Tuesday, August 02, 2011

DO THE MATH


REVELATION CHAPTER SEVEN IS ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS. Or at least it's about people wanting to know about the numbers contained in the passage, specifically the 144 thousand who are to be "sealed . . . from all the tribes of Israel." (Revelation 7:4)

It's not so much adding the 12,000 from the 12 tribes...that's pretty easy math, it's the BIGGER question of why?  It reminds me of that kid in elementary school who wants to know "why" 2+2=4, they are never simply satisfied with the simple answer of "because that's the way it is."

But, I think, like my friend in elementary school, we can get so caught up in the 144,000 that we miss the more beautiful equation set before us in the passage. It should also be noted that of the 460 some words in this chapter only about 200 deal with the 144,000. That means that what follows verse eight might in fact be the more important part of the equation.

Pay attention to what the Apostle John records in verse nine, "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9) Talk about higher math!

Herein, I believe, is where the focus is to lie, not that the 144,000 are not important, but the really amazing number is that there will be an uncountable multitude from those who are not Israel, and in this number I would be included. Yes, Israel has been God's chosen people, and in some ways they still are, but God heart is too big to be limited to one people, one nation, one language.  God's love is for all people. Even you and me!


So, this coming Sunday, when I am to be preaching from Revelation 7:1-17, where do you suppose my focus will be, on the 144,000 or on the multitude, or on the One to whom the 144,000 and the multitude will bow? Yep! You got that right.  And yes, we will have to deal with some of the "other" interesting events within the chapter, too.

Whether or not we get all the "math" correct on this one I do not know, but this one thing I DO know, I am sure glad I can be numbered with the redeemed. That makes it all add up nicely.
 

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1 comment:

Theophile said...

Also interesting is the list of tribes does not "add up" to any other list of tribes in the Old or New Testament.