August 31 /96
Jesus said that one cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless one does the will of the Father. And He proceeded to explain how this will be fulfilled when people come to Him seeking entrance upon the basis of their working of miracles and their proclamation that He is Lord. Jesus will respond to such people they cannot enter but instead depart on the basis that they did not know Him.
What Jesus is explaining in this passage is that the meaning of what it is to do the Father's will is actually to know Jesus. If we must do the will of the Father in order to enter the Kingdom, and if Jesus said they could not enter because I never knew you, then we see that knowing Christ is doing the will of the Father.
This becomes most plain to understand only when we consider that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Word of the Father. He is the Word made flesh. In other words, He is the "will" of God made flesh. To do the Father's will is to know Jesus, for He is the will of the Father. His words and His doctrine were not actually His own, but were given to Him from the Father.
Jesus was in the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:13). He was doing the will of the Father, as all those who wish to enter the Kingdom must likewise do.
Even the "Lord's prayer" in Matthew 6:9 speaks of "thy kingdom come and thy will be done" in reference to the "Father who art in Heaven." We see that the Kingdom of God and the will of the Father are intimately linked together. One cannot have part in one without the other.
John 3 also speaks of being born of water and Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This, too, involves doing the will of the Father, for only those who do the will of the Father may enter the Kingdom. One must do God's will in order to be born of the water and of the Spirit (Acts 5:32).
Entering into the Kingdom of God is holding eternal life. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is "in you" because one must "believe" Jesus� words in order to have eternal life (John 6:63). Believing is an inward issue. It is "in you" to believe. "Knowing" Jesus is an act of the heart which must both "love" and "believe" upon Jesus. If we believe His words we have eternal life.
To enter the Kingdom, then, is to enter the kingdom of God. And when Jesus proceeded to speak about the wise man building his house on the Rock, and having his house withstand the storms and winds, He was pointing to the eternal aspect of the Kingdom of God. When we do the will of the Father we are hearing the words of Jesus and "doing them". Jesus speaks of doing the will of the Father and endeavours to illustrate the benefits of that with a picture of building a house on a rock. And He replaces the words "doing the will of my Father" with "hearing these sayings of mine and doing them." Again, we are to realize that the will of the Father was made known by Jesus' words.
Eternal life is having a house that never falls under storms!
Entering the Kingdom of God is building a house on a rock. Miracle working does not build anything on the rock of God�s kingdom, as we see in Jesus' words. Calling Christ "Lord" does nothing either. It is not what we "say" or what we "do" in the way of miracles, but what we "know" and "believe" and then "do" what we believe that matters. One can do one's own will and still perform miracles and call Christ "Lord".
Even our prayers are useless unless we begin them with the understanding "thy kingdom come, and thy will be done."
These people numbered 144,000 are sealed upon their foreheads as a means of divine protection from the four winds of false doctrine, war, famine and death (Rev. 6:1-8; Zech 6:1-5; Rev. 7:1). In chapter 14 we see these same people standing on a rock, as it were, upon Mount Sion.
And the seal upon their foreheads which protected them from the four winds, of which we read in chapter 7, is seen to be the Father's name. They thus stand "protected" with Christ in their midst, having never forsaken them, on a Rock.
The sealing of the Father's name on their foreheads symbolically represents the "will" of the Father having been these people's lives. That position of doing His will protects them . The "will" is an element of the soul and mind. And the "forehead" depicts this "will" of man. So, having the Father's name upon the forehead illustrates the fact that these people live by the "will" of the Father rather than their own wills. We see "will" (forehead) and the Father (Father's name) associated with the reason these people stand on the Rock and remain protected.
Defilement with women speaks of spiritual fornication with other false "doctrines." These men were spiritually pure from doctrinal fornication, as opposed to those in Thyatira who were taught by Jezebel to commit fornication by involving themselves in false doctrine (Revelation 2:20-24).
They "followed the lamb" wherever the Lamb went. This tells us that they obeyed all of His teachings and emulated the manner in which Jesus was led of the Spirit. Jesus did not do His own will, but the will of the Father. They are the "firstfruits" of the Lamb and God. James 1:18 interprets this reference as applying to the general saint of God who lives fully for the Lord.
Many think that the 144,000 are literal Israelites from the east, but the appellation that the book of Revelation gives to them in being the "firstfruits" to God is the same description James gives to the saints of the Church. The Church is the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).
The 144,000 are on the Rock, Mount Sion. This same mountain is where the saints of the Church stand!
The fact that the "lamb" is in their midst shows us the faith these people have in the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkling of His blood! Lambs refer to the sacrifice These facts show that the 144,000 is representative of the Church of God!. Hebrews 12:22-24 clearly labels such people who have spiritually come to Sion as being the "Church of the firstborn."
These 144,000 are on Mount Sion in the midst of the writings regarding the mark of the beast and persecution against those who resist that mark, name and number of the beast. Their "houses" are upon the rock (Sion) in the midst of the storms and winds, and they fall not, as Jesus explained how the wise build their houses on the rock!
As opposed to doing the will of "a man" (self-will - Rev. 13:18) with the mark of the "beast" on their foreheads, these saints do the will of the "Father" and have His name on the foreheads.
The temple was on a mountain or a Rock. The Ark of Noah rested on a Mountain or Rock after the storm was over, showing that God's people are not destroyed in the winds and rains, but remain standing steadfast through it all to the end.
An angel flies after we read about the 144,000 on Sion, and cries about the need for all nations to fear God and give Him glory for His judgment is come. Another angel proclaims aloud that Babylon then falls. And a third angel speaks about God's wrath coming upon all those who succumbed to the beast.
Then we read...
Verse 12 seems to describe what the crowd of the 144,000 standing on Sion depict. And this fully agrees with Scripture.
The fact that the 144,000 have the Father's name in their foreheads ties us to the thought of Moses commanding Israel as follows:
Speaking of the Law of God and God's wrath, God told Israel through Moses to keep His laws upon their hand and as frontlets between their eyes lest God's wrath come upon them. Sounds a lot like the mark of the beast on the right hand or forehead. Actually the mark of the beast is the counterfeit of God's law. The commandments are actually the "will of the Father." Rev. 14:12 said that the depiction of the 144,000 on Sion with their Father's name in their foreheads represents those who keep the commandments. This is exactly what Moses described in telling people to keep God's commandments as having His words upon their foreheads between their eyes and upon their hand. The forehead represents the will and the Father's name there tells us these people do the Father's will, or His commandments.
Not only did Rev. 14:12 note the keeping of the commandments of God but also the "faith of Jesus." This is very noteworthy, for one cannot keep the commandments without the faith of Jesus Christ since the commandments are too burdensome for humanity to keep (Acts 15:10). But when we exert the faith of Christ rather than exert mere human will power (notice reference to the will again) one will see the righteousness of the Law fulfilled in oneself. Romans 8:3-4 tells us that Jesus came to fulfill the righteousness of the Law in us who believe - or exert the faith of Jesus. We never see the commandments of God mentioned as being successfully fulfilled in believers without the mention of the faith of Jesus. One is not able to keep these commandments without strength that comes by faith in Christ.
Where Paul could not do any "good thing" (keep the law - .Romans 7:12,18) although he willed to do so, we find that he was strengthened when he believed "through Christ" for the righteousness of the Law to be fulfilled in him (Phil. 4:13).
We will find that the human will which is exercised in order to accomplish good, such as the keeping of the good commandments, simply cannot accomplish such intended good. It is impossible for man to do all that he needs to do in order to obtain eternal life (Matthew 19:16,26). But strength from God "through Christ" (Romans. 7:25), or by the "faith of Christ" (Gal. 2:20), enables us to see the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us (Romans. 8:4).
