, The 7th trumpet announces the third woe, which is the
final wrath of God, and is portrayed by the 7 bowls that begin at verse 15:1.

Chapter 12 backs up again to the midpoint of the 70th week.
The focus is on the persecution of Israel and Christians by Satan. He uses the beast, but this is not portrayed to John until chapter 13. Israel is given protection in the wilderness for 1260 days and because Satan cannot reach them,
he begins a massive attack on the Christians.
There is no mention of the arrival of Jesus, the rapture or the beginning of God’s wrath. The focus is on the GENERAL persecution activity of Satan with no chronological notations other than the time that the Jews are protected in the wilderness.

Chapter 13 backs up once again to the midpoint of the 70th week.
Here, the beginning of the beast’s oppressive reign is highlighted, including operation MARK of the beast which will be the great millstone around the neck of the world’s population.
The details do not focus on any chronological factors other than stating the official length of the beast’s reign as 42 months.
The chapter does not mention the SIGNS, the arrival of Christ, the rapture, or the wrath of God.

Chapter 14
There are several different interpretations assigned to this chapter which vary from one another considerably. My purpose here is to simply present my understanding and let the reader determine for himself the viability of what I suggest.

There are no chronological factors in the chapter so we have to try to find its chronological PLACEMENT through the context.
The chapter gives us a summary of the high points of the 2nd half of
the week. Since the first thing mentioned is the presence of the 144 thousand bondservants of God, I suggest that the chapter begins with the "sealing" of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants after the rapture and concludes with the gathering of the nations to Armageddon which is the 6th bowl judgment.
It does not begin AT the midpoint of the week, but later, after the tribulation has been cut short by the sovereign decree of God and after the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky as per Matthew 24:29-31, which is portrayed by the 6th seal. After the rapture, the 144,000 servants are saved and sealed, and begin their evangelistic function as representatives of the nation of Israel.
However, this chapter concludes just beyond the end of the 70th week, at the end of the 30 day time of "final" wrath which immediately follows the end of the week; the battle of Armageddon (Verse 14:20).

For an understanding of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants,
only the first 8 verses give us truths about them.

The chapter begins with a vision of the 144,000 Jews whom we saw sealed at chapter 7:1-8. The chapter divisions are man-made and are not divinely inspired,
and therefore do not represent any divinely intended division of events.
According to Revelation 9:12-21 and 11:14-19, the 7 years of the 70th week will come to an end at the death of the two witnesses and WHILE the military horde of the 6th trumpet (which is the 2nd woe) is devastating the earth, and, based on the time frame, is moving in the direction of Jerusalem and Megiddo.
There is still one woe to come, which will be announced at the 7th trumpet. It is the FINAL outpouring of God’s wrath through the 7 bowl judgments.
Before the 3rd woe begins, we are shown the several flashback scenes of John’s vision.
(1) Chapter 12 backs up to focus on the persecution activity of Satan, and although it sees the 2nd half of the 70th week as a unit, it does not go any further than the FIFTH seal in its chronology. This is based on verse 17, where the focus is on the persecution of the church age saints prior to the rapture.
(2) Chapter 13 backs up to focus on the two MEN that Satan uses to carry out his persecution agenda; the beast and the false prophet. Once again, it sees the 2nd half of the week as a unit, but does not bring us to the end of that time period. Thus, the church would still be on the earth undergoing the persecution from the beast.
(3) Chapter 14 is a continuation of chapter 13 and picks up DURING the reign of the beast AFTER the rapture has occurred and the church has been removed from the earth. Now we have a situation very similar to what we saw at the 6th seal.
The 6th seal portrays the return of Christ as it was prophesied at
Matthew 24:29-31 immediately after the tribulation is cut short by God's decree. Chapter 7 shows us the two immediate results of Christ’s return;
(1) a scene on the earth
(2) a scene in heaven.
The scene on the earth is the conversion and sealing of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants. The scene in heaven is the raptured church standing on the sea of glass before the throne of God.
Here, at chapter 14, we are shown the 144,000 bondservants ON THE EARTH, at some time DURING the reign of the beast (chapter 13).
But to see the 144,000 requires that the rapture has already occurred.
Thus, as at Revelation 7:8, there is a multitude of believers IN HEAVEN.
They are not SEEN by John until chapter 15, but they are HEARD, as they play on harps and sing the new song.
And just as the 2nd coming of Jesus is not mentioned in this section,
likewise the rapture is not mentioned.
What follows in chapter 14 are events that lead up to the final confrontation between Christ and the armies of the nations at Armageddon.
Armageddon is the final judgment that brings to a close God’s tactical victory over Satan’s Messiah strategy.

