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Buist Fanning: Structure: The chapter clearly falls into three sections (vv. 1–5; 6–13; 14–20), with each section introduced as a separate visionary phase by the common expression “and I looked/saw” (καὶ εἶδον). The first section is a joyful scene of victory, while the second and third portray primarily judgment with brief messages of encouragement to the faithful and even to those who still need to turn in faith to the true God (14:6–7, 12–13). . .

Instead of the savage beast and those forced to bear his mark, we see the Lamb and those identified with him standing in triumph on Mount Zion and celebrated by the heavenly company in a preview of God’s imminent victory. . .

John’s anticipation of the regathering of Israel as a whole (not just a small remnant) is expressed in this vision, as in 7:1–8, through the appearance of the “one hundred and forty-four thousand” who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion (v. 1b).  In 7:3–4 twelve thousand from “every tribe of the sons of Israel” are sealed “on their foreheads” as a mark of God’s ownership and protection. Their number (12 x 12,000) is symbolic of their complete regathering as a people. Even though additional descriptions of these Israelites are given in 14:3c–5 that did not appear in 7:3–8, their total number and their marking with the names of God and the Lamb “written on their foreheads” (v. 1c) make clear that this is the same group, now standing in triumph with Christ.

Both passages (7:1–8 and 14:1–5) suffer in the commentaries from an unfortunate neglect of ethnic Israel in the interpretation of Revelation and a tendency to collapse Old Testament prophetic expectations about the future into a type of Christian eschatology that is either supersessionist or that effaces all ethnic differences among the redeemed. As a result, important clues for interpretation of what the text actually says in the context of its ancient background are missed or misconstrued.

Van Parunak: In view of John’s dependence on the OT, the most straightforward understanding of Zion here is as an anticipation of “the beloved city” (20:9) in which our Lord rules during the Millennium. Chapters 12-14 thus carry us through the whole of human history on this present earth, from Eden in ch. 12 to the coming kingdom in ch. 14 that lies beyond the bowl judgments. Compare the role of the sixth seal in depicting the final return of the Lord, or the seventh trumpet in describing the Lord’s coming rule.

Robert Mounce: In order to keep before his readers the ultimate reward for their endurance, the author of Revelation intersperses glimpses of final blessedness among his presentations of judgment. The detailed description of the beast and the false prophet in the preceding chapter was a somber reminder of what lay in the immediate future, suffering and death, with a call to steadfastness. A note of encouragement is in order.

Charles Swindoll: I’ve titled this fourth episode of the book of Revelation “Vengeance of the Glorious Deliverer” (14:1–19:10). It begins with a preview of coming events. The blasphemous exploits of the two beasts give way to a series of visions that predict the final gathering of the earth for deliverance and harvesting of the earth for judgment (14:1-20). This forecast then dissolves into a new vision of the most severe plagues of the end times —the seven bowls of wrath (15:1–16:21).

Joe Beard: Chapter 12 introduced us to important characters of the Great Tribulation period.  Chapter 13 which we looked at over the last two weeks introduced us to the two evil human characters of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist and his false prophet, this morning we enter chapter 14 the theme is ultimate triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is important to understand that the material presented in these three chapters is not given to us in chronological order but prepares the way for the climax which begins in chapter 15Chapter 14 consists of a series of declarations and visions that assure us of the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ and the judgment of the wicked, those who led the rebellion against God and those who followed them.


And I looked,

A.  The Victorious Lamb on Mount Zion

and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion,

Daniel Akin: They stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Some believe this is heavenly Zion, based on Hebrews 12:22-24. That is certainly possible. However, I believe it is better to see this as earthly Jerusalem and a reflection of the beautiful messianic hymn of Psalm 2. There in verse 6 we read, “I have consecrated My King on Zion, My holy mountain.” Psalm 48:2 says that God’s holy mountain, “rising splendidly, is the joy of the whole earth. Mount Zion on the slopes of the north is the city of the great King.” Isaiah 24:33 adds,

The moon will be put to shame and the sun disgraced, because the Lord of Hosts will reign as king on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and He will display His glory in the presence of His elders.

This is the mountain of the great King, and there He stands in triumphant victory. By glorious grace those who follow Him stand with Him. The reign of terror of the dragon, antichrist, and false prophet is already passing away. Their doom is certain. There is a new King on the scene! The beast is going down as the Lamb stands up (see 5:6-7; see also Ps 76).

G.K. Beale: The fuller name Mount Zion, in distinction to “Zion” by itself, occurs only nineteen times in the OT, at least nine of which allude to a remnant being saved, in connection with either God’s name or God’s sovereign rule and sometimes both (2 Kgs. 19:31; Isa. 4:5; 10:12; 37:30-32; Joel 2:32, etc.). Against this OT background, Mount Zion in Rev. 14:1 is to be seen as the end-time city where God dwells with and provides security for the remnant who have been bought out from the earth.

