John sees a very different event than those which have been at the fore throughout most of this book. We all know that God the Father will win this struggle, but he does not stand out front steamrolling through history. The Dragon, Beast One and that man-type Beast Two are steamrolling, deceiving, stirring up and in general causing problems. They inhabit a post-apocalyptic type world. God’s wrath had come and the Dragon had arrived as a false savior. They will not be part of the final world God assembles.
1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1–ESV)
The Lamb did not rise from the sea1, nor from the land2. He was not a new and wicked creation, nor a wicked arrival. He wasn’t even making his first appearance. He had come long before and at that time destroyed the ultimate structure of Satan’s power.
Symbols and symbols
The Lamb is how Jesus is manifested. The clear implication here is his being the Passover lamb: one slain for sins as part of God’s plan to redeem men from essentially the Dragon’s kingdom into his own. The issue is sin and it must be addressed. Only one way, death, could address it. Sure the Dragon healed one almost dead part of Beast One. He did it to amaze people who were part of his kingdom and they were amazed.
Rejoice in victory over sin, not Satan’s destruction
We need to make sure that when we see the Lamb in this context we do not imagine how strong he is and how he will destroy Satan, etc., etc. In some manner that is appealing to our fleshly nature. We may cheer on the Lamb thinking, saying even, “Satan, you’ve got it coming. He is going to kick your butt.” He already has, and these 144,000 are not cast as having any anti-Dragon activity. Jesus is not cast here as a franchise quarterback. It is not about winning, but about being there with those of the earth set aside from the threats of Satan.
So rejoice that you can be numbered with God and evacuated from the kingdom of darkness. Then move toward thankfulness.
God shines forth
See in verse 1 that Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain, has again left his place near the throne of God and come down among his children. He stands on Zion, his holy hill. Look at the passage below from David in Psalm 50.
1 The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth. (Psalm 50:1-2–ESV)
From Zion God has been shining forth down through the ages, but as the ages conclude the shining will become all the more prominent. It will move from being a thing understood and written on hearts, that item of faith, to a thing seen and shining out toward all hearts. It will be in opposition to the things of the Dragon and his ilk who will have had all the sway that will be tolerated.