This section is independently chronological, just as is every other section in the book.

(4) chapter 15, then returns to the PRIMARY chronological chain that was interrupted at verse 11:19, and prepares for the administration of the 3rd woe, the 7 bowl judgments.
 

VERSES 1-7

First of all, the idea that this group of 144,000 men is different from the 144,000 of chapter 7 is contrary to all interpretive logic. God is not playing games with us.

There is absolutely no indication or even a hint that this is a different group.
Any suggestion that it is, is entirely speculative and fanciful. Scripture interprets scripture, and unless there is CLEAR indication to the contrary, IDENTICAL terms should be considered as identical.

Verse 1
1. And I looked, and behold: “and I looked” occurs 8 times in the Book of Revelation. The last time was at verse 8:13.
Five times, it is followed by “and behold,” (V. 6:2, 5, 8; 14:1, 14).
Two times it is followed by “and I heard,” (v.
5:11; 8;13).
And one time with simply the vision that is seen (v.
6:12).
This FORMULA for seeing a vision is also used by Ezekiel at v. 37:8 and 44:4.

2. the Lamb was standing on
Mount Zion:
This is in VISION-FORMAT. These are SYMBOLS. The symbols will NOT happen, but the events and people that the symbols represent will happen.
The Lamb REPRESENTS Jesus. In actuality, Jesus will not come as a LAMB.
But of course, the image of the lamb portrays the salvation ministry of Christ’s Messianic agenda. In fact, it represents the STRATEGIC victory of Christ on the cross as the prerequisite and guarantee that the TACTICAL victory will be accomplished in the future according to the perfect wisdom and timing of God the Father.


Mount Zion refers to an EARTHLY scene that portrays PHYSICAL ISRAEL.
Some teach that this scene on MT ZION is in heaven and that the 144k are there with the Lord after their ministry on earth is completed.
However, this scene in Rev. 14:1 is a symbolic VISION of what will happen after the rapture.
They are shown to be with the Lord on an EARTHLY Mt. Zion, to indicate -
(1) They are Jews.
(2) They have a ministry ON THE EARTH to represent God in an evangelistic capacity.
(3) They are totally devoted to the Lord, following Him “everywhere.”

When the time actually comes, they will NOT appear on Mt. Zion with the Lord, but will minister throughout the earth as evangelistic bondservants of God. There is no basis for placing these Jews on a literal Mt. Zion at some time in the future.
We must remember that John is seeing SYMBOLS of events that will happen.
The SYMBOLS will not happen; the events that the symbols portray will happen.
The main reason that
Mt. Zion should be interpreted as an EARTHLY scene, is because in verse 2, he also hears a voice FROM HEAVEN. This gives us a clear distinction between Mount Zion and heaven, and helps us to identify these 144,000 men as Jews.

The VOICE of verse 2 comes FROM heaven, which comes from the harpists who are in heaven, and are the church (Rev. 15:2; 7:9; 4:6).

At verse 5, the phrase, “before the throne,” which occurs in the King James Version, has no Greek manuscript evidence to support it as genuine.
It does not even occur in the “majority text.” It was added later to a LATIN manuscript by an over zealous copyist who added his own interpretation, and it is not part of the word of God.
The translators of the KJV had only the Latin for the Book of the Revelation; they did not have a Greek manuscript of the book available.

3. and with Him, 144,000: These are clearly the same people introduced to us at verses 7:1-8.
There, we learned -
(1) That they are BONDSERVANTS of God.
(2) That they are saved and sealed AFTER the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky.
(3) That they are sealed BEFORE God begins to pour out His wrath.
(4) That they are clearly men from the nation of Israel.

Here, we are given some additional information about these men.

4. having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads:
This amplifies the SEALING mentioned at Verse 7:3, which has already been explained. The point of equation is the phrase, “on their foreheads.”
But what John sees is a SYMBOL. In actuality, these 144,000 (and all believers, both before and after the rapture) do NOT have a visible STAMP of God’s name on the forehead. They have the ACTUAL seal IN THE HEART, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This is not a VISIBLE seal, but a spiritual FACT that is known only in a “spiritual” context and not known or seen by humans on the earth.
God knows and the angels involved know and divine protection will not let the demon oppressors of the 5th trumpet judgment hurt anyone who has that divine seal.

