1 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 foreheads. 2 And 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: 3 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. 4 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. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Revelation 14:1-5 (KJV)
I’m not going to be overlong with this, as I’ve already talked about the 144,000 in other blog posts. I’ll just run down the highlights, and we’ll finish this chapter and move on.
The 144,000 are Jews. That we know because the tribes they are from specifically are mentioned. At this time, most Jews do not know their tribal designation. The standard assumption is that one is either Kohen (priest), Levi, or Judah. You have to have a strong family tradition of being a Levi or a Kohen to claim it today. There’s been so many “purges” “pogroms” and “Final Solutions” that believe you me, the number of Jews possessing documented proof of what tribe they are is very low.
I know there is an urban legend among a lot of Christians that “no Jew today can prove their lineage”. That’s a myth. There are Jews today who have a Sefer Toldot, a written lineage tracing their family all the way back to Adam. Not many, but there are.
That also puts to death the Khazar myth, which keeps resurfacing among some Christians, in whom the vein of anti-semitism still runs strong. The “We’re the new Jew” attitude among certain groups (I’m trying not to keep picking on the same groups, but your biases and doctrinal errors show up the FASTEST when examining eschatology!) is a doctrinal excuse for hatred of Jews. And many of those will quickly dig for further information to excuse their bigotry. “WEll, all Jews today come from the Khazars…”
Look, here’s one you can take to the bank. ALL JEWS TODAY ARE DESCENDED FROM A COVERT TO JUDAISM! His name was Abraham. “Abraham who???” Abraham Avinu – Abraham our father. In Judaism, if you convert to Judaism from Gentile-ism (how do you words that???), your conversion certificate lists the name of your father… and that name is Abraham (Well, in Hebrew and Yiddish its pronounced Avraham – in Yiddish, the ‘h’ sound slurs to Avra’am). how long are you a Ger, a convert to Judaism? Technically, from the moment of the bris (the circumcision if you weren’t already and the bloodletting if you were) until the climbing out of the mikveh (the baptismal, for want of a better word). Once your last toe emerges from the mikveh, you’re no longer a “Convert”, you’re a full Jew. And that bit of information always angers bigoted Jews! Sadly, bigotry isn’t confined to Gentiles.
So, even if ALL the Jews today came from the Khazars – which they don’t – indeed, genetic markers have already shown that only a very small percentage of Jews today come from the area of the world the Khazars hailed from – they would be… what? JEWS. If an Afraican American man converts to Judaism, who is his birth father as far as Jewish law is concerned? Abraham, you know the guy from the book of Genesis. He’s a Jew. Bottom line. So, why should any Jew whose great-great-great (etc) Grandpa converted in some area below Russia in a small kingdom be any different? The lack of logic people use is astounding.
Let me answer this a little further and we’ll move on. Ashkenazi Jews tend to refer to whatever area of Europe they came to America from. I know at least one Ukrainer, several Litvak (Lithuanians), some Poilishers (Poland), a number of Deusche (I know, I’m probably spelling it wrong, but hey – Yiddish is written using Hebrew characters) who came from Germany and… at least one other Galizianer (from an area of Europe where Prussia used to be). Where did most of the Western European Jews come from? Did they pass throug the Khazari lands as the slander from the bigots maintain?
Nope. They probably came from Rome. Rome??? Yup. After the fall of Jerusalem, many Jews were taken as slaves to Rome, and passed to the rest of Europe due to their buyers. There was another massive influx of Jews into Rome around 132 AD when the Bar Kochba rebellion took place – so many Jews were being brought as slaves to Rome that they couldn’t even give them away. So word spread to the boats on their way into Rome’s harbor that the market was so flooded – they just threw all their Jews into the sea to drown. I suppose the thought of taking them back never occurred to them.
The Khazar myth is hard pressed to explain what happened to all these slaves that were brought over to Rome. Rome depended upon slave labor to run their economy, and to have so many that free slaves was just too much of a good thing… it shoots down the Khazar myth right away.
