Sunday, February 22, 2015
144,000 Series #2 – Part 47 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
The short time Jesus was on the earth was spent confirming to His apostles that He was the Messiah, by sharing what the scriptures revealed through the Law & the Prophets. These men were not ignorant, simply uneducated. Religious history was facing a crucial turning point with the new covenant that Jesus was introducing, and the apostles had to be conditioned by the Truth, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and psychologically so they could believe, and eventually carry this Truth to the utter most parts of the earth.
Because of the need of the moment, Jesus spent His time confirming who He was, while preparing them for His death and resurrection, which was totally incomprehensible to them. Jesus did not explain to them the eternal plans and purposes of God, because there was not enough time. The Revelation was His opportunity to exquisitely reveal His glory, and that of the Godhead, while describing how the invisible spiritual world influences everything done on the earth.
The Revelation prophecy provides detail, through metaphorical language, symbolism, riddles and esoteric imagery, about what He accomplished by His death and resurrection for the eternal purposes of His family on the earth. As we study the symbolism for 144 we will find that Jesus, not only shed His blood for the sins of mankind, but much more is revealed in Revelation chapters 7 & 14.
Last week I provided the modern viewpoint of the 144,000. The rest of this series will be devoted to the historical viewpoint, much of it known by believers for 1800 years.
And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all tribes of the children of Israel were sealed…Rev. 7:4. Numbers in prophecy of scripture are important because of their spiritual symbolism. The number 12 symbolizes divine government – 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles. The number 4 symbolizes a portion, 4 corners of the earth, or a change in the earth or heavens – depending on the context.
Vast changes in religious practices were provided by the Cross of Jesus Christ. The 12 tribes of Israel – earthly divine government – was replaced by the 12 apostles – divine spiritual government. These changes were so profound that even history was divided – D.C. changed to A.D. Understanding of the fundamental spiritual transformation was provided when Jesus appeared in all His glory to John, so that believers could finally comprehend the marvelous plan of God for His people.
The 144,000 in this text is obviously symbolic – a representative figure of all 12 tribes of Israel. So the use of the number 4 in this text symbolizes, not only a portion, but also a change in the earth and heavens – new covenant changes. When we do the math we can see that 12,000 people from each tribe must be sealed.
What does sealed mean? The Apostle Paul explained it very clearly to believers – because they believed in Jesus Christ they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory…Eph. 1:13-14. In essence, he is saying to believers, when this difficult earthly journey is finished, all the promised heavenly blessings will be given to them when they enter the New Jerusalem.
In the original Greek language the word seal is sphragizo meaning: to attest to; seal by a signet stamp, such as a signet ring.
In ancient times, when a ruling sovereign – King or Queen – made a decree, it was written on parchment, sealed with sealing wax colored with red dye, then stamped with the personal signet ring of the monarch. It was called a ‘signet ring’ because the insignia on the ring, dipped in the sealing wax and stamped on the document, was equal to the sovereigns’ personal signature. When the ‘signet ring’ was used to seal a decree, what was written in the document was immutable and irrevocable.
Even the red sealing wax had symbolic spiritual significance. The red color was made from the dead body of the cochineal (cosh-neal) insect. This parallels the red blood of the body of Jesus Christ – both guarantee irrevocable decrees – covenants. Jesus often used the natural world to explain a spiritual truth, so that human beings could comprehend the moral principles of His heavenly world.
Now we understand what it means to be sealed. So what is the irrevocable guarantee that was preserved by sealing the 144,000. God’s promise to Abraham was to provide a holy nation through him. After Abraham’s grandson Jacob was renamed Israel, he provided through his progeny the 12 tribes of Israel, which was the earthly holy nation God promised to him, but not the spiritual holy nation…Gen. 15:3-6. The promise of the spiritual holy nation had not been fulfilled as yet.
How did the sealing of the 12 tribes of Israel fulfill the promise of a spiritual holy nation? Stay tuned…much more to come on this fascinating symbolism.
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question…