Who Are the 144,000?

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Revelation 7:1-8 | October 8 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
October 8
Who Are the 144,000? | Revelation 7:1-8
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Let’s ask one more time for the Lord’s help.

Heavenly Father, help us now to love you with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind. Help us to think clearly. Give us good heads to understand your words, discern what is true, and then to live according to that Word. For Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.

We come to Revelation, chapter 7. In Revelation 5, we’re introduced to the only one who can break the seals on the scroll that is the Lamb who is slain. And then one by one, the seven seals are opened. The first four are the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse,” the disaster that spreads across the earth and has been galloping across the globe for 2,000 years. The fifth seal shows us the martyrs under the throne calling out who will avenge our blood, and then the sixth seal, as we saw last week, is this cataclysmic end of history as we know it, as the Lord comes to judge the one who sits on the throne, judges and also the Lamb. And it ends with a kind of cliffhanger in chapter 6:17, “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Chapter 7 has the answer to that question.

Follow along verses 1-8.

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. Then I heard the number of the sealed; 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel, 12, 000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh, 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

As we move into chapter 7, we are getting and have arrived at the point where good thoughtful Christians are going to disagree on how to interpret this book. Now, you say, yes we’ve already been there, points at which Christians would disagree; and I’ve been already laying out some breadcrumbs to try to lead us in what I think is the right direction to understand Revelation, and that is to understand Revelation on its own terms, which we saw in the very first chapter, that this book is an apocalypse, a prophecy and a letter. So, it’s an apocalypse, it’s a book of revealing, and it’s a certain kind of literature that gives to us verbal pictures, imaged, symbols. That’s how apocalyptic literature works. So when some people say, well do you take Revelation literally? Well, do you mean by literally do we take it to be saying all that is true? Yes. But, do we take everything in Revelation to be literal? No. That’s simply not how apocalyptic literature works. And, it’s a prophecy, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for the distant future, for prophecy in the Old Testament always had layers. There was a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment and there was a letter. The letter that went around to seven real churches, real flesh and blood Christians, so whatever is in here must have made some sense to those Christians and spoken to their world, not just into some distant future 2,000 years in advance.

In chapter 7 in particular, we come to something of a fork in the road with very different ways of understanding what’s taking place in this chapter and in the chapters to come. So, some of you grew up, and you may not have even known it, but you grew up with a, and maybe still have, a dispensational understanding of the end times. Dispensations because certain theological method as much as anything which understands certain dispensations to have taken place across redemptive history. Now, it’s not that that word itself is paramount. Westminster Confession uses the language of a dispensation. But dispensationalism in particular, has a certain way of reading Revelation. Maybe you picked up on this and maybe you had a Scofield Reference Bible or maybe you went to prophecy seminars or read books by Lewis Sperry Chafer or J. Dwight Pentecost or John Walvoord or Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth or maybe it was just you had a crush on Kurt Cameron in the Left Behind movies. This is, at popular and scholarly levels, a dispensational understanding. And, I have many friends, I have family members, lots of good thoughtful Christians, and maybe some of you, understand this chapter in those ways.

Here’s how dispensationalists would understand these verses. They would think that these verses that I just read are telling us what is going to happen after the Secret Rapture when all the Christians, the church is secretly raptured into heaven, and this describes what happens during or maybe immediately preceding, the Great Tribulation. So the 144,000, on a dispensational understanding, refer to a literal number. That’s important, a literal number. You can count them one by one, 144,000, who will be brought safely through the tribulation or similarly some say it’s a group that will carry God’s message to the world during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. So, there is a connection with Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks, 69 weeks, and then the half of that last week.

And so, dispensationalists understand that the term “Israel” here must refer to the physical descents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and they would say this is not all of the remnants of the Jewish people, but this is a special group, during the Tribulation, charged with the responsibility of witnessing for Christ during the world’s darkest hour. They might say well if all the Christians are raptured, how are new Christians among those left being converted? Dispensationalists would say well the Spirit is still working much like at Pentecost and is working directly and immediately, and therefore, 144,000 of the physical ethnic Jews who are left, at least that many, are converted. Maybe more, but this is a group of them that are left to evangelize the world. This is the number of the remnants sealed for the purpose of evangelism during the Great Tribulation.

