Without fault before the throne
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:4, 5)
These two verses describe
the characteristics of the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth — from
among those who had followed the beast from the earth. Rev.
We first notice that they were not defiled with women being virgins. No doubt some who desire to advance the place of women in society would like to rewrite this passage. After all, men defile people, too. The passage is really not describing the avoidance of lesbianism or extra-marital relationships. The Greek term for "virgin" can apply to either sex. It is symbolic here, as is the word, "women." The moral purity of the redeemed represents their victory over the forces pressing them to be spiritually impure. The end-time coalition of power over which the 144,000 are victorious is described again in chapter 17. From that passage we can learn a little more about the description here.
[John is there shown the great whore (prostitute) with whom] " . . . the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. . . . And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Rev. 17:2-6.
The 144,000 have no guile. This and other characteristics are discussed below.
Let's look at the symbols
in this passage as they relate to the one we are studying.
and daughters (Rev. 17)
I see the mother as the apostate church of the middle ages and her daughters as apostate end-time churches. This sweeping condemnation seems incredible. I don't see the apostasy in Christian churches today as fully ripe. The wine is the deceptive nature of false doctrine — good reason for personal Bible study. More on this when we get to verse 8. And still more when we study chapter 17. Many wonderful people lead and are members of these systems of faith. They are mentioned reluctantly. To ignore this major theme of Revelation would be misrepresenting the words of Scripture.
Faithful in not worshipping the best, through the time of the church of the middle ages.
defiled with women
Faithful in resisting the error of the many churches at the end of time. A woman often represents a church. (Rev. 12:1, Jer. 6:2).
This is a concept of the sanctuary system where the first of the harvest was dedicated to God, recognizing that He would provide the rest of the harvest and bless it. (Lev. 23:10) It met fulfillment in Christ who, as the captain of our salvation, would bring many to glory (Heb. 2:10; 1 Cor. 15:20, 23). Here it describes the 144,000 as a demonstration of the perfect obedience in the most severe trial of history. I believe they are the firstfruits in the sense of showing that the multitude would have been faithful, too, under these circumstances.
guile in their mouths
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matt. 12:34)
fault before the throne
Literally, "without mark. . . ." Of course Jesus forgives our sins and stands in our place, but this is not liberty to continue in the same path (Rom. 5:20 - 6:1) for if, in our heart, we are ready to continue the same sin, our prayer for forgiveness is not sincere. Forgiveness also requires confession and turning from the evil way. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Prov. 28:13).
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) I have heard this explained as perfection in our sphere as the Father is perfect in His (compare 2 Peter 1:4). It's still refusing anything we know to be wrong as defined by God's law (James 4:17; 1 John 3:4) — an impossible standard without power from the grace of Jesus Christ. In fact, faithfulness is required for the blessings of the book of Revelation: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev. 1:3). Praise God. Repentance, too, is a gift (Acts 5:31). He will grant it when we seek Him with our whole heart (Jer. 29:13). The 144,000 will stand without fault.