free hit counter
free web counter

.To return to work page.

 

The sealing of the 144,000

Query for the Month

of

September 2009

Next up-date: October 1st 2009 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! (when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.


Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Query:               

Revelation 7:

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind [of strife] should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree [to its utter destruction].

2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”.

4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.   

 

Who are these people and why should they be sealed before the winds of strife are let loose?

 

Answer:

As we read the last verse of the query, we find that John heard who the sealed people were – they were 12,000 individuals from every one of the twelve tribes of Israel!  Then to make sure we understood properly he wrote the names of the twelve tribes and the number of sealed ones from each. (I have corrected the spelling of the tribal names.)

 [1] “Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [2]   Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [3]   Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [4]   Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [5]   Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [6]   Of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand.   

 [7]   Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [8]   Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [9]   Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

 [10] Of the tribe of Zebulon were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [11] Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. 

 [12] Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand”.   

                                                         Revelation 7:5-8.

But there is a problem with this list.  It does not copy accurately the names of the twelve sons of Jacob.  They are mentioned in Genesis chapters 29, 30, and 35:18, and are there entered in order of their birth, which is a different arrangement from this list.  In fact, one of the names on John’s list is actually a grandson of Jacob, named Manasseh (a son of Joseph, Genesis 41:51).  The real son who is missing is Dan.  Genesis 30:6.

So this should make us pause and enquire of the LORD why this is so.

Under Inspiration Paul wrote: 

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart [for my lost brethren].  For I could wish that myself were accursed [separated] from Christ for my brothers [and sisters], my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertains [belongs] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.  Amen. 

“Not as though the word of God has taken none effect.  For they are not all [God’s] Israel, which are of [physical] Israel: neither, because they are the seed [descendants] of Abraham, are they all children [of Abraham]: but, [it is written] ‘In Isaac shall your seed be called’ [Genesis 21:12].  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not [necessarily] the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed [of Abraham]”.   Romans 9:1-8.

Thus “the twelve tribes of Israel” as seen here in God’s list are not meant to refer to literal Jews, but to twelve character groups of Christians in the last days.  That’s what the division into “tribes” was originally meant to portray, character types, for tribes are large families of related individuals.  But in the reading of the Old Testament many have taken only the literal and missed the lesson.  Let’s not do that again.  

If we remember the principle of the Scripture that while the Old Testament is to be read literally unless it is obviously prophetic, we will see that when the same names and places are used in the New Testament they are often meant to be read symbolically.  Thus “Israel” becomes a symbol of the church, “Egypt” becomes “the world at large”, and “Babylon” should be seen as the counterfeit Christianity.

In our query the angel approaching the earth is calling out to the four holding angels not to let go until he has done his work, and “sealed” this group.  What does this mean? 

An indication in the Bible of what a seal is, is when Nehemiah and some of his companions made a covenant, or promise, and “sealed” their names to it. 

“Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha [governor], the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah . . . The chief of the people . . . And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; they clave to [joined with] their brothers [and sisters], their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our LORD, and His judgments and His statutes; and that we would not give our daughters to the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons.   And if the people of the land bring ware [goods] or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day [other special days]: and that we would leave the seventh year [for the land to lie fallow], and the exaction of every debt [we will write off any debts owed to us at that time]”.   Nehemiah 10:1-30.

They set out their names for all to see that they were on God’s side, and that they intended to remain that way.  In a similar fashion, kings and other high officials, sealed correspondence and laws with a special ring pressed into hot wax to show its genuineness.  See Esther 8:8 as an example. 

Abraham and his family received the sign of circumcision to show that they were “sealed” into God’s way. God said to Abraham, “And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you”.  Genesis 17:11.

”And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised.  That he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also.  And [he is] the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but [those] who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.  For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith”.  Romans 4:11-13.

Later, it was explained.  “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked [too proud to be guided]”.   Deuteronomy 10:16.  Then it was confirmed in the New Testament. “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God”.  Romans 2:29.

