“Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. They have told no lies; they are without blame.”
Revelation 14:1-5 NLT
In parallel with the global events under the control of the beasts, John’s vision panned across to Jerusalem, the location of Mount Zion. Jesus was standing there, and there were a lot of His people with Him. 144,000 in fact. They had the name of the Lamb of God and His Father written on their foreheads. Back in Revelation 7:4 we read, “And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel.” We now also now know what the mark, the “seal of God” was, though it wasn’t clear in Revelation 7. So this event involving Jesus and Mount Zion must be confirming His second coming. Now we know that Jesus ascended into Heaven from the Mount of Olives from Acts 1:12, where Luke recorded, “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile“. And the angels present at that event, as the disciples were straining to see Jesus’ ascent through the clouds, said, ““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” So here we are, blessed and encouraged, because Jesus has done exactly what He said He would do – return to earth a second time.
It is interesting that the 144,00 Jewish believers were present as the End Time Tribulation was unfolding (just before the seventh seal was broken in Revelation 7). And in spite of the devil’s best efforts, with all his mayhem setting up the Antichrist and an evil world governmental system and religion, the 144,000 were still there. The devil failed in his attempts to eliminate them. How encouraging is that? They showed that it is possible to stand firm to the end. Also, the Jewish believers must have been followers of Jesus, because they were standing there in Jerusalem with Him. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus will rule and reign from Mount Zion. We read, “Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people“. (Isaiah 24:23).
Do we pilgrims, not counted amongst the 144,000, feel a bit insecure? The Bible version we have used today, the NLT, records that these Jews were “purchased from among the people on the earth”. Other versions describe them as being the “first-fruits”. But whatever they were, these were God’s holy people with a special mission. Their purity was faultless, they were unstinting followers of Jesus, they had never told lies, and the verses today record them as being a “special offering to God and to the Lamb“. But as for us Gentile believers, where do we stand in the End Times vision? Perhaps we will be counted in the number in Revelation 7:9, “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” But whatever happens, those who stand firm to the end will one day be with our loving Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus, in Heaven. Jesus’s said to the repentant thief on the cross next to him, “… I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). God will never reject a truly repentant sinner from entering His presence.
Father God. We bow before Your throne this morning with deeply grateful hearts. Only You have the words of eternal life. Only You hold the keys to eternity. We worship You today. Amen.