2009-11-18 -The 144,000
Revelation 14:1 "And I looked, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads."
Let us look at this certain number given, 144,000. Spurgeon calls it, 'a certain number put for an uncertain.' It is given as a certain number'. It is not 139,999. So we may say that John saw this group, and keep the number, if we like. What we can't say, if we desire to stick with this number, is that this number includes all who are in Heaven. We might say it is a unit of Heaven. Spurgeon goes on to say that he believes that there will be more in Heaven than in Hell, because he thinks the dominion of Christ must be greater than that of Satan, but I am not so sure about that since Satan's kingdom is really part of Christ's kingdom. Christ reigns, even where He has conquered. Satan has no kingdom in eternity. Lastly, the reason Spurgeon thinks that there will be more in Heaven than in Hell is because he adds to the heavenly rolls all infants who have died, and this would include, in our day, all aborted infants. He thinks that will push the number higher than those who are in Hell. I think it is speculation, but let us all agree that Heaven's ranks will be swelled "innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore," Hebrews 11:12, Genesis 32:12.
I would like us to notice this "certain" number. There is a certain number that will be in Heaven. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, "God having, out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a Covenant of Grace..." All those who Christ purchased with His shed blood will be in Heaven. They are "born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," John 1:13. They are born spiritually, and these are those who will be with Christ in Heaven. We cannot cut the doctrine of election from our Bibles. It permeates throughout it, and why would we want to do so? Not only would we have a Bible full of holes, but we would be left with an incomplete revelation from God. It is a blessing that the Lord has revealed this to us, and I will tell you why.
Some think the doctrine of election, this certain number that will be in Heaven, is a discouragement to coming to faith in Christ, but I do not see how this is. It is a blessing that God loses none that are His. It in no way changes the appeals of Scripture that call us to repent and turn to Christ. We are admonished to believe into Christ, even begged to do so. The blessing is that all who come to Christ are assuredly saved. They cannot lose their salvation once they have obtained mercy. "He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it to the day of Christ," Philippians 1:6. Isn't this wonderful? This should bring us to the point of open rejoicing at the grace of God. All who repent are elect. They would not do so unless they were. It ought to warm our hearts that God saves completely, without condition, and He saves perfectly. He knows those who are His. He knows the number, because God knows the end from the beginning. It prompts us to say that He is worthy of our trust.
Soli Deo Gloria,