v1: After the revealing of the antichrist, the Church Age will end with the Rapture (2 Thess2v1-5) We see, in this chapter, a review of the Rapture (v1-5), information about G-d’s wrath (v6-13) and the 2nd Coming of Yeshua (v14-20).
In chapter 7 we viewed the 144 000 sealed tribes as relating to the people of Israel in a general sense. These are the Jewish people who are alive on earth throughout the final seven-year period. The seal of G-d preserves them through this time. The emphasis in chapter 7 is on the seal. There was no mention of the Lamb or Mt Zion in relation to this 144 000.
In Chapter 14 thefocus is on the 144 000 who are called “First fruits to G-d and the Lamb” (i.e. This 144 000 speaks, collectively, of the Church who is going to be raptured – Jews and Gentiles who have received the Gospel, prior to the Rapture). The emphasis on this 144 000 is the Lamb (Yeshua) and Mt Zion. This 144 000 should not be thought of as the First Fruits of the House of Israel.
v2: Water, in Revelation, speaks of many peoples (17v15). This verse speak of the people of G-d, who are praising and worshipping Him.
v3: Most scholars understand this new song as relating to the Gospel. Through redemption we can worship G-d in spirit and in truth (Jn 4v23-24).
- Before the throne speaks of submissiveness. They acknowledge and submit to G-d’s rule. In this present age, this 144 000 (church) responded to G-d’s call of salvation and experienced redemption.
v4: There is a play on words between redemption (v3) and defiled (v4). These words, in Hebrew, are written very similarly. It shows us how close truth and error are. Turning a little bit one way leads to redemption, turning a little bit the other way leads to defilement (idolatry/wrong worship). The purity of this 144 000 simply means that they did not commit spiritual adultery i.e. idolatry. It does not necessarily mean that these are virginal men. In other words, these 144 000 worshipped G-d rightly. They did not fall into an idolatrous lifestyle.
- Virgins speak of faithfulness.
- First fruits has to do with resurrection (1 Cor 15v20, 23). These people have had a resurrection experience – they identified with the Lamb who was slain (Rom 6v5-10 – This speaks of a body of believers/the Church.)
v6: Scripture needs to interpret Scripture. After the persecution of believers (Matt 24v9-13) the gospel will be proclaimed in all the world (Matthew 24v14) ….and then the end (of the Church Age) will come. Why? Because after these things the ‘abomination of desolation’ happens (Matt 24v15). The Church Age ends, shortly thereafter, with the rapture. (2 Thess 2v1-5) Following the rapture, the enemy sets his attention toward the children of Israel. (Matt 24v16-25 – there is a shift of focus, from verse 16, to Judea and to the land of Israel). This is when the time of ‘Jacobs Trouble’ begins (Dan 12v1, Jer 30v7).
v7: Judgement and wrath come after the rapture. G-d did not appoint us (believers) to suffer wrath (1 Thess 5v9)
v8: This angel makes a proclamation, foreshadowing judgement to come, but we are not going to see the outcome of it until Revelation 18. Babylon was seen as a great oppressor, and prophetically, very significant in Israel’s history. The fall of Babylon, destroyed because of G-d’s wrath, would be great news to G-d’s people. Babylon is later seen as a harlot, who led the people into adultery (It is not literal fornication but refers to spiritual infidelity/idolatry). Idolatry brings about the jealousy, anger and vengeance of G-d.
v10: The wrath of G-d falls due to improper worship. Regardless of our situations, in life, we need to remain faithful and worship G-d rightly.
- ‘In the presence of the Lamb: Yeshua stands in approval of this wrath and judgement.
v12: A future hope and expectation cause the saints to hold on and to have patience.
Obedience to G-d’s commands is not done to earn salvation (salvation is a free gift and can’t be earned) but the commands are kept as an outcome of salvation. They produce righteousness in us. They change our lives to be more like G-d. Commands help us to walk in the boundaries that G-d has set and live in a way that pleases Him.
v13: When we serve G-d our faithfulness (works) follows us into the next age.