Lesson 22 - The 144,000
Lesson 22 - (downloadable pdf file)
Revelation 13 closes with a view of the people of God as a small and apparently defenseless group against whom all the powers of earth are arrayed. By decree they have been denied the freedom to buy or sell and it has been decreed they are worthy of death. To all appearances they will soon be overwhelmed. Then, before the eyes of the prophet another scene opens, and he sees this small group standing upon Mount Zion, victorious over the beast and the allied world powers that had joined together to force all to accept it’s mark.
1. Who does the prophet John see on Mount Sion with the Lamb? Revelation 14:1
NOTE: The redeemed of the Lord are an innumerable company, which no man can number (See Revelation 7:9) but among that multitude is one separate company, a group who are designated by their number - one hundred and forty-four thousand. This company is composed of twelve divisions, each made up of twelve thousand individuals, and each group bears the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
2. What are the one hundred and forty-four thousand said to have in their foreheads? Revelation 14:1
3. What is another term for receiving the Father’s name in the forehead? Revelation 7:2-4
NOTE: While the ruling powers on earth are striving to gain recognition for the beast and his image, there is a sealing process going forward among those who have refused to recognize this sign of apostasy. See Ezekiel 9:1-4. All heaven is interested in this small group who remain loyal in the midst of almost universal apostasy.
4. What are the angels of God to do while the sealing is taking place? Revelation 7:1-3
NOTE: As we have seen, winds represent strife and war. Although there are wars and rumors of war (See Matthew 24:6), there is not a general engagement. Though we cannot see them, angels of God are holding the nations in check until the sealing of God’s servants can be completed.
5. What does John indicate had not defiled these faithful few? Revelation 14:4
NOTE: The church is represented by a woman; and the relationship of Christ to the church is as of a husband to his wife. In Revelation 17:5 we are shown an impure woman who had daughters of the same unholy nature. The 144,000 are not defiled by these women, or these apostate churches. They have a pure faith that is undefiled by these false teachings.
6. What is it that defiles? Matthew 15:18-20
NOTE: It is sin that defiles. The only Bible definition of sin is “transgression of the law.” See 1 John 3:4.
It is the teaching of the popular churches that there is salvation in disregard of God’s law. It is this that defiles the people. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlastiing covenant.” Isaiah 24:5.
The prophet Isaiah describes this situation. “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1. The husband gives his name to the wife and supplies her with food and clothing; but apostate churches while claiming the name of Christ (Christian), eat their own bread and wear their own apparel.
A Seal is that which authenticates a document or enactment of law, rendering it legal, and giving it the force of all the authority of the ruling power. We read in 1 Kings 21:8 that Jezebel “wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal.” These letters then had all the authority of King Ahab.
7. What did the Lord say to do with His law? Isaiah 8:16
8. What is the New Covenant promise? Hebrews 8:10
NOTE: While the mark of the beast can be received in either the hand (symbol of service) or the head (symbol of the mind - where a person makes their choices), the seal of God can be found written only on the forehead. Works will never be a qualification for the reception of that seal.
9. What sign did God give His people to show their acceptance of his authority? Ezekiel 20:20
NOTE: The basis of all worship is the fact that God is the Creator. The fourth commandment is the sign God has given us by which we show him respect as Creator.
There have always been some upon the earth who have kept the Sabbath; but the work of restoring the breach made in the law of God will be that of the 144,000. See Isaiah 58:12-14. While the vast majority of the world will be accepting the counterfeit sign, that of the man of sin, these few will firmly hold up before the world the obligation of the fourth commandment. Cut off from all earthly support and with the laws of the land deeming them worthy of death they will stand unmoved.
Many give a mental assent to following Christ, and many worship him outwardly; but only a few are willing to be so closely identified with him that their characters become assimilated into the divine likeness. This, however, is the experience of the 144,000.