We have already read and discussed the events in Revelation regarding the 144,000, Revelation 7. We have noted that these are Jewish men who have become Christians under the divine anointing of Jesus. They have seen the light of the Gospel and are completely devoted to proclaiming the Divine Message around the world. Their primary objective as evangelists has been to reach additional Jews, but as others hear the Word of God preached by these consecrated men, many will also respond to their Message.
These anointed Judeo-Christians will have been witnessing throughout extremely difficult circumstances. All the Believers have ‘disappeared,’ as the remaining populace see it – and in exceedingly strange circumstances at that! The world’s commerce and infrastructure have all but collapsed, as the most trustworthy people are no longer involved in running operations, as they were in the past. Furthermore, trains, planes and automobiles have mysteriously crashed, or come to a standstill, as many of the drivers cannot be accounted for – except to say that they were known Believers!
Now the governments of the world will use ‘spin,’ to twist the truth, in attempt to allay fears. They will suggest that the reason behind all of these disappearances is some sort of Christian-centered conspiracy! As a result, becoming a Christian will not be the most popular ‘life-choice.’ Non-Believers could well be manipulated into thinking that by killing a Christian, they will be doing the world a great service! Whatever the reasons implied for the disappearances, being a Believer will be extremely hazardous, so God puts a double mark on these men and women. These seals on their foreheads are unlikely to be visible to those who do not know the Lord Jesus. However, God’s purpose behind these seals is for their absolute protection, while they execute His plan – the salvation of souls. They had received the Name of the Lamb “and His Father’s Name written on their foreheads,” Revelation 14:1. What supernatural protection these men of God have received, to enable them to pass through the Tribulation with all the horrors of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, yet remain untouched! This has to be such an encouragement for us to trust Christ, whatever danger we are going through, Psalm 91.
As Believers, we are already imprinted with the mark of the Holy Spirit: “…. In Him we were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. 14 That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the first-fruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage……,” Ephesians 1:13-14. This seal is the guarantee of our eternal salvation, while we live out His purposes on the earth. It is the assurance that we will live eternally in Heaven. (See the end of these notes for some extra information to study the Kingdom of Heaven).
They stood on Mount Zion with the Lamb. Here Mount Zion refers to the eternal dwelling place of God, the New Jerusalem which, as we shall see when we investigate Revelation 21, comes down to earth from Heaven. So at this point the 144,000 are in Heaven having completed their work on earth and are with Jesus – in His Presence!
Revelation 14:2-5. Imagine what this divine praise-party must be like around the Throne! This is how it should be for us, as we invite the Holy Spirit to move us into the fullness of His Joy and His Song. Here we are assured that these 144,000 are born-again; ransomed, redeemed, purchased from the earth, and who remained undefiled by women. Paul’s words to the Corinthians come to mind, when talking about sexual sin, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body,” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. These men and women – members of the Church at Corinth – were dishonouring God by allowing sexual immorality in the Church.
The subject of sexual purity is such a challenge in this modern day and age of tidal sexual deviation. This is being facilitated by the access to pornography and human sex trafficking, as examples, especially through the ease of internet networking. It is a direct attack by Satan against the Bride of Christ, as it is his constant aim to destroy Her. The beast religion will have at its core and as an act of worship, every possible lust that a human can crave. The Church is not exempt from sexual sin and it is being exposed more frequently today than in the past. It must be uncovered, exorcised and cleansed, as it will lose a lot of power through confession. However, we also need find the right balance and to remember that the law says that we are supposed to be ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but regrettably, sometimes a few high profile people are wrongly accused, being found guilty first, often by the media and then having to prove their innocence, with devastating consequences and great expense. As with all sin, those who are guilty need to face the consequences, but do not always need condemnation. Instead, with discernment, there are those who benefit from help and support, alongside the accountability, in order to break the hold of the enemy. We need to be especially vigilant on all child activity on the computer, as Satan has a very determined plan to attract and draw children into his web.
The key here is that these Jews of the Tribulation Period are just like every other Believer before them; they are not their own people – they have been bought at huge cost. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price on the Cross, dying in the place of all who would accept His sacrifice, and this has been true down through the ages. We who are Believers understand that we owe everything to Him. We should also notice that these 144,000, who have been called to undertake such a singularly, perilous assignment for the Lord, and the song that they sing in Heaven, is not only heavenly, but unique, as it is one that only they can sing.
