During the time of the seven years of the great tribulation a new church emerged on the earth. The members of that church were those who believed in the Lord during the seven years of great tribulation. They had to experience the great tribulation and “the two beasts”, which are the “empire enemy of God” and the “false prophet”, the attacks and persecution of the pseudo religion. As a result, the church from the seven years of great tribulation which appeared to not have been able to withstand the attacks of the resurrected empire that is against God and the attacks of the religious fanatics was greatly wounded. The two witnesses from chapter 11 are the multitudes that believed in the Lord during the great tribulation. They firmly loved the Lord and many of them would be killed and become martyrs and at the end the Lamb of God would stand on Mount Zion to welcome them; because they were also murdered like the Lamb that is why the Lamb of God we welcoming them.
THE PROPHECY OF MOUNT ZION
1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000.
Mount Zion is a small hill south of the city of Jerusalem, it the place that David used as a stronghold before he became king, a place which David was very familiar with. Of course, this site is mentioned in many places of the Bible but some have special meaning about visions that several prophets had seen regarding the end times, a very special prophecy indicating the end of times. Christ will bring together a special group of His people for a one-time very special gathering on Mount Zion.
The vision on Mount Zion is mentioned two times in the New Testament. Besides the time that is mentioned here in the book of Revelation, the other time is in the book of Hebrews 12:22-23:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
Here it speaks about the “heavenly” Mount Zion, not the one on earth, the city of the living God, the headquarters of the Church. Therefore, the vision on Mount Zion is about a special multitude that has been gathered in the heavenly sanctuary during the end times.
In chapter 7 there are two groups of people. One of the groups is the multitude that went through the rapture, they were taken from the great tribulation, and they were holding palm branches in their hands, standing before the throne of God. The second group is the 144,000 who were on the earth during the seven years of great tribulation, the ones who were sealed. They were also chosen by God to be His witnesses during the end times. 144,000 is not the actual number, it is the number of the elite. They missed the rapture of the Church; they had to experience the great tribulation prior to being gathered to be with the Lamb before the throne of God, the great multitude on Mount Zion.
A MULTITUDE THAT HAS GOD ‘ S LIFE
1 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
They are in the sanctuary in heaven, not on the earth. Verse 3 says that they were before the throne; they were purchased from among mankind. This means that they were not among mankind anymore. The course of events started from chapter 7, verse 3: “until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of God.” Before the great tribulation started, the angel said: “Wait, first put a seal on those who are saved.” They already had the seal of the Holy Spirit, not the mark of the beast, long before their holy assembly on Mount Zion during the end times. They had Christ’s name, God’s name, and the seal of the Holy Spirit on their foreheads influencing their thoughts, their values, and their beliefs .
獸的印記稱為mark( charagma ) ，可翻譯為｢記號｣，｢標誌｣，是可見的，是具體的身份證明。凡是印斑、紋身、手環、GPS 的晶片等，都可能是這種標誌。聖靈印記稱為Seal( sfragis ) 是封上文件用的水印，也是封上耶穌墳墓的官方印記。沒有顏色，是透明的，不容易看得見。
The mark ( charagma ) of the beast is visible, is a concrete proof of identification. Any kind of bar code, tattoo, bracelet, GPS chip, etc. could be this kind of mark. The seal ( sfragis ) of the Holy Spirit is like the watermark on the seal of a manuscript, like the official seal that was put on Jesus’ tomb. It had no color, is transparent, it is not easily visible.
Having the seal of the Holy Spirit, the name of the Lamb, the name of God, indicates that they belong to God. Maybe is not easy to differentiate this kind of seal on the flesh or in this world. You might not even know if you have the seal of the Holy Spirit or the name of God. Like when we are saved, it could be very hard to specifically pin point the day. Especially those who had been raised in a Christian family, you might not know when you were sealed; you can only know when you made the decision to accept Christ as your Savior and when you were baptized. But you might have been sealed by the Holy Spirit before that time.
多數教會12 歲纔可以受洗，或受堅振禮，但得到主印記的年齡，可能比這早得多。主耶穌曾用一個小孩子作例證說：｢不要輕看這小子裡的一個，他們的使者，常見天父的面。｣那個小子，是指toddler ，兩歲到六歲左右的孩子。
In many churches you cannot receive Baptism or Confirmation until you are 12 years old, but a believer might have received the seal of the Lord long before those ceremonies. The Lord Jesus once used the example of a little child when He said: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” The “little ones” refers to “toddlers”, kids between the ages of 2 and 6 years old.
