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Revelation 14

Chapter 14:

v. 1: I believe that this 144,000 is the same as that of chapter seven.  In chapter seven they are being sealed, which identifies them as future martyrs.[1] Here in chapter fourteen they seem to have fulfilled their purpose as martyrs.  I say this because they seem to be in heaven.  Notice that “they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders” (14:3).  The throne, the four living creatures, and the elders are all in heaven (4:1-8).  Also notice that these 144,000 “have been redeemed from the earth” which might contrast “those who live on the earth” (14:6).  There will be Christians on earth when Christ comes and ends the reign of Beast I.  As Paul says, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).  And later, in 1st Thessalonians he says,

[T]he Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Thus, all Christians will not be martyred under the reign of Beast I. [2] Those who are not martyred must endure his reign until Christ comes (14:12, 13:10).


[1] See note on 7:3.

[2] If God were to allow them all to be martyred, it would be hard to imagine what it means to say that the Church will be protected during the Beast’s 3 ½ year reign (11:1).  I can imagine a scenario where many Christians are martyred and yet the Church is preserved from annihilation, but I cannot imagine one where all Christians are martyred and yet the Church is preserved.

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