Revelation 14-1-20 Part 3


1)    Then I looked and, lo, a Lamb having been standing upon the mount – Zion; and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousands having had His Name and His Father’s Name written on their foreheads.

2)    Then I heard sound from the heaven as sound from many waters and as sound from great thunder; then the sound that I heard as harpers harping in their harps;

3)    and they sing a new song before the throne and in the presence of the four creatures and the twenty four elders, and no one is enabled to understand the song except the hundred and forty-four thousands of the land who have been bought.

4)    These are the ones not defiled with women, for they are chaste; these are the ones following the Lamb wherever He leads; these firstfruit were bought from the men to God and to the Lamb,

5)    and falsehood was not found in their mouth; they are blameless.

6)    Then I saw a messenger flying in mid-heaven having age-enduring proclamation to proclaim against those dwelling on the land, and upon the nations and tribes and tongues and people

7)    declaring in a great sound ‘Fear ye The God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and do homage to The One having made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.’

8)    Then another, a second, followed saying ‘Fallen!  Babylon the great, from whom the wine of the passion of her fornication all the nations have drunk, is fallen!’

9)    Then another messenger, a third, followed them saying in a great sound ‘If anyone adores the beast and the image of it and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10) he will also drink from the wine, having been previously prepared unmixed, of the wrath of God in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented in fire and brimstone in the presence of holy messengers and in the presence of the Lamb,

11) and the smoke of their torment rises into ages of ages, and they have no rest day or night.’  These are the ones who adore the beast and its image and anyone taking the mark of its name;

12) whereas the perseverance of the saints is in this:  they are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13) Then I heard sound from the heaven telling me, write ‘Blessed the dead who die henceforth in Kurios; the Spirit says that they will receive rest from their travails for their works follow together with them.’

14) Then I looked and, lo, a white cloud; and on the cloud the seated likeness of Son of Man having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

15) And another messenger came out from the Holy Place crying out in a great sound to the One seated upon the cloud, ‘Send in Your sickle and reap for the hour is come to reap, for the harvest of the land is ripened.’

16) And the One sitting upon the cloud thrust His sickle upon the land and the land was reaped.

17) Then another messenger came forth from the Holy Place in the heaven, it also having a sharp sickle.

18) Then another messenger came forth from the altar having authority over the fire, and it called out with a great sound saying to the one with the sharp sickle, ‘Thrust your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the land, for her clusters have ripened.’

19) And the messenger thrust its sickle into the land and gathered the vine of the land and cast into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20) And the winepress was trodden outside the city; and blood came forth from the winepress as high as the horses’ bridles for a thousand six hundred stadia.





As the chapter opens, John sees the Lamb of God standing on the Mountain with His redeemed of the house of Jacob.  He is the “Overcomer”.  He has overcome the nations gathered together against Him; He has overcome the tempting of the serpent/beast to disobey His Father; He has overcome death and the grave; and now, as the apostle looks on, He has overcome the vengeance of Satan by redeeming every last one of His Father’s elect of the house of Jacob.  Not one of them was “turned”.

And then John hears the great sounds of the heavenly tabernacle of The Lord of Hosts… the sound as of many rushing waters, the sound as the sound of mighty thunder, and the sound as that of harpers harping in their harps.

The sound as the sound of many rushing waters is the sound of the wings of the mighty creatures at the four corners of the mercy seat.  The sound as of great thunders is the very voice of Yahveh in His terrible wrath.  And the sound as the sound of harpers harping in their harps is the immense sound of the Master Musician as the entire cloud of glory is filled with the joy of salvation in God’s Lamb.

Since the foreshadowed and prophesied Savior of the World has now come and overcome the world, it is, therefore, a “new” song.  He is no longer the foreshadowed and prophesied Lamb; He has now accomplished His work of atonement!  And only those recipients of the atonement can understand the measureless joy in the cloud of glory as the harping sound burst forth in the tabernacle.  It is the song of the testimony of Jesus the Lamb of God – the Savior of the entire creation of God.

And now, in verses four and five, John further elaborates on the estate and character of the hundred and forty four thousand redeemed of Israel due to the atonement made for them.  And please hear how I put that:  “the estate and character – due to the atonement!

They have been bought.  That’s the word used here in the Greek text; and it’s a very important word.  It’s a verb (as you can tell), and the apostle uses it here at the end of verse three, and then again in verse four.

