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Revelation 14:1-5



Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads ... And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

(verses 1, 3-5)

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What joy to once again encounter the Lamb. We have just been inundated with scenes of evil featuring the dragon and beasts. What contrast to see the Lamb standing firm upon the Mount, surrounded by the praises of his people.


Once again, we encounter the 144,000. Once again, there is mystery in this number. There are numerous interpretations, but I have chosen to view it as a symbolic representation of the totality of God’s people, the number itself expressing completion. Further, many of the details given here (sealed with the name of the Father and the Lamb, “redeemed from the earth,”“purchased from among men”) are clearly applicable to all God’s people. But whether you agree with that interpretation or not, let’s see what we learn from this redeemed group.


First, they are marked on their foreheads. The worshippers of the beast were marked on their right hand or forehead with his vile name, indicating his possession. Instead, these 144,000 belong to the Lamb, being marked with his own glorious name, together with that of the Father. The mark makes their identity clear – they are God’s own people, reminiscent of Peter’s description: “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9). How good! This mark is like a sign of family likeness. It speaks of inclusion and belonging. It means these ones are the “apple of his eye.”


I rejoice that in Christ, this is true of me.


Second, they sing a new song – it’s the song of the redeemed! Only those who have been rescued from the stranglehold grip of sin and death can understand the magnitude of this rescue. These are the ones whose voices will echo for all eternity in the courts of heaven.


I rejoice that in Christ, this is my song.


Third, they are sexually pure, having remained virgins. Although the Scriptures view marriage and sex as the Lord’s good gifts, sexual sin (adultery, fornication) is often used as a general metaphor indicating rebellion against God, and virginity as a metaphor regarding purity and devotion. That’s how I take it here. The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Corinthians 11:2). These ones, redeemed by the Lamb, are presented pure and holy before him – indeed, “blameless.”


I rejoice that in Christ, this is my status.


Fourth, “they follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” This was the first command Jesus gave Simon Peter and his brother: “Follow me”(Mark 1:17). It was the enduring command he left with Peter in their final recorded conversation: “Follow me!” (John 21:19). It’s the ongoing standard of discipleship for all the redeemed.


I rejoice that in Christ, this calling is mine.


I am his. I sing from my heart. I am kept pure in Christ. I follow him. Eyes on Jesus.

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Lord Jesus, Exalted Lamb, once again I thank you from my heart that you have redeemed even me. For all eternity I will rejoice. Praise your name.

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Reflect:

Choose a song that speaks of your redemption in Christ, or your identity in him (you are his!), and sing it throughout the day – just like the 144,000. Sing it under your breath, or at the top of your lungs. Rejoice in him.

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Image by Andrea Don from Pixabay

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