Standing with the Lamb

Title: Standing with the Lamb

Bible Book: Revelation 14 : 1-8

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Lamb of God; Tribulation, The Great



I once heard someone refer to the Book of Revelation as a tract for hard times. Trials and tribulations come to every generation. The amazing thing is that we cannot pass on our experience to our children and our grandchildren. If fact, we try to do that, only to find our advice and instructions often, but not always fall on deaf ears. One might assume that civilizations would continually evolve upwards until most social and ethical problems would be eliminated. Sadly, the opposite is the case. Left to drift, individuals and cultures always drift away from God, never toward Him. The prince of the world, Satan is there to influence this rebellion against God in every generation. Any time you see a catastrophe or a tragedy, please remember that the Fall brought death, suffering, and pain. We do not live in a fair world, we live in a fallen world. When we are born again we still live in a fallen world, a world whose prince is the master deceiver, father of liars, and murderer from the beginning. Nowhere is his character seen more vividly than in Islamic terrorism today.

Whether the saints are living through the persecutions of Nero or Domitian, the Inquisition, Nazism. Communism, or Islamic terrorism, the Book of Revelation speaks to believers, not to discourage them, but to encourage them; not to cause them to run for the hills, but to wage spiritual warfare; not to silence them, but to embolden them. Briefly, let me review with you once again what we have seen in Revelation:

In Chapter 1, we see that the Son of God is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, beginning and the end.

In Chapters 2-3, we have the letters to the 7 churches of Asia Minor.

In Chapter 4, we are introduced to the throne room of Heaven.

In Chapter 5, The One on the throne has a scroll with seven seals in His hand, a seal no one could open until the Lamb of God, Jesus, undertook the task of breaking the seals and opening the scroll.

In Chapter 6, the first six seals are broken, each with its own dramatic revelation.

In Chapter 7, God’s judgment is held back until a mighty angel with the seal of the Lord seals those who are redeemed.

In Chapter 8, the seventh seal is broken, followed by 7 trumpet judgments.

In Chapter 9, the angel from bottomless pit unleashes plagues against those who are not saved.

In Chapter 10, John is told to take the little book, and eat it: it would be sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach.

In Chapter 11, verses 1-10, we see the Two Witnesses God sends to proclaim His message with awesome power, and supernatural results. In 11:1, God told John to take a reed and measure the sanctuary, excluding the court of the Gentiles. He stressed that Gentiles will trample under foot the streets of that great city for forty-two months, three and one half years.

In Chapter 12, we see Satan’s vicious attack on Israel, and God’s protection of His Chosen People.

In Chapter 13, we are introduced to the two beasts, the beast out of the sea and the beast our of the earth. Through these two beasts, Satan wages an evil war against God and all who honor Him. The first beast is hideous, ugly, frightening, and seemingly irresistible. When he comes out against the saints one wonders if anyone can stand against him. We know there will be many martyrs. Then the second beast speaks up and offers a compromise.

On Valentine’s Day, 2005, a radio host offered a free divorce to the winners of a contest, or to a lucky caller. He appeared on Fox network with someone to explain what the program was trying to do. A Catholic Priest was given an opportunity to express opposition to what the radio host was doing. He made some good points about the effects of divorce on children, but what I seemed to hear has more to do with “thus reasoneth the mind of the church” than “thus saith the Word of the Lord.” The priest said something that surprised me: “Sometimes divorce is necessary because of irreconcilable differences.” I have some news for you: Jesus does not recognize that irreconcilable differences as grounds for divorce. Jesus is in the business of reconciliation!

Let me ask you something. If when television first came out, if you parents or grandparents had hear people using God’s name in vain, shouting obscene words, or chatting about body parts and body functions, what would they have done? The media knew what would have happened, so they took a half a century to break down the barriers - slowly but relentlessly they changed our culture. The first beast declares there is not God and there are no absolute values and standards. The second beast steps up and softens the message, encouraging diversity, encouraging compromise. When he has done his work masses will wear the mark of the beast on their foreheads and in their lives.

Fear not! The beast has not won. The dragon is not winning. Now we come to Chapter 14 and here we will see that the Lamb of God has never relinquished control and He has never yielded control to Satan. When your day is dark and dreary, look the heavens and see the heavenly Son-light; when health, finances, oppression, even persecution comes, look to Mount Zion. Stand with the Lamb!


A. Keep Your Eyes on the Lamb, 1a.

“Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb.”

1. Jesus is the Lamb of God.
2. He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
3. In Hebrews, Jesus is the preeminent High Priest.
4. In Hebrews, He is the supreme sacrifice, the Lamb without spot or blemish.
5. Jesus is standing on Mount Zion.