We may not know where these 12 tribes are, but God does. So, John Walvoord says today there are a number of groups from India to South Africa to South America claiming to be remnants of the lost tribes of Israel, and with modern DNA identification techniques, those claims may yet be established. So, literally 12,000 from each of these lost scattered tribes will be saved and will be the remnant to evangelize during the Great Tribulation. That’s the understanding the dispensationalists offer. And what follows is going to be a different understanding, and I hope to convince you that it is one that does a better job of dealing with the text on its own terms.

So, I want to look at three questions this morning. Number one, does chapter 7 follow chronologically after chapter 6? Number two, and the second one is where we’ll spend most of our time, who are the 144,000? And then third, what is the seal on the foreheads of the servants of God? These three questions:

So, question number one: Does chapter 7 follow chronologically after chapter 6, cuz that’s a big deal in how we interpret this. Because if it moves one after another chronologically, then chapter 6, well here’s the cataclysmic end of the earth and then there is the sealing of the 144,000 who are left on the earth during this period who then can evangelize. So is it a strict sequence, chapter 6 happens then chapter 7? Simple answer I want to suggest is no. They do not follow chronologically. The connection is literary, not chronological. Chapter 6, you see at the very end, asks the question who can stand. Chapter 7 answers that question in two complementary ways. Who can stand, 144,000, and then the second half of chapter 7 next week, the Great Multitude. That’s who can stand.

Now how do we know that this is not a strict chronological sequence? Because, with the opening of the sixth seal at the end of chapter 6, remember what happens? Beginning in verse 12, where the sun turns black, the stars fall from the sky, the sky rolls up like a scroll, the who earth trembles under a violent earthquake. It’s a depiction of the end of the world. So, if that is to be taken strictly literally, there’s no sky, there’s no sun, there’s no moon, the whole thing is falling apart. Well now in chapter 7, wait a minute, the earth is still intact. In fact, four angles are specifically told, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of God.” So, which is it? Has the world blown apart or are the four angles saying no winds, don’t blow? But it does not work if there is a strict chronological sequence.

Look again at verse 1. “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners holding back the four winds.” Again, this is problematic if our hermeneutic, that’s just how we interpret the Bible, if our hermeneutic tells us everything must be taken in the strictest literal sense, is it really four angels at the four corners? But, we don’t really have corners of the earth. Are there really four angels at the four corners that are holding back wind? Is this a literal picture or is this depicting God ensuring that his people are safe and secure before the final judgement comes. Number four in Revelation is often that number of global totality, tongues, tribes, language, nations. That’s given in four; the four corners, the four horsemen, the four living creatures. Four is the number to represent the totality of the earth. So, four angles are seen at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds, which is saying all right, the picture now that we’re seeing, though the picture is seen after the picture in chapter 6. What the picture is telling us is actually something that happened before chapter 6, because this is, again, like a kind of musical score that is repeating its theme or it’s moving from the art gallery from one picture to the next.

So the question at the end of chapter 6, who can stand, it’s as if God say, okay, all right, hold on a minute lemme tell you who can stand. So, come with me over here. Lemme show you something else. Here’s a different picture. Here’s a different way. I just gave you a picture of what the end of the world looks like. Here’s a different picture. Before this happens, before I let the four angels holding back the four winds come and destroy everything, before that happens, there is going to be a numbering and a sealing. So chapter 7 pulls us back with a different picture before the sixth seal at the end of chapter 6, and shows us well, who can stand? Who will stand when the end comes and the wrath of the Lamb is unleashed? Who will be able to stand in that day? And, chapter 7 tells us, I’ll tell you can stand the 144,000. So chapter 7 follows thematically, literarily, not chronologically from chapter 6. That’s the first question.

