Israel’s Firstfruits: Saved After the Rapture
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
This is an absolutely beautiful truth that has received little attention. Too many Bible scholars give the Jews and Jerusalem very minimal attention in the Book of Revelation. I am aware this book is written to the church and the church is the heart. But we must never see the church as replacing Israel. The Twenty-Four Elders in Revelation Chapter Four cannot be understood without rightly dividing this chapter. The Twenty-four Elders in this chapter of Revelation is a symbolic number. To try to make it represent anything less that 12 represent the First Testament saints and the second 12 represent the Second Testament saints is futile.
The first twelve (12) show us that the great saints of Israel and the many proselytes to Judaism will be part of the Raptured saints. Matthew 27 gives us proof that God does not leave the Jews in the grave before the Great Tribulation but resurrects them. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matthew 27: 50-53) This scripture is clearly a foreshadow of the Great Resurrection at the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This great company of saints numbered 144,000 is clearly converted after the Rapture.
This chapter of Revelation joins those in Matthew 27 and opens with the entire earth filled with the wrath of the Father and the Lamb against sin and wickedness. Satan, the enemy of all that is holy, has produced his greatest imitation of religion in human history. Blasphemy against the Creator and all that is holy has filled the earth. A war in the heavens has cast Satan to the earth and his time is short. He and his unholy trinity will fight to the finish and the world’s armies will join his struggle. It’s a Doom’s Day scenario.
As we study the Book of Revelation, chapters six through eleven, we must remember that the time frame of this story is the exact same seven years as the time frame of chapters twelve to nineteen. Accordingly, chapters six and seven are approximately the same time as chapters twelve and thirteen. Satan has been cast out of heaven to earth and is on a rampage against all truth and all that believe and obey truth. The wrath of God and the anger of Satan, along with his false trinity, are everywhere. Men are dying like flies. It’s doom’s day to the fullest extent. The Father and the Lamb must judge everything of sin before they can redeem the earth. The evil trinity has been reduced to a very short timeframe to mount their offense against the kingdom of God
Why God Loves Israel with a Special Love
1. Israel was chosen as the Messianic family and provided the seed of woman.
2. The people of Israel protected a pure Bible all the way to the Book of Revelation.
3. We call them legalist and it was that ironclad devotion that protected the Word of God.…
4. The early Jewish church leaders went up to Antioch as Rome attacked and destroyed Jerusalem and kept the Catholics from totally destroying the Holy Scriptures.
5. Their love for His Holy City is a never dying love.
6. The twelve gates of New Jerusalem are named the twelve tribes of Israel.
7. Early Jerusalem will be the capital of the earth for 1,000 years.
8. Jesus was a Jew, the son of Mary and the Son of God.
9. God stopped the greatest judgment in human history to seal these 144,000 converted Jews as His judgment fills the earth.
10. The Jewish prophets told the story of Jesus in the language of the First Covenant.
11. The Bible without the Jews could not exist.
Darkness is at its greatest level, yet, there is a rainbow of brilliant color above the Father’s throne and mercy is extended. The throne of God is the backdrop of this entire seven years of tribulation. The rainbow over His throne must never fade from view as we behold the scene of redemption and judgment. The Father is sovereignty holy and full of grace but perfect in judgment of sin. This book is as literal as every other book of the Bible and every scene of mercy and grace must be defended. The view that states that this book and its story is all darkness and sorrow has done great injustice to this masterpiece. The one word that rises above all others is the word redemption. This earth and all of God’s universe is experiencing the final moments of purification, cleansing, and renewal that will end in a world fit for nothing but the Holy God and His holy family, a world of kings and priests.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
This seventh chapter of Revelation is clearly a brief moment where the great God and the Lamb stop everything that is occurring to reveal the extent of their mercy. Within this one chapter, the Jewish world and the Gentile world both witness the unfailing love of God. This chapter has the appearance of occurring in the middle of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. There is no finality to that, but it does fit the overall scheme of events. In the First Testament, the prophets of Israel call this period of seven years a time of Jacob’s Trouble. At least two-thirds of all the Jewish race will be killed or die. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” Zechariah 13:8-9.
