After John’s vision of the religious apostasy in the seals, he sees four angels holding back the winds of strife, war, and bloodshed. Why? Jesus, the Archangel (in charge of the angels) comes from the East and speaking in a loud voice commands the angels to hold the destruction until the servants of God are sealed intellectually and spiritually into God’s truth. Only then are these winds to be let loose and for chaos to come which is after the Close of Probation. “After these things” signals this special sealing of God’s people to Himself at the end of time, during the sixth seal, after Oct. 22, 1844 and before Christ’s second coming. Only those who are sealed with the seal of God will be able to stand after Probation closes. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they keep all Ten Commandments and have the Testimony of Jesus. They keep the seventh-day Sabbath, signifying their loyalty to Him, which is the end-time seal.
John heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000; 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. This is not the literal nation of Israel, but spiritual Israel, a special group of end-time believers whom God is using to give to the world the last revelation of His love. They demonstrate that by God’s grace it is possible to keep all ten of His commandments. With the seal of God illuminating their faces, they are the final witness to the world called to choose between the worship of God and the worship of the beast. These end-time “first-fruits” of God’s salvation harvest will be alive when Jesus comes.
John is shown two special groups of people, who are part of the entire redeemed of all the ages. The 144,000 demonstrate lives of complete devotion to Jesus Christ solely by His grace, and counter Satan’s end-time charges that it is impossible to keep God’s Ten Commandments. The second group comprise those who are martyred for their faith and who are promised Christ’s robe of righteousness, never to suffer hunger, thirst, or cold again.
The angels around the Throne, the twenty-four elders, and the living beings see these “first-fruits” which are to come at the end of the present age, and they see the faithful martyrs, destroyed for their faith in Jesus. Then they fall before the Throne saying, “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Will you make a covenant with Jesus today to be sealed as one of His special 144,000, who in the end-time demonstrate their complete loyalty to God? Will you try by His grace, to fully reflect Jesus?
Kenneth Mathews, Jr. M.D.
Physician, Occupational Medicine
Greeneville, TN. U.S.A.