In other words, maybe the person received the seal of the Holy Spirit at a very early age. Yet, there are others who have been in the Church for many years and still do not know God. Some people want to use their minds, their intellect and outward actions in return for grace. They do not know that God is alive and that they can have a personal relationship with Him. Those who have faith in God are saved and belong to God.
The name of God is already on their foreheads. Many new believers do not know that they have a new Boss. For example, after a house has been sold, the first thing that people do is to put a sign that says “SOLD”. But the old owner still lives in the house, nothing has changed yet until after a few months has passed, then you will be able to see changes inside and outside the house, because there is a new owner. The style of the new owner will emerge. Right after a person receives the seal of the Holy Spirit, not much of change could be seen. Later on, the name of Christ and the name of the Heavenly Father will be clearly seen on his forehead.
A MULTITUDE THAT IS USED TO WORSHIPING GOD COLLECTIVELY
2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
144,000 people worshiping the Lord before the throne of God, singing praises to Him; of course it would sound very loud, like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. But the amazing thing is that it also sounded like a beautiful melody like that of harpists playing their harps. The sound of a harp is graceful and gentle which is completely different than the sound of a peal of thunder. But here the sound is loud and graceful at the same time. Music that is sweet and resounding .
Those are the distinguished features when music is used to praise and worship the Lord. Even nowadays when using loud speakers, the praise music does not lose its gracefulness and gentleness, not like the worldly rock and roll music that is just noisy. From now to eternity, our worship of the Lord should also be resounding and graceful.
A MULTITUDE THAT HAS EXPERIENCED GOD ‘ S NEWEST GRACE
3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
Only they could learn the song because they were a special group of people. They not only obtain the Lord’s salvation, but also experienced the great tribulation. It was not easy for this multitude to be part of this great assembly on Mount Zion. The song they were singing was a “new song” because they experienced God’s new achievement. In Psalms, whenever a new song is sung, it is always because God has done miracles in their lives, they have experienced something amazing that they had never experienced before, which is why they had to sing a new song of praise.
Some people believe in the Lord without experiencing any pressure from others, they are not opposed by friends or family members; it is very easy for them to believe. On the other hand, there are those who suffer strong opposition from their families; their elders would stop supporting them economically, they would even not give them food to eat and some would even shun them out of their homes. If these believers would keep their faith in spite of so much opposition, their faith would be a very steadfast faith; it is a faith that can stand any kind of test.
For a Jew or an Arab to believe in the Lord it is extremely difficult, because their whole household would be against them, they would use extreme measures to deal with them. In Muslim countries their lives might even be in danger. If a Jewish family learns that their son has believed in Jesus, they would perform a funeral for their son to show that from that moment on their son is considered dead to them; openly announcing that the son is no longer theirs. Those believers have the strongest faith. The praise songs that they sing, we cannot learn it because we did not have that kind of experience, we cannot compose that kind of song.
A MULTITUDE THAT DID NOT DEFILE THEMSELVES WITH IDOLS
4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.
This phrase cannot be explained literally, don’t think that they are all men. This is just a metaphor. Besides, in the Greek language the word “brethren”, also includes sisters; thus the plural word “men” also includes women. The Catholic Church believes that the clergy should stay “celibate”, not marry in order to be holy; they have misunderstood this verse. Many people use this verse to support staying single. Actually, the Apostle Paul never married, but he points out in Timothy 4:3 that men who forbid marriage are paying attention to the doctrines of demons. He pointed out that the people who pay attention to the doctrines of demons prohibit people to do two things: “forbid marriage” and “advocate abstaining from foods” . Both are doctrines of demons. They are going against nature and the needs of the body; they are going against the will of God, the Creator. When God created human beings, He created both husband and wife. Therefore, prohibiting people to get married is the doctrines of demons.
So, what does this verse mean? The English version says “they did not defile themselves”. After they believed in the Lord, they were faithful to the Lord all the way. Often, when the Bible condemns the people who commit adultery, it is because they worshiped idols, they trust other gods, they thrown themselves into the arms of a foreign god. In chapter 17, we see that the “great prostitute” has thrown herself in the arms of someone else; those are the people who nominally say they belong to the Lord.
Paul said: “The church is like a pure virgin promised to one husband, Christ.” The Church must be kept pure, must not worship other gods and must not live for worldly things like their stomach or for money.
