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Chapter 7: The 144,000 Sealed and the Great Multitude

The 144,000 Sealed and the Great Multitude in White Robes

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 7

Chapter 7 answers the question, “Is there any hope for those who enter the tribulation?” Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year tribulation period, starts with the agreement regarding the 3rd Jewish Temple (Daniel 9:27). The tribulation is a time of incredible terror and tragedy on the Earth, unequaled in history and never to be equaled again. How will people come to Christ during this period? Throughout the book of Revelation, we see several oasis’ of salvation in the desert of tribulation and how the saints become victorious. Here in chapter 7, we see God’s plan to reach the lost in the tribulation.

One of the controversies in the Book of Revelation is the role played by the Church and Israel. The two main views here are the Covenant and Dispensational perspectives.

The Covenant perspective views the church as the “New Israel”, the church has replaced Israel, because Israel rejected Christ as their Messiah. Verses in the Old Testament and New Testament referring to Israel symbolically mean the church and not literal Israel in scripture yet to be fulfilled. Basically, Covenant theology views as God having one covenant, the covenant of Grace, from Adam until now, operating under different institutions. The church is now the recipient of this covenant in substitution to Israel. Therefore, references to Israel in the end times are symbolic and actually refer to the church.

Dispensational theology

In chapter seven, we see 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel, 12,000 from each tribe. The 144,000 has been the subject of great debate in many circles. Interpretations often center on ones view of Israel and the Church. Those who view Israel as “replaced”, view the 144,000 as “Symbolic” and not literal Israel. While those from a dispensational understanding see the 144,000 as literal “Israel”, fulfilling the mission established for the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The 144,000 are “End time” harvesters who spread the Gospel to the nations.

From scripture, we can see two events, which will prepare the world for the end times harvest at the start of the Tribulation period. One, the rapture and two, Israel’s victory over an Islamic/Russian attack, known as the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).

views the Church and Israel as two distinct groups. The word dispensation is translated from the Greek word, oijkonomiva Oikonomia, meaning the management of a household or of household affairs. The church, for the present time, is responsible for establishing “salvation” in the earth, by presenting the Gospel to the lost. Prior to the church, Israel was responsible for dispensing salvation in the earth. When Israel rejected Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Israel’s dispensation was placed in suspension until the “Fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11;25, Luke 14;15-24). Israel, is not replaced by the church and references to Israel unless otherwise stated apply to Israel. Following the rapture of the Church, Israel is restored to its dispensational position. The place occupied before their fall. (Romans 11:11-12) In the tribulation period, through the ministry of Israel, the Gospel of salvation, dispensed to the lost throughout the earth fulfills Israel’s initial call from God. (Exodus 19:6, Deut. 14:2).