“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads (v.1).”
Apostle John is now shown a vision that is set in heaven, In the previous chapters we were shown from the Jewish angle where an angel had bidden the martyrs to bide till other martyrs their brethren and fellow servants, that should be killed as they were (6:11) also joined them. They were first shown only when the Lamb broke open the seal. The altar served as a clue to their Jewish identity. This was in turn the direct consequence of breaking the fourth seal. It revealed Death as the rider on the pale horse. What he brought in the rear but Hell (Re,6:8).
In the present chapter we are seeing a change in perspective. The Lamb is standing on the Mount Zion with an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. These are the martyrs standing with the lamb as memorial in heaven. As the clue earlier was the altar here we have the Father’s name as the generic name for the redeemed from the earth. In the interregnum following the Millennial Reign and the end there shall be many more swelling these ranks.
“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps (v.2):”
Here we hear the overcomers the saints who were caught up in mid-air and accepted by God in his beloved. Their number is compared to ‘the voice of many waters’ signifying the universal nature of salvation. They have reigned with Messiah, they have rested from their labours. They are blessed. These verses are however not about them.
“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth (vv.3-4).
The 144000 is a representation of the whole number of souls which shall be determined by the Great Judge who is able “to save and to destroy (Jas.412)”:
So when they sing a new song it is a pointer to the final salvation. In the following verses vv.4-5) we see them termed as ‘chaste’ and it is how the Lord God shall consider them. They are without guile or any fault that busybodies on the earth would have accused them. For example we have the sedition of Miriam who was punished by God accordingly (Nu.12:1). Miriam and Aaron were both guilty but God did not punish him because he was in his Service. Perhaps his punishment was such we do not see him among the heroes of faith(He.11) This is how human conventions and God differs. Final salvation does not mean the saint had raised a family or not but he served God wholeheartedly. He is a virgin by divine account.
(To be continued)