Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Who are the 144,000?

Who are the 144,000 of Revelation chapter seven? Well, when all else fails, what does the text say about them?

And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. Rev 7:4-8

These verses indicate that these individuals are from the tribes of Israel. However, many conflate the 144, 000 with the church. An article on B & H Academic presents some arguments used against identifying the 144,000 as literal members of Israel...keep reading

Also from The Cripplegate: Why 144,000 means 144,000

The comments, as always, are interesting. One person said:
"Christ used a literal-grammtical-historical hermeneutic." He did?
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up"? Or "I am the bread of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life"? Or, "My flesh is true food, and my blood true drink."
This point is inevitably evoked in discussions like this. It's almost as if they've never been responded to. Of course dispensationalists (and Biblical Covenantalists) acknowledge symbolism etc. The issue here is context and I believe the point was indirectly answered in the article. If the 144,000 and the great multitude are one and the same then why mention two different categories? It is notable that our amil-postmil friends are busily telling us that particular texts aren't saying what they seem to be saying!

I highly recommend Matt Waymeyer's  Amillennialism and the Age to Come

BTW, Sam Waldron has started a series of critiques of Waymeyer's book. He'll have to selectively touch on salient points because the book is information-dense. Readers can make up their own minds whether Waldron's responses justify amil.

As for me, I'll repeat what I said above: the natural reading supports premillennialism throughout the Bible. Only the premil view does justice to what Scripture states re Israel and the covenants and God's Future Kingdom. A covenant keeping God must bring in a period of time where Israel's kingdom is restored (Acts 1:6-7). National Israel  was promised to be a nation forever (Jer 31). The amil view must consistently render a different meaning to the natural in order to support its view.

See also Paul Henebury's series on Replacement Theology.

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