Q. Re: the 144,000 of Rev. 7 and 14. Your writing on this subject has caused me to dig deeper – with much interest. [I greatly appreciate your work.]
Question: In Rev 14:4 it reads “…were not defiled by women – for they were virgins …” You state that “this 144K is a sampling of the redeemed, brought to heaven in the rapture”. Are you suggesting that there will be a few groups around the throne? [Some defiled by women …? Some pretty ordinary sinners redeemed by the Precious Blood? And some elders?]
A. In the Old Testament, the Lord often had His writers describe Israel’s descent into idolatry in sexual terms, likening His people to an unfaithful wife who prefers strangers to her own husband (Ezekiel 16:32). Some of these passages, like Ezekiel 23, are so graphic that many rabbis refuse to read them in public.
In contrast, the Church is described as a virgin bride. This is not because the Church is more faithful than Israel, but because the Lord has covered all our imperfections with His love. For example, in Ephesians 5:25-27 Paul explained how the Lord washed us clean with the water of His word in order to present us to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. And in 2 Cor. 11:2 he spoke of the Church as a pure virgin.
From these examples we can see that spiritual faithfulness is often symbolized by sexual purity. I think this symbolism is being used in Rev. 14:4 to describe the raptured Church rather than some special group of people who have never had sexual intercourse. (From the article you referenced, you can see that there are several additional reasons for drawing this conclusion.)
All told, I think the Book of Revelation shows the Church in three different ways after the end times judgments begin, and each time we’re in Heaven. We’re represented by the 24 elders of Rev. 4:4 (the first of ten such references), we’re symbolized by the 144,000 of Rev. 14, and we’re described as the Lord’s called, chosen and faithful followers in Rev. 17:14.