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Where We Put Our Trust - The Book of Revelation
Week 48, 2017
Last week we briefly covered “the mark of the beast” as revealed in Revelation 13. This week we will cover Revelation 14:1-5, and the antithesis to the beast and his mark, which also reveals how we keep from worshiping the beast or taking its mark:
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.
And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.
These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
Next to the mark of the beast, this group may be the most speculated about from the Book of Revelation. John begins this part of the text with “then I looked….” So this is what he saw immediately after viewing the beast and the mark of the beast. What stands out right away about this group is that they do not have the mark of the beast, but instead have the name of the Lord and the Father written on their foreheads. This means that the way to avoid worshipping the beast is to worship the Lord and have His name written on our foreheads.
Is it that simple? Yes. Deception often comes through complications that are the result of speculations. If we truly worship the Lord, keeping Him first in our affections and devotion, we will not worship the things of this world. If we have taken God’s mark, the devil will not be able to put his mark on us. If we have taken God’s mark then we know Him as our Source, and we will not have to depend on “buying, selling, or trading” in the ways of this beast.
There is also much speculation about whether this 144,000 is a literal number. There are persuasive arguments that state this is the case, as well as those that consider this number symbolic. I always take Scripture literally unless there is compelling evidence that it is intended to be symbolic. I do not see here, but this does not mean that this is all who are redeemed at the end of the age. As we see in Revelation 7, right after addressing the 144,000 we see the “great company” too big to count that had come out of “the great tribulation” worshipping God.
To establish who I think this 144,000 is would take weeks to do in this format, but we can certainly all take the principle established here about worshipping the Lord and taking His name on our foreheads. The great trial at the end called the “great tribulation” is really all about who we worship—God or the things of this world.
The big point being made here is for us to settle who we will serve, because we cannot serve both. For that reason, we need to understand the nature of the beast so that we do not serve it by living according to its ways, and that we keep God first in our affections and in our trust. Remember that a false god is not just something we have affection for that eclipses our affection for God, but it is also what we put our trust in more than God.
next week 49