The book of Revelation was written for and to the church, but we see the Lord’s kinsmen and all the promises to them surface several times. The twenty-four elders place the redeemed of Israel in their proper order. The twenty-four elders represent both First Testament saints and church age saints. This chapter makes it clear that Israel is not forgotten, and chapters fourteen and fifteen put a remnant of Israel in His presence that were saved out from the troubles of the Great Tribulation. The twelve Gates of Pearl in New Jerusalem place them in the midst of the Bible as part and lot of the whole of His chosen. They will possess the whole geography of God’s promises to Abraham during the thousand years of His reign on earth and the ancient city of Jerusalem will be the joy of the earth. This book, though written to the church, does not forget Israel.
We will see the multitude that have been saved, converted, and redeemed out of the Gentile world as the judgments of God fill the earth and the masquerade of Satan reveals his evil design. Never has the population of the earth been privileged to see the contrast of God’s hatred for sin and Satan’s true nature of sin so clearly. The greater multitude will refuse to repent, but those that do will not be forgotten. A great company will find repentance impossible and will serve Satan and his Antichrist, while they believe that he is the true God. To suggest that salvation will be easy in this dark period would be a disservice to truth and to the great mob that will be desperate for direction. Salvation will depend upon a person’s willingness to be a martyr and to be hated many times worse than the hatred experienced in this present day. The world will finally see that the Jehovah God of Holy Scripture is the only true God. The choices will be simple because God’s judgments will be known by the whole world.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Revelation 7:1-3
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
This pause in the proceeding of judgments is remarkable. The world is under great wrath from the Father and the Lamb. They are also under an assault from Satan and his horde at the same time. It’s like everything comes to a standstill as the angels of God manifest their incredible powers. Even Satan’s activities must be stayed. All the elements of nature will suddenly be calmed and the earth’s population will be filled with a sense of a divine encounter. His angels, probably Cherubim in this case, are awesome creatures. When they manifest powers as great as suggested in this text, a foreboding of their great emotions will touch all creation. “Holding the four winds of the earth,” will create a hush or calm that strikes incredible fear.
These angels were already on a mission to disrupt the processes of nature. Their activities were in motion so that the sudden calm was like the eye of a hurricane with a storm raging on both sides. It is apparent that this action to seal the servants of God from the nation of Israel suggests that the effort by the Antichrist to massacre the Jewish race is well underway and the Lord is acting to preserve the remnant. This also suggests that the abomination of desolation had been erected in the temple and Israel had learned of their mistake when they made a covenant with the Antichrist. One third of Israel will be preserved and saved. This action by the Lamb guarantees their future in His plans. The sealed saints will be His witnesses among the remnant.
In Chapter Fourteen they are called the firstfruits from the nation of Israel. “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.” Revelation 14: 4
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.” Revelation 7:4-8
This great action by the Lamb to set aside a fixed number of His kin for witnesses to Himself is quite amazing. They have already been thoroughly converted after the Rapture. They are called “servants of our God” and were probably faithful orthodox Jews that were busy preparing for the Messiah before they learned of the Rapture and realized they had missed this grand event. No one can be saved apart from the Lamb’s blood and this seal confirms his or her faith in Christ. Please note that this seal is called “the seal of the Living God” to distinguish from the seal of the Antichrist.
The tasks of these faithful believers from among the Jews and their protection while they are His witnesses would suggest several things. They will become powerful witnesses to Jesus Christ’s messiahship to the entire Jewish world. They will certainly prepare all of Israel to be converted in one single day when the Son of Man arrives in Jerusalem after He wins the Battle of Armageddon. His one hundred and forty-four thousand will be caught up to the Lamb before the seven years of tribulation is over and will likely be guests at the wedding event and supper already underway in Heavenly Jerusalem. They also may help prepare Israel for the coming kingdom of Israel during the Millennium. This large number of protected Jews will certainly have a wonderful part in Israel’s future, both before they are caught up, and when they return with Christ to reign on earth.