QB60 The 144,000 (Part5)

Today we will not only conclude this mini-series on the 144,000 but also volume one of “The Gospel According To The Bride”. Last time I shared the need for a rapture immediately after the great tribulation will have changed by the time Jesus returns as the Lamb back to Mount Zion with the 144,000. That’s because something supernatural will take place on Mount Zion in those days that will provide a different means of entry into Heaven. Let’s pick up the narrative from where we ended last time and look at Isaiah 4:5 again.

Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory there will be a canopy.

I just love this verse, there’s so much here for us to unpack, further study will be well rewarded. How often have you read this verse or heard a sermon on it? How is it we have not seen this before, or is it just me getting excited here? This verse sits in a wider prophecy of Isaiah concerning the future of Jerusalem, it hasn’t yet been fulfilled because it will be as the Bible so often tells us “in that Day[1] meaning the Day of the Lord. Just as Israel experienced the Divine cloud and fire for forty years in the wilderness until they reached the Jordan river[2], so all those who assemble on Mount Zion will experience the cloud and fire of glory again. The glory of God will come down upon this sacred site just as it did on Mount Sinai when Moses met with the Lord face to face. And just as it did in the wilderness during the first exodus, the manifestation of God’s presence[3] will descend upon Mount Zion as a lasting touchpoint between Heaven and Earth.

Now for me, here’s the real clincher: Isaiah writes “over all the glory there will be a canopy”. This word “canopy” (Strongs H2646) is where we get the word chuppâh[4] which is the Bridal Canopy under which the ancient Jewish wedding took place. We see this word used two other times in scripture and on both occasions, it describes a bridal chamber[5]. How glorious a picture we are given here of Mount Zion and the returning 144,000. When we look through the Bridal lens what a splendid vision we see, and how wonderfully the Lord has interwoven all the prophetic destinies of His Bride together. There will be a chuppâh over Mount Zion! Hallelujah! The glory and presence of God will come down manifested in the cloud and the fire and over it all will be a chuppâh, a bridal canopy!

This is a very different picture to when Jesus first returns as the Son of Man. At that time, Jerusalem will be surrounded by hostile nations and her inhabitants in need of a deliverer[6]. There will have been three and a half years of great tribulation, the darkness of man’s iniquity will be at its peak and Mystery Babylon, the “mother of harlots and abominations of the earth”[7], will be fully intoxicated[8]. The wedding canopy will not yet be over Mount Zion; not until Israel is redeemed and brought back to Jerusalem will this lasting touchpoint between Heaven and Earth be finally established.  Yes, a rapture will be necessary when Jesus first comes, a harvest of the ready and waiting Bride from off the face of the earth, but not so on that glorious return of the 144,000 as they follow the Lamb all the way to Mount Zion. Why? Because when the new song sung in Heaven before the throne is harmonized by the redeemed Bride upon the earth the Wife will have finally made herself ready[9] and Mount Zion will be enshrined by the glory of God. At this point the need for rapture will no longer be necessary because Heaven has come down. Wow, how incredible, we really have to just stop and let the mind of Christ illuminate our thinking to a whole new level. I realise I’m sharing things you’ve probably never heard before, but I hope you can see everything I’m presenting here is supported in scripture. Here’s what the last verse of the 144,000 standing with the Lamb says will happen on Mount Zion.

And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Revelation 14:5 [NKJV][10]

Did you catch that? It’s really easy to miss. In Revelation 14:1 we saw the 144,000 standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, but now in verse five we read “they are without fault before the throne of God”. I believe we should not try to allegorise these two texts but accept them both for how they are written. That these 144,000 who will stand upon Mount Zion in Jerusalem, will also be found blameless before the Throne of God. They are in both the physical and spiritual realms, both in the seen and unseen. I am not saying that the two will happen simultaneously, only that there has been a development in John’s vision from seeing them at first in the physical realm and then in the spiritual realm. A transition has taken place. Indeed, in the following chapter Revelation 15 we see this great bridal company now at last all together this time standing on a sea of glass mixed with fire and they are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.[11] [12]

And now I just have one final thought to share with you. After this wonderful journey looking at scripture through the Bridal lens, I can think of no better ending for this first volume than to help us realise, when Jesus will one day stand on Mount Zion with the 144,000, it will mark the prophetic fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles. This, the last of all the Lord’s Feasts, is the one we will take with us into eternity. All of the others will have been fulfilled historically but the Feast of Tabernacles will be perpetual because we will live in the continual manifestation of the Presence of God who will come to reign and tabernacle with man forever. Just like the spring feasts were all fulfilled in quick succession on Jesus’ first coming, so will the autumn feasts be on His second coming. Previously we have studied how the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are fulfilled through the return of Jesus when He comes to deliver Israel, but here on Mount Zion is the prophetic completion of all the autumn feasts.