In Revelation 14:4-5, we discover that these men are not involved with women, neither are they homosexual; rather they are single-mindedly focused on the Lord’s work. Paul teaches plainly that marriage is not wrong, but just as he himself was not married and remained resolutely dedicated in his pursuit and propagation of the Gospel, so also are these men. They follow Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, wherever He leads them and they speak the Truth. There is no mealy-mouthed avoidance of difficult subjects here; there is only clear, precise and outspoken truth on their lips, just as was on those of their Master, Jesus. They do not hide from their hearers that a choice of faith in Jesus Christ will be followed by retribution from the beast!
Before the Rapture, there is only one way for people to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through you and me! We have been entrusted with the Words of Eternal Life by Jesus, and have been told to take them to the ends of the Earth. He also promises us the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit to speak the right words, which will touch people’s hearts. Jackie Pullinger states that the miraculous signs and wonders she witnessed with the addicts in Hong Kong, was when she started praying in tongues for fifteen minutes every day. This is such a powerful gift for us to use, for the benefit of the Gospel message we hold in our hearts. ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matthew 28:18-20.
With the start of the Tribulation Period, the Church Age has come to an end, and the 144,000 have been commissioned to take the Gospel to the Jews. Following that successful venture, we are introduced to three Angels. These Angels come with God’s last call to the Gentiles bearing a warning, and of impending judgement. The first angel has his own unique message to give, of an eternal gospel to “Fear God,” “Give Him Glory,” and to “Worship Him.” These words are what the beast uses, by outrageously twisting them to tell men, ‘fear me,’ ‘glorify me,’ and ‘worship me!’ Revelation 14:6-7. This angel, who has watched our very slow efforts to tell others the Good News, in his urgency “flies,” as he is anxious to tell those last stragglers of God’s family. This message is universal as it is given to all the inhabitants of the earth, and reminds us of the challenge to our chosen audience in Matthew 28:18-20. This is not an exclusive message, but is entirely inclusive – to every nation, tribe, language and people without exception – and the message is one aimed at giving hope to everyone.
The time of judgement for those on the earth has arrived. There is only One True God, so everyone should be worshiping Him and Him alone! His message has not changed; it is still about a Living Faith in The Living God, so it is the Good News for the same people – ‘the lost’ – until He returns. It comes from Jesus Christ, Who is the same, yesterday, today and forever! If we would just take time to meditate on all we have been given, it should spur us on to tell all!
The method of the message’s delivery is the only way in which it has changed. Here, these are the days following the mid-tribulation period, when the Believers have been raptured and when the 144,000 are with the Lord in the Heavenly Holy City. The new Believers are being martyred as fast as possible; consequently, this Angel is preaching the Word of God with urgency, so that none miss out on the chance to be saved – from hell! This state of affairs only occurs after the Rapture, when the 144,000 have completed their work and after the mid-point of the Tribulation Period.
This is not happening now! However, we may hear that Jesus has and does appear in visions and dreams to individuals. Angels too, in their ministering roles, also appear to the saints, but they only point the way to Jesus, Hebrews 13:2. Others are visited by demonic powers, who attempt to provide a false and perverse gospel. Have nothing to do with these initially subtle powers, or those who are affected by them! We know by the gift of discernment, when things are right and when they are wrong, because the Holy Spirit whispers in our inmost-being, and our spirit witnesses with Him. Even if others say that a new idea is good, respond to your spirit, as you are attuned to His Spirit, Proverbs 16:25. We should only follow the Gospel we have heard through the Holy Spirit, in other words, the Presence of God in us and the ‘litmus test’ is His Peace in our hearts.
In Revelation 14:8, we hear the first mention of Babylon and it is really good news in a simple sentence, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great…” This is the great one-world church of the harlot that we will discuss when we study Revelation 17. There is only One True Church, whose foundation is Jesus Christ. This is not the false one ‘of the latter day saints,’ but the True One, to which all the Believers and Followers of Jesus Christ, as Saviour, belong. This whore of a harlot church has been turned upon by the Antichrist and his followers, because this apostate church was taking the focus from the Antichrist himself. At mid-tribulation, he has decided that he is god, and sets himself up as such; therefore any religion that does not see itself as having the Antichrist at its head, he sees as his mission to destroy. The destruction of the universal religious system has occurred, and now this angel is proclaiming that its ruination is because of unfaithfulness and beast-worship. The third angel announces the dangers of the beast system and particularly the mark that everyone must receive to be a part of its provision. All those who are left – are given a very clear choice – worship the beast and receive God’s fury – or worship the Lamb, obey His commandments by remaining faithful to Jesus, then receive the eternal reward of rest in heaven, from all their toils and trials, Revelation 14:9-13.
