We are now beginning a new section in the Book of Revelation in Chapter Seven. We have a natural division in Chapter Seven. This is a parenthetical section inserted between the Sixth and Seventh Seal. The Seventh Seal, which opens the Seven Trumpets, begins in Chapter Eight. However, Chapter Seven is a parenthetical section inserted here. Sometimes, in going through the Book of Revelation, God gives us a preview, and inserts things He wants us to know.
Revelation 7:1-8 - Deals with the 144,000 Jews and Israel.
Revelation 7:9-17 – Deals with the Gentiles.
We will find out some doctrinal things here, concerning Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their teaching concerning the 144,000. I have talked with hundreds of them down through my many years as a pastor, and I am going to give you what they state. All, almost exclusively, state the same thing concerning this 144,000, and their philosophy. It doesn’t agree with the Word of God. You need to know it, because, they are going to hide it from you, in many cases. I have their books in my library, so it is documented.
“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.”
This shows us, first of all, that God rules the atmosphere. He rules this Earth and He allows man to go ahead, as He is doing in this particular period of time. We are in the Church Age, which began on the day of Pentecost, and will culminate when the whole Body of Christ goes at the Rapture. The whole body of Christ will go at the Rapture. It is a Rapture, not, a rupture! When the Rapture takes place, all denominations fall off. There are no denominations in the Bible.
I had one person, a Lutheran, who told me the other day, “I’m a Lutheran.” I said, “I’m not interested in that. Are you a Christian?” Before Martin Luther (b. 1483, d. 1546) ever came on the scene, do you mean to tell me, for some 1500 years, that no one was going to Heaven. There were no Lutherans. Nothing like that existed. Now we have a denomination named after a dead man, and they follow Luther’s Catechism that teaches that baptism gives you eternal life.
Jesus Christ is not dead. We follow the Bible, the Word of God, not a book containing the philosophies of a man, named Luther, who lived approximately 1500 years later. God cares what your opinion is, about what He said.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”(2 Timothy 2:15).
What God wrote in the Bible is the Word of Truth, and that’s what we follow here. I would rather believe God than a man, wouldn’t you? That is unbelievable. His philosophy is no better than yours, or mine.
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).
The parenthetical section, here, interrupts the Seals, the Trumpets, and the Bowls, which are unleashed on a wicked world, series after series. For example: in Revelation 6:8,9, and also in Verses 15 and 16. However, God often interrupts this chronological process to give us a parentheses, or parenthetical vision. Besides that, they explain, or reveal, other concurrent happenings, such as Chapter Seven, Chapters 10 to 14, Chapters 17 and 18, and contain side glimpses into the times of the Tribulation Period. Chapter 7 shows that many will be saved. Chapter 11 shows God’s Witnesses in the first three-and-a-half years. These 144,000 were saved by hearing the message of the Two Witnesses in Chapter 11. Chapters 12 and 13, show the forces of evil during the second three-and-a-half years. Chapter 17 and 18 it show the destruction of the end-time Babylon system, right before Armageddon, which takes place in Chapter 19.
The One-World Religious System, of the Tribulation Period, is your ecumenical movement of today. The Antichrist will control this One-World Religious System from Babylon. All the different religious belief systems will continue, with one exception. They cannot proselyte from another religion. They must be “tolerant” of one another. This is done so subtly, many people do not have any idea it is being done. They go to church, and it is just a social club for them. It is where they meet their friends. It is where they have their picnics, their parties, their suppers, and everything else. Does your church get together with all other churches that do not even believe the same thing?” You cannot preach the Bible when that is done. They suppress the Bible just in order to get along with those that have different beliefs and doctrines. God says…
“…mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (17).
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).
Notice that Chapter 7 begins with the words, “And after these things…” That is the Greek “meta tauta,” and it is a favorite expression of John, who had a keen chronological awareness. It is often used in the Book of Revelation. It is used in 7:9; 15:5, and also in the Gospel of John. It is used in John 6:1; 7:1. Here it refers to the next vision which John saw. After beholding the turmoil of the seal judgments, the onlooker will naturally wonder if any will be saved amid this flood of catastrophes.
God, now, answers that question for us in the two parenthetical visions of this chapter. Verses 1-8, the Jews; Verses 9-17, the Gentiles. The first vision shows that Jews will be turning to Christ at this time, and the second vision shows the multitudes out of every nation who will also come to Christ during these final days of the Tribulation. These two visions are the fulfillment of the rainbow around the throne, seen in Revelation 4:3.
Many ask the question, “Will those unsaved left behind at the Rapture yet have an opportunity to believe in Christ?” As long as they are alive, until Christ gathers them at the Judgment of the Nations at the end of the Tribulation, they may believe in him. If, however, they take the “Mark of the Beast”; then, of course, they will be eternally lost in Hell (the Lake of Fire).
Go with me to 2 Thessalonians, where it speaks of the Antichrist, and we will find the verse that covers this. You hear some preachers today who use this verse as a threat. They say, “If you have heard the Gospel in the Church Age, but you reject Christ, after the Rapture comes, you cannot be saved in the Tribulation Period.” That is a lie out of the pits of Hell. That is not true. God will save you any time you are alive, and you have the sense to realize you are a sinner, and Jesus Christ died and paid for your sins.
One of our church members’ father had fallen ill. He said, My Dad hates preachers, but would you try to visit him. He’s been a drunk all his life and he hates preachers! That’s a thrill. I don’t mind going where they “like” preachers. You always get these calls where they “hate preachers!” I thought to myself, “I wonder if anybody dislikes those who dislike preachers?” I don’t think so. Our job as a pastor, preacher, evangelist, or missionary is to seek and save those which are lost. That’s what Christ wants us to do. Take the Word of God and tell them that, no matter what they have done in their life, Christ died on the Cross to pay for their sins, too.
Anyway, he told me, “My Dad has cancer. He has help from the county that comes in. He probably only has just a few days to live. Preacher, I don’t really know if he will listen to you. Please don’t be offended, he may even cuss you out.”
I went, and just the opposite turned out. I went to his house and the attending nurse said to him, “Mr. White, there’s a pastor here that would like to talk to you. Would you mind if he came in?” I never expected to get any further than the front door, but he said, “No, I would be glad to see him.” I went in and I talked with him. I said, “Mr. White, your son is concerned about you. No one knows how long any of us have here upon the Earth. I may die before you. You may die before me, but there’s one thing about it. We are all going to die, unless we are alive at the Rapture. Mr. White, do you know something? God loves you so much that he sent Jesus Christ to pay for your sins and mine. I don’t care what you’ve done in the past. God’s not interested in your past. That’s not the problem. But He is interested in your future. He is interested in the immediate, right now. Christ died for you. God loved the world and…
“…he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
I said, “Let me ask you a question. Have you ever received Jesus Christ as your Savior?” He said, “No, I never have. I am going to be honest with you. I haven’t been a man that would go to church, or read the Bible. I know very little about the Bible, only what I was taught as a child.” He was up in his seventies, or so then. I told him, “All of that is immaterial. Would you allow me read this to you?” He nodded.
