Most Holy Place and Events on Earth
Change happens to the church on earth when Jesus moves in the Sanctuary above. Exploration of the Most Holy Place. Sealing of the saints, delay in Jesus’ return and how to overcome during the time of trouble ahead.
In today’s program we’ll be talking about the delays that God’s people will experience before the Second Coming of Jesus, and we’ll take the opportunity of that delay to consider three very important topics:
- The way in which the church is affected every time Jesus changes from one location to another in the sanctuary. We’ll map every phase of the Christian church to the movement of our High Priest through the sanctuary in the course of His ministry.
- Then we’re going to spend some time inside the Most Holy Place, analyzing the various articles that are found there and understanding their spiritual and prophetic meanings. This is key because Jesus is in the Most Holy Place right now, and that’s where the sealing of the 144000 takes place.
- Finally we’ll consider God’s remnant people, the 144000, and their character. What is their unique role in the Plan of Redemption? How can you become one of them?
In our last program we studied the Feast of the Day of Atonement, and understood that we’re living in a protracted Day of Atonement, a time of judgment of God’s people during which Jesus is selecting those He will bring to heaven with Him. In the sequence of the feasts we should now be studying the Feast of Tabernacles, the blessed marriage supper of the Lamb.
But we’re going to delay our study of the Feast of Tabernacles for a bit. In this way we ourselves are getting a taste of the delay that the saints of God experience on their way to the Promised Land. It’s absolutely critical that we embed this truth in our minds that God will delay the Second Coming of Jesus as a test of our faith, our obedience and our faithfulness.
Before we dive in, let me just remind you to please send me any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit them directly on our blog. I love hearing from you. Let’s get started!
A Church Dies, a Church Is Born
Whenever Jesus starts a new phase of His ministry and as a result of that He changes location in the sanctuary, something significant happens to the church on earth. Let’s consider this:
- When Jesus was on earth and entered the Outer Court of the sanctuary to die on the altar of sacrifice, the Levitical system or the Old Testament church also died. This death was symbolized by the renting of the veil in the Hebrew sanctuary.
- When Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after His Resurrection, He entered the Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary to start His work as High Priest. He was anointed High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek, the highest priestly order, higher than the Levitical priesthood. At that point Jesus began interceding for mankind in the Holy Place, applying His blood to the sins of those who believing in Him repent and confess. When Jesus was anointed High Priest in heaven His anointing was signified on earth by the Holy Spirit who came upon the disciples. This was the beginning of the Christian Church. We read in Acts 3 that when Peter preached his first sermon 3000 were baptized, and many more were added to the church daily. This is how the Christian Church was born.
- When Jesus entered the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary on October 22, 1844, again a new church was born: God’s Remnant Church. We described this in a lot more detail in Part 4 of Messiah’s Calendar. The Remnant Church was born out of the Millerite movement that believed that Jesus would come to the earth that year of 1844. We described how after a couple of false starts they got the timing right but misunderstood the event that would take place on that date. That whole episode of the Christian Church is called the Great Disappointment. The Remnant Church is described in Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”. The Remnant Church is born shortly after Jesus entered the Most Holy Place in1844 when believers from a number of different Protestant denominations came together to found the Advent Movement.
- Finally, when the Day of Atonement is finished and “probation” or we could also say “grace” or “intercession” closes for the world, Jesus our High Priest will leave the Most Holy Place to come back to the symbolic court on earth and place all the sins of humanity on Satan’s head. This is the final fulfillment – the anti-type – of what was shadowed in the Jewish ritual of the scapegoat Azazel. The holy angels will gather up His elect from the four corners of the earth: “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven” (Mark 13:27). Those from all time who walked with God – dead and living – and are found worthy to go to heaven with Him become Mount Zion, God’s Holy Mountain, and citizens of the New Jerusalem. We will all journey together 7 days up to the Holy City. So in a manner of speaking the New Jerusalem will be the last iteration of the Church; these are the saints who will dwell with God throughout all eternity.