Here’s the second question. I told you were going to spend most of our time on the second question, which is the most fundamental. Who then are the 144,000? Now I’ve mentioned a dispensational understanding. Some of you may now that this is a very important section for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe a literal 144,000, no more no less, will rule with Christ in heaven over the subjects on earth. For the Jehovah’s Witnesses the 144,000 are the number of those from the time of Christ to 1935, although that number gets changed more recently. But, to 1935, those are the number of true witnesses, true believers His anointed class of saints. Only 144,000 in that whole history of the church had been saved. And so Jehovah’s Witnesses make a distinction between those who go to heaven, that’s the heavenly class, and you rule with Christ, and then the rest of good people who live on earth. So these are the truest Christians, the only ones found between the time of Christ and 1935, an anointed class given special privileges.

This is a completely novel understanding. No one until the last 100 years or so ever thought to understand the 144,000 in this way. More common, of course, would be the dispensational understanding I explained at the beginning, that many Christians would understand the 144,000 as a literal remnant of each tribe of Israel; 12,000 from each tribe, and that these Jewish converts are going to evangelize the gentiles so that when we get to verse 9, after this I looked and there was a great multitude from every tribe, people, language and nation, ah, that’s the work of the Jewish remnant who has evangelized and now from their witness there are many gentiles and a great multitude that has been saved. I want to argue that the 144,000 are not an ethnic Jewish remnant but refer to the whole community of the redeemed.

Now I should hasten to add, especially in light of the tragedies unfolding in Israel, that this is not any kind of geopolitical statement. There are lots of good geopolitical reasons for supporting Israel, humanitarian reasons, a measure of justice. All sorts of reasons, but simply theologically, the point I want to make is that 144,000 are not a reference to a remnant of ethnic Jews but to the totality of God’s redeemed people. Why do I say that? Lemme give you some reasons.

First in chapter 13 we read that Satan is going to seal all of his followers, the mark of the beast. We it stands to reason, if Satan metaphorically had the seal on all of his followers, shouldn’t God have a seal on all of His followers? I’ll come to seal in just a bit. So, it wouldn’t make as much sense to say well the devil seals all of his followers, but God only sealed a select 144,000 of his ethnic remnants. That’s one reason.

Second, the image of sealing, which we’ll see in a moment, comes from Ezekiel 9 where the seal on the forehead marks out two groups of people. In Ezekiel’s prophecy, it marks out the idolaters and the non-idolaters, just two categories. And it would seem that the sealing here of the 144,000 makes a similar distinction. Not an ethnic one, but those who worship God, those who do not.

Third, look at verse 3. The 144,000 are called servants of our God, servants of our God. There is no reason to make the 144,000 any more restricted than that. If you are a servant of the living God, you are one of the 144, 000. In Revelation, that phrase “servants of God” always refers to God’s redeemed people. Very beginning of the book, the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. So that language of God’s servants is never restricted to just the Jewish people, but refers to God’s people in Revelation.

Fourth, and you’re wondering how many, this is really cheating. You said three questions, and now you got multiple points in the second question. Well, I have, that was third. There’s just five.

Here’s number four. The 144,000 mentioned in chapter 14, so keep a finger on chapter 7 and turn over the chapter 14 because this number comes up again. Chapter 14:1, “Then I looked, and behold on Mount Sion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their forehead. Later we’ll see, look down in chapter 14:3. They were singing a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures. No one could learn that song, except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These who have not defiled themselves with women for they are virgins, it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from mankind. So this language in chapter 14 does not sound like we are dealing with just one ethnic people group. But the 144,000 are those who have been redeemed from mankind, from all of humanity.

