144,000 a literal number
Let's back up a bit. Leolaia said:
Schizm...What you just said doesn't help Flash's argument regarding Revelation 14:1.
The thrust of my argument was directed at what Gumby had said, which was:
The WTBTS cherry picks which part of the scripture in Rev. 7 concerning the 144,000 to fit their existing doctrine.... If the number is literal, why is not the 12 tribes literal as Nark mentioned?--Gumby.
What Gumby is saying is exactly what I was referring to when I said:
There are those who [like Gumby] will argue that if the 144,000 is assumed to be a literal number, then, to be consistant, the 12 tribes must ALSO be veiwed as literally being the 12 tribes of ancient Israel.
In answer to Gumby and to all those who think like him, I said:
But what if there is a similar example elsewhere in the Bible in which one number is literal but the other number is symbolic? My reference is to Revelation 13:1. The wild beast described there has 7 heads and 10 horns. Whereas the 7 (heads) is in fact a literal number, the 10 (horns) is NOT a literal number.
I then explained how that the 7 heads were literally 7, but that the 10 horns were not literally 10. I then concluded by saying:
So you see, when it comes to Revelation 13:1, there is [both] the literal AND the symbolic referred to.... Interestingly, we see a comparable thing when it comes to Revelation 7:4 ... the 144,000 being a literal number but the 12 tribes NOT being literally the 12 tribes of ancient Israel.
I dealt with Gumby's having questioned the stand of those who (like the WTS, Flash, and I) believe that the 144,000 is a literal number, yet who at the same time argue in favor of a symbolic application to the "12 tribes" and what they stand for. THAT, Leolaia, is what I had hoped you would have addressed.
outbutnotdown, you said,
*** w60 6/15 p. 384 Questions from Readers ***
Further, at Revelation 14:1, 3, we read of Jesus Christ as standing upon the mount Zion together with 144,000 others. The 144,000 would logically be as literal as the 1, making a total of 144,001 standing upon the mount.
It akes perfect sense to me!!!!Brad
When I read this I thought Huh? I did not and do not not see your point. So I answered as I did.
Then you ask me this...
You took my two points, made by the WTBTS, which are contradictory, then you separated them and said that they are both true.
What's up with that? I'm honestly dumbfounded.
What contradiction? What two points? Please make your point clearer.
My best answer to the whole issue is what I said to Narkissos and Leolaia which is,
I don't see it as an inconsistency because it's meaning is contained within the wording in a single sentence.
Yes, Leolaia, the fact they are in the same sentence adds meaning to the number!This to me is the answer to the question
How many "Lambs of God" are there??? John 1:29 One, only one and it is of major significance that the two are connected in the same sentance.
Flash:But John 1 has no bearing on the symbolism of the 144,000 of Revelation 7.
Further, reading a single sentence (out of context), is guaranteed to give you a lopsided theology.
It's even worse when you take a patchwork quilt of such texts.
Try this on for size, for simplicity (Rev.7):
- v4 - hears the number 144,000
- v9 - sees those spoken of are a large multitude
- v15 - these ones work as priests in the temple of God (heaven)
IMHO they are all the same group of Christians (spiritual Israel).
Simplicity? LT your merging the Great Crowd in with the Anointed. Rev.14:3 and 5:9 are very clear when they say they were "bought from the earth." There are two distinct groups, the 'Little Flock' (Luke 12:32) and the 'Other Sheep' (John 10:16). To the Little Flock Jesus made clear that God had 'approved of giving them the Kingdom.' We know when on earth Jesus preached "the Kingdom of the HEAVENS has drawn near" (Matthew 10:7). He also told us to pray for God's Kingdom to come on the earth (Matthew 6:10), there is a clear distinction made. This is one of the things the WTS has gotten right.
Flash:But John 1 has no bearing on the symbolism of the 144,000 of Revelation 7.
Your funny! LOL I think we should shake hands and move on.John 1:29 has EVERYTHING to do with Rev 7:10 and 14:1.
Further, reading a single sentence (out of context), is guaranteed to give you a lopsided theology. It's even worse when you take a patchwork quilt of such texts.
Flash sez in reply:
LT your merging the Great Crowd in with the Anointed. Rev.14:3 and 5:9 are very clear when they say they were "bought from the earth." There are two distinct groups, the 'Little Flock' (Luke 12:32) and the 'Other Sheep' (John 10:16). To the Little Flock Jesus made clear that God had 'approved of giving them the Kingdom.' We know when on earth Jesus preached "the Kingdom of the HEAVENS has drawn near" (Matthew 10:7). He also told us to pray for God's Kingdom to come on the earth (Matthew 6:10), there is a clear distinction made. This is one of the things the WTS has gotten right.
LOL...I didn't think LittleToe was asking for an example of this very thing! Rather than simply repeating Watchtower proof-texting, can you show from the context how you can identify the "little flock" of Luke 12:32 with the "great crowd" of Revelation and identify the "other sheep" of John 10:16 with the "144,000" of Revelation, and can you similarly show that the "little flock" of Luke is not included in the "great crowd" of Revelation, or show that the "other sheep" of John are not included within the "little flock" of Luke, or show that the "other sheep" of John refers to some other kind of group entirely, and so forth. What I'm trying to point out is that you uncritically accept the Watchtower identifications and categorizations (based on two very different scriptures in John and Luke) and impose it on Revelation to interpret it, without showing what one has to do with the other and whether those identifications are correct in the first place.
I believe, along with the vast majority of non-JWs who interpret the Bible (aside from the Mormons, lol), that the "other sheep" in John refer to the Gentiles. Can you show me why this should not be the case?
LOL...I didn't think LittleToe was asking for an example of this very thing!
Niether you, LT nor anyone else will determine what form my responces shall come in. The beautiful thing about the Kingdom message in the Bible is that it runs from cover to cover. People that want to discredit the answers they hear by belittling them as 'patchwork quilt,' 'bible hop-scotch' or 'Watchtower proof-texting' must not really want an answer. Your responce below is another example. You just keep 'raising the bar' with endless requests for proof and only within your guidlines....It's been fun. Have a Great Day!
Rather than simply repeating Watchtower proof-texting, can you show from the context how you can identify the "little flock" of Luke 12:32 with the "great crowd" of Revelation and identify the "other sheep" of John 10:16 with the "144,000" of Revelation, and can you similarly show that the "little flock" of Luke is not included in the "great crowd" of Revelation, or show that the "other sheep" of John are not included within the "little flock" of Luke, or show that the "other sheep" of John refers to some other kind of group entirely, and so forth. What I'm trying to point out is that you uncritically accept the Watchtower identifications and categorizations (based on two very different scriptures in John and Luke) and impose it on Revelation to interpret it, without showing what one has to do with the other and whether those identifications are correct in the first place. I believe, along with the vast majority of non-JWs who interpret the Bible (aside from the Mormons, lol), that the "other sheep" in John refer to the Gentiles. Can you show me why this should not be the case?
LT wrote: But John 1 has no bearing on the symbolism of the 144,000 of Revelation 7.
Flash Wrote: Your funny! LOL I think we should shake hands and move on. John 1:29 has EVERYTHING to do with Rev 7:10 and 14:1.
I'm happy to move on. I can only take so much insanity per day.
You've correctly identified the lamb, but I take no issue with that (along with the whole of Christendom), but you've not done a thing with the 144k, from John.1.
And as Leo pointed out, you only demonstrated what I was saying about patchworks.
Nonetheless, I've no desire to continue to back you into a corner.
Take care, and no doubt we'll meet on another thread
John 1:29 has EVERYTHING to do with Rev 7:10 and 14:1
If so, then why is the word for "lamb" arnios in Revelation 7:10, 14:1 (and throughout the book), and amnos in John 1:29. It isn't even the same word.
Of course, I do agree that both refer to Jesus Christ, but I'm making a deeper point here.....one cannot assume that the concept in one text is the same as that in another text -- especially if by different authors -- just because the same word occurs. In this case it isn't even the same word. And the realized eschatology of John is radically different from the futurist eschatology of Revelation. Thus, there is a real possibility that Jesus is called "Lamb" (arnios) in Revelation for a very different reason than why he is called "Lamb" (amnos) in John.
Good call. I entirely missed that, and it's enlightening.
John.1:29, 36; Acts.8:32; 1Pet.1:19
Revelation (29 occurences) and John.21:15 (feed my lambs)
Aren, from Arnion:
Luke 10:3 (I send you forth as lambs)
http://www.johnankerberg.com/Articles/biblical-prophecy/BP1100W3.htm this is the link your looking for
The Book of Revelation
by Dr. Robert Thomas
This DATA CD Contains a 55 Part series on the Book of Revelation in PDF format. The author, Dr. Robert Thomas, has written a two volume commentary on Revelation, which was published by Moody Press. His remarkable insights will help open this often mysterious book to even the average student of the Bible. This Data CD gathers together Thomas' outstanding series which originally appeared in installments on the johnankerberg.org website.
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One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand: Who Are They? by Robert L. Thomas
Revelation 7:1-8 introduces 144,000 "slaves of our God" (7:3) who must be sealed before four angels release the wind that will blow on the earth, the sea, and every tree (7:1). Various people have advanced ideas about the identity of the 144,000. Years ago I met a man in a campground in Alabama who said he was one of this number. He belonged to the movement called Jehovah?s Witnesses. Being one of the 144,000 placed him in a special category of the elite among the Jehovah?s Witnesses, he thought. Such an identification of this numbered group, of course, has nothing to do with the context of Revelation 7 and is therefore erroneous.
Another line of reasoning understands 144,000 as a symbolic number, divided into three multiplicands, 12 x 12 x 1000. The number 12 is both squared and multiplied by a thousand, a twofold way of emphasizing completeness. The principal reason for this explanation is a predisposition to have the 144,000 as representative of the church. No sound reason exists for taking this number or any other number in Revelation as symbolic. Verse 4 states a simple fact: "I heard the number of those sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand." One cannot justify taking that statement as a figure of speech. These are servants of God whom He will reserve for Himself during the future Great Tribulation just as he reserved 7,000 for Himself in the days of Ahab (1 Kgs. 19:18; Rom. 11:4). The listing of 12,000 from each of twelve tribes in 7:5-8 confirms that the number 144,000 is not symbolic, but literal. Further confirmation comes from Revelation 7:9 where John reveals his way of designating a large crowd. He simply says the crowd was so big that no one could number them. That is how John describes a very large crowd, not by using a specific number such as 144,000. The number represents an actual numerical count of God?s servants.
Verse 4 not only states the number, but also gives the identity of the 144,000. They are "those sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel." Discussion from various sources has sought to build a case that "every tribe of the sons of Israel" refers to spiritual Israel, another name for the church. The proof consists of a long list of New Testament passages that supposedly identify the church as spiritual Israel, the assumption being that Israel rejected her Messiah at His first coming and God has permanently replaced national Israel with members of the body of Christ composed of both Jews and Gentiles. None of the passages cited proves the point, however. The same debate rages in each of the other Scriptures as the one that exists in Revelation 7:4.
Others reason that the 144,000 must consist of the entire Christian community, both Jew and Gentile, because God would not secure some of His servants by sealing and leave others unprotected. Yet who can say what God must do? Only God Himself determines that.
The fact is that the New Testament has no clear cut example of the church being called "Israel." Neither is there such an example in all ancient church writings, until A.D. 160. The "Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16, which refers to national Israelites within the church, is no exception. Revelation 7:5-8 confirms that "the sons of Israel" in 7:4 refers to descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when it lists the descendants of twelve sons of Jacob, tribe by tribe. To interpret that the church falls into twelve such divisions does serious violence to the listing.
Identifying the 144,000 as the physical descendants of Abraham agrees with a literal understanding of the promises made to ethnic Israel in both Old and New Testaments. Israel as a nation has not lost her distinctive national identity before God and will emerge in a prominent role during the days of the future Great Tribulation.
Revelation 7 is an interlude between the sixth seal judgment of 6:12-17 and the seventh seal judgment of 8:1 ff. It answers the question of 6:17, the one asked by the panic-stricken earth-dwellers as they come to the realization that they are face to face with the wrathful judgment of the Father and the Lamb. They will say, "Who will be able to stand?" (6:17), a question that receives its answer in the two visions of chapter 7. In brief, the answer is the 144,000 and the innumerable multitude will be able to stand because they will have been delivered from the consequences of God?s wrath. Some will survive and even prosper under the blessing of God during earth?s future terrors.
Our earlier discussions of the first six seals have identified their time period as the first half of Daniel?s seventieth week, that is, the three-and-a-half years of a future seven-year period just before the return of Christ to earth. The pause in progression of the numbered seal judgments in Revelation 7 gives the reader a picture of conditions that prevail at the midpoint of that future period. The vision of 7:1-8 describes conditions on earth, and the one in 7:9-17 pictures conditions in heaven. Such a chronological placement of the visions fits with the withholding of the winds (7:1) until the sealing of the 144,000 (7:3) is completed. The parts of nature protected from the winds?the earth, the sea, and every tree?will be objects of the plagues brought by the trumpet judgments during the last half of the seven-year period (8:6-12). The sealing of the 144,000 protects them from the plagues of the trumpet judgments to come (e.g., 9:4). Thus, several lines of confirmation reinforce the conclusion that the sealing of the 144,000 will transpire in the middle of the future seventieth week.
The seal of God upon this group will protect them as God pours out His wrath against the earth-dwellers around them. The earth-dwellers will stand in rebellion against God, but the 144,000 as slaves of God will faithfully proclaim the gospel. They will keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus (12:17) in the face of severe persecution inflicted on them by God?s enemies. They will escape the impact of God?s wrath, such as the "locust" plague because that plague will hurt only "the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" (9:4). This will free them to conduct their worldwide ministry of evangelism in those last days. By this time the church will be in heaven, the rapture having occurred at the beginning of the seven-year period, and the rest of Israel and redeemed Gentiles will be in a secluded place enjoying the protection of God. These faithful 144,000 will be His voice in a world marked by unbridled human sin and darkened by the reign of the false Christ. That will be their role. We will meet them again in our study when we get to Revelation 12 and 14, but Revelation 7 marks their preparation for serving the Lord during future perilous times.
God will never leave the world without a witness to Himself. Fellow Christian, you and I are His witnesses during the present era as we await our Lord?s coming for His church. We must be faithful to represent Him because many around us need to hear and embrace the good news that Jesus saves. We will face opposition, but we can rest assured that He will protect us as long as He has a job for us to do just as He will protect the 144,000 in the future. Probably the pressure upon us will be far less direct and harsh than that upon our future fellow-witnesses, but on us the temptation to remain silent will perhaps be more subtle. Let?s not be lulled to sleep by the enemy. Let?s redeem the time because the days are evil.
Note: For more details about the 144,000, see my discussion in Revelation 1?7 (Moody Press, 1992), pages 461-482. To order this volume, you may contact Grace Books International at (800) GRACE15 or <www.gbibooks.com>.
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