“God so loved the world…” Do you believe that? He loved you so much that he sent His son, Jesus Christ. Mr. White, you know that all down through your years, the world has celebrated Christmas. That is the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, at Easter time, we celebrate that as the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He said, “I know that.” I said, “Well, let me just explain something. God loved you so much that He sent Jesus Christ to be born into this world. He was born to die. He went to the Cross. He paid for your sins, and my sins. I believe He died for me. How about you?”
“Let me read you the next part of the verse, Mr. White.” ‘…whosoever believeth in him…’ Do you want to go to Hell and pay for your sins, or will you accept the Hell that Christ suffered when He died on the Cross for your sins? Will you accept His payment, so you don’t have to make that payment yourself?”
“Oh,” he said. “Is it that simple?” I said, “It’s that simple.” He said, “I never did anything for the Lord. I never hardly ever went to church.” I said, “That’s immaterial. Jesus Christ wants you to go to Heaven and live with Him for all eternity. Will you accept Him? Will you believe that He died for you?”
He said, “I don’t want to go to Hell. If God said He loved me and Christ died for me, all the evidence is there. I believe it.”
I said, “God made you two promises, Sir. He promised that ‘whosoever believeth in Him should never perish.’ That’s the negative. You will never die and spend eternity in Hell ‘…but have everlasting life.’ When you leave this Earth, you are going to be ‘…absent from the body, and present with the Lord.’ Death is only the door that ushers you into the presence of Almighty God.” And I said, “Do you know right now, just since you have accepted Jesus Christ, He is now your Father. He wasn’t before, because John 1:12 tells us ‘as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the children of God.’ You are His child now, and so am I! We are related. We are His spiritual children.”
What a change. He said, “Oh, I thank you for coming.”
I said, “Do you mind if I pray with you, and we’re just going to thank God that you have a home now, and you have another home. When you leave this one here, you have another one in Heaven.” A big smile came on his face. He was just as happy as could be. A couple of days later, he died. He went on to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.
You can accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, even on your death bed. God loves you, and there are no restrictions. There are no threats by preachers. I should say, ignorant preachers, that preach the damnable philosophy that, “If you have heard the Word, and miss the Rapture, because of unbelief, you cannot be saved in the Tribulation.” That is not true. We will show you this, from the Bible, where it speaks about the Antichrist’s coming, in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11,
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (9) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (10). And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
When it says “…a lie…,” it is “The Lie.” It is the definite article. That is the lie of the Antichrist. That is when, in the middle of the Tribulation Period, he says, “I am God,” and, then, sits in the temple demanding to be worshiped. You, then, will be forced to take the Mark of the Beast. He puts out a world order that no man will be able to buy or sell unless he receives the Mark of the Beast.
“That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12).
So, when they go back to Verse 11, and say, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a (the) lie,” remember this. The Lie, the Antichrist, is not revealed until three-and-a-half years after the Rapture, in the middle of the Tribulation Period. You have that first three-and-a-half years in which to be saved. If that were true, how would the 144,000 Jews be saved, that we are studying right here? If they had been saved before the Rapture, they would not be here during the Tribulation Period. The 144,000 Jews here are saved by the witnessing of the Two Witnesses, therefore, we have 144,000 saved AFTER the Rapture in the Tribulation Period.
What are you saying? God is saying that He will send them a lie, or “The Lie, that they might all be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Consider this. Here we are, and the Rapture takes place, every Christian from all over the world disappears. If it is an airplane pilot who is a Christian, he shall leave. Down goes that plane, especially if they have a co-pilot who is a Christian. Christians will disappear from all cars, causing bad accidents. Christians will be disappearing from everywhere. Every Christian, regardless. When you go up, the denominations fall off.
Right after that event happens, which is not going to be some long, drawn-out thing. It will happen in a “moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” According to 1 Corinthians 15:51,52,
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (51) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (52).
The “all” is Christians, whether they are backslidden, or whether they are not. ALL Christians—all born-again believers will be changed. You wake up one morning. You turn the radio on. We’ll say that your wife, or husband, is a Christian. Your children are Christians. You are not. You’ll wake up and they are all missing. You check everywhere. Where are they? You search everywhere, but they are nowhere to be found. You turn the radio or television on, and you hear the devastating news. Something drastic has happened to this Earth. We have no explanation yet, but something has happened.
You remember when you have been in a good, fundamental church, and heard this preached. You have heard 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first (16): Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (17).
You have heard this, and you laughed just like the mockers today in your liberal churches. “Oh, it isn’t going to happen,” you say. 2 Peter 3:3,4 describes it…
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,(3) And saying, Where is the promise of hia coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (4).
You never hear that in your modernistic, liberal churches. They are not going to preach that. Because they don’t believe it! They do not even believe God created the Earth in most of your modernistic, liberal churches. The people do not know it, because they never question their pastor. They go for social reasons and not to learn the Word of God.
But when it happens and you realize, “Maybe that preacher was right. Could he be right?” Then, as days pass, an ecumenical council forms to attempt an explanation of some phenomena that has taken place. Then, the Antichrist will say, “We had to get rid of all these so-called, phony Christians,” which, in reality, were the real Christians. A One-World Religious System will be established under ecumenicalism. You realize, “Hey, I remember a preacher preaching that six or seven years ago. Maybe you were in that church just a month before the Rapture took place. He was right, and what he preached about has taken place right before your eyes! It was in the Bible 2,000 years ago.” Remembering all that the preacher said about Christ, you receive Him as your Savior.
Yes! You can be saved, but if you go another three-and-a-half years, God says, “I know your mind.” You’ve heard the preacher. It was in the Bible 2,000 years ago. After all the Christians have disappeared from the Earth, after all the evidence you have seen right before your eyes, you will go with the Antichrist. You’ve sold yourself out to Satan. You have condemned your soul to Hell, and you have condemned your life here upon the Earth. You have bought the system, Friend! But…as long as you are alive, you can believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in that first three-and-a-half years.
As we’ve said, the question arises, “Can you be saved in the Tribulation Period if you have heard the Gospel in the Church Age. Of course, you can!
“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.”- (Revelation 7:1).
Many of you have heard this poem about the wind by Christina Georgina Rosetti in your early days of Grammar School.
“Who has seen the wind?
Neither you, nor I;
But when the trees bow their heads,
The wind is passing by.”
In some ways the wind is a symbol of fickleness. The way the wind blows is decided by unchanging laws. The sun’s heat and the laws of heat transfer, and the shape and rotation of the Earth, are the chief causes of the winds. Wind is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere, our air around the Earth, by the sun. It is interesting that, near the equator, heated air rises to about 60,000 feet, yet there are no prevailing winds near the equator, nor up to about 700 miles on either side of it. Because the air rises vertically there, instead of moving horizontally across the Earth, this calm belt is called “the Doldrums.” Since scientists believe the winds are caused by unchanging laws, the miracle by God in this judgment, to us appears even more remarkable as suddenly, there is an awesome silence and a deadly calm.
“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, (2) Saying, Hurt not the Earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
A practical application of this happens when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. I would like to emphasize a doctrinal point about the Holy Spirit, here, as we hear so much from Pentecostalism, that we are to seek the Spirit, or that we are to pray for the Spirit. There are many things we are to pray for, but we are never instructed in God’s Word to pray for the Holy Spirit. The reason for that is, God made it a promise that, when you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you would be sealed by the Holy Spirit.We find this in the Book of Ephesians, one of the great doctrinal books of the Apostle Paul, written under the inspiration of God. Speaking about our salvation, in Ephesians 1:13 it says,
“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,” (Ephesians 1:13).
