Someday we are
all going to stand before the judgment bar of God: 2 Corinthians
5:10 "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body, according
to what he has done, whether good or bad."
What a solemn
thought to think that we are all going to have to stand before the
judgment seat of God! And what is the basis of this judgment? How
will God judge us?
12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of
man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every
secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil."
suppose that there are other duties necessary for salvation, such
as repeating certain phrases or prayers, or cutting their hair a
certain way like the followers of Hare Krishna, etc. But this verse
says, "Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is
the whole duty of man." We must keep the commandments
in the heart, of course, for that is the only way the commandments
can be kept in the New Covenant. This is the way Jesus showed us
to live. Now let us look in the New Testament at a similar text
written long after the death of Christ
James 2:10 "For
whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point,
he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,
also said, 'Do not murder. Now if you do not commit adultery, but
you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So
speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty."
already agree with most of the law. For example, most people agree
that it isn't right to murder or steal. But James says that it is
not just part of the law that is important, but all of the law.
Real Test of Faith Comes When We and God Disagree on Some Point
The real test
of obedience comes when God asks us to do something different from
the dictates of our natural inclinations or feelings. When that
happens, God knows better than we do, for He has been around longer.
The very fact that God has given us a Bible with which we are to
guide our lives, indicates that God has some things for us to do
that are not in accord with our natural understanding, for why would
He give us such a Book to follow if we already knew what was best?
In the verse
we just read, James says that the law of God is a law of liberty
and life to those who keep it; but Paul says it has become a law
of bondage and death to those who fail to keep it (2 Corinthians
of Allegiance to God
The mark of
God, by which God will know that we have accepted Jesus as our Saviour
and have become His child, is our obedience to Him. God has one
simple test: Do we love and trust Him enough to obey Him? Do we
love and trust Him enough to do what He says? Do we keep and respect
His law? Jesus said:
John 14:15 "If
you love Me, keep My commandments."
The sign of
a kings authority is his ability to make a law. When Nebuchadnezzar
spoke, it was law. When a king becomes a mere figurehead, as in
many European countries today, then he can no longer make laws,
but those laws are made by some other authority in the government
such as the parliament.
The sign of
a governments authority is its ability to make laws. The sign of
a kings or a governments authority is its ability to make laws.
And the sign of loyalty to that king or government is for the citizens
to keep those laws and to show allegiance to the principles for
which they stand. Faith in God will cause us to place ourselves
under His authority. The sign that we respect His authority is to
keep His laws. This is what God said when He gave the laws of His
11:18 "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in
your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes."
of these laws will be a sign or mark in your hand and your forehead
(between your eyes). The Jews in Jesus day took this text literally.
They used to take portions of Scripture and bind them, as a sign
of their allegiance to God, around their wrists or foreheads. But
Jesus showed us the true meaning of this text by keeping the precepts
of the law in His mind, and in the things He did.
on the Hand or in the Forehead
"It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and
as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lords law may be in your
mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt."
Here is the
first mark the Bible talks about as being placed on the hand or
in the forehead (between the eyes). This was not a mark to the beast
at all, but a mark to God. There is nothing wrong with a mark, of
allegiance. The issue is, whose mark then shall we receive?
Now let us ask
a question. Is this mark of God a literal mark or a figurative,
6:6 "And these words which I command you today shall be
in your heart."
Where is it
that God wants His words placed? Is it on some literal parchment
wrapped around a persons forehead, as the Jewish leaders legalistically
did in Jesus day? No, what God is interested in is not some ritualistic
parchment on the outside of a person, but a heartfelt response on
the inside. The forehead is symbolic of the mind and thinking, and
the hand is symbolic of the activities and actions of the hand.
God wants both outward and inward obedience. He wants us to do and
to think good things. He wants us to love one another outwardly
Thus we show
that we are Gods children by our obedience to Him. This is the sign
of our loyalty to Him. Obedience is the sign that Jesus is living
in our hearts.
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves
to obey, you are that ones slaves whom you obey, whether of sin
to death, or of obedience to righteousness?"
