Saturday, November 25, 2023

Safe From the Sickle - Part 1


Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Safe From the Sickle"
Written By: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Revelation 7, we were introduced to “The 144,000,” about whom there has been much speculation as to their identity over the years. For a while, one of the cults believed they were the 144,000. But when their numbers began to exceed that number, they realized that they had a problem, because only that number of them would be sealed to God. Additionally, this group was “of the Tribes of Israel,” and the cultists were not. God knows whom the sealed are, even if the Cults do not. And He is about to tell us more about them in Chapter 14 of Revelation.

Today we learn a little more about them as John takes us back to them. They were “sealed” by the Holy Spirit from among the 12 Tribes of Israel, twelve thousand from each Tribe. This assuredly means they are Jews.

Then what follows is an innumerable multitude of people from around the world singing God’s praises. It is a holy interlude, and the host of angels and the 24 Elders bowed and joined in singing praises to God in heaven. This large group is identified as the Tribulation Saints, having been saved through the great tribulation period, along with the 144,000.

The identity of this Remnant of 144,000 is vital in knowing from where this innumerable multitude has come. (Hint: the 12 Apostles followed Jesus.)

John then shifts our attention toward a great victory upon Earth.

While the Dragon, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet have been engaged in a Spiritual invasion on Earth, the seat of their power on Earth falls. God’s wrath has begun against an unbelieving world. The Valley of Megiddo becomes our new focal point. The Armies of the world converge. We may have more questions as we close chapter 14 this week, but like chapter 7, our questions will be answered in the chapters ahead. Scriptures will be fulfilled in the times ahead.

From Matthew 13:17 -

“For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 14:1-6 - "Safe from the Sickle" - Part 1

Summary/Bible Notes 

Today we will be looking at Revelation chapter 14.  It's important to recognize that the events described between chapters 11-16 are not in chronological order.  John's is introducing certain key figures and future events towards the end of the Great Tribulation.

As we begin today's study, we notice that John is again writing about a group of believers we've read about before.  They are the 144,000, sealed by God, and emerge triumphant at the end surviving Satan's wrath, and God's judgments upon this sinful world.  Along with them are a group of others, both Jews and Gentiles who are saved and survive the tribulation.  Jesus, along with the 144,000 sealed believers sing a song of praise to God standing upon Mount Zion.  What a picture of contrast between these sealed, spiritually pure believers like beacons of purity and light with those who bear the mark of the Antichrist and worship the beast.

These sealed saints sing a song of praise for their protection and triumph, it is the song of redemption.  The angels will join in along with the Old Testament saints, the raptured church and the redeemed tribulation martyrs.  All of heaven praising God for His redemptive work and the return of Jesus Christ. 

The 144,000 are characterized as the ones who "follow the Lamb."  They are completely devoted no matter the cost.  Matthew 16:24, 
" If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  

Next week, three angels deliver messages of warning and prophecy predicting God's impending judgment on sin and evil. Included in these statements is a comment about those who accepted the mark of the beast, described in chapter 13. Those who take that mark are bound for eternal damnation—they are not believers. This further supports the idea that the mark of the beast is not some casual, hidden concept. Those who take it will know they are rejecting God by doing so. This passage ends with a word of encouragement for Christians who suffer persecution for their faith (Revelation 14:6–13).

The last section of chapter 14 depicts Jesus holding a sickle—a farming tool used to cut plants during the harvest. This passage symbolizes the return of Jesus, and the subsequent battle, in terms of a grape harvest. Just as mature grapes are fat and full of juice, the wickedness of unbelievers on earth will have reached a peak at this moment. Just as a winepress crushes and shreds grapes to make wine, the wrath of God will tear apart those who fight against Christ at the end of the tribulation (Revelation 14:14–20).

Mount Zion (14:1) - The city of Jerusalem, where the Messiah will return and plant His feet.

144,000 (14:1) - These are the sealed Jewish believers, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. 

Father's Name (14:1) - This is the counterpart to the mark of beast; it is the stamp that will identify the 144,000 as belonging to God (see 13:6).

A New Song (14:3) - This is the song of redemption, which is being sun by all the redeemed saints in one gigantic choir.  All are rejoicing in worship and praise for the triumphant accomplishment of God's entire redemptive work before Christ's return. 

(14:4) - The 144,000 will all apparently be young Israelite men who have kept their sexual purity.  What a beautiful illustration of God's ability to keep believers remarkably pure in the midst of great difficulty.  These young men will have resisted the perverse system of the Antichrist, and the incredible pressure and temptation to give in.

Follow the Lamb - Unwavering loyalty to Jesus Christ no matter the cost.

Firstfruits (14:4) - These men are the "firstfruits" of the future redeemed Israel.  The are set apart for special service to God. 

No Guile (14:5) - These men speak God's truth accurately and precisely, and without exaggeration,

Everlasting Gospel (14:6) - This is the final, climactic reference to the gospel in the Bible.  It is called "everlasting," so it can be no different from the gospel preached by Paul.  In fact, it will be proclaimed by an angel from heaven, and Paul had specifically warned against any gospel preached by an angel if it was different from the gospel he preached (Galatians 1:8).  This is the good news concerning everlasting life and entrance into the kingdom of God.  He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb.  It is also called in the New Testament the gospel of God, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the gospel of grace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom.  It is the good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe.  The whole world will hear the gospel preached as God graciously provides this final call.

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV