Yesterday morning I ended the service with a time of corporate prayer; asking for God’s help in our mission and in our finances. I will return to the topic of prayer, but first, because of that prayer time I neglected the post-message Q&A on Revelation Chapter 7 (#truthwgrace).
Question #1: Why are the 144,000 relevant? Why are they mentioned? Why do they matter?
We can only speculate on why God chooses to seal 12 x 12,000 – He seems to hold “12” as a very significant number when it comes to people, but if scripture ever declares why He does so, I’m not aware of it. As far as the Jews playing a significant role in the Tribulation; I would say that it’s because it really is all about them (Daniel 9:26-27; Jeremiah 30:7). I would also submit that these 144,000 Jews are finally going to get to do what Israel was always supposed to do: “be a light for the whole world.” Starting with God’s covenant with Abraham and ending with Paul’s plea in Romans 15 – Israel was always supposed to be instrumental in bringing the Gentiles into a relationship with God. Finally, I would submit that God is keeping His covenant with Israel (Romans 11:28-36) by bringing them back into Gospel preaching prominence.
Question #2 Who are the Elders referenced in v. 11? And who are the four living creatures?
I believe the Elders are human – not angels; angels don’t wear crowns – and I believe that the 24 are made up of the 12 sons of Jacob and the 12 Apostles. I believe that the four living creatures (described in much more detail in chapter 4) are the Seraphim of Isaiah 6 that Isaiah saw as God’s heavenly attendants. I believe that they are so overwhelmingly super-human, that John could only call them “creatures.”
Getting back to prayer – maybe Peter said it best….