At this time John delays his description of the removal of the seventh seal, due to an interruption in the flow of Christ’s movements, to describe an incident of great importance in the history of mankind; but one which has generally been overlooked by biblical scholars and theologians. Oh, most certainly there has been a great deal of controversy concerning who the 144,000 Hebrews from all the tribes of Israel are whom John saw sealed; but had they not been so afraid of the truth as written in the scriptures they would have known that what they taught and are teaching are but wives’ tales when compared to the facts.
This sidetrack from the normal flow of the outline, in which The Revelation was evidently written, James H. McConkey called an “inset” or a parenthetical statement. In his explanation of this point of higher interest he says it “is not a time-unit of the story.” McConkey uses examples from art, where the artist may cover a whole canvas with a painting yet give specifics in a corner of one individual. And history where the writer suddenly pauses from his normal flow of thought to give specifics about some important scene (TBR pg. 54-55). As is normal in Biblical writing, the use of the parenthetical phrase is here inserted at the time of the sixth seal to both give better introduction to this person, Jesus, who had appeared on the scene on Earth, and to give a better description of the event which had been given only two verses of Scripture space by Matthew anywhere else in the apostles’ recordings (at least of canonized Scriptures) of the events which occurred at the time of Christ’s resurrection. One of those events was the resurrection of a huge mass of people from their graves after the Lord had resurrected; following him (MAT 27:52-53).
In speaking about the use of insets, McConkey says:
“This seems precisely the divine plan of the Book of Revelation. The seals, trumpets and vials carry its story-flow. But the intervening chapters do not. They are not time-units of the story. They are episodes. They are like the biographical sketches which the historian pauses long enough in his main story to write so these chapters are the historical inserts of the book. They are sketches of great and important personages and characters which the Holy Spirit detaches from the main story-flow and pauses long enough to paint their portraits, after which he returns to the main thread of the story.” (TBR pg. 55)
He goes on to state that once a student of prophecy grasps the importance of these insets then that person is well on the way toward a pure understanding of The Revelation. The “confusion,” he says, “will at once vanish and each (inset) will take its own true and proper place, not as a time-unit, but as a parenthesis in the story.” (TBR pg. 55)
The story-flow of which McConkey speaks is actually the outline which John followed to record his vision, and it also is the basic outline used to record his vision, and is also the basic outline used to write Part IV of this expose’.
This outline is used here for easy reference as the reader continues studying The Revelation. However, the very fact that the author of this book took the time to allow himself to be sidetracked long enough to put this explanation here is, itself, a good example of an inset.
Getting back to what John was seeing, it seems that there were four prophets (winds) who were desiring to appear on Earth to prophesy to the people here; but four angels were assigned by God to them to prevent them from doing so. The reason for this remains unclear except that the messages which the angels had to give the prophets to prophesy were of such magnitude that it would bring harm to many who heard it (REV 7:2-3). This, evidently, could not be allowed until the specific number of believers willing to do battle along the side of Jesus had been signified in their thoughts through their deaths and had escaped from any possibility of further harm while they prepared a battle plan with their “general,” Jesus. (REV 7:3)
It is recognized that such an idea as Jesus having taken a multitude of 144.000 persons who had been once martyred, resurrected and taken with him during his ascension is generally foreign thus far to the theological Christian community of the world.* However the fact remains that Scriptures, when “rightly divided” (2TI 2:15) does indicate such an incident having occurred.
Even Moses made reference that such an incident was possible when when he quoted the Lord as saying, “If any of thine be driven out (of Israel) unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee.” (DEU 30:4—KJV) and again Nehemiah made reference to this incident when he reiterated this statement by God:
But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of heaven, yet will I gather them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there (Israel). Now these servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and by thy strong hand. (NEH 1:9-10—KJV)
Since the physical location of Heaven has already been shown to be in the area currently called “space” (See:4.4.0) it remains a matter of logic that, when Jesus was unaccepted by those whom his father had tried to prepare for his leadership for hundreds of years before his birth, he had no choice but to seek out those few who had accepted him to prepare as spiritual soldiers for battle as princes of his new kingdom to leave the planet.