The Most Holy Place
The heavenly sanctuary is a very important piece of the Redemption story. In fact, we could call it the “Illustrated Plan of Redemption” or “the Plan of Redemption in Pictures”. Remember that when the Lord gave Moses the pattern on the mount after which he should build the sanctuary, the children of Israel had just come out of the Egyptian captivity where they’d been slaves over 400 years. Most of them couldn’t read or write. Therefore the Lord showed them the Plan of Redemption in symbols using the different spaces, furnishings and rituals of the sanctuary.
The Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies was the innermost chamber where only the High Priest was allowed to enter only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Let’s stay in this apartment for a moment and consider it more closely. This is where Jesus our High Priest is interceding for us right now, and also where the judgment of the dead is underway.
Other than the majestic veil that separated it from the Holy Place, the main furnishing of the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the Ark are contained the Tables of the Law, meaning the Ten Commandments, as well as Aaron’s rod that budded and a pot of manna. In Hebrews 9:4 the Apostle Paul describes for us what was in the Holy of Holies: “which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant”. Every object in the Most Holy Place has deep spiritual significance and is either associated with judgment or with mercy.
The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat
The lid of the Ark was called the Mercy Seat and above it was where the glory of the Lord was present. On either end of the Ark were two covering cherubs made of pure gold. The Mercy Seat, or lid of the Ark, represented Jesus Christ, the mediator for humanity between the Law of God that requires the death of the sinner and a God of mercy. The Law of God is the foundation of His government. This is why He sits on top of the Mercy Seat and the law is underneath His seat.
What we find in Ark of the Covenant is the combination of mercy and judgment. We’ll see in a moment this is also true of the articles placed inside the Ark.
The Tables of the Law
In our previous program we described all the manifestations that took place on Mount Sinai. God Himself came down from heaven in a fire, with a host of angels and with blowing trumpets, lightnings and thunderings. There was also a great earthquake and the mountain was shaking and smoking with the Lord’s fire. After all of these manifestations God spoke the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus 20).
Later, after giving Moses very detailed instructions for the building of the sanctuary, we read in Exodus 31:18 “And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God”.
Finally we’d seen that in Revelation 11:19, when the seventh angel sounded the seventh trumpet that marks Jesus’ return, “the temple of God was opened in heaven and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail”.
Let’s draw a couple of conclusions from these three passages: first, the Ten Commandments is the Law of God, not the law of Moses. God spoke it and wrote it with His own Finger. The other key point is that the Ten Commandments are just as important for us today as they were for the children of Israel when God gave them on Mount Sinai. This is why they are shown in heaven at the Seventh Trumpet.
Now let’s talk about the other objects found inside the Ark of the Covenant. the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded almonds. We’ll also discuss the golden censer which was outside the Ark but inside the Most Holy Place.
The Pot of Manna
In our study on the Feast of Unleavened Bread we learned that Jesus was the manna from heaven, the living bread whose body would never know corruption. So the manna represents Jesus, the Word of God.
The manna also represents mercy; because it’s the flesh of Jesus that suffered for our flesh, that was bruised for our sins and that received the chastisement that we deserved. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
What does Aaron’s rod represent? This is very interesting. We have to travel from Revelation 11 back to the Book of Exodus.
Aaron’s rod makes its first appearance in Exodus 7, when he and his brother Moses were to go before Pharaoh for the first time. The Lord instructed Aaron to cast his rod before Pharaoh and it would become a serpent. We know the rest of the story: Pharaoh’s magicians also cast their rods to the ground and they became serpents as well. But Aaron’s rod ate all of the magicians’ rods. After that incident, in the next few chapters of the Book of Exodus (Exodus 7 – 10), the rod of Aaron is used to bring plagues upon the Egyptians.
Remember also how Moses used his rod to strike the rock and how in the Book of Proverbs the rod is associated with reproof and correction. In 1 Samuel chapters 4 – 6 the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant as a spoil of war and it sent out plagues among them, so much so that no Philistine city wanted it and at the first opportunity they returned it. So the rod is clearly associated with judgment.