At the end of verse three I’ve translated it the way I did because the word is written in the perfect tense, and it’s a passive participle.  The hundred and forty-four thousand of the house of Jacob are standing on Mount Zion with God’s Lamb; they have been standing on Mount Zion with God’s Lamb – as a result of having been bought.  That’s the way it must be understood.

In verse four John changes the tense of the verb a bit.  Once again I’ve translated it like I did because, in this case, it is a specific, one-time event.  These firstfruit were bought.  They are firstfruit because they are bought.  And that refers directly to the once occurring death and resurrection of Jesus.  You’ll notice it’s still written as a “passive”; so it’s something that happened to those of the house of Jacob that God had kept for Himself – not by them.

John’s very interesting language here must have caused the Churches to wonder at the gracious redemption that has been wrought on their behalf; and it must also cause us the same “wonder”.  To have been bought out of slavery to our own man-caused depravity is an awe-inspiring, wondrous achievement by God’s Lamb.  And our praise and thanksgiving should be never-ending!

But in verse three of the text John writes that the hundred and forty-four thousands having been bought were “of the land”.  And then, in verse four he writes that they (they being firstfruit) were bought “from the men”.

Anybody that says that that’s not curious language isn’t paying attention!

And what do we always do when we meet up with language that, at first read, just doesn’t seem right somehow… at first read it’s not very intelligible?

Well, since the language is “curious”, first it piques our curiosity!  Then it drives us to investigate… history, continuity, word studies, similar language in other places, theological implications.

This is all God’s perception – right?  And it’s all seen and heard by the premier theologian of the “appointed time”.  And it’s all written by him for the Churches, in order that they (we) might read it and hear it… and understand it… and hold the testimony of Jesus.

So let’s spend a minute or two on some Biblical theology that we’ve learned previously.  Man was created in the image of God in order that we might have peace and fellowship (communion) with our Creator… That’s our “normal”, created estate.

However, our original forefather (and foremother, if I can use that language) sought to be “as God” rather than being His image.  Because of that impertinence he was cursed and he died.  He was cast out of the mountain paradise; and all his posterity is just like him – exhibiting that cursed depravity, and being alienated from our Creator (no peace with God, no fellowship with God, and under a death sentence).  That’s now mankind’s “abnormal” created estate.

Now.  Since no man can do anything about the condition (or the estate) in which he is brought into the creation, something has to be done “for us”, and “to us”, in order that we might once again have that communion of peace and fellowship with our Creator, which is our “normal” estate.

Sin, death, and the curse of God are “abnormal”; peace and fellowship with God is “normal” created existence.

The word that John writes here regarding the hundred and forty-four thousand standing with the Lamb of God is that they have been “bought”.  The ones who have been bought are “of the land” (verse three); and they’ve been bought “from the men” (verse four).

The implication from seeing these elect of the house of Jacob standing on the new Mount Zion with the Lamb is that these (and these only) now have peace and fellowship with their Creator because they have had something done to them and for them; they have been bought (passive voice).

And since it is the Lamb of God with Whom they’re standing, it is He Who has bought them.  And they are in this new mountain/paradise/kingdom of Jesus Christ; and therein is peace and fellowship with our Creator Triune God.  They all, to the last person, belong to Him because He bought them.  And because it is the Lamb that is shown to John, it’s perfectly obvious that He is the Sacrifice God made to Himself that is the Price for their having been bought!

It’s also obvious that these hundred and forty-four thousand now have the original “normal” relationship between Creator and creature… the “abnormal” estate of the cursed and depraved having been “overcome” by the Lamb.

So these, and these alone, have had peace and fellowship with God “restored” to its original estate… not by anything whatever that they have done.  But these “bought ones” are “of the land” (verse three), and they were “bought from the men” (verse four).

And now we have to understand the word “bought” and how it’s used in Scripture; and that will give us some clarity as to John’s curious language here in these two verses.

Let’s listen to the apostle Paul first, as he makes good use of the word.  Here are his words in First Corinthians chapter six:


19) Have you not known that your body is a sanctuary of Holy Spirit in you which you have from God? and that you are not your own

20) for you were bought with a price?  Then glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.


