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Next in this series of articles examining The Book Of Signs, we come to the vision of 144000 of Revelation 7 and 14. As we might have expected, Dr. David Jeremiah puts them into the so-called Tribulation period.
And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: Rev. 7:4, NKJV
Before we start looking at what The Book Of Signs teaches, let’s remind ourselves of a few things.
First: As we have explained here, the Book of Revelation was written with a sense of urgency for the First Century Christians.
Second: However we explain this passage of Scripture, it must have had meaning for those who first read/heard it. That is Bible Study 101. The fact is, the explanation found in The Book Of Signs would have meant nothing to the First Century Christians who were desperate for encouragement and instruction as their world was collapsing around them.
John is unequivocally specific in telling us that these 144,000 witnesses are Jewish. Yet some expositors insist they will emerge from out of the Christian church. This is impossible. When the 144,000 begin their witness, the redeemed church will already be in heaven, swept up universally by the Rapture. Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 286). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Dr. David Jeremiah is correct in stating that these 144,000 witnesses are Jewish, but he is wrong in his reasoning. Jesus returns once at the end of this age. As we examined here, there is no Scriptural evidence for a secret rapture of the church and then a second coming [or third?] of Christ seven years later. I don’t know what expositors he is referring to, but the events are reversed. The Christian Church comes out of these 144,000 witnesses as they are the Jews who converted to Christianity after the resurrection of Christ and before the Temple was destroyed in AD 70. The Gentiles converts came about as a result of these witnesses.
And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women…Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word…Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 5:14, 8:4, 11:25-26 NKJV
Twelve thousand witnesses will be called out of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, bringing their total to 144,000… Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 286). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
The number 12 is significant, as The Book Of Signs says. It, however, focuses on its relation to the Jews and does not address the larger meaning of God’s power and authority in governmental operations. We see this in 12 tribes, 12 disciples, 12 apostles, etc.
The meaning of 12, which is considered a perfect number, is that it symbolizes God's power and authority, as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation. It can also symbolize completeness or the nation of Israel as a whole. Biblestudy.org
Curiously, this Bible expositor did not mention [or failed to see?] the list of the 12 tribes [Rev. 7:4-8] is different than in the Old Testament. Ephraim is listed as the tribe of Joseph, although Manasseh is also a tribe of Joseph and is listed separately. Also, since Levi is listed as one of the 12 tribes, one of the traditional tribes is not listed. [Can you figure out which one?]. So this cannot refer to the entire nation of Israel as one tribe was left out or disinherited.
The Old Testament prophet Joel foresaw the result of the ministry of the 144,000 witnesses and described how they will be agents of the Holy Spirit’s power in the Tribulation period…[quotes Joel 2:28-32]. Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 288). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Note carefully what The Book Of Signs says. It teaches that this prophecy of Joel describes Jews during the Tribulation, which is supposed to occur after the Church has been raptured. But what does the Scripture say? Peter quotes the EXACT passage that Dr. David Jeremiah quotes and says:
But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…[referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost] Acts 2:16, NKJV
So was this fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, or is it yet to be fulfilled in the Tribulation? Should we let Scripture stand in the way of good storytelling? The Book Of Signs does not attempt to explain the Acts passage.
I am confused on another point. These 144,000 witnesses are “agents of the Holy Spirit’s power in the Tribulation.” We have been told that the church is raptured before the Tribulation. In a previous chapter, we were told that the Holy Spirit left with Church.
At the Rapture of the church, the Holy Spirit will withdraw from the earth, removing all restraints on evil. Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 275). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Did the Holy Spirit sneak back in? What is happening here? I am not seeing consistency here, but maybe I am missing something.
He is telling us the angels are positioned at the earth’s strategic compass points, ready to unleash four destructive winds that will inflict God’s judgments over the entire earth—north, south, east, and west. [speaking of Rev. 7:1-3] Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 291). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Yes, the angels are positioned to bring God’s judgment on the earth. Unfortunately, The Book Of Signs ignores the primary meaning of the word earth [Ge] as used in Jewish writings, i.e. specifically the land of Israel. If John had meant the entire world as we think of it, he would have used the Greek word “Kosmos” as he did in the famous John 3:16 verse.
We do have a picture of God’s judgment coming on the land of Israel for their rejection and murder of His beloved Son. This happened in the Jewish War of AD 66 - 70 when over a million Jews lost their lives, many by the hand of their own countrymen. The Jewish Christians [the symbolic 144,000 of Revelation] were sealed, and not one Christian is known to have died in this horrific event. They had seen the signs given by Jesus and the apostles and fled the land of Israel before the judgment came.
Yes, an unprecedented revival is coming, but it will occur after the Rapture, when the 144,000 Jewish witnesses evangelize the world during the Tribulation period. Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 293). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
So the Holy Spirit working for 2,000 years through millions of dedicated, God-loving Christians ultimately fails, but the Jewish witnesses [with the Holy Spirit or without Him?] evangelize the world in seven years. This seems to me like an incredible insult to the ability of the Third Person of the Trinity.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God,
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands… Rev. 5:8-11, NKJV
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. Rev. 14:3, NKJV
It’s a new song, arising from an enormous, exultant choir accompanied by harps. It’s a song that only these 144,000 saints can learn and sing because it grows out of the unique ordeals they have experienced, as well as out of their exultation over the massive numbers their ministry has turned to God. Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 295). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
A new song is mentioned twice in the Book of Revelation. The first time it is the song of redemption. It is celebrating the victory of Jesus and His worthiness to open the scroll. This had never happened before. It was a song the Old Testament saints could not sing. It truly was a new song.
The second time it is mentioned, it tells us only the 144,000 could sing it. All Christians sing the new song of redemption. So what is this referring to? If, as I have said, the 144,000 are the Jewish Christians who were first into the Kingdom of God after the resurrection, then the new song they were learning and singing was welcoming the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. They were the only generation of Jews who could sing it. The Kingdom of God is now and forever worldwide.
Whether you agree with me or not, once again, Dr. David Jeremiah has failed in his claim of an undeniable prophecy of the apocalypse. There are dedicated, God-Loving and God-Serving Christians who take a different view of the 144,000. If he wants to substantiate his claim of undeniable evidence, he is going to need a lot more evidence than he presents in The Book Of Signs.
Return to The Book Of Signs.
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