The book of Revelation is rarely looked upon as a book that addresses the topic of education. Revelation 14, however, could be considered one of the most critical chapters in all of Scripture for Seventh-day Adventists. It is the everlasting gospel that Adventists are called to preach to the world. It has a three-fold message delivered by three symbolic angels or messengers: (1) fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; (2) Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and, (3) if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:6–11).
Let us address the first five verses of Revelation 14. It is important to note that it speaks of a group of people who are redeemed from the earth. The text also says that these individuals have not been defiled, meaning that they practice a real and true religion—the kind that the good Samaritan practiced in last week’s lesson. One of the identifying marks of this group known as the 144,000 is that they follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They are in constant communion with God in every aspect of life. They have developed the habit of not compartmentalizing their lives, but instead have mastered the ability to commune with God and love Him with all of their mind, soul, and strength. Finally, they are truthful. These individuals are morally upright. By beholding the character of God, they have become changed into His image.
Upon close inspection, Revelation 14 is saturated with education. It is true education that has prepared this distinguished group of people to stand on Mount Zion, having the Father’s name written on their foreheads, meaning the character of God imprinted in their minds. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of education? The real purpose of education is the redemption of humanity!
The significance of the Adventist philosophy of education lies in its dual emphasis on creation and redemption. The Sabbath is the weekly reminder of creation and the second coming of Jesus Christ, the culmination of redemption. Communion with God was established at creation and it gives us the assurance that we can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13). Redemption’s work ends when Jesus comes in the clouds of glory and reminds us of the work of godliness that must take place in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we labor.
The people of Revelation 14 are in fact individuals who have been beneficiaries of the true Adventist philosophy of education. This is not to say that all of the 144,000 were students enrolled in Adventist academies. It simply means that the principles given to the church on education will be reflected in God’s people when He comes again.