Hebrews Chapter 11 documents for us great examples of heroes of faith under the Old Covenant. This is so that Christ’s disciples of the New Covenant can draw inspiration and encouragement to persevere in hope through our pilgrimage on earth. We, like Abraham for example, journey towards the same destination which is the City with foundation (Rev 21:14) whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10).
Like the heroes of faith, we admit we are strangers on Earth longing for a better country, a heavenly city, which God has prepared for His own. (Heb 11:13-16). These heroes of faith were all well commended for their faith to which they still held on even though they did not receive what was promised to them when they died – because God had planned to include us, His redeemed children, to join them in receiving the complete fulfilment of all His promises together (Heb 11:39-40). Hence the great Grand Gathering on Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem portrayed in Hebrews 12:22-24 is a preliminary sketch of the delightful scenes presented in Revelation 14:1-5 and chapters 21-22, which are so very exhilarating, indicating the arrival of Christ’s faithful disciples at their Destination!
The 144,000 (Rev 14:1) who joyfully gathered with Christ, the Lamb, on Mount Zion, symbolizes the totality of the redeemed community. They are further portrayed as the Bride of Christ, the ultimate goal of our salvation, in Revelation 21 & 22 where the associated symbolic numbers 12, 144 & 12,000 are used.
This is truly a blessed community (Rev 22:14) which has met the 7-point criteria indicated in Revelation 14:1, 4-5 which practically defines discipleship:
- Identity: Their foreheads have Jesus’ and His Father’s name, signifying their identification with God as His children (John 1:12) and with Christ as co-heirs (Rom 8:17).
- Redemption: They have been purchased or redeemed from the earth by the blood of Christ according to 1 Peter 1:18-19.
- Purity: They have kept themselves pure like virgins (2 Cor 11:2) and aligned themselves with God’s will by staying away from sexual immorality (1 Thess 4:3; 1 John 3:3; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rev 21:7-8; 27; 22:14-15).
- Faithful Discipleship: They have followed Christ faithfully wherever He goes (1 Peter 2:21).
- Dedication: They are offered as first fruits to God & Christ, which means they are regenerated through God’s word of truth according to James 1:18, and set apart as holy being dedicated to God according to the concept of Jeremiah 2:3. That means they fully belong to God in consecration to Him to be at His disposal as they live for Christ (2 Cor 5:14-15).
- Truthfulness: No lie is found in their mouths as they are completely truthful without fraud or falsehood. (Rev 21: 8, 27; 22:15; Prov 6:16-19).
- Innocence: They are given the verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ and declared as innocent, free from blame and all accusations. (Ps 19:13-14; Rom 8:33-34).
These 7 characteristics that define the 144,000/ the Redeemed Community should challenge us to live our lives right according to God’s will to be found in that number. In these perilous times ( 2 Tim 3:1-5) of chaos, compromise, confusion, violence, deception and lawlessness, we as disciples of Christ need to stay focused on our Lord Jesus Christ of Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, our destination and our blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14) .
By Sister Leong King Teng