Revelation Chapter 14 (Part 1: Rev14:1-5) – A Vision of The Holy Mountain (Ἅγιον Ὄρος) of Orthodoxy and the 144,000

Revelation 14 is a mysterious chapter of St. John’s Apocalypse following the rise of the Two Beasts of Revelation 13 who attempted to destroy the church through external forces and from within. Recalling Revelation 13, the two beasts and the regions from which they ascend – the “sea” and the “earth” – are symbolical of the rise of Islam and the Papacy during the period of history we term the “middle ages”, which covers the time span of a period of 1260 years, or “42 months” according the the “1260 day” times statements given in Revelation chapters eleven, twelve and thirteen. These two beasts were to be the two false religions of the Dragon who led astray the nations of Asia and Europe. One power rises to conquer and divide the church in the region of the West, or Old Rome, and the second rises in the region of the East to take ruthlessly take control of the New Rome and the New Jerusalem, that is, Constantine’s new city, Constantinople (Byzantium) which became a capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire for over 1000 years, also referred to in history and throughout St. John’s Apocalypse simply as “the city.” The False Lamb rises to power through miraculous deception of forged documents (i.e. the Donation of Constantine) and pseudo-Isidorian decretals. The main narrative of the latter half of Revelation Chapter 13 gives the ominous apocryphal story of of Simon Magus, the author of simony, traveling to Rome to battle St. Peter in front of Nero through deceptive magic and miracles, as if John is drawing from this story to describe a new sort of “Nero Redivivus Simon Magus/Peter” figure who demanded to the entire church that an “image to the lamb beast” be made, that is universal recognition of papal supremacy and infallibility. All while the papacy promoted the ‘buying and selling’ of salvation and the holy spirit with the practice of simony (recall the story of Simon Magus in the book of Acts?), papal indulgences and selling of ecclesiastical titles and bishoprics to the highest bidder, which encouraged such nepotism and moral corruption with the popes of Rome that it would eventually lead the West through Luther to lead calls to reform and the Protestant Reformation.

But then Revelation 14 reveals a vision of another Lamb standing on Mt Zion. This vision stands in stark contrast to the false lamb of Revelation 13 with its two horns, seeking to rule the universal church “like a lamb” (Rev 13-11). These two horns are symbolic of the religious and temporal authority of the Papacy through the middle ages. However, immediately following the description of the apparent and counterfeit vicar-lamb, Revelation 14 offers to the reader a glimpse into the riches of the true Lamb or Body of Christ and offers the explanation as to how this particular church or “woman” was nourished and sustained during the 1260 “days” or years of tribulation of the church during the reign of the Antichrist on the earth. Most protestant commentators attempt to link the lamb standing on Mount Zion directly to the city of Jerusalem. And they often interpret this passage related to the Second Coming of Christ on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Protestants also link the identity of the 144000 with the other 144000 mentioned in Revelation chapter 7. However there are critical clues that will convince us otherwise that this is more of a spiritual center of a New Jerusalem, and not the physical location of the Holy Land, and not associated with the 144000 from the twelve tribes of Israel who disseminated the gospel to the gentiles in the Roman Empire prior to the release of the barbarian winds which brought down Rome.

THE LAMB STANDING ON MOUNT ZION

“And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing upon Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred forty-four thousand having His name and the name of His Father having been written on their foreheads.” – Revelation 14:1

The “lamb” here is a symbol of Christ, the high-priest who humbled and sacrificed himself, who was made King of Kings on God’s holy mount of Zion and who proclaimed the Lord’s command. Christ saved us from eternal destruction by His own Blood, as the blood of the Passover Lamb leading us out of exodus from Egypt. “Mount Zion” is a symbol of the fundamental and exalted truth of the faith upon which the Church of Christ was founded. The “lamb” which “stood on Mount Zion” which was to be witnessed after the appearance of the two beasts is symbolic of genuine Christianity upon the earth. This is because as Christ is represented by the lamb, therefore the church as the body of Christ similarly is represented by a lamb standing on a “great mountain” (Dan 2) or Christian Empire founded on the stone or rock of truth. This genuine Christianity was to remain firm and does not fall as a result of the waged war and attacks of the two beasts. The custodians who held the fundamental and exalted truth of the nature of the Man Child, unadulterated, are also referred to as the “two witnesses” who proclaimed and defended the truth of the divinity and humanity of Christ through the testimony” of the ecumenical councils.