Mount Zion is probably the same as the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22-24). Believers
will be encouraged when they see the Lamb of God on Mount Zion, the place of His greatest victory on earth.

When Jesus came to the disciples in the storm on the Sea of Galilee, He was walking on the water. Peter asked to go to Him and was given permission. Peter was walking on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus and then he began to sink. If you will remember, Peter could not prevent his sinking, and he could inflate himself to ascend back to the surface. Jesus had to lift him back up and set him on top of the water. If you take your eyes off the Lamb of God, you are going to sink - and you have taken your eyes off the Lamb, and you have sunk. Now if you have been there you know that once you sink in sin you cannot restore yourself. You must look to the Lamb of God.

The image of a lamb may not cause the world to tremble, or Satan to flee. It may not even inspire faith and trust in a backslidden sinner. However, we must never forget that the Lamb of God is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Balm of Gilead is also the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Keep your eyes on Him and He will protect you, He will defend you, He will comfort you.

I grew up on a farm seven miles west of Sledge, Mississippi, just over the line in Tunica County. I well remember when we got mercury lights in out community - hey, I remember when the Mississippi Power and Light people ran the power lines through our community. As a matter of fact, a lineman named Perry Lambert stopped by one day and told my grandfather an amusing story. As they dug the last holes in the delta and ran the lines right up to the edge of the hills, an elderly man came out to watch them. He spend the day watching them approach the first steep hill leading from the Mississippi delta to the hills. When they stopped for lunch he went home. When they began work again he was there, standing off the side without saying a word. Finally, as they reached the end of the flat land and looked up the long, steep hill, the elderly man eased over to a lineman and said, “Say, mister, do you really believe that stuff is going to climb that hill?”

With the mercury lights on utility poles we could see around the house, barn, shop, tractors and implements. Before that, if there was a problem one had to depend upon a lantern or flashlight. There were time when we heard a noise near the house and my father would get up and take a flash light and his shotgun and ease out and circle the house, checking to see whether the noise was made by a man or some animal. There were people who lived in fear under the circumstances. Fortunately, I was not one of those people. When there was threat or crisis I looked to my father. He might stay out for some time, but I watched for him and when I saw him I knew everything was all right.

I was not the only one who looked to my father for protection. There were times when someone on our place would come to our house to tell us about the drunk who had loaded his gun and threatened to kill anyone who tried to get to him. On a number of occasions, my father went out across those fields or to the house and relieved the drunk of his gun and took him home and settled him down. There were many times when I could have lost my father because someone else’s drunken father had become violent. The nearest law enforcement officer was 25 miles away and the man who owned the farm had to maintain order until a deputy could get there. That meant someone would have to drive over into Quitman County and call the Tunica County Sheriff’s office and ask for help - if the store was open. By the time a deputy got there it might be too late. My daddy symbolized security, protection, and at times, provisions for a number of people.

My father was also a role model for his sons. One evening when I was in my teens I was sitting in the small study I had helped Daddy add on to the house when he was adding a bedroom, making some notes for a sermon. As I recall, it was very quiet, possibly because I was home alone. I was totally absorbed in my studies - at least as absorbed as a sixteen years old farm boy might be. Suddenly there was a noise like a shotgun shot, only I knew it was not a gun shot. It sounded like someone had taken a plank and hit the side of the house right by the window where I was sitting. I jumped, recovered from the start, then began to fume. The very thought that someone would slip up against the house and look through the window and hit the side of the house with a board to scare me irritated me more than a little. I slipped outside and carefully searched the whole area but found no one. I mean, I seriously searched the whole place, but found no trace of anyone.

Still, the audacity of someone pulling that stunt went against the grain. Then one day at school someone asked, “Did you hear those sonic booms the other night?” I was thinking, “What is a sonic boom?” Pilots had flown jets down from Millington Naval Air Station, just north of Memphis on maneuvers. That was the first time I had ever heard what happens when a plane breaks the sound barrier. I not only learned about the sound barrier, I also learned that though I was my father’s son, I was not my father. I was relieved when I did not find a prowler and he would have been disappointed if one was there and he didn’t find him.

As I grew up I came to understand that my father had his limitations. He was without a doubt the most courageous man I have ever known, but he had his limitations and he knew it. Today, I thank God that when there is a threat I can look to Mount Zion and see the Lamb of God. I know that whatever may come He will be victorious and I will share in the victory. My heavenly Father is without fear and without limitations.

