The book of Revelation is full of striking contrasts – in fact some of the mightiest contrasts which exist in this universe ! It is the contrast between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness - between God and one of His mightiest creatures, Satan.
This is the prophetic record of the greatest battle of the ages. The devil (a created being) chooses to rebel against his Creator . This contrast is seen as we observe this battle now from the viewpoint of Satan and now from the viewpoint of God Almighty.
In the last few chapters we have observed this contrast between the dragon and the woman, the dragon and the Lamb, the Lamb and the beast, between Christ and anti-Christ and between church and world.
This contrast, we have noted follows in cyclical fashions . Dark and horrible pictures of Satan and his destructive work on earth (where he has been thrown down – Rev 12:7-13) are followed by light, triumph, victory, joy and glory. We see these cycles and contrasts in Chapter 6 where the opening of the first 6 seals presents us with a horrible, dark picture. However , this was followed immediately by that wonderful image in Ch 7 of the 144 000 servants of God , sealed and secure in the midst of tribulation , followed by the vision of the great multitude from every tribe, nation, people and language that no one could count!
We find that the same contrast exists between the sad chapters 8:6- 11:14 ( the six trumpets) and Ch. 11:15 – the victorious 7th trumpet .
And now we find that same contrast depicted between chapters 12,13 and chapter 14. In Chapter's 12 & 13 we found the picture of the dragon (Satan) and his 2 helpers , the first beast, the anti-christ, who arises out of the sea of humanity, and the second beast , the false prophet who arises from the earth. All this sounds terribly depressing - if it were not for this wonderful revelation of the Lamb's glory in Chapter 14!
So now we have once again the joy to observe the victory of our Lord Jesus, our conquering King - the Lamb that was slain, standing on Mt Zion with the 144 000 who had his name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads! (14:1)
In these 5 verses we shall consider the following issues:
1. What is the purpose of this vision ?
2. Why is the lamb standing on Mt.Zion ?
3. Who are the 144 000?
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE VISION?
The terrible restlessness, the suffering and the evil experienced in this world makes us easily worried and anxious . The thought of Satan and his two unholy helpers , the anti-christ and the false prophet unsettles us. We need perspective , and this is where we now get it . Chapter 14 is given to John by the Holy Spirit for our encouragement . In the midst of that terrible revelation of the unholy trinity , we see the Lamb of God, the second member of the Holy Trinity.
A biblical illustration will help us to appreciate the beauty of this vision even more:
In 2 Ki 6: 8 - 23 we find the story of Elisha the prophet and his servant , at a place called Dothan. The Arameans (Syrians) are getting quite fed up with Elisha since he was using his prophetic powers to warn the king of Israel , whenever they wished to raid a place in Israel . As a result they are determined to capture Elisha. One night they surround the city to get him. When Elisha's servant wakes up that morning , he is quite alarmed , but his master tells him : "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (v. 16). Then Elisha prayed , "O Lord, open his eyes that he may see." God opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (v.17) !
So, what did the servant see? He did not see a city besieged by enemies, but a city protected by the angels of God - and in particular , he saw the wall of fire around Elisha! Now there was a glimpse into spiritual reality. To the natural eye it seemed to be all gloom and doom. But with the eyes of faith - it was all God! The enemy did not feature!
As John receives this vision of the Lamb on Mt. Zion it is also in the context of gloom and doom. Satan seems to be in control. The earth seems to be firmly in his grip. But John receives a vision that shows him and us Someone far greater ! This is the main point of the chapter – to provide us with ultimate perspective!
2. WHY IS THE LAMB STANDING ON MT. ZION ?
The Lamb is clearly the Lord Jesus . He is standing on Mt Zion. Where and what is Mt Zion ?
a. In the literal sense Mt. Zion was the hill in Jerusalem y on which the stronghold or the citadel of the city stood. David captured this city from the Jebusites, and made that his stronghold. Later that same name was applied to the place where the temple stood , and where God was said to dwell among His people. Sometimes Mt Zion even referred the entire city of Jerusalem - the city of God - the holy city .
b. In a symbolical sense , Zion embodied two truths
(i) It embodied the centre of God's power on earth
(ii) It embodied the place His presence among His people.
However the physical Mt Zion is symbolical of a still far greater truth : This Mt Zion also corresponds to Hebrews 12:22 where "Mt Zion is called the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God." Thus , the ultimate picture of the earthly Mount Zion is heaven , "where thousands upon thousands of angels are found in joyful assembly, and where the church of the firstborn is found, whose names are written in heaven " ! Remember that the voice that speaks here like " the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder" (14:2) speaks from Zion in heaven!
c. In the prophetic sense of the word, Zion was synonymous with the promised messianic kingdom of justice and peace ( Ps 2:6; Mic. 4:7 ; Isa 59:12 ; Hebr. 12:22). Don't forget , that the Lord Jesus, the Messiah came to Jerusalem. He came to the daughter of Zion . As the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah said : "The deliverer will come from Zion ...". Not only was He the deliverer. He still is the deliverer. In one sense He always stands there ! So it is entirely appropriate that we should find the Lord Jesus standing here.
