50 They Follow the Lamb
by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
These are they which were not
defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow
the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men,
being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:4
covenant been successful? Have people’s lives been changed? The work of
grace was to take people with a sinful nature, often also with sinful
habits, and change them into children of God. The happiness and joy
found among God’s people is in marked contrast to the negative
situations and attitudes found among the people of the world. God’s
people reveal the beauty and happiness there is in living for Christ.
They will take to heaven and the new earth a love that will bind
together all God’s creation for eternity.A Special People
The 144,000 are essential to God’s plan. Revelation 14:1-5 describes
this group’s character. When Jesus comes again, the 144,000 have the
privilege of living to see Him come, and be saved without seeing death.
Those in this exceptional group walk with God as did exceptional people
• Adam was created one of the “sons of God” (Gen.
6:2, 4; Job 1:6).
• “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for
God took him” (Gen. 5:24).
• “Noah was a just man and perfect in
his generations” (Gen. 6:9).
• “Abraham believed God, “| and he
was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).
• “The Lord spake
unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exod.
• “David the son of Jesse, a man after [God’s] own
heart,” to fulfill all of God’s will (Acts 13:22).
• Daniel was
“greatly beloved “|” (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19).
• “Jesus loved
Martha, and her sister [Mary], and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
was the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23).
• Mary washed
Jesus’ feet and received His commendation: “against the day of my
burying hath she kept this” (John 12:7).
This is a list of ten
select people in the Bible, and there are many more. If God is not a
respecter of persons, how can he have “select
people?” This is not
solely because God chose them, but because they responded to God and
made Him first in their lives. God responds to love, and that is what
made these ten people unique. It is love for God that also makes the
144,000 unique. They have each individually come close to Jesus!
The Lamb Stood on Mount Zion
Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). He has paid the penalty of sin for
The New Jerusalem has come down from God out of heaven to
the Mount of Olives, which has divided into a great plain (Zech. 14:4).
With Jesus on Mt. Zion are the 144,000, a group who are God’s elect.
They have demonstrated that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary provided grace
that is sufficient to save and sufficient to change the life. The
firstfruit of redemption is the 144,000, a gift to Jesus that makes His
suffering a success (Isa. 53:11; Heb. 12:2).
They have His
Father’s name written in their foreheads. A name represents identity and
character. God restores His image in the redeemed. They reflect His
The 144,000 sing a new song--a song that
represents a new experience that no one else has ever had.2
lived through a time when Satan is unrestrained in his treachery and
cruelty, and they have depended entirely on the grace and power of God
for protection and support (Ps. 91; Isa. 33:16). Their main concern is
whether there is any unconfessed sin in their life, but they find none.
They do not have to consider this long, for Jesus soon comes in the
clouds of heaven, raising the righteous dead and delivering the waiting
saints! The 144,000 sing their song of experience as they arrive on the
sea of glass, before the throne of God. It is a song that no one else
can sing (Rev. 4:6; 15:3).
The four “beasts” are present: the
lion, the calf, the man, and the eagle, representing the four divisions
of the camp of Israel (Rev. 4:7). Twenty-four
elders are on thrones
about the throne of God. Elders are “old men” of wisdom and
responsibility. They may represent the foundation of the living temple
of God resting on the prophets and the apostles (Eph. 2:19, 20; 1 Peter
2:5). It is in this setting that we see the portrayal of the 144,000 in
heaven.They Are Virgins
Taken literally, the requirement
that they be “virgins” (Rev. 14:4), not having been “defiled with
women,” would severely limit who would be qualified for this group.
However, Revelation is a book of symbols. A woman represents the church,
though here the language points to individuals. Being a “virgin” means
having purity in life and doctrine and having no other loyalty except to
Thus, the 144,000 have loyally followed in Jesus’
footsteps on this earth. In the new earth, they loyally “follow the Lamb
whithersoever He goeth” (Rev. 14:4) The most desirable place in the new
earth will be next to Christ. Those who are closest to Christ in heaven
are those who have sought to be close to Christ on this earth! Those who
are privileged to converse with Christ in heaven are those who have
spent time conversing with Him on earth!
The virgins are
firstfruits. In an agricultural community, firstfruits are the biggest,
the sweetest and the best. These are people who most fully represent the
power of grace to change the life and most fully reflect the character
of Christ in their lives. For this, Jesus is satisfied.