It is also very important for us to highlight the fact that the “lamb” described here in the first verse of chapter 14 immediately follows the calculation of the number of the beast in the very last chapter of 13. This is by no means an accident. Especially when we consider the very real possibility that the original number for the “number of the man” for the “lamb beast” of Revelation 13 in the oldest manuscripts is found to be the number 616, instead of 666 as shown in the earliest of manuscripts and also mentioned as an alternate number by St. Irenaeus. I have shown through a previous study that the number of the “man” (or “son of man”) in the calculation of the number 616 points to Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of Man, and the XIC displayed in the original Greek text appears to be a prophetic display for the Chi Rho Christogram symbol 300 years before it was given to Constantine in his grand vision. Therefore the mark of the lamb (“XP”) identifies those Christians who not only prominently use this Christogram within their churches and worship, but are those who follow Christ and are marked through the sacrament of chrismation with the lamb on their foreheads.

In Jerusalem the acropolis, where King David had built his palace, was called Mount Zion. The word Zion means a citadel. A citadel is defined to mean a fortress, typically a look-out place on high ground, protecting or dominating a city. Upon such a high place King David built the citadel of Jerusalem called Zion and also known as the city of David, the Lord-­anointed king. So then, Christ, being the son of David in the flesh, inherited Jerusalem and “the mount Zion” as the capital city of his kingdoms. This is confirmed according to the testimony found in the second psalm: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree.”

But Christ is also called “Mount Zion”, because, just as the former was of imposing height and elevated in character and spirit, so too the Son and Logos of God expresses and explains the majesty and sublimity of the Father. David’s palace on Mount Zion typified or symbolized the kingly glory of Christ, which He was destined to receive. For this reason John saw the “Lamb” which “stood on the Mount Zion,” this mount originally having been dedicated to God. It was upon this original mountain that Abraham the patriarch offered Isaac in sacrifice. Upon the same mountain David offered a sacrifice of atonement to God and finally, upon this very mountain Solomon erected the temple of God. Unfortunately, this very mount during the 1260-years of tribulation and even up to the present day is being trampled upon by the Mohammed and his followers. Because upon the ruins of the temple of Solomon, Omar constructed the temple of the new Judaism which was devised by the Dragon through the flood of his mouth (Rev. 12) to combat true Christianity. How, then, can John behold the “Lamb” which “stood upon the Mount Sion” which is now trampled under foot in the Holy City by the anti-Christ Mohammed with the visible Dome of the Rock and Al Asqa mosque?

Because in this context of Revelation 14, the term “the Mount Zion” is to be taken allegorically in a spiritual sense and signifies the exalted truth constituting the “stone” foundation of the Church and the spiritual temple of God which the disciple Peter was the first to know and confess, saying: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” Upon this spiritual rock, Christ built His Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it during the 1260 “days” of tribulation of the saints of the church. The Lamb standing on Mount Zion, the very cornerstone according to Daniel 2, would strike the Roman Empire in the legs at the time of its final days and decay and become a great mountain, or Christian Empire, who’s kingdom will have no end. Zion, in a spiritual sense, is the city of God and the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one, as St. Paul says:

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,” – Hebrews 12:22 NIV

This is the mountain of which Isaiah the prophet said:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, the Lord’s mount shall be plainly visible” –  Isaiah 2:2 

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. – Isaiah 28:16

The New Zion! Upon such a mountain, therefore, was the New Testament made, in contrast with the Old. A mountain that is harmless and faultless, which neither smokes nor sends flames aloft, but which wraps itself in flesh and speaks like a man to men directly, and not indirectly, as being a new Moses, who is humble and quiet, and not fearful. We have come to a mountain that is accessible to everyone, to the Logos of God, who is the depth and the height, that is to say, both lofty and meek, bestowing rest and life upon Him that comes to Him.

This heavenly Jerusalem described in Revelation 14 is the most perfect work of God, a work superior even to the Angelic world itself; it is that which shall come down out of heaven upon the earth and shall remain here for ever. Contrary thereto is Babylon, which is ruled by the Devil and which shall be burned down and shall then never again appear upon the earth upon completion of her days of tribulation.