The SEAL is a claim of ownership that is represented in John’s vision by the NAME of Christ and of The Father on the forehead.
(1) The name of Christ is involved because HE is the one who executes the plan of salvation, and it is through Him that a person enters into the plan, and THROUGH Him that the Father is glorified.
(2) The name of the Father is involved because HE is the author of the plan, and ultimately all things are for HIS glory.

The seal is a claim of divine possession (2 Tim. 2:19) and ownership
(1 Cor.
6:19-20). It is actually the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit
(2 Cor. 1:22; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). It is not something that is given to them by
an angel. John is seeing a vision of symbols that portray events.
The symbol, an angel sealing the believers, will not occur, but the EVENT ITSELF, THE SEALING, which is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, will occur.
Thus, here at Rev. 14:1, John sees the 144,00 AS HAVING THE SEAL.
They are saved and BELONG to God. The VISIBLE seal that John sees is the SYMBOL within the vision of the INVISIBLE claim that God has on the soul of the believer. The symbol will not occur but the FACT of the believer having the seal does occur.

VERSE 2
1. And I heard a sound from heaven: the word is phon
ā, and means simply -
A SOUND. This word occurs 4 times in this verse and should be rendered SOUND each time. The sound is FROM HEAVEN which clearly contrasts it with the scene on
Mt. Zion, which is on the earth.
We can debate among ourselves whether this is after the rapture or after the 70th week or after Armageddon, but there is no contextual basis for interpreting the 144,000 as being in heaven, when the contrast is clearly made by the “sound from heaven.”

2. The sound was LIKE many waters and loud thunder:
This is what John heard. There is nothing beyond it.
The sound that John heard was LOUD and awesome, but also very rhythmic like the consistent sound of a raging river or waterfall.
3. And the sound that I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps:  John hears harpists in heaven playing on their harps.
In order to identify these harpists we need more information.
Verse 3
Here we learn FOUR things about the harpists.
(1) They are BEFORE THE THRONE, which means they are in heaven.
(2) before the 4 living creatures
(3) before the 24 elders
(4) and they sang a new song.

At Revelation 15:2, we learn that these harpists are standing on the sea of glass. The sea of glass is located BEFORE THE THRONE.
At Revelation 4:6, the sea of glass was empty.
“and before the throne {there was,} as it were, a sea of glass like crystal;
and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.”
At Rev. 7:9, This AREA before the throne is filled with the raptured saints.
If they are standing BEFORE THE THRONE, they are standing ON THE SEA OF GLASS.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and {all} tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches {were} in their hands.”

The harpists that John sees in his vision at Rev. 15:2-4 and at 14:2-3,
represent the raptured body of Christ in heaven. And both passages tell us that they sang a song. At verses 15:2-3, they sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. This refers to ONE song, not two. It is the song of praise reflecting the combination of both Old Testament saints and church age saints in one body (Eph. 2:11-20).

As at Revelation 7:9ff, the group viewed is restricted to those who will live under the persecution of the beast during the great tribulation. This does not exclude believers of all ages who were resurrected at the rapture, but here we have a specific FOCUS to emphasize the time frame for the rapture. The emphasis is on those who will be delivered from the great tribulation as at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7.

“For after all it is {only} just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and {to give} relief to you who are afflicted (in tribulation) and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”

Paul’s language anticipates the POSSIBILITY that the affliction that they were going through at that time, could easily escalate into the tribulation that Jesus taught about at Matthew 24:9-29.

I believe that this is the same group of resurrected saints as the harpists that John HEARS in heaven at verses 14:2-3. They will be raptured at the 6th seal vision, and will remain in heaven after the rapture and during the events portrayed by the symbols in the rest of the book.
The mention of the saints on the sea of glass in chapter 15 does not indicate that they were raptured at chapter 14:14-16, as some think. The chronology does not continue from chapter 14 into chapter 15 like it does at Revelation chapters 6 and 7. Chapter 15 picks up from verse 11:19, NOT from verse 14:20. Verse
14:20 is Armageddon and ends the parenthetical section of chapters 12-14.

