the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,
 the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
The overall contents of the Book of Revelation are prophecies regarding the end time of the world; they are spiritual messages.
That is why even if people want to understand the meaning, if God does not give a person the understanding, then it is impossible to understand through the thoughts or wisdom of man.
They have a general idea of a great tribulation that will come at the end of the ages, but they cannot grasp any detailed and specific understanding of it.
The content of tonight’s scripture has been the subject of question for many Bible readers for a long time.
The questions are; where the 144,000 bond-servants of God come from after those who have believed well in the Lord are all caught up in the air, and who they are, and what their roles are in the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
In the last lecture, I started to answer those questions, and I’m continuing the explanation about the 144,000 bond-servants of God.
Through this message, may you understand all the more deeply the love of God who wants to save every soul, and may you also prepare the end time of the world according to the will of God, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ I pray!
Dear brothers and sisters.
I told you that these 144,000 people are the servants who will be given special duties to accomplish the providence of God’s salvation during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
They are left in the earth during the Tribulation either because they don’t know Jesus Christ the Savior or because they haven’t been given an opportunity to accept the Lord.
And then, while witnessing the things that are taking place during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, though late, they come to believe in God from their good conscience and accept the Lord.
Once they accept the Lord, they risk their lives to go out to the world and proclaim the Gospel to the people who are left on the earth.
While doing that, some will be persecuted and die as martyrs. They may also die from natural disasters or wars, but this death for them is also regarded as martyrdom.
When these 144,000 people go out to proclaim the gospel, countless people will listen to them, accept the Lord, and reach salvation.
But what you should remember at this point is that you must never have an easygoing way of thinking, like “There is a chance to be saved during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.”
These 144,000 servants of God previously didn’t know God but, they lived in goodness in their own way. And when they came to know the true God they have the center-of-heart to be able sacrifice their lives (to proclaim the Gospel).
Even though they didn’t know God and the Lord, if they were to be judged by conscience, they have the center- of-heart that is good enough to enter the 3rd kingdom of heaven.
Since they have such a center-of-heart, once they accept the Lord during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, they will do their duties to the point of martyrdom. They receive recognition for their martyrdom and enter into to the 3rd kingdom of heaven.
By the way, verses establishing a basis for entry into the third kingdom are in Chapter 14 of the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 14:4-5 gives another explanation about these 144,000 bond-servants of God. It says, “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.”
Previously in Chapter 6, there is a scene that chaff-like believers are asking God to judge and avenge their blood even though they are barely saved after martyrdom.
In other words, they are short of goodness and they aren’t circumcised in their hearts yet to that extent.
But, the scripture says regarding these 144,000 evangelizers, ‘no lies were found in their mouth and they are blameless.’
Furthermore it says, that they hadn’t been defiled with women, for they had kept themselves chaste.’ Here, the term ‘women’ actually refers to ‘the world.’
Therefore, it means that they haven’t been tainted by the world, but they have kept their hearts clean.
In addition, just as it says ‘they follow the Lamb wherever He goes,’ they say only ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to the word of the Lord, and follow the Lord even by sacrificing their lives.
That is why we can see that in the sight of God they are fully qualified to enter the 3rd kingdom of heaven.
Next, I explained that the ‘great multitude’ mentioned in verse 9. They are those who listen to the gospel proclaimed by these 144,000 evangelizers and will accept the Lord and they too are also different from the chaff-believers who fell in the Rapture.
Unlike the chaff-believers who compromised with the world and lived in sin even after they listened to the gospel before, these great multitude are those who haven’t been given a chance to have faith.
In other words, they are those who would have lived good believing lives and have been taken up in the Rapture if they had heard the gospel; they are those who have a good conscience.
Of course their hearts are not as good as the hearts of those 144,000 evangelizers. But, they surely have a heart that is good enough to have faith. That’s why God has mercy on them also and gives them a chance to reach salvation.
By the grace of God, they may have a chance to die as martyrs early, or they may be given an opportunity to be able to escape from extreme torture or persecution of the latter tribulation.
Therefore, even if their faith is weak, they can have a way to receive salvation.
