This morning we return to our study in the Book of Revelation. Remember, beloved, that this book contains a promise to those who read it, “and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3) “Read”, “hear” and “obey” are always keys of a life that bears fruit for the glory of God (John 15:7,8).
In our study today we are reunited with a group of people that we “met” in Revelation 7:4-9. Take a moment and read those passages. If your Bible reads the way mine does, it says that they are 144,000 Jews from all the tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 7:4). Sounds pretty plain and simple to me. However, there are non-Christian cults who have laid claim to this group’s identity. There are some who hold to something called “replacement theology”, which, made simple, states that the church has replaced the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people. Thus, the 144,000 are the church. But, let me ask you this once again – what does the Bible say? Who are these 144,000 individuals? They are 144,000 Messianic Jews who were redeemed to be the first fruits of God during the 7 year tribulation period of time. (Compare Revelation 7:1-9 to Revelation 14:1-4.)
Granted, a person’s salvation does not rest upon the correct identity of these 144,000, but an incorrect understanding of who these people are can affect one’s panoramic view of Bible prophecy and things that relate to the last days. The teaching that the 10 northern tribes of Israel are “lost” is a heresy (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7; James 1:1; Revelation 21:12). The only thing “lost” about the 12 tribes is the heretic that began that teaching in order to prove that God is through with the nation of Israel. Nothing can be further from the truth! Listen to what God says about that issue: “Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me,’ saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.’ Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:35-37) Amen!