The vision of the Lamb standing on Mount Zion is the vision of the 144,000. This vision includes us in these last days. It is a vision which we need to see for this moment. It not only encourages us, but also it teaches us many things.
The Apostle John said "I saw and beheld" (14: 1). It means it is God's desire for us to see what John saw and to behold what he beheld. What he saw and beheld was written as the Word of God. He saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. This Mount Zion is not the Mount Zion on earth, but the Mount Zion in heaven. Our Lord has already risen and ascended, and He is today standing on Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the place where David's throne was established. It simply means that our Lord is on the throne in heaven, in the midst of the throne.
But John saw something more. He saw not only the Lamb, but also the 144,000 standing with Him on Mount Zion. Personally, I believe the 144,000 is not a physical number, but a multiple of 12, a perfect number. One day, there will be a perfect number of people standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. It is the desire of my heart that we will be a part of them. This is something that should be as a vision before our view today. To what are we looking forward? We are not looking forward to death, but to stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
This vision is our blessed hope and our encouragement. It is a vision we need to see today, because whatever we see around us is very discouraging. Whether we look at the world or at the church in general, their situations are very discouraging. Even when we look at ourselves, we feel discouraged too. So I ask, how are we going on during these times? To go on with the Lord, we need to see the Lamb and the 144,000 standing with Him on Mount Zion.
WITH THE LORD ON MOUNT ZION
But to be with Him on Mount Zion is conditional. Here we find a description of those standing with Him on Mount Zion. First, these people were bought from the earth (14:3). Thank God we are qualified, because we were truly bought with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus. We were bought from the earth. Hence, we are separated from the earth, and we belong to Him.
Also, these people were bought from man to be the first fruits to God and the Lamb (14:4). They were not only bought and separated from the earth unto the Lord, but also from man. In other words, they were separated from man that they may be the first fruits separated unto the Lord.
And they have on their foreheads the name of the Lamb and of the Father (14:1). Thank God, we have been sealed. We belong to the Lamb and to God the Father. But we must see the name of the Lamb and God the Father is on the foreheads of these men. I believe this tells us something more. Because if something is inscribed upon your foreheads, it is exposed publicly and everybody will see it. Life in these difficult days does not make it easy to confess publicly the name of the Lamb and of the Father. Here, they are not only the Lord's, but they also confess the Lord, Our Lord Jesus said, if you confess Me, I will confess you; but if you deny Me, I will deny you before the Father and the angels.
So we are living in difficult days, especially the brothers and sisters who live in countries where God is opposed, Their life is at risk, and they live in constant danger. But thank God, in spite of all of these difficult situations, many are willing to confess the name of our Lord and of the Father, even unto death.
Now we who live in this country may not be faced with such a problem, However, if we are really faithful to the Lord, we will find persecutions and misunderstandings. Sometimes our crises make us afraid to confess the Lord publicly. But the faithful ones not only belong to the Lord, but also confess Him publicly in the face of oppressive adversities.
A VOICE LIKE WATERS AND HARPS
Then John heard a loud voice out of heaven, a voice like a mighty thunder and many waters (14:3). But strangely, the voice he heard was the sound of harps. Usually the sounds of thunder and harps are distinctly opposite. Harps sound like a soft and tender voice. To play a harp is like playing upon the heart. On one hand, harps are like a voice coming from the heart. It is like the singing of harps. Yet on the other hand, it is like great thunders and many waters. Often, we find Scriptural incidences where many opposites come together. So the 144,000 learned to play the harps. In other words, they are people of the heart, like David who was after God's heart.
Yet out of their hearts comes forth music and a song that sounds like the voice of great thunders and many waters. Sometimes in the Scriptures God's voice is described as great thunders and many waters. So when the 144,000 sing, they trumpeted forth a testimony.
And they sing a song which nobody can learn except these 144,000. Musicians cannot learn it. Poets cannot naturally compose it. Why? Because it is a song composed of life experiences. The 144,000 have gone through many experiences. Out of their experiences, they come to know the Lord. They experience the knowledge of the Lamb; so they are able to sing it. They sing it before the throne, but not as a performance before man. They sing it unto the Lord with their hearts. They are telling Him how much they appreciate Him, how much they have come to know Him, and how much of His grace they have experienced. Their song expresses a living knowledge of the Lord, which becomes sweet praise unto God.
So brothers and sisters, in these last days, the Lord does not allow us to go through life smoothly. Instead, He leads us into the way of the cross, which involves many difficult ways. Out of our difficult ways, we learn to know Him. What we learn will become a new song, a song we can sing unto Him. Nobody on earth can know it, - nobody, but those who learn it by their experiences.
UNDEFILED AS VIRGINS
Moreover, the 144,000 do not defile themselves with women, for they are virgins (14:4). I believe this must be applied spiritually, because we who are the Lord's are virgins. Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to be chaste virgins and not be defiled. He told them that they have been engaged to one Man - Christ - and they needed to remain pure toward Him (2 Cor. 11: 1-3). These virgins are the ones whose hearts are occupied with Christ. They are not defiled by the world.
Furthermore, "in their mouth was no lie, for they are blameless" (14:5). They have been cleansed by the precious blood of the Lamb. It is God's purpose that we be holy and be blameless before Him in love (Eph.1:4-5). It is His love that enables us to be truthful, pure, and blameless.
FOLLOWERS OF THE LAMB
Finally, it is all summed up in one word - they are followers of the Lamb wherever He goes (14:4). This explains everything. In my heart, I feel that in these last days the Lord is coming soon. When He shall come, He will find a people who will stand with Him on Mount Zion. They are the overcomers. What really makes them overcomers is that they follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They do not follow man. They do not follow traditions. They do not follow any system. They follow the Lamb. They follow Christ as the meek and lowly Lamb.
When we think of our Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God on earth, we see how He walked the way of the cross throughout His earthly life - from Bethlehem, through Nazareth, via Galilee, to Gethsemane, and finally at Calvary, This way of the Lamb is the way of the cross. God is calling His people to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
So we will follow Him to Bethlehem, a place where we empty ourselves and take the place of a bond slave. We will follow the Lamb to Nazareth, where we will be hidden with Him and live a secret life with God. It was a place where He was unknown to the world, but known to God, where He was despised by the world, but honored by God. We will follow the Lamb to Galilee, doing the will of God as He did, even though it meant to be misunderstood, despised, and rejected. We will follow the Lamb to Gethsemane, a place where our will is not done, but God's will be done. And we will follow the Lamb to Calvary, where we may know His death and the power of His resurrection.
We will follow the Lamb closely, being careful not to follow Him afar off. When we follow Him afar off, we will be tempted to fall. But when we follow Him closely, we will be kept by His life and power. By following Him, we will learn His way, a way where we begin to be transformed and conformed to His image.
Brothers and sisters, I believe what the Lord is doing today is to raise up such followers. These followers will hasten His return, because He will see Himself in them. When the Lord can see Himself in His people, then the Bridegroom will return and take His Bride. So this is the vision which should be before God's people today. May the Lord have mercy upon us that by His grace we may be among the rank of the 144,000 standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
[This brief message was given by Stephen Kaung in Westrninster, CA, Jan. 5, 2002]