144,000 & MoreMar 16, 2023
God has always had one way to save people, by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). But in this period of the Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will seal them with a special mark, guaranteeing they will make it through.
Hi everyone, I’m Tammy Becker. Welcome to the Almighty God & Gospel Girl Podcast. This is week twelve into our series of Revelation and our podcast today is titled: 144,000 & More. My podcast today will be based on the reading of Revelation 7:4-17. And if you would like to follow along with the notes or maybe you would like to find the links to anything mentioned in the podcast today, you can go to the link in the description or by visiting www.youministries.com and visiting the corresponding page. As we get started today, I would like to remind you of my disclaimer, that as always…do not take my word, or anyone’s word for what you read…get yourself in the Bible and let God discern His Word to you. I am only human and make many mistakes and do not claim to know or understand everything in the Bible…I just hope by bringing out this study that your interest is sparked enough to get into God’s Word and begin to deep dive on your own.
From the day God called Abraham back in Genesis, there has always been a remnant of people who are true to God.
In the Great Tribulation, God will have a remnant of Israel who will be saved and who will witness of Christ, though just a small number. God tells us 144,000 Jews will be saved (literally that many, it’s not a symbol of another number).
When God deals with Israel, He always deals with dates and numbers. He doesn’t talk about either dates or numbers with the church. Paul never turned in a report to anybody as to how many were saved. Even when we get to the great company of Gentiles who are saved in the Great Tribulation Period, we’re not told the number. These people will be the only ones who can say, “And then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). This group is the last who will be saved, and then it won’t be long until Jesus Christ will be back. We can’t say Christ will be returning soon because we don’t know the day or the hour when He will come.
How will these people be saved? They will be saved just as we are today, by accepting the death of Christ as payment of their sins. God has always had one way to save people, by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). But in this period of the Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will seal them with a special mark, guaranteeing they will make it through. If it weren’t for this mark of protection, they wouldn’t make it. (None of us would make it through life without the Holy Spirit. We’re weak and would deny Him before the sun went down if it wasn’t for His work in us.)
This company of 144,000 doesn’t exist today, nor does it refer to the church. They will be saved “of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (v. 4). Twelve thousand will be sealed out of each tribe. God has long promised Israel, throughout the Old Testament, that He would come and establish His Kingdom. It will be first a thousand-year kingdom, a time of testing, and then right into eternity. God promised them they would be a nation forever and they will be in the land of Israel forever. Some say God is through with Israel, but that’s not true. You’d have to contradict the whole tenor and tone of the Old Testament to believe that. Revelation is like a great union station or an airport where trains or planes come in from everywhere: All the major themes of prophecy come in to Revelation. Therefore, you would certainly expect Israel to be here in Revelation—and, lo and behold, there they are.
We are given here the 12 tribes of Israel. Let’s review them.
Notice Judah heads the list. The tribe of Reuben should come first, for Reuben was the oldest, but because of his very gross immorality he lost the first place—but he is still included. The question often arises: When a Christian sins, does he lose his salvation? No, but he may lose his reward. Reuben is a good example of how God deals with us. Reuben lost the place of honor, but he did not lose out altogether. He is number two, but he should have been number one. Judah was the tribe given preeminence (see Genesis 49:8-10) and was the tribe from which the Lord Jesus came.
We also find that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from this list. Both of these tribes were guilty of leading the nation into idolatry
Dan was the first tribe that fell into idolatry (see Judges 18:30 and 1 Kings 12:28-30). That Dan is given top priority in the Millennium (Ezekiel 48) reveals God’s grace can reach down and meet the needs of any sinner. The tribe of Dan is in the Millennium, but they are not sealed for the purpose of witnessing during the time of the Great Tribulation. They lost out a great opportunity.
Ephraim was also guilty of idolatry. Hosea 4:17 says, “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.” Ephraim was also the tribe which led in the division of the kingdom (see 1 Kings 11:26).
In the list of the 144,000 who will be sealed, Joseph takes the place of Ephraim, and Levi takes Dan’s place. Levi, the priestly tribe, will be witnesses in the Great Tribulation.
