13 – A Symbolic or a Literal Number?

////13 – A Symbolic or a Literal Number?
13 – A Symbolic or a Literal Number?2016-11-27T17:36:43+00:00

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Sabbath, December 29, 2012

Memory verse

“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.” Revelation 7:4.

A well-defined number

1. What important fact did John hear and see in vision?

Revelation 7:4 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.

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

“John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.” –(Review and Herald, March 19, 1889) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 978.

“The remnant are not only pardoned and accepted, but honored. ‘A fair miter’ is set upon their heads. They are to be as kings and priests unto God. While Satan was urging his accusations and seeking to destroy this company, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 369.

2. What statement in the Scriptures helps us understand that the 144,000 are a literal number? What do the inspired writings state concerning the 144,000?

Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

“Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square.” –Early Writings, p. 16.

“With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, ‘having the harps of God,’ they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, ‘the voice of harpers harping with their harps.’ And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb–a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience–an experience such as no other company have ever had.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 648, 649.

Other inspired evidence

3. What work of Jesus will end when the number of the 144,000 is completed?

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

“I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, ‘It is done.’…

“In that fearful time, after the close of Jesus’ mediation, the saints were living in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.” –Early Writings, pp. 279, 280.

“Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects is made up.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 613, 614.

4. If only 144,000 people are sealed under the third angel’s message, is it not a very limited number? What do the testimonies say about this?

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

“The people of God, symbolized by a holy woman and her children, were represented as greatly in the minority. In the last days only a remnant still existed. Of these John speaks as they ‘which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ ” –(The Signs of the Times, February 8, 1910) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972.

“All heaven had united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, ‘It is done. It is finished.’ The plan of salvation had been accomplished, but few had chosen to accept it. And as mercy’s sweet voice died away, fear and horror seized the wicked. With terrible distinctness they heard the words, ‘Too late! too late!’ ” –Early Writings, p. 281.

Strive to enter

5. Why will many Sabbath keepers who knew the three angels’ messages not receive the seal of God?

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:

[it is] the gift of God.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 3:15, 16 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

“The great mass of professing Christians will meet with bitter disappointment in the day of God. They have not upon their foreheads the seal of the living God. Lukewarm and halfhearted, they dishonor God far more than the avowed unbeliever. They grope in darkness, when they might be walking in the noonday light of the Word, under the guidance of One who never errs (Letter 121, 1903).” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 970.

“We either gather with Christ or scatter abroad. We are decided, wholehearted Christians, or none at all. Says Christ: ‘I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth.’ Revelation 3:15, 16.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 126.

6. What will be our attitude if we are numbered with the 144,000?

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence take it by force

Psalm 119:58 I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: Be merciful unto me according to thy word.

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

“ ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.’ This violence takes in the whole heart. To be double minded is to be unstable. Resolution, self-denial and consecrated effort are required for the work of preparation. The understanding and the conscience may be united; but if the will is not set to work, we shall make a failure. Every faculty and feeling must be engaged. Ardor and earnest prayer must take the place of listlessness and indifference. Only by earnest, determined effort and faith in the merits of Christ can we overcome, and gain the kingdom of heaven. Our time for work is short. Christ is soon to come the second time.” –(The Youth’s Instructor, May 24, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1096.

Privileges

7. How thoroughly will the 144,000 be tested and purified? What privileges will be theirs in the new Jerusalem?

Malachi 3:1, 2 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.

Revelation 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” –The Great Controversy, p. 425.

8. What preparation is needed to be able to stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb and sing the new song?

Revelation 14:3-5 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 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. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

“Those whom the Lamb shall lead by the fountains of living waters, and from whose eyes He shall wipe away all tears, will be those now receiving the knowledge and understanding revealed in the Bible, the Word of God….

“We are to copy no human being. There is no human being wise enough to be our criterion. We are to look to the man Christ Jesus, who is complete in the perfection of righteousness and holiness. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the pattern man. His experience is the measure of the experience that we are to gain. His character is our model. Let us, then, take our minds off the perplexities and the difficulties of this life, and fix them on Him, that by beholding we may be changed into His likeness. We may behold Christ to good purpose. We may safely look to Him; for He is all-wise. As we look to Him and think of Him, He will be formed within, the hope of glory.

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” –(Review and Herald, March 9, 1905) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 970.

For review and meditation

• What inspired evidence reveals the 144,000 to be a literal number?
• What will happen when the number of those who are sealed is reached?
• What will be the attitude of those who receive the heavenly seal?

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