So, there is good reason to think that the 144,000 in chapter 7 are not to be restricted just to ethnic Israelites but to all of God’s people. Then you also have, if you’re still in chapter 14, and I know, we’ll come to a sermon on chapter 14, months from now. But you notice there the strange language in verse 4; it is these who have not defiled themselves with women for they are virgins. So again, if our hermeneutic tells us we have to take everything in apocalyptic literature strictly literally, now we’re told the remnants of the Jews who are evangelizing are also all strictly virgins. They’ve never slept with women. So then are they just men? We just have 144,000 male virgins who are doing this work? It begins to seem quite untenable. No, there’s a better reason for that language that they’re virgins. It’s to highlight the group’s moral purity; and more importantly, because the 144,000 are being depicted as a kind of holy army who march under the banner of the Lamb. And in the Old Testament, you are to keep yourselves from sexual relations when you are out marching in Yahweh’s battles. That’s why, remember, Uriah the Hittite and he comes and David is trying to cover up for his sin with Bathsheba, and that’s one of the things Uriah says, no, I can’t do this I’m in battle. We’re having war. I’m not supposed to come home and sleep with my wife.

So to depict the 144,000 here as virgins, is not to be taken literally, but is another description that we’re dealing with God’s people who are pictured here as a pure holy army. It’s akin to the Devine Census in the Book of Numbers where each one of the fighting men age 20 and older are marked out as God’s people. Well this is a similar census from each tribe. Here are all the people who are faithful to God ready to stand on that great day of judgement.

So a final reason for thinking the 144,000 refer to all of God’s redeemed people is because the list is highly stylized. So go back to chapter 7, look at verses 5-8; 144,000, 12 times 12 times 10 cubed times 1,000. Twelve being the number of completeness for God’s people representing of course, 12 tribes of Israel. And it wasn’t by accident that Jesus chose 12 apostles, and 1,000 being a generic number suggesting a great multitude. So we would say, 12 times 12, times a bajillion, 144 bajillion, but they just say 144,000. It’s a way of saying all of God’s people under the Old Covenant and under the New Covenant. This is a holy army. The largest military unit in Israel was 1,000 men, and the language from the tribe of, from the tribe of echoes Numbers chapter 20 in the census there of the men of fighting age. This has been an interpretation that has been around in the church for a long time, for example, in the eighth century a historian that we know as the Venerable Bede. Is it too much to ask that some years from now I could be known as the Venerable Kevin; is that too much?

Well he was the Venerable Bede and he argued on this verse, “It pertains to the increase of perfection that this 12 is multiplied by 12 and is completed by the sum of a thousand, which is the cube of the number ten signifying the immovable life of the church.” So, it represents the immovable life of the church. I think that’s right. And then look more carefully at the list of tribes. In the Old Testament, there are more than a dozen different arrangements of the 12 tribes. Cuz remember, you have 12 sons, but then sometimes Levi is not in there because Levi that was the priestly class and they were kind of in a different category. And so sometimes you would have Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. So, sometimes Levi is not in there. Sometimes Joseph is not in there but his two sons are in there, and then they’re given in a different order. So there’s lots of different ways that the tribes are listed in the Old Testament and this one is unique among all of those.

Just look at a couple of things. One, you notice verse 5, the first is Judah, that makes sense. Judah became the leading tribe in Israel. Jesus is from the tribe. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. All 12 of Jacob’s sons are listed, including Levi who was often left out. You see that in the middle of verse 7. The Levites didn’t inherit any land so they were often not in the list Manasseh, Joseph’s son. So you got Joseph. Well who replaces Levi? You have Manasseh is listed instead of Dan. That’s the curiosity. You have Levi, you have Joseph, but you do not have poor Dan. I know there some Dans here; don’t take it personally. Why not Dan? Dan was left out in order to point to the purity of the redeemed church. I like Dans, I like Daniels, I like you. It’s a book in the Bible, but here Daniel was thought to be the center of idolatry for the kingdom of Israel. Why do I say that? Judges chapter 18; “There the Danites at Laish, the Danites set up for themselves the idols, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Moses and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan. At the time of the captivity of the land, they continued to use the idols Micah had made all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

So already in the time of Judges, it was there among the tribe of Dan where they set up idols; same thing during the days of the divided kingdom. Dan was one of the two centers for idolatry. First Kings chapter 12; “After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel. That’s in Ephraim, and is Ephraim listed here? No. And the other is in Dan. This thing became a sin. The people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.

