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Bible: What Does Revelation 14 Teach Us About The 144,000 and the One "Like the Son of Man"?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Identity of the 144,000


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Identity of the 144,000

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Revelation 14--The One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand, Three Messengers, and The One "Like the Son of Man"

The 144,000 on Mount Zion

From the beasts’ war against Israel and their world domination, John turns to witness a heavenly scene in which the once sealed, both now redeemed one hundred forty-four thousand Jews stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, being accompanied by a harp orchestra (vv. 1-3).

The apostle describes the one hundred forty-four thousand in several ways:

(1) They are virgins (“not defiled with women”);

(2) they always follow Christ everywhere;

(3) they were redeemed first fruits to the Father and the Lamb;

(4) they speak only the truth and stand faultless before the throne of God (vv. 4-5).

[Perhaps most of the 144,000 will be teenagers or young adult men who have abstained from sexual immorality.

As first fruits, they anticipate the salvation of the rest of true Israel at the end of the seventieth week; the Feast of Tabernacles prefigures the Messianic kingdom when all Israel will be saved (cf. Romans 11:26).]

Three Angels

John now hears three angels deliver separate messages to “those who dwell on the earth” (vv. 6-11), and comments about “the perseverance of the saints” (vv. 12-13).

While flying in the atmosphere, the first messenger proclaims the “everlasting gospel” which includes

(1) Fear God and give glory to the Judge, and

(2) worship the Creator (vv. 6-7).

The second angel focuses on the reason for the fall of “Babylon, that great city”: she has forced the peoples of the Earth to partake of spiritual immorality (“the wine of the wrath of her fornication”) [v. 8].

Issuing a warning to beast worshipers and to those who receive his mark, the third angel proclaims that they will experience the fullness of God’s wrath, being eternally tormented “with fire and brimstone” before the angels and the Lamb (vv. 10-11).

Knowing that the Lord will justly punish evildoers satisfies the faith of those who obey God during this time of martyrdom (v. 12).

An unidentified heavenly voice commands John to record that all future martyrs will receive a special blessing; the Spirit assents to this word, saying that they will now be able to rest and reap rewards for their service (v. 13).

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The "One like the Son of Man"

Another scene appears to John which depicts “One like the Son of Man”; this Person sits on a white cloud, wears a golden crown, and holds a sharp sickle (v. 14; cf. 1:13).

[A “white cloud” signifies a manifestation of deity; His “golden crown” points to His kingship; and His holding “a sharp sickle” means that He is prepared to reap the “harvest” of souls from the earth.]

That an angel should tell Christ to reap seems incongruous, but “He who sat on the cloud” executes the Father’s command (vv. 15-16).

[The text does not specify who “the harvest of the earth” represents.]

A second angel, emerging from heaven with a sickle, hears another one in charge of the altar tell him to reap the earth of its ripened grape clusters (vv. 17-18).

The former obeys the directive and then casts the vine into the winepress, which the armies of the earth trample outside Jerusalem in the valley of Megiddo (cf. 16:16; Joel 3:12, 13).

From this “winepress of the wrath of God” the blood of the combatants was spattered up to the horses’ bridles (a height of over four feet) for two hundred miles (vv. 19-20; cf. 19:17-21).

© 2013 glynch1

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