And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand…
It seems that when the song of grace rises in heaven, there are a great multitude who are incompetent to take part in it. What is the song that utterly defies the unfallen spirits of heaven? It is the song of redemption, and I shall give you two or three reasons why those unfallen spirits find it an impossibility to sing it.
1. First, they never were redeemed. from sins. Standing in the light of heaven, they know nothing about the joy of rescue. Having sailed for ages on the smooth seas of heaven, they know nothing about the joy of clambering out from the eternal shipwreck. Beautiful and triumphant song, but they cannot sing it. It is to them an eternal impossibility.
2. Again, these unfallen spirits of heaven cannot mingle in that anthem because they do not know what it is to be comforted in suffering. You sometimes find a pianist who has been through all the schools, and has his diploma; but there seems to be no feeling in his playing. You say: "What's the matter with that musician?" Why, I will tell you: he has never had any trouble. But after he has lost children, or been thrust into sickness, then he begins to pour out the deep emotion of his own soul into the instrument, and all hearts respond to it. So, I suppose that our sorrows here will be somewhat preparative for the heavenly accord. It will not be a cold artistic trill, but a chant struck through with all the tenderness of this world's sufferings.
3. Again, I remark that the unfallen spirits of heaven cannot join in the anthem of grace in heaven, because they never were helped to die. Death is a tremendous pass. Do you not suppose when we get through that dark pass of death, we are going to feel gratitude to Christ, and that we will have a glorious anthem of praise to sing to Him? But what will those unfallen spirits of heaven do with such a song as that? They never felt the death shudder. They never heard the moan of the dismal sea. But you say: "That makes only a half and half heaven; so many of these spirits will be silent." Oh, there will be anthems in which all the hosts of heaven can join. The fact that there will be a hundred and forty and four thousand, as stated in the text, intimates that there will be a vast congregation participating. That song is getting sweeter and louder all the time. Some of our friends have gone up and joined in it. If our hearing were only good enough, we would hear their sweet voices rippling on the night air.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.