B. With Jesus on Mount Zion Were the 144,000 Saints, 1:b-3.

1. With the Lamb were the 144,000 believers, 1b.

This gets interesting here. The New Commentary on the Whole Bible states that:

“These saints who are to reign with Christ will first suffer with him. The 144,000 could represent spiritual Israel and/or literal Israel. This encouraging vision follows the discouraging reports of the last two chapters. Just as certain ones were marked in chapter 13 by the number “666,” even so the individuals of this multitude are marked. However, the mark on their foreheads is not an evil mark but rather the Lamb’s name and his Father’s name” [NCWB].

The Bible Knowledge Commentary offers the following comments:

“It is reasonable to conclude that this is the same group mentioned in 7:4-8, except that here they are in a later period of the Tribulation. Chronologically the vision anticipates the triumph of the 144,000 still intact at the time of Jesus Christ’s return from heaven to earth. In contrast with many others who become martyrs, these people live through the period. But they are not the only ones to survive, as many Gentiles and Jews will turn to Christ in the end time and somehow escape martyrdom and be honored to welcome Christ at His return” [BKC].

According to the Believer’s Study Bible Notes, “The 144,000 first pictured in chapter 7 are now presented in heaven in the presence of the elders and the four living creatures. They are redeemed from the earth but are distinct from the 24 redeemed elders” [BSB]. This seems like a valid conclusion.

2. The 144,000 “had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads”, 1c.

Satan marks his followers with a mark on their foreheads. It is the number 666 as we saw in chapter 13. The mark on the foreheads of the saints, in contrast to the evil mark of Satan, is the name of the Lamb - and the name of the Father. We wear his seal, His brand. We belong to Him.

Since in this series of sermons my stated purpose is to skim the surface in search of the blessings promised to all who read or hear this prophecy (see 1:3), I want to do a little skimming, just as my mother did when she skimmed the cream off the milk to prepare a dessert. I would like to know how many people have believed that they had nailed down “the mark of the beast.” The owner of a Christian television station once told me he had finally figured it our - it will be a microchip which could be implanted in one’s wrist. Others picture millions - shall we say billions - walking around with a bold seal stamped or tattooed on their forehead.

Will you permit me to leave the conjecturing to those who are better at such conjecturing than I? Will you permit me to make a point that an Amillennialist might make here? The simple fact is that right now you are bearing in you life the marks of your master. You are either bearing in your body, in your mind, in your heart the seal of your master. Your actions as your words testify to the fact that you either belong to the prince of this world, or to the Lord of the universe. You bear in your life the mark of the beast, Satan, the dragon of chapter 13, of you bear the mark of the Son of God and of the Father. Now, let me ask you this: Does your neighbor know to whom you belong? What about the people you meet in your work during the week?

Please let me repeat this. You are, right now, bearing the marks of you master in your life. Have you ever seen anyone whose brained has been pickled with alcohol or fried with some hallucinogenic drug? Al Capone walked around Chicago like a king, but when he died with the venereal disease that destroyed his brain, whose mark was he wearing? Would you like a contrast? Try Billy Graham. Try Joni Erickson Tada. I was attending a nation wide Bible conference at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis when I heard Ron Dunn say that Adrian Rodgers was the finest Christian gentleman he had ever met. On what did he base that assessment? Don’t get me wrong, I can understand whey he said that. In fact, I could not disagree with him. Like so many other people, I have seen him on television and listen often to him on AFR radio. I have heard him in person at Bellevue Baptist Church. When I met Adrian Rodgers he shook my hand, clamped my hand between his hands, looked me in the eye, smiled, and spoke with a graciousness one does not often see. There is a warmth to the man one does not easily forget. Adrian Rodgers bears in his life the seal of Jesus Christ. That, however, is not restricted to pastors of the mega-churches. Every believer is a testimony to the name of the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit bearing witness through that individual.

There was a Brother Storey, who encouraged me right after I graduated from seminary. I mentioned it to Dr. H. R. Herrington, the pastor with whom I worked as a youth minister, and he assured me that if you want anyone praying for you it is Brother Storey. When he retired, a Jackson, Mississippi church gave him an office and a telephone so he could call people as the Lord led and have prayer with them over the phone. When I looked into his eyes and listened to his voice I was aware of the fact that they marked him as a child of the King.

3. John heard a sound from heaven, 14:2.

“I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of cascading waters and like the rumbling of loud thunder. The sound I heard was also like harpists playing on their harps.”

The sound John heard was loud and clear, and filled with majesty. It was unmistakable. The source of the sound was irrefutable as far as John was concerned. It came from heaven. It was clear and melodious, beautiful.