John MacArthur: Strangely, some equate this passage with Hebrews 12:22–24 and view it as a vision of heaven. But the former passage describes the heavenly Mount Zion, the abode of God. This passage describes the return of Christ to the earthly Mount Zion. The whole point would be lost if Mount Zion refers to heaven, because that would mean the one hundred and forty-four thousand had died. In that case, their sealing with the mark of God (7:3–4; cf. 9:4) would be rendered meaningless. Isaiah 11:9–12 and 24:23, Joel 2:32, and Zechariah 14:4 also support the identification of the Mount Zion in this passage with the earthly Mount Zion. That a voice comes out of heaven (v. 2) also suggests that this scene is on earth.

B.  The Victorious 144,000 with the Lamb

  1. Preserved Secure

and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand,

Richard Phillips: In John 10:28, Jesus promised that those who follow him in faith “will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This doctrine is graphically depicted in the vision of the 144,000 gathered with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Last seen, this assembly was beset with many dangers in the great tribulation that is the church age, including the warfare of the dragon and his two beasts. From a worldly perspective, it might seem that none of them would arrive safely in heaven. Now on Mount Zion, we find that not one of them has been lost. John sees not 129,600, which would be a 90 percent success rate, or even 143,999, with only a single precious sheep’s having perished. Instead, the exact number of those who begin the journey of salvation through faith arrive safely in his presence. In the terms of Psalm 23, every one of those who begins by saying, “The LORD is my shepherd” does in fact “dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

John MacArthur: Nothing will be able to harm them, because God will seal them (7:3–4). They will be like the remnant of Malachi’s day: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’” (Mal. 3:16–17). Throughout history, God has protected those who belong to Him. He preserved Noah during the Flood and kept Rahab safe when Jericho was destroyed. He preserved Lot from the destruction of Sodom and kept the children of Israel safe from the plagues that devastated Egypt. Psalm 37:39–40 declares, “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.

The 144,000 will not be the only ones redeemed during the Tribulation. A great host of others, both Jews (Zech. 12:10–14; 13:1, 9; Rom. 11:26–27) and Gentiles (6:9–11; 7:9, 13–14; Matt. 25:31–46) will be saved. Many, perhaps most, of them will die as martyrs during the savage persecution unleashed by Antichrist. The rest, however, who will live through the horrors of the Tribulation will enter the millennial kingdom (Isa. 65:20–23; Matt. 25:31–36). But the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are unique because all of them will survive. When Christ returns and stands on Mount Zion, they will stand with Him in triumph.

  1. Proclaiming Visible Identification with the Lamb and His Father

having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.


A.  (:2) Heavenly Choir

  1. Voice Origin

And I heard a voice from heaven,

  1. Voice Characteristics

a.  Impressive

like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder,

b.  Melodious

and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists

playing on their harps.

Tony Garland: Harps were often used in worship in the OT (2S. 6:51Chr. 25:1-7Ps. 33:243:457:8-998:5147:7149:3150:3-6). Here, the harps are probably played by a multitude in heaven.

B.  (:3) Harmonious New Song

  1. Special Audience

And they sang a new song before the throne

and before the four living creatures

and the elders;

Buist Fanning: To “sing a new song” reflects a number of Old Testament passages that indicate praise to the Lord inspired afresh by his gracious deliverance, especially culminating in his coming renewal of all things (cf. Isa 42:9–10 and discussion at Rev 5:9). Such a new song is an appropriate backdrop for the scene of victory on Mount Zion that v. 1 presents.

Warren Wiersbe: Because of the special experiences they had during the tribulation, they have a new song to sing that others cannot share (see Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1). They are accompanied by heavenly harps and other heavenly voices. It is encouraging to know that one day our sorrows will be transformed into songs!

David Thompson: There is obviously a tremendous worship service taking place in heaven that is focused on the judgment of God and these 144,000 are fully aware that the things happening on earth are part of the judgment of God that will lead to the glorious return of Jesus Christ. The 144,000 are not at the worship service in heaven, but they are very aware of it. They can hear this song and they are able to learn it and sing it.

Joe Beard: Who is this group that is singing this new song?  In the same chapter where we were first introduced to the 144,000, Revelation 7, we also learned of an innumerable multitude from every nation, tribe, people and tongues that was standing before the throne and one of the elders told John that this multitude was the ones who came out of the great tribulation.  They are the ones who were murdered by the Antichrist’s decree to kill those who refused to worship him, they died as martyrs.  I believe these are the voices that John hears singing this new song.  What this new song is about we do not know, the words are not given to us, is it a song of redemption, is it a song of exultation that the tribulation has ended and the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth is about to begin.  John goes on to tell us that besides the ones that are singing the new song, no one else can learn it except the 144,000 that have come through the horrors of the Great Tribulation.

