Who are the 144,000?
One of the questions often asked when studying Revelation is: Who are the
144,000 standing with the Lamb on mount Zion? If we follow the pattern
which God used to foreshadow the coming of the church, the answer to this
question becomes easy to understand. This topic was discussed briefly in the
previous lesson, so please make sure you have read that lesson before
studying this one.
Prophecy of the Church
At this time in our study, it is extremely important that we have a proper
understanding of the symbolic meaning of mount Zion. This symbol is used
as a description of the church which our Lord built. This is learned from
Micah chapter 4:1 which states, "But in the last days it shall come to pass,
that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top
of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall
flow unto it." A mountain is used in scripture to symbolize a strong force.
Speaking of the nation of Babylon, Jer 51:25 says, "Behold, I am against
thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the
earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from
the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain." The "last days" is a
reference to the Christian age.
1 Pet 1:18-20 says, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation
received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of
Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was
foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in
these last times for you." It was God's plan that Christ would come to this
earth to redeem man even before the foundation of the world. These verses
explain that he was manifest in the "last times." Therefore, the "last
times" or "last days" is a reference to the Christian dispensation.
The "mountain of the house of the Lord" is a description of the church and
it was established in the "last days." It was established in the top of the
mountains which means it is the strongest force upon this earth. The last
phrase of Micah 4:1, "and many people shall flow unto it," explains that
many people will come into the church during the last days.
Micah 4:2 states, "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us
go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the
law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." The
"many nations" in this verse is in contrast to the one nation, Israel, which
gathered around mount Sinai as Moses received the Ten Commandments. There
are two symbolic references to the church in this verse: (1) mountain of the
Lord, and (2) house of the God of Jacob. When we come into the church, Jesus
will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths. He does this through
Christ Reigns on Mount Zion
The last phrase of Micah 4:7 states, "and the LORD shall reign over them in
mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever." This verse is explaining that
Christ will reign over those who come to the mountain of the Lord in the
last days. Today, he is reigning over those who are in his church which he
built on the day of Pentecost.
Rev 14:1, "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with
him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written
in their foreheads.? From the above discussion, we know that Christ reigns
over Christians as come unto the mountain of the Lord. That mountain is
mount Zion which is the church. Who are those who are standing with Christ
in mount Zion? They are Christians. He does not just reign over a part of
his people or just a certain specified number. He reigns over all his
people. Therefore, the number 144,000 is a symbolic number which represents
all of God's people. It represents all of those who have come into the
church and are standing with him on mount Zion.
Following the Pattern
If we follow the pattern established by God which is illustrated in the
above graphic, we can understand how the 144,000 come to mount Zion. Any
person who has not been obedient to the gospel which Christ gave us is
living is sin. They are in the bondage of sin. In order for anyone to leave
the bondage of sin, they must cross the blood of Christ. This is accomplished
by following the pattern established by Moses and the children of Israel as
they crossed the Red Sea. Remember, the Israelites passed through the waters
of the Red Sea. They did not walk on top of the waters or go around them.
down into the water. They then proceeded to mount Sinai where they gathered
around the mountain as God's chosen people who received his law. We leave
the bondage of sin in the same manner as we cross our Red Sea which is the
blood of Christ by going down into the waters of baptism and come out on
the other side free of sin. We gather around mount Zion where Christ reigns
over his people. We then dwell in the wilderness of this world awaiting his
second coming to take us to our promised land of heaven.
Description of the 144,000
One concept which is frequently missed when studying about the 144,000 is
that this number is symbolic of Christians today. Christians are standing
on mount Zion and Christ is reigning over his people today on this earth.
In Rev. 14:1-5 there are several descriptions of Christians who are standing
with Christ on mount Zion. These descriptions pertain to Christians today
as we serve God in his church. A short explanation of each of these
descriptions will be given below. Keep in mind we are describing Christians
as they follow Christ throughout their lives.
The number 144,000 is symbolic of all those who stand on mount Zion with
the Lamb. They have left the bondage of sin by crossing the Red Sea of the
blood of Christ. This is accomplished by following that pattern through
their death, burial and resurrection in the waters of baptism. As a result
they are numbered among the people of God.
Verse 1 - Christians are described as having the Father's name written in
their foreheads. This means that Christians pledge their mind and thoughts
to the Lord. This is in direct contrast to those who have the mark of the
Beast in their foreheads in 13:16. Everyone has a figurative mark in their
foreheads. Those who follow the Devil have the mark of the beast, but those
who follow Christ have the Father's name.
Verse 2 - Christians are described as having voices like harps. This shows
that the sound of the Christian's voice as he praises God in song is as
pleasing to God as the harp is to man.
Verse 3 - Christians sing a new song. This symbolism is once again taken
from the pattern established by the travels of Israel. After the Israelites
crossed the Red Sea, they immediately sang a song of praise to God for their
deliverance from Egypt. Christians no longer sing that song of praise.
Instead, we sing a new song. It is the song of deliverance from sin after
we pass through the blood of Christ and are delivered from spiritual
Verse 3 - Christians are the redeemed. They have washed their robes and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Verse 4 - Christians are not defiled with women for they are virgins. This
is once again a comparison between physical and spiritual relationships. A
relationship which is not defiled is one in which a person has been true to
their mate. A spiritual relationship with God which is not defiled is one
in which that person is true to God. The relationship is not defiled with
other gods or idols. They are true to the one God and follow his ways.
Verse 4 - Christians follow the Lamb wherever he goes. We follow the ways
Christ has given us through his Word.
Verse 4 - Christians are the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. James 1:18
explains, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we
should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." Through our obedience to
the Word, we are the firstfruits of God. Israel sacrificed the firstfruits
of their labor. Christians should also give their best to the Lord.
Verse 5 - In the mouth of Christians, no guile is found because their sins
have been forgiven by the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they stand
before the throne of God today as they worship him in his church.
Lesson 1 - Pattern used to Study Revelation
Lesson 2 - Holy City - The Bride of Christ
Lesson 3- Parallel Comparison of Israel and the Church
Lesson 4 - Mount Sinai/Mount Zion
Lesson 6 - The 1000 Year Reign
Lesson 7 - Armageddon
Lesson 8 - The Great Tribulation
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