Do we make it?

If we take Revelation literally and as a timeline then we are definitely going to become unstuck.

This next section is an interlude of which there are several throughout especially seen by the use of the songs of heaven set in the context of the judgment.

We are going to read lists of the 12 tribes with 12,000 in each all making up a total of 144,000. The list is strange but visions can be can’t they? Why is Judah mentioned first ahead of Reuben who should have that place? Where is Dan? Why Manasseh?

Let’s read:

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 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 12,000.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7 v 1-9)

Judah is seen as the renewed people of God, maybe that is why he is mentioned first and not Reuben. Dan is omitted maybe because the Jews thought the Anti-Christ would come from him or maybe simply because though you might have spiritual heritage it doesn’t mean a thing. Manasseh? Did he become a separate tribe? Was he making up the 12 with Dan’s omission?

The questions continue and I don’t know how people can interpret John’s vision in so many ways when really no one truly knows.

Is this an end-time physical army? Is this Jewish evangelists with an end-time harvest field of Jewish believers in Jesus? Do we get a mark on our fore-head? Is this in contrast to the 666 mark that will soon appear in the vision?

You can write novels, theses and films all on this one section of the vision and still be wrong.

Perhaps the message in this interlude is this. There may well be more but for the 7 churches and for us isn’t this one thought the most important: we survive!

The 12,000 and the 144,000 make it to the end of the vision and the holy community of the new heaven and new earth.

John heard the number 144,000 but then notice ‘I looked’ just like what happened with the scene of the Lion and the Lamb. What did he see? You would have thought he saw 144,000 but it was a multitude he couldn’t count.

The answer to the question do we make it? YES we make it!

Evil is permitted to do its worst but even though we will suffer we will survive. Jesus got to the resurrection but He went through the suffering and so will we. Are we not the end-time army of God with the sword of the Spirit not the weapons of the world taking the good news to the four corners of the earth? Yes we are!

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