God gives the Holy Spirit. Not because you pray for it, and not because you ask for it. We are never instructed to pray for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to each believer because God has promised to give the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit comes by promise, not as a result of seeking or begging.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
Once you are saved, you receive the Holy Spirit, and that Holy Spirit never leaves you in this lifetime. You are sealed “unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). All believers in Christ are sealed by the Holy Spirit when they believe. Here, for the sake of John’s vision and for our edification, an angel is seen by John coming from an easterly direction. He symbolically carries a visible seal. The actual sealing is seen and done by God. We never see any physical mark suddenly appearing on the believer’s head at conversion, yet the believer is sealed by God. God’s mark of sacred ownership is placed upon the believer, and this seal is the presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.
Here, in Revelation 7:2, there is apparently also some mark visible to the spirit world, placed on the foreheads. Notice in Verse 3,
“Saying, Hurt not the Earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:3).
Verse 3 shows the command given to the four angels who will sound the trumpet judgments that are about to occur in Revelation 8:6-13. He orders them to refrain from starting their actions, until certain ones have been sealed.
“Hurt not the Earth, seas, trees,” refers to those items which will be initially destroyed when the trumpet afflictions begin in Chapter 8.
We ask, “How in the world are these Israelites saved?” They are saved through the testimony of the Two Witnesses, described later in Chapter 11. The chaos on Earth, during the seal afflictions, drove them to seek rescue, and the spirit showed them their sin and the remedy, which was Christ’s death upon the Cross.
In Ezekiel 9:1-7, before the final slaughter begins, a man with the inkhorn marks the forehead of those who are faithful. The avengers are told that none, who are so marked, are to be touched.
“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand (1).
And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar (2)
And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side (3);
And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof (4).
And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity (5):
Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house (6).
And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city” (Ezekiel 9:1-7).
Current events in our time convey similar parallels. For example:
Banks are already using invisible seals of identification on passbooks. Only when the seals are held under a special light does the seal become evident.
Prince Sihanouk was ousted as Cambodian chief of state in a bloodless coup by pro-western Lt. Gen. Lon Nol on March 18, 1970. He, and others, established the Khmer Republic. He immediately set about to defeat the communist Khmer Rouge. When the U.S. forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, both the Cambodians and South Vietnamese found themselves suddenly fighting the communists alone. Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975. The victorious Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and began reordering Cambodian society, which resulted in a killing spree and the notorious “killing fields.” That time, there were almost 500,000 Vietnamese settled in Cambodia. Because they said they could not distinguish the peaceful Vietnamese from the Viet Kong, they ordered all Vietnamese from the country. A deadline was set and those Vietnamese that remained would suffer the consequential judgment and be considered enemies of the government. (Source: history.com/this-day-in-history)
“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.”
The sealing of the 144,000 means that God has put his protection upon them, so when the judgments came on those that were lost upon the Earth, none of the 144,000 were to be harmed at all.
In Chapter Ten of the Book of Matthew, we have the record of Christ sending out the twelve Apostles. Yes, we had one imposter, but the other eleven were true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. He told them: “…the very hairs on your head are numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) And then our Lord made a remarkable statement in Matthew 10:22,
“…but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
That “enduring to the end,” if you read the whole chapter, is referring to the end of their ministry. If they are faithful to the end of their ministry, they “shall be saved (alive).” It is not talking about spiritual salvation, it is talking about physical protection while they are doing what God wants them to do.
I want to bring something in here, before we go on, to show how the Twelve Tribes of Israel originated, and how they separated.
We know that God judges Christians. It may seem that someone, who doesn’t believe in Christ, can go out and commit all kinds of sin, and it looks as though they prosper, and nothing ever happens. The reason for that is, they are not the children of God. God corrects His own children. He tells us in Hebrews 12:6,
“ For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
We have Christians, today, that seem to think that since God is a God of love, God will never correct His children, the believers. They think they can commit any sin that they want to. Pretty soon, they get comfortable in that. They never consider that God wants them to serve Him.
They are just like Jonah, when God commanded him to go to Nineveh. He turned and went the other direction to Tarsus, on the tip end of Spain. The only thing after that was the ocean. Jonah got comfortable, because Satan made it very handy for him. There was a ship ready and waiting for him. He had the money for the fare. He boarded the ship and everything seemed so right to aid Jonah, as he fled from what God wanted him to do.
As the ship untied from the dock and headed out to sea, Jonah probably looked over the rail at the receding shoreline, and heaved a sigh of relief. He should have known you cannot run from God, and judgment was about to come. They ran into a terrible storm that God had sent. God was responsible for that, and he was going to get Jonah, one way or the other. Either Jonah was going to do what God wanted him to do, or it was going to cost him his life.
What Jonah, and many Christians today have to learn, the best protection that you have is to be living for the Lord Jesus Christ under the protective will of God, using your time and talents for Him. Anyone, just like these 144,000, can put the Lord first and have the protective care of God upon you. That’s the safest place for a Christian to be in this world today.
The 144,000 are declared to be “out of Israel.” We want to clear up some of the false teachings concerning the nation of Israel. Therefore, they are Jews who will be saved. The name “Jew” has been applied to all Israelites, both of the Tribe of Judah and the other tribes.
- In the Gospel of John, the Jews are the political leaders in Judah.
- Paul, however, reflects the mixing of the names where he calls himself both an “Israelite” in 2 Corinthians 11:22 and Romans 11:1, and he says “I am a Jew,” in Acts 21:39 and 22:3. Although he was clearly of the tribe of Benjamin, Romans 11:1, he calls Peter a Jew, though Peter was not from Judah, but from Galilee, according to Galatians 2:14. He categorizes all men as “neither Jews or Gentile” in Romans 2:9; 3:9; 9:24.
Jacob had twelve sons by four mothers: Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah. The names of the twelve sons are given here in Revelation 7:5-8, but we are going to find out there is one tribe missing. Jacob had lived with his son, Joseph, in Egypt, the last 17 years of his life before he died. He placed Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, on the same level as his own sons. You will find that in Genesis, Chapter 48:5, 13-22. Now, we have thirteen, not twelve, tribes that came into being, since Joseph’s tribe was divided into the two half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
However, in the distribution of the land made by Joshua, the tribe of Levi had no share in the land (Joshua 13:14), but only cities scattererd throughout Israel to dwell in, with pasture land for their cattle. Joshua 14:4 relates that to us. Therefore, God, by dividing the Levirate portion among the others, retained the number of landholding tribes at twelve, the original number of Jacob’s sons. Those of the tribe of Levi had no inheritance in Israel, and the Lord was their inheritance, according to Deuteronomy 10:9.
In the marches of the Army of Israel, the Levites performed the priestly functions. Deuteronomy 33:10 instructs us about that. They marched behind the second echelon of tribes, according to Numbers 2:17. The Levites marched with the Ark of the Lord.