Then once again in the next chapter (chapter seven) of the same letter:


17) …as God did distribute to each, as the Lord hath called each -- so let him walk; and thus in all the assemblies do I direct:

18) being circumcised -- was any one called? let him not become uncircumcised.  In uncircumcision was any one called? let him not be circumcised;

19) the circumcision is nothing, and the uncircumcision is nothing -- but keeping the commands of God.

20) Each in the calling in which he was called -- in this let him remain;

21) a servant -- were you called?  Don’t be anxious; but if also you are able to become free -- use [it] rather;

22) for he who in the Lord -- having been called a servant -- is the Lord's freedman: in like manner also he the freeman, having been called, is servant of Christ:

23) with a price you were bought, become not servants of men;

24) each, in that in which he was called, brethren, in this let him remain with God.


In the great city of Corinth, directly across the Aegean Sea from Ephesus and Smyrna, Paul writes exactly what John now sees and hears here in The Revelation.  And he wrote it twenty years before John received the Revelation; so it’s settled and understood that all who are bought with a price are in union with Christ (no matter the estate in which they were found); and they are all restored to the original communion with God – as a result of having been bought.

Paul and John and all the other apostles taught these things freely and openly to the Churches of the first century long before John received the Revelation; and they (and the Churches) would have understood the older Scripture references when John sent the Revelation to them.

Now, when Flo and I were in Rome and in Ephesus and Smyrna, we went to see the locations which, translated into English, were called the “market”.   It was the place in town where everything went on.  It was the public “center” of the city.

The Greek word is agora  - buying and selling and trading, entertainment, meetings, discussions, trials and punishments, duels, executions, etc… everything went on at the agora – the market.

And the word that Paul used in the two passages we just read, and the word that is revealed to John here in verses three and four, is agoradzo.  You can hear for yourself the relationship of the two words.  Agora – the market – is the noun, whereas agoradzo is the verb.  And it means to “buy”.

It’s the word that equates to the Hebrew word in God’s Law received on the mountain at Sinai with regard to the buying of Hebrew servants, or slaves.  Hebrew servants are “of the land”, and they are to be “set free” by their masters in the seventh year.  Buying them and then setting them free at the appointed time… all foreshadowing those of the “land” who are standing with the Lamb on the mountain, having been “bought” and “set free” in God’s Anointed King.  They are set free to communion with God by virtue of the crucified and resurrected Christ as their Mediator.

John’s second reference to these having been bought is in verse four.  It also is a reference to the marketplace where bondservants are bought and sold and auctioned in order to pay their debt.  Servants are sold by men in the market; and they are sold into servanthood.

And if there’s any clearer example of our duty to our Master, I don’t know what it is!  The Lord Jesus Christ bought these hundred and forty-four thousands and paid a great price for them.  And they are to be servants of His and His Kingdom – they are bought from the men into servanthood to their Master.

This is the Biblical doctrine of “redemption”.  God’s people are bought by the blood of the Christ of God from their former slave-master, “freeing” them all from that slavery, to be “doulas” – obedient servants of the One Who bought them at great price!

And these of the twelve tribes of the house of Jacob, bought out of slavery to the men, are said to be “firstfruit”.  And where do we find the firstfruit?  It’s in Exodus twenty-two – God’s Law received at the mountain!

I won’t read all of that for you, but the firstfruit of the land was a sacrifice to God, the “offering up” of the first harvest of the “land” to Yahveh, claimed by Him as His exclusive property!  That’s the way the text reads there in Exodus twenty-two.

Later on in this chapter of The Revelation we’ll see the enthroned Christ put in His sickle to harvest this firstfruit from the land.  They are the ones “bought out of slavery to the men”, and they become the exclusive property of The Most High, just as the Law of God said in Exodus… foreshadowing the coming Messiah.

And the text of the entire newer Scripture considers this firstfruit as the Church of Jesus Christ there at the end of the age. 

The faithful remnant of the land, bought at great price, were the first generation Church – the apostolic Church – who overcame by the blood of the Lamb.  Their lives were in obedience to the Law of God, and they held the testimony of Jesus – even unto death.  And even though they were “bought at great price”, they were pursued and persecuted and afflicted and tormented and victimized by the very ones from whom they had been “bought”, and all in collusion with the beast!

And the reason for the persecution of these who had been bought was that they had been bought into servanthood to Jesus Christ.

