Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 27, 2021

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 14:1-5.

“Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.  And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.  And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders;  and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.  These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste.  These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.  And no lie was found in their mouth;  they are blameless.”  Revelation 14:1-5.

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The one hundred and forty-four thousand (144,000) in today’s Scripture represents a perfect and complete number.  We also see the 144,000 number used in Revelation 7:4-8 to represent the number of saved from the twelve tribes of Israel (12,000 from each tribe).  In both uses, this is not a literal use of 144,000, but rather, it is a figurative use of 144,000 to describe those who who have been “purchased from the earth”, that is, Christ redeemed a/k/a purchased with His blood all the elect, but only the elect, a perfect and complete number according to the will of God.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father; that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.

“These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste” does not exclude Christians who have been married.  But, it should be understood in the sense that through God’s grace, they were so simply and purely devoted to Christ that they appeared as virgins.  “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.  But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:2-3.

More generally, we understand that all these qualities of the 144,000 were instilled in them through the work of God. God instills all of these qualities in all of His elect.

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:14.

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27. 

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!” Psalm 32:1-2.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  John 10:27-28. 

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”  John 6:39.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.


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