Also, Pharoah gave Asenath to Joseph to be his wife. Asenath was the daughter of the Priest of On. The city of On is the modern-day Hierapolis, which is near Cairo, Egypt. Asenath bore Joseph his two sons, Manesseh (“causing to forget”), and Ephraim (“doubly fruitful”), and she bore them before the famine began. You can test that in Genesis 41:45-52.
The reason for bringing this is out is due to the false teaching of Armstrong-ism.
It is also interesting to note how the twelve tribes were separated. The twelve tribes were, for the most part, a United Kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon. When Solomon died, a split occurred. The division occurred in approximately the year 931 B.C., and it continued until both of the kingdoms went into captivity. These catastrophes virtually wiped out tribal distinctions. The tribes are not mentioned by name again, except in the Book of Psalms, and in prophetic portions of Scripture. While some of the exiles returned to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, they never really regained their independence, except for a few years under the Maccabees in about 142 B.C.
Yet future, as we are going to see,
“The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, (15), Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions (16): And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand” (Ezekiel 37:15-17).
Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, founded the Northern Kingdom of Israel when the nation was split, following the death of Solomon. It was made up of ten of the tribes, with the exception of Judah and Benjamin. He made Samaria his capital. He was afraid to let his people return to Jerusalem to worship, for fear they would go back to the house of Judah and unite with the southern two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. He set up centers of worship in Dan and Bethel, using the image of the golden calf, and led the people into immoralities, and heathenism, which eventually led to their destruction.
Rehoboam was the first ruler of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah. The capital of the Southern Kingdom was Jerusalem. Rehoboam raised an army from Judah and Benjamin, but was forbidden by God to attack his brethren, the northern ten tribes, who had seceded from the nation. He, then, instituted pagan rites and false worship centers, and waged a relentless stuggle against Jeroboam, the king of the northern tribes. He was buried in the city of David, which is part of Jerusalem.
The tribe of Dan was originally settled in the southern half of Israel, along the coast, but they were unable to tame the powerful Anakims, who were literally giants. The tribe then migrated into the far north of the nation. The Babylonian Captivity of the House of Judah, by Nebuchadnezzar, began about 606 B.C. He took Daniel, and others, as captives to Babylon. He took more captives again in 597. Finally, when the king of the House of Judah revolted against him, Nebuchadnezzar, in 586 B.C., came and destroyed Jerusalem, burned the temple, and took the rest of the nation to Babylon as its captives.
With that in mind, I am now going to bring out the false teaching of the World-Wide Church of God, and their philosophy which they have perpetrated, called British-Israelism, or Anglo-Israelism. Here is what they teach. The ten tribes of the House of Israel were captured by the Assyrians and, upon their release, migrated westward through Northern Europe and, finally, became the ancestors of the Saxons who invaded England. Thus, they teach that the Anglo-Saxons are the “Lost Ten Tribes,” and heirs to God’s promises. They say those people are now the “Lost Ten Tribes,” and, therefore, there are no Jewish Tribes of Israel today.
But this is not true! The Bible says in Leviticus 26:33 and also James 1:1:
“And I will scatter you among the heathen (Hebrew “goy” nations), and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste” (Leviticus 26:33).
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting” (James 1:1).
So, we find the Bible says they will be scattered among the nations, not “go to Northern Europe,” as this church teaches. They teach this through the “Plain Truth Magazine,” the World-Wide Church of God, Box 111, Pasadena, California. The founder of this cult is Herbert W. Armstrong, who has since died, but they still carry on his philosophy that does away with the nation of Israel. They say that they, the Anglo-Israelites, are now the Jews. They teach that the tribes no longer exist, and that they migrated to Northern Europe. As we have seen, that is not true! God scattered them throughout the world. “And I will scatter you among the heathen (“nations”). Notice here in Amos 9:8,9,
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the Earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. (8) For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the Earth” (9).
God is going to preserve them, but they will be sifted through all nations. Remember this, now, which also refutes this philosophy.
- Paul says in Acts 21:39: “I am a Jew of Tarsus.”
- Romans 11:1: “I am an Israelite.”
- Paul uses the two terms, interchangeably, and the British Israelites claim that this can never be done. Nevertheless, using the two terms, interchangeably, was especially true after the Assyrian conquest.
- Ezra records the remnant, calling them “Jews” eight times. He calls them “Israel” forty times, referring to one and the same.
- Nehemiah calls them “Jews” eleven times, and “Israel” twenty-two times.
- The New Testament speaks of Israel and Judah as one nation.
- The New Testament uses the word, “Jew,” 174 times, and the name, “Israel,” 75 times, alternately and often interchangeably.
- Again, Paul says: “I am a Jew of Tarsus.” Also, Paul says: “I am an Israelite” in Romans 11:1.
The Bible uses the two terms interchangeably. The British-Israelites claim this can never be done. Who will you believe? The false teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, the World-Wide Church of God, or are you going to believe the Bible? That’s why it is so important for you to study the Bible for yourself.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the fact that the 144,000 are Jews. There are only two places in the Bible where the 144,000 are spoken of: Revelation 7, and Revelation 14. I have talked with, literally, hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and have had the privilege of leading some of them to the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Most of them are unaware of these two passages of Scripture.
Usually, when I ask them, “What do you think about the 144,000?” I have had almost exclusively every one of them tell me, “Well, we hope that we are one of the 144,000, as only the 144,000 are going to go to Heaven. Everybody else is going to inherit the Earth. That is their philosophy and their teaching.
To refute that, I ask them this: “How in the world can you want to be one the 144,000, when God’s says they are Jews that are sealed to preach the Gospel. First of all, to be one of the 144,000, you must be Jewish, because it names, here, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. So, by nationality, you have to be a Jew. If you are not a Jew, then, as a Jehovah’s Witness, you cannot claim to be one of the 144,000. Second of all, these passages exclude all women. This came as a great surprise to two young ladies who came to my door one day! They said, “We hope to go to Heaven one day with the 144,000. Notice Revelation 14:4:
“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.”
God says the 144,0000 were men and they were not married. “…for they are virgins.” There are three qualifications to be one of the 144,000:
- You have to be a man. There are no women.
- You had to be unmarried.
- You had to be a Jew
Let us again consider, in Revelation 7:3, where God has sealed these 144,000 saying,
“Saying, Hurt not the Earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
When you are doing God’s service, you are under the protective care of Almighty God. There’s no one that can point a finger at you. Old Satan might accuse you, but it is absolutely worthless in God’s eyes. Remember, if you are a Christian, Satan is your enemy. Satan hates you, and he wants you dead. If you are dead, you can’t witness to anyone. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that Satan’s method of operation is to entice Christians to indulge in sins that cause them to lose their testimony, and ultimately their lives.
Notice Revelation 7:4 again:
“ 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.”
These are saved as a result of the preaching of the Two Witnesses in Revelation, Chapter Eleven.
“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 (5).
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand (6).
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 (7).
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 7:5-8).
One tribe is missing, and that is the tribe of Dan. This is a beautiful illustration of the fact that you can never lose your salvation. When you have God’s salvation, by placing your faith in what Jesus did for you on Calvary, you cannot get yourself unsaved. If you could, that would make God unfaithful and a liar. According to John 3:16 and John 3:18, you will not perish, you will have everlasting life, and you will not come into condemnation.”
“ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
Any sin you commit, after you become a Christian, will never take away your eternal life. You are still subject to the laws of the state and the government, and you are still subject to be sentenced by them for breaking the law. If you run a stop sign and were seen by a policeman or highway patrolman, whether you saw it and did it purposely, or did not do it purposely, you still have to pay the fine. I am sure it is not going to deter the officer from writing you a ticket if you say: “Yes, Officer, but I am a Christian.” No, he is still going to write you that ticket!
When you trust Jesus Christ, the eternal punishment of any sin that you do—past, present—or future, is paid for. He paid for your past sins, your present sins, and all of your future sins. Also, God can chasten His children, as the Apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:6-8,
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (6). If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (7). But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons”(8).
If you are not chastened, then you are not a son, you’re an illegitimate child; but—God does correct His children. Concerning the tribe of Dan, God took away their right to serve, and to be represented during the Seven-year Tribulation Period as one of the twelve tribes that make up the 144,000. Many believe this was because of being one of the first tribes to go into apostasy when they went into the land of Canaan. Therefore, God took away the right of service from the tribe of Dan, and to be represented during the Seven-year Tribulation Period. God did NOT take His eternal promise from Dan, that they would be restored in the Millennium. The tribe of Dan will still have their promised portion of land in the Millennium, when Christ comes back to set His Kingdom. God never took away that promise, but he did take away their right to serve.
So it is with the Christian. God will never take away your eternal life, but He can take away your right to a position. You may be a pastor who has committed adultery, or have done something illegal that you should not have done. Sad to say, there have been many pastors who have done that, and God has removed them from that office. They are not fit to be a leader when they cannot even lead themselves.
There have been Sunday School teachers, choir directors, or pianists, who have done a wonderful job for God, but they never could be counted on. They were not disciplined in their life and they have had to be removed. They can no longer serve in that position because of their unfaithfulness. Did they lose their salvation? Absolutely not! They never lost their salvation, but they lost their right to serve. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us,
“ Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
You will see what a classic illustration this is of your eternal security. Go with me to Deuteronomy 29:16-20, where God had given the tribe of Dan, and the other tribes, this warning.
“(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by (16);
And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them (17):
Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; (18).
And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst (19)
The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.”
Now, we find out the sin that the tribe of Dan committed is in Judges 18:27, 30-31. When in Canaan, and pushed by the Philistines, they moved north to a city called Laish. They burned it, and they set up their images, worshiped them, and remained in the city of Dan for quite a while.
“And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire” (Judges 18:27).
They renamed the city “Dan.”
“And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel: howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first” (Judges 18:29).
In Judges 18:30-31, God reveals the sin Dan committed.
“And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land (30). And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh” (31).
The graven image of Micah was demon worship. It was worshiping gods made of stone. Because of this, God took away the right of the tribe of Dan to be represented as part of the 144,000 in the seven-year Tribulation Period, but He never took away the promise made to the tribe of Dan, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that they would receive a portion of the Land that He had promised to their forefathers. God never took away that promise. He chastened them, but He never took His promise away.
Notice in Chapter 48 of Ezekiel. Ezekiel has a natural outline in it. Chapters 36 and 37 are about bringing Israel into the land. Chapters 38 and 39 have to do with the protection of Israel in the land. Chapters 40 to 48 go on, and bring us to the time of the Millennium. Notice what happens to the tribe of Dan during this particular period of time, when Christ comes back at the end of the Tribulation Period and sets up the Millennial Reign here for 1,000 years. They still get their portion, and, although God had to chasten them by taking away the right to serve and be represented in the Tribulation Period, still, in the Millennium, they receive the portion that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Notice what is says in Ezekiel 48:1,
“Now these are the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazarenan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east and west; a portion for Dan” (Ezekiel 48:1).
Many churches teach that you can lose your salvation. If you could lose your salvation, God would become a liar, because He says that He gives “everlasting life.” Don’t forget what God tells us in John 3:16. This is a very familiar verse we all learned in Sunday School.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
What kind of life does John 3:16 promise? That is “everlasting life.”
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;…”
Why? Because it was already condemned.
“…but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
What kind of life does this verse say we have? We have everlasting life. God made that promise to you, and me, and everyone in the world. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have “everlasting life.” He did not say: “Life until you sin again.”
What happens when a Christian sins? In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, the Apostle Paul describes what is going to happen to a Christian when he stands at the Judgment Seat of Christ to give account of what he has done with his life. This is from the time he is saved, because at the time he is saved he is a “new creation.” “Old things are passed away. All things become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). God wipes the record clean when you become a Christian. When you receive Christ as your Savior you are born-again, or as the Greek word,“anothen,” states, “born from above.” You are brand new—spanking clean! Everything from the past is wiped off the slate, but what you do with your life, from then on, determines whether you get rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, or whether you suffer loss of rewards.
“For other foundation can no man (no Christian) lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Let us expound on this. Building on the foundation of Christ is not water baptism. It is not turning from your evil ways to good ways. It is not joining the church. It is not “turning over a new leaf.” You can go from right now and never sin the rest of your life, and you will die and go to Hell when you leave this Earth. Your sin has to be paid for.
The only foundation that takes you to Heaven is Jesus Christ. When this verse says, “For other foundation can no man lay,” it literally means “there is no foundation a man can lay that is going to be substantial enough to take you to Heaven.” No man can lay any other foundation that will supersede Jesus Christ. Your good works, your baptism, your church membership, your taking communion, your being confirmed in the church will not get you into Heaven. These are just gimmicks to make you feel religious.
The foundation is: Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? I make no apologies for saying “Church gimmicks.” Anything, outside of the Lord Jesus Christ as the foundation of your faith, is manufactured in the minds of the churches who are “vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind” to mislead you. You are going to miss Heaven by accepting a false teaching. What does the Bible say? Notice again.
“For other foundation can no man (no Christian) lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
No one can supersede the plan of God when He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the only “Foundation for Eternal Life.”
“Now if any man (any Christian) build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble” (1 Corinthians 3:12);
- There are two things the Christian can build on this Foundation:
- “gold, silver, precious stones.” = Good works.
- “wood, hay, stubble.” = Bad works which are going to burn.
“Every man's (Christian’s) work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13).
- “Every man’s work shall be made manifest.” “Manifest” means “made known.” There is not one thing a Christian can get away with—not one thing. Even the things we just think about doing, but don’t, God has a record of, because He knows the ”thoughts and intents of your heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
- “For the day shall declare it.” The day He is speaking about is the Judgment Seat of Christ, which takes place right after the Rapture.
- “Because it shall be revealed by fire;” It is “tried by fire” because fire symbolizes purification.
- “And the fire shall try every man’s (every Christian’s) work of what sort it is.”
The fire of God judges our works, symbolically showing the pureness of God. He will judge each one equally. He will not be like the judges of today who allow some shyster attorney to come in, and get the criminal off. There are no legalities that will get you, and I, off. We are responsible for what we do, because every man shall give an account of himself to the Lord. (Romans 14:12). We are totally responsible for what we do.
“If any man's (any Christian’s) work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14).
- “If any Christian’s work abides, this is your “gold, silver, precious stones” of Verse 12. If you use these materials to build, then you are going to be rewarded for serving the Lord.
