Book: God's Plan for Mankind

Pentecost—June 11, 2000

June 17, 2000


Now I want to answer some questions concerning the bride and the guests and maybe a little bit concerning the 144,000. I might mention that I’m working on a booklet on the 144,000 and so we’ll be able to cover that. I also have a booklet that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve a lot of it done which centers on the series I did on Sabbathkeeping, on “The Holy Sabbath”. But now with some of the information that we have, especially concerning Hebrews 4 and sabbatismos and the various verb forms of it and the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament, we are going to make that Sabbath booklet a whole lot stronger. And it’s not going to be based upon Old Testament doctrine. It’s going to be based on New Testament doctrine, and it’s going to be put in such a way that there will be no doubt whatsoever that Sundaykeeping never came from God.Now I want to answer some questions concerning the bride and the guests and maybe a little bit concerning the 144,000. I might mention that I’m working on a booklet on the 144,000 and so we’ll be able to cover that. I also have a booklet that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve a lot of it done which centers on the series I did on Sabbathkeeping, on “The Holy Sabbath”. But now with some of the information that we have, especially concerning Hebrews 4 and sabbatismos and the various verb forms of it and the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament, we are going to make that Sabbath booklet a whole lot stronger. And it’s not going to be based upon Old Testament doctrine. It’s going to be based on New Testament doctrine, and it’s going to be put in such a way that there will be no doubt whatsoever that Sundaykeeping never came from God.

Let’s come to Matthew 20, and what I want to do is cover a little part concerning the 50th day harvest of the 144,000 and great innumerable multitude. And we might add a little bit more to it. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 1. “The kingdom of heaven shall be compared to a man, a master of a house, who which went out early in the morning to hire workman for his vineyard. And after agreeing with the workmen on a silver coin for the day’s wage, he sent them into his vineyard. And when he went out about the third hour, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them; ‘Go also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.’ And they went” (Matt. 20:1-4). Now this is interesting isn’t it? Because one thing that we have to get rid of is the Gerald Waterhouse mentality that it’s all stacked up according to his fourhour sermon. See, it’s not that way because God is going to determine who will be where and what position. And that’s all a part of this, as we will see. So he didn’t tell them very much, or he said, “Whatever is right I will give you.” So they went their way.

“Again, after going out about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did likewise.” So he went out there at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. “And about the eleventh hour [which then is 5 o’clock cause the 12th hour then is 6] he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all the day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘Go also into my vineyard, and whatever is right you shall receive.’ And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the workman and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first’ ” (vs. 5-8). Now this tells us an awful lot, doesn’t it? And as we will see the whole parable tells us that God does not think like we think. Now especially if you ever belonged to a union. I mean this would be called the greatest scab operation that they had ever come across.

“Again, after going out about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did likewise.” So he went out there at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. “And about the eleventh hour [which then is 5 o’clock cause the 12th hour then is 6] he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all the day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘Go also into my vineyard, and whatever is right you shall receive.’ And when evening came, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the workman and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first’ ” (vs. 5-8). Now this tells us an awful lot, doesn’t it? And as we will see the whole parable tells us that God does not think like we think. Now especially if you ever belonged to a union. I mean this would be called the greatest scab operation that they had ever come across. I am not doing you wrong. Did you not agree with me on a silver coin for the day?” (vs. 9-13). So this tells us what? That God is going to do what He is going to do. He is going to reward whom He is going to reward in the way He is going to reward them. And that all of our complaining or comparing isn’t going to change it. And that also means that…and I know there are to be some people who say, “Well, who are you to say that we’re not going to be part of the bride?” Well, the truth is, Christ is going to determine who it is, and I’m sure God the Father is going to select the bride. Don’t you think so? Ok.

Now just recently I had a wedding, and I love weddings. Weddings are my favorite thing. And it was really a wonderful outdoor wedding. Andy Davis and Jennifer, his wife. And it was beautiful. Only thing is it was at noon and 95 degrees, so it was a little warm. But just as we started there was a breeze that came up and made it livable. So I finished the ceremony in 10 seconds. [Laughter] No, I didn’t. Went through the ceremony fully, all the way. And then we went on over where they were going to have the wedding supper. And they had a wedding supper. And as I was sitting there, and my wife was sitting there, and we were enjoying everything. And here the bride and groom came in and they took the first dance, ok. And I thought this is just exactly what the Bible is talking about. Now we’re here and we’re enjoying it, and I was happy to have a part in doing the ceremony, but there is the husband and there is the bride and all the rest of us are guests. And I though, you know, that’s just the way it’s going to be in the resurrection. And God is the One Who’s going to have to decide.

Now let’s continue on here verse 14, “Take what is yours and go, for I also desire to give to the last ones exactly as I gave to you. And is it not lawful for me to do what I will with that which is my own? Is your eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last; for many are called, but few are chosen” (vs. 14-16). Now this almost sounds like what we read about in Job here just a little earlier, wasn’t it? “Will you disannul My judgment that you may be righteous?” That’s what they’re trying to do here, see.

