Elijah. Part 6! I should have just set out to write a book… If you haven’t read the first five parts, this part will make very little sense.
As a quick review, we have seen that Elijah was a Torah keeping Gentile who was of the ‘settlers of Gilead’ who were grafted into the House of Israel. The first part of his ministry was 42 months long, culminating at Mt. Carmel and it is a striking foreshadow of the Great Tribulation. When we look at the Sod level we see that he is used of Yahweh to provide and protect Yehuda and Israel during the Great Tribulation, and to reveal the Messiah to Yehuda. (Details in the previous five parts…)
Now, as I promised, I want to connect Elijah to the 144,000 sealed servants of Yahweh who are in Revelation chapters 7 and 14.
A word of caution: The identification and actions of the 144,000 has been a mystery, hidden in Scripture for nearly 2,000 years. Even now, I consider it a mystery that we may only get a fleeting glance at, but I’ll share what I am understanding. In this section we will use some Scripture, but I’m going more on a gut instinct and connecting logical dots. From this point to the end of this part, HOLD THIS WITH AN OPEN HAND. I feel comfortable enough to publish, but understand I do NOT have as much Scriptural support in this section as we have seen in the previous five parts. If you have insight, or see other verses that establish or deny this, for lack of a better word, “theory”, then by all means, please share and let’s grow together.
Elijah and the 144,000.
Revelation 7:1-8 introduces us to an interesting, and a bit mysterious group of bond-servants who are ‘sealed on their foreheads.’ We are explicitly told there are 144,000 from ‘every tribe of the sons of Israel.’ Then, they are enumerated 12,000 per tribe.
It is important to notice that since the dividing of the Kingdom after Solomon, the twelve tribes are not named or demonstrated to be working together in this fashion, yet, here we are specifically told, 12,000 from Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. Conspicuous by his absence is Dan and equally conspicuous by his presence is Manasseh. Thoughts on this in a minute.
**Note to self: Relevance of order? Obvious Judah first (Yeshua, firstborn and Yehuda had firstborn blessing), but the remainder? Meaning of names in that sequence?**
Dan, is prophesied to be a judge of his people in Genesis 49:16-17. “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.” While Dan is not mentioned after the Book of Amos, he is listed among the names of the gates to the Temple in Ezekiel 48:32.
Notice also, in the listing of the tribes that are sealed, that Joseph receives the double portion of inheritance by virtue of his name and that of his son, Manasseh, listed among the twelve.
As we previously discussed, the Two Witnesses, Moses and Elijah, are represented by groups who ‘stand before the Lord of the earth.’ The 144,000 are clearly declared to come from the twelve tribes and the anomaly in the naming of Manasseh instead of Dan may actually create a pointer to conspicuously absent, Ephraim, the one named in Ezekiel 37 and Genesis 48:19. If we put all the pieces together, the logical conclusion is that the two groups that are witnesses in Revelation 11 are the 144,000 named from both Houses of Israel in Revelation 7.
Let’s hold that tentatively and look at supporting evidence:
First, the Witnesses can not be harmed. (Rev. 11:5). The 144,000 are sealed against harm. (Rev. 7:2-4)
Second, the Witnesses are martyred at the end of their ministries (Rev. 11:7) then are raised immediately before the seventh Trumpet which is the point at which Scripture says, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Read in context for full effect.) The 144,000 are described in Rev. 14:4 as being ‘First Fruits’ a clear designation for resurrection which, if they are sealed against harm, then at some point that ‘protection’ is removed for the glory of Yahweh. I would see this as a very close parallel to the description of the Two Witnesses as previously mentioned.
Third, the Two Witnesses are said to ‘stand before the Lord of the earth.’ The 144,000 are said to have ‘not been defiled with women.’ Most christian commentaries make two incorrect assumptions about the 144,000. They assume they are Jewish… already proven wrong as the text in Rev. 7 lists all twelve tribes (with the aforementioned caveats.). Commentaries also assume these men are virgins.
Nowhere does Scripture ever teach that a woman defiles a man. In fact, the word here translated ‘defiled’ from the Greek is used primarily in the LXX (Septuagint) to mean ‘spiritual defilement that related to idolatry and blood sacrifice’. I would understand this to mean that these men have ‘come out of Babylon’ and will have no part of the Woman who rides the Beast or the syncretistic religious system that involves the idols of Molech (Santa Claus and the whole pagan ‘christmas holy-day’) and Ishtar (Easter and the fertility rites that predate Yeshua’s resurrection.. on the Sabbath… by 1500+ years). Do the research before hitting the red ‘X‘, and you will find christendom is rife with the very syncretism that Elijah was facing down when he slew the prophets of Baal and Ishtar that ate at Jezebel’s table. Marriage to the world’s system defiles and the 144,000 will have nothing to do with it. Compare these men to Eliyahu saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions… The people said not a word.” Remember Revelation 3:14-22?