What will happen at the end of time? The seven angels with the seven vials of the wrath of God – in other words the angels of the seven last plagues – will come out of the Most Holy Place where the Ark is to pour out upon men the last seven plagues of God’s wrath without mercy. The rod that’s inside the Ark of the Testimony represents God’s judgments upon the uncircumcised in heart. In the same way that Aaron’s rod poured out plagues upon the Egyptians and the Philistines, it will pour out plagues upon all the wicked at the end of time, those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
In the Books of Isaiah and Revelation there are quite a few passages about how Jesus will come back with a rod. Again the rod is associated with judgment. All of these verses are about Jesus:
- “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1)
- “But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4)
- Ezekiel 19:14 tells us that the rod is a scepter for ruling.
- “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father” (Revelation 2:27)
- “She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne” (Revelation 12:5)
- “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15)
- “Then I (John the Revelator is speaking) was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there” (Revelation 11:1). This is actually another verse, parallel to Daniel 7 but using very different language, describing the beginning of the judgment. So the rod is used to take the measure of God’s people, those who worship in His temple. How do we measure up to God’s standard?
What’s the point here? The point is that Jesus Himself, the Word of God made flesh, has an intimate connection with God’s law. He Himself said that He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. God’s law will be the foundation of Jesus’ kingdom. He will establish His kingdom in judgment and in justice (Daniel 7) based on the Ten Commandments. Commandment-breakers will receive God’s wrath. Commandment-keepers will receive God’s reward: an eternal inheritance.
How will we be able to keep the Ten Commandments, sinful as we are? God has made provision for that. Let’s read in Hebrews 8:10: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”. Jesus in you, the hope of glory, (Colossians 1:27) is what gives you power to keep the Ten Commandments.
The Golden Censer
The golden censer was usually placed on the altar of incense in the Holy Place. But once a year on the Day of Atonement when the high priest came into the Most Holy Place he needed to bring the censer with him behind the veil, to cover the mercy seat with smoke so that he wouldn’t die (Leviticus 16:12-13).
The golden censer represents the prayer of the saints and is also associated with mercy through Jesus’ intercession for our forgiveness. Let’s read about this beautiful golden censer in Revelation 8: “Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:3-4).
The Sealing in the Most Holy Place
We just saw in the Ark of the Covenant that God’s Law is the foundation of His throne. We learned also from Daniel 7 and Isaiah 9 that Jesus’ Kingdom was established in judgment. It’s striking that the Ark of the Covenant was seen in heaven right before Jesus comes. This is no accident.
The final conflict at the end of time will be over God’s Law, specifically over the fourth commandment: Keep the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath is God’s seal. Let’s read from Exodus 31: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’” And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:12-18).
The same is repeated in the Book of Ezekiel: the Sabbath is God’s sign or seal. “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them” (Ezekiel 20:12).
The Sabbath is a holy day of worship in memorial of creation. We keep the Sabbath to honor the Creator. The Lord blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it. No other day of the week has that blessing. When we take something profane and make it into an object of worship we commit idolatry. Worshipping on Sunday is a form of idolatry, because God never made Sunday for worship.
In the final conflict over Sabbath versus the counterfeit day of worship, those who obey the Sabbath and remain true to God will receive His seal on their foreheads. They will be protected through the greatest time of trouble the world has ever seen, or ever will see.
In addition to the Sabbath, there’s another important truth revealed in the Most Holy Place. Those who wish to be there with Jesus and receive His seal must keep their body temples clean. The Lord does nothing by accident. Inside the Ark of the Covenant there’s the pot of manna and the rod that budded almonds. The Lord is trying to point us back to the Genesis diet. God intended for His creation – both man and beast – to eat only things that grow from the earth. Meat only entered our diet after the flood destroyed all vegetation. Those who wish to be sealed should do their best to eat a diet that’s predominantly based on fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains.
Delay in Jesus’ Return
Many of us feel that Jesus should’ve come already, and we wish fervently for the Master to appear. Personally I don’t expect Jesus to come tomorrow. Why? Because there are still certain prophecies that have not been fulfilled, and the Lord does nothing without telling His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). But I do expect Jesus to come soon, and it’s possible that the final events that will trigger the Second Coming could start tomorrow. Why? Because many prophecies related to the end time have already been fulfilled. The Lord doesn’t want us to be setting dates for His Coming, but He does expect us to be watching the signs and getting ready.
