End – Time Prophecy

geneissThe first and often least recognized end time prophecy is found in the curses God gave at the Garden of Eden. We know about Adam and Eve being expelled and cursed; we know about the Satan serpent. Man will be expelled from the Garden and labor but the sweat of his brow [Genesis 3:17-19] to feed his family. Women; I will now greatly increase your pain during child birth will *now have pain delivering children [Genesis 3:16]. There will be enmity between the serpent and the woman

  • This passage as it reads suggests Adam and Eve already had children. If God is going to greatly increase the pain in childbirth. Eve must have something with which to compare labor pain so she already must have a child or two. One can’t greatly increase something with which s/he is not already familiar.

The snake in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:14 & 15 state: God saith unto the serpent, `Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life; and enmity I put between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he doth bruise thee–the head, and thou dost bruise him–the heel.’ [YLT]

This highly suggests the snake in the garden was not one that looked like the snake as we know it today…sneaking and sleuthing through the grasses and in the tree branches. Every depiction we have today of the Eve and Satan encounter shows the snake already belly-bound. This is NOT what scripture tells us. It says “from now on…”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” The obvious is missed. Up to this point in the Garden of Eden incident, the snake did NOT crawl on its belly and eat dust. Our depiction of this moment in the history of mankind is totally wrong per imagery.

Genesis 3:15 tells us an end time prophecy most miss. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” It is found with careful reading…”he will crush your head.” Note the gender change from a woman to “he.” The King James uses the word “it.” None the less, the change in the ‘who’ is in the verse itself.

Israel is often identified as a woman in end time prophecies. Just as the church is the bride of Christ; i.e. an identity of a woman, so is the nation of Israel. As has been true since the start of the church age at the cross, Satan has bit at the heel of the church and the church has tried to crush the head of Satan through prayer and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Genesis 2 continue… (YLT) And Jehovah God doth make to the man and to his wife coats of skin, and doth clothe them.

Gen 3:22  And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,’

It is obvious after reading v22 that there was another tree in the Garden; i.e. one of eternal life. Two or three conclusions for end time come from this verse in Genesis 3.

1.     The other tree in the same Garden is one of eternal live eternal life. Jesus paid the wages of sin on the tree or cross on Golgotha and now we can take of it and live up to, through and beyond the end time.forever

2.     There were never for bidden to eat from the Tree of Eternal life. Just as in end time we will not be forbidden to eat of the tree of life through Jesus or to eat of the deliberate deception of Satan.

3.     This (#2) being true, then Angels and Satan’s motley crew are already eternal. This however does not make him, them or us without consequence for our sins.

There is another analogy that needs to be mentioned. The Tribe of Dan is NOT included in the 144,000 mentioned in either Revelation 7 or 14.” Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels, so that its rider tumbles backward.” (Gen. 49:16-18). Note the similarity of a snake and the biting at the heel; Genesis 3:15 and the prophecy of the Tribe of Dan in Genesis 49:16-18. The question not asked often enough is who is crushing the head of the snake? , “who is the ‘her’ in 3:15 who becomes a he in the next sentence?” Is it the horse’s heel and the rider? This is not as mysterious as one might make it to be.

We cannot write in a single blog the connectivity, but it is there for the student of the bible to seek and to find. What started in the Garden of Eden will end with the people of God (Israel) and the people of the Church (Jesus) having total victory of Satan.

What about the Tribe of Dan? When Dan “leaped out of Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22) after migrating north from the land area originally assigned by Joshua to that tribe, they conquered Laish (Judges 1:16-20) in northern sector of the territory of Bashan. They did not take the Lord God with them. They took idols and their wicked ways with them as the marched out of Bashan. They deliberately left the Promised Land refusing to conquer it.

We will go deeper into this historical and detailed filled discussion next fall in a series entitled, Which Way Did They Go?

Needless to say but we will anyway, the 144,000 mentioned twice in Revelation, do not include Dan. Dan left God behind, not the other way around. Dan’s offspring may be those who may be the last and perhaps the least to respond to God’s end time call. They may likely be some of those who respond in or during the tribulation; a time called Jacob’s Great Troubles. But, the Tribe essentially rejects the promise of the Promised Land. Consider this…what about modern day rejection of God even after knowing about the Promised Land in heaven? Can we give up on what Jesus promised us as believers and “do it our way?”

