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144,000 | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2024 12:00 am

144,000 | Stephen Davey

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 17, 2024 12:00 am

Christians and non-Christians alike have long debated the mysterious number 144,000 in the Book of Revelation. Are these Jewish witnesses? Are they an elite group of believers destined to survive the end times? In this riveting message, Stephen Davey examines the Scripture and uncovers the identity and purpose of the 144,000. Discover their significance and learn how their profile should impact the way we live out our faith today.

Key Takeaway: The 144,000 are a potent reminder that God's promises to Israel remain and that the urgency of sharing the gospel is real. Let their example ignite your witness!

Want to learn more? Head over to Wisdom Online (https://www.wisdomonline.org) for additional resources and deeper exploration into the wisdom of Scripture.

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These witnesses are marked not only by sexual purity. Secondly, they're marked by loyalty. Look at verse 4 again. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. In other words, their priority is the will of God.

Henry Black could be made popular as a statement. I thought of it as I looked at this text where he said it this way. He said, the wise Christian discovers where God is at work and simply joins him there. This is no strings attached loyalty. This is placing no condition upon the will of God for your life. Every Christian should have a no strings attached attitude when it comes to following Jesus Christ.

We should all live that way. There's a group of believers mentioned in Revelation that provide a model for us. In Revelation 7, God's Word describes a specific group of believers. There are 144,000 of them and they have a unique purpose in end-time prophecy. Who are the 144,000 men and women we find mentioned there?

Is the number significant? What can we learn about them and from them? Stephen Davey explores all of this today in this lesson simply called 144,000. Let's pick our study back up now at Revelation chapter 7 and answer the $144,000 question. As you're turning there, you may remember how the previous chapter ended. All of these amazing, tragic, devastating things are happening. All of unbelieving humanity begins to cry out for the rocks to fall on them and end their lives. Then the chapter ends.

In fact, if you look up at verse 17 of chapter 6, it says, the great day of the wrath has come. Here's the question that all of humanity is asking. Who is able to stand? Who is able to survive this?

Who can possibly survive the terror and the wrath of the Lamb? What God will do in chapter 7 in John's vision for us is pause. He'll, as it were, push the pause button and give us an interlude. In fact, if your Bible doesn't have that little outline notation, you might add that just before chapter 7 begins the word pause or perhaps the word interlude.

It's a parenthesis. It's a pause in the chronological progression of these seals. The reason it is here is to give us the status of the gospel, to give us the status of those on planet earth and certainly those who believe the gospel and will discover a special group of people who are not only surviving but thriving. Notice how John opens verse 1. He says, after this, that's his way of saying he now has a new vision, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth.

Let me stop here briefly. This is one of those verses that liberals use to mock the Bible or they did. Poor John, those poor Christians, they're stuck with a book and an ancient apostle who obviously thinks the world is flat. It has four corners.

Can you believe that? Angels are standing at the four corners of the earth. Are we going to understand the four winds? The obvious reference to winds from north, south, east and west, but this four corners thing, I mean, now you're stuck with pre-scientific understanding and you got to hang your head in the presence of modern science and say, oh, oh, shucks, John didn't know science. I mean, it's in the scientific book. Don't hold it against him or us.

Let's just kind of skip that verse. What I found fascinating is that modern science has recently proven this remarkably true science of geodesy. Geodesy is a branch of applied mathematics which determines the size and shape of the earth. In recent years, geodetic measurements have actually proven the earth really does have four corners called projections or protuberances. They call it standing out from the basic spherical shape of the earth.

Let me read you what one scientist wrote. The earth is not really a perfect sphere after all. It's slightly flattened at the poles and it has an equatorial bulge caused by earth's rotation. It has a bulge around its middle. How many of you can identify? Well, let's just skip past that part. Never mind. This author writes, because of the equatorial bulge and the flattening at the poles, you have four corner protrusions, one at each pole and two at opposite ends of the strategic equatorial diameter.

Imagine that. But listen, there's more here. He says, and I quote him, these four corners play a role in controlling the great atmospheric circulation which governs the winds of the earth. And I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds is actually way ahead of his scientific times, not behind ours. Now, these four angels are stationed at each pole then, along the equator to do one thing, restrain the winds, often referred to as the judgment of God's destroying wind or wrath. Now, notice in verse 1 again, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. So at the outset of this interlude, this pause, there is a calming of hurricanes and tornadoes and tsunamis and a host of other disturbances that have been sweeping across the planet in this previous sixth seal.

