A Sketch of a True Believer
Rev. 14:1 ¶ Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
Rev. 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,
Rev. 14:3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth.
Rev. 14:4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb,
Rev. 14:5 and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.
In contrast to the previous chapter, we now have a glimpse of the true Lamb -- and his victorious Church. The Lamb is Jesus, the Savior of the world and his is standing on Mount Zion -- or the Church. What we see in this opening paragraph to chapter 14 is a future vision of the Church who has survived existence in the world. It is also a vision for those who remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ. The 144,000 is a representative large number of those who will be faithful throughout the generations. Instead of showing loyalty to the enemy, they are loyal to Christ. They are not afraid to publicly testify to the fact that they are his and in doing so there is harmony between heaven and earth, a type of synergy as the music of heaven is joined with the voices of those who follow Christ. The result is that they are able to worship the Lord in a way that seems almost incomprehensible to those around them. Only those who know Christ as their personal savior can join in and sing the new song.
And, symbolically, these who follow Christ have not defiled themselves with women. Israel was constantly defiling herself with the gods of other nations -- giving herself over to them. The true follower of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, will not worship other gods. They will worship the Lamb alone, being willing to "follow the Lamb wherever he goes." These first fruits only represent the many who will be a part of Christ's Church -- true followers who have been redeemed.
Sometimes we may wonder what a true believer looks like, and right here in John's Revelation we find a very real sketch. The false believers have been outlined for us and now we have to move on to the scene played out before us. It is a vision for true followers of Jesus Christ and a lesson for those who want to follow him.
1) We must be willing to publicly confess our faith in Jesus Christ. If we are to be his children, it is not to be something to be hidden, but instead is to e a part of who we are. There are those around the world who are, even today, suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ and are modern-day martyrs. Are we willing to be faithful to Jesus, even to the very end!
2) Are we willing to spend time in prayer and worship, getting to know the heart and mind of God? If so, then do we enter into his activity here on this earth? He is calling us into an intimate relationship in which we partner with him in ministry -- and in doing so the voices of heaven and earth combine. On Friday evening I was checking us in for a flight home from Seattle. When I had booked our tickets I could only get us two seats back in row 20. When I checked us in, suddenly there were three seats available up in row 9. I decided to try and get seats A and C so that we could have some space to stretch out on the trip home. Throughout this four hour flight Chuck and I were both working on sermons. He had his Bible out on his tray table when the lady in seat D caught his attention from across the aisle. She asked him if he was a believer and he responded that he was. Then she told him that she was flying home to be with her father who is dying. As a matter of fact, she assumed that when the plane landed she would be given the bad news. Her pastor had prayed with her that on the way she would be surrounded by believers who would pray for her. She had just bought her ticket on Friday night and this was the empty seat into which she was placed. It was Friday night when we found the empty seats that would be beside her. Then the woman in seat E spoke up -- she was a believer as well. And then the people in row 8 spoke up -- they were believers too -- and before the woman left the plane there was a prayer meeting in rows 8 and 9. Somehow we had joined together with heaven and God was doing his business. As she got off the place she said that she felt at peace about what she was to face.
3) When we spend time with the Lord we will learn a new song -- one which the world would never understand. This is a song of life that is foreign to the things of this world. The believer does live differently -- because they are living in the heavenly kingdom and not the earthly one. The world might think we are crazy, at times, but we are not -- because we can hear and sing and hum a different tune.
4) True believers become singular in purpose -- in following Jesus Christ. The Lamb is the head and there is nothing to distract them from following him. No longer do we turn to the gods of this world for satisfaction, but we live solely and completely for him.
We are invited into this scene from Revelation 14 today -- into the sketch of the true believer. May we not be deceived!
Lord, please help me to live out the life of a true believer. Amen.