There are two distinct sets of typological people called the 144,000 in the Book of Revelation. The first group of people are said to be sealed (Revelation 7:4) from the twelve tribes of Israel. The second group of people, also typified (not “counted”) to number 144,000 (symbolic) as those who are redeemed out of the earth who speak with every possible language on earth. They have the name of the Lamb as well as their foreheads having been grapho [Gk. engraved] with the name of the Father of the Lamb. Note all the symbols means something to one who is a true believer, bondservant (Doulos) and worshiper of YHVH.
There is a Tanakh teaching of what it means to be marked for salvation in Ezekiel 9.
4 And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” 5 And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike.
In this oracle, the marking is in Hebrew, tavah. An angel malach, a messenger-servant, is instructed to mark the foreheads of those who walk in the Torah regarding mourning over iniquity. What YHVH calls an abomination, a detestable thing from the Lord’s perspective, includes serving the idols. The rest will be removed when death angels strike them.
Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name engraved on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed out of the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
Let us go back to this passage to peer with interpretation for a proper understanding by using Scripture to interpret Scripture for some much needed insight.
- The name of the Lamb. This is an idiom in Hebrew that means these are the bondservants of those who follow Messiah Y’shua as their Lord. Paul identified himself a number of times to the churches this way. John opened the scroll of Revelation to say the visions are for the servants of Messiah (Revelation 1|1). Jude the half brother of the Lord identified himself in Jude 1| 1 as His servant. Last but not least, Peter did it also in his epistles. Every true believer holds Jesus as Lord. If someone does not do as his Lord commands him to, he is insubordinate to the King as an enemy of Christ’s (Luke 19| 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me). He who is not with Messiah scatters. The line is clear. There is no “maybe”. Repent to God today.
- The name of the Father of the Lamb. It comes from a promise of grace given to those who are known for their love for one another even though they are said to have little strength. They are part of the 144,000 in chapter 14. The chronology suggests that the season of the trial from Revelation 3|10 (testing that will coem to every inhabitant of the world) will have been completed. These are victors, following the Lamb wherever He goes. Revelation 3. 7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
- They are redeemed out of the earth. The word in Greek is apo, meaning away from. It is this Latin root which gives the word, absent. In one sense, we can understand that they are set apart for the use of the Almighty. But Apo suggests additional geographical connotation, they are no longer in the world – they will be absent in the world. Mount Sion is the back drop in this vision. Zion (Hebrew: צִיּוֹן / 𐤑𐤉𐤅𐤍 also variously transliterated Sion, Tzion, Tsion, Tsiyyon) is a place-name in the Hebrew Bible used as a synonym for Jerusalem as well as for the Land of Israel as a whole.
- Some people do not understand the mention of Lamb refers to Christ the risen Lord who was slain for His work of atonement on the cross upon the altar of earth on Calvary, according to the Torah for sacrifice to YHVH. In the same way the same people do not understand the mention of virgins do not refer to people who have never married. In the first parable of Matthew 25, Messiah references ten virgins. The Greek word Parenthos has a spiritual meaning in that it is a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry and so he has kept his promise to the Almighty according to the covenant. I will submit these 144,000 are the ones who have not ever committed idolatry as opposed to those who are forgiven upon their confession of idolatry. If I may take the religion of the Roman Catholics as an example, who are violators in Marian worship, none of them will be among the 144,000. The wages of idolatry is piety. The cost of it is departure from YHVH.
- Falsehood is dealt with severely. Revelation 22. Outside (the kingdom of Christ) are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. These are found to side with as well as practicing the truth.
- They are blameless. It is the opposite of saying they are lawless, as the ones who follow and are mesmerized by the son of perdition (apolia), the man of lawlessness (hamartia, iniquity). They observe the Torah.
The theme of today’s AW Tozer devotional is upon the kevod, glory, of YHVH that demands the worshiper to serve Him. The cause and effect goes like this.
- If you believe YHVH is glorious;
- then serve Him.
The opposite is also true. If you did not believe that YHVH is glorious, then sit by on the sideline because you did not regard Him worthy of your service. Unfortunately, many preachers today demonstrate with their lives that a job is a job and serving God is not worth their time. El Elyon already knew who would line their pockets and who is truly called by Him to work in His vineyard.
4 The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; 6 they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
7. Every high hill is interpreted to mean every false god where people honor, respect and bow down to serve them.
When Y’shua came, He fulfilled Ezekiel 34.
15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.