A very important reason why they are called pure is because they are constantly living in tribulation during those 7 years. Suffering can purify people. When people live too comfortably and have too many enjoyments, it is detrimental to their spirits. The sole purpose of this multitude is to live for the Lord.
A MULTITUDE THAT FOLLOWS THE LAMB
4 They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
They learn from Christ, they follow Christ and obey the teachings of the Lord. They are willing to follow the steps of the Lord, waiting for His guidance. Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Although these words are simple, it is very hard to follow through because way of the Lamb is the way of the cross. They also followed the same road and were killed.
Some people do not know how to love and cherish the blessings of being close to the Lord when everything goes well. The Lord sends His angels as a protective wall to encamp around those who belong to Him to ensure their safety. But people feel that they do not have any freedom, they want to enjoy the world outside, and they break that protective wall in order to be able to go out to enjoy and experience the world. Actually, they have an insatiable desire for today’s world. But when they are outside they find that it is full the dangers of ravenous wolves and poisonous serpents.
After they come out they get seriously injured, just then do they realize that they should return to the sheepfold because that is the best place to be. During the end times, this new group of sheep will be living in a most dangerous environment, they will face death every day, and they will feel that being close to the Lord is the most precious thing. They will be completely different from the believers of this generation that have fallen in love with the dens of venomous snakes and ferocious beasts. The multitude that follows the Lamb is definitely more faithful and fervent than the disciples who live in a comfortable environment. God used them as His witnesses in the last days.
THEY WERE MARTYRS FOR THE LORD
4 They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
They are not the earliest firstfruits ; but believers from the last days. Why does it say that they were purchased from among mankind and offered as “ firstfruits ”? What are “ firstfruits ”? Those are the ones that wholly dedicated to God. The Mosaic Law required that all the firstfruits from the harvest be fully offered on the altar. This tells us that all 144,000 will have to experience the test of fire; they will all have to be sacrificed on the altar.
前面已讀過了，在大災難期間信主的門徒，就是兩個見證人，他們後來都被殺了。｢見證人｣這個字，在希臘文是 marter ，這個字後來演變成了英文的｢殉道者｣martyr 。
We previously read, during the great tribulation those who believe in Jesus are the two witnesses who will later be killed. The word “witness” in Greek is “ marter ”, this word later became the English word “martyr”.
這｢初熟果｣first fruits 與希伯來書十二章所說｢諸長子｣firstborns ，都有同樣的意思。這些後期的信徒，怎麽可能稱為｢長子｣呢？｢長子｣是指他們都是｢殉道者｣。他們是經過大災難的一群忠心見證人。由於他們在末後大災難中信主，很自然會給我們一個錯覺，以為他們的靈性一定比較差。因為不儆醒的人，燈裡沒有油的人，生活中沒有聖靈的人，纔要經歷大災難。我們不能用這眼光看他們，因為當他們真心信主，經歷過聖靈從上頭而生，就會有奇妙的生命改變。
The word “ firstfruits ” and the word “firstborns” in Hebrews chapter 12 have the same meaning. How could these believers from the last days be “firstborns”? “Firstborn” means that they are “martyrs”. They are a group of people who were faithful witnesses during the great tribulation. Because they were believers that came from the great tribulation, we might have the misconception that their spiritual life was not that good; due to the fact that only those who are not watchful, whose lamps have no oil, those who do not have the Holy Spirit in their lives, only those people will go through the great tribulation. We should not look at them in such way because when they believe in the Lord true heartedly and experience the birth of the Holy Spirit from above, their lives will go through a miraculous change.
THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO STAY AWAY FROM SATAN
5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Satan is called “the father of lies”. These people have never followed Satan; they had never obeyed the beast’s orders, they never received the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast was never on their forehead or on their right hand; all their deeds and thoughts were pure and true.
Satan is the source of all falsehood, he handles matters deceitfully, and he was a deceiver from the beginning starting in the Garden of Eden. Those who follow Satan also use lies and deceiving ways to impersonate the characteristics and the way of life of Christians.
It is impossible to find this kind of people in the world. But the Lord’s salvation is amazing; it can change a sinner into a blameless person. People in the church treat others with sincerity of heart, not with false pretenses or craftily. The sinner’s garment is cleansed by the blood of the Lord and it becomes as white as snow, without any blemishes. They may still not look perfect in some people’s eyes, but in the eyes of the Lord, they are blameless. Having faith in the Lord all the way, that is what pleases the Lord.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
These are a very special group of people which prophets from different eras had seen in visions of Mount Zion. They were assembled on Mount Zion in heaven. Hebrews 12:22-23:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.
