After three-and-a-half years of intensive personal training with Jesus, the Lord was able to use them to achieve great victories. It should be carefully noted here that this listing of tribes is unique, because it is the only time in Scripture that the catalog of tribes appears in this particular order (but more on that later).
And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. Even though this belief is common in many Christian circles, after a closer look it becomes obvious that this is simply impossible. But a closer reading quickly reveals that from the time of Jesus, most of the prophecies speaking of Israel are focused on the children of faitha€”or spiritual Israel regardless of whether they were Jew or Gentile by blood. When Josepha€™s two sons were counted as tribes in the place of their father, you now have 13 tribes, technically. But it does not appear to have mattered to Jesus that his apostles were from the 12 different tribes of Israel, for most of His apostles were from the tribe of Judah.
This is one of the first and most compelling clues that there must be some hidden spiritual meaning to the tribes listed in Revelation 7.
Notice how the wives of Jacob, Rachael, and Leah proclaimed a statement defining the meaning of the sona€™s names as they were born.
Notice what happens when you line up these meanings of the names according to the way they appear as listed in Revelation. It seems evident that this is a special message of encouragement for those who are in the Church, believers in Christ, and not necessarily just Jews. When Jesus walked the earth in Israel, it was no problem to count 12 literal apostles following the Messiah in the Holy Land.
And of course, you have two times 12, or 24 elders on thrones around the throne of God in Revelation 4:4. This is because the 144,000 live during the last age of the church and share the experiences of the apostles. In this way, you have God's kingdom number (12), God's number of completeness or wholeness (10, as in commandments), and God's number (3 as in Godhead).
This reminds us that Goda€™s church is made up of many different personalities all near to the heart of our High Priest.
Just as there were 12 literal tribes in the Old Testament and exactly 12 apostles in the New Testament, and as the walls are truly 144 cubits thick, and as there will be exactly 144 different kinds of fruit on the tree of life each year (12 different fruits each month), there will be 12 times 12,000 apostles in the last days. In Scripture, the numbers 12 and 144,000 are associated with Judges, Davida€™s army, praising priests, and precious stones. If there are 6 billion people in the world when Jesus comes (roughly todaya€™s global population), that would mean that 1 in 41,666 would be saved. Though the 144,000 might be an exact number, the Bible does not teach they are to be the only ones saved in the last days. One was during the Papal persecution of the Dark Ages when millions of Christians were slain. Shortly after Pentecost, the 12 apostles reached a great multitude, then there followed a great persecution (Acts 8:1).
Shortly after this special seal is secured, the great tribulation and seven last plagues blast onto an unrepentant world.
The criteria that allow them to receive this saving mark is that they are grieved by sin and long for purity. Principally, it must be the Holy Spirit a€?in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promisea€? (Ephesians 1:13). Not only did Jesus send out the 12 to preach in Israel, but another time He sent out a team of 70 to preach (Luke 10:1). The assembled disciples watch Jesus ascend and listen as the angels promise Jesusa€™ return (verse 11). He will bless and choose 12 times 12,000 to lead His church in reaching the world for His second coming. To serve in one of these select units, a soldier must be highly disciplined and pass through incredibly difficult physical and mental training.