If one no longer feels as close to God as s/he once did; guess which one moved?

Dr. jStarkminiJim

 

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Revelation Chapter 14 (b)

Continued from Chapter 14 (a)miniJim

Revelation 7

This chapter is very specific in identifying who will be marked; 12,000 from 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). The Tribe of Dan walked away from their designated spot in the Promised Land and is not included as a tribe mentioned in Revelation 7. Ephraim’s name is simply replaced by the name of his father, Joseph of Egypt fame. Manasseh, Joseph’s first born in Egypt is listed as one of the twelve Tribes.

Additional considerations from Revelation 14:

  1. The souls under the throne and the handing out of white robes until the right number have died. Might this “right number” equal 144,000?
  2. Those who appear in great multitudes that cannot be counted.
  3. Who are 24 elders?
  4. The woman in chapter 12 and the woman in chapter 15
  5. The dragon, 1st beast, 2nd beast, the image and the false prophet.

A blog cannot cover all of this but we do recommend that the serious student go through Revelation Chapter 14-1Power Points provided and identified with chapter 14 and chapter 15 in this website. The PP for chapter 14 is long but has an identified division point where one can leave off and return to it at later time. The Power Point blog addresses many of the specifics of chapter 14.

The “virgin status” of those “men” (People) identified in C14 are people who are new babes in Christ, probably converted during the Great Tribulation. They know (YADDA) they are going to pay a severe price for their decision by accepting Christ therefore denying the mark of the Beast and his image. They have no reason to violate any of Gods laws or principles since their decision is a permanent and a do or die decision. These are not Sunday or Sabbath Day Christians. It is and end in and of itself so no purpose is served in them making a false statement. No lie is to be found on their lips after this decision to follow Christ to their death during the Tribulation of 7 years.

no more ignorance14:6 & 7 answer the question of whether or not all people hear the gospel or are doomed to condemnation due to their ignorance. There is NO IGNORANCE. Every tongue, every tribe, every nation, every people; leaves little room for someone to be missed. After all, this last angel with the final opportunity to accept the gospel follows the 3 ½ years of the two witnesses in Jerusalem who also were heard world-wide. Yet, many still refuse to accept Christ.

We have a fascinating sequence of events within the next few verses;

Verse 6 finds an angel announcing to the world (no exceptions) the eternal Good news. Verse 7 gives due warning and instructions for all individuals who heard the angel in verse 6.
Verse 8 Informs the same global population that the false prophet and leadership (Babylon) is now destroyed so they have nothing to fear from this group.
Verse 9 tells of the consequence for not heading this final warning and message from an angel in the sky. It also explains the consequences for taking the mark of the beast or worshiping either it or its image. It is the unforgivable sin.
Verse 10 says it straight… “He also shall drink of the wine of God’s wrath and ultimately tormented with fire and brimstone (in hell).”
Verse 11 specifically states it is forever and ever.

Here is an absolutely new fact of end time as read in Revelation 14:13…

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, says the Spirit that they may rest from their labors. For their works follow them. [BRB]

“…from this point forward?” These people are probably the ones redeemed from earth for their flawless living after all the above has transpired. We are well into the Great Tribulation at this point in time and any choice is but one; follow Christ or follow the beast. No murky waters or fog at this time in history. This also explains why these men of earth who reject the beast and accept Christ are identified as the first-fruits and sinless from that point forward. They have everything to gain and KNOW IT. They also know the only thing they have to lose equals NOTHING! Poor example but a human thought with heavenly meaning…to give up a fake pass to Disney for an everyday any day pass is not a loss. There is no need to fake anything.