So it seems that for a very strategic reason Dan is not mentioned. No because literally these 12 tribes can be reconstituted and somewhere there’s a people that have an ethnic heritage linked back to Dan and they’re excluded, but Dan is not mentioned because it’s thought that Dan represented impurity and the seats of idolatry. In fact, you may recall the blessing, so called, of the 12 sons, Genesis 49:17, “Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels so that the rider tumbles backward.” In some non-biblical Jewish writings, there’s evidence the Jews thought that the anti-Christ, the anti-Messiah would come out of the tribe of Dan.

The bottom line is this is not a literal listing of 12,000 from each of these literal tribes, if somehow DNA could reconstitute them; but it is a stylized list meant to depict the totality of God’s people and given to us as pure perfectly redeemed servants from all time over the earth, given to us in Old Testament language.

Now, take a breath. Third question, bring this around to a close. What then is the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God? You see that in verse 3? “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” There will be other references to a sealing into foreheads to come, but here we can note the seal is a spiritual mark. Again, we’re not taking these things literally, that you’re looking for something just like when we come to 666 that you’re looking for that as some visible sign. But here it indicates a spiritual reality. What did a seal do in the ancient world? Of course, not talking about that kind of seal, we’re talking about something you would put on a piece of formal correspondence or statements sealed in three things. It authenticated, so marked out a document as genuine. So a seal marks out God’s people as genuine Christians. Two, in the ancient world, a seal would protect or secure. So we might say today a rancher might brand his cattle to keep them safe from cattle rustlers, so God puts a seal upon us to keep us safe from apostasies, safe from divine wrath, safe from those who would lead us astray. So, a seal would authenticate, it would secure, and then identify. I have in many of my books in my library, very nice embosser puts on there, you know Kevin L.D. Young, or the library or do not take upon pain of death, or whatever the embosser say. So you can open it. Somebody of you may have a stamp that says, “Whose book is this?” Well this sealing is a kind of stamp, a kind of embosser that God marks us out as belonging to him.

So very simply, when we read here of God’s servants being sealed, it’s a kind of physical picture of a spiritual reality, namely the reality of being authentic followers of Jesus who belong to God are identified with Him and will be kept safe from the judgement. Revelation often uses this imagery either of a mark, like the mark of the beast, or of a seal. As I said, it comes from Ezekiel chapter 9. There the mark on the forehead indicated you were one of the Godly, and without this mark, you were to be killed. So the mark was seal of your spiritual identity and there was an assurance that you would be kept safe in the face of divine wrath. To be sealed was to be labeled as belonging to God. That’s why Revelation chapter 14, “There before the Lamb, the 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”

Now I don’t think that this is a reference to baptism, but I think baptism does point to the spiritual reality that is indicated here. When you’re baptized, you are named the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I don’t think John is saying the seal is the baptism, but he’s saying the baptism does point to the spiritual reality of being named. You belong to God. Of course we know that baptism is that physical naming and it’s meant to correspond to a genuine spiritual like as well. The imagery is really simple. You may still ask, okay well, yeah, that makes sense. It authenticates, it seals, it identifies. Again, but what, what is it? Okay if it’s not quite baptism, am I looking for a literal mark on the forehead? Well no, not any more than you have to have the name of the Lamb, you know tattooed across your brow or that the conquering Christ in Revelation 19 has King of King, Lord of Lord on his side, if that’s meant to be taken literally. These are visions of spiritual realities.

So I think the seal here in Revelation is the same sealing that Paul talks about in Ephesians 1. “Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of His glory.” In other words, the seal is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit declaring about us and assuring to us that we belong to God. I use those two phrases deliberately. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit declaring about us and assuring to us that we belong to God. Because I think in Ephesians, as well as in Revelation, the sealing has an objective and a subjective element to it.