In this way they are given Paradise as their dwelling place in heaven.
But the situation is different for the chaff-like believers.
That’s because, as explained earlier, they already had many chances of salvation before the 7 Year Great Tribulation, but they didn’t grab the chance and forsook the grace of God.
And thus, if their faith is to be recognized again after the Rapture is over, they have to overcome extreme tribulation and die a martyr. Only then can they reach salvation by the justice.
But the number of those who will overcome such extreme tribulation and show their faith is small among the chaff-believers.
Even if they die a martyr, they should be thankful for staying in the outskirts of Paradise, and they have to be satisfied with it.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let’s delve into these ‘144,000 bond-servants of God’ a little deeper.
In tonight’s scripture, 12,000 people are from each tribe among the 12 tribes of Israel. The total number becomes 144,000.
Here, ‘the 12 tribes of Israel’ does not refer just to the nation of Israel in a fleshly sense, as I explained to you in the last lecture.
The “nation of Israel” are the people that God the Creator specially chose to accomplish His providence of human cultivation.
And these 144,000 servants are also the God-chosen people to accomplish the providence of salvation during the 7 Year Great Tribulation. That’s why they are spiritually expressed as 12 tribes of Israel.
In tonight’s scripture, the number 12 is repeated like ‘12,000’ and ’12 tribes.’ It also has spiritual meaning in it.
In many cases, the numbers mentioned in the Bible contain spiritual meanings.
For example, the number ‘3’ is the ‘proper number.’ It has a meaning of ‘perfection.’
God exists as God the Trinity, three Persons in One.
Also, the facts that Jesus was resurrected on the third day from His burial that Jonah was in the stomach of a fish for 3 days, and that Jesus was tempted 3 times; all these have something to do with number ‘3.’
Next, the number ‘4’ is the number of ‘suffering.’
Israelites’ 40 years of the wilderness life, 400 years of slavery life in Egypt, and the 40 day fasting of Jesus; all these are related with the number of ‘suffering.’
The number ‘7’ is the number of ‘completion.’
It has a meaning of ‘completeness.’ God also finished His creation in 6 days, and took rest on the 7th day.
When God gives an answer, He does it by the standard of the 7 spirits. When General Naaman was healed of his disease before God, he also washed himself in the Jordan River 7 times.
Now, the number ’12’ is the number of ‘light.’
In John 11:9 Jesus says, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.”
In a day of 24 hours, the light is most bright at 12 o’clock as the sun hangs highest in the sky.
The 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 disciples of the Lord Jesus, the 12 foundation stones of New Jerusalem, the 12 Pearl Gates, and the 12 fruits of the tree of life; all these are related with the number 12, the number of light.
Our Lord is the true light, and He is the brightest perfect light like the noonday sun.
As such light, the Lord came to this earth in flesh in order to accomplish the providence of human cultivation.
When God sent Jesus, who is light, to this earth He sent the Lord among Israelites, the people of God.
God caused Jesus to be born into the nation of Israel that consisted of the 12 tribes, the number of light.
Also, the fact that the number of the disciples of the Lord also means that the way of salvation and the true light, Jesus Christ, would be proclaimed through them.
Likewise, the servants of God who will proclaim the Lord during the 7 Year Great Tribulation are chosen from 12 tribes; 12,000 servants from each tribe according to the number of light, ’12.’
Total of 144,000 will be chosen. The reason that God set up this many people as evangelizers is because the period of proclaiming the gospel is very short during the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
In order to save more people in a relatively short period of time, 144,000 evangelizers are set up once, and they go out and spread the gospel.
By the way, the scripture doesn’t simply say, “12,000 each from every tribe, the total of 144,000.”
It mentions the names of each tribe one by one, saying, “the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand.”
Moreover, these names and order is a little bit different from original 12 sons of Jacob.
For example, even though Reuben is the first born son, Judah comes in front.
And instead of the fifth son, Dan, there is Manasseh.
You can find the reason why the tribe of Dan is excluded in 1 Kings 12:27-29.
It says, “”If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.”
In the days of Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon, Israel was divided into two; Israel in north, and Judah in south.