Obedience Is the Key
If we yield
our service to God we are His servants. How does a child show respect
for his parents? By giving them loving obedience. Likewise it is
a sign of our acceptance of Gods authority and lordship if we follow
Him in loving obedience.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord, shall enter
the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in
heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we
not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done
many wonders in Your name?23 And then I will declare to them, 'I
never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!
who professes Christ as their Saviour will be saved, but only those
who act out their profession by obedience to the will of God and
who do not "practice lawlessness."
But Jesus said
that some will say to Him in that day, when all receive their rewards:
"Lord, you made a mistake. I know I am a child of Thine. Just
look at the evidence--I spoke in tongues and prophesied in Your
name; I cast out demons in Your name; and I did many wonderful things
in your name, Jesus."
But then Jesus
will show to them the evidence He has as to why they were not His
children: "Then I will profess to them," said Jesus, "you
did not keep the law. You were not loyal to Me. You did not do what
My Father said. You practiced lawlessness. You may have thought
you were doing wonderful things. You may have gone to church every
week. But you simply did not obey Me. Somehow you thought you could
make your own decisions in life as to how you could be saved. Did
you think you could earn your way to heaven with your own works?
Because you did not obey Me, you are a disloyal subject. Thus your
religion is not worth anything."
think that if they are sincere, God will accept their sincerity
regardless of what they do. But if they are really sincere, they
will try to find out what God wants them to do. There is a sign
by which we can know whether we really are sincere or not.
1 John 5:2 "By
this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God
and keep His commandments."
1 John 2:3 "Now
by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4
He who says, 'I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is
a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word,
truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that
we are in Him."
If we truly
love God, we will allow Him to lead us and we will listen to His
word--we will not close our ears for fear of what He might say.
If we understand His love, we will search for His way.
It is one thing
to say we love God, but it is another thing to practice that love,
as the following poem demonstrates:
Love You, Mother
you, Mother," said little John,
his work, his cap went on.
And he was
off to the garden swing,
mother the wood to bring.
you, Mother," said Rosy Nell;
you better than tongue can tell."
Then she teased
and pouted half the day,
Till all were
glad when she went to play.
you, Mother," said little Fran;
I will help you all I can.
How glad I
am that school does not keep.
And she rocked
the baby till it fell asleep.
softly, she brought the broom,
the floor and tidied the room.
Busy and happy
all the day was she,
cheerful as a child could be.
you, Mother," again they said,
children as they went to bed.
How do you
think that mother guessed,
Which of them
really loved her best?
Even a child
can understand that poem and know which child showed real love for
his mother. It is so simple. Just so, God knows which of us really
love Him. This is why the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament,
states that we will all be eternally judged by the precepts of the
law of God-- the Ten Commandments. The keeping of the law does not
save us, but is shows whether we love God or not, and whether we
have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
Is Our Adversary
1 Peter 5:8
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring
whom he may devour."
Satan is our
adversary seeking to cause us to be lost. We are all going to be
judged according to the law of God, the transcript of His character.
This being true, what will the devils strategy be? He will do anything
he can to keep us away from that law. It doesnt make any difference
to him how he accomplishes his task, as long as it costs us our
He has two approaches.
One, to entice us to sin, and thus break the law; two, to obscure
the law, minimize its importance, or lead us to believe that it
has been abolished. It makes no difference to him--just as long
as he can lead us away from allegiance to God by disobeying His
Most Effective Assault
challenge was to get Christ to sin. He failed, but he showed us
his strategy. You will remember how he tempted Jesus when they met
in the wilderness--he came as an angel quoting Scripture. He came
in the garb of religion. And that is still the way he comes.
11:13 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder!
For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves
into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to
to deceive the Christian by quoting and misapplying Scripture. How
are we going to be protected from his deceptions? We know that his
deceptions are so good that they are going to deceive nearly the
whole world. The only way we can keep from being deceived by Satan
and receiving his counterfeit mark, which we will study in our next
lesson, is to know the Scriptures like Jesus did. When Jesus was
tempted by Satan, He, too, quoted Scripture to unmask his deceptions.
"But He answered and said, 'It is written, 'Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of
We will find
life by "every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
We must compare scripture with scripture as the Bible says
to do in Isaiah 28:9, 10.
