The Obstacle

In Community Bible Study this year we are going through the book of Revelation.  It is a marvelous study.  I think I’ve learned more about the book of Revelation than I ever have before.  It’s fascinating especially in light of current events.  The day when Christ will call His church home to heaven and the beginning of the tribulation seems so very near.

This week’s study was from Revelation 14:1-13 about the 144,000 men, 12,000 from each of Israel’s 12 tribes, who stand on Mount Zion with Jesus Christ.   They have been redeemed and sealed by God to go forth and share the Gospel throughout the world.  They are preaching a message of repentance to a world gone mad.  Even though the wrath of God is being poured out upon sinful man, God continues to reach out to the lost with the message that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone.  Yet most will continue to harden their hearts and go headlong to their eternal destruction as they embrace Satan and reject Christ.   

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 firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. – Revelation 14:1-5

The description of the 144,000 men is amazing.  They are chaste virgins, not defiled with women, there is no deceit in their mouth and they are without fault before the throne of God.  That is not to say that these men are sinless.  But they have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior and their sin debt has been paid in full by the precious blood of the Lamb.  They are walking in obedience out of love for their Savior whom they worship. 

What is said of these men and their character should be said of Christians.  Can you imagine how much more effective our witness would be if we were chaste, honest and blameless?  One of the most striking descriptions was, “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” 

In our study we had a question about what obstacle might keep us from following their example.  To answer that question truthfully, I knew it wouldn’t be pretty as I examined myself in mirror of God’s word. 

My biggest obstacle in following their example is me…my own sinful self.  All too often I’m self-focused.  I take my eyes of the prize of my high calling and get distracted.  I can be undisciplined, lazy and disobedient.  I’m prideful and think more highly of myself than I ought to.  Worse yet, I fail to love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. 

Lest I get discouraged as I see my many faults and failures…I need get my eyes back on the Lord.  The same Father, who chose these men before the foundation of the world, chose me.  The same Savior, who died for their sins, poured out His precious blood on the cross to pay the penalty in full for my sin.  The same Holy Spirit who seals the 144,000 has sealed me and indwells me. 

It’s not about me and how big or numerous my sins are…it’s about my God and His magnificent plan to redeem those who are lost.  It’s about His Son, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who alone is worthy to be praised.  It’s about the Holy Spirit who dwells within me and is sanctifying me day by day. 

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Jude 1:24-25