What mission will the 144,000 Jewish men fulfill during the tribulation?
So we know we are at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Remember I told you rather than go verse by verse chronologically, take Revelation by events. The beginning (the appearance of the Anti-christ and these two witnesses), and at the mid-point we have the end of these two witnesses and have a great earthquake. We studied earlier how the Anti-christ will come in and desecrate and defile the Temple at the mid-point. We will try to look at that in our next lesson. But for now let’s look at Revelation Chapter 7. And here again is a portion of Scripture that has been so completely perverted that we have a lot of confusion and it doesn’t have to be. It is so plain. Now since these two witnesses are beginning to proclaim Godly things, and I think again just like Jesus said, they are going to be proclaiming the King and the Kingdom is coming. Out of their preaching, almost immediately, they will have a response of their prophesying or speaking, by the 144,000 young Jewish men that we find in Chapter 7. Now let’s read it:
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth (remember this is supernatural experiences in a supernatural time), holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt (or judgment on) the earth and the sea, Saying, `Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.'”
Now isn’t that easy to understand? These servants, I feel, have been listening to the two witnesses and so they are responding. Now look who they are in verse 4:
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed (or designated or commissioned): and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand (now watch where they come from) of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
So that there are no mistakes, He names them in verse 5-8 except for one. And that question comes up often. Why isn’t Dan and Ephraim mentioned in these 12 tribes? Remember, they moved up into the northern part of Israel, and what were the tribes guilty of? They were the first ones to go into idolatry. And, consequently, they are left out of these 12 tribes. So we have 12,000 from each of the other 12 tribes all sealed and they are given a particular mission. And here it comes in verse 9. As a result of their sealing:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations (that indicates that the 144,000 will not limit their ministry to just the Nation of Israel), and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
Now remember back in Chapter 6 when we talked about that 5th seal, in verse 9-11 it reads:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, `How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’ And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
This is where it all begins. These 144,000 young Jewish men will be encircling the globe in a miraculous way. They won’t have to buy any airline tickets. I think they will be Spirit sent. They won’t have to learn a language. They will know every language and dialect everywhere they go. And these 144,000 young Jews will circle the globe at least three or four years out of this seven. And here are the results of their ministry. Verse 13:
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, `What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?’ And I said unto him, `Sir, thou knowest,’ And he said to me, `These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Now that is a vast number of people from every tribe and tongue and nation. And they will martyred almost as soon as they believe. But a few will survive. And we will pick them up in a later lesson. There will be some survivors, as we saw in the Book if Isaiah a couple of lessons ago. What I think we have here is sort of a compensation, or an evening out of what the Nation of Israel literally missed. They were originally going to be the vehicle to bring the pagan, Gentile world to a knowledge of their Jehovah. And they missed it. But the 144,000 will sort of make a compensation for that.
ANTI-CHRIST – “FALSE PROPHET”
Turn to Revelation 7. The Book of Revelation primarily deals with those final seven years before the return of Christ at His Second Coming; then the setting up of His Kingdom upon the earth. This seven years is primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel; however, all the world will become involved. Remember Jeremiah 30:7?
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”
We’ll look at this verse more in detail later. It’s God dealing with His Covenant people and for this reason they are still coming back to their homeland, getting ready for these final seven years.
The best way to study Revelation is not to try to take it chronologically, but find the events at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the Tribulation, and then fill in the gaps. Chronologically it won’t make all that much sense to you. The past several lessons we have been looking at things at the beginning. 1. The appearance of the Anti-christ when he will sign that seven-year peace treaty with the Nation of Israel, which will again kick God’s time clock back in gear, as it has been stopped now all during the Church Age. 2. The appearance of those two witnesses. They will come to the Nation of Israel in Jerusalem. And they will begin proclaiming God’s Word to the Nation of Israel, and out of the ministry of these two… 3. God is going to seal and commission the 144,000 young Jewish men whom God will use to circumvent the globe. They won’t be preaching the Gospel of Grace as we know it, but, rather, they will be reverting back again to the Gospel of the Kingdom as it was being proclaimed at the time of Christ and Peter and the eleven.
There is a vast difference between the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of the Kingdom. When you understand that, the Bible is much less confusing. At that time, the Age of Grace has ended and the Church is gone. A person will no longer have the opportunity to join a local congregation. But rather these 144,000 will be telling the world that the King is coming. After all, that was the message in Christ’s earthly ministry. He Himself referred to it more than once as the Gospel of the Kingdom. The King and His Kingdom were about to come on the scene. Of course Israel rejected that, and the King was crucified. God raised Him from the dead, called Him back to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand until His enemies should be made His footstool. That `until‘ signifies the time when He will once again deal with His Covenant people of Israel.
We closed our last lesson with God sealing the 144,000 Jews (there were 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes). Remember, the reason that God set aside the Nation of Israel was to fulfill the promises of Genesis 3:15, that the Seed of the woman would come to be the Redeemer of mankind. In order to bring that to a fulfillment, He set aside the Nation of Israel, and promised Abraham that through that Nation of people would come the Messiah. So God begins to prepare the Nation of Israel for the roll of being the missionary to the nations. Exodus 19:6 says, “And ye shall be unto me a Kingdom of Priests and an holy nation.” He put them under Law, I maintain, to prepare them for that tremendous role that would be theirs to carry out. But when the opportunity came and they could have had the King and the Kingdom, and they could have brought all the nations of the world to a knowledge of their God, they dropped the ball. In their unbelief they rejected the King and the Kingdom. They, in turn, were dispersed out into the world, lost their temple and worship, and God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul without using the Nation of Israel. Using that same analogy in order to get a sweet taste of some sort of a redeeming of themselves, God will let these 144,000 Jews at least get a taste of what the Nation of Israel missed. This 144,000 will see a multitude come to a knowledge of salvation through their ministry. Now verse 9:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, `Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,'” In other words they had been martyred almost as fast as they had been converted throughout the Tribulation. Now verses 13 and 14. And after John sees this multitude of converted people.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, `What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?’ And I said unto him, `Sir, thou knowest.’ And he said to me, `These are they which came out of (the) great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'”
“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
That was like, I suppose, when God put a mark on Cain, that no one could take his life. And it’s the same way with these 144,000. They were sealed so that they could not be killed. Suffer, yes, but they couldn’t be killed. Reading on you will see that there were 12,000 sealed from each of the twelve tribes. To see how all of this fits with Matthew Chapter 25 come down to verse 16. These are the privations that Tribulation believers, as well as the 144,000, will suffer during this seven-year period.
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;…”
Remember, if people don’t take the mark of the beast during this time, they won’t be able to buy or sell, and seven years is a long time if you can’t buy groceries. Seven years is a long time if you can’t make a house payment, buy gasoline, or pay a doctor bill. So they will end up hungry and thirsty, and naked. Come back to Matthew Chapter 25. So the 144,000 suffered these same privations during the Tribulation. They were thrown in prison and they’re going to be hungry, and the only sustenance they had was from these believers. These believers, although they will have little to spare, will sacrifice to help these 144,000.
Editor’s Note: More about the 144,000 and how their mission ties into chapter 25 of Matthew will be explained a few pages ahead under the question: “Will some people live through the tribulation?”