2001-10-13 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
From the position of Chapter 7 in the book of Revelation, it is clear that this mighty worldwide revival happens in the first half of the Tribulation. According to verses one through four (Revelation chapter 7), 144,000 persons of the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed against being injured in any way. These verses are similar to the situation mentioned in Ezekial 9:1-8. In both instances, those marked are protected from the judgments which the Lord sends upon the people against whom he is pouring out his wrath.
In verses 5-8, there are listed twelve tribes of Israel from each of which twelve thousand persons are selected. How is this language to be interpreted, symbolically or literally? It is to be understood literally unless there is positive evidence that it is used symbolically. One will search in vain for evidence pointing in the direction of symbolism. When the Lord said that Israel wandered in the wilderness forty years, how is that language to be taken? Literally of course. Jeremiah foretold that the Babylonian captivity would last for seventy years. How is that statement to be taken? Literally of course. Paul stated that from the promise made to Abraham to the giving of the law, there were 430 years (Gal. 3:17). How are we to understand this period of 430 years? Literally of course.
How are we to interpret the 144,000 in this chapter? Some answer that they are the same ones mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5. The 144,000 of this later passage are people who have lived clean, spotless lives, and who "were purchased from among men..." (v. 4,5). The 144,000 of Revelation, Chapter 7 are from the twelve tribes of Israel. They are, therefore, of Jewish extraction and can under no conditions be interpreted as being the 144,000 purchased from among men of Chapter 14. Who are these 144,000 of Revelation chapter 7? They are servants of our God...(vs. 3). They are, therefore, Jews who are servants of God. They are not drones, but servants. Since they are servants, they must be serving God; otherwise God would not call them His servants.
What service do these 144,000 render to God? This question is not answered categorically, but from the context, one can be absolutely certain as to what they do. Immediately after mentioning the sealing of these servants of God, John speaks of the greatest revival of all ages:
"After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cry with a great voice, saying, 'Salvation unto our God who sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb.'"
As we have seen, God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that in their seed would all nations be blessed. In Revelation Chapter 7, we see all nations being blessed as never before. It is God's plan to save people through the preaching of the Gospel (1 Cor.1:21; II Cor. 5:18; Romans 10:17). Evidently there are certain ones who conduct this worldwide revival The mentioning of the sealing of the 144,000 Jews in this connection implies that these sealed servants of God are the ones who conduct this mightiest of all soul-saving campaigns.
In His Service,