And, as Jesus had said, as recorded in Matthew twenty-four, that persecution of the hundred and forty-four thousands of His “bought” servants – the exclusive property of the Most High – would be the final reason for the men of the land to suffer the shed blood of all the righteous in history!

The persecution of the firstfruit – the ones “harvested” by the Christ, the ones bought with great price by the blood of the Lamb, the exclusive property of God – was the ultimate affront to Him, and it brought on the mighty wrath of The Almighty.  That persecution also served as “proving” of the Lord’s people in all the Churches, for those who did belong to Him kept His commandments and held the testimony of Jesus.

And now we’re going to hear what John wrote as to the status and character of those “redeemed” from the land; for, due to the atonement, these are all the “bought servants” of The Lamb of God (verses four and five).

And first, of course, is that the hundred and forty-four thousand standing on the mount with God’s Lamb are able to hear the majestic song emanating from the tabernacle in the cloud of glory.  They are the only ones who can hear it, for they are the only ones of the land who have been bought.  Their ears are opened to the testimony of Jesus.

Then, verse four, John writes, “these are the ones not defiled with women, for they are chaste”.

First things first… we have to dispense with the thought that this statement by John, or any other text of God’s Word, requires abstinence or celibacy!  No matter what Romanism demands of its “priests”, that’s plain mockery of God’s Word.  The joining of two in one flesh was what was required of our original parents when they were in communion with God in paradise!  So, anything else is “abnormal” for God’s creatures made in His image.

Secondly, the Scripture makes clear that “defilement” comes about through fornication.  And fornication is the Greek term that equals the Hebrew word for “unclean thing” – or “defiling thing” in the older Scripture.  It’s the word that Jesus used in Matthew nineteen when mocking the pharisees’ inane questions concerning divorce.  And it’s the word that Paul uses when he urges the Churches to “flee” fornication; because it defiles!

Adultery is a sin, the definition of which is limited to any sexual activity outside the bond of marriage.  But fornication (or the unclean thing, or the defiling thing) is a much broader term; for it includes many sins that aren’t restricted to the definition of adultery.

Fornication (defilement) would include all sexual activity of unmarried persons, plus all other defiling sins including witchcraft, necromancy, false prophecy, murder, and others, including (and especially) idolatry!

In fact, idolatry is perceived by God as harlotry with other gods!  And therefore “fidelity” to Triune God is “chastity”.  Later on in the text of The Revelation, Israel will be called “the great harlot” due to its unclean relationship with other nations and their gods.

Now, it’s interesting that the word translated “chaste” is “parthenos”, which means “virgin”.  The Parthenon in Athens was the place of the virgins.

Our text says that the hundred and forty-four thousands standing with the Lamb on the mountain are “chaste” – they are not “defiled” (passive voice), so they have been made “virginal” by the atonement of the Lamb.  Their debt has been paid; their depravity was attributed to the sacrificial Lamb of God; and the wrath of God toward them has been satisfied!  Their fidelity to the Christ is exhibited here in what John sees; and therefore they have been made “virginal” – chaste.  Their fidelity is not to the land, or to the men, or to the beast… but to the One Who bought them.

Next (concerning the estate and character of those standing with the Lamb), John says (verse four) “these are the ones following the Lamb wherever He leads”.

During the years previous to this Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, this very apostle wrote down the words of Jesus in his Gospel.  And we’re going to read those instances when our Lord told His disciples and His sheep who were lost to “follow” Him.

Here they are.  First, from John chapter eight:


“Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, `I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but he shall have the light of the life.'”


And from the Gospel of John chapter ten (a most awesome statement by our Lord):


1)    Truly, truly, I say to you, he that comes not in by the door into the fold of sheep, but ascends [up] by another way, is a night thief and a day thief.

2)    But he that enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep.

3)    To This One the porter opens, and the sheep hear His voice, and He calls His Own sheep by name and leads them out.

4)    And when He has sent out His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.

5)    But they follow not a stranger (an alien), but flee from him; for they have not known the voice of aliens.


Later in that same chapter, we read this:


25) Jesus answered them (that’s the pharisees), I speak to you, and you believe not; the works that I do in the name of my Father bear witness of Me.

26) But you don’t believe because you be not of My sheep.

27) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

28) And I give to them everlasting life, and they shall not perish without end, and none shall snatch them out of My hand.