Now, there's a calm. So here in verse 1, chapter 7, you have four angels serving God by corralling the winds of judgment. Now, notice another angel appears in verse 2, and I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, that is from the east. Wonderful things happen from the east, having the seal of the living God. Now, listen to the message of this angel, do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond servants of our God on their foreheads, this sphragus, this seal. The Greek word is a reference to the mark made by a signet ring that an eastern monarch would use to...he'd press it into clay or wax. It would represent his authority.

The signet ring was given to Joseph, you remember, when he was promoted as second to Pharaoh himself, now serving as prime minister of Genesis 41, 42. So these 144,000, as it were, have the authority and power of the living God. Now, who are they? Verse 4, and I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel, that is every tribe mentioned below. One is missing from the list more than likely because of his introduction of idolatry.

He will show up later as time progresses. So these are from the sons of Israel. Now, two facts are easily presented to us which help us answer that $144,000 question, and it really isn't all that mysterious. We don't need any Bible code.

We don't need any extraterrestrial help. We don't have to torture the text. These are simple facts. Fact number one, these are Jews. This is not the church.

This is clearly a reference to literal, historic, ethnic Jews from the sons of Israel. Some authors have even suggested, they're amillennial, they want the church to go through the tribulation. They've even suggested this has to be the church. And since it's so clearly Jewish that this paragraph had to have been added later to Revelation because it just can't be the sons of Israel. No, this isn't the church, friends. In fact, if national Israel instead of the church is understood here in this paragraph, as it plainly states, the difficulties dissolve. But if you try to make this the church, then you've got a real problem.

You've got a real problem. Twelve tribes are itemized and not the church. In fact, whenever anybody says the church is part of the 144,000, all you need to do is ask them, which tribe?

And that may settle it. By the way, this also strikes a death blow at the belief that Jewish tribes have been lost. We've got these lost tribes that have somehow melded into the European families.

There is no such thing as lost tribes, not in the Old Testament and certainly not in the New Testament. God doesn't lose things. I lose things. I went through a panic this morning trying to find my keys, couldn't find my keys. I lose my glasses, find them on my nose.

That's very embarrassing when that happens. I'm getting old. I lose. God doesn't...

He certainly doesn't lose people. There are no lost tribes. There are the lost boys. That's Peter Pan. That's not biblical.

I hate to break it to you. That's not in the Bible. God has not lost any tribes along the way.

In fact, they're going to show up at one point or another in the book of Revelation. So fact number one, they're Jews. Fact number two, guess how many of them there are. Just take a guess. The literal Greek translation, let me give it to you.

Write it down. 144,000, okay? That's how many. From these Jewish tribes, each 12,000 are chosen by God to serve them as special ambassadors, supernaturally used by God and protected from the Antichrist. And they're given, the text tells us, a visible physical mark on their forehead. So now we know how many there are and who they are. Now, just why are they sealed?

What exactly does that mean? Well, let me have you turn to a paragraph in Revelation chapter 14, which gives us more details about these 144,000 Jewish believers. And so we're going to cover this paragraph now at this point in our study. Verse 1 says, Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion. This is on the earth, not in heaven.

And with him, 144,000. Having his name and the name of his father written on their foreheads, now we're told what that seal looks like. And I heard a voice from heaven, for their evidence that are on earth.

This isn't the church in heaven. These are Jewish believers on earth. Now, let me make four observations that we can cull from these texts about these individuals. The first observation, let me give it to you, and then we'll look at the text again.

The 144,000 are sealed as the sovereign Lord's possession. Now, look again. They had the name of God, the Son, as it were, and the Father on their foreheads. Now, that immediately strikes us as very strange. I mean, they have a name written or maybe artistically designed as some kind of insignia on your forehead.

That strikes us as strange, but not in John's generation, not in his. Well, for the 144,000, this mark on their forehead that is visible, it is physical, it's seen, it signifies to the world that they belong to Almighty God, which now raises a big problem because people who belong to Christ aren't loved during the tribulation, which leads me to the second characteristic, and that is that the 144,000 are sealed with supernatural protection. They are unable to be put to death. In fact, Chapter 7, they're sealed.

Now, we see them in Chapter 14. They're standing with the Lord on the planet, not too much time hence, the kingdom is going to be ushered in at the end of the tribulation, and not one of them has died. Not one of them is lost. All of them, even though they openly declare their allegiance to Christ, are alive.

