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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 14:1-5 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

The heavenly vision that was brought into the sight of the apostle John has changed from that in previous verses. The symbolism has left the beasts of chapter 13 and is now focused on things of the heavenly, or spiritual, realm. This must have been an encouragement to those reading John's prophetic Revelation of things to come regarding the church of Christ and Jesus' new doctrine containing His gospel of salvation for the world. Certainly chapter 13 presented a long 1,260 year siege by the foes of the Christ's church, which painted a gloomy and fearful period of suffering and persecution. With the beginning of chapter 14 a brighter vision is seen - one that looks beyond the trials and tribulations of the body of Christ that were destined to take place during this lengthy period of spiritual dark ages, which were enforced by the puppet emperors of Rome, at the direction of the popes of the Latin Church known as the Roman Catholic religious order.

As we study the lesson text, please keep in mind the number 666 symbolically stamped in their right hand, or in their foreheads, which identified the followers of Roman Catholicism as anti-Christian oppressors of the church of Christ. Then compare and relate this apostate body to the righteous, obedient followers of Jesus Christ, the faithful members of God's true church - the church of Christ identified in verse one of the lesson text as having God's name written on their foreheads.

In the new vision described in the lesson text, John saw a Lamb, that is, the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus,standing on the mount Sion. This mount is literally known as Mount Zion, or the holy city of Jerusalem. However, it is used here to represent the New Testament dwelling place of God on earth, the church of Christ, into which He adds His children after they have obeyed His commandments of repentance, belief, confession of Jesus Christ as His Son, all culminating in baptism for the remission of past sins (See Acts 3:38, 47; Heb. 12:22). This symbolic Lamb, representing Jesus, appeared on this mount, witnessed by an hundred forty and four thousand men from the tribes of the children of Israel - twelve thousand from each tribe (See Rev. 7:4-8). In the previous seventh chapter we were told that these Jewish men were servants of God having their foreheads sealed to identify them as belonging to Him (Rev. 7:3). In the lesson text, we are told the nature of that seal. They belonged to God, and this was known because His name was written in their foreheads.

This vision, which John saw with his eyes, was confirmed by his ears. John wrote that he heard a voice from heaven. It was a loud, bellowing voice that he likened to the roar of a boisterous ocean of many waters, and as the mighty clap of a great thunder. He also heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. The music of the harp accompanied by singing almost always indicates a celebration in heaven - a rejoicing over great triumphs already achieved or those about to take place. And they sung, as it were, a new song before the throne. The song, probably the same one sung and recorded in Revelation 5:9, was also sung before the throne of God, as recorded in the lesson text. It was a new song because it was sung in celebration of the New Covenant between God and mankind, which superceded, and made void, the Old Covenant made between God and the Jewish nation. The New Covenant was ushered in by Christ Jesus and made available to all mankind through His church. It was also a new song because it celebrated the soon-to-take-place victory over the civil and apostate religious rulers of Rome, and the redemptive freedom of the church of Christ.

The new song was not only sung in the presence of God and His Son, Christ Jesus, but was also sung before the four beasts, and the elders, which were introduced and described in Revelation 4:4-8 It may seem odd that no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, who were the representatives of the Jewish nation, that had believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah, and obeyed God's call to redemption, through the blood His Son shed on the cross of Calvary. Only the redeemed can fully understand the true meaning of the hope of eternal salvation. Those outside the body of Christ, either by lack of scriptural knowledge, or by the lack of sufficient believing faith, are not included with the redeemed from earth.

Continuing on in verses 4 and 5 we find a general description of those considered among the redeemed. First of all, these are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. This characterization is symbolic rather than literal. Certainly this is not a scripture that recommends celibacy over marriage. Rather it is used to distinguish the righteous men and women of the world from the unrepentant sinners. Those mentioned here as redeemed, are they whose obedience culminated in baptism for the remission of past sins and therefore, are considered pure, having kept themselves spiritually clean from worldly defilement. This is the same meaning found in the apostle Paul's letter to the church at Corinth. To them he wrote: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).

Another characteristic of the redeemed from the earth is that they follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Reference here is to they who are disciples that follow the example set by Christ Jesus, and obediently live according to His New Testament doctrine. As the redeemed, they are dedicated to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, just as the first-fruits of Jewish harvest were dedicated to God under Old Testament law. Also in the redeemed ...was found no guile. There was no deceit or hypocrisy in their conduct of life; they lived a sincere life professing to be exactly what God desired them to be. They were His obedient children. These redeemed, who symbolize the true, faithful followers of Christ, were characterized as being without fault before the throne of God. They are described in Revelation 7:14 as those that have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, which is a symbol of water baptism for the remission of one's sins.

At the time John recorded this heavenly vision in the book of Revelation, there was much persecution of the church of Christ throughout the world. And, as predicted in the previous chapters of this book, the body of Christ was destined for much more persecution, trials, and tribulations at the hands of anti-Christian governments, and by various apostate, humanly-divised religious bodies. Therefore, these few verses introducing chapter 14, give much desired Godly comfort to those Christians that had for hundreds of years remained faithful to Christ Jesus, His doctrine, and His church. Certainly today, there are many dark and sorrowful times that invade the life of each child of God. And in each instance it is the consolation that comes from mental thoughts of heaven, bringing peace of mind, that restores, and strengthens, our faith in God, the author of our salvation through His Son, Jesus our Savior, the true Lamb of God.