- This is a Christian Judgment; not one for the lost. The lost are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment; but this is the Christian’s judgment.
“If any man's (any Christian’s) work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
“So as by fire,”again, represents the pureness of God. If you are saved “so as by fire”it shows:
- Fire is the purifying agent, and God will never go back on His Word, no matter what you do. He will chasten you. He may even take your life if you “sin unto death.” He can do that. But God will never make Himself a liar. He is pure, and when He promised you that you would never perish, but have eternal life, He made His promise true.
- Any teaching that says you can lose your salvation is built upon the foundation of a false doctrine, a false Christ, a false faith, and it is always a works salvation. If there were any sin you could do to lose your salvation, then, all you would have to do is quit doing that sin, and you would be saved again. This would contradict God’s way of salvation, because He said,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Those that claim you can lose your salvation, do not have God’s salvation. It is either, because they do not understand God’s salvation, or they are trying to earn, or merit, their way to Heaven. God condemns that as self-righteousness and they will never see the glories of Heaven.
- “If any man’s (any Christian’s) work shall be burned.” This is your “wood, hay, and stubble.” These are the things that a Christian can do that are not pleasing to God. They do not honor God. They are unfaithful to God. They are ashamed of Christ. This is a Christian that may be living for the pleasures of the world, “For the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” and not dedicating themselves so they can be used in God’s service. (1 John 2:15-17). They are going to suffer “loss” (of rewards):
- “But”…that little word,… “but!” “…but he himself shall be saved.” God says: “I am assuring you, even though you lose rewards, you will never lose your salvation.
- Always remember this. Salvation is never a reward. Works that you do in your Christian life are done to earn rewards, but you can never earn salvation. Salvation is never a reward. Salvation is a free gift.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (8) Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Just as the tribe of Dan had their right to serve taken away, because of their unfaithfulness, they never lost the promise of God to their eternal inheritance of the land that God promised to their fathers. Likewise, the Christian who does sin is going to suffer loss of rewards, but he is not going to suffer loss of salvation.
Notice Hebrews 12:5,
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him”
Even when God has to correct us, He still lets us know we are His sons.
The 144,000, who are going to represent Christ in the Tribulation Period, will cause one of the greatest evangelistic exhibitions ever seen. They will be responsible for leading thousands of Jews to Christ, and, also, those Gentiles in the last half of the chapter. (Revelation 7:9-17). They will be great preachers. They will be fearless, and will have the protection of God upon them.
What we are about to consider will show you what God thinks of the nation of Israel that he formed, and selectively bred to take the Word of God to the world. Israel failed, but God had made some promises to Israel that He is not going to break.
First of all, there is a principle that will never fail, concerning God’s chosen people. This is the first promise made to Israel, but reiterated many times down through time to others. It all began with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3:
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee (1): And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing (2):
MARK THIS ONE IN YOUR BIBLE!
“ And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3 ).
In Zechariah 2:8 we are going to find what God thinks of Israel. God says:
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
The prime glory of God are the Jewish people that He has selectively bred through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They have been known as the Seed of David, the House of Israel. There are a lot of false prophets saying that God is through with Israel, as a people. You can not point a finger at a Jew and come back with anything less than a stub, when God gets through with you.
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin (1). God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying” (2).
“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” (Romans 11:26):
You must remember this: if you point a finger at a Jew, you point a finger at Christ, as Christ was a Jew.
“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.”
- “Clothed with white robes.”
This is a robe that is given to every Christian. Every saint in Heaven is clothed with a robe. The white represents the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ. These saints are not in Heaven because they are good enough to go to Heaven. God has concluded that no one is good enough to go to Heaven. Romans 3:23 tells us,
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23);
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
We have all sinned and, of course, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But, we do find in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that the Word of God tells us,
“For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When we accept Jesus Christ, we lay aside all of our self-righteousness, and we admit to God we are just what He says we are. We are sinners, and we are helpless, and hopeless. We have no way to attain eternal life. In fact, eternal life is not an attainment, it is an obtainment. The attainment was done by Christ for us. He did what we could not do for ourselves.
Therefore, Jesus Christ died on the Cross as the only sinless person who ever lived, and He offers salvation, now, to you and me. We put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and, what happens is, He takes our sin and marks it “Paid, completely,” 2,000 years ago on the Cross of Calvary. God puts our sin to the account of Jesus Christ. In order to go to Heaven, we must be perfect, therefore, God takes Christ’s righteousness and He puts that to our account. Faith in Christ for salvation causes an exchange. My sin is given to Christ, and His righteousness is given to me.
Oh, how we ought to praise Him that He loved us while we were yet a sinner, and did that for us. We have a white robe given to us, not because we earned it, but only because we are saved by grace.
We find out from Verse 9, in the second parenthetical vision of this chapter, just as we finish reading in Verses 1 to 8, that God will save many of the Jews during the Tribulation Period. The Bible now reveals that God will also save a mass out of the Gentiles.
- “A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations…” As part of the “things to come,” this is what John sees. They are out of tribes, and peoples, and tongues, thus, this group is not a Jewish group, but a Gentile group from all over the world. It is so large, that John despairs of even assigning a number to it. John could see the numberless mass of those redeemed during the Tribulation Period.
And yet, as the Scriptures show, the mass of the world will still follow the Antichrist.
The white robes show that they have been washed from their sins. These are people who have trusted Christ for salvation. Notice in Revelation 7:10:
“And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
- “Salvation to our God…” He doesn’t say salvation and water baptism.” He doesn’t say salvation and a church. Some churches have the audacity to say, “Well, we are the First Church.” There are no denominations. The church, the “ecclesia,” is the Body of Christ and it embodies all believers, regardless of their denomination. The Church, in the Bible, is the spiritual body of Christ. Here we have believers from all over the world who are in the Body of Christ.
- “And cried with a loud voice saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne.” This verse should be translated as in our King James Version, or it could possibly be translated “Salvation is by our God who sits upon the throne, and by the Lamb.” While both of these perfectly fit the Greek, the latter translation seems to be the better fitting in the present context.
- “And palms in their hands;” I think it is significant to look again at this multitude who are saved during the Tribulation Period. They carry palms in their hands, and there is a distinction between this group and the Christians earlier caught up at the Rapture. This group has no crowns, at this point; yet, having palms in their hands is a symbol of rejoicing and gladness. Because this assembly in white robes is gathered out of the Tribulation Period, this tells us many will consequently suffer martydom, and wear the “martyr’s crown.” Those who were previously caught up in the Rapture are represented by those sitting around the throne, as we are told in Revelation 4:4. Those saved during the Tribulation Period are seen standing before the throne, according to Verse 9.
- “A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations” Again, these verses make it evident to us that world-wide preaching will occur during the Tribulation Period, from which this multitude from all nations will come to Christ.
In Matthew, Chapter 24, we find that Christ is speaking about the same period of time that the Book of Revelation covers from Chapter Four to Chapter Nineteen.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
And then Christ goes on with the “abomination of desolation,” which takes place in the middle of the Tribulation Period.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15):
Let us continue…
“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 (11), Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (12).
