And They Sang a New Song Before the Throne

14: 1-5

   DIG: Given the chaos described in Chapters 12-13, what comfort do you find in this passage? What sights? Sounds? Feelings? Who sings the new song? Why? Who is the Lamb? What has He done? Why are the people following Him?

   REFLECT: How are you like, or unlike, the 144,000? How do you follow the Lamb? Will you follow the slain Lamb wherever He leads you?

    Revelation 14 serves as a connecting link between the description of the middle of the Great Tribulation in Chapters 10-13 and the events of the second half of the Great Tribulation in Chapters 15-16. Most of what was found in Revelation 11-13 dealt with the activities of the counterfeit trinity in their attempt to steal the authority of ADONAI and to destroy those who worship Him. This section is a vision of the final salvation of the redeemed saints in heaven and the redeemed 144,000 on the earth. The purpose of this parenthetical section is to provide comfort to the Tribulation believers who are being slaughtered for not taking the mark of the beast.316

    Then John looked, and what he witnessed almost took his breath away, because he saw the Lamb standing there before him on Mount Tziyon, the highest point in Jerusalem (14:1a). In apocryphal book of Ezra 4 the seer is told that He, whom the Most High is keeping many ages and through whom He will deliver His creation [in other words, the Messiah] will stand on the summit of Mount Tziyon. Yes, Tziyon shall come and be seen by everyone, prepared and built, just as you saw the mountain cut out without hands. But He, My Son, will reprove the nations who have come for their ungodliness (4 Ezra 13:26, 36-37).

    This was very significant, since the Lamb is seen as having redeemed, or bought back His people with His precious blood. The Psalter wrote about this moment when God the Father said: I have installed My [Son] King on Tziyon, My holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: God the Father said to Messiah, “You are My Son and You have a legitimate right to rule.” Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession. You will rule Your enemies with an iron scepter, You will shatter Your adversaries to pieces like pottery (Psalm 2:6-9). This royal psalm and describes smashing the rebellion of the Great Tribulation, and the beginning of the rule of the messianic Kingdom.

    And with the Lamb, John saw the 144,000 Jewish messianic evangelists (7:1-8), who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads (14:1b). Unbelievers will have the mark of the beast on their foreheads (13:16), and the 144,000 will have the mark of God placed on their foreheads. He saw the 144,000 and the Lamb in the City, but he heard a new song from heaven.

    And John heard a voice from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The voice he heard was not mere noise, it had a musical quality to it. It was joyful, like that of harpists playing their harps (14:2). Heaven will rejoice when Messiah returns to establish His earthly Kingdom.

    The new song sung in heaven before the throne (4:1-11), and before the four living creatures and the elders will be the song of redemption (14:3a). The angels will join the righteous of the TaNaKh, the raptured body of Christ, and the redeemed Tribulation martyrs in praising Jesus for their salvation. While angels do not experience redemption, they do rejoice because of it (Luke 15:10). All heaven will overflow with praise because God’s redemptive work, culminating in the return of the Messiah, will have been accomplished.317

    Heaven’s praise overflows, where the new song is taken up on the earth. It was a new song, never heard before on the earth or in heaven. John noticed that no one could really learn the song except the 144,000. The heavenly assembly could sing the words and the know the tune, but only 12,000 from each tribe could truly understand its meaning, for it was their new song. They had been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, protected by the name of the Father sealed on their foreheads, and completely dedicated to His service. Although the exact words of the new song are not recorded, it surely describes the great truth that they had been redeemed from the earth (14:3b).318

    The worship of the antichrist during the Great Tribulation will lead to unspeakable sexual perversion. As it did in the fertility cults of ancient times, sexual sin will run rampant. Homosexuality and bestiality will probably be commonplace. In all likelihood pedophiles will brutalize helpless children with impunity. With the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit removed (Second Thessalonians 2:6-7), and the unbelieving world in total rebellion against God, sin will be released like a tidal wave flooding the earth. In the midst of this darkness, the 144,000 will shine like beacons of purity. They will not defile themselves with women, because they will keep themselves pure (14:4a). This does not mean they will not be married, since sex within the confines of marriage does not defile anyone (Hebrews 13:4). What it does mean is that they will stand apart from the sin of their culture and will remain morally pure preachers amid the filth that surrounds them.319

