Friday, November 18, 2016

Revelation 14:1-5

Revelation 14:1-5
And I saw – and look! – the lamb who has sat upon the mountain of Zion and with him was one hundred forty-four thousand who have his name and the name of his Father which has been written upon their forehead.  And I heard a voice out of heaven as a voice of much water and as a voice of great thunder.  And the voice that I heard was as harpists who play on their own harps.  And they sing as a new song in the presence of the throne and in the presence of the four living beings and the elders.  And nobody was powerful enough to learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand – the ones who have been bought from the earth.  These are the ones who were not being stained with women, for they are virgins.  These ones follow the lamb as a disciple wherever he should lead.  These were being bought from mankind as a first fruit of sacrifice to God and to the lamb.  And a lie was not found in their mouth; they are blameless.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

 We have the return of the 144,000.  You may remember them from chapter 7.  Notice that we are specifically told about their mark.  This mark should be seen in direct juxtaposition of the mark of the beast.  Remember that marks can represent ownership, devotion, security, loyalty, dependence, or even safety.  The mark signifies that these people belong to God.  They are protected by Him.  They are owned by God.  They are loyal to god.  The depend upon God.  These are people who are in relationship with God as their primary focus of worship.

Is this true about you?  How do each of these aspects of being marked apply to your life?  Are these dynamics of being marked visible to others around you?

Second Thought:

These 144,000 sing a great song.  Notice that the sound of their voice is very reminiscent of the way that God’s voice is described elsewhere in Revelation.  God’s people imitate God.  When they use their voice, it sounds very similar to God’s own voice.  Notice that they sing a song that only those who are among them can learn.  I think this is John’s way of speaking hope into the people who are being persecuted.  The only people to whom faith makes any sense are those people who are open to faith in the first place.  We shouldn’t be worried when the world rejects us because they disagree with us.  If their hearts are closed, then they aren’t able to understand anyways!  It’s not the fault of the persecuted that they are persecuted and the world goes on rejecting God.

Why is it important to remember that faith will really only make sense to those who are open to it in the first place.  In general, do you think this is true about most things worth learning in this life?

Third Thought:

At the end of this passage we have a very unique description of the virginity of the 144,000.  I don’t personally believe that this should be understood literally.  I don’t think that John is telling us that God has pulled out exactly 144,00 followers of God who have never been touched by the sexual sin of lust.  Remember, Jesus Himself never advocated a position that celibacy is better than marriage!  I believe that this is a spiritual analogy to our relationship with God.  Remember, the church is the bride of Christ.  Those who are in Christ are those who have Christ as their bridegroom.  These people are not in an adulterous relationship with God as they chase after other things to worship.  Those who are in Christ are spiritually pure, devoted first and foremost to the Lord.

Are you devoted to God?  Where do you display this to the world around you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 14:6-13
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