The judgment of the righteous started in October of 1844. This means that Jesus has been in the Holy of Holies for over 170 years now. That’s a long time.
From Adam down through the successive generations there were many people who died claiming to be part of God’s Kingdom. The purpose of the judgment of the House of God is to ascertain whether they are indeed worthy of going to heaven with Jesus when He comes back to resurrect the righteous dead and to take the living saints with Him. That’s a lot of cases to review in heaven. We could ask ourselves: have all the righteous dead been judged already? Of course we have no way of knowing where the judgment process stands right now. But to many it seems like Jesus is taking a long time to return. So long in fact, that many of God’s people in the Church have fallen asleep.
The Bible addresses this delay very clearly. Let’s read from 2 Peter 3: “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” … But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:1-4, 8-9).
So here is the explanation for the first cause of delay: Jesus hasn’t come yet because He wants us all to come to repentance. He’s not willing that any should perish. What is written will come to pass, but not until God’s people are ready. Our job is to get ready so that we may see our Savior soon and go back home. We also need to work diligently to help save others. It’s so important that we get this message out!
The last seven plagues that will fall upon the wicked will be terrible. Revelation 19:19 says: “Great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath”. What’s coming is much worse than what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. The prophecies speak of great suffering among men.
Sister Ellen White told of a dream where fireball judgments began falling upon the earth. God’s people were shouting: “The Lord is coming, praise the Lord!” But the horrified men and women who were suffering in the midst of these fiery judgments turned to God’s people and said: “You KNEW this and you never told us?” Don’t let that be you. Please do your best to help spread this message. Share this Bible study with others that they may be saved before it’s too late.
God’s Remnant People
The word “remnant” means something that remains, often a small quantity of something that’s left over. The word is used 92 times in the Bible across the Old and New Testaments. It isn’t always associated with God’s people. Some Old Testament verses use the word “remnant” referring to enemies of God’s people. One verse even refers to the remainder of fabric used in the sanctuary.
But most often the word remnant is used to refer to a small remainder of God’s people who have escaped some great distress. Let’s consider a couple of examples from the Book of Genesis. Noah and his family were the faithful remnant whom God saved from the flood. In Genesis 45:7 Joseph says to his brothers, with whom he’s been reunited in Egypt: “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance”. Had all of God’s people perished in that famine, the holy blood line would have been cut off and Jesus would not have been born.
In the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Joel the word “remnant” continues to be associated with a faithful group that are delivered and saved. In Jeremiah and Ezekiel that remnant that escapes was scattered due to the Babylonian captivity. Listen to Jeremiah 31:7-8: “Proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel!’ Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth…” Doesn’t that remind you of Mark 13:27: “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven”.
Joel 2:32 says: And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls”.
Revelation 11:13 talks about the remnant being protected in the midst of an earthquake that destroyed 7000 people. It’s interesting to contrast that verse with 1 Kings 19:18, the story of Elijah. Elijah had hidden himself in a cave to escape from Jezebel and thought he was the only faithful servant of the Lord remaining. But the Lord tells Elijah: “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal (the sun god) and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Interesting the use of the number 7000 in both verses. But the point I’d like you to note here is that one key characteristic of the remnant is faithfulness. The remnant does not commit spiritual adultery by bowing to other gods.
The Book of Romans adds a couple of interesting elements to the notion of the remnant. First, it says in Romans 11:5:”Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace”. So being part of the remnant is by election of grace. It’s God who chooses His people: Deuteronomy 7:6-7 and several other verses make that clear. Paul emphasizes in Romans 11:6 that the election is not by works, only by grace.
But then Paul continues on to say in Romans 11:7: “Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded”. So there’s a clear distinction between Israel and the remnant. In our day when we speak of Israel we refer to spiritual Israel: all who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior. We don’t have time to go into this in detail here, you can find the full explanation in the “Top 10 Countdown of Myths in the Church – Part 2”. So Paul is saying that not all of Israel is part of the remnant. Only a small group whom God chooses are the remnant. The rest have eyes that can’t see and ears that can’t hear (Isaiah 43:8).
