17 - The 144000
This morning we are going to continue through our verse-by-verse study through the book of Revelation. Chapter six from last week revealed the first six of seven seals opened on the scroll held by the slain Lamb.
One of the main proponents of a Jewish homeland in Palestine was Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the leading spokesman for organized Zionism in Britain. Weizmann was a chemist who had developed a process to synthesize acetone via fermentation. Acetone is required for the production of cordite, a powerful propellant explosive needed to fire ammunition without generating tell-tale smoke. Germany had cornered supplies of calcium acetate, a major source of acetone. Other pre-war processes in Britain were inadequate to meet the increased demand in the Great War, and a shortage of cordite would have severely hampered Britain's war effort. Lloyd-George, then Minister for Munitions, was grateful to Weizmann and so supported his Zionist aspirations.
During the first meeting between Weizmann and Balfour in 1906, Balfour asked what payment Weizmann would accept for use of his process and was told, "There is only one thing I want: A national home for my people." Balfour asked Weizmann why Palestine — and Palestine alone — should be the Zionist homeland. "Anything else would be idolatry", Weizmann protested, adding: "Mr. Balfour, supposing I was to offer you Paris instead of London, would you take it?" "But Dr. Weizmann", Balfour retorted, "we have London", to which Weizmann rejoined, "That is true, but we had Jerusalem when London was a marsh."
Weizmann eventually received both monetary compensation for his discovery and his place in history as first President of the state of Israel.
- This week we are in chapter seven, but we will not see the seventh seal yet.
- Instead, we will see God’s command to withhold the winds of judgment, the sealing of the 144,000, and we will get a glimpse into heaven at “the state of Christ’s ‘servants’ during the entire period of Tribulation.”
- The Four Winds of Judgment
Revelation 7:1-3 says, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
i. 1. The Identification (7:1)
A. The Answers Cults and Religions Give
a. Jehovah’s Witnesses -
b. The Mormons –
c. The Seventh Day Adventist –
d. The Amillenialist –
i. Believe the church cf. 7:4
ii. Twelve tribes represent Jews.
iii. Carefully distinguished from 144,000 and the Gentiles in vrs 9.
e. The Premillenialist
i. Literal interpretation
ii. Jews, sons of Israel (7:4), Implied from the contrast in (7:9)
iii. The 144,000 come from the twelve tribes of the house of Israel.
iv. In scripture there are twenty nine times that the list giving those tribes is mentioned.
v. Among those twenty nine times the list is surprisingly diverse.
vi. Jacob had twelve sons, they were the original 12 sons listed.
1. But Joseph had two sons, that are sometimes included Ephraim and Manasseh
2. Levi is listed in verse 7, but remember…
3. One of the original tribes became the priestly tribe and did not receive an earthly portion. The Lord was their portion.
4. Joseph is mentioned instead of Ephraim. Why?? Ephraim was a leader of idolatry in Israel.
5. Dan is not mentioned. Why??? The ancients taught that the antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan.
a. Gen 49:16-18 – Dan is said to be the tribe that judges Israel. That of course is what the antichrist will do in the days of the tribulation.
b. Dan shows another disparity between calling and achievement (cf. vv. 3-4). Dan was to provide justice (“Dan” means “judge”), but the tribe chose treachery, like a snake by the roadside. In the time of the Judges the first major practice of idolatry appeared in the tribe of Dan (Jud. 18:30).
6. Since the 144,000 come from the twelve tribes of Israel, it refutes the belief that the tribes are lost.
a. None of the tribes are lost
b. Peter and James address the twelve tribes in their epistles.
c. It is a fact that no Jew today can identify their genealogy, the tribe from which he comes.
d. However God does know.
e. The only Jew that can prove his ancestry is Jesus Christ.
f. The twelve tribes are not the British and Americans as British Israelism teaches.
7. The second thing this fact refutes is the thought that has cast away his people. God has a future plan for the nation of Israel.
a. In 1917 Israel had the land returned to them by the Declaration of Lord Balfour.
8. The third thing we would like to assert is that the 144,000 are not symbolic but literal. These are literally 144,000 believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
a. How did orthodox Jews become believers in Christ?
2. The Conversion
A. When will these people be converted?
a. The obvious answer is during the tribulation period.
B. How will these 144,000 be converted?
a. The Spirit of God
i. If the Spirit is taken out of the world how will it be possible for Him to convert unbelievers?
ii. John 3: Spiritual birth
iii. Holy Spirit is the agent of the new birth.
iv. Nicodemus is rebuked because he does not know the doctrine of the new birth.
v. He will work then as he did in the OT.
b. The Scriptures
i. Faith comes by hearing
ii. Begat he us by the word of God
iii. Today the Messianic Jews are buying bibles and caching them away throughout Israel and particularly in the ancient city of Petra.
c. Speculatively – The direct appearing of Jesus Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:7- “one born out of due time” - a premature birth
i. During the tribulation many will be converted by a revelation of Christ just as Paul was converted by a direct revelation of Jesus Christ.
3. The Preservation of the 144,000
A. The Source of their Seal
a. Four Angels
B. The Purpose of their Sealing
a. The Seal Denotes Ownership
i. Ezekiel 9:1-6
ii. Eph 1:13
b. The Seal Identifies For all to See
i. Exodus 28:36-38
c. The Seal Preserves
i. Seal the tomb of Jesus
ii. Why are they sealed? To preserve them from martyrdom.
d. The Timing of Their Sealing
i. Just before the storm breaks (Rev 8:7)
ii. Before the first trumpet
C. The Mission of the 144,000
a. Servants of our God
b. Proclaiming the word 0f God -
Closing : The Command
It is as if God says, “Press pause on my judgment for just a moment. I want to make sure my own are protected.”
1. Judgment Is in God’s Hands
a. It Is Fair
b. It Is Certain
c. It Is Purposeful
2. God Is Sovereign Over the Furthest Reaches of the Earth
The angels are in the “four corners” or north, south, east, and west.
3. God Knows and Marks His Own
II Corinthians 1:21-22 says, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
4. God Can Protect His Own
5. God’s People Bear His Mark
This is one of the greatest reasons for living above reproach!
cf. confer, compare