First of all, I think it’s a declarative action by God. It’s God declaring through this visible picture in this apocalyptic image of a seal, He’s declaring us to be infallibly, irrevocably His own possession. That’s the objective part, that is invisible, that by the Spirit, God secures us, the Spirit being the down payment so that we are absolutely sovereignly secure and safe from judgement.

But I believe there’s, at least it’s a secondary understanding meant to be some subjective element. That is, to be sealed here in Revelation or sealed by the Holy Spirit is not only to have the objective awareness, but I think experientially to appropriate this objective declaration. It means that we take as theological truth and therefore hopefully experience in ourselves a kind of inner authentication that we are forgiven and loved and safe from the wrath of the Lamb.

Now this experiential authentication is not mainly what I think Revelation 7 is about, but it is consistent with the truths we see elsewhere in scripture. For example, Romans 8:16, “The Spirit testifies with our spirit, we are God’s children.” Or Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened to know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.” God, in other words, wants you to be sure that you will stand. Yes, Jude says have mercy on those who doubt which means we can be saved even with doubts. But the fact that he says have mercy on those who doubt, means doubt’s not the goal. Our world likes to say, “You’re really authentic if you doubt.” Well, God has mercy on us when we doubt. But, the goal is to work through those doubts and have this kind of inner authentication testified by the Holy Spirit, that yes, I am numbered among the 144,000.

So let me finish with a word of warning and a word of hope, bringing this all together.

The word of warning is this. As we saw last week, there is a day of great wrath coming. People of high and low estate will flee from the one who sits on the throne and the wrath of the Lamb. They will call to the mountains to fall on them. Such will be their terror at the sight of God’s judgement. And chapter 6 asks the question, who can stand? And so chapter 7 tells us only if you belong to God will you stand. Only if you bear the name Father, Son, and Holy Spirit upon your heart will you stand. Only if you have been sealed by the Spirit will you stand. The only shelter from the wrath of the Lamb is the love of that same Lamb.

So let it be a warning to anyone here, lest you think that the point of this sermon is simply a nice exegetical conclusion and some theological analysis, all of this is meant to be a warning. Who can stand? You will not stand on that day unless you are among this number of God’s redeemed people who know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior have been sealed by the work of the Spirit to change you. So that’s the word of warning.

And then finally, here’s the word of hope, and it should be obvious, so don’t miss it. For all of you who are genuine followers of Jesus, not perfectly of course, but truly genuinely you love Him, you worship Him, you trust in Him. Here’s the good news. On that great and terrible day, you will stand. You’ll stand proud in your own strength or in your might. But as all the world falls away, quite literally, you who belong to Christ will stand. And if you will stand on that day of God’s greatest judgement, should you not stand now? In these days, however troubling they may seem, however frightening they may be at times, God’s people stand. The whole world, there will truly come a day when the world will crumble, the rich and the mighty, the free and the slave they will run, and God’s people will stand. Augustus Toplady says it well in his hymn. My name from the palm of His hands, eternity will not erase. Impressed on His heart it remains in marks of indelible grace. Yes, I to the end shall endure as sure as the earnest is given, more happy but not more secure the glorified spirits in heaven.” Isn’t that a great line? The glorified spirits in heaven are happier, yeah we’re glad for that. They’re happier. They’re not any more secure. Any more secure than you and I and all who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

One day, those of us who know God truly, we will be infinitely and eternally happy. Yes, you will be more happy than you can imagine, but you will not be any more secure than you are right now, having been sealed, having been marked, having been counted out. Not a literal 144,000, but as we’ll see, a great multitude each by name. Yes, that one is mine, that one is mine, that one is mine. You will be in heaven if you follow Christ. So much happier, but not one bit more secure than you are right now, having been chosen by God and sealed by His spirit and counted among the 144,000 of his redeemed people.

Let’s pray.

Gracious heavenly Father, in the midst of all of this trying to learn and understand and compare scripture against scripture, let us not miss the most important point of the judgement to come and also the great reward for those who belong to you. Let us be among that number, Lord, who will stand on that day. As you will be our help now, have been in ages past, and will be for ages to come. We give you praise in Jesus’ name. Amen.