by David Virts
Scripture Text: Revelation 14:1-5 Title: Marked Men!
Question of the Day: What are the distinctives of the 144,000 who stood with the Lamb on Mount Zion?
There are many things that are not understood about the book of Revelation, and won’t be figured out until some or all of the events are unfolded. Many have speculated as to who the 144,000 are, and here are a few of the things we know about them: they represent each of the twelve tribes of Israel; they are each marked on their foreheads with the name of their Father; they sang a new song that only they knew; the song was echoed from the lips of many believers in heaven who were gathered around the Throne of God with the four living creatures and with the 24 elders; it is only after they have finished their earthly task that the proclamation is made that the Great Commission is complete; they have lived a blameless life before God; they are called “the firstfruits for God and for the Lamb”; and they have followed the Lamb wherever He goes. Wow! What a resume!
Here is today’s text: “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” (ESV)
Here is what John was saying, “I looked, I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with 144,000 of God’s holy children who had His Father’s name written on their foreheads. At the same time I heard a voice from heaven—like the loud roar of a waterfall and like the sound of a loud clap of thunder. Also I could hear the sound of many harps playing. And they sung a new song before the throne, the four living creatures, and the elderly men who sat on thrones around the throne. And the only ones who could sing that song were the 144,000 redeemed people from off the earth. These were virgin men who hadn’t been defiled with women, and they followed the Lamb wherever He went. These redeemed men were the first wave of redeemed people to come to God with the Lamb. Their speech had no guile in it, and they lived a life of complete integrity before God’s throne.”
One wonders at this time in the history of the church just before the rapture and the tribulation starts if there are 144,000 fiery Jewish evangelists in the world today! Are they alive today and preparing for their task? Are we that close to those endtime events?
What is fascinating is that in the rest of the chapter an angel flies directly overhead John and proclaimed the “eternal gospel to all who dwell on the earth, to every people group, every nation and nationality, every tribe, and every language. Just before judgment begins and many are wiped out, the 144,000 go forth and proclaim the gospel, and it is here that we understand that the Great Commission is finally completed. Today the church is scrambling to complete the task and get churches planted in every place on earth, get the Scriptures into the mother language of every person on earth, and get as many as we can to watch the Jesus Film and accept Christ as their Messiah. Will this task be completed before the 144,000 finish their mission? Can this era of the plan of God be complete without it?
Prayer: O God, we know that when we send forth the gospel into the world we are helping finish Your plan of Salvation and Redemption for mankind. As we approach the time of the rapture and tribulation and judgment, we look in awe at the 144,000 and their part in completing the Great Commission. We can only imagine 144,000 fiery Jewish evangelists turned loose on the task of finishing the job! Amen!