However, the same pattern is shown to John.
A. At Revelation 6, the arrival of the Lord is portrayed (though not mentioned) and the rapture of the church occurs (though not mentioned).
B. At Revelation 6:15-17 and chapter 7, the situation AFTER the rapture is portrayed.
(1) The panic of the earth dwellers.
(2) The conversion of the 144,000 bondservants.
(3) And the RESULT of the rapture which is the presence of the multitude of saints in heaven.

C. Likewise, at chapter 14:1, John is shown the situation AFTER the rapture. He sees the 144,000 converts on the earth.
D. And at verses 2-3, John hears evidence of the raptured saints in heaven (when compared with 15:2-4).
E. What is not shown to John between verses
13:18 and 14:1, is the arrival of the Lord (6th seal), and the rapture of the church (which MUST occur at the moment of time that the Lord arrives).
F. As I will indicate later, the chronology is consistent. The vision at verse
14:14 does not portray the ARRIVAL of the Lord, but it shows Him ALREADY here, and SITTING on a cloud rather than coming on a cloud.


4. and no one could learn the song except the 144,000:
That is, no one ON THE EARTH could learn it except the 144,000.
The NEW song is a song of praise reflecting God’s deliverance of His people, both spiritually (through redemption) and physically (through protection on the earth).
At the rapture of the church, the BATON of evangelistic service will be passed to the new priestly agent (bondservants of God). The “spiritual” priesthood of the church will be removed and God will RETURN to the previous NATIONAL priesthood of
Israel. This NEW evangelistic agent will be EQUIPPED with (1) protection, (2) specialized instruction, and (3) the gospel message itself.
The protection is from the judgments of God’s wrath that will be poured out on the unbelievers of the earth, as well as protection from the beast.
The specialized knowledge will be the MYSTERY truths based on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, as at 1 Cor. 2:6-9.
The gospel message which IN VISION FORMAT is symbolized by the angel who has the everlasting gospel at Rev. 14:6-7.

This "passing on" of evangelistic commission does not require an IMMEDIATE transition. The image that  I (and others) have used is not a biblical image and does not require STRICT adherence to the idea of a literal RACE where one person "hands the baton" to another.
If the "delay" between each agent's evangelistic function is a day or two, or even three, does not mean that God is without representation. But I believe there will be many converts IMMEDIATELY when people have realized what has happened.

For that matter, the MESSAGE of God's judgment (and conversely, His invitation for blessing) will be clearly seen through the signs and the arrival of the Son of Man. This is indicated by the response of the people at Revelation 6:15-17.
It is also indicated by the principle of Romans 10:18 via Psalm 19:1-6.
"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

5. who had been purchased from the earth:
Purchased refers to REDEMPTION. Christ paid the penalty (payment) for sin demanded by God’s justice. Those who trust in Him will have that payment credited to their account, and be forgiven all sins as at Eph. 1:7.
The phrase, from the earth, refers to the earthly location of these who trust in Christ.
At verse 4, we find, “purchased from among men.”
The 144,000 are redeemed out from the human race. They are specifically OF
Israel, which we designate today as Jews.
We are told that they are the FIRST FRUITS to God and the Lamb.
This indicates that they are the FIRST ONES to trust in Christ after the church age saints are removed from the earth at the rapture.
It does not mean that they are the ONLY ones - just the FIRST ones.
There will be many more people out from both Jew and Gentile who trust in Christ as the days pass leading up to Armageddon. This is the whole focus of Joel
2:32, “And it will come about (after the Day of the Lord begins) that whoever calls upon the name of the LORD, will be saved.”

The 144,000 are NOT in heaven, "before the throne." The phrase at the end of verse 5 is not in the original, but has been added. (See at that verse).
And following the Lamb wherever He goes does not require that they be in heaven, for it is an expression of devotion and faithfulness to Christ.
This is more symbolic imagery. There is no literal LAMB to follow.
This is symbolism to communicate spiritual faithfulness.

Verse 4
1. “These are ones who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins.”
A. The language is symbolic of SPIRITUAL purity.
The word “defiled” is often used for “spiritual” defilement.
In this case it indicates no compromise with the religion of the beast or the other idol activities that will be taking place (Rev.9:20-21).
The concept of virginity is often used to indicate spiritual purity as at
2 Cor. 11:2 and Eph. 5:27). Also the statement that they follow the Lamb would be indicative of their spiritual purity. While this is certainly the case with these believers, there are two other factors which also apply.

