Summary: Something is happening in professional sport, teams that have not tasted victory for a long time are winning championships. Then there’s Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer ever toppled from the top of the world rankings for the first time in years after get
Last year the New Orleans Saints football won the Super Bowl for the first time in team history after the ravages of hurricane Katrina. They were led by a MVP quarterback who is clearly a Christian both in word and in action.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup after a 49 year drought led by their captain and Christian from here in Manitoba, Jonathan Toews. And last week we saw the San Francisco Giants win the World Series for the first time since they moved from New York over 50 years ago.
Something is happening in professional sport, teams that have not tasted victory for a long time are winning championships. Then there’s Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer ever toppled from the top of the world rankings for the first time in years after getting caught in adultery, getting a divorce, and glorifying Buddha. His game went down the tank with his life.
In essence this reflects what is also happening in our study of the book of Revelation. Though down for centuries, facing persecution and loss, always the underdog, we are witnessing that the church, the people of God are going to finally win. Today we are going to hear some of the Voices of Victory at last.
In chapter 14 we begin with:
I. The Voices of the Saved (14:1-5)
The first thing we see is that there are 144000 people sealed by God and:
A. They are Standing (v. 1)
Not only are they standing, they are standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Look at Psalm 2, “He who sits in the heavens laughs when the nations set themselves against the Lord. Then he will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in his fury saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Mt. Zion, my holy hill”.
The redeemed are standing with the redeemer on the heavenly Zion mentioned in Hebrews 12. How do we know this is the heavenly Zion? Because it says later that they have been redeemed from the earth and from mankind as firstfruits, or sacrifices.
Jesus is also standing, indicating that he is no longer sitting at the right hand of the Father but is taking action to establish his Kingdom.
And what are these redeemed people doing? The same thing we have seen over and over in Revelation:
B. They are Singing (vv 2-3)
And it is a new song. A new song because no other people have been through what they have, no one else has been redeemed out of the Great Tribulation. Another clue that this is heaven is that they are singing this song before the throne, the living creatures, and the elders.
We also see that:
C. They are Separate (vv 4-5)
These people do not belong to the world, they have been redeemed from it. Look how it describes them. They have not defiled themselves with women, they follow the Lamb wherever he goes, in their mouth are no lies (really meaning they have nothing to hide, their sin is completely confessed), and they are blameless. Does that sound like earth dwellers to you?
That they are virgins means that they have not committed adultery with other gods, they are pure and blameless because of the Lamb, not their own works. They are loyal to Jesus, they follow Him no matter what, they were not unfaithful even unto death. These are converted Jewish martyrs from the Great Tribulation. But I think they also represent all of the redeemed.
They are called first fruits, which means they are those who offered themselves as living sacrifices. Why is the sexual metaphor used here to describe their faithfulness? Well, like the rest of the Bible sexual fidelity is a mirror of our fidelity to God. There is a direct relationship between sexual purity and faithfulness to God, so we must never think that sexual immorality isn’t important to God. But more important is our faithfulness as the bride of Christ worshipping only Him.
D. They are a Sacrifice (v. 4c)
Looking at the language used here, “they are first fruits” who is the first fruit - Jesus. James in the context of remaining steadfast under trial says that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
No matter where we look in scripture there is always this uncomfortable reminder that we are to sacrifice our lives for Christ, not necessarily literally through death, but as we get closer to the end, it becomes clear that that will be more common as Satan gets more control of the world. Even in life we are to be living sacrifices.
Not only do we hear the voices of the victorious martyrs, we also hear:
II. The Voices of the Angels (14:6-20)
And what do they have to say? First of all that: