Rev 7:4 Who Shall Be Able to Stand? 7/10/2005 ßà
#1. Who Are These 144,000? (Rev 9:4)
#2. A Complete Perfect Square (Rev 21:16)
#3. The Sealing of the Saints (Rev 7:3, 2Cor 1:21-22, Eph 1:13, 4:30, Phil 1:6)
Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 6:17 (2X). Last week we saw that Christ opened the sixth seal of the Book that He had taken out of the right hand of Him that sitteth upon the throne. We expect that Christ would open the seventh seal of the Book. Instead, God shows us:
The fifth seal showed us the spiritual, ethical basis for the judgment of the world. The sixth seal showed us the beginning of the judgment of the world and the destruction of the world that is under the curse of sin. And then at the end of Chapter 6 we read in verse 17, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” The question is: Who shall be able to stand in the presence of God? That is why the title of the sermon today is, “Who Shall Be Able to Stand?” (2X). We find the answer to this question here in Chapter 7. Let us read the first eight verses of this chapter:
Re 7:1 ¶ And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
Re 7:2 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 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 (Lit: on) their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which
were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and
four thousand of all the tribes of the children of
Re 7:5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Re 7:6 Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand.
Re 7:7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Re 7:8 Of the tribe of Zebulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
#1. Who Are These 144,000? (Rev 9:4)
Who are these “servants of our God”, who will receive a seal of
God on their foreheads? There are those who interpret this passage very
literally. They claim that God here announces that the Jews, the literal
descendants of Jacob, are the only true servants of God, who shall occupy a
special place in the economy of God’s redemption plan and who will evangelize
the world for a 1000 years. Does God have such a plan? Are there literally only
144,000 servants of God? Certainly not! Only Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret this
number literally, and we don’t listen to them. We must remember that almost
everything in this prophecy of Revelation is to be taken symbolically.
Why should we interpret this passage literally? It does not make sense.
God does not have two or three different salvation plans, like one for the OT
Jews, and one for the NT Jews, and one for the Gentiles. The servants of God
are not limited to these 144,000 Jews. We are also servants of God. Moreover,
the sequence on this list of the tribes of
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt
2:15 (2X). Did you know that the Lord Jesus Christ is called
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which
was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Out of
Where in the OT do we find the words that God called His Son out of
Ho 11:1 ¶
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out
If we did not have the commentary from the NT we would think that in Hos
11:1 God was referring to the Exodus of the children of
Ro 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
And that is altogether consistent with the rest of the Bible, for God
says in Phil 3:3, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in
the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”.
Please turn a few pages to your right, to Rom 9:6 (2X). The NT
teaches clearly that there is no more a national
Ro 9:30-31 That the Gentiles, which followed
not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness
which is of faith. But
Ro 9:32-33 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Allow me to paraphrase this. The Gentiles, who did not actively
pursue to be right with God, did become right with God through the faith which
God gave them freely, by His grace. On the other hand, the majority in the
#1, True Israel in the OT as well as in the NT periods of time is not carnal, but the Spiritual Israel.
#2, The nation as such has served its purpose; true
#3, There is no difference between Jew and Gentile in the present dispensation. They can be saved only in the same Christ and by the same righteousness, which is by faith. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek. All nations are on the same plain at the foot of the cross.
Therefore, when we need to interpret a passage, like Rev 7:5-8, where apparently one nation is favored over all the other nations of the world, then the only principle that is in agreement with the Scriptures is that there is no such thing in the NT time as a special nation with special privileges over and above the other nations of the world. And so, the question that many have right now is this:
From Rom 11 please turn about 50 pages to your right (ß)
to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:7 (2X). Is there a future
glorious 1000 years when the entire world will be evangelized by Jews, because
Christ has come down and is reigning from
Ga 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ga 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
You see, Jewish Christians should not claim that they are “more complete Christians” than other Christians who do not descend from Jewish parents. God says in John 1:13, “Not of blood”, which means, it does not depend on your bloodline. The Lord Jesus Christ is called the seed of Abraham. But look at the honor Christ bestows on us: If we belong to Christ, then we are also called Abraham’s seed, or children of Abraham, according to the promise. Please turn the page to Gal 4:25 (2X). In Gal 4 God shows us an allegory which involves Sarah and Isaac, versus Hagar and Ishmael. We read in Gal 4:25,
Ga 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Ga 4:26 But
This Epistle was written before
#2. A Complete Perfect Square (Rev 21:16)
John heard the number 144,000. And why the number 12,000 out of every
tribe? God arranged it so that 12 is multiplied by 12, which makes 144. Twelve
is the number of God’s people on earth from the point of view of their free
salvation. And so, 12x12 is pointing to the dwelling place of God in the souls
of His saints here on earth. But when we look at the dimensions of the New
Jerusalem, we see a third dimension: 12000x12000x120000. It means that in the
new creation we can look forward to a dwelling place of God with men, which
will have an added dimension to it. We read in Rev 21:16, “And the
city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he
measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the
breadth and the height of it are equal.” We have no idea what this added
dimension might be, for the nature of the new creation remains a mystery to us.