And we may segue into the following thought in Acts 13 by mentioning Dawid, as the Word of YHVH has a special place for him in the age of resurrection. Continuing in Ezekiel 34,
23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.
Dawid (The Beloved)
Paul gave an example. Serving Adonai was evident in the life of Dawid, who will be called back in resurrection to serve Moshiach for 1,000 years in the Temple based in Shammah (Jerusalem, name change, Ezekiel 48| 35). But until then, Dawid is being remembered in the canon this way. In Acts 13| 36 Paul spoke on the shabbat to the Jews in Pisidia Antioch,
36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is [Greek dikaioó justified; twice in this verse] from everything from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
The Gentile Church in 2020 is in a lot of problems. The biggest of them is none other than a false way of serving God. People may demand for churches to stay open for “worship” during the pandemic as a right. But it sounds to me like it is just walking into a house of God with a cloudy conscience hoping to slip by for a sense of belonging and security. I bet a few of them would rather hear the real talk if someone will step up to the plate, call all to repentance.
Some of them are all condemned in the words of the Almighty as crestfallen due to her unrepentance, holding onto to the old heart of stone instead of receiving a heart of flesh that is responsive to every word of the Chief Shepherd. These stony hearts are thus in alienation from Christ. She has truly flourished into the center character in the Matthew 13 parable of the woman preparing an extraordinary mega dough meal, where she hides inside her handiwork yeasts of sins.
33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
The neo-modern Church is Laodicea, she is apostate, about to have the lamp stand removed from her hands if she remains unrepentant.
3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Maybe she is joining herself to the Great Harlot. She preaches a crooked message that is distorted from Paul in Acts 13. The focus in error is twofold: she preaches today, inadequately, that “if you are saved, you go to heaven”. You will find it hard pressed to find a passage in the New Covenant that spells it out this way, except by a man’s interpretation. There are those who are in the eisegetic business of doctrine-making by stringing verses together to come up with their own brand of thoughts for the more acceptable paletter of the congregation. In it there is no righteousness whatsoever for imparting from the Lamb who was slain.
The first three mentions of righteousness in the Bible are as follows. I shall unpack them to explain how we are to abide in righteousness. Christ came to fulfill the Torah in demonstrating how the terms are to be exercised and to be performed, in His name. To believe in His name, in John 1| 12, inheritance rights shall be granted. Then, we are to continue all the days of our lives in practicing this Christ-righteousness. In Christ-righteousness, we shall witness to the lost and the ungodly to repent for the kingdom is at hand and the King is coming back.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
But the common belief, which is not holy, is contrary to Scripture. Paul succinctly explained how it is. By believing in Moshiach’s message (the Besorah the good news), you become justified, dikaioó, you are then to be brought from a deficit back to zero as a breath of fresh air. It is the starting point for everyone justified, to gain freedom in Messiah. In your new freedom whatever you shall do is like building on top of the foundation that is in Christ, using your choice of precious or useless materials. On the day of fire, all will be revealed (1 Corinthians 3).
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled[b] master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Paul to the Jews in Antayka (Antioch), speaking on the Shabbat in Acts 13,
38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man (Yehosha haNizrot) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
The Return Of The King
Upon the pardoning of sin, the Ruwach picks up the work of sanctification on the one who truly bows the heart to Messiah. You will then be joined to the Body of Messiah. The analogy is given in the Book of Esther where the chosen women were taken to speak a full year in preparation before the King will inspect them. Wherever Messiah goes, where He is, the Body shall be also. When He returns in Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14, the saints will also be following Him.
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[b] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
8. Messiah as conquering Warrior this time has a name that is [Gk. grapho] which no one earth knows, implied. This vision suggests clearly that those who will remain on earth when Messiah returns do not belong to Him.
9. His servants follow Him to battle. This picture is reminiscent of the time of Dawid.
In Zechariah 14,
4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
This is not a new concept. It continues in the speech of Messiah in the Gospel accounts. When the message that is being preached is contradicting itself from one day to the next, we shall see the evidence in the thoughts of many. Are there Christians that do not believe that “they are right now with Christ”? It is the same Christ who promises His people in Matthew 28 that He “will be with them until the close of the age” and in John 14 that He “will not leave His people as orphans”, but will come to take them to Himself. They will put in custody of another Councilor, the Spirit of truth.
The worshiper is never far from the presence of God. The question is not on His part but on our part. Are we being the true worshiper who stand by the covenant that we enter?
Let us turn from false gods, turn from the charms of the world, to turn bac and serve the One Living God.