We have already seen that just as the Believers are sealed with the mark of the Holy Spirit, so those who do not follow Christ, will be coerced into receiving the mark of Satan. This mark will be administered on the forehead or on the hand and only those who worship the beast will receive it, which of course, is in direct opposition to the worship of Jesus Christ, the True God. Those who receive the mark of the beast will personally suffer the wrath of God. We might think that we have seen people suffer badly during their lives, but we will never have seen suffering such as this! It will begin on earth at the time when he, or she, believes that they have done the right thing, by taking the mark of the beast. They will discover to their cost, that they have fallen into the trap which Satan had laid for them, from the time when he decided to rebel against God.
Their suffering will continue for all eternity and because ‘eternity’ has no concept of an ending, there will never be an end to their agony. Should that not make us focus more passionately on the work that we have been entrusted to do – to reach out to those who have never yet made the decision to follow Jesus Christ? Does it not encourage us to be bold enough to rescue them from the brink of everlasting damnation, perhaps because of their pride, laziness, lack of attention, or whatever other erroneous belief they may attach, as their excuse for not accepting the Son of God’s sacrifice on Calvary for all?
Those who are alive and who are Believers – notice that the Bible calls them ‘saints’ – will find it very difficult to resist accepting the mark of the beast. Should they refuse the mark, they will soon discover that they are faced with increasing persecution and even martyrdom for their stance. These Believers whether they die by torture, through starvation or by any other means, will be blessed and their deeds will follow them; in other words, counted as righteousness. The Lord knows each one who is His and He will reward them all. Some question whether there is a literal ‘hell,’ but it is so graphically and fundamentally described in this chapter, that there can be no further doubt about it! Some choose to believe that it is a place where people – those who have nothing to do with God while on earth – go to such a place, and have their desires of not having anything to do with Him, met. Isn’t it terrifying, to imagine this place of eternal darkness, without Love and without Light?
Revelation 14 introduces us to the ‘last month of time,’ before Jesus returns with His saints. The wheat and the tares have been growing together. At first they appear almost identical, but no longer; the good seed and the bad are exposed by their fruit. The time for the final reaping of the earth has come, so the Lord Himself, who was the Sower, is now the Reaper. None will be left. It is the final decision-time for everyone. Up until now, God has been so full of Grace and Mercy to everyone; He has given every possible occasion – opportunity after opportunity, to turn to Him! Some will have accepted Jesus, but the vast majority will not have done so, Revelation 14:14-16. With one sweep of the sickle and it is finally all over!
There is only one destination for those who have spurned the offer of salvation. The Antichrist has set himself up against God and the time has now come for his final satanically inspired frontal attack. In one brief paragraph, we get a bird’s eye view of the Battle of Armageddon. The forces, which we have already discussed in other studies, now come together to fight against God. It is a battle between the One True God and the self-appointed, satanically controlled impostor, whose strings have been manipulated all along by Satan.
This final judgement is for all; but those who have remained faithful to God are able to pass into Glory, as God sees them as being clothed in Jesus Christ. Here, the ‘vintage’ refers to the world. This is the irrevocable submission of all who have come against the Truth. The Lord moves into the area of Armageddon to trample down the beast and all his followers, in this final conflict of the age. Isaiah saw this in writing: ‘Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the wine press? 3 “I have trodden the wine press alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in My anger and trod them down in My wrath; their blood spattered My garments, and I stained all My clothing,”’ Isaiah 63:1-3. This was describing God’s day of vengeance and Redemption. Joel also envisioned this in his day, “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the wine press is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!” 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision,” Joel 3:13-14.
The battle is really a rout – a slaughter. The troops of the Antichrist stand no chance and are destroyed almost instantaneously. The battle does not last long, but the destruction is immense and immediate. There is so much blood, that it has no chance to run away. It rises as high as a horse’s bridle – between three and four feet deep, by ‘1,600 stadia,’ or approximately 180 miles. That is some slaughter! But there are still some amazing things yet to take place and we shall discover these as we study the final chapters of this Book of Revelation.
Kingdom of Heaven/Kingdom of God
Meaning: Place of the Presence of God, and proclaimed when God entered human history as a man. Today Jesus is in the heart of Believers but the Kingdom of Heaven will not be fully realised until all evil in the world is judged and removed.
– It will endure for ever. Daniel 2:44. Daniel 7:13-14. 2 Peter 1:11. Revelation 11:15.
– It is for ALL who believe in and follow Jesus Christ. Matthew 8:11. Luke 13:29.
– Christ is King of the Kingdom. Luke 1:32-33, John 18:26.
– It is a spiritual Kingdom not a geographic one. 1 Corinthians 15:50.