Around this time, Jeroboam king of Israel made two golden calves and made his people worship them as gods in order to prevent their hearts from returning to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Judah.
He set one in Bethel and the other in Dan, and then he made the people worship them instead of God.
The place ‘Dan’ where a golden calf was put is the place where the tribe of Dan lived.
When the sons of Israel escaped from Egypt and conquered the land of Canaan, the tribe of Dan conquered the city of Laish, and they called the city ‘Dan’ after the name of their father, ‘Dan.’
And thus, “Dan” became a base of idol-worshipping, and the people of the tribe of Dan were easily tainted with the idol-worshipping.
Due to this base of idol-worshipping, ‘Dan’ and the tribe of Dan, many people came to worship idols and eventually went to the way of destruction.
Since the tribe of Dan has such a great fault, there is no other way but to exclude the name of Dan as a tribe from the 12 tribes that will accomplish the providence of salvation in the Book of Revelation.
In the place of tribe of Dan, there is the tribe of Manasseh. Manasseh was the first born son of Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob.
But this was also prophesied in Genesis already.
In Genesis 48:5 are the words that Israel, in other words Jacob, tells his son, Joseph.
Jacob says, “Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.”
The two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, are not Israel’s sons but grandsons. But Jacob is anointing them as being sealed with the same position as other 12 sons of Israel.
Likewise, the fact that the tribe of Dan is excluded from the 12 tribes of Israel and Manasseh tribe is included instead was already prophesied by God who knows everything. It was in God’s precise providence.
The similar thing also happened with the 12 disciples of the Lord Jesus.
That is, the Savior Jesus Christ, the true light, must be spread through the 12 disciples of the Lord, but Judas Iscariot was among them.
Therefore, instead of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord, Matthias was cast by lots, and he became the one of the 12 disciples of the Lord.
The fact that there was a person who didn’t fit in among the 12, was excluded from them, and a proper one was selected instead also has significant meaning in the history of human cultivation.
It was a sign that not just the God-chosen people, Israel, but also Gentiles would come inside the boundary of the grace of salvation.
Romans 11:17 says, “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree.”
Here, ‘the olive tree’ refers to Israelites, the God-chosen people, and ‘a wild olive’ refers to gentiles.
“Some of the branches were broken off” means that the Israelites, the olive tree, went far away from salvation because they denied their King, Jesus, and crucified Him.
And “a wild olive was grafted and became partaker of the rich root of the olive tree” indicates that among gentiles there are people who will reach salvation through Jesus Christ.
The tribe of Dan was excluded, and the tribe Manasseh was included. Judas Iscariot was removed from 12 disciples of the Lord, and Matthias was selected. Just like these, among Israelis are people that will be excluded from salvation by denying the Lord, but the gentiles who accept the Lord will participate in salvation on behalf of them.
Are you with me so far?
From now on, I will start to explain why the names of the tribes of Israel are not listed according to the order from the first-born Reuben, but from Judah.
I explained that the 12 tribes in tonight’s scripture are spiritually God’s servants through them the providence of salvation will be accomplished.
Therefore, in the order of these names is contained the spiritual meaning of the process of the growth of faith, from the moment you are saved to the moment you reach sanctification.
The first listed tribe is the tribe of Judah. Even though Reuben is the first born son of Israel, Judah is ahead of Reuben. The reason is because Jesus was born in the line of Judah.
Of course, Jesus was not born of any human linage.
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the body of Virgin Mary.
And Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a man from the tribe of Judah. Therefore, we say Jesus was of Judah’s descent as a fleshly line, and in this way Jesus was in the linage from the tribe of Judah, that would surely become the head of the 12 tribes.
The name, ‘Judah’ contains the meaning of ‘praise.’
In other words, it is to praise the birth of Jesus who came to this earth as the Savior.
Just as on the day when Jesus was born, a multitude of heavenly host and the angels praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased,” it is to praise the birth of the Savior.
Next, the name, Reuben, has a meaning of “Behold, a son.”
To accept the SON of God, Jesus, who came to the earth in flesh in the midst of praise is the first step of faith.