  1. Special Song

and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.


Van Parunak: Thus the four characteristics associated with the 144,000 whom we see with the Lamb on Mount Zion are those given in Psalms 15 and 24 as the requirements for those who would in fact ascend to Mount Zion. In doing so, they summarize four guidelines for godliness to which we should pay attention: physical and spiritual purity, association with the Lord, separation from the world, and blamelessness in word and action.

5 Key Characteristics:

A.  (:4a) Sexual Purity

These are the ones who have not been defiled with women,

for they have kept themselves chaste.

John MacArthur: The worship of Antichrist during the Tribulation will be unspeakably vile and perverse. As it did in the fertility cults of ancient times, sexual sin will apparently run rampant. Even in the current grossly immoral day, we can hardly imagine what the deviant sexual perversion of the Tribulation will be like. With all divine restraint removed (2 Thess. 2:6–7) and the unbelieving world judgmentally abandoned by God (cf. Rom. 1:24, 26, 28), sin will be released like a flood, inundating the world. And fanning the hellish flames of wickedness will be Satan and his demon hosts—both those cast from heaven with him (12:9) and those vile demons newly released from imprisonment (9:1–11, 14–19).

In the midst of the darkness of the Tribulation period, the 144,000 will shine forth like beacons of purity. Despite the rampant sexual sin that surrounds them, they will not be defiled with women, but will keep themselves chaste. That the specific sin that they will avoid involves women indicates that sexual purity is in view here, not detachment from the corrupt world system. That the 144,000 will be separate from Antichrist’s empire has already been made clear; they bear God’s mark, not the beast’s (7:3–4). Nor does this passage teach that they will all be unmarried, since sex within marriage does not defile anyone (Heb. 13:4). What it means is that they will stand apart from the sin of their culture; 144,000 morally pure preachers amid the defilement that surrounds them.

Tony Garland: These are physical virgins, for why else would it be said of this particular group of saints that they are virgins? All the saints are virgins in the spiritual sense of being set aside and dedicated to God. “I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2Cor. 11:2).Jesus explained, “there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (Mat. 19:12) “Not only is there virgin purity of life, but there is also virgin love—undivided heart affection for the Lamb.”  These are eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. By both choice and gifting, they were enabled to give their full focus to ministry at the time of the end.

[Alternate View:]

Daniel Akin: This, without question, is symbolic of their fidelity and allegiance to the Lamb whom they follow wherever He goes. In other words, they are spiritually faithful to their God in a world awash in idolatry and immorality (see 9:20-21; see also Jas 4:5). They have remained morally and spiritually pure in their devotion of and love for the Lamb. No other God would they consider. No other lover would they entertain. They follow Christ and only Christ, for He redeemed them. He set them free from slavery to sin. He purchased them from the enslavement and bondage to sin. They continually follow the Lamb as “firstfruits.” This could indicate they are the beginning of a greater harvest to follow. Based on Revelation 7:9-14, we know that many will come to Christ during the great tribulation even as God pours out His judgment and wrath on unrepentant humanity.

Robert Mounce: There is a symbolism in the description of the church as virgins that must not be overlooked. On many occasions throughout the OT, Israel is spoken of as a virgin. She is the “Virgin Daughter of Zion” (2 Kgs 19:21; Lam 2:13), “Virgin Israel” (Jer 18:13; Amos 5:2). When she lapsed into idolatry, she is said to have played the harlot (Jer 3:6; Hos 2:5). The figure is carried over into the NT when Paul writes to the Corinthians, “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor 11:2). The 144,000 are here pictured as the promised bride of Christ (cf. 21:9) who, as they await the day of marriage, have kept themselves pure from all defiling relationships with the pagan world system. They have resisted the seductions of the great harlot Rome with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication (17:2).  The apparent confusion of the sexes is of no moment since the entire figure is to be understood symbolically.

B.  (:4b) Dedicated Disciples

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Buist Fanning: They are dedicated disciples of Christ (v. 4c, “they follow the Lamb wherever he goes”), a reference to their costly self-sacrifice and consecration to God and his gospel (cf. Mark 8:34–38 and parallels).

Grant Osborne: The idea of “following” Christ is the heart of discipleship in the Gospels (Mark 1:18; 8:34; et al.; seventy times in the Gospels), and John describes Christ as the Good Shepherd who “calls his sheep by name and leads them out . . . and they follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3–4). Here the “wherever he goes” implies imitatio Christi, discipleship that involves suffering and death (“take up his cross and follow me,” Mark 8:34). Aune (1998a: 813) gives an excellent overview of the background. To “follow” means both to adhere to Jesus’ instructions and to promote his cause, a thrust found only in the Gospels and in Rev. 14:4. The idea of following to the point of death also occurs in Matt. 10:38; Luke 17:33; John 12:25–26; 13:36; 1 Pet. 2:21; Rev. 12:11.

