Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Lamb on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1-5)

The location where the 144,000 are gathered is Mount Zion. In the Old Testament, Mount Zion was the place of power where David had established his throne. It is not difficult for us to see here a reminder that the Son of David, whom David had sung about in Psalm 89, was in charge, seated on the throne of God. Although looking by sight does not discover this fact, looking by faith will. Christians recognise that the real place of power is not located in the machinations of the beasts, but in Jesus who has received all power in heaven and on earth.

Mount Zion was also the place of worship in Jerusalem in Israel. There, under the authority of the high priest, the religious system of Israel functioned. All this was a picture of what Jesus would do as the true High Priest who leads and enables the worship taking place in heaven. There are many aspects to his priestly activity that have been revealed to us for our encouragement.

So we can see that Mount Zion reveals to us the wonder of the person of Jesus. He is unique as the One who is both king and priest. As king he has all power in heaven and in earth and as priest he represents his people permanently in heaven.

Here in the vision he is described as the Lamb and is depicted as standing. Being called the Lamb is a reminder of his character and his sacrifice. Our minds go to the biblical requirements necessary for a lamb to be offered as a sacrifice in the Old Testament rituals. It had to be without blot or blemish. In other words, it depicted perfection, a reminder that what was needed was a sinless substitute. And we know that Jesus was sinless. He never had a wrong thought, he never spoke a wrong word, and he never committed a wrong action.

On the cross, the sinless Saviour offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of his people. He endured the wrath of God and paid the penalty for their sins. Unlike all other sacrifices, he returned to life three days later. This is how he can be in this place of prominence. After his resurrection, he ascended to heaven a few weeks later. John is reminded by Jesus that in the centre of the world of glory is Jesus, and he wants us to remember that as well.

Jesus is described as standing, which is probably a contrast to the devil who is also described as standing (12:17). A difference between them is what they are standing on – the devil stands on unstable sands whereas Jesus stands on a solid mountain.

Why is Jesus standing? Is he singing to the 144,000? After all, John says that the voice he hears is like the sound of rushing waters, which is how the voice of Jesus is described in Revelation 1:15. He says in this chapter that the only ones who can learn this song are his people, the redeemed. Do we have here a fulfilment of the Saviour’s promise described in Psalm 22:22 and quoted in Hebrews 2:12? If that is the case, it will be wonderful to hear.

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