This is my favorite line in the passage: “nobody can learn the song except for the 144,000…”
As before, the 144,000 are meant as a symbol—not a statistic—of God’s
redeemed people. They are the firstfruits of for God and the Lamb,
which is to say that they have been given pride-of-place in heaven
because of their unwavering commitment to their King in opposition to
the tyrannical forces of the dragon and its beastly counterparts.
But the part I think is cool is that bit about a song no one else can
learn. God’s first resurrected followers can learn it, presumably for
three reasons. First, they’ve suffered and died for the sake of Christ.
Second, they’ve proven themselves faithful in the midst of that
suffering. Finally, they’ve followed the Lamb in purity and in
Don’t get head-faked here by the reference to “celibacy.” It was a
regular preparatory feature of both temple worship and just war that the
participants had to abstain for a predetermined time beforehand. This
is less about sex and more about consecration. It’s about readiness.
It’s about absolute passion, commitment, and focus on following the
Sometimes, in my travels and ministry with other leaders, I hear
songwriters complain that it’s difficult to come up with new material.
Sometimes, in my work at The Winds, I hear church-folk complain that it’s difficult to think of something to pray.
Sometimes, in my own life, I find it hard to worship on my own.
But in those moments—and in many others just like them—we are
reminded what it takes to offer up something new to God. It takes
sacrifice. It takes faithfulness. It takes consecration. The songs don’t
come from TV or the prayers from comfort, distraction, and ease. They
burst forth from a life fertilized by struggle and fecund with faith.