After this, you become a saved child of God.
It’s equivalent to the 1st level of faith.
Once you accept Jesus as your savior, you become fortunate just as the name ‘Gad’ has the meaning of ‘fortunate.’
You become fortunate to receive the true blessing of salvation, which cannot be exchanged with any sort of ‘fortune’ of this world.
After listening to gospel, the good news, you accepted Jesus as your savior and reach salvation; that’s why you became fortunate and blessed.
After you become fortunate, then you will live a believing life that is full of happiness in your heart.
The fourth name, “Asher” means “happiness.”
You were destined to go to hell as a child of devil. But after accepting the Lord, you came to go to heaven. How happy and joyful you are!
That’s why your heart is full of happiness when you live a true believing life after you are saved.
On the other hand, even if you go to church, unless you know the way of cross, there will be no joy.
Some others are overflowing with joy and happiness as if the whole world were theirs when they met God for the first time and accepted the Lord. But gradually some lose their joy.
But, if they truly live their believing lives by the will of God, the joy of salvation will never disappear.
The more days go by, the greater the joy will grow.
But since they don’t live by the truth, they come to compromise with the world, and their hearts go far from God. That’s why they lose their joy.
I hope that you will be filled with more and more of joy of salvation as time goes on.
People are different from each other. But after they start their believing lives, as time passes, they enter the 2nd level of faith.
From this moment on, the process of struggle against sin begins as they listen to the word and know the truth.
The fifth name, “Naphtali” has a meaning of “struggle.” Just as Jesus says in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force,” they start to struggle against sin and get rid of it, and take heaven by force.
In addition, since they have a longing heart of the better heavenly dwelling places, they try to receive a title and a duty quickly so that they can faithfully work for God’s kingdom.
Then, they have competition in good faith.
While struggling against sin and being faithful, they reach the mid level of faith; the 3rd level of faith.
I will continue to explain from the tribe of Manasseh, which has a spiritual meaning equivalent to this 3rd level of faith in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Just as Hebrews 12:1 says ,”Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” we compare our believing life with the race of faith.
Just as runners of this world run a race to win a prize, so we are running in order to win a prize in this spiritual race of our believing life.
By the way, there is no need of concession in this spiritual race.
In a game or a race of this world, it is the general idea that you have to defeat others to win the game or the race.
But in the spiritual race to take heaven by force, no matter how many people are running, as long as they are qualified, all of them can win the race.
It is not a race where you have to defeat others.
For instance, it is not that others cannot go into spirit just because you go into spirit ahead of them. Rather, when you go into spirit, you can pray for them and help them come into spirit all the more quickly.
When you have this competition in good faith and run ahead of others to enter spirit, God is pleased with you, and it also becomes beneficial to others who are with you together.
Therefore, you must long for spirit and compete to enter spirit ahead of others, and take heaven by force.
In addition, those who take heaven by force like this, will circumcise their hearts, and long for titles and duties.
Some people try to avoid a title or a duty even though they seem to love God and to be diligent in prayers and services.
Instead of saying “I will do it. Thank you for giving me a chance to be faithful to God’s kingdom,” when they are given a duty, they say, “I’m sorry, but can I not do this?”
Well, there may be some reasons.
They may think, “There are others who are more capable of doing it, if they do it, it will be better for God’s kingdom,” or “How can I take such a duty? I lack the ability to do it.” They may be embarrassed.
But if carefully examined, they don’t truly love God in their hearts.
If they truly love God, even if they feel that they have insufficient ability or lack the capability to do it, they will take what they are assigned to do with joy, and they will do their best to accomplish it.
And they will try to assume the full responsibility for what they are assigned to do.
This passion and a sense of responsibility are different from selfishness of “Only I can do this.”
Even if they are lacking in ability, when they do their best with a humble heart, saying, “They trusted the one like me and assigned this to me. I’m so thankful,” God’s strength can come upon them.
If they truly have faith and hope, they will be diligent to accomplish sanctification, and to be faithful to their duties while taking heaven by force.
May you diligently take New Jerusalem by force by accomplishing sanctification and being faithful to your duty, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!