B. The use of the phrase, “for they are virgins,” indicates an additional and perhaps a more emphatic focus. Any SYMBOLISM would be adequately expressed with just the phrase, “have not been defiled with women.” But the phrase, “for they are virgins,” AMPLIFIES and explains how it is that they have not been defiled. It is NOT because they are not married (which is certainly the case), but because they have NEVER had sexual relations. The understanding with the word, “defiled,” then, would also apply to a CEREMONIAL type uncleanness. There is nothing UNCLEAN or IMPURE with sexual activity.
But sexual activity is the basis for passing on the sin nature to human offspring.
It is thus, often used to symbolize impurity and disqualification for spiritual service.
This has great significance, especially in that these bond servants are of
Israel, and would have the standards of the ceremonially law of Moses well ingrained in their souls.

Men who have had sexual intercourse with a woman were considered to be CEREMONIALLY unclean for that day. Leviticus 15:18
“If a man lies with a woman {so that} there is a seminal emission, they shall both bathe in water and be unclean until evening.”

Since they were to be considered UNCLEAN for the day, that means that they were to remain separate from others during that time.

When God was about to give the MEN of Israel the ten commandments,
part of their preparation for this “meeting” was that they were not to have sex on the day the meeting was to take place. Exodus 19:15.
And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

And when Ahimelech the priest offered David and his men the consecrated bread of the sanctuary, he stipulated the need for the men to have abstained from sexual activity with women. 1 Samuel 21:3-4
“Now therefore, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.”
And the priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.”

C. The other factor involved with this description is the principle of undistracted devotion to God. In this case the emphasis is on celibacy.
There is nothing WRONG or UNCLEAN about the marriage relationship
which is to be held in honor among all (Heb. 13:4), and their is nothing
WRONG or UNCLEAN about sex (1 Cor. 7:1-5).

Sexual intercourse within the marriage relationship indicated a division of devotion. And the believer’s devotion must ever be undivided in its expression toward God. However, this does not mean that a man could not be married and have sex with his wife. Marriage was designed by God, and it does not really
put into doubt a believer’s devotion. It simply creates a situation where
there is a necessary division of attention and devotion.
This is taught in the New Testament at 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.

“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and {his interests} are divided. And the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin,
is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to
promote what is seemly, and {to secure} undistracted devotion to the Lord.”

 But the issue here is not on restraint within the marriage relationship.
The activity of these 144,000 bond servants of God is a function under the law of supreme sacrifice.

There are four laws of Christian behaviour

1. The law of liberty, always directed toward self and your rights as a Christian. Biblically you have the right to do certain things that will not cause you to sin and lose fellowship with the Lord. That is your freedom, your law of liberty, expressed in 1 Corinthians 8:4, 9.

2. The law of love, directed toward others. In essence, this law avoids offending the weaker brethren and becoming a distraction to their spiritual growth. This law is expressed in 1 Corinthians 8:13.

3. The law of expediency, directed primarily toward the unbeliever. Expediency deals with evangelism and the individual’s testimony toward the unbeliever. The unbeliever often superimposes certain standards on the believer, standards which are nonsensical. He expects the believer to comply and exemplify these standards regardless of their spiritual connotation. Therefore the Christian must often refrain from doing certain things not because they are wrong but because they prevent the unbeliever from seeing the true issue of salvation, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This law is expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; 10:23.

4. The law of supreme sacrifice, always directed toward God. This is the highest law of Christian behavior. It requires the believer to often forsake normal living and legitimate function in life in order to serve the Lord in a specialized capacity or in an historical emergency. This law is stated in 1 Corinthians 9:1-15.

And this, of course, is the law of behavior that these bond servants function under.

In summary, there is no need to restrict this description to just ONE focus, for all three factors apply, communicating spiritual purity, ceremonial purity and undistracted devotion to God.


2. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes:
Again, the SYMBOL will not occur, but the image that the symbol communicates will occur. There is NO LAMB to follow behind.
The issue of following JESUS, is to be diligent in His service on a daily basis.
It does not mean that they LITERALLY follow behind him “step by step,”
but they follow His word and guidance in faithfulness to the evangelistic commission with which they have been entrusted.

