S (Scripture): Revelation 7:4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
O (Observation): 144,000 are supposedly to select few to be sealed by God…and no more are to be of this “elect.” Guessing others can be saved, but only 144,000 for sure.
Well, as a piece of apocalyptic literature, I understand these numbers as symbolic. First, 7 is a number that represents wholeness and sacredness (the number of days to create the cosmos, along with a day of rest). Second, 12 is powerful, since that is the number of tribes of Israel.
144,000 = (12 x 12) x (10 x 10 x 10)
12 tribes of Israel x 12 apostles.
10 x 10 x 10 is wholeness or perfection.
These numbers are symbolic and have special meaning. Thus, the number 144,000 denotes not a literal group of tribulation Jews, but rather the entire church of all races, languages, times and places.
A (Application): I try really hard to be patient on social media. I’m getting better. I’m taking more time to jump into a discussion. I’m taking more time to formulate caring responses, instead of emotional responses.
But sometimes, I feel like I’m being told I’m not one of that select 144,000. Now, no one has ever used those words, exactly…but the idea of being considered outside of salvation has been thrust upon me more than once, because of my theological views.
I can say, pretty confidently, that I care not that I’m condemned. I speak with a clear conscience, knowing that I am trying to interpret what God is saying to me, and then to act on those words of challenge and grace. And I do so with members of my faith community.
How are you relating to the 144,000? Are you in? Out? Or is the whole thing not in your hands? : )
P (Prayer): Lord, you are in control. We are not. Help us to know the difference. Amen.