MP3: The Mighty Angels of Revelation 13-14
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
The Two Beasts
Nathan Jones: I’ve always wondered where people got the idea that 13 was an unlucky number. I think it is because of Revelation 13. The chapter talks about two beasts: one is the Antichrist who is going to control the world one day, and the second is his False Prophet. Since these are the two greatest villains in all of human history, and both are found in Revelation 13, maybe that’s why 13 is considered an unlucky number.
They are given super powers, so to speak, and the Antichrist himself is indwelt by Satan, so there is an angelic presence involved in this chapter. But, since the Two Beasts are both mere men, they don’t quite fall under the subject matter of the mighty angels of Revelation.
While Revelation 13 is one of the most vital chapters in all the Bible for getting the details concerning the Antichrist and the False Prophet, because there are no angels in the chapter, we’ll only briefly address what’s happening.
The “beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name” as Revelation 13:1 describes is the Antichrist. He’s called the Beast throughout the rest of Revelation. Because he rises out of the sea, some theologians believe he will be a Gentile. He has a mortal wound that has been healed, likely by the Dragon, who is Satan. So, yes, there is one reference to an angel — Satan. He not only heals the Antichrist, but he possesses him as well, ruling the world directly through a man the world believes was resurrected from the dead.
The Antichrist blasphemes God and violently persecutes the Jews and Tribulation Saints. The satanically powered Beast is given power over the whole world for 42 months, equal to the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation.
The “beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon, and he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” is the False Prophet. He serves the Antichrist as a priest and spokesman, forcing the world to get in line and obey the Antichrist. Because he comes out of the earth, some theologians believe that term designates his nationality as Jewish.
The False Prophet performs counterfeit supernatural miracles to validate his authority and wrath. He even institutes a financial system where people can only buy or sell if they’ve taken the Antichrist’s loyalty mark, which is his name or the number 666 placed on the right hand or forehead.
The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists
Vic Batista: As we enter Revelation 14, we get yet another flash-forward and are introduced to the 144,000 Evangelists. Some of the chapters in Revelation are flash-forwards that happen in the book from time to time.
Nathan Jones: Yes, as we go through the book of Revelation, God pours out 21 judgments upon the earth, and they are terrible judgments. We are talking about the destruction of half the world’s population in just the first half, or 3.5 years, of the Tribulation. The judgments take the form of natural disasters such as tremendous earthquakes which level the earth and sink whole islands. We are talking about the poisoning of the water supplies where a third of the salt and fresh water turns into blood. We are talking about demonic hordes pouring across the earth and killing people by the millions. So, this is frightening, frightening imagery!
Because of how frightening the Revelation judgments can scare the reader, at times God stops the narrative in order to give us a break from all the carnage. God will flash-forward the story to the end of Revelation in order to give us hope. He gives the good message, “Hey, I am going to win. Don’t worry! Everything is going to be fine in the end.” God means for believers in Christ to have hope. So, just like the end of chapter 12, in chapter 14 we are yet again given a flash-forward.
Vic Batista: I really love that God stops scary scenes in order to provide the reader some hope. He does so this time by introducing us to the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists and some more angelic beings. God providing the angels in the future reminds me of how God, even today, uses His angels to protect us in so many ways.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, the Lord does have guardian angels protecting His people. That should provide us some comfort, especially knowing that some people are totally defenseless. I am thinking about special needs people, or in situations where the enemy is overwhelming, like ISIS marching across the Middle East. We just praise God for His supernatural protection!
Vic Batista: Let’s read Revelation 14:1-5:
“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
Nathan Jones: These 144,000 are not angels, but men. It is easy to say these guys are angles because they learn a song from Heaven before the Four Living Creatures and 12 Elders, but you have to go back to Revelation 7 to find out exactly who they are. Revelation 7:4 tells us they are “one hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” These are Jewish people who were left behind after the Rapture but then afterwards got saved by whatever means of evangelism lead them to God.
