The Imperial Guard of the Lamb.


The vision of Chapter 14 begins with the Little Lamb standing on Mount Zion surrounded by 144,000 who have His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads.  This description contrasts with the Beast and his followers who wear the name of the Beast or the number of his name.  In view of the situation I just described in the above paragraphs, it should be evident to all that Christ and the 144,000 are not actually standing on Mount Zion.  “Mt. Zion” here symbolizes the Church, and verse 3 corroborates this fact,

“…and they [the 144,000] sing a new song before the throne and before the four living beings and before the elders.”

This scene is like those in Chapters 4 and 5, 7 and 15.  Verse 3 informs the reader that the 144,000 are members of the laity.  The number “144,000” signifies a minority, a small minority out of the entire laity, just as this number in Chapter 7 indicated that only a small minority of the Jews had converted to Christ by the fourth century AD.  However, the number “144,000” in this chapter, does not represent all who have remained faithful, but a special minority of them.

In verse 4, John explains who they are,

“They have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and for the Little Lamb.”

This means they are the choicest ones, the best, of the harvest about to begin.  They are the Elite of the Elect; there stand the men and women of the Imperial Guard of the Lamb.  No stain of mortal sin is in their hearts, no lie is in their mouths, and nothing of the earth can attract them: they follow only the Little Lamb.

Only they can sing the new song.  Other saints hear it, but they themselves cannot sing it, because their hearts are not as large.  The song is not new, in the sense that it is completely different from the song of old; rather, it is new in the sense that never before was the old song sung with such ardor and perfection.  The Church has experienced other times of trial but the reign of Antichrist will put to the greatest test the virtues of faith, hope and love.  The “144,000” have overcome the world, the flesh, and Satan himself, and their “μαρτυρία” surpasses human imagination and speech.

There stand the Imperial Guard of the Lamb, ready, knowing that Christ is about to command them to do one thing more.  Those who live for this world will think the command not just foolishness, but insanity.  It always is that God's thoughts are not men's thoughts: so is His love.