Summary: To make Jesus the King of your life is often a difficult decision, but it's always the best decision.
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WHO ARE THE 144,000?
And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (v. 4).
Chapter 6 ends with the question, “Who can stand?” Chapter 7 gives us the answer: those who are sealed with “the seal of the living God” (v. 2). Those who are sealed are protected from the wrath of God and purchased as the people of God. The seal of God is the opposite of the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:16-18). Both seals signify allegiance—either to God or to Satan. There is no middle ground.
How should we interpret the 144,000?
• If we take a literal approach, they are JEWISH BELIEVERS.
If we interpret the 144,000 literally, what about 14:4? “It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins.”
• If we take a symbolic approach, they are the CHURCH.
Christians are described as “Abraham’s offspring” (Galatians 3:29).
“Many who hold to a pretribulation ‘rapture’ of the church think that the two groups of 7:1-8 and 7:9-17 are different (converted Jewish people still suffering on earth in vv. 1-8, but the raptured church rejoicing in heaven in vv. 9-17). Others think these are Gentiles converted during the tribulation through the witness of the 144,000 Jewish believers who remain on earth (v. 4). Those who do not hold to a pretribulation rapture usually see vv. 1-8 and vv. 9-17 as the same group, with their suffering in vv. 1-8 turned to joy and reward in vv. 9-17” (ESV Study Bible).
If the two groups are the same, this vision would be similar to the vision of the Lion and the Lamb. In chapter 5, John heard about the Lion and then saw the Lamb. In chapter 7, John “heard the number of the sealed, 144,000”(v. 4) and then saw “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (v. 9).
Verses 1-8 might be describing an end-time army preparing for spiritual battle. (A census was usually taken before battle.) But victory is achieved in an unusual way. “They have conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:11). As Jesus conquered Satan through His death, His saints will conquer Satan through their deaths.
HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!
[Read John 12:12-19]
During the Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), the people in Jerusalem welcomed Jesus as the King of Israel. In the vision of Revelation 7, the saints in heaven praise Jesus as the King of all nations.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (v. 9a).
What kind of King is Jesus?
• Jesus is the COMING King.
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9).
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10).
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13).
“Fear not, daughters of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:15).
Jesus went to Jerusalem to die. “[Pilate] said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ They cried out, ‘Away with him, crucify him!’ (John 19:14-15).
Jesus will return to earth to reign. “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. [...] On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11, 16).
During the Triumphal Entry, Jesus rode down from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. Jesus was on the Mount of Olives with His disciples when He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:12). After the ascension, the angels said to the disciples, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). “In the same way” means bodily and visible. But the angels could also have been saying that Jesus would return to the exact same place. “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4).
• Jesus is the VICTORIOUS King.
Clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (vv. 9b-10).