But in what sense does He stand there? Some think that this is to be seen in a literal sense i.e. in a future sense, when He comes again , that He physically shall stand on that mountain. That may be so , but there is a bigger picture behind this . Earthly Jerusalem and Mt. Zion have been besieged and conquered in her history more times than we would care to count. But in a spiritual and prophetic sense Mt Zion is an unassailable fortress ; it represents the heavenly city of our King! And our king is never defeated. He is never chased out of His city. That city and Mt Zion must not be thought of so much as a literal city , but a spiritual city made up of human stones - the church of God- and her God is always within her. She will never fall ( Psalm 46). In that sense the Lord Jesus always stands on Mt Zion - His holy hill. He is the guardian of His city.
Now it is so that the church of God is always assailed by Satan and will she stand ? Psalm 2 helps us here. The Psalm tells us that there always has been conspiracy by the nations against the Lord and His Anointed One; there always has been this rebellion against God and His kingdom… but the God who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs! Why ? Because He has installed his King on Zion , His holy hill! ( Ps 2:4-6). Now this cannot mean the earthly Jerusalem, because that city has been sacked so many times in history . Which holy citadel is he speaking about ? He speaks about His covenant people - the church. She is unassailable ! Her future is secure in the heavenly city (Hebr. 12:22). He is her keeper.  The devil does not have dominion here . Christ has been installed as King , and His kingdom cannot fail .
So, the glimpse that John is given in this passage for our sakes is like that glimpse that the servant of Elisha receives, when Elisha prays :"Lord open His eyes!" , and the servant now sees with an entirely new perspective. This city is surrounded by the armies of the living God!
So, in the midst of apparent chaos and the mess created by the devil and his legions, we look over and beyond , and we see Jesus – the Lamb on Mt Zion ! Aren't you glad that you came to church this morning to hear this encouragement ?
3. WHO ARE THE 144 000 STANDING WITH THE LAMB?
The Lamb does not stand alone on Mt. Zion. He has His people with him - the 144 000. We have seen this number before in Chapter 7. Who are they ? We have previously said that the number 144 000 must be understood in a symbolic fashion. This is true for all the numerical values in this book. In Chapter 7 we saw that the 144 000 represented the servants of God ( O.T. and N.T saints). It symbolises a vast number. The same is true here. There is only one difference. In Chapter 7 they are viewed from the earth . Now they are viewed from heaven. There they are singing that new song before the throne and before the 4 living creatures and the elders. The contents of that "new song" have been revealed to us in Rev 5:9,10 .
They represent the harvest of the "first fruit" of God and the Lamb. (v.4) . Normally , the term "first-fruits" is used in the sense of the first reaping of what is to be a much greater harvest. But here the "redeemed from the earth" equals the "first fruits". They are the first fruits from the earth in the sense that "first fruits" were holy to the Lord and they belong to the Lord as His very own special possession, and as such they are brought into the house of the Lord. We do not need to limit these 144 000 only to Israel. No , the totality of God's believing children are implied here. Jesus our Good Shepherd , spoke in John 10 of the "sheep" (Israel) and the "other sheep" (gentiles). He concludes by saying in that context : "there shall be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:16)
They are marked . Their Father's name is on their foreheads.Their destiny is totally different from those who have received the mark of the beast on their foreheads (13:16f).
In what sense must we understand the phrase "these are those who have not defiled themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure?" Once again, if we can save ourselves from literalism here , we will be on safe ground. Celibacy and abstinence from sex can certainly not be understood as a virtue for gaining entrance into heaven . So what does it mean then? We must remember that "adultery" is symbolic of "spiritual adultery" in Scripture. Hence Israel is the picture of an idolatrous woman in Hosea’s prophecy. Israel was very often described as a spiritual prostitute in Scripture .
Now this sort of spiritual purity that we find of those mentioned here in verses 4 and 5 is symbolic of the redeemed of the Lord , the first fruits . When Christ purchased His people from the bondage of sin, He cleansed them and washed them. He redeemed them ! They are not guilty. No longer are they spiritual idolaters. They are blameless. They adhere to the truth , and not to lies. They follow the Lamb , and they remain faithful to Him even in the midst of most terrible suffering and persecution.
Again, remember that it is not their own strength that keeps them . They are kept by their good Shepherd. He has bought them and He has marked them. They are kept by the Holy Spirit
The purpose of this section is then for our encouragement. We see the Lamb and his people standing in Mt Zion. We see them standing - and not defeated. We see them pure and undefiled. We see them singing! They have overcome. And what is more , not one Christian soldier is missing in action. Those whom we saw on the earth in Chapter 7 , are the same as those who we see in heaven (Ch. 14) . Truly the Good Shepherd shall loose none of those whom the Father has given to Him (John 10:27 - 30). So cheer up dear believer. You are on the Lord's side. Amen !
 This does not mean that God created sin. The devil freely chose to sin and thereby the principle of sin was unleashed in the world that God had made.
 2 Sam 5:7ff ; 1 Chron 11:5
 Isa 33:20
 Ps 9:11; 110:2
 (Isa 59:20,21 ; 27:9 ; Jer 31:33,34 à quoted by Paul in Romans 11:26)
 Ps 121; Rom 8