How do we enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
1. No one can see the Kingdom unless he is born again, John 3:3.
2. We need to persevere. “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62.
3. It has to be lived not just talked about. “Humble men are very fortunate! ….For the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them,” Matthew 5:3. The Kingdom of God is not just talking; it is living by God’s power, 1 Corinthians 4:20.
4. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 15:50.
5. God’s judgement is fair and right. He is using your sufferings to make you ready for His Kingdom,” 2 Thessalonians 1:5. ‘Then I the King shall say to those at my right hand, “Come, blessed of My Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you fed Me; I was thirsty and you gave Me water; I was a stranger and you invited Me into your homes; naked and you clothed Me; sick and in prison, and you visited Me,”…’ Matthew 25:34-46, Isaiah 9:7.
6. We enter by faith and love. “Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs, for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love Him.” James 2:5.
Jesus was sent to preach about the Kingdom of Heaven:
But He said, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other places too, for that is why I was sent,” Luke 4:43. After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, Luke 8:1. Jesus also sent His disciples out to preach the Kingdom of Heaven and heal the sick (Luke 9:2).
Jesus told parables to describe the Kingdom of Heaven.
The parable of the weeds. The farmer sows good seed; the enemy sows thistles. The farmer allows them both to grow up side by side until the harvest when the wheat is put in the barn and the thistles are all burnt, Matthew 13:24-30. Explanation: Matthew 13:36-43.
The parable of the mustard seed. The tiny seed is planted in a field and even though it is the smallest of seeds, it becomes the largest of plants, where birds can come and find shelter. Explanation: The Kingdom of God has small beginnings but is growing at a phenomenal rate to give shelter to millions, Matthew 13:31-32.
The parable of the fishing net. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. Explanation: At the end of the world the angels will separate the godly from the wicked, Matthew 13:47-49.
The parable of the workers paid equally. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a land-owner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He hired more men at various times during the day, but at the end of the day he paid them all the same. Explanation: We will all receive the same inheritance, irrelevant of when we become Christians, Matthew 20:1-16.
The parable of the wedding feast. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son but the guests refused to come, so the servants brought in all they could find. One guest came not wearing the wedding robe provided for him. The King had him thrown out, Matthew 22:1-14. Explanation: There is only one way to enter into the presence of the King of Kings and that is clothed in the robe of righteousness, provided for us by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The parable of the ten bridesmaids. At that time the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise enough to fill their lamps with oil, while the other five were foolish and forgot. Explanation: We must always be ready at any time for the return of Jesus, whether it a personal time, or for the whole Church, described as His Bride. At all times we must be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, Matthew 25:1-13.
Satan removed from the Kingdom forever:
‘Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has happened at last! God’s salvation and the power and the rule, and the authority of His Christ are finally here; for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down from heaven onto earth – he accused them day and night before our God,”’ Revelation 12:10.
“We give thanks, Lord God Almighty, who is and was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign,” Revelation 11:17.
26 Revelation 14 – The Lamb, the 144,000, the three Angels – Challenge Questions
It is suggested that you answer all the questions in your homework but only do those marked with ‘*’ in your group to save time and give more time to prayer.
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. Read Psalm 91. Choose a verse that encourages you to trust God for your protection. Write it down.
3. *Looking at 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 in the notes do we recognise that sexual sin is the largest secret sin in the Church today? Look at Titus 2:3-5 Amp to see one of God’s answers to this very big issue today. Is there anything God would like us to do?
4. Worship is our highest and happiest work; do we always make this our priority? How do we see worship?
5. *Of the parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom which do you find most effective in His description.
Read Revelation 15
6. *What point in time does John describe in the first verse and how does this make you feel?
7. Who was beside the glassy sea? How did they get there and what were they holding?
8. *Whose song did they sing? What was it to celebrate previously?
9. Choose one sentence from this song and make it your own? Write a verse expressing what you want to say.
10. What is the ‘tabernacle of the Testimony’ and what does it represent here?
11. *Who came out of the Temple and what were they wearing? Is this significant?
12. What did they receive and from whom?
13. What happened to the Temple and what was the result?
14. *Read 1 Kings 8:10-11; 1 Kings 8:22-30; 1 Kings 8:52-53; 1 Kings 8:56-61. At the dedication of the Temple by Solomon can you liken this to anything that we have read in Revelation that is happening in Heaven?
15. From Solomon’s prayer what can you make your own? Remember we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
16. *Have you ever experienced the Glory of the Lord in such a way that you cannot do what you had planned? Feel free to share.
17. The world crucified the Lamb, what has it done now to receive this final judgement. What way is closed at present?