The Mark of the Beast & Seal of God (Rev. 13-14) - Part II
Bible Passage:Read Part II of the prophecy in Revelation 14.
Theme:The controversy over true and false worship (continued from Revelation 13.
Overview:Revelation 13 revealed how the mark of the beast is given to those who follow the sea beast's law over God's law after they have heard the truth under circumstances that bring conviction. In Revelation 14, the emphasis switches to those who follow God's law and receive His mark. At the end of time, there is a group of 144,000 who spread the 3 angels' messages in a special way. Revelation 14 and Revelation 7 (an interlude during the 7 Seals) both provide detail about the 144,000, with Revelation 7 showing that they receive the seal of God in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3), and Revelation 14 showing that they do not receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads (Rev. 14:9) because they "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12). The controversy between Jesus and Satan culminates in this end-time struggle for the worship, loyalty and obedience of humanity.
Revelation 14:1-5 "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. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.1 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."
The 144,000 are called Israelites, symbolizing faithful believers ("of Israel" - 7:4, "Jew" - 3:9). The number 144,000 is a literal number, just like the other numbers in prophecy. For example, there are 1260 days (Rev. 12:6) symbolizing 1260 years. There are 7 Trumpets (Rev. 8:2) symbolizing 7 periods of warning/judgment. There are 10 horns (Rev. 17:12, Dan. 7:24) symbolizing 10 tribes, and so on. In the same way, there are 144,000 Israelites symbolizing 144,000 faithful believers who are called for a special purpose.
Multiples of 12 are used in conjunction with building the church (see construction of New Jerusalem - Rev. 21). The 12 apostles were chosen to spread the gospel in the 1st century, and the 12 tribes of Israel were chosen to spread the knowledge of God in ancient times. The 12 tribes with 12,000 in each (144,000) are chosen to spread the gospel (the 3 angels' messages - Rev. 14:1-13) at the end of time with great power (Rev. 18:1-5). These "servants of God" (Rev. 7:3,15) are a special group who perform a vital role in completing the spiritual church building. Each believer is a "stone" in that spiritual temple, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone, the apostles as foundation stones, and the 144,000 completing the walls (Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Pet. 2:4-7, Rev. 21:16-17).
As key players in building the church, they are called to proclaim the 3 Angels' Messages with great power just prior to the close of probation (Rev. 18:1-8). A great mass of people are saved ("great multitude" - 7:9) as a result.
The 144,000 have a number of interesting characteristics. They live unscathed through the 7 Last Plagues ("four winds" - 7:1-4) and are then taken to heaven, without seeing death, as chief examples of the harvest ("firstfruits" - 14:4). No one knows who will make up their number, but all can know how to be one of them - follow Jesus, "the lamb" (14:4). Here are more of their characteristics:
|(A)||Servants of God (7:3) - They follow God's will, not their own.|
|(B)||Sealed in foreheads (7:3) - Their mind is the focus.|
|(C)||God's name on forehead (14:1) - The way they think, their character, is patterned after God.|
|(D)||Not defiled with women (14:4) - They are not part of an unfaithful church ("women") ("Babylon" - 17:5), but belong to the remnant ("seed" of the pure woman - 12:17) who is true to her espoused husband, Jesus.|
|(E)||No guile in mouth (14:5) - What they profess, they actually believe and practice.|
|(F)||Without fault (14:5) - Jesus empowers them to stop doing things they know are wrong. Each conscience is blameless.|
|(G)||Gain victory over beast (15:2) - They heed the 3 Angels' Messages.|
Seal of God = God's mark of His law impressed upon your mind, so that you willingly, habitually and persistently obey God's law. God's servants are sealed only in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3) and the 144,000 have their Father's name written in their foreheads (Rev. 14:1). They follow God's law because it becomes part of their character/mind. This is the new covenant promise that God will write His law on their hearts (Heb. 8:10). God's law is sealed in His followers (Is. 8:16) by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 4:30, 2 Cor. 1:22) as their characters are molded and settled into place. One of the prominent differences between the sea beast's law and God's law is the commandment to keep the 7th day holy. Revelation emphasizes this issue because only the Creator is worthy of worship (Rev. 4:10-11, 14:7) and the Sabbath is the reminder of creation/re-creation (Ex. 20:8-11, Heb. 4:4, Ez. 20:12, Ex. 31:13). The day on which a person worships is a sign of allegiance to the one whom they obey. (See more about the Seal of God).
Revelation 14:6-12 "6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
|(A)||Accept Jesus' sacrifice and ministry for you ("everlasting gospel" - 14:6).|
|(B)||Respect/obey God ("fear" - 14:7).|
|(C)||Show others what God is really like ("give glory to Him" 14:1,7).|
|(D)||Acknowledge and submit to your Creator ("worship him that made" 14:7, Gen. 2:1-2, 2 Pet. 3:3-5).|
|(E)||Understand and share that the pre-advent judgment is underway ("judgment is come" - 14:7) (the judgment/cleansing of heavenly sanctuary began in 1844 and continues until close of probation - Dan. 8:14, 7:10).|
|(F)||Leave the erroneous teachings of unfaithful churches ("Babylon is fallen" - 14:8) (churches that follow papal Rome's teachings when they contradict the Bible)|
|(G)||Avoid the mark of the beast and receive the seal of God by keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus (14:9-12). The message continues until probation closes.|
See the 3 Angels' Messages for more details.
Revelation 14:13 "13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Revelation 14:14-20 "14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. "
"But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come" (Mk. 4:29). The Lord does not want any to perish, which is why He delays His coming (2 Pet. 3:8-10). However, He also does not want an ounce of suffering to occur beyond what is necessary. The moment that the true results of sin/good (fruit) are clearly seen by all (matured), He will harvest.
Earth was reaped = Each person experiences the full result of his/her decision. In Revelation 7:1-3, the sealing of God's servants must occur prior to the letting go of the winds (7 Last Plagues). When each decision is made and Jesus ceases His priestly ministry for us in the heavenly sanctuary, the Holy Spirit no longer pleads and restrains in the hearts of those who reject Jesus. This unleashes the most horrendous actions and events the world has ever seen (the 7 Last Plagues). The righteous have chosen to put their faith in Jesus and receive the seal of God and He protects them. The wicked have rejected Jesus and have no protection when the 7 Last Plagues, that they themselves have brought about by their sins, hit the earth.
Winepress was trodden = The death of all the remaining wicked who are still alive at Jesus' second coming. Later in Revelation, the winepress is mentioned again, in the context of Jesus returning to earth. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 19:15). This occurs during the 7th plague when Jesus returns and fire destroys the remaining wicked.
(click on image to enlarge)
Additional Resources:Part I - Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13)
3 Angels' Messages
3 Angels' Messages (interactive presentation)
Continue to Mystery, Babylon (Rev. 15-19)...
Millenium (Rev. 20:1 - 20:15)
New Earth (Rev. 21:1 to 22:21)
Epilogue (Rev. 22:6 to 22:21)