Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
I remember flying out of Charlotte’s airport in the rain. Black clouds enveloped the plane. Powerful engines strained to lift the massive metal jet into the sky. You couldn’t see anything outside the cabin window—all was dark and ominous. Then the plane burst through the clouds into brilliant sunshine. What had been dark clouds overhead became a bed of cotton balls below—bright blue sky all around. That is what happens when you come to the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. The previous chapter has featured flashes of lighting and peals of thunder—the storm of God’s wrath having broken on a Christ-rejecting world. It is a scene dark with demons. Suddenly, we gain a new perspective as we are taken into heavenly sunlight. Never forget that as a child of God—no matter the storms of the present—there is a brighter day coming!
Above the clouds we see the glory of heaven (v.1). Here are the 144,000 Jews who have been preserved through the tribulation and are now safe in heaven. Though they are the specific ones named, we would not be amiss to see them prefiguring all the elect of God, secure in glory. They, however, are the supporting cast, for the star of the heavenly scene is the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. The spotlight is on Him. That heaven will be an incomparably beautiful place is evident from the Biblical depictions, but what makes heaven to be glorious is that the Lamb is there! It is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world who paves the way for us to join Him. It is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world that purges the wickedness that would bar us. One day we will bow before those nail-scarred feet and join the heavenly hosts singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”
God has given a birthmark to His children—the seal of the Holy Spirit—that brands us as belonging to Him and guarantees our safe passage into the City of God. In the previous chapter, we have seen Satan has a “Beast-mark” for those who follow the Antichrist. This is a seal which secures their doom—666. The reality is that all of us identify with one group or the other. If I am sealed by God my eternal destiny is settled. There were 144,000 sealed on earth and there are not 143,999 seen in heaven—all are there and not one was lost! When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there!
No wonder heaven will be a place of mirth and music (v.2-3). A sacred symphony of praise will permeate the atmosphere. Note that there will be the singing of new songs. Some of us don’t like new songs. Will we enjoy heaven then? Maybe we better start singing some down here. This is the song of the redeemed and salvation is something to sing about!
Heaven will be more than a happy place—it will be a holy place (v.4-5). The celibacy of the 144,000 may be a literal, physical reality, but it portrays a real, spiritual condition also. These have been morally pure and fully devoted to Christ. They persevered because God purchased them. Their testimony was true. Cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, we will stand faultless and flawless before God—O glorious day!