By putting together the visions of other prophets, we can draw a portrait of these people.
俄巴底亞書21 ：必有[ 拯救者] 上到錫安山。
Obadiah 21 ：The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion.
約珥書2:32 ：在錫安山必有逃脫的人( 應譯拯救的人) ，在剩下的人中( 外邦人中) ，必有耶和華所召的。
Joel 2:32 ：For in Mount Zion shall be deliverance…and in the remnant (gentiles) whom the Lord shall call.
This group are made of people who “save souls”, they are preachers of the Word, fellow co-workers of the Gospel, spiritual leaders.
This way, when we read again regarding the vision on Mount Zion in Isaiah, we then understand better what Isaiah 49:12 says,
Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim .
以賽亞講出錫安異象之時，特別說出有哪些外邦人從甚麽方向來。指出有些從遠方來，有從北方來，也有從西方來。還有一些從秦國來。｢秦國｣原文是the land of Sinim 從中國人的地來，四百多年前翻譯英文的 KJV 版本時，還不大清楚指甚麽地方，那時以色列還沒有復國，希伯來文也成了死的語文，只少部份拉比懂得。當時照音譯作Sinim 。
When Isaiah spoke about the vision on Mount Zion, he specifically mentioned where the gentiles would be coming from. He pointed out that some would come from far, some from the north and some from the west, and some from the land of Sinim . The land of Sinim is the land of Chinese people. Four hundred years ago when the King James Version of the Bible was written, people were not clear as to what was the land of Sinim . At that time the Israelites had not return to their own country , and the Hebrew language had become obsolete, only a small group of rabbis knew the language, therefore Sinim was transliterated.
一百多年前，當翻譯中文聖經時，以色列人醞釀復國，也希望復國後用希伯來文做為國家語文，早已經把希伯來文講活了，大部份猶太人都懂了，也出版了希伯來文字典，讓大家有所依據。所以翻譯中文聖經時，深文理、淺文理與和合本，全部都翻作｢秦國｣，知道這詞所指的就是中國。因為｢秦｣音比較像，所以譯作｢秦國｣。歐洲多國叫中國作｢秦那｣，中國人叫chino ，中日戰爭叫作 sino -Japanese war 。
More than one hundred years ago, when the Bible was being translated into Chinese, the Jewish Zionist movement had already established Hebrew as their national language. Many Jews were already speaking the language and were very familiar with it; they also published a Hebrew dictionary so their language was established on a solid foundation. Therefore, at that time all the Chinese Bibles versions translated “the land of Sinim ” as “Qin Guo ｢秦國｣”and everyone knew that it referred to China. Also the sound of the word “ qin ” sounds like China.
猶太人、阿拉伯人的字典裡，都把中國稱為Sin ，中國人叫做Sini 。Sinim 是男性複數字。所以那句話原意｢有些從中國人的地來｣。
In the Hebrew and Arabic dictionary, China is called “Sin”, and Chinese people are called “Sini”. “ Sinim ” is the male plural form for the word Chinese. Therefore that sentence means that “there are some that come from the land of the Chinese people.
廿世紀的西方學者不接受這裡說的是中國。因為( 一) 它只出現了一次，可能是抄錯。( 二) 認為那段經文是講以色列復國，沒有道理有很多猶太人從中國回來。( 叁) 認為2750 年前的以賽亞不會知道有中國。還有更重要的原因，他們根本不相信中國教會能起來負起傳福音工作。所以西方學者翻譯 NIV 的時候，把它改成the region of Aswan ，明目張膽地把聖經的字更改了。
Western scholars from the twentieth century do not accept the fact that it refers to China for the following reasons: (1) the word only appears once, maybe it was copied wrong. (2) They believe that the passage speaks about Israel’s Zionist movement; it makes no sense that so many Jews would come from China. (3) They believe that 2750 years ago, Isaiah did not know that China existed.
他們不信的理由，完全是沒有根據的。( 一) 因為有多本手抄本來對照，證明不是手民之誤。( 二) 這裡所說的，是超過以色列復國的事。( 叁) 是以賽亞所見的異象，不是他的見解，不是他研究的結果，他知道不知道有中國，並不重要。
The reason why they did not believe was completely unfounded. (1) Because of the many manuscripts that exist, there is no way that it could have been copied in error. (2) What is mentioned here surpasses the event of the restoration of Israel . (3) It was the vision that Isaiah saw, it was not just his opinion, and it was not the result of his research; whether he knew or not of the existence of China is not relevant.
