Summary: Sermon about the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 14
"Tune in again next week...same Bat time, same Bat channel". For those of us that grew up in the 1960's you know exactly what I'm talking about. The 1960's campy super hero action TV show Batman, starring Adam West and Bruce Ward as the "Caped Crusaders", the "Dynamic Duo" along with many other monikers, was a weekly show based upon the DC Comics comic book series started in 1939. At the end of each show, the announcer would give some teaser questions about the next week's show followed by the line "Tune in again next week...same Bat time, same Bat channel". In short, the "cliffhangers" from left unresolved in the current week would be answered in the next week.
Today we return to the book of Revelation after a one week break in the action, starting in Revelation 14. Chaper 14 is another preview chapter of sorts--reminding us to keep tuned in to the action. Stay tuned!
144K: Look...And Behold
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. Rev 14:1
Quite often in the book of Revelation we see these words: Then I looked. In addition, when John looked he beheld or studied what he saw. What happens most often when we see then I looked is that the stage set is changed and often the characters have as well. In Revelation 13, we saw primarily two characters, Antichrist and the False Prophet. The scene is set in the Tribulation period, and we see the rise of both of these end times characters to power and authority. Now the stage and the subjects of the drama change, not only in location and person but in their very nature: Antichrist and False Prophet are both as dark as midnight in a mile deep cave; the subjects of verses 1-5 shine like the sun at high noon.
Let's examine this cast of characters. First, we have the Lamb, whom we have already identified as Jesus Christ. In multiple places in God's Word we see Jesus referred to using the term Lamb; He is the Lamb who had been slain (13:8). The term Lamb (capital L) is used 25 times in Revelation and this is fitting because the correct full title of this prophetic book is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. The lamb of the Passover was slain, and the blood of the lamb then put over the door posts and lentel of the doorway to deter the angel of death sent by God upon Egypt; Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us and the blood of Jesus Christ washed away the sins of those that would accept Him.
Then we see that with Him (are) one hundred and forty-four thousand (hereafter we will call the 144K). We saw these same men in Revelation 7; they are, as John MacArthur stated "They will emerge from the worst holocaust in history, the Tribulation, battle weary but triumphant; they will be like 144,000 Daniels." In short, these men will be unlike any other group of Christians in world history. No movement, no awakening, no evangelistic crusade in history will have a group of men like these 144K. In fact, these men will be radically different which we will discuss later.
These superevangelists will be identifiable by the mark of God that they will have upon their foreheads. This is stark in contrast to the mark of the beast upon the foreheads and right hands of the lost; the 144K have a mark of redemption and calling, the lost have the mark of condemnation and choice of sin over the love of God.
While these 144K will be conspicuous by the mark on their heads, they will also be conspicuous by their ministry of powerful evangelism. They will call a spade a spade when it comes to sin and they will make Jonathan Edwards, the famous preacher who preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" look mild in comparison. Their lifestyles will be beyond reproach, as we will see when we get to verse 5.
144K: Which Mt. Zion?
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. Revelation 14:1-2 (NKJV)
With the characters cast, we now look to the stage that is set: Mt. Zion. Where is this Mt. Zion? There are two lines of thought, one that this is a Mt. Zion in heaven, one is that it is the literal Mt. Zion which is located in and synonymous with Jerusalem. While there are a few scholars I study and agree with for the most part that feel that Jesus and the 144K are in heaven (quoting Hebrews 12:22) , I strongly believe that this is the latter view: Jerusalem itself. There are two main reasons why this is the case.