4. The 144,000 sang before the throne, 14:3.

“They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”

This new song is a song of victory after conflict with the dragon, beast, and false prophet. It is a song that has never been sung before, for such a conflict had never before been fought; therefore, it is described as “new”.

“Until now the kingdom of Christ on earth had been usurped; now a new song is sung in anticipation of his taking possession of his blood-bought kingdom with his saints (cf. 15:2, 3). no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth—The term translated “redeemed” literally means “purchased.” It follows that not even the angels can learn that song, for they have not experienced what it is to have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (7:14). Thus, the song certainly concerns redemption (Morris)” [NCWB].


A. These Saints Are Pure and Holy, 14:4a.

“These are the ones not defiled with women, for they have kept their virginity. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”

The 144,000 who sang the new song were saints who were not defiled with women. They have kept their virginity. Commentaries will disagree here. Some may say that there is a special place for those who have not known marital relations and who had abstained from immorality. Other believe this refers to spiritual fornication, that is, forsaking one’s union with Christ by joining oneself to idolatry and/or any kind of heresy. In the first place, the New Testament never presents sexual relations in
marriage as defiling or unclean. Some have noted that sexual sins of the world eventually became prevalent in the church (See 1 Cor. 7:4-6). Whether this denotes those who are guilty of literal or spiritual fornication, consider the sharp contrast between those who have committed such sins and the 144,000 “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”

On February 15 (2005), there was a discussion on Hannity and Colmbs about the latest Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. The question was, have they gone too far? Let me state right here that I cancelled my subscription to Sports Illustrated many years ago because of their swim suit edition. I am serious! As far as I am concerned, they are peddling porn. It may not be hard core pornography, but it is still pornographic because it has such a strong potential for causing lust, the precursor to adultery. There is a tidal wave of immorality sweeping this country right now and it is getting worse every year, thanks to the movie industry, the television industry, books and magazines, and the music industry. Make no mistake, what God condemns in His Word, our so-called Christian nation honors, glorifies, and rewards. The vile language, pictures, and scenes portrayed in movies and on TV are bearing fruit in the minds of children across America. I am not talking about high school students, I am talking about middle school children. When early elementary children begin talking about oral sex we are in real trouble!

America is reaping a harvest of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, broken homes, and of course, 44 million murdered babies. The world may swim in sins that defile, but all born-again Christians should so commit themselves to Jesus Christ as to stand in sharp contrast to the world.

B. They are called firstfruits for God, 14:4b.

“They were redeemed from the human race as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb.”

To under the significance of the emphasis on firstfruits we need to go back to the Old Testament and see what part firstfruits played in the sacrificial system. According to Leviticus 23:9-14, the first sheaf of the new crop of barley was presented as a wave offering before the Lord. This took place on the day after the Passover Sabbath and was a public acknowledgment that all the harvest came from God and belonged to Him (Num. 28:26; compare Ex. 23:16; 34:22).

Not only were the Israelites to be mindful that the land of Canaan was the Lord’s possession and that they had only the rights of tenants (Lev. 25:23), but they were also to be aware that the fertility of Canaan’s soil was not due to one of the Baals but rather to the Lord’s gift of grace. The Holman Bible Dictionary offers a brief summary:

“Israel was described as God’s “firstfruits” (Jer. 2:3). Christ in His resurrection is described as the ‘firstfruits’ of them that slept (1 Cor. 15:20, 23). The Holy Spirit is spoken of as a ‘firstfruits’ (Rom. 8:23), and believers are also spoken of as ‘a kind of firstfruits’ (Jas. 1:18). The saved remnant within Israel is described as ‘firstfruits’ (Rom. 11:16), as are the 144,000 of the tribulation period (Rev. 14:4). The first converts of an area were designated ‘firstfruits’ (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15). In each case the emphasis was on special dedication and blessing” [HBD].

The Believer’s Study Bible Notes may help relate this to our passage: “They are the firstfruits of the new era which began with the translation of the church. The description accorded to them, “virgins,” probably means that these had abstained from the pollutions of earth, and not necessarily that they had never married” [BSB].

According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The word “firstfruits” suggests that these converted Israelites precede many others who at the Lord’s second coming will turn to Him (Zech. 12:10; Rom. 11:15, 26-27). They were also described as blameless (amoômoi, a word used of sacrificial animals without defect) and as those who, living in a period of great satanic deception, were free from lying. The passage as a whole is a prophetic foreview of the triumph of the 144,000 when Christ returns.”

