4 And [kai] I heard [akouo] the number [arithmos] of them which were sealed: [sphragizo] and there were sealed [sphragizo] an hundred [hekaton] and forty [tessarakonta] and four [tessares] thousand [chilias] of [ek] all [pas] the tribes [phule] of the children [huios] of Israel. [Israel]KJV-Interlinear
4 And I
heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand
sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: NASB
Some have said that
Israel was a finished race as far back as 70 A.D.And obviously that is not true.There are millions of Jewish peoples all over
the world and always have been and always will be Jewish peoples living
Satan’s effort to rid the
world of the Israelites, from the time of Abraham, has failed miserably.In more recent years, the Jewish people have
been the target of Hitler’s genocide, and the hate of others.However, being spread out across the planet,
their numbers have been protected because of that dispersion.
In recent times, the
attempts to re-gather the Jewish people into the nation of Israel, and likewise
to rid them of their defenses (nukes and so forth), also have failed, as God
still has a plan for the Jewish people.That plan is still future, and therefore means that they will definitely
be around to see their role come into existence.
Here in this verse, the
number and source of these new believers in Christ, makes it very clear that
God has a phenomenal role for Israel.
Having failed in the Old
Testament, to bring the gospel to the world, they will during those future
seven years of the Tribulation, be the center of the worlds
largest missionary force, ever.And,
their success will be phenomenl.
Many folks want to make a
big deal about the number mentioned, however, it is
specific and assigned in detail to a specific number of the tribes of
Israel.If John wanted to mean simply a
large number, then he would have made his numbers plural, like using thousands
of thousands, or he would have used some ambiguous term, such as myriads.But John used a specific number, namely
Likewise, John mentions
that these new believers, will come out of twelve of
the tribes of Israel, with exactly 12,000 coming from each tribe. Again a specific number.
This does two things for
us.First, the genealogies of the tribes
of Israel were lost when Judah was sacked by Rome in 70 A.D. There is not one
Jewish person who can prove objectively, from which tribe that they come.Though you will get
arguments on that point.But hard
proof, such as birth certificates, marriage documents, property ownership,
death certificates, membership lists, and so forth, for the last 2000 years is
virtually impossible.It is one thing to
believe something, and quite another to prove it.
However, God knows where
every person came from and who belongs to which tribe, with perfect accuracy.
To have this many
believers, evangelists, coming out of what is typically an unbelieving nation,
and so divided up perfectly among the tribes, can only be deemed the work of
God.This could never occur by chance or
some natural tendency of human events.Remember that all of these folks are in the Tribulation, because they
were unbelievers when the Rapture occurred.
And by the way, this is
not a reference to the Church, for the gentiles are not mentioned here as they
were mentioned in the opening chapters of this book.John clearly makes that distinction.
Likewise, these are not
the only believers, as some radically thinking denominations would have you
believe.There will be millions more
believers, both from the Jewish people, and from people (gentiles, etc.) all
over the world.
Also, remember that the
Tribulation will be filled with turmoil and judgments.These judgments will be held off while these
144,000 become believers through their own decision to believe in Christ.And by the way, all of them will be martyred,
and they know it.Yet they will still
pursue their fulfillment of the plan which God has designed specifically for each