And I looked, and behold the Lamb was standing upon Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty four thousand having the name of him and the name of his Father having been written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice out of heaven as the sound of many waters and as the sound of loud thunder. And the voice that I heard was like that of harpists harping with their harps. And they are singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one was able to learn the song if not of the hundred forty four thousand, having been redeemed from the earth. These are they who have not been defiled with women. They are indeed pure. These follow the Lamb wherever anyhow he shall go. These have been redeemed out from men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb, and in their mouth was not found a lie. They are blameless. Before the throne of God.
Let us begin with some general statements. In our timeline that we’ve been trying to keep, the verses that follow this speak of the destruction of the Antichrist’s kingdom, and the harvest of the earth. Therefore, it follows that this is somehow a leap to the end of the timeline. We left off in chapter 13 with the abomination of desolation, which is halfway through the Tribulation. Now we’re at the very end, where the Lamb is seen upon Zion with His saints. With that much being said, what precisely is this scene? It is my belief that we are seeing the wedding of the Lamb, which is mentioned again in Revelation 19:7. Just like we saw the beast in 13:2-7 is further explained in chapter 17, so we will find this chapter being further explained in chapters 18-19.
In the first verse we see the Lamb set opposed to the beasts, and His followers against the followers of the beast, and His mark against the mark of the beast. Mount Zion is the place of God’s dwelling. It is where His temple sits. And, in Joel 3:5 and Obadiah 17, it is the place of deliverance. Zion is somehow dual. It is heavenly as much as earthly. They are counterparts to one another, and neither are complete without the other. This is also seen in the Body of Christ, where the Church is not complete without Israel, and Israel is not complete without the engrafted Gentiles. The two need one another, and until they are all under the one Head, the deliverer cannot come out from Zion.
It is important to note the character difference between the Lamb and the beast. This beast has been given his throne through self-exultation, but the Lamb has obtained His throne through sacrifice. While the world is steeped in “me first” mentality, it is the character and disposition of the Lamb to defer to another, and to suffer on behalf of that other. The Lamb is gentle, meek and mild. The two poles in Revelation are significant, and should not be ignored in our worship.
We first saw the 144,000 in chapter 7. I defined them as the first fruits of the nation of Israel to be redeemed. It is important to note that they have been redeemed from the earth. They are called sexually pure, as opposed to the prostitute in 17. Jerusalem and the rest of Israel is that prostitute (we’ll get into this with much detail, but see Ezekiel 16, Zechariah 5:5, and 1 Peter 5:13). They are first fruits to God, which we also are called. Here I the mystery. I believe these to be the Jewish people – the true nation of Israel. Yet, notice what Paul says in Romans 11. The chapter begins with a praise that God has preserved a faithful remnant within Israel. There are still some Jews who believe in Jesus.
At this moment in our timeline, there is great likelihood that this 144,000 is actually all of Israel, but that detail is not mentioned here. There is a reason for that. We have not yet gotten to chapter 17 where the prostitute is revealed, and we have not yet heard the cry, “Come out from her my people!” If I am correct in my thinking that this is the wedding of the Lamb, then this is the Church, Israel, and the Land all being married unto the Lamb. We’ll get into that later as well.
For the names upon the head, see Exodus 28:36-37. This seems to reflect the crown placed upon the priests in the Old Testament.
In verse 2, we hear a sound, and we recognize that sound as harpists playing their harps. Compare Revelation 1:15, Ezekiel 43:2, and Revelation 5:8-9.
We can also compare verse 3 with Rev 5:9. “No one was able to learn the song.” There is a certain revelation only given to these 144,000. Something has been displayed to them that no one else has comprehended. It is quite possible that this is new revelation only for them, but it is also quite possible that this is a mystery hidden in God until the appearing of Christ at the end of the age. While it seems these 144,000 are Jewish in 7:5-8 (nowhere else is Israel or the tribes explicitly mentioned), it is difficult to reconcile that here. Somehow the overcomers of 12:11 seem to also be represented. The two have become one. They have been “redeemed from the earth”. Whether that redemption is speaking of our salvation, or whether it is speaking of the overcoming, it is up for debate.
The mystery that Paul expresses in Ephesians 3:1-6 is that the Gentiles shall receive inheritance with Israel at the return of Christ. We have been grafted in, and therefore, like Ruth who has declared, “Your people shall be my people, and you God shall be my God”, we have separated from our original nationalities and inheritance to be engrafted into Israel. We are no longer Ham or Japheth – or even some other part of Shem – but are now “Israel”. Together the Jews and Gentiles in Christ shall inherit glorified bodies at the return of Christ to rule with Him as priests.
In verse 4 we find these 144,000 to be sexually chaste. Compare Matthew 19:12. These are the people who are solely married to their God. What that means is that they do not commit idolatry. For the following of the Lamb, see Luke 9:57. For first fruits, see Jeremiah 2:3, Romans 8:24, 29, and James 1:18.
For verse 5, we can compare Zephaniah 3:13, 1 Peter 2:22, John 1:47, and Malachi 2:6. They are blameless, because they have overcome. It is after this scene that judgment comes to Babylon. It is after that scene that we find the harvest of the earth. This follows the exact pattern we’ve seen all along. In the seals, the wrath of the Lamb comes in the sixth seal, and the end of the age with the seventh. The sixth trumpet seems to bring judgment upon the beast that comes out from the Abyss, and in the seventh trumpet we find the kingdoms of this earth have become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ. Now we find the same thing in chapter 14. The rest of the book of Revelation shifts focus. While the first half seems to revolve around Israel and outward unto all the world, the last part seems to revolve around the Antichrist kingdom and its downfall. The ultimate question of Revelation is thus posed: Which shall be the City of God – Babylon or Zion?