Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Perplexities Regarding Rev. Ch 7

I wanted to record some thoughts regarding Rev. Ch 7 while it is fresh on my mind.

Previously I had been persuaded that the 144,oo and the great multitude represented the same group- Saints who had been redeemed throughout history. This was based on a similarity of 'hearing' and 'seeing' comparison to Rev 5. But I am not very persuaded in that view.

I need to make a few observations:

1) I still have a hard time believing that 144,000 represents a literal number. So much of Revelation cannot be literal, the images are highly symbolized.

2) But I have to see these two groups as two groups- the 144,ooo from every tribe of Israel and the great multitude from every tribe and language of the earth-it seems clear two distinct groups.

3) At the same time, I would have a hard time believing that there a two separate plans of salvation- one for Jews and one for Gentiles- (though some dispensationalists seem to promote that).

4) The more I read this passage, the stranger it seems. The elder asking John who these are and John's response and the elders answer- it is very unusual.

5) The term 'great tribulation' cannot be escaped here.

I also have to continually think about Romans and Paul's point about national Israel vs Spiritual Israel. I think about what Romans says about the stream of salvation for the Jews opening up when the gentile number of converts has been fulfilled.

So this passage remains a mystery to me. I get excited about the innumerable group of people washed in the blood and crying out with palm branches praises to God. I think of God's promise to Abraham about stars and sand... but that 144,000- it's really quite a small number.

Could it be very much like the parables Jesus told about the kingdom of God being small but producing fruit exponentially?

What do you think? But be warned, I get agitated by those folks who say they have it all figured out with no questions.

Man got the first coming of Jesus wrong...... I'm not very confident that we have the 2nd one right either.

I just know 2 things: He is coming (soon I hope- come quickly Lord Jesus) and I want to be in that group who are washed white in the blood.

What say you?

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