From Revelation 14 ~
1Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads… 3and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” (Rev.14)
“Firstfruits is only used 8 times in the N.T. and in 3 other books. Each author uses it in reference to them (their generation) and not a future time!
James 1:18 ~“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
Paul and James both described “firstfruits” almost 2,000 years ago! Should we expect some literal 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Old Covenant Israel (even though all their records of Jewish Ancestry were forever destroyed in the Temple at 70 AD) to magically reappear like delayed firstfruits of Jesus? If that’s the case, will they be following an actual Lamb on physical Mt.Zion and have the Father’s name engraved on their foreheads?
Maybe they are so special because it’s such an evil sin to have any relations with any woman (even a wife!) and they will all literally be virgins or even eunuchs because God hates sex…
Sorry for being so cynical but, if we are going to take this literally; who chooses when and where we stop? If we take the entire thing literally, we will be the craziest people to ever walk the planet…
Consider that 144,000 followers would be a pitiful firstfruits of Jesus’ labor 2,000 years ago but, a great harvest only 40 years after commissioning 12 Apostles. Hmm…that could symbolize 12,000 each! Now that sounds like a seed bearing great fruit!
A few verses later in 14:7 an angel declares ~ “And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Consider similar words of John in 12:31 ~ “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.”
1 John 2:18 ~ “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”
Since Jesus and the Apostles all described these things concerning their generation; why would we believe the polluted traditions of man that have been handed down over recent generations and ascribe it to some mysterious future generation…? If that were the case; what would have been the point of giving these writings to that generation of believers? If it were not given for that generation; it would only cause confusion for the next few thousand years because every born-again believer up until this future time would all be expecting something to happen to them that never would!
Maybe that’s why we have over 33,000 denominations of Christianity and how many of them are actually advancing the Kingdom?
The end of this chapter, Rev.14:14-20 describes “The Harvest of the earth (land?)” and it is the very first time any harvest is clearly mentioned in the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”.
Jesus spoke of this first harvest way back in Matt.13:25-41 ~
“I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the END OF THE AGE, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the END OF THE AGE. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers…”
I believe the most important detail of this parable is that the harvest is the “end of the age”. 14 of the 24 Bible versions I checked do accurately translate this as “end of the age” instead of “end of the world”. Because the Firstfruits harvest and the time of judgement did arrive within that generation! Jerusalem was judged with the most severe judgement ever because they were guilty of the blood of the King of the universe! The religious system that fore-shadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb mocked their God, Creator, Savior and Lord for another 40 years after He rose from the dead and still lovingly called them to himself despite the fact that they continued their hypocrisy!