What About Israel?… Romans 9-11 pt 1

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.(Romans 9:1-5)

The epistle to the Romans is often said to be the perfect rendering of the gospel, because  the epistle wasn’t written to correct a specific heresy as many of the others were. I have always believed this to be true and have stated it many times, but now I have been shown that I was wrong on that point.

Romans is indeed the best and most complete rendering of the workings of the gospel that I know of in scripture. But the epistle was written to address an error that had crept into the church in Rome, and which would eventually make its way into almost all of the churches.

That error is called “Replacement Theology”, the false teaching that the church of Jesus Christ is the new Israel of God, and that other than coming into the church as individuals, God has no ultimate plan for the physical children of Israel.

In New Testament history, the Roman church underwent several phases. The church can be traced back to Pentecost itself, when Romans were among the Jewish pilgrims in Jerusalem, who heard Peter preach the gospel. The earliest Roman church was almost entirely Jewish, ask virtually all other churches were.

As the revelation came to the apostles, that Gentiles could have a share in the gospel of eternal life, the Roman church began to convert and disciple Gentiles. Thus the second phase of the Roman church was Jewish, with Gentile converts.

Then in 49 AD, Claudius the Emperor expelled all Jews from Rome, which would include the Messianic Jews as well as the others. The book of Acts makes mention of this as well as the Roman historian Seutonius,

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.(Acts 18:1-2)

Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. (Seutonius)

Notice that the secular record of the expulsion of the Jews by Claudius, came because of the instigation over a figure named “Chrestus”. Could this  be a corruption of the name Christ?

Thus the third phase of the Roman Church would be as an entirely gentile congregation. The church thrived, reaching hundreds of former pagans. Its development in those years, was Gentile. An explanation developed as to why the Jews were absented, which became the heresy.

Five years later, the new Emperor Nero allowed for the Jews to return to Rome. This began the fourth phase of the Roman church, which by then was predominantly Gentile with a smattering of returned Jews.

Paul had to write this letter to teach the predominantly Gentile Roman church the place of Israel in the heart of God, and in the church. He took 8 chapters to make the case that the gospel is equally applicable to Gentile and Jew, setting up the three chapters which teach the true place of Israel.

Replacement theology in the church eventually leads to the unthinkable, anti-Semitism. The very things Paul warned us of in Romans 9-11 are happening to the church today.

Consider that the once evangelical Presbyterian Church (USA) has been meeting with “Palestinian” Christians to rewrite the Bible, removing references to Israel and the Jews! This madness is the end of a long process of denominational denunciations of Israel, divestment campaigns, and boycotts.

PPresbyterian Church USA and Palestinian Group Rewriting the Bible To Remove All References To Israel 

One heresy leads to another, for evil has a tendency to snowball and compound.

Consider that the Roman Church which began almost entirely Jewish in outlook and leadership, morphed into the oftentimes antisemitic church of the Popes, indulgences, and of countless other abominations over the centuries, primarily field by the belief that the church is the new Israel and that God is through with the Jews as a people.

Remember that it was Roman Catholicism which first forced Jews in Europe into Ghettos and made them wear yellow stars to identify them as Jews.

By contrast behold the heart of Paul, “the apostle to the gentiles” for His own natural people, Israel. His greatest prayer and desire for the Jews was that they might be saved. He is speaking by the Holy spirit, and there is no hyperbole here; Paul is constantly burdened for their salvation, and if he could, he would gladly be accursed in their place.

Two others have said the same thing and meant it, Moses and Jesus. At the height of the golden calf incident, when Israel proved herself so faithless, Moses plead for them, that He might be “blotted out of God’s book” of  life in their place.

But only Jesus could truly offer himself as a substitute for Israel, and he has done so, being accursed for God, for their sake that Israel might be saved. The Father and the Son love Israel, and still have a plan for her. Only by seeing this and acknowledging it, can one even begin to know what is happening these days .

This is why we must go through Romans 9-10-11.

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The Trumpets; A Reversal Of Creation…Rev 8 pt 3

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

(Revelation 8:6-113)

The Judgments that are coming, in the time of the apocalypse are reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt; hail and fire falling from heaven, the sea turning to blood, the fresh waters also turned to blood.

The whole world lies in the wicked one. The Anti-Christ is the new God defying Pharoah. The entire proud, technocratic, self-sufficient, God defying World is doomed, not just proud Egypt. Sinners shake their fists in the face of God, and harden their hearts, just as Pharoah once did.

