We saw in chapter seven, 144,000 of God’s people being sealed in preparation for the judgment to fall on unbelievers.
Then in chapter 13, we saw the people of the beast receiving their own mark. And whoever did not receive that mark was persecuted.
So on one hand, those who were received the seal of God were protected from God’s wrath, but on the other hand, they received the wrath of the beast for refusing his mark. And the question becomes, is it worth it? Is it worth it to go through that persecution? For many people, they find it hard to say yes. No one likes to go through persecution.
But if you remain faithful and endure, what will happen? We find the answer in chapter 14.
The 144,000 reappear in this chapter. And again, I believe these people are the entirety of the redeemed of God, not just a certain select. And as we saw in chapter 7, they are sealed with the Father’s name written on their foreheads.
But whereas in chapter 7 we see them preparing for the trials to come, it seems that we see them here having come out of the fire. What are they doing?
Complaining about all the persecution they had endured? Questioning God about why they had to suffer for his sake? No.
Rather, they were singing a new song. A song that no one else could truly learn. Why not? Because while the angels, four living creatures, and the elders can probably technically learn and sing this song, they didn’t experience all that these 144,000 did. All the suffering, all the trials. And because they didn’t go through the fire of these things, they can’t truly understand the joy of deliverance. But these people of God can.
“They did not defile themselves with women for they kept themselves pure,” it says in verse 4. Does this mean then they were all men who were literally virgins? No. I believe this is symbolic of all believers who remain faithful to Christ. We are called the bride of Christ, and by not joining ourselves to the Beast and all he represents, but remaining faithful to Christ despite persecution, we remain pure before Him.
And John says that as his faithful bride, we follow him wherever he goes. For we were purchased by his blood and are now offered as an offering to God and the Lamb.
So again we are encouraged,
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus…”Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor for their deeds will follow them.” (12-13)
How about you? Can you see beyond our present sufferings to the glory that awaits us? If you can’t do that, it will be difficult to stand, both now through whatever you’re going through, and later when we face the antichrist.
So as I said a couple of days ago, fix your eyes on Jesus. He knows what it means to set his eyes on the joy set before him in the face of suffering. And he can show you how to do it too.
Remember too the words of Paul who said,
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:18, 26-28)