John Phillips, the wonderful British expositor, comments, and I quote him on this particular point. He says, "'The mobilized armies of the earth then will not be able to touch a hair of the heads of these sealed ones. The concentration camps and torture chambers of the beasts, fearful inquisition will leave them unscathed. The fire will not kindle upon them.

The secret police will have dossiers as thick as prison walls, but they will be unable to harm them. The seal of God rests upon them, and they are secured come what may. They will be a living proof to the devil that not only is his secular power strictly limited by divine decree, in the end, he cannot succeed.

If he cannot conquer these Jews, he cannot possibly win in the end. They are sealed as the sovereign's possession. They are sealed with supernatural protection. Number three, they are sealed with spiritual power." More than likely, those things that will accompany their wanderings about and no telling what the enemy will try to do to take their lives, and he won't be able to do it.

It's going to be miraculous and marvelous. Many of those who believe, who are going to be singing in Chapter 7, and we'll look at next session, will have come to Christ by the effective, amazing, powerful witness of these 144,000 missionaries. Satan will no doubt attempt to kill these fearless preachers, but God will not permit them to be harmed. They're going to be a perpetual thorn in the side of Satan and his puppet, Antichrist. Frankly, there's simply no way for us to imagine their delegated power as they travel the globe preaching for Christ.

They are literally unstoppable and indestructible. Fourth, the 144,000 are sealed as a symbolic pledge. John calls them here in Chapter 14, verse 4. Near the end, he says, they are the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. The first fruits.

They represent the pledge and the promise of God to redeem ethnic Israel to himself. And these 144,000 represent the beginning of this amazing harvest. The Apostle Paul, by the way, used the same phrase when he referred to the new believers in the household of Stenophilus. He said, they are the first fruits of all of Achaia.

In other words, they're the first to believe of all of this region. So here, these 144,000 are referred to as the first fruits of all those who will believe sort of as a pledge that God is going to bring ethnic Israel to saving faith, which is primarily the purpose of the tribulation. God will keep his word. God will redeem the Jew no matter what happens. No matter the hatred or the demonically inspired holocausts against them, which will be unleashed like never before. The existence of the Jew even today is a testimony of the pledge of God. There are ethnic Jews alive today who still exist. It's a mark of God keeping his promise. Listen, you have never met a Ninevite, have you?

Right? Never. You've never met an Amalekite, Girgashite, Hittite, and I like to say all those other mosquito bites. You've never met any of them, but you've met a Jew. In 1936, the mayor of New York faced an interesting dilemma and a Jewish sentiment was that fever pitch in Germany and Nazi Germany was known for, of course, its hatred of Jews and they believed Jews were swine.

They believed that they were the off scouring of humanity and unworthy to live. The mayor of New York, Mayor Ligordia, at an airport named after him later, was confronted with a difficult dilemma. A high-ranking diplomat from Nazi Germany was coming to New York for a series of meetings and it was the mayor's responsibility to provide him with protection. Now, of course, New York was heavily populated with Jewish immigrants. This was no favorite place for him to come and he, himself, the mayor, considered Nazism repulsive.

So what was he to do? Came up with an interesting idea to communicate a message that Nazi Germany had it all wrong. These were actually good people and so he hand-picked the bodyguard from among the New York City police squad and made sure that every one of the men he picked were Jews. So what you have in effect then, with this wonderful irony, is this German diplomat who hated Jews would owe his life to their protection and safekeeping. Listen, there is coming a day when the hatred of the world will be pointed at the Christian and the Jew. Can you imagine Jews who are Christians?

How much of the anti-Christ will hate them? So they are sealed, as it were, the sovereign's possession with supernatural protection, with spiritual power, and as a symbolic pledge. You know, it kind of struck me as I came to the end of studying the profile of these Jewish men who travel the globe, discipling new converts, preaching the gospel, is that, in a way, in this church age, we've been sealed internally, spiritually. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, you were sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1-13.

Further, in Chapter 4, he wrote, do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you've been sealed for the day of redemption. God isn't going to lose any of you either, or me. He will fulfill his promise to us at the end of this age in either rapturing us or resurrecting us. We are the sovereign's possession. We have also been empowered to serve him, for he's given us everything necessary for life and godliness.

And we're going to reign with him in his coming glory. It also struck me that the lifestyle and the character of these Jewish witnesses should be, in large part, our own character and witness. They were physically marked with a seal for that unique purpose and era. We are spiritually marked by the Holy Spirit for our specific ministry and era. And some of the characteristics that are seen in their lives ought to be in ours.

Now, let me quickly give you four of them. First, these were marked by purity. Notice what it says of them in Chapter 14, verse 4. It says, these are the ones who've not been defiled with women.