This is the mark of "a man" opposed to the seal of God�s name in the foreheads. It is human will versus the will of the Father being fulfilled. The number of the beast is "the number of a man" as opposed to that which is of God. It is self-righteousness as opposed to His righteousness. The beast exalts himself above all that is called God (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:6-8). This is human self-righteousness, and this will damn the soul.
The 144,000 who bear the Father's name on their foreheads "follow the lamb." They do not fulfill their own wills, but like Jesus, deny themselves for the will of the Father. They are not led by the fleshly walk of following one's own will. They walk after the Spirit.
We find the same phrase, "here is the patience of the saints" and the thought of "Jesus' faith," as mentioned in lieu of the 144,000, in the passage regarding the mark of the beast and self-righteousness in Rev. 13:
In other words, here is the time we need to be built upon the Rock.
Those on the Rock are those who fulfill the righteousness of the law (keep the commandments) through the faith of Jesus. They hear His sayings and do them. Many people get bogged down in this point regarding keeping commandments and feel they must exert human effort in order to keep commandments. They really do not think about their opportunity to seek Christ's strength first. We all must realize that Jesus did indeed speak about works which we must perform - labour.
Jesus said we must labour in order to obtain eternal life. When the disciples asked Him what the particular labour involved, He told them something they did not expect to hear.
"Believing" is the labour we must perform. Believing upon Christ's death renders us in a state of righteousness and of having eternal life.
So we don't exert human will power alone in order to become righteous, but rather believe in Christ's death and thereby receive eternal life. Then we exert faith through Christ again in order to be strengthened to do good (Phil. 4:13).
Be not deceived, for we will accomplish good works after we have adequately believed upon Christ. If no good works follow our faith, then we simply are not true believers, and are still lost
Back in Rev. 14, after we read about the 144,000 standing on the rock, one of the angels proclaims the fall of Babylon.
This passage is most enlightening when we consider the thought about the fool's houses that fall when they are built upon sand, as opposed to the wise men's houses that were built on rock and stand eternally.
Babylon is the "House of Fools".
While the 144,000 STAND on Sion, the Rock, Babylon FALLS. Where was Sion located? In Jerusalem. So we have Babylon versus Jerusalem. The "Jerusalem House of the Wise" built on the Rock of Sion and the "Babylon House of Fools" built on sand.
So true is the following passage:
The above passage not only speaks about the saints coming to Mount Sion, and reference to the lamb (Revelation 14:1) whose blood is sprinkled for mankind, but it also speaks of the Kingdom which cannot be shaken! Hebrews 12:22-29 parallels Revelation 14 most perfectly! All of this is tied into Jesus' words regarding what I will call the "Jerusalem House of the Wise" as opposed to the "Babylon House of Fools."
Rev. 14 continues speaking about God's wrath and the reaping of the saints and then the reaping of the grapes of wrath which are to be trodden upon in God's winepress. After the storm of persecution and wrath are over, the saints are still standing on Sion. That which cannot be shaken will remain.
The patience and faith of the saints is what keeps them upon the Rock. They withstand storms of persecution. The same vocabulary regarding the 144,000 is seen in reference to the saints of God in Paul's day at Thessalonica.
References to the faith and patience of the saints in the midst of the storms of tribulation and trouble is found in both passages of Rev. 14 and Thessalonians.
These were not some "post-tribulation saints" who were left behind after some so-called "pre-tribulational rapture." These people to whom Paul wrote were saints of God like you and I who have obeyed Acts 2:38.
In the context of the patience and faith of the saints, as depicted by the 144,000, Revelation then continues to speak about the "dead in Christ" who rest from labours and persecutions due to their faith and patience.
Thessalonians also mentions the "dead in Christ" as compared to those called "the dead which die in the Lord" in Revelation 14 being raised into the great Rest of eternity with Christ.
How can we assume that there will be saints who will be killed and called "dead in Christ" after some "pre- tribulational rapture" has occurred taking away the saints of the Church in light of 1 Thess. 4 and the parallel passages to Rev. 14:12-13 which are found there? "The dead in Christ" according to Paul are the people who are caught up in the rapture. So the "dead which die in the Lord from henceforth" of Rev. 14:12-13 are the same people.
The "Tribulation period" is not some future seven year period, but rather any period when God's people of any age of the Church suffer persecution from the world. The Thessalonians suffered trouble (from which term we get the word "tribulation"), and held patience and faith as the 144,000 are said to depict saints holding patience and faith in Rev. 14:12-13. That is how we can apply it to yourselves today. More specifically, it is the period of 3.5 years when Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed only 40 years after Jesus was crucified, ending in AD 70.
John lived before what many would call the "tribulation period", but even he remarked of his patience and faith.
The "testimony of Jesus" refers to the "faith of Christ" as found in Rev. 14:12-13. The "word of God" refers to the "commandments of God". And both of these elements were experienced by John as well as the people to whom he wrote, since he called himself their "companion in tribulation". This refutes the thought of some future tribulation period from which the Church will be spared. These same two elements of patience and faith are noted in the passage concerning the 144,000! And the 144,000 are clearly left on the earth during tribulation.
Thessalonians comments on the patience and faith of saints along with the following words speaking about suffering for the kingdom of God's sake.
Notice the words, "the Kingdom of God, for which ye suffer."
Is this not precisely what Jesus referred to in Matthew. 7 as he spoke about the storms rising against the houses of those built on the rock, which storms cannot destroy those houses? The "storms" in Jesus' discourse refer to the tribulation of persecution from the world. Jesus spoke about entering the "KINGDOM OF GOD" and described it as building your house on the Rock. And Paul notes the tribulation which the Thessalonians suffered, whose "faith and patience" kept them standing as they suffered for the "KINGDOM OF GOD." Patience and faith saw the saints of Thessalonica STAND during the storm. Their houses were built on the Rock. God's Kingdom cannot be shaken nor removed (He. 12:26-28). Anything built upon it will never fall.
Babylon depicts self-righteousness as opposed to the righteousness of God which Jesus told us to seek above all else (Matthew 6:33). Babylon is a house built upon sand, which the fool built. It is self-righteousness. Man tries to render himself righteous through good works and actually produces self-righteousness. Nebuchadnezzar erected Babylon and boasted of his achievements.
But Nebuchadnezzar fell.
Abraham searched for a City made by God, and did not seek to build his own city (He 11:10).
Babel, Babylon's origin, was erected by man in order to exalt man's name.
They used bricks rather than hewn stone, and slime rather than mortar. Bricks are man-made stones baked from sand and mud. (The fool built his house upon the sand). Sand is the origin of humanity, for God made man of the dust of the earth. Sand, therefore, represents human quality which is inefficient as far as providing one with goodness so as to be righteous in God's eyes. It is a deception to think man can produce his own righteousness.
After speaking about the prophecy of Jesus Christ the Messiah who whose name would be wonderful, etc., Isaiah speaks about the fact that hewn stone is superior to bricks.
God's temple was made from hewn stone, whereas Babylon was made from brick.
The self-righteous mentality of humanity without God opposes the tower of Jesus� name into which those are called "righteous" (not self-righteous) run and are safe from all storms of earth.
Man exalted his own name of self-righteousness in Babel's tower, but Christ's name is a strong tower for truly righteous people. They bear not their own name, the name of a man, but they bear the Father's name in their foreheads.
Our goodness is miry clay and sand - mud from which we try to bake bricks and form our self-righteous houses. We need to be brought out of the foundation of miry clay and set upon the rock.
The slime from which babel made its mortar was found in valleys rather than from mountains from which hewn rock was taken. And it was in the valley where the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell, where slimepits were.
Some fled to the mountain, but the leaders of the ungodly sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah fell amongst valleys of slimepits.
Our goodness is filthy miry clay, from which nothing satisfactorily righteous can come. We need to come out of the miry clay and sand of self-righteousness and be placed upon the rock of His righteousness and His kingdom to be able to stand the trials of life and also the great storm of God's judgment day.