Each trumpet calls forth another plague, one after another, in response to the prayers of all of the saints which had been gathered into a censor, offered to God and then flung to the earth.

As in Exodus, darkness will yet come also, a darkness that can be felt. This is a partial foretaste of the second death that the Most High warns about. It is as though he is pleading with men,“Do you now know what darkness really feels like?, Do you really want to thirst forever? Please consider and repent! Don’t go to Hell, I beseech you!”.

In these plagues, He gives the ultra sin hardened souls of the human race a foretaste of the horrors that await them, hoping it will turn them unto Him in repentance.

Another echo of Exodus is the fall of the poisoned star “Wormwood” into the fresh waters. It is the reversal of the story of the waters of Marah, in Exodus 15, when the congregation in the desert found water, but it was bitter and poisonous water.

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,(Exodus 15:23-25)

The gospel is in that story, for as Moses put a God designated tree in the waters to make them drinkable again, so the Lord has given us a tree, the cross of Jesus, to put into the poisoned water of our sinful life. The cross makes the sin poisoned waters sweet again.

But Wormwood is a typological reversal of the story. As a judgment on a world which has rejected the cross, a mountain falls from heaven and poisons the fresh waters of the earth. causing men to agonize in thirst.

Finally these trumpets are the reversal of something much more basic; Creation. In the beginning God said, “Let there be Light…” and all came into being. But at the end, God said, “Let there be darkness(Partial) over the earth. God said let the earth teem with trees, herbs, crops, but after the fire, Hail and blood fall, those blessings of life are consumed.

God gave the great Oceans and called them to teem with life also, but at the end, in judgment, the waters turn to blood and death is what teems in the Oceans. Already the badly burned, radiated and deformed fish are washing ashore in California, from the Fukushima reactor meltdown. This is a foretaste of the coming death of the Oceans.

As we saw in Revelation 6, by the time of the end, even the sky, which is so comforting night or day, reminding men everywhere that there is a higher, better and purer place where we can all know the freedom we long for (Heaven), will be rolled up as a scroll, and taken away. In judgment, even the blessings of the creation of God ar removed from defiant and sinful men.

I pray my readers will flee to the last Ark of safety, as Noah did in His own day. The last Ark is the person of Jesus Christ who came to deliver us from the wrath to come, by dying for our sins and reconciling us to His Father, God. Please call upon the name of Jesus while there is time, and break off from your sins, in the fear of God.

Who may abide the day of his coming, and who may stand when He appears?

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Voices,Lightnings,Thunders,and an Earthquake…Revelation 8 pt 2

 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.  (Revelation 8:4-7)

The cumulative prayers of all of the Saints for all time, have been gathered into a censor, by the Angelic ministers at the heavenly Altar of Incense. Every heartfelt cry for deliverance, and for the coming Kingdom of God has been heard. All supplications from those persecuted and powerless in this world have been regarded by heaven. Each and every prayer for the will of God to be done, “on earth as it is in heaven” will be fully answered.

Those whom the world reject as powerless, and without any earthly resources, and of whom this world despises and rejects, do indeed have power, but not worldly power. With impunity the world mocks and bears false witness of, when they regard them at all. They cry out in places like Sudan, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan, where Moslems enslave and slaughter Christians in the hundreds of thousands, and very few even notice, But God has heard their prayer and the time for the heavenly answer has come.

There will be no place for them in the “Brave New World ” the godless western elites are building, so their rights and limited powers will be marginalized, until they have nothing left except the power of prayer. Like the widow woman in Jesus parable, in the day of the unjust Judges, who regard neither God or man, the disenfranchised flock of Jesus have nothing left but to cry out to God, as their brothers and sisters in the rest of the world.

This vision shows us that when their prayers are gathered and flung back to the earth in heavenly response. Awesome and shattering things begin to happen in response to these prayers.

The vision shows that there would be “…voices, thunderings, Lightnings and an earthquake“as the first result of the cumulative prayers of all time being answered at the casting of the Holy Censor.This is reminiscent of Mt. Sinai, where God earlier revealed himself to men, in the giving of the Law. Once again he will shale all things, and once again some will hear the voice of God and His Angels, and tremble at the revelation of his majestic power in the last days.

Trumpets of Judgment are blown and great terror and anguish comes to the God-rejecting world, as a direct result of the prayers of these powerless and disenfranchised ones.

Who may abide the Day of His coming and who may stand when He appears?