以賽亞在44 章的預言也很神奇，他預言在他150 年之後，以色列被擄滿了70 年之時，將由古列王Cyrus ，一個外邦的君王釋放回國，他連名字都寫出來。而且說：｢古列，你雖然不認識我，我卻揀選你作我民以色列的牧者，要提名召你，要膏抹你，藉你的手拯救以色列。｣從這事看見，原來沒有神先知之處，沒有聖經可讀的環境，神都能揀選人完成祂的計劃。古列是一個很好的君王，不殘暴，對下屬以德服人，有膽色、有謀略，也像百多年前的猶大王約西亞，在戰場上死去，兩個都是好皇帝，都在壯年死於戰場。約西亞王至少還讀過聖經，常在聖殿裡敬拜神，但古列從來沒有進過會堂，沒有聽過神的道，為甚麽神揀選他？還預告他的名字？這名字不是後來改的，是父母親替他取的。可以說，神預先知道這件事，就啟示給以賽亞知道。以賽亞也不認識古列是誰。所以他知道不知道有中國存在，並不重要。因為這些預言，不是出於他自己的，是出於神的。既然神預告中國教會興起，中國教會一定要興起，這不是以賽亞的預測，是神的預告。
Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 44 is very amazing. He prophesied what would happen 150 years later. He prophesied about the liberation of Israel after being in captivity for 70 years. At that time he didn’t even know that the gentile king was named Cyrus. It even says: “who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’” From this event we can see that even in places where there are no prophets from God, and places where there are no Bibles, God can still choose people to accomplish His plans. Cyrus was a very good king, he was not violent, he gave a fair treatment to his subordinates, he had courage, and he was clever, like king Josiah who was king of Judah many hundreds years ago, who died on the battlefield. Both kings were good kings, both died on the battlefield in the prime of their lives. King Josiah at least had the opportunity to read God’s Word and often worshiped God in the Sanctuary, but Cyrus had never been in a temple, had never heard the Word of God, why did God choose him and even mentioned his name in the prophecy? His name was given by his parents; it was not changed to that name at a later date. We can only say that God knew what would happen beforehand and revealed the matter to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah did not know who Cyrus was, therefore the fact that he knew or not of the existence of China is not important because the prophecies did not come from Isaiah himself but from God. Since God predicted that the church in China will rise, it will certain do so, this is not Isaiah’s prediction, it is what God had foretold.
This prophecy specifically points out that there will be Chinese people who will become the final generation of Gospel workers; because the last days will be the era of the Chinese people. From the directions that he points out we know that during the last days this gentile minority group maybe at lot of them are martyrs, or are persecuted. What kinds of people form this gentile minority group? He indicates that they come from afar; from the north and from the west, not from the south or from the east, because to the south and the east of Israel there aren’t many Christians. Africa and Asia are the world of the Muslims; most of East Asia is Buddhist and not many people are Muslims. The amount of Christians is relatively small.
Jesus said clearly in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” If the Gospel is not preached in this vast territory, the day of the Lord will be delayed. The witnesses in the last days are made out of people that come from Israel’s north and west, mostly white people from Europe and America plus many from far distant regions, probably including missionaries sent from Australia. Most missionaries are white people.
In recent years, there have been more than 8,000 missionaries from South Korea; missionaries from Asia are the second largest group of missionaries. Though there are only 1,000 missionaries from China, a few years from now the amount of missionaries from China will surpass the amount of missionaries from South Korea; due to the fact that Asian missionaries can accomplish more than white missionaries. Chinese people can adapt better to poor living conditions, they are more able to accept conservative traditions and feudal society.
But we ask, during the end times there will also be many believers from Africa and Central Asia, how come they are not mentioned here? Because these 144,000 are not the number of believers but the number of witnesses during the end times, they are soul savers, they are firstborns and they are also martyrs.
Why are they Chinese? It is because China is very near the inhospitable territory of central Asia. China has the largest population; Chinese are all over the world. In addition, Chinese churches can endure harsh sufferings. Many missionaries from Singapore and Hong Kong have a burden for Central Asia but they don’t dare go into that territory because they have a lot of worries and apprehensions. They would rather give money to send Chinese missionaries out in that field because they are not afraid of hardships.
That is the vision that the prophet Isaiah saw regarding the end times; China is in God’s blueprint plan, even though people may not believe that is possible, it will come true because the Holy Spirit is working in this large territory. Those who believe will be part of this great movement and will experience the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.