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Bible Commentaries

Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Revelation 14

Verses 1-5

I. STUDY NOTES--Revelation 14:1-5

The picture of Chapters 12 and 13 might tend to discourage Christians. Chapter 14 presents a vision to encourage Christians.

THE LAMB ON MOUNT ZION Verses 1-5.

Verse 1.

(1) "THE LAMB"--The Christ against Whom the devil and the wild beasts rage savage and subtle war. "The Lamb STOOD on Mount Zion" The Lamb that was crucified and risen as we saw in 5:6 "STOOD," that is, Christ has not fallen defeated by the three enemies. He "STOOD," self-possessed and calm. "The Lamb stood ON MOUNT ZION"--Described in both Old and New Testaments as GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (Psalms 9:11)--see Hebrews 12:22-24 "You have come to Mount Zion . . ." (2) "The 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads." They are the same as those of chapter 7:4. The "144,000 symbolise THE WHOLE CHURCH. The Name on their foreheads--that is, WHERE ALL CAN SEE. This symbolises Christian character. They have been baptised into the Name of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"--not as a label BUT BAPTISED INTO A WAY OF LIFE. Their way of life is seen to be Christian. The idea of the mark on hand and forehead was familiar to Jews--see Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18.

Verses 2 and 3.

THE NEW SONG The harpers sing a new song in the presence of God, "and the four living creatures" (these are not to be confused with "the beasts" of chapter 13. The A.V. errs in its translation as "beasts"--note the R.S.V. translates "The four living creatures" as in 4:7--"The four living creatures" indicate MAN REDEEMED IN THE WORLD) and "the elders" (as in 4:7 and 5:8)--the leaders of the church. --"AND NO ONE COULD LEARN THAT SONG EXCEPT THE 144,000 WHO HAD BEEN REDEEMED FROM THE EARTH" that new song the 144,000 (that is, THE WHOLE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF ALL AGES) understands. But no person dulled by worldliness can learn that new song. For that new song tells of truths which only the redeemed can appreciate--of joys which they alone can value. "But the natural man (the unspiritual man) does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). There is "A communion of saints"--of all saints on earth, and all who are in heaven--of Christians on earth and Christians who have gone on ahead to God’s home in heaven. But even now, John is telling us, the church on earth can learn and be blessed as she joins in the new song sung in heaven. That new song was described previously in 5:9 as one of ATONEMENT, REDEMPTION AND CONSECRATION.

II. MEDITATION--; Revelation 14:1-5

VERSE 2 IS WONDERFUL--A DESCRIPTION OF THE VOICE OF GOD

In this verse John says three wonderful things about the voice of God.

(1) "And I heard a voice from heaven LIKE THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS"

John’s symbol reminds us of the POWER of the voice of God.

There is no power quite like the crash of mountainous waves on the beaches and cliffs. A power that can batter and shatter to fragments the strongest works of man.

(2) "And LIKE THE SOUND OF LOUD THUNDER"

Here John’s symbol reminds us of the UNMISTAKABLENESS of the voice of God. Loud thunder insists on being heard. God’s voice is a sound against which no man can close his ears.

(3) "And LIKE THE SOUND OF HARPERS PLAYING ON THEIR HARPS"

The voice of God has MELODY. There is a wonderful power in the harmony of music to soothe and calm a troubled heart.

These three wonderful things which John says in his symbolism in verse 2 give us an indication of the kind of endless inspiration the reader will find throughout life, if, in his reading he keeps consistency in interpreting the symbolism of John’s book. Such a reader will always be discovering new and wonderful blessings in the book.

VERSES 4 and 5 describe THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF "THE 144, 000" (that is, of ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS).

(1) First, PURITY, verse 4. R.S.V. "They are chaste." That is, they have renounced all unfaithfulness to God and to divine truth which is described in the Old Testament as spiritual adultery.

The meaning of Revelation 14:4 is that "they are chaste"--"they have renounced all sin" (see also 2 Corinthians 11:2).

(2) OBEDIENCE, verse 4--"They follow the Lamb wherever He goes." This means full consecration, complete obedience. They obey His command. "Follow Me" in all circumstances of prosperity and adversity. It is well to weigh that word "WHEREVER"--that we may check the reality of our own Christian life. Jesus did say "Whoever forsaketh not all he has cannot be my disciple." The simplest definition of a Christian is to say "A Christian is a follower of Christ." "Follow Me" was the command always upon His lips.--To Philip, John 1:43. To Matthew--to the rich young ruler--to Peter--"Follow Me" "He left us an example that we should follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

(3) REDEMPTION, verse 4. "These have been redeemed from mankind as first-fruits for God and the Lamb." In this the whole church is the "first-fruits" for the time is coming when the whole creation shall be delivered (see Romans 8:21 and James 1:18).

(4) TRUTHFULNESS, verse 5. "In their mouth no lie was found, for they were spotless."

Various sects claim to be the 144, 000 but these four characteristics clearly describe the real marks of true Christians who constitute the universal Christian church.

Verse 13

ONE OF THE SEVEN BEATUTIDES OF REVELATION

2.

"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord--that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them." (Revelation 14:13). Even Christians get discouraged sometimes and feel that life is wasted, that the good does not last. But here is the assurance that to "die in the Lord" is not only to "rest from their labours" but to have the certainty that all that they have done for Christ will yet bear fruit. So, John strengthens those ringing words of the Apostle Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."

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Bibliographical Information
Norris, Harold. "Commentary on Revelation 14". "Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nor/revelation-14.html. 2021.