“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).
“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. 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 haring with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the 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. 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 first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev. 14:1-5).
As we come to the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, we do so having been introduced to an evil travesty of the Trinity: the great dragon, Satan, the sea beast, which was Rome, and the land beast, which represented the priestly leadership in Jerusalem. As this chapter opens, the contrast couldn’t be sharper than it is. Those enslaved to the beast in the previous chapter had the mark of the beast on their right hand, or on their forehead. Here the 144,000 have the name of the Father on *their* foreheads. Everyone has the name of someone on their forehead.
The scene here appears to be in the heavens, and not on earth. We saw in chapter 7 that the 144,000 likely represented the total number of the elect, which means they were not assembled on the *earthly* Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Rather, the scene is the heavenly Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem that descends from Heaven at the conclusion of Revelation. In Hebrews 12:22, it teaches us that in worship, the saints of God assemble in a heavenly Jerusalem, and it mentions Mt. Zion expressly. The harpers here are described as being before the throne, and the 144,000 are said to have been redeemed from the earth. All this places the scene in Heaven.
So we have here a wonderful image of the perseverance and preservation of the saints. In chapter 7, the 144,000 were still on earth, and they were all sealed to protect them there. Here in Heaven their number is undiminished, not one was lost. The reason is plain. These were the only ones who could learn the new song that the harpers were playing. These men were virgins, undefiled with woman. This is talking about spiritual fornication, or idolatry. It is not talking about lawful marital relations, which are not defiling at all (Heb. 13:4). These are called virgins because together they all constitute the Virgin who descends out of Heaven like an undefiled bride at the end of this book (Rev. 19:7). They are called virgins because they have nothing to do with the great harlot, who is to be introduced shortly. In 2 Cor. 11:2, Paul uses virginity as a symbol of spiritual integrity. Moreover, these are those who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. They are described as being without fault before the throne of God.
A close examination of this passage and the description of heavenly worship in Hebrews 12:18-23 is likely to be rewarding. Both scenes take place on Mt. Zion. In Revelation the worshipers are the firstfruits and in Hebrews they are described as being the church of the first born. And the 144,000 represent the entire number of the elect, as do the worshipers in Hebrews, whose names are written in heaven.