Do the 144,000 Have a Tattoo? — Revelation 14:1-5

Sermon Series in Revelation # 27 Revelation 14:1-5 
1   Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

2   And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,

3   and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

4   It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,

5   and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.[1]


The Mark of the Beast is 666. You are marked by this number if your life is consumed by that which is secular. If Earthly things are the object of your affection, then God would say that you worship the Beast. You might be consumed by good and necessary things, but if your chief goal in life is not to glorify God and enjoy Him, then you are living for temporary things.

King Solomon lamented Ecclesiastes 1:2+14 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Vanity means temporary and meaningless. It reminds me of the soap bubbles my children blow in the front lawn. They are beautiful, but when you reach out to possess their beauty, they pop and cover you in a sticky mess.

This world will cover you in a sticky mess if you set your gaze upon it’s beauty and live for what if has to offer.

Seeking the beauty and goodness of this world, without seeking God’s beauty and goodness first, identifies your soul with the mark of the Beast.

Living for this world’s glory will protect you from the wrath of the Dragon, but you will face the wrath of God.

This is the choice we all make every day. The Ten Commandments draw the same lines. Deuteronomy 5:7 You shall have no other gods before me. Every time we skip daily Bible Reading and Prayer time with God for our work habits, exercise, family and hobbies, we are setting up idols of the heart that we value more than a relationship with God.

The first Catechism asks, What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. The Dragon wants you to skip God and invest your life in the other good stuff God provides. You will end up living for the Devil’s glory.

Do not sell your soul for what this world has to offer.

Revelation 14:1-5 opens a window into the true value of our soul and why we should live for God. Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

Jesus is first. He is at the center of the universe. Sell your soul for what Jesus has to offer.

Jesus will place the glory of His name conspicuously upon your life.

The Jews wore the Law on their foreheads when they worshipped. They wore little boxes called phylacteries which contained portions of the Ten Commandments or the Shema. This showed their devotion to God’s commands.

These worshippers in Heaven are conspicuously marked with the name of the Lamb and the name of God the Father on their foreheads. They have God and the Lamb at the center of all their thoughts. They are not distracted by secondary pleasures.

And even though they had died, they are now standing with the Lamb of God who was slain before the foundation of the Earth.

Jesus is standing on Mount Zion, and with Him are all the saints who persevered.

We saw these 144,000 saints in chapter 7.

  • The Jehovah Witness Church teaches that only 144,000 will be saved. Wrong answer.
  • Islam says that these are the 144,000 Prophets of Muhammad. No.
  • The Church Universal and Triumphant teaches that 144,000 souls were brought back to Earth from Venus. Not even close.
  • Tim LaHaye thinks that only 144,000 Jews are saved during the tribulation and that they become evangelists before the final Armageddon. Again, not even close.

How about a more beautiful explanation. This 144,000 represents the twelve tribes of Israel, multiplied by the twelve Apostles, multiplied by a millennium. It’s God’s way of speaking about the Great Host of the Redeemed, united in one Family Community in Heaven.

And the saints are singing. It isn’t quiet and tranquil. It isn’t sweet and sentimental. It’s like the thunder of Niagara Falls.

On the Fourth of July my children put their fingers in their ears during the firework’s thundering finale. The singing of the saints will sound and feel like that, but you won’t put your fingers in your ears because the sound will be beautiful and melodious like harps.

Cast out this idea of Heaven being quaint. Heaven will knock your socks off.

Notice that the Church is singing a new song verse 3.

It is chronologically new. Contemporary Christian music on the radio is newer than A Mighty Fortress is Our God written in 1527.

It is new in time, not new in nature. It isn’t a new kind of song. We aren’t changing the focus of our worship. The theme of our song isn’t new.

We will forever sing the songs of Zion that saints have always wanted to sing.

When Israel was taken captive in Babylon they desired to sing happy songs of redemption, but how could they sing of their blessed redemption when they were captive and away from their homeland. So they hung their instruments on the willows for their hearts were broken that they were not in their home country.

Psalm 137:1-6 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!