God now turns again to the nation of Israel. He has not given them up. He said through Hosea, “How can I give you up, Ephraim?” (Hosea 11:8), meaning, “I can’t do it.” God doesn’t give Israel up. They will make it through the Great Tribulation Period.
The Holy Spirit will seal these 144,000 because they will be God’s witness during this period, and it will cost them a great deal. If they weren’t sealed, they wouldn’t make it through. But God never leaves Himself without a witness on this earth.
BACK IN HEAVEN
We witness now through John’s eyes a fabulous, fantastic worship scene in heaven. A great multitude gathered that no one could number from every nation and out of tribes and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the Lamb. This great company has come out of the Great Tribulation Period and are rejoicing in their salvation. These are Gentiles, people from every tribe and nation under the sun. This means that in the Great Tribulation the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached through the world. The 144,000 witnesses in the Great Tribulation Period will do in seven years what the church up to the present has not done in over two thousand years.
The greatest days of God’s salvation are in the future.
Most of this company were martyred during the Great Tribulation Period, but they were faithful to the end. Their white robes speak of the righteousness of Christ in which they are clothed in the shed blood of Christ, since our own righteousness is as filthy rags. The only reason we will be able to stand before God is because Christ paid the penalty for our sins. He died that we might live, and that is true of this group here also. They wave palm branches as the sign of victory, victory in Christ. This multitude is part of the great triumphal entry that will occur when Christ returns to the earth.
The triumphal entry has really not taken place yet. The scene in the Gospels (John 12 and Matthew 21) called “the triumphal entry” was actually more like a triumphal exit, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, for He was getting ready to leave the earth. He was on the way to the cross at that time. Since then, there has been a great company who have come to Him, and in the Great Tribulation there will be another great company. When He returns to the earth, the great company who were martyred for Him in the Great Tribulation will be there. This is a wonderful, glorious picture of a worship scene to yet to come.
This is a fabulous, fantastic scene of universal worship of God by His creatures. The church is here, the Old Testament saints are here, the Tribulation saints are here, and the angels join in. One of the 24 elders now comes over to John with a question.
“Who are the believers dressed in white robes?” And John said, “I have no idea—but you must know.” And the elder said, “These come from the Great Tribulation. They’ve washed their robes, scrubbed them clean in the blood of the Lamb. That’s why they’re standing before God’s throne” (see vv. 14-15).
If the people in white robes gathered here were Old Testament saints or Israelites, John would’ve known it. But he doesn’t recognize them at all. If they were the church, John would’ve known it, too. The elder, who is a representative of the church now in heaven, knows this company is not the church but an altogether different company. (Doesn’t this prove the church isn’t going through the Great Tribulation?) This is a special company, out of all Gentile tribes and tongues and nations, who have come out of the Great Tribulation.
“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple” (v. 15). We now know for sure this is not the church, for the church is never identified with the temple. Over this group, God, who sits on the throne, spreads His tent (tabernacle) over them for their protection.
Just imagine what comfort and joy there will be in this scene. This company of believers has been through the Great Tribulation. Most of them laid down their lives for Christ. Now God provides for them what they have suffered without. They’re not going to hunger or thirst—they apparently did. They will be sheltered from the burning heat of the sun. They have been thirsty for spiritual things they didn’t have. And they wept, but now God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. They made it through the Great Tribulation because of the blood of the Lamb. This is a wonderful, comforting scene we get a glimpse of here.
It’s a good reminder that the Lord Jesus has other sheep. He told His disciples this, but they couldn’t understand (see John 10:16). He could say the same thing to the church today, “I have other sheep that you don’t know anything about.” This company of Gentiles are some of the other sheep who will be redeemed but who aren’t part of the church.
There are plenty of seats at the Lord’s table. Isn’t the Lord Jesus a gracious Savior?
Next week we will be talking a out what will it sound like when terror breaks loose on the earth? Perhaps a bomb? No way worse so stay tuned in.
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