They penetrated Satana€™s dominion to spearhead a great revival and expansion of the Christian faith. Though I share this topic with great confidence, I also realize and respect that others may have a different understanding. Instead, the King of Assyria transplanted an assortment of people from pagan nations in the land of Israel in the region of Samaria. You see, the 12 original tribes all came from the 12 sons of Jacob, whom the Lord had later renamed Israel.
One reason that you still continue to hear of only 12 tribes through the Bible is because after the Levites were chosen to be the priests for all Israel, they were excluded from receiving any specific territory as inheritance. During the Passover, 13 tribes presented themselves: the a€?regulara€? 12 tribes and then the Levites serving as the priests.
The exceptions are Matthew-Levi, who was probably from the tribe Levi, and Paul, who was from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1). Indeed, God divided the Promised Land amongst the tribe according to the proportion of their population needs.
Remember, this is the only time the sons of Jacob are arranged in this ordera€”and even more specifically, the way in which they are ordered says something too. But the 144,000 in the last days are spiritual Jewsa€”scattered across the circle of the earth leading in a magnificent revival. In addition, 12 spies led the way to the Promised Land, and there are 12 judges from Joshua to Samuel.
This represents the 12 patriarchs in the Old Testament and 12 apostles in the New Testament! Outside His throne sit the four creatures, then the 24 elders in a square around them (six to each side), and then finally the 144,000 in a perfect square (36,000 to each side). In the same way, the 144,000 are an army of judges and priests that Jesus values as precious stones. It is still much better than the odds offered by most state lotteries, but it still offers a pretty slim hope of salvation!
But the pri- mary a€?great tribulationa€? must refer to the time just before Christa€™s second coming as referred to in Daniel 12:1, 2. Shortly after the Holy Spirit is poured out on the 144,000, a great multitude will be converted and then comes the great tribulation. Typically in Revelation, when we think of someone being marked or sealed, it conveys a very negative connotation.
Iraq sent the majority of their army to repel this fake attacka€”only to find they had been duped as the main U.S.
So I would encourage you to pause now and pray for understanding as we begin this adventure in mining for truth. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, a€?Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.a€™ And I heard the number of those who were sealed.
They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. Because the 10 northern tribes gave themselves completely over to idolatry, God allowed the Assyrians to carry them away in 722 BC.
When Josepha€™s older brothers sold him into slavery, it was the beginning of a long and painful separation from his family. There are many prophetic time periods given in Revelation, but the numbers are not just nebulas numerical symbolsa€”they are precise measures of time. In Scripture, the number 12 is also often associated with Goda€™s church, which is typically symbolized by a woman. In reality, all the saved and lost in Revelation bear some form of mark or seal in their foreheads or hands.
Then, only those who have this mysterious mark are spared the awful plague of slaughter that follows. There we read, a€?For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in thema€? (Exodus 20:11).

With the out- pouring of the former rain, the 12 apostles reached thousands during the Pentecost revival. One of the 12 apostles, Judas, was dead and he needed to be replaced to restore the number 12 (verse 26).
These Special Forces commandos are given dangerous and complex missions; they rapidly attack enemy troops and raid behind enemy lines to clear the way for the main attacking force.
Ita€™s because they are commissioned with the greatest missions in the last days: to prepare the world for Jesusa€™ return.
One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealeda€? (NKJV).
After reuniting with his father, Jacob promised to compensate for Josepha€™s years of separation by adopting two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as his own to be numbered with his sons in place of Joseph.
She conceived again and bore a son, and said, a€?Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.a€™ Therefore his name was called Levi. The first woman represented the Old Testament church with a continual flow of sacrificial blood.
The perfect and symmetrical math of this assembly is far beyond the fisherman who wrote Revelation. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. Here in the Sabbath commandment, we have Goda€™s name (the Lord or Jehovah), His title or office (the Creator) and His territory (the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them).
Even a small team of these commandos, because of their intense training, can achieve great victoriesa€”defeating entire columns in short time. History also records that long before the time of Jesus, the 10 exiled tribes intermarried with the Assyrians, therefore losing their distinct identity.
The Lord told the ancient Israelites, a€?And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nationa€? (Exodus 19:6).
All of our understandings about the dimensions of the New Jerusalem are based on the assumption that these numbers have real literal value. It doesna€™t seem to matter to the Lord what tribes the 12 Apostles sprang from, but it did matter that there were 12 of them.
The Sabbath Commandment is the only one that is repeatedly referred to as a seal or sign of Goda€™s creative, redeeming power. Throughout history, the devil has tried to erode the relationship of Goda€™s people with their Creator by leading them to neglect or ignore His holy Sabbath. Today, a genealogist would be hard pressed to find even one vaguely pure descendant from the tribe of Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, or Simeona€”much less 12,000! It may also be because the name Dan means a€?judge,a€? and the 144,000 are a special group who are sealed and vindi- cated at this point. Every Sabbath, the 144,000 demonstrate that God has His seal and name in their minds, because they recognize all their time belongs to God. In fact, because these tribes were so thoroughly scattered around the world and assimilated by their host nations, it is very possible even you have traces of Abraham in your bloodline!
As far as Ephraim, the Bible declares, a€?Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alonea€? (Hosea 4:17). Jesus said, a€?Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you resta€? (Matthew 11:28). The content of Jamesa€™ letter is clearly addressed to Christians, and yet he plainly refers to them as spiritual Jews from 12 spiritual tribes.
And curiously, Ruben, the firstborn, is listed as second, while Judah, the fourth offspring, is listed as the first!
Keeping the Sabbath demonstrates that they are resting from their own works and are trusting in Jesus.

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