BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 13, Day 3: Revelation 7:1-8

Summary of passage: John saw 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of the earth from the 4 corners of the earth. Another angel with the seal of the living God told the 4 angels to not harm the land until a seal is placed on the foreheads of God’s servants, a total of 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each).

Questions:

5)  The seal of the living God and it signifies the Holy Spirit of God.  Hence, the angel is marking people with a seal which is the Holy Spirit which is the mark that will save them from God’s wrath and judgment like in Ezekiel 9.

6)  Judah.  Jesus (Hebrews 7:14).  He is the first and the last.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My assurance is several fold:  1) I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior.  2)  I have the Holy Spirit with marks me as His.  3)  God’s word assures me I am His.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think I interact and relate with unbelievers the same I do with believers.  I try to walk in Jesus’s ways always no matter who is watching and give Him all the credit in my life.

Conclusions:  Why no questions on the identity of the 144,000?  This is crucial for Gentiles (which is most of us).  Once again disappointed that BSF does not ask the hard questions.

End Notes:  The tribe of Dan is left out.  Some scholars believe this is because Dan is most probably the tribe of the Antichrist (Daniel 11:37; Jeremiah 8:16).  We do know they were the ones who introduced idolatry to Israel (Genesis 49:17; Judges 18:30).  However, Dan will be in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48).  Further, some say this proves birth does not matter in the end; it’s faith in Christ that does.

The tribe of Joseph is the tribe of Ephraim.  They also were strongly associated with idolatry (Hosea 4:17).

Who are the 144,000?  Literally:  Messianic Jews specifically chosen to seal protectively for the Tribulation, first fruits to God (Rev 14:4), as a beginning of the salvation of Israel (Romans 11:1, Romans 11:26, Matthew 23:37-39).

Symbolically:  12,000 is the number of completeness is Revelation 21:16 so the complete number of believers from each tribe are being sealed.  This includes both Jewish and Gentile Christians.  Because the tribe of Dan is missing and the tribe of Joseph never existed, this would support the theory as the church here.  Also, when Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC, the tribes were scattered and again in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed.  The Jews had no idea which tribe they came from.

Hence, 144,000 pictures the remnant (Romans 9:27-28;11:5), the fullness of the church of both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, leaving none out, the new Israel.  The believer in Christ is the true Jew (Romans 2:29).

Revelation is a book of symbols and all numbers have meaning.  Hence, most scholars believe 144,000 is not to be taken literally and Israel means the church as a whole.  144,000 (12 x 12 x 10x 10 x10) shows the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament multiplied by the 12 apostles in the New Testament multiplied by 10’s which suggests an indefinite and infinite figure.  The two 12’s is the church, God’s redeemed people from both covenants, for all of history–what we call the church today.

Revelation 14 goes into more detail on their identity.  Israel in the Old Testament always refers to the Jewish nation, not to the church.  However, when John is writing, which is after Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was gifted to all, the church included Israel and Gentiles.  No where in the book of Revelation is a distinction made between Jewish and Gentile Christians.  God makes no distinction so why would He here?

You can be part of the remnant (the 144,000) through grace (Romans 11:5) by choosing Jesus.  It’s that simple.