In our passage, all the saints are finally home. Their instruments are in tune, their voices are warmed up and they are singing with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

Notice that only the redeemed can sing this song. Angels can’t sing from their hearts about their redemption, because they were not redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

1 Peter 1:12 Prophets preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

How do you explain salvation to an angel? Can you make Michael feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Can you communicate to Gabriel the change of heart from pride to poverty of spirit? Can you describe the first time that your mind was enlightened in the knowledge of Christ?

How about the renewal of your will from being hostile to God’s laws and now wanting to obey them? Finally, could you sufficiently describe for the angelic host the transition of regeneration? Having ambivalence toward Jesus, and then being enabled to embrace Him as He is freely offered in the Gospel?

No angel will ever understand the salvation of a soul from darkness to light and from Hell to Heaven. The angels long to look into such marvelous things.

Only the saints have ever had such an experience. Which is why the worship leaders of Heaven, the Four Living Creatures immediately around the Throne and the 24 Elders, go silent as the saints lead in the most glorious music of Heaven’s worship.

and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

There are four final identifying marks of the redeemed in verse 4 + 5. This is an exposition of the mark of the saints. It answers the question, what does it mean to bear the mark of the Lamb?

First, the saints do not defile themselves with godless Babylon the Harlot of the Earth. Using a pre-marriage metaphor, the Bride of Christ is not whoring after the wares of this world. Saints do not sell their soul for gain in this life. Saints don’t lay down in the bed of the godless for earthly gain.

We know that the Dragon has nothing eternal to offer. The one world secular government will not help us lay up treasures in Heaven. The saints who sing the songs of Zion do not on occasion give themselves to the Devil to possess what he has to offer. Saints reserve the energy of their life for God. A marriage metaphor.

Ephesians 5:25–27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Saints in Heaven are identified by their moral perfection, which is accomplished by Christ.

Second, they are identified as those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Jesus calls us as disciples and commands us to walk with Him. We go with Him in ministry to others. We go with Him to heal the sick and feed the poor. We go with Him to Gethsemane. We are with Him as He is on the Cross.

Jesus promised us a resurrection into newness of life. When Jesus ascended into Heaven He promised that we will follow Him all the way to the right hand of the throne of God.

There is a Greek emphasis that isn’t in our English versions. The emphasis of the sentence is on the first word “these”.

The mark of the Father and the Lamb is on These who are pure in heart and will see God. These who follow the Lamb where ever He goes.

Third, These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,

Redeemed: they are purchased for God by the blood of His only begotten Son. Saints are the new beginning of the new creation created by the resurrection of Christ. Jesus is redeeming the whole Creation for Himself. The redeemed saints are only the beginning. God will recreate this whole world without sin, in perfection and holiness.

Fourth and finally, the name of God and the Lamb can be seen on people who speak the truth.

The comment that they are blameless is more like a summary of all that Jesus has done for them in their salvation, sanctification and now glorification.

These people are not repeating the lies of the False Prophet. They do not buy into the lies of this world. They have their minds set straight by the wisdom of God’s word.

Out of their heart their mouth speaks, and they speak words of the light, not words of darkness.

Are you going to be apart of this 144,000?

Does your soul yearn to be home with God?

When Reverend Dr. Sinclair Ferguson preached this passage he asked men especially why they are waiting to get to Heaven before they learn to sing the songs of Zion.

Gentlemen, you might not like hearing the sound of your own voice during public worship, but God loves to hear the song of the redeemed.

Can your neighbor see the mark of God prominently upon your life? Are you saving yourself for the Lord? Do you follow the Lord Jesus? Are you living by the law of love in the Kingdom of God, and are you rejecting the lies of the Devil and living in God’s truth?

Maybe you are like the angels of Heaven and know nothing of God’s power to redeem. Maybe your life still waits for the resurrection power of Jesus? Maybe you don’t understand how the purpose of your life can be found in glorifying God and daily enjoying Him.

The Lamb of God is not dead. He is standing in Heaven. God is not willing that you should perish. The blood of the Lamb can save your soul from Hell and set your feet on a path of holiness.

Ask God to save you, to write your name down in the Lamb’s Book of life as a member of the saints in Glory. Why not do that today. Let us pray.


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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