Have there not already been a good many voices calling out as a warning? But the earthly voices have been ignored. Partly they have been crowded out by the glad-handed, insipid form of Christianity that has developed as a result of modern “church-growth” studies, taken out of the secular market sciences and even from the New Age movement.

Modern Christians are lulled to a false comfort,(And in a good many cases a false conversion) through these “new and improved” methods. Compared to the glib,hipster model of modern pastor, spouting psycho-babble and feel-good baby theology, the true prophet who bares his soul calling out the sins of our day and warning people of the coming wrath seems like an irrelevant nut!

So much for the “voices”! There are countless “voices “clamoring for our attention.

But in the dark days of Revelation 8, “Voices” will sound from heaven itself, and in the last form of the gospel, Angels will be dispatched to cry out.

Have there not been plentiful “lightnings and thunderings”? Current events meant to illuminate us all to out true condition, and ominous portents meant to startle us out of our lukewarmness?

Shouldn’t the fall of so many Christian leaders into sin and the exposure of deep hypocrisy, have caused us to re-examine our own faith? What about the exposure of false prophets such as Todd Bentley, Bob Jones and Paul Cain? Wisdom cried out loud in the streets, but when such things happened, they had no effect on the constituency of these charlatans.

Have we not experienced a few earthquakes? Wasn’t the attack on the World Trade center One, and the legalization of Homosexual marriage, and the twice election of a Muslim sympathizer to the US Presidency an earthquake?

In the end, these terrors will sound from heaven itself, for God is still long-suffering, not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance! But will many listen? Will they repent?

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Silence in Heaven …Revelation 8 pt 1

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.(Revelation 8 :1-3)

The flow of the Revelation given to John goes as follows;

Chap 1 – “Write the things you have seen…”- This is the vision of the glorified Jesus.

Chap 2-3- “…the things which are…” Next are the letters to the churches in her present condition.

Chap 4-5 – We are then taken into the very throne room of God and of the Lamb.

Chap 6-“…and write the things which shall be hereafter…” – The first six of seven seals of judgment are opened that we might see the judgments to come.

Chap 7- The vision of the Divine sealing of 144,000 Jews and then the sight of the uncountable harvest of souls is an interlude between the sixth and seventh seal.

Chap 8 – At the opening of the seventh seal there is silence in heaven for a half hour.

This is profound and mysterious on many levels. Silence in heaven? Time measurements in heaven? What could this possibly mean?

It has been pointed out by other commentators that what we see in Revelation 8 is a large-scale liturgical temple service, particularly the one at the altar of incense.

During the service, the Priests would sing numerous songs, prayers and hymns, until the actual offering of incense upon the altar, which called for absolute and utter silence. Such was the gravity of the service on earth, how much more this one n heaven?

The idea of the altar of incense was that the prayers of humanity are inadequate and unacceptable in and of themselves, for even the best are tainted with sinful motive and self-seeking.

But when mixed with the offering of the one beautiful human life, lived in utter and complete love and devotion to God, as a “Sweet smelling fragrance” to God, such prayers become acceptable to God. In the name of Jesus Christ.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.(Ephesians 5:2)

Here we see all prayers of all times, not one of them is overlooked. Cumulatively they have asked for the Hallowing of God’s name, and for the Kingdom to come, the will of God to be done, and for forgiveness of sins, and the deliverance from evil.

True the prayers and the Pray-ers have oft been found weak, inadequate and somewhat wrongly motivated, but when mixed into the life of the One who saved them and offered himself to God completely, none of them is wasted, God has regarded all of the prayers of the least saints.

They are gathered into a censor and flung to the earth to bring about the consummation of all things.This is what the silence in heaven anticipates.

Passages in Zephaniah and Habbakuk and Psalms command the silence which marks the gravity of the majestic God.

Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.(Zephaniah 1:7)

But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him. (Habakkuk 2:20)

Oh That men would recognize the Holy God, and give Him the glory He is due, while there is yet time! Oh that they could but know His majesty and greatness, and humble themselves, finding refuge in the Son! Alas! We live in a day of lightness, even in the presentation of God by the Shepherds!

Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still.  When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.(PSalm 76:7-9)

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Are These? …Revelation 7 pt 4

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.(Revelation 7:13-17)

Throngs of blissful worshippers, stand before the throne in heaven, in John’s vision. They are clothed in white for their work and struggle are over, it is now time for the celebration of the never-ending feast of Sukkot, (Tabernacles), for now finally and fully God does indeed dwell with men. They wave palm branches for they have gotten the victory over the world, the flesh and the Devil. None of them worshipped the Beast.