Just one more.  This one in chapter twenty-one – the last chapter.  And the last entry in John’s Gospel is one of the most daunting passages in all of Scripture.  He records Peter and Jesus speaking about John who would, nearly forty years later, receive the Revelation.  Listen to it:


20) Peter, turning around, sees the disciple who Jesus loved following… who also leaned back on his breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is he that betrays you?”

21) Since Peter sees him (i.e. the one following), he says to Jesus, “Lord, what shall this man do?”

22) Jesus says unto him, “If I will that he abides till I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

23) The saying therefore went forth among the brethren that that disciple would not die.  But Jesus did not say unto him that he would not die; but (He said) “If I will that he abide till I come, what is that to thee?”

24) This is the disciple that bears witness of these things and wrote these things: and we know that His witness is true.


The very letter that we’re preaching through is written by that disciple… the one about whom Jesus said would “tarry” – abide – until He come; and he is writing about the Parousia of The Christ in the “last days”.

And as he sees and hears all that’s being shown to him, he remembers what Jesus said about all His sheep “following” Him; and that He knows them by name; and that they hear His voice; and that they don’t hear the voice of any alien!  And the hundred and forty-four thousands of His lost sheep who have been found are standing with Him on the mountain; and they “follow” Him wherever He leads.

Of course He would also remember the Psalmist prophesying of the Great Shepherd of the Sheep Who would lead all His sheep in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake… and, of course, many others.

Then, due to the atonement of the Lamb, “falsehood was not found in their mouth (verse five); they are blameless”.

The estate and condition and character of these individuals, and the Church seen as a body, is completed by John here in verse five.  And even though this is the first century “firstfruit” of the atonement, there’s no way to avoid the extension of the atonement benefits to the entire Church in God’s history.  His atonement is as certain for His people today as it was for our forefathers – the firstfruit of the resurrection.

Not only are we “in” Him and “with” Him now in His new Mount Zion, but we are in the resurrected and ascended Christ, and enrolled in The Heaven (as the Scripture says).  It is as certain for us as it was for His lost sheep of the house of Jacob.  His Kingdom is “from” the heaven, and it extends “from there” to all time and to all nations and peoples and tongues.

We stand “blameless” before God, just as our forefathers, because of our Lord’s atonement; for He “bought” us at great price.

Because we’re running long, I have only two passages of Scripture for you (out of many) about the estate and character of those “in Christ” having to do with falsehood (verse five).

The first is from Zephaniah chapter three.  Yahveh says, through the prophet, that after He visits all the land with the fire of His jealousy, this is what He will do:


9)    For then will I turn to the peoples of a pure speech, that they may all call upon the name of Yahveh, to serve him with one accord.

10) From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed ones shall bring my offering.

11) In that day you shall not be put to shame for all your doings wherein you have transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of you your proud exultations, and you shall no more be haughty in all my holy mountain.

12) But I will leave in the midst of you an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of Yahveh.

13) The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak falsehoods; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.


Then, some few years before John is taken up into the heaven and sees this triumphant view of our Lord’s Church in His atonement, the writer to the afflicted Hebrew refugees-in-Christ in the nations says this in chapter twelve:


22) but you are come unto mount Zion and unto the city of the living God the Jerusalem from the heaven, and to innumerable hosts of messengers (in festal assembly),

23) and to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in the heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24) and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant….


No matter what their physical location, the Church of Jesus Christ is triumphant “in Him”, and no distinction whatever is made between the Church scattered in the nations and what John sees here in the heaven!  They all are “come unto Mount Zion”!  They are all made “perfect” before God in the atonement of The Christ.

And that perfection allotted to them in Christ’s atonement is reflected in the absence of falsehood in their mouth (collective singular).  All those to be harvested and thrown into the lake of fire are unclean, and full of deceit and false prophecy and idolatry.

But the hundred and forty-four thousands (no matter what their locations happen to be) are standing with the Lamb on the new Mount Zion (our Lord’s Kingdom); and they keep His commandments, and they hold the testimony of Jesus!

In opposition to all her enemies, the Church of Jesus Christ holds His testimony and proclaims the Truth.  In the midst of “proving”, those who are come to Mount Zion in Christ are the ones with no guile in their mouth – no pseudo-prophecy, no idolatry, no lies, no falsehood; rather, they hold the testimony of Jesus… and they proclaim it.  No matter the opposition; no matter the affliction that comes from that opposition – even unto death!