Thursday, January 3

This great choir sang a wonderful new song.

Candle Lighter:Fear God…”
Response: “…Give glory to him.

Scripture: Revelation 14:1-7

14 Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together.

3 This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. 5 They have told no lies; they are without blame.

6 And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
This pericope is a beautiful picture of what lies ahead and also answers some common questions regarding heaven and the world to come. I also want to make some observations. The Bible has many references to numbers throughout all of Scripture. We begin with the seven days of creation, not four, not eleven, but seven. Why seven? There were twelve sons of Jacob, twelve disciples, and so on. And here in Revelation we have the 144,000. It is important to approach the biblical perspective of numbers and not impose a western mindset on an oriental understanding. Some numbers are clearly exact numbers. E.g. 153 fish.(John 21:11) Other numbers are viewed more symbolically as here in Revelation. “Multiples of ten are a symbolic way to say many. One thousand is regarded as the foundational large number; 12,000 is the foundational large religious number; and 144,000 is the supreme religious number that represents the complete people of God.”* It is important not to lose the theological significance of what is happening. The Lamb of God is joined by innumerable believers forming a great choir singing a wonderful new song, music never before heard making a massive, glorious sound. We’ve all heard enormous thunder rolls. Imagine giving pitch and never before conceived harmony to the sound! This is the choir of the redeemed. I’ve often said much of what we do on earth will not be done in heaven. No more confessing of sin; we won’t sin in a perfect holy environment―never been there! No one gets cancer―no sickness there. No funerals for loved ones―no more death. No politics―King Jesus rules in love and righteousness!  But singing worship will most certainly be a part of heaven. Our great, glorious, matchless, just, loving, God has made all of this possible. Share this great news wherever you go…and keep singing as you practice for the heavenly choir…and you will have a great voice in heaven!

*The New Living Translation Study Bible, Symbolic Numbers, p.2173, Gerald Borchert

Music: “The Trumpet Shall Sound”    Philippe Sly: Bass-Baritone,   Julian Wachner: Conductor
Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra

Fantastic singer. Note how Handel musically paints the picture of “we shall all be changed.”  The trumpeter plays an authentic trumpet from Handel’s era. Not like anything you normally see. Handel has attempted to give the music the theological weight of the Scripture. This is worth your time! (9 minutes)

Lord Jesus, we are so often busy in our worlds, consumed by the pressures of the day, that we lose sight of the bigger, more grand, eternal picture. Thank you for infusions of beauty, truth, and reverence which all too frequently go unrecognized in our world. Forgive us for the times we ignore them, are too busy, or not interested because giving beauty or truth or reverence our precious time would take too long. Deliver us, good Lord, from consuming the trivial contemporary and dieting on the eternal significant. Save us from shallow notes and light-weight words. Make us a people who sing new songs of significance, of wonder, of reverence, and joy. May we never settle for earth when heaven is at stake and end up missing both heaven and earth. Amen.
Daniel Sharp

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