IDENTIFYING THE 144,000 STANDING ON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (AGION OROS)

The “hundred forty and four thousand,” on the other hand, which are seen with the Lamb, are the faithful and chosen custodians of true Christianity during this reign of falsehood and Satanic delusion for a period of “42 months”, or a “time times and a half of a time,” or for 1260 years of tribulation using the “day” for a “year” calculation as taught in the old testament scriptures.

The feet of the Antichrist trampled upon the perceivable and material “mount of Zion,” but they cannot in any way corrupt or destroy the spiritual “mount” upon which the divine temple of God was founded. Moreover, upon this mount stands “the Lamb” firm, immovable, and invincible against any attack by the two beasts of the dragon during the 1260 years of tribulation. With the “Lamb” there stand the sheep “a hundred forty and four thousand” having “his Father’s name written in their foreheads”. These sheep confess and are the protectors of the true nature and testimony of the Father and the Son through the Seven Thunders, and invincible by the blasphemy of the Antichrist Mohammed who denies the Father and the Son and introduces instead a barron god–the figment of the Dragon’s imagination sprung forth through the flood of his mouth (Rev 12-15). The very same 144,000 sheep who were the decedents of those described in Revelation 11, who as part of the woman or bride of Christ, initially fled to the wilderness and deserts of Egypt first through the Desert Fathers after the church-bride gave birth to the Divine/Human nature of the Man Child. Where their testimony bore witness in the “war in heaven” and the age of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The sheep who also are represented in the two faithful witnesses and lampstands (or the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, were the only two churches who remained faithful to Christ out of the seven other lampstands) who destroyed the enemies of Christ during their 1260 days of testimony of the Ecumenical Councils, held near the Great City of Constantinople. The two witnesses who are “clothed in sackcloth” as a symbol of mourning and repentance. Who were carried to the wilderness on “two wings of the great eagle” through prayer and fasting to be nourished and sustained during the entire period of the tribulation the church. Thus the reason, we are told, that after the introduction of the two beasts of Revelation 13, which arose from the mouth of the Dragon to attempt to destroy and persecute the church, we find the reason for the True Apostolic Church’s survival during this time period. The 144,000 standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion represents the Holy Mountain of Orthodoxy, the central pillar of the faith, the monastic movement at Mount Athos, called the Holy Mountain! The next few verses in Revelation 14 reveal and confirm this hidden truth. These 144,000 are a great assembly of the greatest of righteous men who abide in the Hoy Land of God, the Holy and Heavenly Mountain. Mount Zion is a prefiguration of the what Orthodoxy calls the Holy Mountain, or Mt Athos where the heavenly heights of God were achieved with two wings of the great eagle where God and His righteous ones have made their dwelling place. Let us now examine the prophetic evidence. (For a background of what life is like on The Holy Mountain, see the CBS documentary below).

The inscription of the “Father’s” name upon the forehead is one of the most exalted rewards which Christ promises to the winners of the same victory as that won by the sixth angel of the Church of Philadelphia, who although possessing little strength, kept the word of God.

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. – Revelation 3:12

These sheep which stand with the “Lamb,” overcame through small strength the great power of the antichrist Mohammed and repelled his false dogma concerning God. For this reason, they were rewarded with the true knowledge of God and became a pillar and foundation stone of truth in God’s temple. And their number was “a hundred forty and four thousand,” which is equal to the number sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel. And so, just as during the days of Christ’s preaching, God selected for Himself out of the entire Jewish nation of unbelievers, the square of 12, or 144 thousands, so during the days of the Antichrist’s preaching and teaching, while many Christians were falling from grace in both the East and the West, God again would carefully select and choose an equal number of select and perfect souls. This number constitutes also one of the “two witnesses” of the truth during this epoch, who would be numbered among those descendents of the woman who would hold onto the testimony of Jesus against the Dragon (Rev 12-17).

