The Book of Revelation – Part 8



The Beast and It’s Mark

Continuing in Rev 13:1 we see a beast “rise up out of the sea.” Since the beast of Rev 11:7 ascended out of the bottomless pit and not out of the sea there is no reason to assume they are the same beast. The beast in Rev 13 has seven heads and ten horns as does the dragon of Rev 12:3, however the dragon has crowns on his heads whereas the beast has crowns on his horns. The horns represent the nations that will comprise the heart of the beast’s kingdom. Conjecturing about who or what the beast will be is a fruitless endeavor. The important thing to know is that this beast will not only war against the saints but will be victorious. He will overcome or kill every saint that was alive and remained at Messiah’s coming (vs.7; Rev 16:6). This will leave the earth totally void of the Holy Spirit since no true believers are alive. That is why the beast can cause “all” to receive his mark (vs.16). Those that will be spiritually wise enough to reject the worship of such a beast are killed (vs.15). The spiritually blind that remain lack wisdom and understanding and therefore will accept the mark of the beast and worship his image.

The Master Yeshua once asked the question, “Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, shall he find the faith on earth?” It would be meaningless to ask such a question in the context of Luke 18:1-8 if the answer was yes. The truth is that the true faith will not exist on earth because Satan, acting through the beast, will kill every saint. It is impossible for the saints to receive the promise of a “better resurrection”, which is what all the faithful hope for, unless they die first. Such a death is appointed unto all men, without exception (Heb 9:27).

The beast will continue to exist throughout the remaining years until Messiah returns with all his saints at the battle of Armageddon in Rev 19:19-21. During those remaining years the seat of the beast will be the prime recipient of the fifth vial or the fifth of the seven last plagues (Rev 16:10,11). It’s kingdom, or all those that dwell on earth, will receive all seven plagues directly or indirectly.

144,000 Firstfruits

This brings us to Rev 14 which is a difficult chapter to understand as far as how it fits into the story line. Let’s begin with verses 1-5. The scene takes place in heaven as the 144,000 stand upon the heavenly Mount Zion spoken of in Heb 12:22. It cannot be taking place on earth because they are singing before the throne of Yahweh in heaven (vs.3). Yeshua will not stand upon a defiled earth until it is consecrated and anointed after seven complete years as we saw in our study of the Day of Atonement.

The 144,000 have the Father’s name (Yahweh) and the Son’s name (Yeshua) written in their foreheads. It is Yahweh’s mark as opposed to the mark of the beast. It is impossible to be a member of this elite group unless you call upon those two sacred names. However, calling upon those names does not necessarily make you a member of the 144,000.

Contrary to popular belief, the 144,000 saints pictured in Rev 14:1 are not the same saints pictured in Rev 7:4. To understand why this is so we must first understand why the 144,000 in Rev 14 are called “firstfruits unto [Yahweh] and to the Lamb” in verse 4. We must also understand the prophetic meaning of the Feast of Weeks, or the day of the firstfruits (Nu 28:26).

Yahweh has a specific timetable that He is following. That timetable is depicted by His feast days that are listed in Lev  23. They are based on the literal agricultural harvest of Israel that is a type of the resurrection or harvest of souls (Mt 13:24-30,36-43). The first stage of the harvest takes place with the offering of the first of the firstfruits of barley (Lev 23:10,11) . That was fulfilled by Messiah’s resurrection and ascension. The second stage takes place with the barley harvest itself. That harvest precedes the wheat harvest. It was fulfilled by the resurrection of many saints of old (Mt 27:52,53). The third stage is the offering of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (Lev 23:17). That will be fulfilled by the resurrection at the sound of the seventh trumpet. At that time only the firstfruits of the harvest of souls in Messiah will be resurrected and offered up to Yahweh. Since two loaves of bread were waved in Lev 23:17, each loaf is a separate stage of the resurrection. Therefore, the second wave loaf will be called stage four of the harvest. It will be fulfilled before the end of the seventh trumpet whereas stage three is fulfilled at the beginning of the seventh trumpet. Stage five of the harvest takes place at the reaping of the wheat fields (Mt 13). That will be fulfilled after the destruction of the wicked at Armageddon.

The Five Stages of the First Resurrection

1) First of the firstfruits of the barley harvest

2) The barley harvest

3) First loaf representing the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.

4) Second loaf representing the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.

5) The wheat harvest.

The parable of the wheat and the tares of Mt 13 deals with the entire wheat harvest whereas the Feast of Weeks deals with only the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (Ex 34:22). If the wheat harvest pictures the resurrection of all believers, then who do the firstfruits represent? As we saw in Rev 14:4, the firstfruits are the 144,000. We can learn more about the firstfruits in Lev 23:15-21 where it deals specifically with the Feast of Weeks.

In verse 17 of Lev 23 we are told that two wave loaves of leavened bread represent “the firstfruits unto [Yahweh].” Leaven is symbolic of sin. Therefore, these wave loves represent people, not Messiah. If the 144,000 are also the firstfruits, then either one loaf equals 72,000 people or each loaf consists of 144,000 people totaling 288,000 believers. The latter is true; there are two groups of 144,000 believers representing the firstfruits.

The group in Rev 14:4 was not “defiled with women.” What are women symbolic of in scripture? Babylon the great is spoken of as a mother that has harlot daughters (Rev 17:5). These women (the mother and her daughters) represent false religious systems. Therefore the 144,000 in Rev 14 were not defiled by false religions. This could only speak of the early assembly before corruption set in. This corruption was just beginning in the Apostle Paul’s day since he spoke about wolves and false teachers within the assembly. This early group of 144,000 saints kept themselves pure and undefiled by that corruption.