This description indicates proper understanding of the will of God.
The purpose of the 144,000 bond servants is evangelistic. There is NO OTHER reason for them to be described as servants. There is no other SERVICE that is needed except that of reaching the remaining non-beast worshippers for Christ.

3. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
This has previously been explained as indicating that these were the FIRST ones to trust in Christ after the rapture.

SINLESS CONSISTENCY
Verse 5
1. and no lie was found in their mouth:
The emphasis here is on moral integrity and the truthfulness of their message. Their motivation is also in view, as they will make no attempts to deceive or mislead or deny concerning the truths of the Christian value system.

2. they are blameless: the adjective, amomos, refers to sinless consistency. That is, a testimonial impact that no one can impeach. So there will be an impact on those who hear; an impact from both the message proclaimed and the life that is lived. Such a testimony will have great impact in an environment where deceit and duplicity is the order of the day.
3. The phrase in the KJV that occurs at the end of this verse has already been explained, but I repeat it and add further explanation. This phrase has no Greek manuscript evidence to support it as genuine. It does not even occur in the “majority text.” It was added later to a LATIN manuscript by an over zealous copyist who added his own interpretation, and it is not part of the word of God.
The translators of the KJV had only the Latin for the Book of the Revelation; they did not have a Greek manuscript of the book available.
The KJV used whatever manuscripts they had available and combined readings from them all. They were little concerned with accuracy in "textual transmission" - but just did not want to "leave" anything out. As a result, there are MANY places in the KJV, where we have readings that should not be included in an accurate translation of the Bible.
Only One Uncial manuscript includes the phrase.
It is "R" (Codex Nitriensis) which is dated from the 6th century and is located in the British Museum in London).
The only other manuscripts that include it are a few of the Latin Vulgate.
This is considered the "scantiest" of evidence and you will be hard pressed to find ANY commentary that gives the phrase more than a nod, if even that.


THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL

The gospel message that they will take to the world is described in verses 6-7.
John sees in His vision another angel who brings “the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth.” This is still a VISION showing John SYMBOLICALLY what will happen. The angel is seen to SYMBOLICALLY have the gospel. This is simply to show to John that the message of the 144 thousand will be the same gospel that has been proclaimed all throughout history. It is the ETERNAL gospel.
This is the message of the 144 thousand bondservants. It does not refer to an angel who proclaims the gospel. It does not say that the angel proclaims the gospel; it says that the angel HAS the gospel. It is the ones who follow the Lord who will be responsible for proclaiming the message.
The content of the message is described at verse 7, “fear God, and give him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
Reverencing (fear) God is the attitude of humility that recognizes His authority. To give Him glory refers to accepting His plan of salvation. And worship is the expression of love and devotion shown to God in view of being saved, and in recognition of His Creator status.
Notice that this exhortation to respond to God is associated with the THREAT of judgment. This is as it is with all the gospel messages. That is in fact, what the idea of SAVED is all about; saved from judgment. John 3:16-18, 36.

But more specifically, it has in mind the coming of God's wrath through the judgments of the trumpets and bowls (1-5). The "HOUR of His judgment has come" corresponds with "the HOUR to reap has come," of verse 14:15.

In the chronological progression, this message of the 144,000 is announcing the time of divine wrath and judgment that will be expressed during the Day of the Lord, and is portrayed in Revelation chapters 8-9 for the trumpets, and Revelation chapters 15-16 for the bowls. This is the same focus that we find at Revelation 6-8.
1. The Lord arrives and it is time for God's wrath to begin.
2. The 144,000 are converted and sealed before the wrath begins.
3. After they are sealed, the judgment begins with the trumpets.

Here at chapter 14, the same thing occurs.
1. The 144,000 are converted.
2. They are given the gospel which includes the message of judgment.
3. The judgment begins to be poured out at the reaping of verses 14ff.
It begins with the trumpet and bowl judgments (verses 14-16) and concludes with the battle of Armageddon (verses 17-20).

As a result of Israel fulfilling her evangelistic commission through the 144,000 bond servants, as well as the ministry of the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3-6, there will be many people who believe in Christ after the rapture of the church.

1. At Rev. 11:13, there is a large group of Jews in Jerusalem who respond to this gospel message and become believers in Jesus. “And the rest became reverent and gave glory to the God of heaven.” These are probably the ones seen in Zechariah 12:5-8 as being strong “through Yahweh of hosts, their God.”