THE UNIQUE STYLE OF BYZANTINE CHANT OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

“And I heard a voice from heaven as a voice of many waters and as the voice of a great thunder: (…)” – Revelation 14:2

Imagine the reaction of St. John the Theologian in trying to describe what he heard in this incredible vision. Music so enrapturing and captivating unlike anything he heard before in his time during temple liturgical worship. So in trying to decipher what John was trying to impart on us, we must deconstruct the key phrases in the verse to confirm the form of music he was trying to describe to the reader. The “voice of many waters” “from heaven” is the form of liturgical music which we hear during the Divine Liturgy. As the worship service in the church represents the “kingdom of God” on the earth, we get the sense that John was hearing some great sound reverberating through the walls of the church. The “voice of many waters” is used to describe the fact that the sound of the voice is describing theological statements and ideas taken from the scriptures, as we know from the Gospel that the Living Water represents the scriptures and the Holy Spirit. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” {John 7:38). The the voice of “great thunder” is also another critical clue that John the Son of Zebedee, which means the Son of Thunder, imparts to us. John the Theologian, the Son of Thunder, is known for his gospel on the Divinity of Christ, describing the Logos of God right in the beginning like a thunderous proclamation. Another example found in the Apocalypse related to the sound of thunder: the Seven Thunders in Revelation chapter 10 are symbolic prophetic representation of the proclamations of the dogmas and decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Therefore, this voice of great thunder during liturgical worship represents the glory and honor and worship of God by the “voices of many waters“. We are explicitly given this connection of thunder analogous to the glorification of the name of God in heaven in John’s own gospel: “Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it had thundered. (John 12:28-29). So we have the key here in this verse that offering glorification to the name of God, is equated through a thunderous utterance. What is the significance of these thunderous voices of many waters? They signify all those 144,000 sheep who come with great noise to the aid of the struggling Christians. The Lamb which stands on mount Zion with this chosen sheep struggles against the dragon’s two beasts which besiege mount Zion, the great citadel of God. As a result, all the saints cry out “from heaven” clothed in sackcloth (Rev. 11-3), a garment of mourning and repentance, in behalf of the salvation of the besieged, and the voice of “great thunder” terrifying the besieging army routs it into flight, and thus lifts the siege brought upon them by the two beasts. What John the Theologian is enraptured by through this vision, are the audible sounds of the 144,000 monastics on the Holy Mountain and their uniquely developed style and sound of Byzantine Chant, which represents the voice of many waters and the voice of a great thunder in the Church which developed during the days of the 1260-year reign of the Antichrist. A verification of the above stated significance of the voices which John hears “from heaven” being synonymous with the Byzantine Chant of Mount Athos is obtained from the following.

“… and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sung as it were a new song before the throne and before the four beasts and the elders: (…)” – Revelation 14:2-3

The “voice” of “harpers harping with their harps” is describing the theological nature of the style of chant. If we examine the Greek Text it reads: “I heard citharists praying on their citharas.“. Father Daniel Sysoyev, in his book “Explanation of the Apocalypse” writes: “The cithara is a special type of ten-stringed harp, and here it is said that the righteous play it. The ten strings symbolize the Ten Commandments, each commandment being in harmony with the others. The saints become organs of the Holy Spirit, citharas, i.e., in the righteous God is in command, and he plays in their hearts and in their lives, and this becomes a song for God.” (page 193). This particular style of song or chant is heard primarily during Divine Liturgy, read during Orthos and before the Gospel by the monks, as described symbolically in Revelation: “and they sung it as a new song before the throne and before the four beasts and the elders“. The “four beasts” here being representative of the Holy Gospel (Eagle/Man/Ox/Lion), and the “elders” representing the readings from the Old Testament, with the elders consisting of those represented from the 12 patriarchs and 12 major/minor prophets. The hymns of the church developed over time with theological themes on the Great Feasts and Old Testament Saints, compiled in the services for the daily Liturgical, Vespers, Orthros/Matins and Akathist services based on the feast days and calendar of saints. These hymns sung by the Athonite monks, however, have a distinct “heavenly” style and use of the tones from the Byzantine scale, as compared to the chants found in many other Orthodox churches.

“… and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” – Revelation 14:3

Owing to the fact that this somewhat new form of chanting and song praises the victory of the 144,000, “no man” without their brand and style of chanting could learn this victory song outside of the Holy Mountain. Only those purified men who have won the great and glorious victory against the two beasts are privileged to sing this seeming new song “before the throne and the four beasts and the elders” within the scope of nonstop liturgical prayer life. And they learn the divinely-inspired tones and odes from the other harpists who play on their harps. This leads us to believe that even in heaven the art of music is imparted both by song as well as by harp, the noblest delight of God and of the saints being derived from music and from song. Surely, the rapture of music and song has been bestowed by heaven upon earth so that those born upon earth might through earthly music be initiated into the arts and delights of heavenly music. Everything perceivable about earthly music is in fact a reflection or representation of heavenly music, such as musical instruments, chords, voices, harmony, melody, air, and so forth.