- “On their faces, and worshipped God.” What a wonderful thing. Let me ask you. When is the last time you have bowed a knee to the will of God. Not that he needs this, but the point is, God wants to use you.
- “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving” This makes us think of the little things, prayers of thanksgiving at mealtime, especially for those who have children, or even if you don’t. Just a moment of prayer. “Dear Lord, We thank you for what you have been so gracious to give us and bless us with. We thank you for that. We are never going to stop giving you thanks, nor take your goodness and grace to us for granted. We know that, as James says, “ Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). All that we have comes from you, Dear Lord. May we never be too busy to stop and thank you for what you have done for us. Amen”
- “Glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might,” Here we have a wonderful portrait of true worship which certainly includes adoration to God, thanksgiving to God, and prayer, which it does. We should never cease to thank and praise the Lord for His manifest goodness to us.
- The Martyred Remnant which are saved during the first half of the Tribulation Period (Rev. 6:9-11).
- The 144,000 Jews are saved right after the Rapture, and God gives them His seal for protection. They are going to continue to witness on through the last three-and-a-half years, known as the Great Tribulation. With God’s protection they are preserved from God’s judgments which fall on a wicked world during this time.
- The Gentiles, described in Revelation 7:9-14, are “the great multitude which no man could number.” Any of these could be saved right after the Rapture and on through the Tribulation Period until Christ comes. In the last three-and-a-half years, those caught refusing the Mark, 666, of the Antichrist, will be martyred by decapitation. Revelation 20:4,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years”
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” (13).
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” (14).
The elder seeks to instruct John on the origin of the saved multitude, and as good teachers often do, he introduces his subject by a question. John’s question was “Sir, thou knowest,” means “Sir, I do not know; but surely you must know, and you are the one who can tell me.”
- “These are they which came out of great tribulation,” in the Greek means literally: “These are the ones coming out of THE great tribulation.” Notice that the verb is present tense, and that the definite article “the” is clearly included. This is important, because the significance of the Greek article is one of identification. Therefore, these have not come out of the general tribulation of this life. Every Christian in this life now suffers tribulation, of which the Christian has much. We find that in Romans 5:3; 8:35.
Note on “Article” as a Part of Speech. English has two Articles: 1. Definite “the”; and 2. Indefinite “a.” The Greek has only one Article only: Definite “the” with 24 specific uses. Here it identifies “The Great Tribulation” as different from the first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation Period.
These have emerged out of The Great Tribulation, a specific period of time. What is the Great Tribulation spoken of in Scripture? Let us go back to Matthew 24:15. Remember, as we recapitulate just a second. The Antichrist makes a covenant with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation Period, right after the Rapture. He allows them to go into their rebuilt temple for three-and-a-half years. In the middle of that Tribulation Period; or after the first three-and-a-half years, he breaks that covenant. This is the time spoken of in Matthew 24:15,
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.”
This was prophesied in Daniel 9:24-27. Then, he says, when this time comes, the Antichrist will seek to kill every Jew.
“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains (16): Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house (17): Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes (18). And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (19). But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day (20): For then shall be [the] great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:16-21).
- “For then shall be [the] great tribulation” In the original Greek this is “The Great Tribulation.
- “And except those days should be shortened” They will have to be shortened, or no one will survive!
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
Let us notice Matthew 24:29.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”
- “Immediately after the tribulation of those days.” The Great Tribulation is the last three-and-a-half years. When that is completed, then Jesus comes back and fights at the Battle of Armageddon. We come back with Him because “…so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
- Luke 17:26. Christ, himself, is doing the speaking here. This shows you how close we are. We are right on the pinnacle of the Rapture. He gives these signs concerning the Tribulation.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man (26). They did eat, they drank, they married wives, (27a)
It is not they “married ‘a’ wife” but wives. It was just a continuation of marriages. Marriage was not sacred any more.
“…they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” (27b).
This was just all that it was. They were just living for the lust of the flesh.
- Luke 17:28.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.”
There is nothing wrong with eating, drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, unless that is all that you are living for. Notice! They did not marry wives. Why? Because Lot was living in Sodom and it was filled with homosexuals.
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29).
- Luke 17:29.
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom…” “Sodom” is where we get our word “sodomy.” These are your homosexuals. “…It rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
- Luke 17:30: “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
He’s coming “in that day.” What day is it going to be? It is going to be a day when there is not going to be the sanctity of marriage any more. If something goes wrong, just marry another one. God’s will is “Til death do us part.” Now, the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage, and we realize that is just the kind of day we live in now. Marriage is no longer regarded as a sacred bond between a man and a woman. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.You have many liberal churches today that take in practicing homosexuals, even ordaining them into the clergy.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. (16) 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” (17).
It is interesting to note that 70 per cent of the world’s population live in underdeveloped areas such as Asia, Africa, Latin America. By the year 2,000, China alone had more than one billion people. At that time, at least one out of seven people in the world will be Chinese. Over 10,000 people a day are starving to death at this present age. It is hard for us to realize that here in America, because we have not been to these other countries to see the starving children and adults.
- “They shall hunger no more” Most Americans, as we have said, do not realize what it means to be hungry. The redeemed during the Tribulation Period will indeed experience the pains of hunger, by refusing to bear the mark of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:17). No one will be able to buy or sell, unless you have sealed your destiny to Hell by taking the “Mark of the Beast” on your forehead, or on your hand, the Number “666.” (Revelation 13:14-18)
In April of 1970, in Life Magazine, it devoted a 7-page article on what was known as ZPG. ZPG stands for zero population growth, a movement to curb population growth by discouraging births, encouraging abortion, the raising of taxes especially on those that have children. For every 235 babies born each minute, only 96 people die, approximately. Famine and hunger are just around the corner. Because of America’s lofty standard of living, 210 million Americans gobble up more resources than 2.5 Billion living in less developed countries.” Well, Folks, that was 1970. Let us fast-forward to the present…
“There are 255 babies born each minute, and 107 people die each minute, approximately. 319.9 million Americans are using more of the globe’s resources than the 5.9 billion living in less developed countries. Yet, in the coming years, food will become scarce even in America. Riots, because of hunger, will grow in proportion, and, in light of this, how meaningful is the blessing in Verse 16:
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat” (Revelation 7:16).
- “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
“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.”
In Verse 17 it speaks of those blessings promised as part of the life of the redeemed in the eternal state. There will be living fountains, and no more tears forever. What a blessing! Therefore, by this vision, John is given a sight of all of those saved in The Great Tribulation, and he sees them safe with the Lamb. They are safe with the Lord Jesus Christ!
Most people just go on in life, never giving any thought to the fact that, tomorrow, they could die.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34).
We ought to be saying:
“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:15 ).
We should consider, when we leave this Earth, what is going to happen to us. Where are we going to go? Will we be reincarnated as the New Age movement, that is so prevalent today, teaches? It only takes one verse from the Bible to blow away the philosophy of reincarnation:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27):
Do we just die like an animal, and go back to the dust of the Earth, as the Evolutionists say? Or, as Scientology teaches: “All that matters is you, so, you should do whatever makes you happy, and, Oh, well, if it hurts someone else, they will just have to understand.” Since mankind is no better than an animal, he now begins to act like one.