I want to pause here to make a very critical point!! The 144,000 are NOT the only ones saved. Just as Elijah was sent to Zarephath to care for the woman and her son (see the details in parts 2 & 3), the 144,000 will be a conduit through which Yahweh cares for, protects and provides for those of both the House of Israel (Gentiles awakening to Torah) and the House of Judah (Jews awakening to Messiah Yeshua). There are multiple verses that point to us again going into the wilderness to be refined. Compare this to Revelation 12 with the woman who flees to the wilderness and a ‘place prepared for her for 1260 days…’ Scattered across the planet there will be thousands and thousands of small enclaves that are led by these men with millions under their teaching, care and protection.
A similar study from a different angle that I think coincides directly with this info on the 144,000 is a study of the Sons of Zadok or the Zadokites mentioned in Ezekiel 44:15-31, Isaiah 66:21 and in other texts.
Again, these 144,000 are leaders of communities, conclaves, groups, ___ that ‘come out of Babylon’/Samaria and are led to ‘a place of refinement’ where Abba, through these men, will ‘wash their garments’ and ‘prepare them to be the bride.’
Fifth, the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 both have direct ties to Torah and to Yeshua. Moshe and Eliyahu both walked Torah and spoke el paneem (in the face of) Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration. The 144,000 have the name of Yahweh and the name of Yeshua on their foreheads (Rev. 14:1).
Some would consider it arrogance to believe these 144,000 come out of the Torah-keeping Messianic movement… aka, Hebrew Roots. Consider this: Revelation 14:5 says, ‘They are blameless.”
While all who are saved are justified only by the blood of Yeshua, the measure of how we are to walk is Torah. If sin is lawlessness, and walking orderly is according to the Law, then the church and Judaism are NOT blameless. They may be justified, but they are not blameless. (Before you get your feelings hurt, pay close attention.) Those who seek to walk blameless are those who follow Messiah and are obedient to His commandments. James tells us it is the Lawgiver who saves us. If Yeshua is the Lawgiver (I and the Father are One) and He does not change then we had better take the ‘front of the Book’ seriously and learn of Him. Those who are keeping Torah and believing in Yeshua are the ones qualified for this ministry. Of course, coincidentally, Scripture lines right up with this assertion. See How many times??…
Revelation 14 contrasts the144,000 with the worshipers of the beast. The Two Witnesses torment the entire earth … seems 144,000 spread across the planet would be a very effective way to carry this out in every community, state, region, etc… While protecting and being present to all who would seek Abba.
Consider: 8 billion people/144,000 sealed witnesses = about one of these witnesses per 56,000 residents of planet earth. And, the earth’s population will be plummeting during this time frame while the sealed witnesses prophesy, further skewing the ratio until it approaches 1:15,000.
The US, with a population of 300 million would have about 5400 of these witnesses. That would be more than 2 per county with the authority to preach, call down fire, torment the earth, etc… Major cities will have multiple ‘Jonah’ calls to teshuva/repentance. Any wonder why the people of the earth rejoice when the witnesses are killed? Every person on earth has seen and heard from these guys and every community that rejected them has paid a personal high price of judgment from the Almighty! In fact, I believe every person will have seen or will know the face of these guys… there will be no avoiding their presence!
Not one single person on the earth will have an excuse. These guys will preach to the corners of the earth that the Day of the Lord is at hand!! (It is a glorious point to ponder that in His providence, Yahweh has used Yehuda to protect Torah and used Ephraim to take the Gospel to the four corners and now He can awaken both to the other and fulfill the verse Isaiah 11:12-13!!)
In closing, the question you are rolling over in your mind is probably the same one I was pondering… “But, how does this huge group die in Yerushlayim??”
This had me a little stumped, but let me propose a possible scenario. We know Yahweh does things in a cyclical fashion. Same things over and over, but sometimes with a twist.
Suppose the antichrist sends out a challenge to assemble the 144,000 in Yerushlayim for a showdown, ala Shootout at the Mt. Carmel Corral. Suppose that the 144,000 take him up on the challenge to see who can ‘call down fire from heaven.’ Suppose they assemble about four or five days before Rosh Hashanah and at that point Yahweh allows them to be martyred and lie in the streets for three and a half days before shocking the world. This would seem a victory for the a/c causing the world to celebrate while adding suspense and a cool twist to the Mt. Carmel archetype. In the end, He gets great glory and redeems from the earth the 144,000 who are called the ‘first fruits’ on Rosh Hashanah, just as, or just before the Last Trumpet.
With Isaiah 66:20 pointing to stragglers coming to Jerusalem from the four corners after the Day of the Lord, I would imagine that these are the survivors of the camps that the 144,000 left just a few days earlier when called to make aliyah (go to Yerushlayim).
Much of this part of the series has been well off the beaten track of eschatological thought. Frankly, it is new territory for me as I have had to rethink some old traditions and consider other possible solutions. While I continue to search for additional Biblical evidence to support or destroy this perspective, I cannot help but think that the Two Witnesses and the connection to the 144,000, while hinted at, is intentionally murky. May Abba reveal what we need to know, when we need to know it. In the meantime, I pray for wisdom, holiness and the courage to answer whatever He may call me to… even unto death.
Next time, we’ll try to wrap up this series with a few odds and ends from the rest of Elijah’s ministry that are relevant. we may also touch on other details of the Great Tribulation foreshadowed in I & II Kings.
For now, shalom and seek His face.