Summary of passage: Jesus is standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000. A loud roar came from heaven and a new song was sung by the 144,000 redeemed who are blameless, pure, followed Jesus, and purchased and offered as first fruits to God.
3a) John saw Jesus and the 144,000 redeemed standing on Mount Zion. He heard a sound from heaven like a roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder and like harpists playing their harps. He also heard a new song being sung by the 144,000.
b) They had been redeemed from the earth. They did not defile themselves with women and were pure. They followed the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God. They’re blameless and no lie has ever crossed their mouths.
4) Believers were purchased by the blood of the Lamb, cleansed and justified, and marked with a seal to be redeemed to heaven and have eternal life with God. God chose us ahead of time to follow Jesus. (Ephesians). We were redeemed or purchased through Christ’s blood (1 Peter).
5a) By treating our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit, refraining from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), and honoring God with our bodies. We are imitators of God and live a life of love, avoiding sexual sin, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse jokes; instead, living a life of thanksgiving and holy. We obey and live as children of light (good, righteous, and truthful). We are wise, making the most of every opportunity, filled with the Spirit instead of wine, speaking to others with psalms, hymns, and songs, thanking God always, submitting to Him (Ephesians 5:12-21).
Be Christ-like with love, spirit, and purpose. Treat others better than yourself and put others first. Have a Christ-like attitude, be a servant, humble, obedient, and act according to God’s purpose. Don’t complain or argue and be glad and joyful. (Philippians).
We do not lie, we confess our sins and are purified. (1 John 1)
b) Personal Question. My answer: Loving others who are hard to love. Guarding my mouth sometimes and speaking only praises. Not complaining. Being humble. Putting others first. Serving.
Conclusions: We were all over the place in the Bible with only one question on Revelation. We’ve explored this topic before this year in our study on how we are to live in Lesson 7, Day 5 when we read Ephesians 4. We saw it in Lesson 8 Day 2 with how Daniel stayed true to God.
Going to other places in the Bible can be a good thing, but I feel like sometimes during this study that’s all we do.
Also, these week-long breaks make it harder for me to remember where we were at in Revelation. Stopping and having to go back two weeks to remember what had just happened, so I have context for this week takes valuable time. It feels like a stop, jerk, and go again motion that jars me and reorienting myself is frustrating.
End Notes: Revelation says history will end with a loud bang. Yet John repeatedly says this will bring peace on earth as God rules over a restored heaven and earth. Here we see the heavenly choir again sandwiched between tribulation and judgment like an interlude. This is to reassure us that all creation will once again be in harmony.
We last saw the 144,000 in Revelation 7 (BSF Lesson 13) where we learned they are the remnant, a group of believers (some say Messianic Jews some scholars say a mix of Jews and Gentiles) who were sealed or protected from the tribulation and have been martyred for their faith (we know this because they are in heaven). Here, the beast has not defeated them and they emerge victorious. Revelation 7 shows the 144,000 at the beginning of the Great Tribulation and here we see them at the end of it.
Again, the 144,000 is representative of all God’s people. Yes, they are a specific group, but in the end, we will share in God’s glory as well.
Coming up in Revelation 14, we will find out what happens to the beast and does he defeat the followers of Christ (no because of the 144,000).
Mount Zion is the place where Christ gathers his redeemed and begins his rule over earth (Psalm 48, Isaiah 24:23, Joel 2:32, Obadiah 17 and 21, Micah 4:1, 4:7).
Satan copied the idea of the seal (Revelation 13:16-17) from God.
The sound from heaven like the road of rushing water and a loud peal of thunder is the voice of God (Revelation 1:15 and 4:5).
The elders have harps (Revelation 5:8). Worshiping God and singing Him a song transports us to the foot of God at His throne. Note the song was learned on earth and no one else can sing it but the 144,000. Part of our job here on earth is to learn this song by accepting Jesus and drawing close to him. Only then once we are saved will we have the new song in our hearts.
Identity of the 144,000: are they symbolically pure (virgins) or are they literally? Up for debate. They could be celibate just during the time of the Great Tribulation or could be celibate meaning without engaging with pagans.
The term “virgins” is not used in the NIV. The Greek word parthenos can be both men and women so the 144,000 are a mix of men and women.
Israel is referred to as a virgin in the Bible, reinforcing some scholars belief that the 144,000 represents all believers (2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 37:22; Lamentations 2:13; Jeremiah 18:13; 31:34, 21; Amos 5:2).
We see them described as first fruits. First fruits was the first portion of the harvest offered to God in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23:10-14). The nation of Israel is said to be the first fruits (Jeremiah 2:3), bringing the Gentiles to God. In the New Testament we see first fruits being used to describe Christ rising from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20) or the first converts in a region (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15). Hence, some scholars believe all believers are considered as the first fruits (or choice offering) to God.
God often speaks of the purity of His people in terms of sexual immorality as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 11:2.
However, here, most scholars agree the 144,000 are Jews who came to faith in Jesus during the Tribulation and who now will serve as the first fruits of God’s harvest and bring in the rest of the Jews. They are holy and pure, not of the world. Ultimately, remember, they will bring in all of us–the church (See End Notes on Lesson 13, Day 3 for more discussion of the 144,000).
Fun Fact: This is the only place in Revelation we see “Mount Zion” used.