Arguments and Gods Answers
is coming upon the world as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may
devour, by quoting and misapplying Scripture. He quotes it out of
context in such a way as to teach error and to lead people away
from the law of God. What are his arguments?
#1: "You are under grace, not under the law, therefore you
can sin and break the law all you want."
Let us ask the
Lord about this argument First, let us ask Him to identify sin.
"Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John
us ask Him whether His grace permits us to sin and break the law
all we want to.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin (in
breaking the law) that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall
we who died to sin live any longer in it?. . . What then? Shall
we sin (break the law), because we are not under the law
but under grace? Certainly not!" (Romans 6:1, 2, 15).
It is the most
wonderful thing in the world that we do not have to be under the
law, but that we can be under grace if we accept Jesus as our Saviour.
But the question is, what does it men to be "under the
law," and "under grace"? Paul certainly
did not understand Gods grace to do away with the law or to free
us from keeping the law.
Let us look
at the gospel story again: The gospel teaches that we are all sinners,
guilty of death, "for the wages of sin is death" (Romans
6:23). But the good news is that Jesus came down and paid that penalty
"The soul who sins shall die. . ., the wickedness
of the wicked shall be upon himself"
We are all condemned
under the law as guilty. Jesus frees us from this condemnation by
grace. Suppose someone is on death row in the state penitentiary
for killing a policeman. He is "under the law," is he
not? But the governor decides to free the convict by putting him
"under grace" (our courts today still use the same legal
terms as the Bible uses). The governor gives the condemned man grace,
frees him, and takes him out from under the law. Does that mean
that the law has been abolished? Does it mean that this man under
grace can now break the law all he wants to? Can he now go and kill
all the policemen he wants to?
God puts us
under grace when we accept Jesus as our Saviour. Does that mean
the law has been done away with now? Does that mean we can sin all
we want to now? Does that mean we can now kill and steal and commit
adultery? Let us allow Paul to answer this question:
"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly
not! On the contrary, we establish the law."
Does Paul say
that the law is done away with, or established?
A state governor
can free a criminal and set aside the penalty of the law (though
the law itself still stands), but Gods law is more binding and sacred
than mans laws. Gods law is so enduring that not only can the law
not be changed, but even the penalty cannot be done away with--not
even by God Himself. God could not just say, "Mr. Brown, I
forgive you for cheating that elderly lady," and just leave
it at that. No, but rather for God to forgive Mr. Brown, Jesus had
to come down and take his penalty upon Himself! If state laws were
so binding that the only way a convict could be freed would be for
the governor to die in the convicts place, you probably would not
see many prisoners receiving grace. Yet, that is what God did for
Suppose a state
law was so binding that the only way a prisoner on death row could
receive grace was for the governor to take his place and die for
him--just suppose some kindhearted governor did that--would that
nullify the law or establish it? It would certainly establish the
law. If the law could have been set aside, the governor would not
have had to die. And if Gods law could be set aside, Jesus would
not have had to die.
were a parent, and you told your child that you have a very strict
rule. "Johnny, you must not turn on the gas stove because it
doesnt always function right and it may blow up the house and kill
you." Now, to enforce this rule, you tell your child that if
he breaks it, he will have to go without eating for a whole day.
Someone might argue with you about the punishment, but you point
out that going without food is better than going without a head,
should the stove blow up.
In the course
of time, Johnny turns the stove on. Now Johnny asks forgiveness,
and you feel so sorry for him that you tell him you are going to
forgive him, but that the rule cannot change. So you yourself go
without eating, to take his place. You hope Johnny will see how
hungry you are and will take note of how serious this rule is. But
instead, Johnny says-- "Now I can turn the stove on all I want
because Mommy paid my penalty. Now I am under grace!"
In like manner,
Gods grace does not cover the unappreciative person who says, "Ah,
now I can do anything I want, for Jesus took my penalty."
#2: "Jesus fulfilled the law, thereby doing away with it, so
you dont need to worry about it any more."
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the
Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew
5:17). "You also are to fulfill the law by following My example,
just as Paul said: 'fulfilled in us (Romans 8:2-4).
When you fulfill
a prediction, such as Jesus did by dying on the cross, the prediction
is no longer needed. Jesus fulfilled the sacrifice predictions which
pointed forward to His death. When He died they were no longer needed.
