Sunday, March 17, 2013

The 144,000 Messianic Jews And God's Seal



144,000 Messianic Jews receive the seal of God on their forehead after the Rapture. Does scripture mention God placing a mark on anyone else? Is this story an allegory, as some suggest? Is the mark visible? Let's refresh our mind with the portions of scripture we will be reviewing.

The sealing of the 144,000

"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. 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, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 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.
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. 
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. 
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. 
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." (Rev. 7:1-8 KJV)

Here is another portion of scripture that mentions the 144,000:

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheadsAnd I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 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. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:1-5 KJV)

The answer to the question of whether God has placed a mark on anyone previous to this specific event can be found in scripture. The earliest recorded "mark" was given to Cain. We can read about that in Genesis chapter 4:

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." (Gen. 4:8-15 KJV)

Obviously this was a physical mark that was visible in the physical world. It had to be visible to others in order to protect Cain’s life.

Is there anywhere else in the bible that mentions a mark given to man by God? Yes, actually, there is. It's in reference to the sealing of the faithful as recorded in the book of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel, we read of a similar case where, before the City of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, angels went throughout the city searching for, and sealing, the faithful in order to protect them from God's judgment.

“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. 2 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. 3 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; 4 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. 5 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: 6 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. 7 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. 8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?  9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. 10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. 11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.” (Ezekiel 9:1-11 KJV)

This portion of scripture seems to describe a “spiritual” mark that was placed on the foreheads of those who were obedient to God; a mark that could be seen only by those in the spiritual realm; a mark that excluded those who received it from suffering God's judgment upon Israel.

Here we have two examples of marks being placed on individuals. One is a visible mark (Genesis 4) and the other is not (Ezekiel 9). 

So what differentiates the two types of marks? I believe it has to do with who was expected to see this mark.
  • The mark that Cain received was to hold significance in the physical world.  It was a warning sign visible to other human beings; a warning sign to those who would seek to injure or kill Cain. 
  • The mark received by the individuals mentioned in Ezekiel 9 was not meant to be seen by mortals, but was a mark placed on the forehead of the obedient to be seen by the angels who would keep them from harm.
We see through scripture that God has indeed placed marks upon the foreheads of people, marks that are both visible and invisible.

Allegory?

These incidences seem to be real and not allegorical, so what would make some believe that the mention of the 144,000 Messianic Jews and the marks they receive is nothing more than an allegory concerning the church? Let me share a quote concerning the study of scripture:

“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” (Hal Lindsey)

I have to ask myself, “Do Rev. 7:1-8 and Rev. 14:1-5 make sense when taken literally?” I believe they do. So why is there a need to put any other kind of interpretation on this portion of scripture? What is the point of making it allegorical other than to try to use it to prop up a false interpretation of this portion of scripture?

When we find ourselves changing the meaning of God’s word or making things allegorical so that it fits in with our own personal doctrine, we’re doing a disservice to the word of God. We have to be open to having long held beliefs challenged. Unless we’re willing to do that, we can never fully understand those things that the Holy Spirit would like to reveal to us.

If the marks placed on Cain’s forehead and placed on the forehead those who were obedient to God (Ezekiel 9) were real, is it really that far-fetched to believe that the marking of 144,000 Messianic Jews could be real as well? Certainly not! 

Is this seal of God limited to just these 144,000?

ALL born again believers are "sealed" with the Holy Spirit once they are born again:

"Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (2 Cor. 1:21-22 KJV)

"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,” (Eph. 1:13 KJV)

We also know that in heaven we display a seal on our forehead that will contain God's name:

"And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." (Rev. 22:1-4)

As born again believers, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Do we need a seal on our forehead when the light of the Holy Spirit Himself emanates from within us, to be seen by all in the spiritual realm? The Holy Spirit Himself is our seal. We are also told in the preceding portion of scripture that we will receive a seal on our forehead when we are in heaven. That causes me to believe that during this church age, we have no need for a seal on our forehead and that we will receive our seal after we are raptured and in God's presence in heaven.

After the Rapture, Jesus is going to raise up a new group of Messianic Jews who will possess the seal of God when they accept Jesus as their Messiah. They won't be just any ordinary believers. As the scripture states, "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. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:4-5 KJV)

Why will these 144,000 receive a seal on their forehead during the Tribulation? I believe that not only is it a special seal offered only to those who will have the honor of being known as the firstfruits and who will have the honor of being in the constant presence of Jesus throughout eternity, but it is also a sign to the spiritual forces operating on earth (both good and evil) that these men have been set aside by God and are under His protection. We can see an example of this in Rev. 9:1-12 concerning the creatures from the bottomless pit. During the Tribulation, they are released into the world by an angel that comes from heaven with a key to unlock the abyss. The creatures that rise out of this abyss are forbidden to attack those with the mark of God on their forehead. This may or may not reference every born again believer, but that's a discussion for another article. It definitely references the 144,000 because we are told they will have a seal on their forehead. 
  • God has shown us through His word that He has set a seal upon people in the past. This is nothing new for Him. It's happened before and it will happen again after the Rapture.
  • The 144,000 Messianic Jews will be sealed by God. I believe it will be a seal seen only by spiritual forces, since they are the only ones referenced in regard to this seal.
  • From a biblical perspective, this is not allegory. They do not represent the present day church. They represent a group of men chosen by God to spread the salvation message to the ends of the earth unhindered by the demonic forces that want so desperately to stop them.
Side note: Satan rebelled against God, demanding to be equal to God, to be seen as a god. It's interesting to see how he has created his own false trinity (Satan, Antichrist, False Prophet) and is already planning on using his own "seal" (known as the Mark of the Beast) to mark those who will follow him (to be placed on the right hand or forehead). In a way, Satan is acknowledging God's perfection by mimicking those things God has already accomplished. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and contemplate what was shared. Please leave your comments below.



Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!
TribulationHarvest.net

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