Gamma 16 – The Persevering Disciple (Study 13)

Study 13

The 144,000 and Judgement


John Goh012 207
Dr Lee Fook Sin019 230
Moh Ee Lin019 273
Ng Cho Hoo012 878
Susanah Ng012



Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions The answers will be posted on the web the next day.

The 144,000 are the complete people of God cast as Israel as the use of 12x12x1000 from the 12 tribes of Israel. They are described the redeemed of the earth so they are all those redeemed by the blood of the lamb which has to include Christians and not only Jews. The new song they sing is the same one the elders. They sang “you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

This identifies the people of God. The song is also mentioned in Rev 15 : 2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.

Those who have conquered the beast were the ones who sing the `song of Moses which is the song of the Lamb. The song of Moses was the song the Israelites sang after God delivered them through Moses from Egypt in the Exodus. Now the Song of the Lamb is the new song just like the Song of Moses because it too celebrates the deliverance of the people of God from the beast. Only the victorious ones by the blood of the Lamb can sing this song.

In the past Israel had very often betrayed their Lord by worshiping idols and this very heinous act was cast metaphorically as spiritual adultery. In the passage John picks up this imagery hence that His people will be completely faithful and not be enticed or succumb to idolatry. It is the use of the metaphor of prostitution as idolatry which then casts faithfulness as virgins and men who had not been defiled by women which in this context is not women in general of as a gender but as prostitutes who lead men astray like idols.

It does not make God misogynistic as John is using the image symbolically in a way the reader at the time will understand and grasp due to their culture.

The first fruits was the offering to God that signified that the whole crop belonged to Him hence the people of God were the first fruits as a sign they belonged to Him. They are a new creation as well and hence the beginning of the anticipated new heavens and new earth. It does not mean that group were the first installment of people saved by God and there will be more to come.

The metaphor used in “(ESV) 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” is that of integrity and the fact that the people of God will be blameless but not sinless. The “no lie” is not literal but is used to indicate their integrity which follows that of their saviour the Lamb and the most integral part of their integrity is that they declare that Jesus is their Lord.

Just before judgement goes out into the world , the long suffering of God permits one more time the announcement of the gospel. Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water This challenge to fear God and worship him in the light of the impending judgement could be seen as a forced acknowledgment of the sovereign power of God by a people who need not necessarily be converted to love Him. However in the New Testament every time the word gospel is used it means the good news of what God had done for us in Jesus Christ and it would only seem natural to take the meaning here in the same way as a last minute act of grace to the people of the world.

The fact is true gospel requires the dual element of God’s grace of what He has done for us in Jesus on the cross but also the eternal consequences of refusing Jesus. There is no third option in the gospel. We often present a one sided gospel of the love of God but almost never speak of the terrible consequence of not accepting Him.

If we present to people a unidimensional God who is just the God of love it means

A. We are getting people to worship an idol as the real God is not just the God of love.

B. The god they would be worshiping would be the kind of God who would exist to serve the people and meet their needs and not the other way around. The holiness, majesty and enormity of God would be diminished. It would be so much easier to commit sin or compromise. The willingness to sacrifice and endure persecution would likewise be diminished simply because the nature of this kind of god would not foster that kind of adoration.

C. The people would fail to see the terrible eternal consequences of their refusal of Jesus. They would have been lulled into the false belief that they would have had a third option of not accepting Jesus and still be alright through another religion of option in life.

Please share about the time when you heard the gospel how was it presented and did you know about much about judgement . How should we present judgement in our gospel presentation?

The use of the “Babylon the Great “ is basically a symbol. By the time AD 90 when the book of Revelations was written the great Babylon was already destroyed and only a small village remained amongst its ruins. So John could not be possibly be referring to the fall of Babylon. At its peak Babylon was a huge legendary metropolis by ancient standards as large of Chicago with the famous hanging gardens of Babylon which was one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was the symbol of man’s independence from God and center of idolatry where materialism was the main culture.

At the time of Revelations, Babylon would be the symbol for the idolatrous city of Rome and today it would represent our modern city culture of idolatry to materialism.

The sin of Babylon was described as the one ‘’ who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality” so the sin of Babylon was couched in the imagery of “intoxication to wine” and prostitution which was ‘sexual immorality’. These two images provides us a picture of a loss of control ,addiction hence an incapacitating slavery of once a participant takes a sip of this temptation it entraps him. The prostitution imagery always conveys idolatry which is a betrayal man’s duty to worship God and God alone. Worship of idols is like prostitution.

It has been variously described as:
Outer darkness
Lake of fire,
Place of weeping and gnashing of teeth
Place of eternal separation from the blessings of God
Place of torment where the worm doesn’t turn or die

It is a symbol of great suffering because the metaphors use are contradictory as it is described as place of fire and yet at the same time Is a place of darkness. These symbols are used are cast in categories which would be easily comprehensible to the culture of John’s’ time to convey the concept of unending torment.

The reasons for believing in annihilation given are:

1. If Gods is so loving how can He punish a finite sinner who had committed a finite sin for all of eternity. Hence the concept of eternal punishment is excessive and contradicts the notion of an all loving God.

2.Fire as symbol consumes so it makes more sense that the people are annihilated.

3. If there is a hell it would mean that there still a pocket rebellion against the sovereign God of the universe.

This passage specifically indicated that in verse 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night. This indicated that the suffering is eternal.

Revelations 20: (ESV) 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

This verse will confirm that sinners who unrepentant will be punished for ever and ever. There is no indication of annihilation. Additionally, the punishment of the crime is not based on the finiteness of the sinner but the punishment is based on the the person on whom the wrong was committed against. Sin against the infinite God deserves a infinite punishment.

It is hard for people to accept God’s wrath because the only concept of wrath we have is based on our own experience of wrath. Human wrath is based on the volatility of our moods, it is often unjust and a loss of temper which is more often an instinctual reaction against a perceived wrong without wisdom and thorough investigation.

It is because of this wrath is seen as a blemish on a persons character. God’s wrath is not like human wrath it is his steady opposition against evil and sin. It is based on justice Imagine if we were to encounter the evil of a robber killing one of his victims in the course of a robbery. Letting the criminal off free would be doing an injustice to the victim.