Since the 144,000 are saved and specially set apart, God puts a seal on their forehead to protect them. In other words, they cannot be killed during the Tribulation. If you read through the rest of Revelation 7, they go out and evangelize. They bring a great multitude of people from every tribe, tongue, language and people to come to know Jesus as Savior during the Tribulation. The Antichrist will kill many of their converts who received Christ, so there is a great martyrdom that happens, but the 144,000 cannot themselves be killed. But, the passage shows that there are angels involved in their ministry training.
God in the Tribulation continues to provide the work of evangelism for the Lord. With the Church leaving the world at the Rapture, there is not going to be as strong a presence for evangelism anymore. Millions and millions of Christians all the sudden are gone! So, how is the Holy Spirit continuing His saving work? After all, the Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation, and so the saving work of the Holy Spirit will continue throughout the Tribulation. One of the avenues of evangelism the Holy Spirit uses is through the 144,000 Jewish Evangelists.
Vic Batista: Excellent point, because some have the misconception that the Holy Spirit is going to be taken off the earth along with the Church at the Rapture.
Nathan Jones: True, but no, we read in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the Restrainer is removed from the earth. In other words, the Holy Spirit’s influence through the Church is no more until the Millennial Kingdom. Once you remove the Restrainer, it’s like opening a dam. The water bursts through and people voraciously live out whatever carnality they desire. The whole world goes into anarchy! Then the Antichrist clamps down on everything in order to control the chaos.
People often ask where the Holy Spirit is during the Tribulation? The world will continue to need the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is necessary in the work of salvation. He is the one who nudges people towards Christ. He is the one who takes a spiritually dead person and makes them alive. But, the Holy Spirit isn’t working through the Church anymore during the Tribulation, instead He is working through a series of different evangelists, and that includes the 144,000. God makes them angelically protected from physical harm, but also gives them the strength and power to minister to people in an apocalyptic, nightmare world.
Vic Batista: I love that the passage says the 144,000 are sealed. The Enemy has his own false mark, which we read about in Revelation 13. The Antichrist has a false way of branding those loyal to him. But, here we see that the 144,000 are loyal and sealed instead by God for His purposes.
Nathan Jones: It is fascinating, because the Antichrist will also be putting a mark called the Mark of the Beast on his people. It will be placed on the right hand or the forehead, and it will be visible so that other people can see it. The Mark of the Beast is the name or the number of the Antichrist. Likely it is some kind of tattoo because it is readable. Maybe there is a chip behind it, or maybe not. So many people today are worried about being micro-chipped, but there is something clearly visible about the mark that identifies the person as loyal to the Antichrist.
But, for God’s people, He puts a mark on their foreheads as well. Whether everybody can see God’s mark, or only believers can see it, that’s up for debate. Regardless, God’s mark on them means that the 144,000 are sealed by God and so they are protected by God. The seal of God on their forehead means nothing can harm them, not even God’s judgments, though the 144,000 are certainly affected by them.
Vic Batista: Absolutely! I often liken that to what happens when we become saved. When someone becomes saved and they invite the Lord to come into their heart, the Holy Spirit moves in and they are sealed forever.
Nathan Jones: Wonderfully said! Christians today don’t see God’s sealing. I don’t have a cross on my forehead, or whatever that seal may look like. Maybe the name of God — Yahweh — is spiritually stamped across my forehead. I don’t know. But, when God says He seals the 144,000 on their forehead, He is saying they are supernaturally protected. These people are marked by God, kind of like a logo. Think of the logo with the swoosh on it. You look at that logo and immediately you know Nike created that shirt. The shirt is copyrighted and produced by Nike. In the same way, God redeems us through the blood of His Son when we are saved. Christians have Christ’s logo stamped across our foreheads, and so cannot be touched by Satan.#Christians have Christ's logo stamped across our foreheads, and so cannot be touched by #Satan. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: Praise the Lord! That is why we believe that during the time of the Tribulation those who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit cannot take the Mark of the Beast, because the saving work has been done in their heart. Anyone who takes the Mark of the Beast can only do so because Christ’s saving work has not been accepted in their heart.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! There are so many people today who are just terrified they’ll accidentally take the Mark of the Beast. They worry that they’ll accidentally take it and go to Hell. Yet, there’s a specific timing involved with the Mark. By the middle of the Tribulation you’ve got to remember how much destruction has happened to the world, and will continue. The entire political landscape has changed as all the nations will be serving under a one-world leader. The world will be devastated by war, famine and death as half the world population will be annihilated. The world of the middle of the Tribulation is going to be a totally different world than we can imagine today. That anyone today could accidentally take the Mark in this day and age is crazy, because the Antichrist doesn’t even set up the Mark system until the middle of the Tribulation, and we are clearly not living in the Tribulation right now.
