After John describes the Beast that rises out of the sea in Revelation 12, which is similar to Daniel’s dream given in Daniel chapter 7, and this Beast’s war against Israel and her flight into the wilderness in chapter 13, we are transported to the end of the age and events to happen then in chapter 14.
John sees again the 144,000 he describes in Revelation 7 and he gives us more information about them. Do the numbers 12 and 144,000 have any significance?
“The number 12 appears 187 times in God’s Word, and 22 times in Revelation, according to BibleStudy.org. The meaning of 12, which is considered a perfect number, is that it symbolizes God’s authority, as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation.
The number also depicts completeness, or the nation of Israel as a whole. For example, Jacob (Israel) had 12 sons that each represented a tribe of the nation. This is important because if the New Jerusalem in fact comprises the whole people of God under the Old and New Covenants, then we have in this heavenly city the “true Israel” about which the New Testament authors write.” (The number 12″)
Remember, John first introduces these 144,000 as being of the the tribes of Israel in chapter 7. I wrote about these in the article Revelation 7 (The Intermission) and I am quite sure they represent a “remez” or hidden message rather than an actual 12,000 of each of these tribes. The hidden message taken from the meaning of the tribe’s names is as follows –
“Praise the Lord. He has looked on my affliction [and] good fortune comes. Happy and blessed am I. My wrestling has made me forget my sorrow. God hears me, has joined me, rewarded me, exalted me [by] adding to me the Son of His right hand.”
Now in chapter 14, John gives us further information about this 144,000. First of all they are those who have been sealed in their forehead by God. Remember the Israelis were sealed in chapter 7 and redeemed from the earth. We Gentiles who are believers are already sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and we are also redeemed from the earth. They are not defiled with women does not mean they are not married. Scripture writes-
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” – Heb. 13:4
Being defiled with women, or with men for that matter, refers to immoral sex such as fornication and adultery. And “they follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. In other words, they are the friends of Jesus.
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” – John 15:14
These 144,000 represent the fullness of those redeemed from the earth, the true Israel who have been grafted into the Root of Jesse, Jesus Christ.
Then John sees an angel flying in the midst of heaven proclaiming the everlasting Gospel to those who dwell on the earth, to every tribe, tongue, and people saying –
“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” – Rev. 14:7
Notice the Gospel begins with “Fear God”. It reminds us that every beginning has an ending. Jesus declares He is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (ending). And at the end, judgment is coming! Also notice God is presented as the Creator of the heavens, the earth, the seas and the rivers. Those who believe in evolution will be proven wrong and will have to face the consequences of that belief.
Next John sees another angel proclaiming “Babylon is fallen”. All those who believe in the world system will be shaken to their foundations. All Communists, all socialists, and all Humanists will taste the bitterness of the wine of her fornication. Who does this mystery Babylon fornicate with? With the spirit of Antichrist and with the beast system.
Then a third angel followed warning the inhabitants of the earth –
“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” – Rev. 14:9-11
Remember, the False Prophet of chapter 13 causes all to receive the mark of the Beast so that no one can buy or sell without the mark. In other words, the righteous will be in dire stress just to put food on the table. It will be a time of intense persecution. This will require great patience to keep the commandments of God and of the faith of Jesus. Then John hears a voice saying –
“Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” – Rev. 14:13
According to Revelation 12 and 13, this testing will last for 3½ years, then the Lord will come. At this point John looked and sees One like the Son of Man coming on a white cloud with a sharp sickle to reap the earth for a final harvest. Is this the time of the Latter Rain Joel and James talk about? This will be the great gathering of those who come out the Great Tribulation talked about in Revelation 7:14. Finally John sees another angel also having a sharp sickle to reap the wicked from the earth and cast them into the great winepress of the wrath of God. Oh to be blessed to be in the first harvest and stand before the Throne of God and of the Lamb.
John gives us another glimpse of these saints in chapter 15. –
“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” – Rev. 15:2
Revelation 7 tells us that this great multitude which no man can number comes from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” and they are those who come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying –
“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” – Rev. 15:3,4
After these things John sees the Temple of the tabernacle of the testimony opened in heaven. This links these events back to Revelation chapter 11 which concludes the seventh angel’s sounding.
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” – Rev. 11:18
“After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” – Rev. 15:5
Either there were two openings of the Temple in heaven or there was just one and the seven angels with Trumpets and the seven angels with the bowls of God’s wrath are happening at the same time and John writes them down consecutively. I tend to think they are happening at the same time. As I was praying about this the Holy Spirit said to me that the Trumpets are the pronouncements of God going forth and the bowls of wrath are the carrying out of those pronouncements. I will write about the 7 angels with the bowls of wrath in the next article and you can judge for yourselves.