THE CELEBATE LIFE OF THE ATHONITE MONK

“These are they who were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. (…)” – Revelation 14:4

Monasticism is called the angelic life. The call to monasticism and the desire to maintain one’s virginity, he then completely surrenders his whole life to God to the point that he gives up ambitions for all earthly institutions, a wife, children and his own material possessions in order to belong completely with God. Those 144,000 standing with the Lamb are in fact the select monastic souls pursuing a hermitical and virgin life. Especially on the Holy Mountain, woman are forbidden from entering, since tradition states it was only granted for the Virgin Mary. There are known examples of the modern era where it certain monks, brought as a young orphans and raised from the earliest of age on Mt. Athos, lived their whole lives never having the opportunity to see a woman in person, due to the restrictions in place allowing women pilgrims. The monks of the Holy Mountain willingly embrace celibacy and virginity, deny their own will, and follow “the Lamb withersoever he goeth” according to the Gospel of Matthew text: “Whoever would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). But celibacy and virginity are closely associated with depravation and poverty, which is necessary for a perfect life according to Christ’s own words: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me lifting the Cross.” (Matthew 19:21). These select celibate monastic souls are the fruit of the woman (Rev. 12), the Church-Bride who took refuge in the desert, beginning with the Egyptian Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century, symbolically recreating the story presented again as prophecy of the Virgin’s flight to Egypt to escape the dangers of Herod. Similarly, the Church Bride’s flight into the wilderness through “two wings of the great eagle” gave birth to these men who as part of the “two witnesses” with fire proceeding from their mouth to devour their enemies, gave their testimony of the Man-Child. These 144,000 sheep were then were nourished by the two wings identified to be prayer and fasting, the two cornerstones of the monastic life and as a result of this strict aesthetic life, were also counted as the ones “which were not defiled with women”, in a literal sense, and also symbolically by not corrupting the dogmas and doctrines and fornicating with the western mother (rejected at the Council of Florence) and daughter harlots of their mother church, with too many denominations to count in number. Since these particular sheep promised in their youth to embrace celibacy, they have retained their virginity, never having had sexual intercourse with a woman, and ever seeing a woman for the rest of their lives once they become monks. The Athonite monk’s virtue of chastity is united the virtue of self-denial and obedience to the will of Christ. Therefore, the writer of the Apocalypse, St. John the Theologian, after enthusiastically praising the undefiled chastity of these select 144,000 monastic souls, appends his praise of their self-denial and complete submission to the will of Christ, as a result of which fact they “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” unto death. The monks leave the worldly cares behind, and follow the harsh and shallow path in the image of Christ until their death through continuous prayer, fasting and self denial, having unto death lived a life of martyrdom. The 144,000 all follow Christ until their death, and are visible today numbered among the saints in the skulls and bones of the ossuary found in the many monasteries on the Holy Mountain.

ACHIEVING THEOSIS – THE PURE LIFE OF THE MONKS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

“And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are with­out fault before the throne of God.” – Revelation 14:5

Having been redeemed by the Lord, he purified them to the point of being sinless and absolutely without fault, or blameless. The primary object for monks is to achieve blamelessness above all other tasks they are assigned for their monastic life. Not only to pray unceasingly, but to become righteous and achieve the heights of sanctity. Just as their bodies of Athonite monks have not been defiled by illicit sexual intercourse with woman, so their souls, too, have escaped defilement from falsehood and deceit of the harlot or harlot daughters (see Rev 17); and just as they were virgins in body, so were they virgins in soul, being considered as having “no guile” in the eyes of the One sitting on the throne. The judgment of God pronounces these souls guileless, for they have been adjudged without “guile” “before the throne” of divine justice, but not before others. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him after he was secretly praying under the fig tree for the messiah to arrive, he said: “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Guilenessness is due wholly to the blood of the Lamb, through which the Athonite monks have been redeemed from the curse of the law, sanctified and cleansed for every fault and stain; for without this sanctification no one can be sinless or without guile. And so, genuine and practical Christianity is saved during this period upon Mount Zion on two wings of the great eagle (prayer and fasting), and within the Church which took refuge in the desert, where the gates of hell, or the two beasts (one presiding in old Rome, the other in the new Rome (Constantinople); one in the East, the other in the West) have not prevailed against it. The fruit of the hermitical, chaste, and poverty-stricken life of the monk is represented by the 144,000 souls that follow the Lamb wherever it goes, and that sing the new liturgical song which no one without their unique brand of Byzantine chorus could learn; for each order of saints possesses its own peculiar tones and odes to a song, consciousness, and form of delight which offers direct contact and communication of the soul with God. On the other hand, those other denominations of the heterodox, and even those Orthodox Christians who censure and speak ill of the monastics and the single life, are reprimanded by St. John the Theologian for their ignorance of the plan of God and for their domination by the evil spirit to the slander of divine institutions which proved a refuge and salvation during evil 1260 “days” of tribulation from the two beasts.

THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE APPARENT LAMB AND TRUE LAMB ON MT. ZION

The two beasts of Revelation 13 and the Lamb standing on Mount Zion on Revelation 14 symbolize the three persons of the human drama during the interval of one thousand two hundred and sixty years, measured from the Seventh to Eighth (and final) Ecumenical Council. The beast which came out out of the sea corresponds to the nations and caliphates which adopted the religious system of the Antichrist Mohammed, who trampled the holy city of Jerusalem for 42 months, or from the time of the building of the Dome of the Rock until 1948/1967. The lamb beast, on the other hand, which ascended out of the earth corresponds to the nations of the court which have been cast out of the temple of God, those who follow the Papacy, the pseudo-Christ, who claims the representation of the Lamb and to be Christ’s sole representative but in essence derives power from the dragon similar to the first Beast Mohammed. This is why he is called an image of the first beast, ruling both religiously and politically in nature. It reigns in a similar manner and also reigns for a period of “42 months” since we are told it exercises the similar authority of the first beast before him. Therefore we can measure the rise of the 1260-year period of the papacy at which point it acquired “two horns”, and that can be traced at the earliest in the year 756 AD. We should expect 1260 solar years from this starting point to reveal the final decline and destruction of the lamb beast.

Furthermore, the Lamb, and it’s represented body of the Lamb, which stands on Mount Zion with the few selected monastics, who are celibate and impoverished, witnesses to the testimony of the man child clothed in sackloth, correspond to the group in front of the alter of God who worship within the temple, belonging to the monastic order of the Holy Mountain. The Lamb stands upon Mount Zion unseen and unknown but is cherished and worshipped by a selected few. While the two beasts apparently battle against each other for the worldwide rulership of both the earth and sea. However, both beasts conspire and war against the seed of the woman who held on to the Testimony of Jesus Christ the Man Child, and the True Creed of the Apostolic Church – the Orthodox Christians of the Eastern Church.

Therefore, we have upon the world stage and theater two types of wars. An apparent war between the two beasts (the west against Islam), and a real one waged by the two beast (Papal and Islamic) against the Lamb and His faithful followers. The apparent war deceives many and cause them to worship the “image of the beast” or bow down to Papal Infallibility, while the real war brings out the winners who are the “first fruits” of the 144,000 celibate monastics. And when the two beasts approach the last years of their 1260-“day” life (measured from the Seventh Ecumenical Council when the woman was to flee to the wilderness), they will begin to lose their strength and decline, as the two martyrs slain for “three and a half days” by the first beast shall come back to life and destroy the two beasts through the “spirit of their mouth”, as it is foretold in Revelation 17:

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.– Revelation 17:14

Then the entire human drama will be consummated according to the plan of God, as we read in the testimony of the three angels next in Revelation 14. (This will be covered in part 2 of this series of articles). In other words, the Orthodox Faith will prevail and spread to the four corners of the earth, as prophesied not only by the prophecies of the scriptures but by many saints of the Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition.  For example, we read from Agathanghelos on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1279 AD:

“The terrible century shall forward the golden-tenth number. Then honey and milk will flow in everything, the sea storms shall cease, and for full fifty years shall peace reign. Truth shall triumph, and the sky shall rejoice in true glory. The Orthodox Faith shall be uplifted, and shall spring from East to West in order to be blessed and praised. The barbarians shall be overcome with fright and, wholly trembling, shall headlong flee speedily, abandoning the world’s metropolis (Constantinople), then God shall be glorified, and man shall see the works of His omnipotence. Let it be so, and it shall be so, Amen”