These predictions were a part of the ceremonial law of the old covenant
sanctuary. But when you fulfill a moral law, such as "thou
shalt not kill," that has nothing to do with abolishing
the law. When you fulfill the marriage vow, does it do away with
marriage? When you give your spouse total fulfillment, does it do
away with your spouse? When you fulfill the requirements of the
speed limit law, is the law thereby destroyed?
#3: "No one can keep the law of God anyway, so dont worry about
"Sin is lawlessness, and you know that He (Jesus)
was manifested to take away our sins (our lawlessness)
. . . Little children, let no one deceive you, he who practices
righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins
(breaks the law) is of the devil . .. . Whoever
has been born of God does not sin" (1 John 3:5-9).
Jesus came down
to give us the power to keep the law.
Note: It is true that "all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God' (Romans 3:23), but the very fact that we
have sinned proves that the law of God is still in existence, "for
sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4, KJV),
and "sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Romans
5:13). You cannot be ticketed for breaking a speed-limit law if
the law has been abolished. The very fact that we are all sinners--all
still guilty of breaking the law--proves that the law is still in
effect. God does not want us to continue sinning--He came down not
only to die for our past sins, but to give us power to quit sinning.
#4: "You are now under the new covenant of grace, not the old
covenant of works, so you dont have to keep the law any more.
"This is the covenant I will make with them after those
days, says the Lord: I will
put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds
I will write them" (Hebrews 10:16).
Far from making
the law non-applicable for us, the new covenant can only be received
if we are willing to keep Gods law. No one who refuses to keep the
law of God is under the new covenant. Many people who think they
are under the new covenant today are merely under the condemnation
We cannot fulfill
the requirements of the law of God with the outward works of the
flesh or with our old sinful natures, "because the carnal
mind. . . is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed
can be" (Romans 8:7). We may perform a few outward acts,
but the principles of the law will not be in the heart. Christ wants
to change our hearts. He wants to change our very motives and thoughts.
He wants to give us love within. This is called the new heart, or
the new birth, or conversion. The new covenant is Gods promise to
change our hearts.
#5: "The letter of the law kills, but the spirit gives life
(2 Corinthians 3:6). Therefore, the law is not applicable to us
who have the Spirit."
The reason the law kills is that "all have sinned."
All have broken the law, and the wages of sin is death. The
reason the Spirit gives life is to enable us to keep it. As Paul
said, "I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment
came, sin revived and! died (that is, the law condemned him
as a sinner)." "For to be carnally minded is death,
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal
mind is. . . not subject to the law of God" (Romans
7:9; 8:7, 8).
#6: "All you need to keep is Jesus law, not Gods law."
There is only "one Lawgiver" (James 4:12), not
two, for "I and My Father are one." "The words
that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the
Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 10:30; 14:10).
#7: "The Law was nailed to the cross."
"My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that
has gone out of My lips" (Psalm 89:34).
There was a
law that was nailed to the cross, and that was the law of ordinances
which pointed forward to Jesus. These were "Jewish" ceremonies,
such as circumcision and animal sacrifices, that God gave to them
in the old-covenant sanctuary service (see the previous lesson).
The Bible says that He "abolished in His flesh. .
. the law of commandments contained in ordinances" (Ephesians
2:15). This was not referring to the moral law of God. It is still
wrong to worship other gods. It is still wrong to steal. One other
point Besides the ceremonial law, there was something else that
was nailed to the cross and that was our sins, along with their
penalty. Thus the penalty of the law was nailed to the cross.
Ceremonial Versus the Moral Law
There are two
laws in the Bible--the ceremonial laws given in the old covenant
that pointed forward to Jesus--and the moral law. The moral law
was placed in the center of the Most Holy Place, or the Holiest
of All, of the sanctuary, which was the second room. Paul says,
"But into the second part (the Most Holy Place) the
high priest went alone once a year . . . . the Holy Spirit indicating
this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest
while the first tabernacle was still standing" (Hebrews
9:7, 8). The way into the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, where
the Ten Commandments were, was not yet made manifest while the earthly
sanctuary was still standing, because they signified the standard
of judgment by which all men will be judged before Jesus second
coming. The Ten Commandments, therefore, have special significance
for today. They actually have more significance today than before
Will Satan Deceive?
