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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on June 15, 2016 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; June 15, 2016 from Revelation 14:1-5

Theme: This passage gives us further details about the 144,000.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

Chapter 14 gives us background information concerning the time period just before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth after the tribulation period. It is, in this sense, a parallel to chapter 7—which also speaks of the intermission before the outpouring of God’s wrath.

And what an encouraging intermission it is! In the first five verses, the spotlight is turned from the dark activities of the Antichrist and the false prophet, and on to ‘the 144,000′—that group that was mentioned to us in 7:3-8. John MacArthur refers to them as “the most triumphant group of men the world will ever know. They will emerge from the worst holocaust in histroy, the tribulation, battle weary but triumphant” (Because The Time Is Near [Chicago: Moody Press, 2007], p. 227). Back in Chapter 7, we learned that these were “sealed servants of God” (7:3)—sealed in their foreheads; and that they are Jewish—12,000 men of each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

This morning’s passage gives us further information about the 144,000. Notice …


A. John looks and sees “a Lamb” (or as it is in the original text, “the Lamb”); “standing on Mount Zion”. The Lamb here is none other than the Lord Jesus—the Lion of the tribe of Judah (5:5-6). In chapter 5, He was shown to be in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and twenty-four elders—standing as if slain. But here, He is not shown standing in the heavens, but rather on the earth at Mount Zion (a symbol for Israel). This image is meant to give a contrast to the dreadful darkness that will characterize the time of the great tribulation (Chapters 12-13). It affirms to us that, even in the time of the greatest apparent victory of evil, our mighty Lord Jesus stands ready to conquer and to receive the kingdoms of this earth to Himself.

B. Note that standing with Him are the 144,000 sealed Jewish witnesses. They are thus shown to be in close union with Him who is destined to reign—perhaps with their earthly ministry having its beginning in Jerusalem. They have ‘His name’ (as it is in the best Greek texts) and the name of His Father written upon their foreheads as a mark of ownership (see 7:3); which presents them as being in stark contrast to those on the earth who will have received the mark of the beast (see 13:16-17). Those who were deceived by the beast received the mark by choice; but these 144,000 will be sealed by God as an act of grace. They are thus clearly distinguished on the earth as belonging to Him and as being set apart for His purpose.


A. The attention of John is drawn now to what he hears in the heavenlies in connection with the 144,000. He hears a voice (or a sound) from heaven—and that voice is singular in number. It was like the voice of “many waters”—that is, as loud as a mighty waterfall. This perhaps illustrates its great volume. But he also hears it “like the voice of loud thunder”, which may illustrate its sharp clarity. What is this voice? Ezekiel 43:2 describes the voice of God in this manner; and Revelation 1:15 also describes the voice of the Lord Jesus in similar terms. But in Revelation 19:6, the voice of the multitudes in heaven are described in this way. And since, in verse 3, the source of the voice is referred to as “they”, it seems best to see this as the voice of the multitudes in heavenly glory—giving utterance in a singularity of unity, and in a manner that matches that of their Lord. They may include the redeemed described in 7:9-17; in which case, the multitudes are praising God for the salvation that was somehow facilitated by the faithful ministry of the 144,000.

B. John also hears the sound (same word as “voice”) of harpists playing their harps. In Scripture, harps accompany joyous and thankful worship (see 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 15:16; 2 Chronicles 5:12-13; Nehemiah 12:27; Psalm 33:2-3; 71:22; 144:9; 150:3). The picture given to us here, however, is a far cry from the caricature we often associate with harps in heaven—that is, as quiet, peaceful background music. The harps here are meant to convey overwhelmingly loud and joyous triumph; and are more like heavenly Fender Stratocasters with the Marshall amps of glory turned up to 11!

C. The “they” of this verse would be those who make this joyful, singular sound in heaven. And as John now shows us, the “voice” and “sound” is music! It is “as it were, a new song”—not new to heaven, but new in experience to the redeemed before God’s throne. A ‘new song’ is associated in Scripture with salvation (see Psalm 33:2-5; 144; 9-10). It is the multitudes of the redeemed in glory, who sing before the throne (4:2) and the four living creatures (4:6-8), and the elders (4:4).

D. We’re told that no one could learn this song except the 144,000; who were redeemed from the earth (see v. 4). There is unity between this redeemed group and the redeemed multitudes in heaven; and this is most likely because they bear the message to the world at that time that leads others to redemption. It is the song that only the redeemed can sing.


A. These 144,000 are the ones who “were not defiled with women, for they are virgins”. This does not mean that marital love defiles, or that a man is defiled by experiencing marital love with his wife, or that celibacy is necessary for usefulness to God. Rather, it is meant to speak of how this group stands out during the dark times of the reign of Antichrist. Apparently, extreme sexual immorality will characterize that time; but these 144,000 Jewish men will not have given themselves over to sexual sin; and will thus be fit instruments through which a holy God can work.

B. They are the ones who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (see Matthew 16:24). It may be that they follow Him in His individual leading of them to various parts of the world. It may even be that they follow Him even to great persecution! But wherever He leads, they obediently and faithfully follow.

C. They are “redeemed” (that is “bought out”) from among men. They are separated and distinct—not by their initiative, but by God’s initiative. And they are “redeemed” to be “first-fruits” to God and to the Lamb. “First-fruits” are the first of the harvest; and were therefore considered to be the best, and thus worthy to be devoted to God (Deuteronomy 18:3-5). But “first-fruits” are also symbolic of the promise of more yet to come (see 1 Corinthians 15:20).

D. In their mouths was found no deceit. They will be preachers and evangelists with absolute integrity. What a contrast they will be to the deceitfulness and false teaching that will characterize the tribulation period (see 13:14)! The message that the world hears from them will be a pure message from the God of truth!

E. They are without fault. (Some texts add “before the throne of God”). It’s not that they are sinless, for only Christ is sinless. But they are justified before His sight and live consistent lives before Him on earth. What powerful witnesses they will be for the Lamb during those dark days!

* * * * * * * * * *

What an encouragement this passage is! Even at a time when evil will seem to rule, God lets us know that our Savior stands ready to reign—and that He even has His “sealed servants” prepared to bear His witness in this dark world! Let’s remember that those these events involve the future, the Lord Jesus Christ—and the set purposes of God the Father for Him and His kingdom—are solid realities right now!

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