Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, verse by verse commentary, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.
Revelation 14:1-5 Bible Study Lesson With Questions – The Lamb And The 144,000
I. The Lamb And the 144,000 (1-5)
II. Three Angelic Messages (6-13)
III. The Harvest Of The Earth (14-20)
I. The Lamb And the 144,000 (1-5)
- What does the name of God on the foreheads of the 144,000 signify?
- What was the voice like which John heard? What can we learn about God from His voice?
- Why could no one else learn the song which these saints were singing?
- What is unique about the 144,000?
- What does it mean that they have been redeemed as the firstfruits?
- What do you see about their relationship with the Lamb?
- What can we learn and apply from their example?
Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
2 Timothy 2:19 – But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Psalms 96:1-3 – Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Psalm 119:9 – How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
1 Corinthians 15:20 – But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Romans 11:16 – If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1. On Mount Zion stood the Lamb – The chronology of this verse is not clear. Revelation 19 describes Jesus’ physical return, the second coming. But here in chapter 14, he is described as standing on Mt. Zion (note that Zachariah 14:4 says He will set foot on the Mt. of Olives.) There are many varied interpretations.
One view that many hold is that Revelation is not entirely chronological. Rather, many of the same events are told in a series of visions. These visions repeat the same events from different perspectives. Following that train of thought, parts of Revelation 14 could be describing Jesus’ second coming from a different viewpoint. We see His interaction with the believers upon His return in the first part of the chapter and His judgment toward unbelievers in the last part.
Another view is that Jesus is described as standing on Mt. Zion in a spiritual sense. This vision shows that His presence is among those He has redeemed much like He is depicted in Revelation 1 as walking among the seven golden lampstands.
Still another view, is that this Mt. Zion refers to heaven rather than Mt. Zion in Israel. Jesus is described as being in heaven in Revelation 9 and then again as returning from heaven in Revelation 19. Thus, the most likely explanation is that Jesus is still in heaven here in the middle in Revelation 14.
In Hebrews 12, we see that Mount Zion is described as being in heaven (In Romans 11:26 He comes from that place to earth.) And in Revelation 14:3 the 144,000 are singing a song before the throne (which is in heaven). If the 144,000 witnesses are in heaven along with the four creatures and the elders, then clearly that is where Jesus is too.
Thus, according to this view, this is a poetic way to say that the 144,000 witnesses have been killed, but they are now safe with the Lamb and are worshiping Him in heaven. They have already been purchased and they are the first fruits of the other Jews who will come to know Him throughout the tribulation. God’s sealing meant that they were under His protection (Revelation 7:3) until their mission of evangelism was complete.
Because the 144,000 seem to be in heaven at this point, the last view seems the most likely.
Whichever view you hold to, the main points are the same. The 144,000 belong to God. They are set apart for Him and live for Him. And Jesus will not abandon them.
2. His name and His father’s name written on their foreheads – The 144,000 are sealed by God. They belong to Him. In the last couple of chapters, we have seen that the antichrist will be forcing people to take the mark. The world will be divided into two camps. There is no room for the undecided or agnostic. You choose either to follow Satan or to follow the Lamb. You get either the mark of the beast or the name of the Lord. And that choice is going to be a public one, marked clearly on your forehead. The 144,000 have made their choice. They belong to His camp.
3. A voice from heaven… and they were singing a new song – John describes the voice as the “roar of many waters,” like “loud thunder,” and like “the sound of harpists playing on their harps.” It is hard to imagine a sound that combines all of these elements! It is mighty. At the same time, it is graceful and melodious.
“They” refers to the 144,000. The song they sang to the Lord was a new song. It was unique, known, and sung only by them. No one else could even learn this song.
From this, we can see that some songs include such personal, intimate experiences that they can’t just be shared with everyone. Some worship songs might be private, from you to God.
Application: Consider writing your own praise hymn to the Lord. It doesn’t have to be posted on iTunes. It doesn’t have to have a perfect tune or melody. You can simply sing it to your Lord in the privacy of your own devotion time.
4. These have not defiled themselves with women – The 144,000 will be celibate. Paul taught in 1 Corinthians about the advantages of singleness.
1 Corinthians 7:32-34 – I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.
Even in normal times, there are advantages to being single. A believer who is single can devote all of his time and energy to serving the Lord without distraction. How much more advantageous singlehood will be during the tribulation when there is great persecution. It will be a virtual state of war between believers and the antichrist. What is more, these witnesses will know that their time is short and they will be martyred soon. It will not be a time to settle down and raise a family. The evangelists will be constantly risking their lives for the gospel. And they will be able to do this far better without the distraction and pressure of trying to protect a family.
Their singleness demonstrates their complete devotion to the Lord. They will give him everything they have, giving up all rights and comforts for the sake of fighting in this war and building His kingdom. In a very real sense, their marriage is to the Lamb.
Note that the Lord also selects single virgins to be in this special force of world evangelists. He intentionally chooses those who are best suited for this mission.
Application: How dedicated are you to the Lord? What are you willing to give up? Are you willing to live a life of singleness? Are you willing to give up pleasures and comforts? God does not call all believers to singlehood, but He does call us to live for Him and not for the world. And doing that requires real sacrifice.
5. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes – That is what a true disciple should do. When Jesus called the Twelve, He said, “follow me.” It isn’t always easy. Many times He may call us to go somewhere that is very difficult. And just as Jesus gave His life for the mission, so these witnesses will do the same.
Application: Are you willing to drink the cup that Jesus drank?
6. Redeemed as firstfruits for God – Firstfruits are generally the best of the harvest. They are low-hanging and easy to pick because they are juicy and ripe. At the same time, the first fruits show the quantity and quality of the remaining harvest. The 144,000 are faithful and committed to the Lord. They are pure and blameless. No lie will even be found in their mouths.
Application: We should strive for this type of lifestyle. Many people hurl accusations against the church, claiming that it is full of hypocrites. Sometimes they are right. In this passage, we see these believers faithfully following the Lord. Zealously, they put Him first. And they are fruitful. Their ministry leads to many others being saved. What specific things can you learn from their example and apply in the coming week?
Revelation Study Paperback
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