That is why
Satan, Gods enemy, is trying by many subtle deceptions to deceive
people into disregarding Gods laws. In speaking of the time just
before His second coming, the Lord warns:
2:8 "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord
will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness
of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the
working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because
they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Those whom Satan,
the lawless one, will deceive, are those who do not receive the
love of the truth. Be careful of excuses, and tremble before God.
If you wait and search to know Gods will you will know it, but if
you dont truly want to know the truth, God will allow you to be
Ive shown things
out of the Bible to people before--even out of the law and their
answer is: "Oh, I dont think that is important!" Imagine!
God says something and we dont think it is important? Our eternal
destiny is going to be determined in the judgment by our obedience
or disobedience to the law, and people think it is unimportant.
different excuses: "We have always done things a certain way--we
cant obey Gods law." In other words, they have made up their
own minds, independent of God, as to what is right and wrong.
"But He answered and said to them, 'Why do you also transgress
the commandment of God because of your tradition?
There are those
who run to their preacher when they learn something in the Bible
that is different from what they have been taught. Their preacher
may say, "Oh, it is true the Bible says that, but today we
dont practice that. It doesnt fit into our society. It is all right
if you want to do it, but it is not necessary. The whole world cant
be wrong. The Bible is a good book on general principles, but it
is impossible to follow it literally. God is a reasonable God and
He wants us to be practical. We just cant worry about all these
Scriptures there is a running controversy between what God says,
and what man wants to do. False prophets have abounded who thought
they were right, but God never condoned nor authorized them. The
question is: Are we going to let God tell us what to do, or are
we going to follow the ideas and inclinations of sinful human nature?
In the judgment
the words of men will not stand and the words of those who have
led others astray will not save those they have deceived. The deceived
as well as the deceivers will be judged by the law. At last, Gods
people are identified as those who obey Him.
Mark Identifies His People
"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went
to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments
of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
A woman in prophesy
represents Gods people (Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 51:16; Revelation 19:6,
7)--A harlot, on the other hand, represents an apostate church of
The word "rest"
in "rest of her offspring" is translated
as "remnant" of her offspring in some versions
of the Bible. Remnant means the last part of something. Gods last
people on earth are described as those "who keep the commandments
of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." The text
says that Satan is enraged with these people of God. He wants them
lost and he wants to discourage them as much as possible.
What are some
of Satans methods of warfare against Gods people? During the Dark
Ages he used slander and misrepresentation. He used terms such as
heretic, sect, cult, etc., to stigmatize the true followers of God.
He called Jesus Himself "Beelzebub." The amazing thing
is that the Devils plan of warfare, after thousands of years, still
works so well (see Matthew 10:25).
Satan is furious
with Gods people who remain true to their Saviour by keeping His
sign, or mark, of authority. Not only will he war against them by
slandering them, but he comes up with a counterfeit mark, which
will be subtly promulgated in the name of Christianity. We will
study about his mark of authority in our next lesson. But note this,
that Gods people who do not receive the mark of the Beast are always
characterized as those who keep the commandments of God. This is
what differentiates those who have the mark of God in their foreheads
from those who have the mark of the Beast
"Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion,
and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's
name written on their foreheads. . . . 12 Here is the patience
of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and
the faith of Jesus." (Read verses 9 through 11 of this
is His ability to make laws. The way that Satan defies Gods authority
is to flaunt His law. If a person doesnt respect a government or
regard a kings authority, he flaunts the laws of the king and government.
say, "What authority does God have?" "How can He
tell me what to do?" This is the very spirit that Satan had.
He said, "I dont need to be subject to God."
"For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; . . . 14
I will be like the Most High."
"I will be my own God and make my own laws." These same
thoughts are just what caused mankind to sin and be lost in the
"But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of
the garden God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch
it, lest you die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman, 'You will
not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your
eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and
that you dont need God--you will know for yourself what is good
or bad. Some people say, "Yes, I see that this or that is in
the law of God, but I dont think it is important." In other
words, they are saying, "I will decide for myself what is right."