But the number 144,000 in Rev 7:4 also contains the factor 10, in that it is
multiplied by 10x10x10. This is a perfect cube. Where have we seen this
before? And then we remember that the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in
the wilderness had the dimension of 10 cubits long, 10 cubits wide and 10
cubits high. This was the place where the Ark of the Covenant found its resting
place. God chose to dwell in this space of 10x10x10 in a special way. Again,
when we consider the number that symbolizes the Body of Christ on this earth
where Christ dwells in the souls of the saints, 144000, we see that it consists
of 12x12x10x10x10. And all the numbers are pointing to a dwelling place of
Christ. It is a number that indicates completion and perfection, indicating
that 144,000 is a symbol for the perfection of the complete body of believers. And
then we realize how God used the number 12 in the Bible: Twelve patriarchs, the
twelve sons of Jacob, Christ chose twelve Apostles and the number of elders
before the throne is two times twelve, 12 for the OT church and 12 for the NT
church. And so, here upon earth the church, both in the OT and in the NT
appears under the symbol of the number twelve. Moreover, 12x12, or 144,
is the symbol of the
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:4 (2X). The free grace of God is given to dead sinners, who are unable to do anything pleasing in the sight of God. The free grace of God is given to us freely, not based on anything we would do, not based on our response to the hearing of the Gospel, but entirely according to the good pleasure of God’s will. We read about this free grace of God in Eph 1, and especially in verses 4 and 5,
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
The Father chose us before the foundation of the world. Why would anyone object to such a display of the sovereignty of Almighty God? Before the foundation of the world the Father chose a Bride for His Son. What is so bad about that? Of course, that is not bad at all, but it takes away all our self-respect and all our high ideas about our inherent goodness. There is no such thing. Only those who are stuck in their pride will object to such a sovereign display of God’s own will. But the Bible says that God made us for His own purposes. Please drop down to Eph 2:10 (2X), and there we read,
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ a good work? Yes indeed! Is calling upon the Name of the Lord a good work? Absolutely! These are the first movements of a soul that was made alive to God. We also read in the 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians 2:13,
2Th 2:13 ¶ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation. For this we give God thanks. Remember that He could have chosen someone else instead of you. And then He sealed you. What is:
#3. The Sealing of the Saints? (Rev 7:3, 2Cor 1:21-22, Eph 1:13, 4:30, Phil 1:6)
Please turn in your Bibles to the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, 2Cor 1:21 (2X). We read in Rev 7:3, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in (Lit: on) their foreheads”. What is implied in the sealing of these 144,000? It is a mark that is placed upon something, or upon someone, with the purpose of adding security and safeguarding that thing or that person on whom the seal is placed. For example, a business man would seal a certain part of his property to mark his ownership and to safeguard it against robbery. A book was sealed when its contents had to be kept secret, to safeguard it against being opened by improper parties. We also read about the sealing of the saints in 2Cor 1:21-22,
2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
We also read about this sealing of the saints in Eph 1:13,
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
And once more, we read in Eph 4:30,
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
What all these passages indicate is that the saints are sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is a spiritual mark which is placed upon them, which safeguards them against attacks. The Holy Spirit changes the subjects of Satan into subjects of Christ. He it is who brings them to regeneration, to faith, to justification , and to sanctification. Their ownership can never be changed again. In short, the idea of this sealing is the same as that of the perseverance of the saints. Once having come to the faith, one remains a believer. And that is not because we are so faithful, or because we are so strong in our selves, but because the work He has begun within us, in our hearts, has the nature of a seal which can never be erased. God says in Phil 1:6,
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
And so, what more can we say about the:
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John 10, John 10:28 (2X). Perhaps you remember that in Rev 7 something dreadful was going to happen. It is a time of tribulation in which these people must bear that seal. The angels are the servants of God who must execute the judgment of Christ. The winds which they hold are the evil powers which presently will be set loose upon the earth. The saints are made safe, so that they will not be hurt by these evil circumstances. But how must we understand them being safe? It does not mean that the people of God do not suffer. We will endure the same suffering, or perhaps more suffering, than the unsaved do, but spiritually we will not be shaken by these events. Spiritually we are sealed for all eternity. Our destiny is made sure. God speaks to our comfort here in John 10:28,
Joh 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Therefore, when we asked the question in the beginning of this sermon, “Who Shall Be Able to Stand?” we can now confidently answer, “All those who are sealed unto the day of their redemption shall not fall away”. Be not afraid of all that is still to come. The Lord is our possessor, and He has sealed us against the evil day.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.