    They will follow the Lamb wherever He will lead them because they will be totally dedicated to Him no matter the cost (14:4b). They will allow no rivals, no refusals, and no restraint to tarnish their dedication to the Lamb. Does He need someone to stand upon the steps of the Vatican and cry out against the marriage of the Church to the beast? There will be 144,000 ready to go! Does the Lord need someone to berate the beast at some state dinner, and thoroughly denounce him, his policy, his religion, his economic boycott, his mark, his ministers, and his alliance with Satan! There will be 144,000 eager to do so! Does Christ need evangelists to proclaim His Gospel to untold millions? to climb the highest mountain, to cross the hottest desert, to blaze evangelistic trails through steaming jungles or to mush huskies across wide arctic circles? There will be 144,000 excited to go! And though the beast’s Gestapo will shadow their footsteps, and put their converts to death, yet on they will go, not discouraged in the least. It was in that spirit that they followed the Lamb.320

    They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits of many who will believe in God and the Lamb (14:4c). They were the firstfruits of the Great Tribulation. Long before the complete harvest of Israelite believers at the end of Daniel’s 70th seven when all Isra'el will be saved (Rom 11:26), these 144,000 Israelites will be redeemed and prepared as firstfruits to both Jewish and Gentile believers alike during the climactic years of Jacob’s Trouble. But, it is more than likely that the 144,000 will continue their evangelistic ministry throughout the millennial Kingdom to unbelievers. Not all the unsaved will die physically when Jesus returns. Those lost souls and the children born to them will have one hundred years to accept Messiah as their Savior or die (Isaiah 65:20). In fact, there will be enough unregenerate sinners alive at the end of the Millennium for Satan to lead a worldwide rebellion against the Lord (20:7-10). The Bible talks about salvation during the messianic Kingdom (Isaiah 60:3; Zech 8:23), and the 144,000 Jewish messianic evangelists will no doubt proclaim it.321

    No lie was found in their mouths because they are blameless (14:5). Like Jesus, the One they followed, no deceit was found in their mouths (First Peter 2:22). No wonder no one else could really learn the new song except for them! How could 144,000 men, even redeemed men, be so blameless as to stand with the Lamb on Mount Tziyon? The answer can only be seen in terms of the grace of God. Noah, for example, was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time (Genesis 6:9). But before such a testimony could be given, the Bible tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8). Like John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth (Luke 1:15), and like Rabbi Sha'ul, who could testify that ADONAI had set him apart from birth and called him by His grace (Galatians 1:15), these 144,000 will be called and set apart from birth. They were not sinless, for all have sinned – even Noah, John the Baptist and Rabbi Sha'ul. But YHVH had so prepared and protected them that they kept themselves sexually pure, being zealous toward the LORD from their infancy.322

    The 144,000 will be the firstfruits of a worldwide revival. The fruit of their ministry will also be standing before the Lamb. They will be a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language (7:9-17). There have been great responses to the Gospel in the past. We can think of times like Shavu'ot and the birth of the messianic community (Acts 2:1-41), the Reformation in Europe during the sixteenth century, and the Great Awakening in America during the eighteenth century. However, the greatest revival the world has ever seen is yet to come. It will not happen during the B'rit Chadashan Age, but during the Great Tribulation. They will be Jews and Gentiles, and they will be from every nation, tribe, people and language. Most will be martyred.

    What song is in your heart today? Is it the blues of doubt and despair, or is it a song of praise and worship like the one the 144,000 sing before the Lamb on Mount Tziyon? Theirs is the song of complete, utter joy at being in the presence of the triumphant Lamb.

    Unlike the heavenly assembly, we carry in our hearts the burdens and limitations of this life. Yet we also carry the death and resurrection of Messiah – the very reason why the 144,000 and the great multitude are singing! The message of our redemption is so good that even in the middle of trials, we can know an inexplicable sense of joy deep within our hearts. When things around us are chaotic, we can still believe in the fact that YHVH is unchanging in His love for us and that He delights in us.

    Every day, Jesus wants to sing to you about His love and mercy. Do you listen for His song and receive its consolation and strength? How do you answer? While none of us can learn the new song of the 144,000, we can listen to the Holy Spirit, unite ourselves with His pleadings (which go beyond human words), and express our hearts’ yearning to be totally with Yeshua. What could be a more glorious song of prayer?

    If you struggle with a lack of joy, ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Repent of any sin He brings to mind. Then draw close to the Lord. If you’re facing a difficult situation, ask Him to be there with you, and tell Him you want the joy of being held safely in His arms. Yeshua longs to sing to you! When voices of doubt or fear rise up and threaten to drown out His gentle whisper (First Kings 19:12), quiet your heart and listen for His song of love.

    Jesus, we rejoice with the 144,000 because You are the Lamb who was slain for us. Pour out on us Your gift of joy, and let our hearts resonate with the songs of heaven in adoration of Your wonderful love. You are our strength and our song! 323

 

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