“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Multitude From Every Nation

 "And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands"
Revelation 7:4-9

Any interpretation of a passage in Revelation should be carefully considered. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic in nature and is therefore full of allegories and symbolism that can be confusing for the casual reader. Even those scholars and ministers who have dedicated their lives to study of God’s word have trouble interpreting certain parts of Revelation.

However, Revelation 7:4-9, while symbolic, can be interpreted literally. The reality is that the Apostle John heard the number of God’s elect from each tribe of Israel. Each of the twelve tribes had 12,000, totaling 144,000. Even today, the old covenant people of Israel are dispersed. Most have turned their backs on the God of their fathers. However, there are a select few of the Jewish people who worship or will worship the one true God of Israel, Christ. These are those who will be numbered as the 144,000.

But the passage does not end there. In the verses following, John writes that he also saw an innumerable crowd of people from every culture of the world. These are Gentile believers who have turned from their pagan idolatry, worshipping Christ alone. 

While only a select few Israelites will turn to the Lord, the number of Gentile believers is so great that they could not be counted. And in the Kingdom of God, Jews and Gentiles will join together in worship of the Lamb. Thank the Lord for His sovereign election and for His new covenant of grace toward all those who call on His name.

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