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The 144,000

Rev. 14:1-4

 

 

v. 1  Sion=Jerusalem

Here’s Jesus surrounded in the Holy City by 144k people.  The first question:  who are they?  The same as Rev. 7, the 144k Jewish witnesses who will preach the gospel here on earth during the trib.  12k from each tribe of Israel.  God has never allowed Himself to be w/out witnesses here on this earth!  He’s always had His spokespeople, representatives…no spiritual vacuum has ever existed!

 

They will be powerful/dynamic…like 144k Apostle Pauls running around!

 

3 things to see:

 

  1. Their seal

“father’s name in foreheads”…what is this?

7:2-4    These men receive a special seal…but is it physical and visible, or is it symbolic?  Some believe you could see it, some think it represents the knowledge of God, that He can see it alone.

 

We don’t know for sure…but we do know it protects them from the reign of the antichrist.  It enables them to survive in an extremely deadly time!  They won’t have to take the mark of the beast to survive…because they already have been “marked”!

 

Here’s a real blessing:  How many sealed in ch. 7?  144k!  At end of tribulation here in ch. 14, how many are standing w/ Christ?  The same…144k!  Not 143,999!  That tells us that they all made it!  God doesn’t lose a single one…when you’re sealed by God you’re safe w/ God!  Against all odds, in spite of antichrist and widespread death, these who are sealed by God are saved by God!

 

That’s good news for the believer!  For the Bible says you’ve been sealed!

Eph. 1

13 …in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

 

4:30           …the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

 

Remember the 3 primary purposes for seals in Bible days:

 

  1. Finished transaction

 

Ever had something notarized?  Then you know what it means to have something sealed (notary embosses/imprints seal)

 

It’s a done deal, it’s official!  And when you got saved, God sealed the transaction!

 

Think of it like a business transaction…God took all of your sins on your account:  all the lust/greed/lies/impure thoughts/gossiping words/habits/evil deeds…God took it all, and placed it on Christ’s account.  And Jesus Christ then paid for those sins when He died on the cross…and when He paid, He paid in full!  Your sin debt has been paid…paid in full!

 

But it’s not done…it’s a 2 part transaction…God not only takes your sins and places them on Christ’s account, but then He does something even more wonderful…He takes the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and He places that on YOUR account!

 

But legally, judicially, when you stand before God, you have received the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, it’s a legal transaction that takes place, like money changing hands:  your sins are traded for Christ’s righteousness…and then to complete the transaction…BOOM!  He seals it w/ the Holy Spirit!  A finished transaction!

 

The second meaning of “seal”

  1. Ownership

 

Ephesus was the very center of the lumber business in those days.  It was located on a river, which was used to transport logs from the logging camps to the mill, downstream.  Each camp would have its own seal, stamped on the end of the logs, so the mill knew whom to credit.

 

We had horses in NM, and we branded them w/ our brand, J/lazy S, so they could be told apart from others…even if they got away!

 

And my Bible says I’m sealed/branded w/ God’s signature (property of God), and even if I get away from Him, I’m still one of His sheep, I know His voice, and He comes after me, calling me, bringing me back into the fold.

 

(Job:  Satan had to ask God’s permission to touch…)

 

I’m sealed…it’s a finished transaction, I’m His property…thirdly

 

  1. Security (indicated by “seal”)

 

Much like you seal a letter, but more.

 

For instance, in Mt. 27:66, the Romans put Jesus in the grave, rolled the rock over the entrance, and then sealed it.  History says they would take a string on either side held by hot wax, and then the seal was pressed into the wax as it dried and hardened.

 

Some might say, yeah, but that seal was broken, it didn’t last. 

 

That’s right.  “So, how long will the seal of the Holy Spirit last?”  Look at Eph. 4:30

 

“until the day of redemption”

 

The seal that gets all 144k of them thru the tribulation period, is the same seal that secures you now/makes you safe now!

 

It’s a finished transaction/you’re His property/you’re secure!

 

We’ve seen their seal…now:

 

  1. Their song

14:2-3      Revelation may be a book of sorrows, but it’s also a book of songs.

Why are these people singing?  It sounds like the roar of a waterfall! … Or a clap of thunder!

 

Singing and worship always go together!  The 24 elders in Rev. represent the saints of all ages…and we find them singing as well around the throne!  (and even you will sing on key!  Joyful noise)

 

When we sing at FBC, we’re not just filling in space or warming up a crowd…we’re worshipping our God, and if we’re warming up, we’re warming up for eternity!

 

“But, I don’t sing very well”…hey, it never stopped him! (point)

 

Let’s not minimize the importance of our song service.  And instruments (v. 2b…harps/trumpets/cymbals)

 

Their seal, their song…

 

  1. Their separation

v. 4          Let’s leave preaching mode and go to teaching mode for a moment

Virgins:  what does this mean?  Physically, or symbolically? 

        I believe it to be symbolic…of spiritual purity, of separation from the world…in other words, they did not commit spiritual adultery!…that symbolism exists elsewhere in the Bible:  when a Christian gets involved w/ the world and worldliness, God calls it spiritual adultery/fornication…

 

II Cor. 11

2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

 

They have abstained from worldly pleasures and remained pure spiritually!

 

James 4

4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

 

God says getting involved w/ the world is the equivalent of sleeping w/ the enemy…He uses terms we understand well to illustrate His point unforgettably!

 

OT reference:

Ezekiel 16

Think this is hard preaching?  Check this out as Ezekiel pounds the pulpit at Israel about their idolatry:

20 Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. (Molech) Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, 21 That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? 22 And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood. 23 And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;) 24 That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street. 25 Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. 26 Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger. 27 Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters F60 of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way. 28 Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied. 29 Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith. 30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; 31 In that thou buildest F61 thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; 32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! 33 They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest F62 them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom. (14 uses!)

 

Strong language…as God says, you’re acting whorish!  I’m sorry, but God said it…and it shows us how serious He is about separation from the world!

 

God says worldliness is like sleeping w/ the enemy!  And v. 4 shows these 144k living a life of separation even in the tribulation!

v. 5—there’s a life of complete surrender…and if they can live it in the trib, don’t you know we should be able to now!  

 

God knows what’s best for us…He wants what’s best for us:  Jesus said, I’m come that you might have life, and more abundantly!

 

Their seal, their song, their separation…

 

Christian, God has sealed you…and He’ll give you a song if you’ll sing it, and He wants to separate you unto Himself in chaste faithfulness!

 

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