We continue our discussion on the historical identity of the Seventh-day Adventist church as found in the Revelation chapters 7, 10, 12, and 14 by looking more closely at the 144,000 servants of God. This a Part Three of a five part series, for part one in this series please click here.
AT PROBATION’S END, GRAVES CEASE
Revelation 14 and 15
“Chapter 14:1, “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.” The “Lamb” denotes Christ, signifying the position He occupies be-fore the close of probation, while yet interceding for His people; therefore, the specific number of saints stand with Him on earth while He is yet in the Most Holy place. Mount Zion in old Jerusalem was an ancient spot of that city, and the place of the royal residence of David and his successors. Therefore, from that viewpoint we must present the meaning of the “Lamb” that stood on the mount Zion. We are told by the following Scriptures the Lord had made a promise that the house of David (Mount Zion) was a light to him and to his sons forever. “Howbeit the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons forever.” (2 Chron. 21:7.) The promise was not to Mount Zion (house of David) in ancient Jerusalem, for the existence of the Jewish nation was conditional.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ”—“the son of David.” (Gal. 3:16.) There-fore, mount Zion, as in Revelation 14:1, is the eminent royal spot in the heavenly Jerusalem, as David himself says; “For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.” (Psa. 122:5.) David looked forward to the time when the judgment in heaven would be set up: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zech. 13:1.)
Therefore, John’s vision of the 144,000 as they stood on Mount Zion with the Lamb, is an incident after this special company of saints had been sealed, and some time before the close of probation. The sealing of the 144,000 is at the closing of the judgment of the dead, and at the beginning of the judgment of the living. Therefore, they have a great duty to perform upon the earth in connection with the judgment. Their service was typified by ancient Israel when they were obliged to possess the Promised Land. The prophet Zechariah has well described the time: “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem [the church]. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, [because He died for their sins] and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born.” (Zech. 12:8-11.)What a wonderful experience it will be when we fully comprehend the love of God and the price paid for our redemption!
The prophet Micah calls the 144,000, the “remnant of Jacob.” (See “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, p. 102.) “And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waitheth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. . . . And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.” (Micah 5:6-9, 15.)
“The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war [144,000]: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and wlth thee will I destroy kingdoms; and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen, and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.” (Jer. 51:19-23.) Therefore, at the fulfillment of John’s vision, the 144,000 “Stand on Mount Zion,” not bodily, but in the sense of the position they occupy. In the same way as the five virgins who went in with Him to the marriage. (See “The Great Controversy,” p. 427.) As ancient Israel was a terror to the heathen in the promised land, just so the Israel of God at this time will be a terror to the sinner in the world, and as ancient Israel had to fight with the sword to possess the land, just so Israel now must battle with the “sword of the Spirit” to possess the world (promised land).
“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: 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.” (Rev. 14:2, 3.)
The song was sung in heaven by heavenly beings before the throne, and before the beasts, and the elders. Therefore, it is evident that the judgment was in progress. (Further explanation to follow.) Note that the 144,000 did not sing, but they only could learn the “song” as it was sung in heaven; that is, they alone understood the heavenly truth in that particular time and their position in connection with the message they must bear.
“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.” (Rev. 14:13.) “Which die from hence-forth,” that is, from the commencement of the “loud cry.” Thus the word declares that some of the saints will be laid in the grave even during the time of the harvest (loud cry). We quote from “Counsels on Health,” p. 375 “Many will be laid away to sleep before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon the world.”
While some of the saints shall be laid to sleep in the time of the “loud cry,” it is made clear by Revelation 15:1, 2, that all who are alive after probation has closed and before the commencement of the pouring out of the plagues will be translated without tasting death: “And I saw another sign in heaven, great, and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God.” The “sea of glass” is a symbol of life eternal. (Explained in another chapter, pp. 198-200 of Shepherd’s Rod, Vol. 2) In as much as all who had gotten the victory stand on the sea, it denotes that they have passed from death to life, and their destination now is “God, new Jerusalem.”
Verses 5-8: “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” After the investigation is completed and every case decided, the temple of the testimony will open similar to when the typical opened at the close of the sacrificial system: and the vail which divided the two apartments rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” (See Matt. 27:51.)
The door that is opened after the close of probation is the en-trance to the holy place which was closed in 1844. After the close of probation the temple is to be filled with the power and glory of God so that no man shall be able to enter in till after the seven plagues are fulfilled. Showing that all God’s people stood on the sea of glass (eternal life) and then probation closed. Thus after Jesus leaves the most holy place, God’s servants shall have no funeral sermons to preach and no gospels for sinners.” — Shepherd’s Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 170-73