All of this stems from disbelief in Jesus.
"There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end
is the way of death."
Spend Time Proving Gods Law?
James 1:17 "Every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from
the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow
God does not change. So if God has said it, why do we need to prove
Gods law is good. Why should anyone not want to keep it? What is
so bad, for example, about "honoring thy father and thy mother"
or "not stealing" or "not swearing?" Why do
people not want to be controlled by the Ten Commandments? The basic
reason is that we are by nature rebellious and independent of God.
By nature we
agree with most of Gods laws anyway, but there always seems to be
one or two little points that cross our paths, and which we dont
agree with-- but these are the very points that test our faith.
So many times
we are like Eve--all of the trees of the Garden of Eden seemed pretty
much the same, so why did God make a rule about one of them? Because
one rule seemed arbitrary to her and she could not understand the
logic behind it, she disregarded Gods direct command. That very
decision showed her lack of faith and subordination to God. That
decision has made all the difference in the world.
God has still
placed simple tests of fidelity in His law--tests that differentiate
His true followers from mere professors--tests that mark those who
follow Him from those who follow tradition, human opinion, and the
sophistries of Satan and the Beast power--tests that mark those
who are His people.
Who Receive Gods Mark
"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.
2 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, 3 saying,
'Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed
the servants of our God on their foreheads. 4 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."
As we noted
the other night when we studied the "Seventieth Week,"
the New Testament Israelite is the one who is a true follower of
Christ (Galatians 3:7, 28, 29; Romans 2:28, 29). Here in Revelation
7 it is noted that there are 144,000 Israelites (those who are true
followers of Christ) who are sealed, 12,000 from each of the tribes
of Israel--Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon,
Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. This also shows beyond
a shadow of a doubt that God is speaking of spiritual Israel, because,
of all the tribes listed, there is only one that even exists today
as a distinct entity--Judah, from which tribe the Jews are descended.
All the other tribes have been amalgamated and dissipated throughout
the earth and have been lost track of and extinct for nearly 2000
It might also
be noted that the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem are each named after
one of the 12 tribes (Revelation 21:12). In order to enter the New
Jerusalem we must pass through the gate of one of the tribes. Through
the new birth, we become a part of the heritage of God and of the
spiritual family of Israel, who are His people.
Here in Revelation
7 are pictured 144,000 New Testament, spiritual Israelites who are
sealed in their foreheads. As noted in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12,
they are identified by keeping the commandments of God and having
the faith of Jesus. They are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you
were sealed for the day of redemption."
When you seal
a jar of fruit, you preserve it so that it will not spoil. Here
Gods people are sealed by the Holy Spirit so that they can be preserved
through the last, trying, deceptive times that will exist right
before Jesus second coming. Right before Jesus comes there will
be a group of people who are forever sealed in their characters
and in their minds. They will be preserved blameless and holy.
"He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy,
let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous
still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. 12 'And behold, lam
coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according
to his work.'
Notice the inheritance
of these people.
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear
as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was
the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its
fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing
of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne
of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve
Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light
of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign
forever and ever.
description with that found in Revelation 7 of the144,000.
"Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve
Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will
dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst
anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the
Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead
them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every
tear from their eyes.
Would you like
to be among this group of people? You can, for it is the Holy Spirit
who does the sealing, and He is promised to every repentant, believing
Acts 2:38 "Then
Peter said the them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
We are not saved
by obedience, but we are not saved without obedience. Obedience
is the sign that we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
Honesty, justice, love, and the keeping of the commandments may
not be popular today; but if we love Jesus we will obey Him, by
grace, even though it may be unpopular to do so. Jesus loved us
enough to come and die for us. Even in a mob He was satisfied to
be a minority. Talk about love! Whom do you love, friend? Do you
love God enough to obey Him?
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with
him, and he with Me."
1 John 3:2 "Beloved,
now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what
we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this
hope in Him purifies Himself even as He is pure."
When Jesus comes
those who are saved will be just like Him. God is willing to do
that for each person here. Will you let Him?
At our next
session we will be studying the mark of the beast, it is the mark
of destruction that almost the whole world is going to receive just
before the return of Christ to this world. But we will study how
you can avoid receiving it.