JIV NOTE: In 14:10 we read something about “spiritual fornication.” Does one actually grasp the depth of this statement? Revelation 10:9-10…

9) “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10)  he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

There is a parallel to this when the Tribe of Dan “leaped out of Bashan, leaving the Promised land in the Old Testament. His people worshiped idols and set up”high places” outside the realm of what God had instructed Israel, His chosen, to do. They walked away from the Promised Land and are not included in the list of Tribes and 144,000 identified in Revelation 7.
The very first commandment of the Old Testament states: ‘mankind’ shall have no other gods before me.” In verse 9 we see many will have openly worshiped the beast and its image receiving their “seal [club membership] of approval.” It is a one way membership club. One can get in or stay out, but cannot get in then back out. Verse 11 re-explains who these folks are. Here is no guess work. It is laid out in plain language.

harvest readyChapter 14:14 to the end of this chapter is the reaping of the earth. The first thrust of the sharp sickle is to harvest the *fully ripe grain or followers of God/Jesus Christ. This is the first harvest.

In verse 17 we discover a second harvest; one of grapes. These are thrown into the wine-press of God’s WRATH. Not a good thing. They are crushed or punished for their continual rejection over the past 7 tribulation years;  3 ½ years with the two witnesses in Jerusalem but who were heard and seen worldwide; the angel who proclaimed the gospel to the entire world near the end of the Great Tribulation period; the individual witnessing of the 144,000 who died “from this point forward” for their testimony [14:13]; and the their acceptance of the false prophet, the beast, its image and the Mark of the Beast.

Revelation Chapter 14 (a)

There are three other articles/blogs on this website that address specific topics within miniJimchapter 14; 666, What happens to those who never hear of the Gospel? The 144,000.  This blog is more of a shorthand review of other issues with which one should be familiar and  connected to Revelation 14.

Chapter 14 begins with the mentioning of the 144,000 standing with Jesus (the lamb) on Mt Zion. They have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. Some translations say the Father’s and the Lamb’s (Jesus) name. Let’s consider some of the differences between this 144,000 in C14 and the 144,000 in C7.

  1. end of the ages Revelation 7: the 144,000 are all identified as specifically from the multiple Tribes of Israel, then in verse 9 John sees *a great multitude around the throne wearing white robes that **came out of the ongoing Great Tribulation; 7:9. Before the tribes of Israel and their count is given; 12,000 from each, the first couple of verses in this chapter express a great calamity about to overwhelm man and earth. The 144,000 Israelites are protected from these calamities. In short, the calamities (God’s bowl judgments; the 7th Seal) are about to be poured out. These 144,000 folks are still on planet earth.

*They were from every nation, tribe, race of people, and language of the earth. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They all wore white robes and had palm branches in their hands [ESV].

** “These are the ones who have come out of the great suffering” [ESV; 7:14]. JIV: perhaps these are the souls under the throne waiting for their deaths to be avenged by God [Revelation 6:10].

  1. 144,000 of Revelation 14 have specific traits that differ from the 144,000 discussed in chapter 7 of Revelation. John sees them standing with the Messiah on Mount Zion going everywhere he goes. This passages says they are “purchased from among men” (on earth) and are the first fruits. The word “men” here is “anthrōpos” meaning redeemed from the *earth. Contrast this to the specifics of chapter 7 where the 144,000 are selected from specific Tribes of Israel; not the generic anthrōpos,  men on earth and in general.

*redeemed from the earth is quite different than being protected while on earth.

  1. C14 has angels flying around making proclamations where C7 mentions a few angels with specific jobs or tasks to perform. Chapter 14 becomes what I call the “harvest chapter.” The only mention of great masses of people in this chapter is associated with a warning to NOT worship the beast, its image or take his mark, and the reward for those who do NOT take his mark or worship him. (14:7 and 14:9). People are still on earth and God’ kingdom on earth has yet to be established.
  • They sing a NEW song only they can learn (also with an orchestra of harps)
  • They are new babes in Christ (virgins); totally committed 24/7 for the duration of the Tribulation
  • They follow the lamb everywhere. This suggests Christ 2nd advent has now occurred.
  • No lie has crossed their lips since their tribulation acceptance of the coming messiah
  • They stand before the Throne, the elders and the 4 Living creatures.
  • They are reaped through the gospel message proclaimed world-wide by the angel spreading this good news and with fair warning found in verse 6.

There are some other passages we should consider as they too relate to chapter 14. One should ask, what about some of the other distinguishing or mentioned characteristics unique to groups of people in end time sealed or marked in one way or another.

