Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Those 144,000

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

They keep popping up--those 144,000 (Rev. 7, 14)! People are intrigued by them! Several questioners have asked, "Are they special besides the vast number of earth's last generation who will be ready when Jesus returns? Are they an elite group? Maybe teachers or guides to the "common people" who will also be "translated"?

We dare not add to what the Bible says. We must take a lowly position in trying to explain who these people are. The Holy Spirit does not stoop to satisfy mere curiosity. But we must think about the character of this special group. Why? It might be possible that the Holy Spirit is right now saying to you, "Come" and be one of those 144,000 (see Rev. 22:17, and ponder what it means).

If so, would it be appropriate for us to answer Him, "No, thanks; I want to go to heaven but I don't want to be in a special group that requires such devotion and self-sacrifice"? Can we refuse ANY invitation the Holy Spirit may bring to us and still be ready when Jesus returns?

Or, in different words, does the Holy Spirit offer us our choice of first- or second-class tickets? If so, then some dear people would choose second class. They would say, "I don't want to experience the GREAT devotion of those who 'follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,' who stand before the throne of God 'without fault' (14:4, 5). That's too high a standard; I don't want a great 'mansion' in heaven like the apostle Paul will have--a shack in the Holy City is all I want if I can just squeeze inside the pearly gate" (this idea is the source of widespread "lukewarmness").

Question: are there really first- and second-class tickets to heaven? Can you say "No!" to the Bridegroom-Lover and still be a "guest at the wedding"?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 26, 2002.
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