A SEAL IN THEIR FOREHEADS
BY: ANTHONY IDEMUDIA ASAKPA –
NOVEMBER 22, 2006
We turn our attention to Rev 7. The 144,000.
Natural Israel has left us with the legacy of scriptures – the Old Testament; and then later the New Testament – as spiritual Israel was born out of them.
Even their slavery in Egypt left us with the pyramids; their wanderings, as the ‘lost tribes’, left us with stone monuments around the world, places like Stonehenge (this is a controversy) – later corrupted for nature worship. And even physical members of the new spiritual Israel, set up the 1st church in Great Britain – as the traditions of Glastonbury tell us about Joseph of Arimathaea.
Though the legacy of the current house of Judah has not been good; we need to keep our focus on spiritual Israel. Less we get disheartened, as those in 1988 (40 years -‘a generation’- after 1948), when things don’t turn out the way we expect.
God is building a spiritual house.
The house first started with the church (Ekklesia – called out) in the wilderness. They were called out of physical Egypt. Then Jesus Christ came and spiritual Israel was born. And we are ‘called out’ of spiritual Egypt.
The ‘church age’ began in the physical wilderness (Acts 7:38). They experienced Passover (unleavened bread) – celebrating coming out (called out) of Egypt (Exo12:6,18. Num 9:1-5); and Pentecost – celebrating the Mount Sinai experience, which was 50 days from Passover (the 3rd month- Exod 19:1, Lev 23:16).
The spiritual church then experienced both Passover (Lev 23:12 -fulfilled in Christ) and Pentecost (Acts 2:1); and we continue to experience both on a personal level as we come to Christ.
Grace started in Genesis but was fully manifest in Christ Jesus when He walked the earth- ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). An ‘age of grace’ doesn’t really exist, as such.
But know that physical Israel (whether a ‘lost tribe’ or part of the current house of Judah) is now included with the rest of the world. That they can only enter into ‘Rest’ as part of spiritual Israel – accepting Jesus Christ.
Remember when Jesus talked about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit – Matt 12:31-32. He said it wouldn’t be forgiven in this age, nor the age to come. I know some say the ‘age to come’ means the ‘spiritual church age’, but I think it means the ‘millennial age’. For every curse lifts in the New heavens and earth – Rev 22:3.
With this background we now focus on the 144,000 in Rev 7:3-8.
You will notice almost immediately, that the tribe of Dan is missing and Manasseh is made another tribe.
You remember the 12 original tribes of Israel in Gen 49. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Isaachar, Gad, Dan, Asher, Naphatali, Joseph and finally, Benjamin. These were the original 12.
Joseph was split into 2 tribes afterwards – Manasseh and Ephraim. Remember Jacob blessing Joseph’s sons? He crossed his hands to bless the younger (Ephraim) above the older (Manasseh) in Gen 48:13-20.
Afterwards when Levi was made the priesthood tribe, the tribe of Joseph was split into Manasseh and Ephraim to make the number up to 12 again.
What happens in Rev 7?
Those sealed in their forehead have the Father’s name written in it – Rev 14:1-5. These are the Lamb followers, the firstfruits. Who started the Lamb company? The spiritual church in the 1st century did. Who is being added to it? The overcomers are! We are Christ’s Body and we follow the Lamb everywhere He goes.
Why is there no tribe of Dan?
Ah. Because Dan is a Judge (Gen 49:16). The whole company of People represent the tribe of Dan. As their lives reflects a ‘judgment’ on the world. They stand as a symbol of what God will do for everyone that believes in Him. Wise as serpents they are (Gen 49:17, Matt 10:16). For they have waited for the Lord’s salvation (Gen 49:18).
Why is Manasseh added?
The younger receiving the better blessing must now be made right. So Manasseh receives a double portion. A portion as a member of Joseph (Ephraim & Manasseh) and again as Manasseh alone; the portion he did not receive when being blessed as the firstborn in Gen 48!
Manasseh means ‘causing to forget’. All wrongs forgotten and receiving a double portion for it.
Look at Rev 7:15-17 and compare with Rev 14:4-5 and then Rev 21:9-10. The scripture says ‘the city lieth foursquare, the length as the breath’ (Rev 21:16). The measurement is 12,000 furlongs. This is the entire measurement of the length, the breath and the height.
Furlongs: ‘stadion’ in greek – ‘stadium’, a place for running. It is a measure of about 600 feet today.
This is not a physical city.
These are12,000 from each of the 12 spiritual tribes who had run the race; and had run it well. 12,000 x 12 is 144,000.
Why 12? 12 is the number for divine government.
Why 1000? That’s the number for the millennium.
These are they who are now living the Aeonian Life (The Life of the Age – The Millennium) with divine authority. It is a ‘present reality’ life that they continue to have into the New heaven and earth.
But you notice the city also has height. For this city is a cube, its height obtained from worship towards the Father, ‘standing before His throne’.
The Most Holy Place in the in Moses Tabernacle was a 10-cubit cube (Exod 26:33 – the separating curtain made it a cube), while in the Temple of Solomon – (2 Chron 3:8) it was a 20-cubit cube.
Picture of the Tabernacle in the wilderness
[Exodus Chapters 25-27 – This diagram really helps when reading it!]
[picture from: http://www.hope.edu/bandstra/RTOT/CH3/CH3_2E.HTM ]
The New Jerusalem is the Most Holy Place. They are the perfect habitation of God – the 144,000. They are spiritual Israel. A holy Priesthood –
‘Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices [standing before the throne of God] acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 2:5) Did you notice in Rev 7, from verse 9, that John then beholds a company without number, of all nations and tongues?
Notice that they have come out of great tribulation (thlipsis – pressure) and their robes are made white in the blood of the lamb.
‘Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer’ – Rom 12:12
‘Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation [is this the same as great tribulation?] enter into the kingdom of God.’– Acts 14:22.
‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ’ – Rev 14:12.
Notice also that the 144,000 are ‘redeemed’ from among men. Rev 14:4. Are they the same as this large group that has no number?
I believe ‘The 144,000’ is a descriptive term for this innumerable host of saints. Each tribe illustrating a character of the saints.
I know the New heavens and earth will be wonderful. For God says it will be beautiful. But I don’t think the New Jerusalem is a physical city.
Take a look at the description of the ‘breast plate of judgment’ in Exod 28:16-21. Remind you of something? It’s describing the 12 stones of Rev 21:19-20!
Surely these shall be a kingdom of kings and priests unto God. Rev 1:6, Rev 5:10.
Stay blessed in Him
P.S. Note the marriage supper in Rev 19:9 and compare with Rev 19:17 – ‘supper of the great God’. Is the ‘feast’ really a ‘battle’?
SEAL IN THEIR FOREHEADS [Anthony Idemudia Asakpa] 11-22-06 1