Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 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 rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth —to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
In this chapter, we once again see the 144,000 previously mentioned in chapter seven. There they were identified as the sealed ones that come from the tribes of Israel. Twelve thousand from each tribe. In this chapter, they are seen with the Lamb of God standing on Mount Zion. They are seen and heard singing a new song that only they could sing. They are identified as those “who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.” They are seen following the Lamb and testifying about Him. It is important to note that the Shepherd who began with 144,000 sheep still has 144,000 sheep. He did not lose one. He redeemed them, sealed them, and kept them, for He is the Great Shepherd.
Some scholars believe that this Jewish remnant will be the world’s evangelists during the Great Tribulation. With the church “departing” because of the rapture, God will need new representatives to testify about Jesus. Keeping in mind that this time period was prophesied for “your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). This prophecy is for Israel! This will be their time to “anoint the Most Holy.” This is their time to acknowledge and embrace their one true Messiah. With the age of the Gentiles over, God will remove the blinders from the eyes of His chosen people and call them to fulfill their original purpose.
It is important to note that God is consistent in how he works in human history. After the Jews rejected their Messiah, God blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts toward Jesus. Then He turned to the Gentiles. When the age of the Gentiles is over, He will blind the eyes of the Gentiles and harden their hearts toward Jesus (read 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). During the Great Tribulation, He will once again open the eyes of the Jews and soften their hearts toward Jesus. I personally believe that this will happen in the middle of the Great Tribulation when the Antichrist puts his image up in the Jewish Temple and demands that they worship him. In Daniel chapter nine, this is known as “an abomination that causes desolation.” Once this happens, the Jews will be forced to look back in history for their Messiah. Jesus is the only one who meets all the criteria.
This text is followed by three angels with specific proclamations. The first angel proclaims eternal good tidings. The second proclaims the fall of Babylon (Satan’s kingdom here on earth). The third angel goes forth with a message of warning. This warning speaks concerning the mark of the beast. He warns that anyone who receives this mark “will drink the wine of God’s fury.” By taking the mark, persons are identifying with their king. They are swearing allegiance to Satan and his kingdom. Those who receive this mark will experience God’s judgment and the fullness of His wrath. Here we see the full implications of human will as every person on the earth must decide whether or not to receive the mark of the Antichrist.
Questions to Ponder
With these prophecies in view, how ought you live your life today? In the end, where will your allegiance lie? How are you marked by God as one who is trusting in His Son? In what ways do you acknowledge that Jesus is the One True King?
- Praise our Redeemer, Good Shepherd, Messiah, and Jesus – who is the One and only Savior of the world.
- Pray Paul’s prayer for Israel: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” Romans 10:1.
- Ask the Lord to cause your life to shine for Him.
Lord God Almighty, I praise You for Your sovereignty and for Your peace. Thank You for my own salvation, Lord, and for all my brothers and sisters at Oak Pointe. God, I pray for all of us, that we would be mature, fully assured in all of Your will, oh God. As You have marked us with Your Holy Spirit, I pray that our lives would reflect the fruit of Your Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.