Thoughts On Revelation (13)
Following the dreadful beginning of judgments unfolding in chapter six of Revelation, there is an interlude. Chapter seven begins with John’ vision of four angels at the four corners of the earth holding back the wind from blowing on the earth and the sea. After all the devastation from the seal judgments, perhaps holding back the wind was an act of mercy preventing further death by means of airborne disease. We are told that there was to be no more destruction until the servants of God were sealed and thus secure.
The first group of God’s servants are known as the 144,000.They are described and numbered as twelve thousand each from the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus the one hundred forty four thousand. Sounds clear enough. Yet chaos has resulted from this simple declaration of the fact. Reminds us to apply this principle when reading scripture. “When the plain sense makes sense, don’t use any other sense, lest you wind up with nonsense.” At least two or three cults have come up with some very weird ideas about these 144,000. Even Charles Manson thought this applied to him, and so he was gathering a following to hide in the desert to await the end of the world. Why not accept that God has a special plan for a set number of the children of Israel in the last days?
After this, John looks and sees a multitude of believers beyond number. They were from every nation, every tribe, every language. They were all praising God in much the same way Jesus was praised on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Besides John’s prophetic view, we are reminded that heaven will be composed of diverse people with a unified purpose. Living together in unity and glorifying God in one accord.