Let’s now compare the two lambs of Revelation 13 and Revelation 14. That is the apparent lamb with the real Lamb, so that by presenting this comparison we may acquire some wisdom and moral strength on what is to come upon us shortly in the coming “days”. This wisdom helps us to distinguish, for example the nature of the tree from it’s bearing fruit. The great Christian theater presented to us in the Apocalypse two types of lambs on the stage. One has the appearance of a lamb (a sort of vicar of the lamb), and the other has the appearance and the essence of the real lamb. So we have before us an apparent lamb that is not a lamb, while the other lamb appearing before us actually is the true lamb. According to Revelation 13 and Revelation 17, the apparent lamb stands before us on the hills of the capital of Rome, and the apparent lamb with two horns of power (temporal/religious) is called the Pope and lieutenant or vicar of Jesus Christ. Whereas the actual and real lamb standing upon Mount Zion is called the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. The apparent lamb insists that God established it as king on the capital of Rome and that all owe it obedience and homage. The real Lamb, on the other hand says that the Lord established me king on this holy mount Zion to proclaim his command.” After contrasting the two opposite voices of the lambs, let us consider the works of real and apparent lambs.

The real lamb is led as a sheep to the slaughter and takes upon itself the sin of the world, willingly offering itself in sacrifice. Whereas the apparent lamb holds a sword and slays those who fail to worship it as both the religious and political head with two horns. The real lamb, however, does not seek its own glory, but that of the One who sent it. This is in sharp contrast with the eagerness of the apparent lamb for glory and worship on the part of the earthly kings. The real lamb forces no one to follow it, for it declares: “Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” In contrast to this the apparent lamb forces and coerces worship from others, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.” The real lamb obeys and teaches the law of God, observes every injunction and every tenet of justice; the apparent lamb transgresses every law of God, places a premium on sin and then sells absolution from it (i.e. the “buying and selling” of salvation as taught within the scriptures and highlighted by St. Seraphim of Sarov), thus teaching not obedience but transgression of divine law and paid-for absolution from sin, the last being the Dragon’s invention. The true lamb is meek and humble at heart, while the false lamb is wrathful and proud as the dragon. The genuine lamb possesses every moral virtue, while the false one is a hotbed of immorality and vice.

Thus, the works of the apparent lamb are diametrically opposed to those of the real lamb. Moreover, the two lambs are natural enemies and hostile as truth is to falsehood. It is clear and obvious when reading the latter chapters of the Apocalypse that the real lamb overcomes and destroys the false one, just as truth when it is fully revealed overcomes opposing falsehood. This comparison and contrast of the two lambs provides valuable insight and wisdom to the Orthodox Christians by means which they learn to discriminate between truth and falsehood, nominal and true Christianity, the apparent lamb and the real lamb, and ultimately, Orthodoxy vs Heterodoxy. They distinguish the tree by its fruit, the cause by its effects, and see the apparent lamb for the ruthless dragon that it is, causing the mother to become a harlot, giving birth as a result of her sin to many harlot daughters through the Reformation.

CONCLUSION

Revelation 14:1-5 provided to us a majestic vision of the True Lamb standing with the 144,000 on Mount Zion, symbolically revealing to us the reason why the gates of hell would not prevail against the church as a result of the onslaught and war waged between the True Lamb and the two beasts. Revelation 14:1-5 fills in the missing critical data relative to the valuable information provided to us in Revelation chapter 11 and 12 with respect to the testimony of the “two witnesses” and the flight of the church-bride for a period of 1260 years of tribulation. Behold the, the reason why the Orthodox Church was not able to be destroyed by the flood of the enraged dragon after the completion of the testimony of the two witnesses: the flight of the body of the lamb into the monastic wilderness through two wings of the great eagle. St. John the Theologian provides to us the answer with a magnificent vision of the the Holy Mountain (Mount Athos), which would become the center pillar of Orthodoxy during one of the darkest periods of genocide and eradication of the clergy and laity in its history, and thus the reason why the church was able to maintain its defense of the Man-Child. That is, the staunch defense of the humanity/divinity of Christ as defined by the Nicene creed and Seven Ecumenical Councils by the 144,000. The guileless 144,000 sheep would become the first fruits of the Lamb. The 144,000 who developed a unique theology of song and chanting to honor the Lamb and follow Him wherever he goes, down the path of ultimate victory over the enemies of Christ with the breath of His mouth, because he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

© 2022 by Jonathan Photius

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