These people come from everywhere and every time. They no longer sing the line from Psalm 118, “Save us OH God we beseech thee!”.  They now sing “Salvation belongs to God, and to the Lamb”, giving glory to the One who by now has made their salvation a completed fact. It is over, now they have entered into the joy prepared by the Father,for in Him and the LAmb they have triumphed forever!

One of the Holy and august elders approached John in the vision, and asked him “Who are these? And Where do they come from?”. John rightly deffered to the elder, saying “You know who they are”.The answer is two-fold;

* These are they who came out of great Tribulation- There is not a mere spectator in the crowd. All who stood there in bliss before the throne, had to pass through some degree of “Thlipsis”, pressure, rejection, persecution,trouble, and hatred in their pilgrimage through this sin darkened world. Paul told us in the epistle to Timothy, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. 

No one gets to heaven without considerable dents in their armor, and various degrees of cuts, scrapes and gashes, in short battle wounds to correspond to the wounds of the LAmb whom they have followed. Some sealed their testimony in their own blood, forfeiting life rather than denying their LORD> Others like Peter, did deny their LORD, endured long agonizing nights of torment, hearing over and over again the cock crow, but were restored and given another chance to witness to Him.

Some knew the agony of betrayal by loved ones, and even the treachery of betrayal by professing Christians. A good many felt forgotten by their bretheren, cut off, out of sight snd mind through their torment, comforted only by their Saviour.

But all of that is behind them now, and God has wiped the tears from their eyes. Here they stand in Bliss.

* They have washed their robes White in the blood of the Lamb- All of these were given the white robe of Salvation, while yet in this filthy, sin stained world. Their task? Maintain that pure whiteness. How? Isn’t it inevitable to be stained, spattered and muddied whilst we still tread these earthly streets with their open moral sewers streaming along every single by-way?

But these continually resorted to the promises of First John, such as “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, and “If we walk  in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of JEsus cleanses us from each and every sin”(I john 1)

Some who started out, were overwhelmed by the task, of maintaining the purity of the robe, they thought it impossible and were willing to just let it go. In some cases they listened to false prophets who told them that sin doesn’t hinder our relationship with God(I John 3:8-).

But these kept constant accounts, staying close to God and hating sin. The regularly submitted themselves to the Divine laundering, applying the death of “the one who loved them and washed tem from their sins in His own blood”(Rev 1:5).

Now they dwell with God himself, and all of the deepest yearnings and hungers of their heart are satisfied. They knew that the world couldn’t meet the true needs of their hearts, so they waited for Him, the good Shepherd. The Shepherd comforts them, shades them, feeds them, He wipes te tears from their eyes! Amazing! Hallelujah!

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The Ultimate Feast of Tabernacles…Revelation 7 pt 3

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.  And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,  Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.( Revelation 7:9-12)

John’s vision progresses from the 144,000, to an innumerable company standing before the throne of God and of the Lamb.  Someone once asked Jesus if there would be only a few saved. His answer at that time to the one who asked was,  to “agonize to make sure that You yourself enter into the Kingdom”.

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.(Luke 13:23-24)

But in this vision there is a much more satisfying answer to the question. A vast multitude from every walk of life, every class or station, every tribe or tongue, from all times and epochs, stand before the throne of the Lamb in bliss.

* They wear white robes- In the ancient world, most people possessed very few articles of clothing;they had work clothes and a special festal garment, kept clean and neat for special occasions. The word here is ‘stola’, festival clothing.

The work is over for the ones standing before the lamb in this vision. It is time to celebrate the last and ultimate great feast, the feast of tabernacles. All of the anxious toil is over, the crops are in, it is time to relax and celebrate the blessing of the Lord.

White is the color of victory, these have overcome the world, the Devil and themselves. They did not worship the beast, they remained faithful and true to the Lamb of God!

* They bear Palm branches- The holy feasts of Israel serve as an eschatological calendar. The spring feasts of Passover, unleavened bread and first fruits, have already been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus and His conquest over sin and the grave. So also has the summer feast been fulfilled, Pentecost.

The fall feasts remain.Israel has an appointment to keep with God. The feasts of Trumpets, day of atonement and Tabernacles foretell the soon future. Trumpets sound to call Israel back to the Land that God gave Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The modern Exodus is underway, so that the dark night of repentance and soul-searching can commence, “The time of Jacob’s trouble”, a modern-day of atonement for a people who mostly rejected the true atonement of the Divinely appointed scapegoat, Jesus.