This he planned to do in two stages. First there were those who were alive and would remain to establish the Kingdom of God on this planet. This was recognized to be a difficult task indeed and one which required Christ to take an unprecedented step of requesting his father, Jehovah, to send the Spirit of Truth, which is the Spirit of the Christ himself, to teach the faithful the Truth of how to overcome the corrupted world’s system (JOH14:6, 16-26). But only those who received this Spirit of Truth as a part of their acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah would be considered as sons and daughters of God. However, as Paul said, “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (ROM 8:9).
At the same time, within a moment of time in God’s viewpoint, the body of Jesus had been physically removed from the sight of the apostles (ACT 1:2-10). That he was even in a physically intact body has been a point of controversy amongst many believers for quite some time. This doubt, however, should be immediately eliminated by the fact that when the disciples were certain that they saw a ghost when Jesus appeared and he said he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” And then he showed them his scars where he had been crucified. He then asked them for something to eat as another sign that he was as physical as he had been since his birth on Earth; for what need has a spirit to eat? (LUK 24:36-43). But the Apostle John gave the best evidence of Christ’s physical presence in Jesus’ body in his history concerning Jesus’ time on Earth:
Therefore when Jesus ascended into Heaven he did so both spiritually and physically and the Lord’s messengers promised the disciples that remained on Earth that he would return in the same way he left (ACT 1:11). This eliminates the possibility, as some have promoted, of his having turned into “pure spirit” during his ascension. No, Jesus is alive and well in his own physical body somewhere along with the 143,999 other Hebrew who went with him whom he “redeemed” from Earth (NEH 1:89-10—KJV).
4..7.1 The Great Multitude
After this John saw a multitude of people from all over the world standing “before” Jesus. These people were from every race, nationality, and country of Earth. They spoke every known language of Earth and yet they all were standing in front of Jesus as would a company of soldiers awaiting their orders from their commander. They were wearing robes of righteousness which had been given to them by Christ and stood tall and straight, ready for battle.
In unison, as from a drill team in training they cried:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”(REV 7:10-NIV)
All of the angels were surrounding the leaders of the planets and the four nations to protect them. They all worshipped God, saying:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”(REV 7:12-NIV)
Then the elder who had been standing with John asked him, “These in white robes (of righteousness)—who are they, and where did they come from?” (REV 7:13)
Since the elder had been obviously assigned to answer John’s questions, and not vice-versa, John thought the question strange and said, “Sir, you know.”
To this the elder replied:
“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes (righteousness) and made them white (pure) in the blood (life) of the Lamb (Jesus). Therefore they are before the throne (Heaven) of God and serve him day and night in his temple (which is their bodies) and he who sits on the throne (Heaven), will spread his tent (body) over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst*. The sun (God) will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb (Jesus) at the center of the throne (heaven) will be their shepherd (leader); he will lead them to springs of living waters (people). And God will wipe away every tear (sorrow) from their eyes (spirits).” (REV 7:14-17—NIV)
It is generally recognized in Christendom that these are assuredly the Christians who come through the “Great Tribulation”. The ones who believe in the pre-tribulation doctrine say that the 144,000 sealed Hebrews are a group of Jews who are somehow miraculously converted after the believers are all removed from the planet (WGH pg. 68-69); but the Bible says this is impossible for “how, then, can they call on the the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?….” (ROM 10:14-15)
Various other denominations believe that, if they are righteous enough in the sight of God that they can be among those chosen to make up this number (TGL pg565-567 [645-649]; PLG pg 153, 214), but this has already been shown to be impossible in the last section of the this treatise since these elect servants went with Jesus shortly after their resurrection, being the ones who had accepted his Lordship when he preached to them when he was in the grave (1PE 3: 18-19). But nearly all of the theologians agree that this great, uncountable multitude represents the rest of the Christian masses not in this favored group.
To show this accurate, Anderson quotes Ellen G. White to show, through the gospel of Christ, the emanation of the Word has begat followers through the planet which have been born into the Kingdom of God upon their filling of Christ’s Spirit. “When God’s work of salvation is complete,” Anderson says, “what a wonderful testimony of faith it will bear to His love and grace! Even now, scattered among all people, there are those endeavoring to serve God” (UTR pg. 82).
In a more complete description, White says:
It is important to understand that usually, when prophecy speaks of space (greek here) it means a space in time. So when John said that he saw this great multitude “before” him he meant sometime after the time he had written down the vision. This one word marks the point of time at which John, himself stood; for behind him were the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension of his Lord and those whom he had redeemed from their graves in the Earth, and “before” him were the multitudes which were yet to come.
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