Ezekiel 9

This book is focused on Israel, as is most of Revelation following the first four chapters that discuss the seven Messianic Christian churches.

  1. Ezekiel’s vision is isolated to Jerusalem, not throughout the world
  2. Those marked (tauv) in Jerusalem by the angels lament the sins of the city (historical past and present just as did Daniel for the nation of Israel in *Daniel 9). Here is how Rev. Dr. Robert Deffingbaugh puts it:
    1. Verses 24-27 [of Daniel 9] begin to spell out future events in detail rather than with vague, mysterious symbols. While all may not agree on the meaning of these verses, all Christians would agree they provide very specific information concerning the last times. For the first time in Daniel’s prophecy, the suffering and death of Messiah is introduced.
  3. The rest of the population [in Jerusalem] is slain without pity
  4. The context of this judgment goes back to Ezekiel 7: (1-10) but should include the entire chapter 7 in Ezekiel.

tavPS: Tauv is the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.

 

Revelation Study Guide

miniJimShort Study Guide:

Revelation Bible class blog Study Guide: We need to stay focused and need God’s help distinguishing who is and who is not a part of the following numbers discussed in Revelation 14 and Revelation 7. [See Revelation Chapter 14-1 PowerPoint on chapter 14, 144,000, and Who Are They]

  1. Ezekiel 9:4-6 a mark is put on those who grieve and lament their sin and the sin of Jerusalem. Mark in this Hebrew means TAUV, the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
  2. Revelation 14 people have the name of the father and the lamb written on their foreheads.
  3. Revelation 6:9 The Tribulation Saints “[souls] under the throne” who have an exact number that must be killed before vengeance is taken by God. Is their number one of the groups of the 144,000 or simply a great sea of people?

Different marks/seals mentioned in scripture:

There are 21 Greek words for “mark” and 28 words form “mark” in the Hebrew.
There are 6 Hebrew words for “seal” and 3 in the Greek.

  • Revelation 7:2, 3
  • Revelation 13:16, 17
  • Ezekiel 9:4-10
  • Revelation 14:1

Distinguishing or mentioned characteristics about groups of people in end time sealed or marked in one way or another.

Ezekiel 9

This book is focused on Israel, as is most of Revelation following the first four chapters that discuss seven the Messianic Christ churches.

  1. It is in Jerusalem, not throughout the world
  2. Those marked (tauv) lament the sins of the city (historical and present)
  3. The rest are slain without pity
  4. The context of this judgment goes back to Ezekiel 7:(1-10) but should include the entire chapter.

Revelation 7

This is very specific in identifying who that will be marked; 12,000 from 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). Dan has walked away and is not included as a tribe. Ephraim name is replaced by the name of his father, Joseph of Egypt. Manasseh is listed as one of the twelve Tribes.

Additional considerations:

  1. The souls under the throne and the handing out of white robes
  2. Those who appear in great multitudes that cannot be counted.
  3. Who are 24 elders?
  4. The woman in chapter 12 and the woman in chapter 15
  5. The dragon, 1st beast, 2nd beast

Personal Notes:

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Revelation 14 & Chapter 15

Chapter 14 Power Point

Revelation Chapter 14-1

Chapter 15 is the dove-tail of chapter 14. Chapter 15 is the moment we are waiting miniJimfor in the end of the Tribulation. It took 9 more chapters after Revelation 6 to get to the judgment; i.e. the 7 bowls. It is important to realize that the Book of Revelation is not Chronological. Here is an example referencing back to chapter 6:

It begins with the apocalyptic four horsemen (white, red, black and pale green horses actually). We read of the rapid opening of the Seals. We see prophetic events unroll very quickly. Seal one is the white horse; seal two is the bright red horse; seal three is the black horse, seal four is the pale green horse; seal five is the souls under the alter, those killed [most likely] during the Tribulation; seal six is the darkening of the sun and moon, a great moment of reality for those remaining on earth. The souls under the throne are pleading for vengeance. God says, here are white robes to wear, but it will be just a little bit longer until the right number has been *slain. The mountains disappear, islands are no longer, the sky rolls up like a scroll (this author believes this will reveal heaven or witness the return of Jesus Christ). It will be the record setting Guinness Book of Records earthquake.