A couple of years ago, the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa.
“It reported that production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land, in addition to the many hours of the farmer's labor, required 4,000,000 pounds of water, 6,800 pounds of oxygen, 5,200 pounds of carbon, 160 pounds of nitrogen, 125 pounds of potassium, 75 pounds of yellow sulphur, and other elements too numerous to list. In addition to these things, which no man can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. It was estimated that only 5% of the produce of a farm can be attributed to the efforts of man. If we were honest, we'd have to admit that the same is true in producing spiritual fruit [BI].

Jesus is the True Vine (John 15) and all who are in Him bear fruit. He is the source of everything and should receive full credit for the fruit. Yet, He holds you accountable for bearing the fruit of the spirit. How can that be?

I believe it was the late C. Roy Angell who told the story many years ago about the man who invited his pastor to go home with him for Sunday dinner. While the farmer’s wife entertained the pastor’s wife, the pastor sat on the front porch with the farmer, talking about the farm, the farmer, and his family. Off to the side of the house there was a beautiful garden, planted in a new-ground, cleared only the year before by the farmer and his family. The pastor observed, “You and the Lord certainly have a beautiful garden.” To which the farmer replied, “You should have seen it last year when the Lord had it to Himself.”

C. They Were Holy and Righteous Before the Throne, 14:5.

“No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.”

Those who stand with the Lamb are those who value honesty and integrity. My mother and father placed great value on honesty and the sought to instill it in their children. I might add, that I thank the Lord that I can trust my brothers and my sister explicitly and unreservedly. I wish everyone could say that The saints are blameless in respect to other sins but the specific emphasis here is on the words of their mouth.

A friend and fellow pastor met John, my older son, and me for lunch one day several years ago. I do not remember why he brought it up, but my friend made the statement that all his marriages from that point on would be covenant marriages. John surprised him when he said that he did not approve of it for himself. The shocked pastor asked why and John said, “Because I am a Christian and my word is sufficient.” I am not opposed to covenant marriages but I applaud what John said. God’s people must tell the truth. I wish all attorneys had that reputation! Satan is the father of liars, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

One is never more satanic than when he lies. He is never more godly when he places a high value on truth. Satan is the father of liars, Jesus is the Truth. Years ago I jotted down in the front of my favorite Bible at the time something I heard someone say at some conference. It goes something like this: “It is not enough to say that God says it because it is true (we can do that); it is true because God says it” (when God speaks eternal truth is either expressed or established).

In his powerful book, The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul observed that unbelievers often feel uneasy in the presence of an obedient Christian. The holiness of God reflected in a believer's life makes the non-Christian uncomfortable. Sproul then told the following true incident to illustrate his point.

A well-known professional golfer was playing in a tournament with President Gerald Ford, fellow pro Jack Nicklaus, and Billy Graham. After the round was over, one of the other pros on the tour asked, "Hey, what was it like playing with the President and Billy Graham?" The pro said with disgust, "I don't need Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat!" With that he headed for the practice tee. His friend followed, and after the golfer had pounded out his fury on a bucket of golf balls, he asked, "Was Billy a little rough on you out there?" The pro sighed and said with embarrassment, "No, he didn't even mention religion."

Sproul commented, "Astonishingly, Billy Graham had said nothing about God, Jesus, or religion, yet the pro stomped away after the game accusing Billy of trying to ram religion down his throat." What had happened? Simply this: The evangelist had so reflected Christlikeness that his presence made the pro feel uncomfortable.

I wonder, do unbelievers sense our godly influence? If we are identified with Christ and walk in holiness, they will -- before we even mention religion [Bible Illustrator].


We will have more to say about the fall of Babylon later, but for the present I would like for us to remember the title of this message: STANDING WITH JESUS. The next message is FALLING WITH THE BEAST.

Here may questions about what is meant by the 144,000 and their standing with the Lamb, but let me assure you that God has made a point to reveal how we may stand with the Lamb. Now this is very simple, but I need your undivided attention for a few minutes.

“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2, HCSB, emphasis added).

If you have been born again by the grace of God, this Scripture tells us that you have been justified (once for all time) by faith (literally, by grace through faith, Eph. 2:8). This denotes completed action from which we receive continuing benefits. One benefit is “peace with God.” Another is the privilege of standing with God (in and through His grace - He receives all the credit). If you know Jesus as Savior, you have grounds for “hope of the glory of God.” If you have never received Jesus as Savior, let me urge you to pray with me right now, asking God to forgive your sins, and come into your life, giving you new life, peace that passes all understanding, and the privilege of standing in the presence of the Lord of eternity - for eternity.

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