After the dark night, when all Israel is saved, and the redeemed are gathered before the Lamb, comes the greatest feast, the feast of tabernacles. God dwelt with Israel in the wilderness, thus tabernacles are built of Palm, citron and other greenery. God tabernacled with man in Jesus, when the “Word became flesh and tabernacled among us”.

And in the end, God shall dwell with men! So they stand holding palm branches of victory and celebration.They sing a revised tabernacle hymn. Through the long centuries the worshippers would sing Psalm 118 on the feast day, part of which is a heartfelt plea for salvation from God.

Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.(Psalm 118:25)

But in heaven the salvation is a completed fact, so the redeemed sing a new song, celebrating the sheer wisdom, love, mercy ,  kindness and sovereign power of the One who sent His Son to redeem them,

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever!”

The Angels are utterly awestruck. The holy Angels have witnessed the ruin of sin and the degradation of God’s creation, man, and must have wondered how anything good could come of ruined, idolatrous, stained and degraded race.

But here they stand in the millions, their vain wondering is over. Once blind and hopelessly lost, but now  worshipping and praising the Creator/Redeemer God, and adoring the Lamb, he who stooped so low to redeem them.

Even for Angels and Holy elders and Cherubim, it is too much to comprehend!

So they all fall on their faces together, before the Lamb and His Father, and utter forth praises and exaltation, laud, honor and glory.

This is the near future of all who love Him and have recieved His love.

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The Number and The Names…Rev 7 pt 2

 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 Israel. 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.  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.  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.  Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. (Revelation 7:4-8)

In John’s vision, One Hundred Forty Four thousand sons of Israel are sealed with the seal of God, immediately before the judgment of God is loosed upon the earth. Twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel are redeemed and sanctified unto God as a kind of first fruits, showing God’s intention to save all of Israel in one day.

Why 144,000? Twelve is the number of the people of God. There are twelve sons of Israel and twelve apostles of the Lamb. Twelve times twelve times a thousand , symbolizes all of the people of God.

There will literally be 144,000 sons of Israel; sealed unto God as evangelists,and so consecrated and separated unto the Divine task, which is the salvation of Israel. T Revelation 14 tells us that they are virgins, for they will all willingly forgo legitimate sexuality(marriage) in an age of fornication, in order to entirely devote themselves to follow the Lamb.

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.(Revelation 14:3-5)

For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.(Matthew 19:12)

God has not forsaken his people, He has promised to save the estranged nation in the last of days,

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.(Romans 11:26-27)

The redemption of these first fruits, the one hundred and forty-four thousand is the signal act that commences the salvation of all of Israel. It is the sign also that the ‘fulness of the Gentiles has come in and the time of Redemption for Israel has arrived.

The names are of significance also. Bible readers soon notice that the names are not in the chronological order as in other places, Judah is first, and not Reuben. Dan  isn’t on the list. Joseph is there instead of Ephraim, to go along with Mannaseh.

What could this mean?

The vision will lead to an  innumerable multitude of men from every tongue and tribe of men, standing before the throne of God with palm branches and great joy, singing the song of redemption. Not just the 144,000 sons of Israel, but uncountable multitudes from every people group on earth are saved!

I believe the names of the tribes as listed in Revelation 7 are re arranged to make a theological point about the general testimony of every son of Adam who has been saved unto God, through the testimony and blood of the Jewish Messiah, and having been prepared by the foundation of Jewish apostles and prophets.

Like the gates and foundations of the Holy City to come, the names of these sons of Israel are somehow imprinted on our hearts and experience. Consider the names in their order,

1. Judah “This time I will praise the LORD.”

2. Reuben “… the LORD has seen my affliction…”

3. Gad “How fortunate!”

4. Asher “Happy am I! ”

5. Naphtali “I have wrestled , and I have indeed prevailed.”

6. Manasseh “God has made me forget all my trouble”

7. Simeon “Because the LORD has heard…”

8. Levi ” attached to me, ”

9. Issachar “God has given me my wages ”

10. Zebulun “God has endowed me with a good gift;

11. Joseph -“God has added…”

12. Benjamin  “The son of my right hand.”

What is the singular testimony of all of the children of men, who have been called out of the sin and darkness of the world into the city which is above?

“I will praise God, He has seen my affliction, How fortunate and happy am I! All of my wrestling, he has made me to forget, and He has heard me and joined me to himself. God has paid me my wages, he has given a good gift to me, And God has added to all of this, the Son of his own right hand!”

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