*Slain – This could very well be the 144,000 discussed in chapter 14.

JIV NOTE: Has anyone noticed that in the apocalypse scripture and first four seals in Revelation 6 say as much about the horse as it does the rider. Also, many of the main Islamic States have the white, red, black and pale or yellow-green colors in their national flag. The black horse is the horse of DEATH. ISIS or ISIL has a black flag with white figures. Could they be the ones who wish to bring peace to the world through death of all infidel therefore ushering in the [their] 12th and final Imam? This is something to give serious thought and watchful consideration. As a subtle reminder, the pale grizzled green horse, the 4th and final horse and rider of the apocalyptic horsemen, is given ¼ of the earth’s land mass “to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. [Revelation 6:8]. If one considers the land mass of the Middle East and Africa, it is almost exactly ¼ of this planet’s land mass.end of the ages

Now chapter 15 gets very specific: [ESV]

6:15 “…and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains…”

6:16 “…calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb…”

6:17 “…for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

It is all quite obvious at this point in global events that God’s time and patience has ended; cataclysmic events encompass the world and for those who reject the Holy Spirit, there is no hiding place. But,this will not be so for the redeemed or those who accept Christ and remain on earth.

7:1 does begin with the words “after this,” however that does not mean the events are sequential but it is what John sees or witnesses… kahee meta tauta eido, “and after these things I saw,” The Greek here does not lend itself to a sequence of events but the order in which John records what he saw and recorded.

David Guzic puts it well when he points out, “Remember, we already saw what seemed to be the end (of the world) in Revelation 6:12-17. Then John took us over the same material in greater detail again (in the following chapters). This reminds us that Revelation is not strictly chronological in its arrangement.” [emphasis mine]

Revelation 15:1 takes us forward from chapter 8; seven angels, seven trumpets, seven catastrophic events on earth. It seems that after chapter 6, John then goes into greater details of what he has already recorded. After chapter 6 he becomes more detailed in describing what he saw and heard.

There is a word in verse 1 worthy of our understanding. It is never the goal of this blog to teach Greek or Hebrew, but when a word stands out, it needs to be pointed out.

“…seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last,…” The word “last” is eschatos. To quote Thayer:

1) extreme

1a) last in time or in place

1b) last in a series of places

1c) last in a temporal succession

2) the last

2a) last, referring to time

2b) of space, the uttermost part, the end, of the earth

2c) of rank, grade of worth, last, i.e. lowest

The conclusion is that it is all over. What has been foretold for centuries is now history. It is more than the last of something or things. It is THE LAST of the need for this word “last.” Eternity is just around the corner and there is no more time and no more last; lasting as in everlasting, yes, but last, no. God saying “It is done” is not recorded by John until Revelation 21:6.

Verses 2 and 3 of chapter 15 explain those who are victorious over the beast and its image. Note that the false prophet is not mentioned and neither is Satan. Satan’s defeat is in the hands of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. His judgment is yet to be concluded but rest assured it is now upon him. His defeat is not ours to be victorious over. But as James 4:7 puts it, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you [NIV]. Ours is to resist THE DEVIL. God has already overcome and is his judge, jury and prosecuting attorney. He has no defense. However, not to submit to the “beast or its image” is our task and victory over them. [NIV; Revelation 15:2a] “those who had conquered (ERV says ‘had victory over…’) the beast and its image…” [emphasis mine].

The word “worship doglickingand all” in verse 4 means there will be no exception but the word ‘worship’ proskuneō, means to (pros) to wither before; (kuneō) means like a dog. A dog can be cowardly and lick one’s hand which is not out of love but total fear. or it can be dedicated like a man’s best friend as illustrated by licking its master’s hand. The reader should know which is the Matthew 25:31-45 sheep and which is the goat in this worship/ pros-kuneo.

Verse 3 states “they sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb.” Here is evidence that the New Testament in no way replaces or substitutes the Old Testament. This brings the New Testament revelation (small ‘r’) and the Old Testament together into 0ne context. The word all (pas) means ‘without exception.’ Now the 7 angels are given 7 bowls or vials full of God’s wrath and judgment. Nothing is held back anymore.

