April 14 2022
Today, Thursday April 14
The 144,000 Are Sealed Revelation 7:1-8
“And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:”
Twice in this chapter 7 of Revelation we read, “After these things” (vv. 1 & 9). To break down this chapter, we see two groups of people described in this chapter. In verses 1-8, we have the 144,000 Jews being sealed on the earth. In verses 9-17, we see the Gentiles from all the nations which can’t be numbered standing before the throne in heaven.
We are not told explicitly in Scripture that the 144,000 Jews are God's special witnesses, and that the Gentile host is saved through their ministry, but this appears to be a logical deduction; otherwise, why are they associated in this chapter? The parallel with Matthew 24:14 also indicates that the 144,000 will witness for the Lord during the Tribulation.
In Scripture, a seal indicates ownership and protection. Today, God's people are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). This is God's guarantee that we are saved and safe, and that He will one day take us to heaven. The 144,000 Jews will receive the Father's name as their seal (Rev. 14:1), in contrast to the "mark of the beast" that Antichrist will give those who follow him (Rev. 13:17; 14:11; 16:2; 19:20).
This seal will protect these chosen Jews from the judgments that will "hurt the earth and the sea" (Rev. 7:2), and occur when the first four angels blow their trumpets (Rev. 8). The judgments are intensified when the horrible locusts are released from the pit (Rev. 9:1-4). Protected from these awesome judgments, the 144,000 will be able to do their work and glorify the Lord.
In every age, God has had His faithful remnant. Elijah thought he was alone, but God had 7,000 who were yet faithful to Him (1 Kings 19:18). The sealing described in Revelation 7 certainly has its background in Ezekiel 9:1-7, where the faithful were sealed before God's judgment fell. So, while these 144,000 Jews are an elect people in the last days with a special task from God, they also symbolize God's faithful elect in every age of history.
The number 144,000 is significant because it signifies perfection and completeness (144= 12 x 12). Some see here the completeness of all God's people: the twelve tribes of Israel (Old Testament saints) and the twelve Apostles (New Testament saints). This may be a good application of this passage, but it is not the basic interpretation; for we are told that these 144,000 are all Jews, and even their tribes are named.
Today a Jew cannot tell you which tribe he is from because the genealogical records have all been destroyed over the centuries. Even the fact that ten of the tribes were taken by the Assyrians and "lost" is no problem to God. He knows His people and their whereabouts (see Matt. 19:28; Acts 26:7; James 1:1). We do have some unanswered questions concerning the specific tribes that are named here.
Why is Levi included when it had no inheritance with the other tribes? (Num. 18:20-24; Josh. 13:14) Why is Joseph named but not his son Ephraim, who is usually connected with his brother Manasseh? Finally, why is the tribe of Dan omitted here and yet included in Ezekiel's list for the apportionment of the land? (Ezek. 48:1) We might not know for sure the answers to these questions, despite the many suggestions. But we do know one thing for sure: “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His…" (2 Timothy 2:19)
The big question for us today is, “Do I know for sure that I am His and ready for the Lord’s return?