C.  (:4c) Redeemed as First Fruits

These have been purchased from among men

as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.

Buist Fanning: Second, they are the vanguard of God’s redemptive harvest in the final cataclysmic events of the end times (v. 4d, “redeemed from among humans as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb”). Just as the offering of the first portion of the harvest symbolized Israel’s grateful acknowledgment that all of it was from God (cf. “firstfruits” in Deut 26:1–11), so Christ’s purchase of ethnic Israelites by his blood (5:9), who thus experience spiritual and national renewal in fulfillment of God’s promises, will constitute the forefront of God’s salvation and renewal of all humanity and all of his creation in the end times.

Sola Scriptura: Since there are only 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel and they are specially identified as “first fruits,” naturally the salvation of more Jews will follow their conversion.  We are not told when the salvation of the 144,000 occurred.  However, we know it occurs between their sealing and their standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb.  The salvation of the 144,000 guarantees the salvation of the nation of Israel, which must shortly follow this scene given the destruction of Jerusalem detailed in the seventh bowl (Rev 16:19).

D.  (:5a) Integrity of Speech

And no lie was found in their mouth;

G.K. Beale: The reference to not lying is not speaking merely of general truthfulness but in context focuses on the saints’ integrity in witnessing to Jesus when under pressure by the beast and false prophet to compromise their faith and go along with the idolatrous lie (note references to the perseverance of the saints in 13:10; 14:12; cf. 1 John 2:22). As already briefly noted, the expression of integrity is an allusion to the character of the messianic Servant prophesied in Isa. 53:9: “nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” This is striking, because it comes immediately after mention of the Servant as “a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Isa. 53:7). The saints reflect both of these messianic traits. . .

The section closes with the observation that those who follow Christ will eventually become like Him (v. 5). Why is this so? Does it equally apply in a negative sense to those who seek money, power, or position for selfish purposes? Discipleship means following Christ “wherever He goes.” How characteristic is this of our Christian lives? What a tragedy it is when believers fail to follow Christ wholeheartedly and thus fail to exhibit His character to the watching world around them.

Joe Beard: The days of the Antichrist will be days of deceit.  Last week we saw how the false prophet deceived them that dwell on the earth with his lies and his false wonders.  The 144,000 will not believe the lies of the false prophet or the Antichrist and they will not repeat them.  No lie was found in their mouth means that they speak the truth.  They will speak the truth to those that dwell on the earth, but like we learned last week from 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 the earth dwellers will perish because they will not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.  Though the truth is spoken to them, and the love of the truth is modeled before them by the 144,000 they chose instead to believe the lies and deceptions of the evil one so that they might take pleasure in wickedness.  But as we saw from the beginning of this chapter those who are saved through the Great Tribulation, are those who had a love of the truth. They spoke no lie, they spoke only the truth and they were blameless.

E.  (:5b) Blameless in Character

they are blameless.

Buist Fanning: Finally in summary, they fully exemplify God’s redeemed people (v. 5b, “they are blameless,” a frequent NT description of the moral condition that Christians will attain at the consummation of God’s sanctifying work in them; e.g., Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22; Jude 24).

John MacArthur: Because they will trust in God’s power and lead lives characterized by praise, purity, devoted loyalty, and singleness of purpose, the 144,000 will be blameless. That does not, of course, mean that they will be sinless (1 Kings 8:46; Job 15:14–16; Ps. 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; 1 John 1:8–10), but they will be sanctified. They will be above reproach, leading godly lives before all who see them.

Like the 144,000, all Christians are called to holiness. In Ephesians 1:4 Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (cf. Col. 1:22). To the Corinthians the apostle wrote, “I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin(2 Cor. 11:2; cf. Eph. 5:27). Peter exhorted believers to “like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:15–16). Jude reminded his readers that God “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).

The 144,000 deserve a place in the “Hall of Fame” of the Christian faith (Heb. 11). They will lead holy lives and minister effectively for God during history’s darkest hour. Their exemplary efforts will spearhead the greatest spiritual awakening the world will ever see (cf. 6:9–11; 7:9). The inspired account of their lives and ministry provides a pattern of triumphant Christian living for all believers to follow.

David Thompson: The word “blameless” is not the word sinless. What this means is that no valid charges may be brought against these 144,000. This is another indication that they are not martyred and they are not raptured. They are obviously on this earth because the term “blameless” is a classification of someone on earth and not one in heaven. These 144,000 will be men of integrity. They will live their lives free from immorality and deceit and they will be blameless during the Tribulation and they will have close fellowship with Jesus Christ.