These New Age philosophies of today are the cause of a society without morals, “Just do your own thing.” Families are destroyed by one, or the other, parent finding a “soul mate,” and breaking the marriage bond. No one gives it a second thought, as we have done away with the Bible, and there is nothing to convict an individual that their actions are wrong. That is why we are seeing an epidemic of homosexuality.
I have to laugh. I read where the Presbyterian Church has voted to take in practicing homosexuals as members, but they have to promise never to do it again!
The ELCA just takes practicing homosexuals as members, and now ordains homosexual and lesbian pastors. The homosexuals have no conscience about their sin at all, as they blame God for making them that way.
Here are some hard facts for the New Age of legalized same-sex marriage in which the public view is that homosexuality is not sin, nor is it an alternative lifestyle. Homosexuals accuse God of making them that way, and the courts have gone along with this error. Now, people, who claim to be gay, or lesbian, are treated as a minority race, and must have civil rights extended to them. Along with these rights come some very scary statistics! The Center for Disease Control reports that “more than 1.2 million people in the USA are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 7 (14%) are unaware of their infection.” There are 50,000 new infections every year, and, in 2012, there were 13,712 persons with Aids diagnoses who died. “Of all races and ethnicities represented, gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with other men, are the most profoundly at risk” (CDC).
Do you still want your rights, or are you ready to accept God’s estimation of your sin. There is always a pay day for sin, as God says in Romans 1:27, 28,32; also Deuteronomy 28:27,35,
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:27).
The word “recompense is from the Greek “antapodoma,” and means literally “a giving back in return.” Here it is used in the unfavorable sense: “What was designed as a blessing has become a means of judgment.”— Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28);
“God gave them over” in Romans 1:28 does not mean God gave up on them. God does not give up on anyone. As long as you are alive, you can believe the Gospel, He simply allowed them the free will to have a “rebrobate mind,” or to be someone whose moral sense is perverted, and whose minds are clouded with their own speculations. Deuteronomy 28:27 and 27:35 give the judgment that would fall on a disobedient Israel. When God tells the Israelite that judgment would include diseases “whereof thou canst not be healed,” we must remember that, at the present time, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS.
“The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed” (Deuteronomy 28:27.)
“The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head” (Deuteronomy 28:35).
Another fact: When HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) causes a person’s death, it is usually from an AIDS-related disease, which can occur “from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.” When a person’s immune system breaks down, they become susceptible to many diseases.
“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:32).
One woman said, “Oh, you shouldn’t judge.” I said, “Ma’am, you judge things every day. But you don’t have to judge the homosexuals. The First Chapter of Romans tells us that God has already judged that they are ‘haters of God’ and that homosexuality is a sin. God has already judged them, and I’m just believing what God has said in His Word.” I recommended that she do a thorough reading of the First Chapter of Romans to see what God said about homosexuality, starting at Verse 23, and to the end of the Chapter.
I said, “Are you saying what God said about them is wrong when He said, ‘Put them to death?’ He knew this would spread all through the nation of Israel, just like it has through our country today. You ought to read Leviticus, Chapter 20. God has already judged the homosexual, and all other types of sexual sin, but you go to a church that says, ‘Oh, that is all right. Let’s just take them in.’ They are a church that is actually teaching you to go against the Word of God. He is the Creator, and they are the creation; yet, they are trying to tell the Creator what to do! You need to learn what God has to say about homosexuality, and start believing it!”
My friend, the Bible will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from the Bible. When you read the Bible, it will convict you and its words will pierce your soul:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
It is always a blessing to look away from our sinful world and to look forward to this period of time when “all tears are going to be wiped away.” Many, no doubt, have arrived here through martyrdom. Others have survived and were saved, from the Antichrist’s slaughter, by the coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation Period, and His shortening of the days (Matthew 24:22).
God gives us a preview of the glories in Revelation 21:3-5. It is speaking about the heavenly Jerusalem, and the things beyond this life.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God (3). And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (4). And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (5).
Here is the comfort that we have in this life. The Word of God tells us that we “sorrow not; even as others which have no hope.” The saddest thing that a preacher has to do is preach the funeral of someone that is lost. You are preaching about how to go to Heaven, and knowing that you can have the peace with God, and the peace of God, simply by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. You have absolute assurance you are going to spend eternity with God Almighty, in the presence of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is precious to you, because you have accepted Him as your Savior. But you know the person in the casket is already in the flames of Hell.
I remember preaching the funeral of a close relative. This man did not want anything to do with church, or anything else. There were other people in the family there, some were Christians, and some were not Christians. This man was a God-denier who did not want anything to do with church, or the Bible—just a hard-living individual. I didn’t preach him into Heaven. I said, “I know this much. I cannot read his mind. I have absolutely no idea what he believed, but I know this much. If he accepted Jesus Christ, he is in Heaven. If he did not accept Jesus Christ, he is in Hell. I can only relate to you what the Bible says. Since his destiny is already sealed, wherever it might be, you are going to have to wait until eternity to find out. However, he is, no doubt, in Hell today, if what he said, by his own testimony, is to be believed as being true.”
The point is, in relating this, after the funeral was over, I dwelt on the fact of trying to reach the living, because he had already sealed his destiny. There wasn’t any sense in trying to preach him into Heaven, they all knew him! All I knew was: If he was saved, he went to Heaven! If he was lost, he went to Hell! That’s all I knew. I am not his judge, as far as knowing what he believed. After the funeral, some related to me with tears in their eyes, “I’m afraid we are never going to see _ _ _ _ again.” My reply was, “You don’t have to go where you are pretty convinced he is going.” “Yes, we know Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven.”
Yes, we witness to our lost friends, and relatives, and pray that they will accept Christ as their Savior before they die. The relatives had sorrow when this man died, but when they get to Heaven, this will be taken away. These feelings are all connected with the old nature and the human body we have for our earthly journey down here.
When we die, God gives us a brand new body which will not have that old nature. That is why there are no marriages in Heaven. Marriage is connected with our lives on Earth. You are not going to look at the person as mother, father, wife, or husband. Yes, you will see them and know them, but the same feelings are not going to be there. You are going to have the mind of Christ, in its purity, and your whole outlook is going to change. This may be a shock to you. If you see that person in Hell, you will not have the sorrow you had on Earth. You will have the attitude of Christ, and you will view them as a God-hater, a Christ-hater, and deserving of Hell. You will remember that everything was done for them that could have been done, and they are in Hell because of a decision they made on Earth. That decision was to not accept Christ as their Savior.
Yes, when a loved one who is a Christian leaves Earth to be with the Lord, we “have sorrow, but not without hope,” as we are told in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. We look forward to being reunited with them when we get to Heaven, too. When we do get to Heaven, we will shed no more tears for someone who is lost. We will stand with Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment when He judges the lost, and when we see that person brought up out of Torment to stand before Him, there will be no more tears. When He says, “…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”(Matthew 25:41), there will still be no more tears. Your attitude will be, “Look, you are not my friend. I don’t care if you are my mother, my sister, my brother, my father! I’m in Heaven because of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you hated my Savior! You are in Hell because you did not accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (2) Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).
As hard as it may be to realize now, those feelings will not exist in our glorified body, when we get to Heaven, because they are only connected with the body that you had when you walked upon the Earth.
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (20) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).