They are called “virgins” in verse 4 which has an even deeper meaning than not being defiled by false religions. According to Lev 21:10,13,14, the high priest was only permitted to marry a virgin of his own people. Yeshua is now Yahweh’s High Priest. Therefore, his bride must be a virgin Israelite. Since this group of 144,000 are virgins and since they are from the early assembly that was comprised of only Israelites, they must be Yeshua’s bride.

Yeshua was speaking to part of his future bride (his disciples) in John 14:2-4. They will be among the 144,000 of Rev 14. What is even more interesting is how a literal Israelite wedding is symbolized in Yeshua’s prophesy. Reading from the Aid to Bible Understanding, pages 114,115; “As to the wedding itself, the central and characteristic feature was the solemn bringing of the bride from her father’s home on the date agreed upon to her husband’s home, in which act the significance of marriage as representing admission of the bride into the family of her husband found expression.  . . . The bridegroom took the bride to his house, or the tent or house of his parents.” Yeshua, the bridegroom, will return to his bride’s home, earth, and take her back to his father’s house, in heaven, where they will spend seven years celebrating. Seven days was the usual time for an Israelite wedding celebration.

Now let’s look at the 144,000 of Rev 7:1-4. As we saw previously, the winds that are being held back represent the wrath of Almighty Yahweh that begins the Day of Yahweh. Since that is a future end-time event, this group of 144,000 is sealed about 1800 years after the group in Rev 14. The group in Rev 7 are alive in the latter days and the group in Rev 14 were alive in the Apostolic days (the former days).

There is another instrumental factor involved in the development of a successful harvest; that is, the former and latter rains. Without these two rainy seasons, the harvest would not be fruitful. Let’s read a few verses concerning this.

Hosea 6:3 – “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know Yahweh: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

James 5:7 – “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Master. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.”

When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers in Acts 2, it was the fulfillment of the former rain; the Holy Spirit being “living waters” (Jn 7:38,39). The former rain was instrumental in the development of the 144,000 of Rev 14. The latter rain will be poured out in the latter days and will be instrumental in the development of the 144,000 of Rev 7. That latter rain, incidentally, will be poured out on the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) at some point in the future.

There is one other scriptural reference to these 288,000 saints. It is found in 1 Chr 27:1-15. We know that Aaron, for example, was a “type” of Yeshua our High Priest; that the Israelite passage through the Red Sea was a type of baptism, etc. The 288,000 firstfruits are also the fulfillment of a type. They are the anti-type of that which is spoken of in 1 Chr 27. The captains and officers of verse 1 were to serve King David in any matter that arose throughout the year. This statement is fulfilled by that in Rev 14:4, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” King David is a type of King Yeshua, the anti-type. Just as these servants in 1 Chr 27:1 served King David in all matters of his kingdom, the 288,000 firstfruits serve King Yeshua in all matters of his kingdom.

Verses 2-15 tell us there were 24,000 officers that served the king each month for 12 months (12 x 24,000 = 288,000). Two wave loaves with 144,000 representing each loaf = 288,000. King Yeshua has a government to run. His saints will rule with a rod of iron by his side (Rev 2:26,27; 12:5). The 288,000 firstfruits will be the highest ranking officers in that kingdom government. Everyone else resurrected in the main harvest will be reigning in a position of lesser importance in the kingdom (Rev 20:4).

In summation, Rev 14:1-5 is a vision of the first group of firstfruits to be resurrected. These saints were resurrected during the third stage of the first resurrection that is pictured in Rev 12:5. The fourth stage of the first resurrection will occur in Rev 14:14-16. Then the second group of firstfruits representing the second wave loaf of Lev 23:17 will be resurrected. This group includes the 144,000 that were sealed in Rev 7 and have since lost their lives at the hands of the beast.

Rev 14:1-5 does not necessarily follow Rev 13 in the story flow since it concerns heavenly events that may not coincide with the earthly events that are spoken of.

This brings us to the famous “three angels message” that many claim to be preaching at this time. These messages, however, will not be preached until after the resurrection of Rev 12. Rev 14:6-13 must precede the events they speak of since they are prophetic warnings. Therefore, for example, the third angel’s message must be given before the mark of the beast is given in Rev 13. This shows that Rev 14:9-11 is not in the story flow. Neither are verses 6-8 or 12,13. They all precede chapter 13 and begin after Rev 12:5. The saints that die in Rev 14:13 die at the hands of the beast. Once they are all dead, the fourth stage of the first resurrection will take place pictured by verses 14-16.

The reaper of verse 14 is not Messiah. The scriptures refer to the angels as reapers (Mt 13:30,39-41; 24:31) not Yeshua. The phrase “like unto the Son of Man” means similar in appearance to the Son of Man but not he himself. Just as “like the Son of Elohim” in Dan 3:25 does not refer to Yeshua but was proven to be an angel (vs.28), so too, in this case. Also, Messiah does not take orders from angels that are in subjection to him (vs.15).

The saints that are harvested in Rev 14:14-16 are then seen standing on the sea of glass in Rev 15:2. They have been resurrected and brought before the throne of Yahweh in heaven. Again, they are the 144,000 that were sealed in Rev 7, later persecuted by the beast of Rev 13 and killed because they would not worship it nor receive its mark.

Rev 14:17-20 does not deal with the same type of harvest as verses 14-16. The former concerns the harvest of grapes representing evil men whose great wickedness is symbolized by the term “ripe.” This harvest of grapes, the grapes of Yahweh’s wrath, are spoken of in Joel 3:13 and Isa 63:1-6. The context of those chapters show that Israel is the recipient of Yahweh’s wrath. The reference to “the city” in Rev 14:20 refers to Jerusalem whose destruction and future captivity is written in Zech 14:1-4. Shortly before the return of Messiah upon the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem will be attacked and destroyed and her people taken captive.

Part 1234, 56, 7

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