The Lamb and the 144,000: Revelation 14:1-14:20

Revelation 14:1 "Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads."
 
Now we must take notice of the order of events in chapter 14. In the first verse we have the first resurrection of the one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites who now know the name of the Father. Notice, that only the one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites are with the Lamb on Mount Zion there is no great multitude with them at this point in time. This verse confirms that only the one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites were raised in the first resurrection.
 
Revelation 14:2-5 "And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps, they sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were reedemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God."
 
The one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites are the only ones who can learn this new song. I believe that the one hundred and forty-four thousand are all virgins literally because they had not been defiled by women. If this was meant to represent the church the word would have been the singular, woman or harlot. The one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites follow Christ wherever He goes, which means they come to earth with Him at the second resurrection. The Israelites were redeemed from among men being the firstfruits to God and to Jesus. They do not lie and they have no faults when they stand before God.
 
 
The Firstfruits (Israel)
 
1 Corinthians 15:23 "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."
 
Jeremiah 2:3 "Israel was holiness to the Lord, The firstfruits of His increase. ...."
 
Hosea 9:10 “Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. ….”
 
Numbers 18:12 “All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.”
 
James 1:18 “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
 
Romans 8:23 “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves , eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
 
Paul tells us quite blatantly that the disciples who had receieved the Spirit were the firstfruits.
 
The disciples and prophets of Israel were also the firstfruits of the harvest which implies there is also a second harvest and second fruits. Each person must be raised in his own order. The first was Jesus, then the firstfruits the Israelites, then those who are raised at His second coming, the great multitude.
 
 
The Three Angels Messages
 
The three angels messages are a core belief in the Seventh Day Adventists and the main purpose of the SDA church is to preach these three messages especially the first.
 
Revelation 14:6-7 "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth - to every nation, tribe, tongue and people - saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'"
 
After the first resurrection John sees the first angel flying through the midst of heaven. The everlasting gospel is the Bible, but in particular the New Testament and the true message of salvation by the grace of God which was preached to the Gentiles during the late fourteenth century. John Wycliffe, the morning star of the Reformation, began preaching the true word of God in England c.1386 AD.1 The invention of the Gutenberg press in the middle of the fifteenth century enabled the Bible to be read by thousands throughout Europe and abroad.2 The Bible is by far the most produced publication in history. The Reformation officially began at the start of the sixteenth century when Luther proclaimed the atrocities and doctrinal fraud of the Roman Catholic Church. God's judgment began when the one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites were raised, c.1405 AD, (see blog on Daniel 12 ). They are judging us during our lives and a decision is then made at our death as to who is to be written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
 
Revelation 14:8 "And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Babylonian Lion Fresco Reconstruction, Brent Dawes, 2015.
 
After the Western Roman Empire fell in the fifth century the papacy and the Roman capital moved to Constantinople which is situated on the neck between Asia Minor and Greece. The Eastern Byzantine Empire officially came to its end when Constantinople fell to the Ottomon Turks in 1453 AD and thus Babylon, the Roman Empire, fell as prophesied.3
 
Revelation 14:9-10 "Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself will shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.""
 
Anyone who worships on Sunday with the Roman Catholic Church has received the mark of the beast, although sins committed in ignorance can be forgiven. People receive the mark of the beast on their hands by doing the work of the Roman Catholic Church; by promoting their false doctrine and worship. They will receive the wrath of God; the seven trumpets, the seven thunders and the seven bowls of God's wrath. Brimstone is the Hebrew equivalent of sulphur.4 Genghis Khan first introduced gunpowder to Europe during his invasions in the fourteenth century. From the fifteenth century onwards gunpowder began being used by Europeans for the first time in battle.5 Gunpowder originally contained sulphur and thus fire and brimstone rained down from heaven.
 
Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
 
This is one of the most misquoted verses in the entire Bible. Notice, the smoke rises forever and ever, the torment is not forever and ever. The Roman Catholic doctrine states that people will be tormented forever and ever in Hell if they do not repent and this idea has developed to the stage that people believe that "Hell" is a place that actually exists under the earth.6 The Bible teaches us that hell is death and nothing moreand that Satan roams around on the earth itself searching for people he can devour, (1Peter 5:8), especially those who believe in false doctrines and superstitions. There is no place under the earth reserved for punishment of the wicked the punishment occurs at the last day and after everyone has had a chance to defend themselves in the judgment of God. Then those who are not found worthy are thrown into the the lake of fire and they die an immediate second death, ( Revelation 20:11-15 ). But this verse is not even talking about Hell it is talking about people generally being tormented on earth throughout the last millennium and the current one while they are living. The world has hardly seen a decade of rest since gunpowder became the weapon of choice and most countries have been tormented by it and they still are.
 
Revelation 14:12-13 "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write; blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.""
 
The true Christians are those who keep all the original ten commandments of God, as written in the Bible, and they have the faith of Jesus. They must have patience and endure the hardships along with those who have the mark of the beast during the torment. The most important commandment is the fourth; the Saturday Sabbath. This commandment seals God's people and identifies them in times of conflict. We are also told here that when we die we rest until the judgment when everyone is judged by what they have done during their lives. We don't go to heaven or hell when we die, we rest until we are raised at the last day. For Adventists the last few words are very important as Adventists believe in justification by works and this verse justifies our belief. We are of course saved by the blood of Jesus and by the grace of God, but we are judged by our works. And if our works aren't enough to redeem us we have a faifthful Mediator who stands by our side, the Son of Man.
 
Revelation 14:14-16 "Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped."
 
Notice, after the first resurrection of the one hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites in verse 1, and after the three angels messages, our Lord comes back to earth for the second resurrection and the harvest of the great multitude. A cloud represents a descended angel.
 
Revelation 14:17-20 "Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe." So the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs."
 
Immediately after our Lord has harvested the great multitude another angel harvests the wicked of the earth and throws them back into the winepress of the wrath of God. The winepress represents the final battle of Armageddon. Later we are told, "Jesus Himself treads the winepress of the wrath of God." The wicked are finally to be consumed by the fire of the third angel.  
 
There is no indication that there is a thousand year gap between these two sickles and we shouldn't assume that there is or that those raised after the thousand year reign are just the wicked. In fact all through the New Testament we read that the both the wheat and tares, the sheep and the goats, the faithful and the unfaithful all live together until the harvest at the end of the age.
 
Matthew 13:24-30 "Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
 
Notice Christ says to the reapers first gather the tares and then the wheat. We can't pick and choose which verses we like and disregard the rest. We must look at all scripture to get the full picture on any given subject.
 
Matthew 13:36-43 “Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
 
SDA's tend to focus only on the highlighted part of this quote in doing so they have a narrow view of resurrection at the end of the age.
 
Matthew 25:31-32When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
 
This verse indicates that the resurrection will occur at His second coming and once again all the nations will be gathered together, the sheep and the goats are then separated at the same time.

 
References
The New King James Version. (1982). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
1. John Wycliffe, Wikipedia, 2015
2. Printing press, Gutenberg's press, Wikipedia, 2015.
3. Constantinople, by Donald L. Wasson, http://www.ancient.eu/Constantinople, 2015.
4. Fire and brimstone, Wikipedia, 2015.
5. Early modern warfare, Wikipedia, 2015.
6. THE BIBLICAL TRUTH ABOUT HELL, http://biblelight.net/hell.htm, 2015.