Once again I must quote David Guzik: “The (Revelation) temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power: When the cloud of glory fills the temple in heaven, no one can enter.”

We will see in the next few chapters (16-18) the details of God’s wrath. When scripture says that there has never  been anything like nor will there ever be again, it is past the time to believe what God’s Word says. People, that is, all people will at this time believe that there is one God. This will not put them into the lineup at the doorway to heaven. Even the devil and his fallen angels believe there is ONE GOD.  By this time misery is no longer the byline but the context and content of life on earth. There is no longer any doubt that God means what He says and His patience is exhausting. No, we should get from the end of chapter 15 that His patience is now exhausted. Might one wonder where Armageddon comes into play? This is in the very next chapter and our next blog.

PS: In verse 8 chapter 15 states… “smoke filled the sanctuary of God. No one could enter the Temple until the seven plagues is complete.” This reminds one of Moses in Exodus 40:34, 35. While still in the Wilderness, the “Meeting tent” or temporary sanctuary of the wandering Israelites was filled with smoke. When this happened in the Wilderness and again in heaven in Revelation, it is off limits to anyone and everyone, including Moses.

Rev. Dr. James W. Stark
June 2016

 

144,000

miniJimThis is a number that has scientific, historical, and religious connections. It also has applications in literature and music. From a religious point of view, it is as significant as the 666.

Examples:
1. To the Mayan civilization 144,000 days equaled a baktun. A baktun is 20 katun in the Mayan Long Count Calendar.
2. Authors Scott Bakker, Bernard Werber and John DeChancey use the number 144,000 in their writing of books as symbolic or proposed counts to fit the characteristics of their books.
3. In music there are many songs written using this number as its theme; 144,000 voices is the maximum contrapuntal expansion, a musical expression, of Baroque music theorist Pier Francesco Valentini’s 96-voice composition Canone nel modo Salomonis (1631). Contrapuntal music is two different songs that are performed at the same time within the same piece.
4. In broadcast TV, the population of the eponymous town in the 2013 Fox TV series Sleepy Hollow is 144,000.
5. In the Book of Revelation one will find this number three different times; Revelation 7:3-8, Revelation 14:1, and Revelation 14:3-5.
a. Side Note: Jehovah’s Witness, the Unification Church, New Age movements, Skoptists of Russian and Islam are additional religions that give different meanings to this number. We will not elaborate on these at this time but perhaps in a future blog…..?
Revelation 7:3-8 presents the 144,000 as 12,000 people from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel. We will not discuss at this time the fact that the Tribe of Dan is not mentioned, Joseph is mentioned instead of Ephraim (Joseph’s son),while Manasseh, also a son of Joseph, is named as one of the twelve.
Revelation 14:1 “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
Revelation 14:3b … “…No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”

Before moving forward and unless someone think there are only 144,000 redeemed per the bible, read Revelation 7:9…

bunch of peoplw…”After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…”

We can easily see in verse 14:9 that the number redeemed or saved far exceeds the 144,000 as a fixed number of limitations. Salvation is an individual choice of accept or reject (purposefully or by doing nothing) the offer of salvation through belief and then following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The question begs of itself, are the 144,000 set aside, or specially identified in chapter 7, the same who are mentioned in chapter 14? A great question, and one that should not be passed over so as to simplify its understandability, implications or applications. Context, context, context! Always consider the context. Context is the setting within which one is trying to understand a principle, meaning or discussion. Many times one will walk into the middle of a discussion. There is a pertinent need to find out what the discussion is all about in order to contribute or follow the context of that discussion. The same is true when reading a book. Starting in the middle does little for one’s understandings of the characters, setting or direction the author is taking his or her book theme.
In Revelation 7 we have four possibilities per the 144,000:
1. John T. Hinds argues that the number refers to those who are saved from the physical nation of Israel (p112); i.e. Israelis themselves; God’s chosen people from the Old Testament.
2. J. W. Roberts, argues that this company is spiritual Israel, i.e., the church (p71) but fails to completely explain why only 144,000.
3. Others suggest this group represents the martyrs who have given their lives for the cause of Christ during the Tribulation period.
4. Some try to spiritualize everything and say the number is simply symbolic and means little as a factual, real number count of those redeemed.