Vic Batista: Though, we do know that there is all sort of tracking occurring. We know that governments can track their people. Everybody who carries a cellphone, or the iWatch, and just so many other devices can track people. But, the reality is the Mark is going to be something that will be established during the time of the Tribulation, and believers in Christ today are not going to be there during that time.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, Christians during the Church Age are promised to be spared from God’s wrath, as it says in Revelation 3:10 and other verses, so we do not have to worry about the Tribulation or the Mark. Sure, we live during a terrible time with a lot of trouble brewing, but it’s nothing — nothing — compared to the horrors the world will face during the Tribulation.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! And what a wonderful display of God’s holiness in that these 144,000 it says in Revelation 14:4 that they are undefiled, in other words, they are virgins. Purity in our Christian lives is so important.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, in the Bible purity is always tied to virginity, for virgins are set apart for God until they are married. The 144,000 have not made a commitment to a woman, but they are totally committed to God. Likely a lot of these 144,000, if not most of them, are probably going to be young men, maybe even teenagers. What we are looking at is a giant youth revolution that will happen during that time period.
Vic Batista: They remind me of those young men who kept pure in the Bible, like Joseph and Daniel, who avoided adultery and unclean food.
Nathan Jones: God believes purity is vitally important. And, verse 4 states that the 144,000 are the “firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” In other words, they are the first to be saved during the Tribulation. They are first to serve and evangelize.
Revelation 13:5 describes, “And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.” These are special people. When you think about it, the 144,000 could be children right now, if we are looking at the Tribulation coming in our lifetime. That means that they would be covered by the age of accountability so that they go to Heaven automatically, because Jesus said that Heaven belongs to the little children. So, it could be that the 144,000 are saved at 13 years old, or whatever the maturity level the age of accountability is, so they go right from the age of accountability into service for the Lord, and therefore they are considered pure before their Lord their entire lives.
Vic Batista: What a word of encouragement to the young people — set yourselves apart for the work of the Lord. Come to know the Lord early on and you are going to be eternally blessed.
Nathan, that is what happened to you, right, you came to know Jesus as your Savior early on?
Nathan Jones: My Mother led me to the Lord around seven years old, and I recommitted at 12. Now bear in mind, these children are at the age of accountability during the Rapture, so they of course will be raptured and so will not be here to live through the Tribulation. And, it’s kind of debatable concerning what point in youth one needs to be saved, but the Bible hints at just past the age of accountability.
I believe the world will see a definite spiritual revolution of youth during the Tribulation. Think about an army of evangelists who have all the power that the 12 Apostles had. The 12 Apostles spread the Gospel during the first 100 years all over the Roman Empire. But, during the Tribulation, they’ve got 144,000 unstoppable Apostles sharing the Gospel all over the world. No wonder people from every tribe, tongue and nation are out there accepting the Gospel!
Vic Batista: I think the world will witness the greatest Jewish boy band performing, because verse 3 says there is a new song that they are going to learn. They are going to be rocking! It’s so cool what God’s going to do through these young men.
Nathan Jones: How interesting that no one can learn the song except the 144,000. Here they are standing before the Lord, before the four angels called the Living Creatures, the ones that have eyes all over their bodies, and the 24 Elders who surround God’s throne. The angelic world is watching after these young men. The song is likely whatever they are witnessing in Heaven through either dream or vision. That’s the song that they share with the whole earth.
God is not just going to destroy people during the Tribulation. One of God’s three purposes for the Tribulation is to bring people to know Jesus as their Savior. God will provide tremendous witnessing power during the Tribulation, even with the Church absent.
In the thirtieth segment of our series “The Mighty Angels of Revelation,” we’ll continue in Revelation 14 and learn more about how God will evangelize the Tribulation, this time with the Evangelism Angel.