2. The clans of
Judah who are also present in that Battle at Jerusalem, would have become believers sometime after the rapture. Zechariah 12:5; 14:14.

3. There are also many Jews who have gone to hide in the mountainous wilderness of
Edom to escape the persecution of the beast. Rev. 12:13-16.
These flee at the midpoint of the week and are not believers at that time. They are given protection for the 1260 days that follow the midpoint of the week, and will become believers at some time after the 6th seal arrival of Jesus and the rapture of the church.

4. When Armageddon is over and Messiah’s earthly kingdom is established, there will be many Gentile believers within the nations who will be part of that kingdom (Zech. 14:16; 2:11; Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 56:6-8; 60:10-14; Micah 4:1-3). These will be among those evaluated to be believers through the “sheep and goat judgment” that takes place during the 45 days before the kingdom officially starts. Mat. 25:31-46 with Daniel 12:12.

5. During the kingdom, the New Jerusalem will be located ON or ABOVE the earth and the BELIEVING Gentile nations will walk by its light. To be present in the kingdom, they would have become believers between the rapture and Armageddon. Rev. 21:22-27.


To summarize:

1. At the midpoint of the week, the beast will begin his persecution directed against both the Jews (Rev. 12:13-16) and the Christians (Rev. 12:17 and 13:7). The attack against the Christians, the SAINTS, is mentioned at Daniel 7:21, “waging war with the saints and overpowering them.”

2. Many of those Jews will escape to the wilderness and will be protected by
God because they are still His chosen people (Rev. 12:6, 13-16).
After the rapture many, if not all of them will trust in Jesus as the Messiah.
Later, He has a plan for them during the millennial kingdom. But prior to the rapture, they are to be distinguished from BELIEVERS. Rev. 12:17 shows us a DIFFERENT group who are characterized by the fact that they “hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

3. Many months into the beast’s reign, at an unknown day and hour,
the Lord will come back in the clouds of the sky and take all the believers from the earth and gather them to Himself (Mat. 24:29-31, 40-42, 1 Thes. 4:13-17). The day and hour of this return is unknown, but not the SEASON (Mat. 24:32-33). The SEASON is clearly identified as the time after the man of lawlessness has taken his seat in the
temple of God as is taught at 2 Thes. 2:1-4.

4. At this time only unbelievers will be left on the earth. But out from among them (from among men, Rev. 14:4), the first ones to trust in Christ will be 144,000 Jews. Accordingly, they are seen to be “the first fruits to God and to the Lamb,” that is, the first ones to believe from among men after the rapture.
At the moment of their salvation, they are sealed for protection from the wrath to come (Rev. 7:3). This SEAL is not identified in Rev. 7, but only the ACT of sealing is in view. It is at Rev. 14:1 where the seal is identified as “His name and the name of His Father.” This picture of God’s name present on the forehead is SYMBOLIC. It portrays divine ownership (2 Tim. 2:19) and entails the indwelling of the Holy Spirit just as it did prior to the rapture (2 Cor. 1:22; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

At Rev. 7:3, these believers are described as “bondservants of our God.”
This communicates a ministry of evangelism, for there is certainly no other work that would be pertinent and crucial during this time of judgment. Their evangelistic service is described at Rev. 14:4-7 as “ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” This does not refer to a LITERAL WALKING behind Him,
for Jesus will not be ON THE EARTH at this time. It refers to their spiritual devotion to follow the teaching of Jesus and to take that teaching to the rest of the world. Their devotion is indicated also by their avoidance of all worldly distractions, which includes marriage. Their sinless consistency is mentioned by the words, “and no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless,” Rev. 14:5).

There is no indication that this group of believers is martyred, either in part or as a whole. It seems that they remain alive throughout the remainder of the 70th week and are protected during the vial judgments of the final wrath of God. They will be alive, then, after Armageddon and of course survive through the separation of the lean and fat sheep of Ezekiel 34:17-22. They will be among the believers who go alive in mortal bodies into the Messiah's earthly kingdom.

Chapter 14:8-20 give a summary of events that will happen after the rapture and the conversion of the 144,000 Bondservants. These events will take the Day of the Lord scenario to the end of Armageddon.
Chapter 15 and 16 then back up chronologically and give the details of the final wrath of God which will be poured out on the earth dwellers through the bowls of judgment, and which will end with the battle of Armageddon.

  

 
 

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