The danger is in reading then accepting as fact those theologians or wanna-be bible scholars who extrapolate, then forget context; often in defense of one’s preconceived religious doctrines rather than God’s Word. We should take literally everything in the Bible that is obviously NOT needed to be spiritualized to fit a doctrinal statement. At ahabiblemoments.wordpress.com we fully understand that to spiritualize too much of what the bible says is to make it something that is not to be understood. A favorite passage to counter this argument is Ecclesiastes 3:1-3:22. But a much more pointed passage is when Jesus tells of the consequences for misleading the listener; James 3:1. One cannot be a teacher in good faith if s/he can only spiritualize scripture. Understanding is essential and swatting at imaginary flies is expending energies that mean little to nothing to listeners concerning destinies and eternity.

II Timothy 2:15 commands us to study and learn, not theorize the Word of God. A great quote from http://www.learnthebible.org/the-command-to-study-2-timothy-215.html says:

“Every believer ought to faithfully read the word of God, but there is another command that is not to be neglected. According to 2 Timothy 2:15, believers can show themselves approved unto God by studying the scriptures. One can read through the scriptures on a daily basis without ever truly studying the scriptures. In order to study, one must delve into the words and phrases of the Bible and consider their meaning both historically and doctrinally” [and within context]. Emphasis mine.
We add… one can also discard facts through hyperbola; i.e. rejecting what the bible states as fact by not closing the loop between what God/Jesus states and what we take as meaningful and direct. We call that spiritualizing what is said instead of accepting within context what God’s Word specifically tells us.
In Revelation 7 we read specifics… the names of twelve Tribes of Israel; the 12,000 specifically identified in each case. In verse 4 they are “sealed as servants of God” and in 7:13, 14 when John asks who are these folks. He is given a straight and specific answer, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

This is information-specific and not intended to be spiritualized. These 144,000 are to be identified with God. They are set aside; the remnant of Israel after the Great Tribulation. Perhaps this is the count of those who escape Jerusalem and flee to Petra where they are under God’s direct protection during Jacob’s Trouble; i.e. the 2nd half of the Tribulation.
No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
Note that Jesus is not mentioned in chapter but is in chapter 14. Also recall that God made Old Testament covenants with Israel (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) that are unique to them and Jesus made covenants with his believers and followers that are distinct from those made with Israel but universal to mankind.
Let’s go back to Revelation 6 to better grasp these meanings and probabilities. We recall from a previous blog that there are “souls under the Throne of God waiting for Him to avenge their wrongful deaths” (5th Seal). The Bible states in 6:10, 11…
They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” [11] Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” [ESV]

Until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed… this is the 144,000 discussed in chapter 14 of Revelation; [v4] those redeemed from the earth, not the Tribes of Israel. They are slain during the Tribulation, are under the same Throne waiting to be avenged, and are together as one group of specified souls. This is not true of any other Christians or what Jesus identifies as “his church; body of believer.” AND, they appear with JESUS upon His return; i.e. 2nd Advent. They follow Jesus wherever he goes. These are one’s who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior DURING the Tribulation. These are slain by the anti-Christ for their belief and refusal to accept the Mark of the Beast (666).

We also have a passage in Ezekiel that should be considered. Ezekiel 9:4 states: “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” Might these also be a description of the 144,000 from each Tribe of Israel who are marked as described in Revelation 7 and reserved for God?

contxtWhen taking what scriptures tell us and keeping it within context, it is relatively easy to discern their differences and similarities. Do not waste one’s time spiritualizing what does not need to be. Even the parables of Jesus were earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Those who have man made religious platforms (we call them church doctrine in today’s language) that conflict with bible specifics will usually spiritualize the meaning of passages in the Holy Word of God that conflict with his or her preferred religious doctrine. The Bible is not a mystery book. God reveals to the human mind facts and understanding when one demonstrates an openness and wisdom in his or her studies.