Doesn’t that remind you of the condition of Laodicea, the last church of which we are part? Only those Laodiceans who buy eye salve to heal their blindness and white raiment to hide their nakedness and gold refined in the fire will make it to heaven (Revelation 3:17-18).
Now it gets even more interesting in Romans 9:27-28: “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” Let’s compare that with the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:22: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened”.
Let’s recap what we’ve learned so far about the remnant so that we can move on to other characteristics of this group:
First and foremost, the remnant are faithful to God even in the midst of unfaithfulness. They obey God in faith like Noah obeyed God and built an ark even though it had never rained. They don’t commit spiritual adultery by bowing to other gods, even if the price is death. Second, the remnant are God’s elect. He calls them and chooses them by His grace. Third, the remnant are saved by calling upon the name of the Lord. They’re delivered from death and great distress. They’re also set apart from the rest of the church, who are blind. The remnant however can see. They have spiritual discernment.
Let’s consider some additional characteristics of the remnant by going to Revelation 6. This chapter describes the Seven Seals, and when it gets to the Sixth Seal which is the Second Coming of Jesus, it describes all of the apocalyptic disturbances that will happen: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).
Who Will Be Able to Stand?
We find the answer in the very next chapter: “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 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” (Revelation 7:1-4). Again, we said that this isn’t Israel in the Middle East. This is spiritual Israel, as defined by the apostle Paul in Galatians 3:29: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.
In the end time, those who are able to stand are they who received the seal of God on their foreheads. That’s another very important characteristic: being able to stand. The angels are holding back the winds of strife until the servants of God have been sealed. Receiving the seal allows them to stand. What are these winds of strife that the angels are holding back? It’s the Great Tribulation – we’ll say more about that shortly.
What’s interesting about this passage in Revelation 7 is that right after the sealing of the 144000 we see the Great Multitude “which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). So there must be a link between the 144000 and the Great Multitude. The angel then proceeds to tell John that the Great Multitude went through the Great Tribulation. (Incidentally, this is evidence that the secret rapture is a complete lie. The Church WILL go through the tribulation).
What does this mean for you? It means that if you’re faithful to God, if you don’t accept the Babylonian deceptions, you’ll be in one of two groups: the 144000 or the Great Multitude. In either case to be saved you must remain true to God by honoring the Sabbath and refusing Sunday worship that is the mark of the beast. It’ll be much harder to live than to die, but God needs a people who will live to vindicate His character and manifest His glory.
Let’s go now to Revelation 14 to learn more about the 144000. The chapter starts with a view of them standing on Mount Zion. John the Revelator describes the scene: “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 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. (Why? Because this is the song of their experience). These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. (This means that they don’t commit spiritual adultery. They’re not in Babylon, which is the harlot mother church and her daughters, but they’re in the pure church). These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. (Where is the Lamb now? In the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, where the law is with the pot of manna and the almond rod that budded). These were redeemed from among men, being first fruits to God and to the Lamb (this confirms that they will be sealed first before the Great Multitude is saved). And in their mouth was found no deceit (the King James versios says no guile), for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:1-5). Why are they perfect? Because they keep the Ten Commandments. Because they’re covered in the white robe of Christ’s righteousness. Because Jesus is able to keep them from falling, and to present them faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).
Immediately after the Bible describes the 144000, it transitions to the Three Angels’ Messages. So clearly there’s a connection between the 144000 and the Three Angels’ Messages: they give these messages. And the Great Multitude is saved because they received the Three Angels’ Messages given by the 144000.
The 144000 have no Babylonian wine or Babylonian doctrines in their mouths. Instead, they teach the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14:6-11, otherwise known as the Three Angels’ Messages. 1) Worship God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come. 2) Babylon is fallen is fallen because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 3) Anyone who takes the mark of the beast will receive the full wrath of God.