When Jesus stands on Mount Zion with the 144,000 it will be the fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles. Why do I say this? Well, first of all, there are only fifteen days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles, and since Jesus has already been upon the earth with Israel for at least ten days to the Day of Atonement, there are only a few more days for Tabernacles to be fulfilled. Then secondly, the Feast of Tabernacles is a pilgrimage festival, the other two being Passover and Pentecost, when the ancient Israelites were required to return back to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast. The difference now, is that Jesus Himself will lead Israel on that pilgrimage back to Mount Zion. For the third reason I see this as a prophetic fulfilment of the Feast of Tabernacles let’s read from Isaiah 4:5 once more:

Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory there will be a canopy.

We have already seen how there will be a covering over Mount Zion, but this verse has one more secret to reveal. For it is not only Mount Zion mentioned here which will be under this bridal canopy, but reference is also made to “those who assemble there”. This word “assemble” is the word miqrā’ (Strongs H4744) and means “sacred assembly” or “convocation”, it is the same word used in Leviticus 23 which describes the Feasts of the Lord in great detail including Tabernacles.

And finally, the fourth reason I believe this picture of the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000 is the fulfilment of the Autumn Feasts is because the Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Ingathering when all the crops were gathered at the end of the harvest. This is exactly what we have seen in these last two series of “The Second Exodus” and “the 144,000”. What a perfect picture we have here of this fulfilment. The Feast of Ingathering Israel celebrated for thousands of years has always been about God’s promise to her.  After all her dispersion throughout the corners of the earth, Israel will finally be gathered in and come home. The Lord will come for her as He will for us. Even though there will be a literal fulfilment of this great ingathering and pilgrimage to Mount Zion through the wilderness, there is a way in which we are already on this voyage now. There is a journey for the Bride to take. The way to Mount Zion is through the desert. The way to the Throne Room is upon a Highway of Holiness. Oh, we do not know how we should venture since we have never been this way before, except the glory of God will go before us in a way which is discernible to those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Bride. But more than this, if we look carefully, we will see the footsteps of the Lamb who has gone before us to guide us through the night, for the Lamb who will one day stand on Mount Zion is also our Good Shepherd who has come to lead us safely home.

[1] In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Isaiah 4:2

[2] From this point on they were to follow the Ark of the Covenant Joshua 3:3

[3] Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
Exodus 14:19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them.

[4] A chuppah (also huppah) is defined as a canopy under which the bride and bridegroom stand during a Jewish wedding ceremony. It symbolises the home the married couple will build together. It is open on all sides to represent the welcome and hospitality that everyone could expect when they entered the tent of Abraham and Sarah.

[5] It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber (H2646), like a champion rejoicing to run his course. Psalms 19:5
Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room(H2646). Joel 2:16

[6] Romans 11:26

[7] Revelation 17:5

[8] Revelation 17:6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marvelled with great amazement.

[9] Since from this point the Bride will be in Heaven until the wedding of the Lamb, there are no more “righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8) to be fulfilled and therefore the wedding garments are complete.

[10] Not all translations will have the second half of this verse, but only those based on the Textus Receptus, for example the King James Version. Over centuries the Textus Receptus has stood up to scrutiny and remains in my opinion a very reliable text. And so after prayer, I have felt it right to include Revelation 14:5 in its entirety.

[11] Revelation 15:2-4 And I saw [something] like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark [and] over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvellous [are] Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true [are] Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For [You] alone [are] holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

[12] Revelation 15 also includes details about the “seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God” (v7). It is not until the Bride both Jew and Gentile have been safely gathered and in Heaven that the wrath of God through the seven bowls is released.