Recently, in a ‘prove all things’ manner, I decided to pick up an issue of Zion’s Fire (I am in extreme disagreement with the premillennial dispensationalism that is fostered by said magazine yet in continues to show up in my mailbox due to BPBC’s previous support). I read through the July – August 2019 issue, namely the article highlighted on the cover, ‘The Lamb, The 144,000, and the Harvest (Rev 14)’. What I’d like to do in this blog is just examine some of the points made in the article and then reference you to my Revelation chapter 14 lecture and teaching outline.
The Zion’s Fire article was written by the Rosenthal brothers. They remarked, “The 144,000 are spoken of as virgins in a spiritual sense (Revelation 2:14, 20-22; 17:2, 4; 18:3). They did not commit fornication during the Great Tribulation by embracing the Antichrist, taking his mark, and giving him their loyalty and affection”.
Cf. The virgin reference found in Revelation 14:4 pertains to spiritual fornication. The Church being the antithesis of the unfaithful Israel of the Old Covenant (see, Matthew 15:1-13; 2 Corinthians 11:2; and Ephesians 5:32). The number 144,000 is understood through the relevance of Hebrew gematria (alphabet mathematics) that was commonplace to 1st century Jews. The 144,000 represents 12 x 12 (Old Covenant Elect/ New Covenant Elect) x 1000 (beyond man’s comprehension). All the numbers used represent completeness. God would surely save those who were His during the time of ‘Great Tribulation’, which contrary to the Zion’s Fire futurism, I would assert these details have been fulfilled in the 1st century just as the time-statements in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 demonstrate for us. The Antichrist and mark of the beast were the calamitous issues that came against the first century Christian church, namely through the Jewish Priesthood and Roman authorities. The Christian Church/ Elect going through the ‘Great Tribulation’ was to persevere and not fall victim to idolatry in seeking Roman/Jewish comfort rather than be steadfast in their devotion to Christ. Do fall away, back into either idolatry of the Old Covenant or pagan idolatry of the Roman Empire was fornication. But those days were cut short, just as Christ said they would be…see, Matthew 24:22.
“These are the redeemed among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb”. If this expression means anything at all, and it certainly does, it means this: There will be more to follow. The 144,000, as wonderful as they are, are only the first fruits. They are just the beginning”.
Cf. The Rosenthal’s were right in noting the use of ‘first fruit language’ in Revelation chapter 14 and I love how they note that this means “there are more to follow”. The 144,000-language coupled with first fruits demonstrates the salvation of the elect Jews and Gentiles (see, Romans 1:16-17). There is no doubt a Hebrew exclusivity that is demonstrated throughout the Scriptures. I have explained this is a few other blogs, however I will share a link to follow in which I not only talked about ‘Hebrew exclusivity’, but also the details pertain to the ‘Great Tribulation’ being talked about in the Scriptures. Here is the link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/my-eschatological-position-a-journal-entry-style-essay/
“The blessed man of Psalm 1 is the man who has life. He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water – his leaves will not wither and whosoever he does shall prosper. The expression, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” could literally be expressed this way: “alive are the dead who died as martyrs for the Lord”. What an amazing paradox!”.
Cf. While I agree with the sentiment that the Rosenthal’s are highlighted herein, I believe there is more to the proclamation “…from now on” as found in Revelation 14:13 that just that eternal life is found in Christ. Rather, I would assert that due to the fulfillment of the details of Revelation chapter 14, the destruction of Babylon (Old Covenant Jerusalem) and the salvation of the Elect in that generation, the dead who died after that were blessed – a demonstration of the effect of fulfilled Bible prophecy (i.e.., Full Preterism).
As I mentioned at the beginning, I have previously taught on this topic. I was supposed to present these details at the 2018 Spirit & Life Lectureship in Southaven, Michigan, which bad weather prevented. However, I provided a podcasted sermon and an outline for your edification. Here is the link to both of those resources, https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/revelation-14-correlating-verses-outline/
Lastly, I have heard that the brothers who lectured at the aforementioned conference are working on putting together a written and outlined commentary on the Book of Revelation, in which my full notes will be provided for Revelation chapter 14.
Provoking a Zeal For His Truth,
Michael Miano, pastor
The Blue Point Bible Church