Let’s round out the characteristics of the 144000 with just a few more observations. They have the righteousness of Christ – not only His imputed righteousness, but also His imparted righteousness. The 144000 have a holy lifestyle that allows them to be in the Most Holy Place with Jesus. They eat clean and wholesome foods and offer their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. God has placed His name on their foreheads.
There’s one last characteristic we need to bring out now, which is absolutely critical to anyone finishing the race and receiving the crown of glory in the last generation. It’s found in Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”. It’s patience.
The best way to describe the 144000 is by saying that they will fully manifest God’s character before the world ends. And God is long-suffering and merciful. When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory (Exodus 34), the Lord first gave His name and then described His character: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty…” (Exodus 34:6-7).
God’s glory is His character. The 144000 are called upon to manifest God’s glory i.e. His character upon the earth in the time of the end. Patience and longsuffering will be a key to having the final victory.
The Patience of the Saints
Why will the saints need patience? Because there’s going to be a delay. We spoke earlier about the delay in Jesus’ Coming from the perspective of the events that will trigger the imposition of the Sunday Law that is the mark of the beast. But there’s going to be a second delay as well. This delay refers to the Great Tribulation.
When probation closes – in other words when the cleansing of the Sanctuary in heaven is finished and the Sanctuary is closed – the Seven Angels having the Seven Vials filled with the wrath of God will come out with the last seven plagues. “The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed” (Revelation 15:8).
At the close of grace, when those who are saved are saved and those who are lost are lost, the seven plagues will fall on the wicked. When the plagues start to fall, many of God’s people will be dead at this point from the persecutions and tortures masterminded by the Jesuits. God’s people who are still alive will be in danger of utter annihilation. The death decree mentioned in Revelation 13 has been issued.
The dragon working through the anti-christ aka the beast power comes against God’s people with full wrath to destroy them. This is described in Revelation 12:17: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”. The anti-christ is using the instrumentalities of the kings of the nations to overcome the saints. Revelation 13:7 says: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations”.
There will be an excruciating delay. God’s people will be hounded and chased and tortured and will be on the verge of death. It will appear as though heaven has forsaken them. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). It will take the faith of Jesus to stand in the hour of trial. Listen to this beautiful but very sobering statement from Early Writings, page 254: “Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, they must hold fast the truth”.
Paul also warned of this: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).
Having The Faith of Jesus
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He couldn’t see beyond the portals of the grave. He feared eternal separation from His Father. Although He was God, He traversed the Gethsemane experience like He traversed His life experience here on earth: as a man, fully dependent upon His Father. The only guarantee Jesus had that His Father would allow Him to take up His life again and resurrect from the dead was that His Father had promised. He had to rely entirely upon the Word of God. Jesus asked: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
We will be called upon to drink of the same cup. When the Holy Spirit is finally withdrawn from the earth and the wicked are fully yielded to Satan’s spirit, they’ll commit great atrocities and all manner of torture. Satan and his demons study God’s people carefully over years, to identify our flaws and failings and what hurts us most.
Satan is the dragon working through Rome. Pope Francis is a Jesuit. The Jesuits are known for driving the Inquisition and persecuting God’s saints. The stated mission of the Jesuits is to exterminate Protestantism. How can you best exterminate Protestantism? By exterminating Protestants. Need I say more?
When the hour of trial came for Jesus, one of His disciples betrayed Him, the other denied Him, and the rest fled. Jesus faced His greatest trial alone, just as He faced Satan in the wilderness alone. “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).
When the final hour of trial will come for God’s people, we’ll be scattered. Many of us will stand alone to face the angry and dangerous mob. At some point between now and Jesus’ appearing in the clouds of glory, each one of us will have to stand alone. Each one of us will be tested. We will need the faith that Jesus had. Even though we won’t be able to see through the portals of death, we need to trust God’s promises. We will be given power from on high. The latter rain will have fallen upon God’s people to help us endure what we’ll need to endure. Angels will minister to us as they did to Jesus. Our bread and our water will be sure.
From the smallest to the greatest trials we now endure, God is using them to forge our characters and refine us by fire. The furnace of affliction does one thing: it separates the dross from the gold.
“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10)
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).