After John saw the first and second beasts – symbolizing the antichrist and the false prophet – and after John saw all the destruction and false worship associated with those two figures, John saw something else.
He saw the Lamb. That is, he saw Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the one who died and rose again. Jesus wasn’t alone. With him were 144,000. These are part of the elect of Israel, of the people of God.
That’s what John saw. He also heard something. He heard the sound of singing. John heard “a voice” from heaven that sounded like the roar of water and loud thunder, and like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. It was the sound of singing – “a new song” before the throne and before the inhabitants of heaven.
Do you wonder what that sounded like? Do you wonder what song they sang? John said it was a special song: “No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”
This is a song for the redeemed, and only the redeemed. This is a song for those who have made themselves holy – ready for spiritual battle? (Deuteronomy 23:9; 1 Samuel 21:5-6) – and who follow Jesus wherever he goes. This is a song for disciples.
You may have noticed Christians are a people who sing. Singing is part of our lives as believers. We are constantly singing. When you walk into one of our gatherings, one of the first things you’ll notice is our tendency to sing together. Even those of us who don’t sing well will find ourselves, after years of listening, starting to sing along.
In a way, we become pictures of this 144,000 who are standing around the Lamb. We are practicing for that eternal day with him. And we sing a “new song” that only is known to believers – to the redeemed.
I wonder whether we view our singing, and whether we view ourselves as holy followers of Jesus, in this way. Even in the middle of a world that’s being overrun by Satan’s deceptive evil, we should be able to hear the sound of singing. Every Sunday when we gather, we should be eager to sing. And when we’re alone in our homes or our cars and those songs of the faith come to our minds, we should be happy to sound out their melodies – at least to hum along with the people of God. What song are you singing today?