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Saturday, 24 October 2020 20:25

98. The Lamb and the 144,000: standing at mount Zion * Revelation 14:1 - PART 1 of 4

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1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

 

PART 1

 

*** God’s Team ***: In Revelation 13, we learned how the enemy strategized and waged his attacks on God’s people. The dragon called his agents and moved on to deceive people to move away from the things God had taught about worship. We learned that at the end-time, the enemy will mark his team, and will promote the persecution of all who refuse to receive his mark. Revelation 13 started with John in vision, describing a scene at the beach, where the dragon stands with the ones who answered his call: the two beasts. In contrast, Revelation 14 starts with John in vision, describing a scene at a mount, where he sees the Lamb and those who answered His call: the 144,000.

 

We first see the description of the 2 sides of this spiritual war being described in terms of an army in Revelation 7 and then Revelation 9 (please see studies #46, #47, and #62). God’s army is described as the 144,000 (Revelation 7:4) and the enemy army is numbered as 200 million (Revelation 9:16). All of these chapters, as well as Revelation 13 and 14, bring a highly symbolic language. It is important that we compare all these chapters and understand the big picture of what is going on.

 

*** The 144,000 are sealed ***: Just as the enemy’s army was marked with the mark of the beast (Revelation 13), God’s army was also marked with a seal (see study #46). Paul encourages the church in Ephesus, a church of mainly non-Jewish people converted to Christianity, by saying we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit: “In whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). This means that anyone who believes can be part of the sealed people of God. As we’ve seen in study #47, the 144,000 aren’t just Christians of Jewish ascent living during the end-times. The emphasis in Revelation 7 is actually in the fact they are organized for battle since they are described in groups of thousands, like the ancient Israel army.

 

Once again, the Seal of God is explained in Revelation 14:1: it’s God’s name written on their foreheads. God has established this covenant with His people in the Old Testament. Those who truly belong to Him can be identified because they choose to listen to God’s instructions. The forehead is a symbol for the mind and one’s freedom to choose which path they want to follow: to obey the beast’s decrees or to obey God. In Revelation 3:12, we see Jesus’ promise to the one who overcomes: “He that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” The 144,000 are the ones who overcame. They are the citizens of Heaven.

 

*** Mount Zion ***: Looking at the big picture, we can now see that the 144,000 described in Revelation 14:1 are being identified as those who refused to worship the image of the beast. They made their stand by the Lamb, the One at mount Zion. Note that in this symbolic language, their stance at the mount doesn’t mean the sealed people were already removed from the Earth and are pictured in Heaven. It means that they have chosen to worship only God. Let’s look at a few verses in the Bible that mention mount Zion. 

 

- Hebrews 12:14-24: Paul is talking to the Christians there about how they ought to present themselves before Jesus, who “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Paul told those people that by having accepted the salvation offered by Christ, they had already come to the mount: “But you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22). Was Paul using symbolic language? Yes. Those people in Paul’s time were still on Earth and yet had come unto mount Zion. Hebrews 12:22 also gives another important piece of information about Mount Zion. It says that it has to do with the “city of the living God”. Bringing this back to the book of Revelation, we now not only see the contrast of the two armies, but also of the two cities. The enemy’s city, as we saw in study #95 to #97, is symbolized by Babylon. God’s army also has a city as their headquarters: the heavenly Jerusalem.

 

- Psalms 2:6: God is telling us, through the psalm, that He has set His king on the mount: “Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion”. Mount Zion represents the place from where God reigns over the Earth (see also Psalm 48:1-2; Isaiah 24:23, Micah 4:7).

 

- Joel 2:32: Deliverance for the “remnant whom the LORD shall call” comes from mount Zion. God will be calling His people, and those who hear Him will be saved. (See also Isaiah 59:20; Obadiah 1:17).

 

Mount Zion is the place of victory of God, a place that means deliverance to those who believe in Him. His people passed through hard trials and were not deceived by the enemy lies.

 

*** Overview ***: Just as the dragon and the beasts were not literally standing by the ocean, the 144,000 aren’t literally standing on mount Zion. The people who received the mark of the beast decided to be ruled by the beast power and the 144,000 decided to be ruled by the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. When John describes the scene, the proximity of God’s army to Christ indicates that they are under the Lamb’s protection. Jesus is with His people the entire time. They are seen together because nothing can stand between God and His people. This certainty is reassured to us in Psalm 125: "They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from this time forth even forever. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.”

 

   
   
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