Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Opening the Fifth and Sixth Seal

The Opening of the Fifth Seal -



   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.” 7:1-3 


Electronic Chips for Identification


   The four angels stood, holding the four winds.  The phrase "the four winds" is probably a figure of speech.  For example, Jehovah says that He will scatter the Elamites, with the four winds, Jer. 49:36, but He also says that they will be scattered before their enemies, indicating that the four winds were symbols of the enemies that surrounded them.

   We read here that the servants of God will be sealed on their foreheads and that after they have been sealed, these angels that are holding the four winds may "send" the winds to hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees.

   The word, forehead in the scriptures can represent the intellect. For example, And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your children,…“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. Deut. 6:6-8. The meaning seems clear; that which is between the eyes, or on the forehead, is that, which has been learned by the mind.  

   Much is said, in The Revelation, about being sealed on the forehead, either by God or by the dragon.  If we accept that, for the Christian, a seal on the forehead is knowing God's word and His will, then we must use the same kind of logic for the numbering done by Satan.  Namely; the one who is sealed by Satan is one who knows and does Satan's will.

  That line of thinking, however, comes with major problems, because, for Satan's numbering system the number can also be on the hand, not just on the forehead.  Furthermore, the numbering of God's saints, as stated here, is in the future tense.  This would mean that God's servants had not known His Word or His will until the opening of the sixth seal.  

   The other option states that the number on the forehead both by God and by Satan will be a literal, physical operation and not simply the act of learning something.  Many Bible teachers these days suggest that it refers to implanting electronic chips into a person’s forehead or into the right hand; this is already being done.

  The opening of the seventh seal does not happen until 8:1, because the servants of God must first be sealed, this act is recorded in chapter 7.  The opening of the seventh seal coincides with the sound of the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl of wrath, and in The Revelation, that is still a long way off.


 The Opening of the Sixth Seal


 

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: Of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed. 7:4-8 

The Sealing of the 144,000 Jews


Throughout Jewish writings, numbers are used to represent certain ideas rather than distinct quantities.  For example, six denotes humankind or sin; seven denotes divinity or perfection; twelve represents government and one thousand may betoken any large unspecified number.  

   With this thought in mind, let us look at the sealing of the 144,000 Jews.  One hundred and forty-four thousand Israelites were sealed; these are not members of any other specific religious body.  According to the text, they are Jews who were also servants of our God. 7:3  

   Using a non-technical definition, it can be understood that an unspecified number of each of the twelve tribes of Israel were sealed.  If in fact, twelve thousand of each of the twelve tribes were sealed, we run into a problem, which would be very important to the Israelites.  We will look at that problem shortly.

That this number, 144,000, does not include Gentiles is made clear in 7:9 where Gentile believers are specifically mentioned as being separate from the 144,000 Jews who were sealed.  In spite of that fact, Concordia states, 144,000 expresses the full number of the people of God.  The … innumerable great multitude, 7:9 is the same as the numbered tribes of Israel, seen from another point of view If this statement is true that would mean that heaven will host only 144,000 people. Anyone that can count can count up to 144,000; that fact alone proves this statement wrong.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, Mr Smith**  makes a large issue of the fact that the sealed 144,000 are only those Christians who keep the Sabbath (Saturday) as a holy day.  

   The Jehovah Witnesses have also used that number to represent themselves in heaven.  They did face a theological problem when their membership exceeded 144,000.

  When any religious group thinks that they are so much superior to any other group that they actually think that they are the only ones going to heaven, then you can be sure there is something wrong with their theology.

   Asimov^ makes an interesting note concerning this numbering.   He points out that Jacob's grandson Manasseh, is included in the list and, consequently, one of Jacob's sons is deleted so as to end up with only twelve names.  The one that is missing is the tribe of Dan.  He says that some have suggested that, as Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judea, so the Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan, and, therefore, Dan is omitted from the list.  This idea is hinted at, Dan shall be a serpent by the way.  Genesis 49:17

  Though Asimov expresses the thought, he rejects the idea that this verse means that the Antichrist will come from the tribe of Dan.  He says This is very likely a mistake on the part of John.  

   Still, the theory that the Antichrist will issue forth from the tribe of Dan may have some merit after all.  Jews are known worldwide for their shrewd business acumen, why would it be believed improbable that the army leader of the last human political power in the world would be an Israelite?  

   Especially so, if we consider the fact that the world’s last army will take up arms against the Messiah, whom the Jews, as a nation, have always rejected. Concerning this thought, Dr McGee* writes, In history you will find that Dan was the first tribe that fell into idolatry. The tribe of Dan later on became the headquarters for calf worship whereby “Jeroboam made Israel to sin” 1 Kings 14:16.

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^ Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimov
* Through the Bible with Dr J Vernon McGee.

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