This doesn't mean that these men were unmarried, since Hebrews 13, 4 declares the marriage bed undefiling. It could mean that these men were virgin, single men, but more than likely, it's simply a reference that they kept themselves away from the sexual promiscuity that runs rampant during the tribulation. The worship of the Antichrist is going to be unspeakably vile and perverse with divine restraint removed, 2 Thessalonians 2, verses 6 and 7. The unbelieving world abandoned by God, a sin is going to be released like a flood inundating the world.

And the world is going to literally live out the debauchery of Romans, Chapter 1, like no culture has ever done before. Yet these men shine like beacons of purity in the midst of all this filth. John writes further in verse 4 that they have kept themselves chaste.

The same word for chaste here, parthenos, is used by Paul in 2 Corinthians 11, verse 2, to refer to the bride, the chaste bride of Christ. This is a challenge, ladies and gentlemen, to you and to me, the church today, to live sexually pure lives. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, for this is the will of God that you abstain from what?

Sexual immorality. 1 Thessalonians 4, 3, that sexual activity before marriage and to anybody you're not married to ever. He wrote to Timothy, flee youthful lusts. 2 Timothy 2, 22, which is even a broader world.

For our world, it would involve the internet. Flee it. He wrote to the Corinthians, flee immorality, specifically related to the use of their bodies. 1 Corinthians 6, 13.

Has it ever occurred to you that God never commanded you to fight sexual temptation? Never. He simply told you to what? Run. Run. Flee. Maybe the word from God to you today has nothing to do with 144,000 in his general scope.

Maybe you need to hear somebody say to you, run. The mark of a witness for Jesus Christ today as well should be one who fears sexual misconduct. He or she runs from it, abhors it, stays away from it. Perhaps our testimony for Christ suffers in our culture today because the Christian is no more distinctive in his relationships than the unbeliever. It is the great day, a great era to recapture what Robert Murray McShane, the godly 19th century Scottish preacher said, and I quote, it is not great talons that God blesses so much as great likeness to Christ. A holy minister, a holy Christian is a powerful weapon in the hand of God. These witnesses are marked not only by sexual purity. Secondly, they're marked by loyalty. Look at verse 4 again. These are the ones who follow the lamb wherever he goes. In other words, their priority is the will of God. Henry Blackley made popular a statement I thought of as I looked at this text where he said it this way.

He said, the wise Christian discovers where God is at work and simply joins him there. This is no strings attached loyalty. This is placing no condition upon the will of God for your life.

One more. They're marked by a sense of destiny. The word John uses at the end of this paragraph and he writes at the end of verse 5, he says, no lie was found in their mouth, they are blameless. It's a unique word. It's not the same word that appears in the qualifications of an elder or deacon. 1 Timothy 3, it's a different word. It's an eschatological blamelessness, looking to the day when they will stand before God blamelessly, having been then justified.

It's not a picture of perfection or sinlessness, it's a picture of justification with their slates wiped clean. The question remains, can people see the mark, the markings of God in us? Do we bear the marks of God's witnesses in our daily lives? No, it isn't physical. It isn't on our forehead. It's internal. We've been sealed by the Spirit, but can that be seen to our world?

That's a convicting challenge, isn't it? Is it evident to those who observe you that you belong to Jesus Christ? I'm glad you've joined us today here on Wisdom for the Heart. This is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey, the president of Wisdom International. This message is called 144,000 and it comes from the series Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness. There are two resources connected to this series that I want to make you aware of. First of all, Stephen's booklet, The Coming Tribulation is available today at a deeply discounted rate. This is an easy to read resource written for anyone to understand. It answers some common questions about the tribulation.

Is it real? What can we know about that time and more? We can give you information on getting a copy today if you call our office. I'll give you that number in just a moment, but there's one more resource I want to mention first. We've taken all of the lessons in this series and packaged them together as a set of compact discs. If you'd like to add this series to your collection of Bible resources, we can make a set for you and get it out to you in the mail. For either of those resources, Stephen's booklet or the CD set, give us a call. Our number is 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. Ask how you can get a copy of the booklet, The Coming Tribulation or the CD set, Four Horsemen and The Coming World Madness. I hope we hear from you today. Finally, we have a free resource called God's Wisdom for Your Heart. It explains the message of the Gospel and you'll find it at wisdomonline.org forward slash gospel. Then join us back here next time on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-17 00:21:03 / 2024-05-17 00:30:47 / 10

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