Fault Before the Throne of God
The description of these pure
followers of Christ includes the phrase, “In their mouth was found no
guile” (Rev. 14:5) This means no deceit, no lying, only the absolute
truth. This is a characteristic that all Christians claim. Yet, how
often will there be found subtle deceit in one’s words and actions?
Sometimes telling the truth hurts us (Ps. 15:4). Sometimes it hurts
others for us to tell the truth. Shall we then always tell the truth?
This is not an easy matter. However, when a Christian always tells the
truth, he is putting the results of that action in the hands of God. In
saying this, one must also recognize that sometimes there are facts that
need not be said--ones that will unnecessarily harm another. It seems
that this last characteristic is what it takes to be “without fault
before the throne of God.” Are we talking about perfection here? Maybe
we are! Perfect trust, perfect faith in Christ puts your life in the
hands of Christ. He is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He is
responsible for your “perfection.” Perfection then is in your trust and
faith in Christ.
Is such perfection without sin? Here, one must
be careful. We will each continue to have a sinful nature and sinful
propensities until Jesus comes again, when “this corruptible must put on
incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:53). So does the person sin? The Bible says
that the person who is in Christ does not sin (1 John 3:5, 6; 5:18).
That is reassuring.
How can a person arrive at such a point?
Remember that your faith and your perfection are in the hands of Christ.
When people contemplate the purity and perfection of Christ, they
realize ever more their sin and shortcomings. When people put their life
in the hands of Christ, their perfection is by the power of His grace
(Gal. 2:20; 1 John 1:6-10).
At conversion, people become a “new
creature,” and they are given pardon and salvation. However, the sinful
nature is still present, which must be covered with the robe of Christ’s
righteousness until Jesus comes again. Habitual, besetting sins and
“blind spots” still remain, which must be overcome by grace. This is the
process called “growth in grace.” Will a person ever achieve perfection?
This is in the hands of Christ, but a person must make his commitment to
Christ complete in order to receive the seal of God.3
beauty of the new earth, we will study the science of salvation. We will
learn more--much more--of what it cost for Jesus to come to earth, live a
sinless life, and die on the cross that people might be saved. This is a
story that will reach deep into the hearts and minds of every person.
Since the saved of the earth are the only ones to have this experience,
they will travel to other worlds to tell sinless beings the story of
Jesus came and died to preserve the unique gifts that
God gave to humankind. Even in eternity, people will still possess free
will and creativity. Knowing the cost for Christ to die for our sins
will create a barrier against sin in the minds of each person that no
one will ever again cross. “What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will
make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum
1:9). The redeemed will focus their activities and lives in such a way
as to return to Him the glory that He gave up to save mankind.
The key issue here is that each person’s personal probation closes at
death. However, there will come a generation that will be alive to see
Only the “pure in heart” will see God (Matt. 5:8). Character
must be formed now. Sins must be confessed and forsaken now (Rom.
13:11). When, for any reason, a person refuses Jesus Christ, it becomes
more difficult to hear and obey later. A person cannot afford to let
salvation pass him or her by.Endnotes
Jesus paid the
penalty for sin for every human being (Rev. 13:8; Isa. 53:5, 10, 11;
Rom. 5:15-19; 1 Tim. 2:4).2.
There are many passages of
Scripture about songs and poetry praising God (Exod. 15:1-21; Deut.
32:1-43; 33:1-29; Joshua 10:12, 13; Judges 5; 1 Sam. 2:1-10; 2 Sam.
1:19-27; 2 Sam. 22; 23:1-7; Psalms; Song of Solomon). There were other
songs during these times. Some were recorded in the Bible; many others
were not. The figurative language of Revelation contains the songs of
the heavenly beings praising God on His throne. “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” (Rev. 14:3). There
are many songs in heaven, but the song of the 144,000 is unique. These
sing about living in the last hours of earth’s history and God’s
deliverance. Satan was unrestrained in his evil designs but could not
harm the elect of God. Even in the midst of trouble on all sides, God
After the close of probation, Satan is
unrestrained in bringing evil on the earth, though the people of God are
protected (Ps. 91). Nonetheless, God’s people are in agony, knowing that
Jesus has finished His mediation in the heavenly sanctuary. Through this
time they must live in the presence of a holy God without a Mediator.
They do not know, at first, that God has sealed them and that they are
safe for eternity. In their agony, they have thrown themselves upon the
mercies of Christ. Yet, they cannot find any sin that has not been
confessed and forgiven. Then Jesus, who has been with them all the while
through His Holy Spirit, appears in the clouds and delivers them.
See chapter 47, “Grace Is Sufficient to Save.”