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Receiving God's Mark - The Book of Revelation
Week 49, 2017
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.
This group may be the most speculated about from the Book of Revelation, second only to the mark of the beast. 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 about this group is that they do not have the mark of the beast; instead they have the name of the Lord and the Father written on their foreheads. This states that the way not to worship 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 resulting from speculations. If we truly worship the Lord, keeping Him first in our affections and devotion, we will not worship the things of this earth, the beast that comes up out of the earth, or anything else. 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—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 this is the case, as well as arguments that consider this number to be symbolic. I always take Scripture literally unless there is compelling evidence that it is intended to be symbolic, which I do not see here. However, if it is a literal number, this does not mean that these are all who are redeemed at the end of the age. As we see in Revelation 7, there is a “great company” too big to count that came out of “the great tribulation” worshipping God. So this is a unique group within the redeemed, but the redeemed number is much larger.
Establishing who I think this 144,000 is would take many weeks to cover in this format, but it seems obvious that this group is set apart in a unique way and has a unique purpose. Personally, I think they are the “messengers of power” that Enoch prophesied would come at the end of the age. Regardless, we can take the principle established here about worshiping the Lord and taking His name on our foreheads. The great trial at the end called the “great tribulation” is about whom we really worship—God or the things of this world.
The biggest point being made here is for each of us to settle who we will serve, because we cannot serve God and another god. For that reason, we must 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. A false god is not just something we have affection for that eclipses our affection for God—it is also what we put our trust in more than God. We should apply this test to everything that has our affection or that we put our trust in.
next week 50