So, the 144,000 are Jews. Bloodline Jews. Jews most probably from birth. Further, they must be virgins, and converted to Christianity. But lets put that into perspective. Some of the strongest imagry in Romans paints Christianity as a Jewish religion. Huh? Yup. Go read the ENTIRE BOOK of Romans. It’s good for you, I promise. I’ll wait right here. Hmmmm, hmmm, hmmm (taps foot)… okay, you’re back. Spot the “ingrating into the true vine” stuff? The churches are made up of Jews… and Gentiles. Many churches worldwide have no Jews, and many Gentiles. But technically, you’re one or the other. The Lord is the Jewish Messiah, and came to the Jews. He made His church initially from the Jews, and it wasn’t until Cornelius was converted by faith that any Gentiles joined.
We’re good, right? You understand that? Good! This actually is the foundation stone that Replacement Theology is bassed upon, this understanding. They just take it in the completely worng direction. Gentiles are ingrafted into the true vine – Christianity – by faith. The true vine – Christianity – is based upon the idea of a kehillat – a congregation. It helps ENORMOUSLY to keep in mind as you read Matthew 16 that when the Bible uses the word “church”, in almost every case it is referring to a local body. Technically, we should be referring to “all the saved” as the Kingdom of God. That’s a minor distinction, but if the Bible makes it, so should we. Think of how the words Bnai Israel – the children of Israel – and the Kehillat – a congregation are used.
The Lord Called Out his people from among the people of Israel. They formed the Jerusalem church, but were the Kingdom of God. Literally, Christ is our KING. Bottom line. A Gentile joined the church of Caesarea. Why? He was ingrafted by faith. So, how is that different for any Gentile today? You joined a Jewish faith in a Jewish messiah, and by the basis of your faith have accepted Christ as your King, King Messiah (Melech Ha’moshiach, L’olam vayed! Sorry, old habits die hard).
So the 144,000 did not join a Gentile religion. The religion is going to return to the Jews as a focus during the Tribulation.
So, let’s return to the earlier point. How will these 144,000 know what tribe theiy’re from if they don’t have a sefer toldot? Does that mean only those Jews with a Sefer Toldot can become the 144,000? There’s two scenarios. The first one is that the Holy Spirit will tell them what tribe they’re from. I don’t like that – it sounds too much like Messianic Jewish Mishegoss (nonsense). It reminds me of the one gentile who told me he knew he was Jewish because his family came from the tribe of Dan. How do you know? “Every male in my family has a name starting with the letter D.”
um… skip it. Not even going to answer that one. It’s just silly. So how will the 144,000 know for sure? Obviously (to me) Genetic markers. They’re SOOO BUSY with the human genome project, because they think this proves Evolution, that they’re going to find the Jewish genetic markers. They’ve already found the Kohen genetic marker. So sometime between now and then, they’re going to find it. To tell the truth, I’m surprised they haven’t found it already. With all the push to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, its only a matter of days before the thought occurs to one of the few wealthy Jews (let’s get THAT slander out of the way too – the majority of Jews in America live at or below the poverty level) to fund the research. Why? Gotta make sure we know who’s who for the dedication ceremony of the Temple! It’s funny how writing this all the Hebrew and Yiddish words I haven’t spoken in 15 years just comes right back.
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:6-12 (KJV)
Babylon the great… who is Babylon? Laheye and Ice chooses a literal Babylon. I re-read the arguments raised by commentator Adam Clarke, and he defends the literal Babylon viewpoint. Apparently, Matthew Henry bypasses the argument, and Joseph Seiss takes the argument for many pages and never… comes to a conclusion! I think his conclusion is that it is the system of idolatry, but he was very vague on the conclusion.
So, I’m going to back off a previously held contention, that Babylon was Rome – I just no longer see any Biblical support for it. I do agree with Dave Hunt that the harlot who rides the beast is Rome, but I disagree that the woman and the beast are both the same, or that Babylon is Rome. I think the entire system will subvert Rome and will eventually be housed in Iraq, at Babylon.
There ya go. I took my own advice and studied out in the bible, and changed my position based upon the Bible. There’s hope for me yet. And fortunately, I just read David Cloud, and he too agrees with a literal Babylon. We must ALL study what the word of God says, and if our beliefs are wrong, we need to change them.
The destruction of Babylon is followed by a massive military assault against a city, either Babylon or Jerusalem. Most commentators agree this is an assault against Jerusalem, so either Babylon was destroyed by Israel, or it was destroyed by enemies of the Antichrist who then marched upon Jerusalem, and fought the Antichrist there at Meggido, retreating backwards to Jerusalem. It’s an interesting thought, which I’d like to study out in more detail.