As with many things in the Bible, there are two sealings.  The first is mentioned in this verse; “Now He which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; who has also sealed us, and given the earnest [the down payment] of the Spirit in our hearts”.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22.  It is called the “first” or “former rain” in symbolism, and starts the seed of the new nature on its growth.  The second is the one we are discussing; the final “payment”, or “latter (last) rain” of the Spirit which brings the harvest to maturity. 

In our reading, the servants of God are to be “sealed” in their foreheads, the site of knowledge or understanding.  So what we have here is a word picture that one day some of the people of God will be so settled into the truth about Him that they will not be able to be moved from that stand, they will be mature.  When some believers in Paul’s day gave up and departed from the faith, he wrote:  “Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, ‘The LORD knows them that are His’ [Nahum 1:7].  And, ‘Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ [Psalm 6:8].”  2 Timothy 2:19.

And that is what this “sealing” refers to.  One day the LORD will have a group of Christians, 144,000 in number, who will have departed from iniquity and who will remain in that state no matter what is done to them.  Then it is that the four angels will have to let go!  After a period the sealed ones will receive the ultimate reward of being the only Christians alive when Christ returns from the wedding’s legal meetings to collect His bride and take her to His Father’s house for the final ceremony. 

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty-four thousand, having His Father's name [character] written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they [the 144,000] sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts [see Revelation 5:8-10], and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand [for it is the song of their experience], which were redeemed from the earth.  These are they which were not defiled with women [church systems]; for they are virgins [pure to Him only].  These are they which follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men [not the grave], being the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God”.   Revelation 14:1-5.

When the Son of God comes to collect them, He will also call the fallen ones from their graves to join in the celebrations.  He has promised; “Your dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead”.  Isaiah 26:19.  This occurred first just after the crucifixion (Matthew 27:52-53), and will happen again at the second coming.

This is confirmed by the following words; “For this we say to you by the word of the LORD, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the LORD shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep [in their graves].  For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the LORD. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.

That’s why John’s attention was then taken to the great multitude of newly resurrected saints, of whom the 144,000 were the firstfruits.  Revelation 14:4.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude [the rest of the harvest], which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb’. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts [living creatures], and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, ‘Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen’.”   Revelation 7:9-12.

The sealing is necessary because the controversy has always been over whether God’s way is the best, and even if His way could be kept by humans!  Until that time only one Man has been able to stand before the universe and proclaim that He was free from sin.  He said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in Me [no response from Me].  But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do.  Arise, let us go hence”.  John 14:30-31. 

This time there will be 144,000 of them from every shade of character that can exist, and it will be the Son of God Himself who will proclaim them victors over “sin and death”.  Romans 8:2.  He says, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.   He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.  Revelation 3:21-22.

In their song they will be able to say in a deeper way even than David, “God is my strength and power: and He makes my way perfect”.  2 Samuel 22:33.  “As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried [tested]: He is a buckler [shield] to all those that trust in Him.  For who is God save the LORD?  Or who is a Rock [to stand on] save our God?  It is God that girds me with strength, and makes my way perfect”.  Psalm 18:30-32.

 Conclusion:

As in nature so in grace. 

There is to be a "firstfruits" of God's efforts as He "harvests" His people from this world at the second coming.  They are described as 12,000 from every tribe of Israel (totaling 144,000), to show that every characteristic of human nature can be dedicated to God and kept pure.

What makes the 144,000 eligible for their sealing?   

Click here to find out more.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Next query. To be discussed from October 1st, 2009.

Luke 10:25-28.

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the law?  How read you?”

And he answering said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself”.

And He said to him, “You have answered right: this do, and you shall live”.    

Can we trust our own understanding of the word of God, or is that too only trusting in man?  How can we be sure that what we have is the truth?

Like to E-mail me and give me your thoughts on this subject?


Send in your thought on this current query.

or to add your comment to the next one.

Pose a query for us to look at

                                                                                                                                                                         

To return to Homepage.                                                                                                Look in the Spiritual "Dictionary"

If you would like to get a weekly mailing of a Bible reading, enter your email address in the box below.  We are looking at the book of Luke right now.

 

Subscribe to NonConformist
Powered by groups.yahoo.com
   
 

1

1