Now, hold your place here and let’s look at the literal last, because we’ll come back. Let’s go to Revelation 7 and then Revelation 11. Now are not these in Revelation 7 the 144,000 from Israel. And I think that’s very clear that they are different from the 144,000 in Revelation 14. Now, as we covered on Pentecost Revelation 7 is approximately at the end of two full years of the 3 ½ year tribulation. Meaning that there’s one year and six months left. This, I believe, is the 50th day harvest that belongs to God. Now here it gives no inclination of any reward at all does it? Except that it says, after you get through the 144,000 then you come down here the great innumerable multitude, which no man can number. And then it says here in verse 14, “Then I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘They are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; and they have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.” So these here may very well be a good portion of the number of guests, because if they’re in white then those are the wedding garments of the guests. We’ll go back to Matthew 22 here in just a little bit. These are part of the last, which will probably be some of the first who are resurrected. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to necessarily be first in reward.

Now let’s come to Revelation 11 and let’s look at the very two last, the two witnesses. Let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two lampstands that stand before the God of the earth. And if anyone attemps to harm them, fire will go out of their mouths and devour their enemies. For if anyone attempts to harm them, he must be killed in this manner” (Rev. 11:3-5). So this is going to be quit a thing. And I can just see it now, CNN News there which Christiane Amanpour, whatever her name is, you know. And Peter Arnett out there, you know, giving the news. “Boy did you see that? Fire came out of their mouth and look, here are the ashes…” You know talking to different ones. “…And what are we going to do to stop them? They’re upsetting this thing of the One World Government.”

Verse 6, “These have authority to shut heaven so that no rain may fall in the days of their prophecy; and they have authority over the waters, to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth every plague, as often as they will. And when they shall have completed their testimony, the beast who ascends out of the abyss [who then is talking about Satan and the man that he possesses] will make war against them, and will overcome them, and kill them.” Well this is just like with Christ. Satan thought he had it made when Christ was killed. But He was resurrected and totally defeated him. So here the beast will think boy, we finally have it made. And we’ll teach them a lesson. “And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (vs. 6-8). And of course the coming one world religion is going to be nothing more than a rewarmed Egyptian version of the New Age religion.

Did you know that Mormonism, when you read this book, “Primitive Christianity In Crisis”, Mormonism is nothing more than modern Gnosticism. When you read this it will blow you away. Cause the Gnostics believe that we were spirits up here in heaven and that we had to come down and possess a human body. That’s a basic tenant of Mormonism. Very basic tenant of Mormonism. Ok, let’s not get too detracted here.

Verse 9, “Then those of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations shall see their bodies three and a half days, for they will not allow their bodies to be put into tombs.” Now when it talks about “all the world shall see it”, it means they will see it. And today we understand that statement. I think it will be with television. No question about it. “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, and will make merry, and will send gifts to one another,…” I can just hear the beast. “Brethren of the world. We have finally conquered these two men who were disturbing and upsetting our wonderful one world government. They have caused plagues, and killed people, and drought, and now they are dead. Let us celebrate. I proclaim a feast.” [Laughter] That’s what’s going to happen. And my wife thinks it’s going to be Wilhelm Clinton. Could be. The longer he sticks around the more I think: Hey, there could be something to it. “…And will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth” (vs. 9-10).

“Then after the three and a half days, the spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood on their feet;…” Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the breathlessness of all of the television reporters? You can just see them, you know. Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather, all breathlessly reporting this. And Christian Amamadpur, you know, and all the cameras are there. And then we have our discussion, you know. Larry King live. They’ll have a Rabbi, and they’ll have you know, “What do you think of this.” They won’t quite have time for that but you can almost just see the whole thing going on here see. And right when they’re talking about how good it is that they’re dead, all of a sudden the cameras pointing on their bodies see them rise up on their feet. “…And they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, say, ‘Come up here!’ And they ascended into heaven in a cloud; and their enemies saw them rise” (vs. 11-12). These are the last two who are killed, who are what? The first resurrected. Perfect example of the last shall be first.

“And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; and seven thousand men were killed in the earthquake. And the rest were filled with fear, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming immediately.” That’s what it means. Not just quickly, immediately. “And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity” (vs. 13-15). Here then is the resurrection. But just prior to the resurrection, the two witnesses, the last two are raised first.

Now let’s come back to Matthew 20:16. “So the last shall be first, the first shall be last; for many are called, but few are chosen.” Then we have this, the next section. And Jesus went up. He told them He was going to be betrayed and so forth. Now let’s come down to verse 20 because this ties right in with it, see.

“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, worshipping Him and asking a certain thing from Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you desire?’ She said to Him, ‘Grant that these my two sons may sit one at Your right hand and one at Your left hand in Your kingdom” (vs. 20-21). Boy, now you talk about a political move to make it good for my two boys. But this has the same thing to do with the first and the last. Only from a little different perspective. Only this time instead of the first and last being the general laborers that were out in the vineyard, now we here have it with the 12 apostles. And He gives the lesson here.

“But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to…’ ”, you see because her two sons were right there. You know they wouldn’t want to march up and say, “Lord, give it to us. Look how good we are.” “But Mom, you are so persuasive. Why don’t you do it for us?” You know. “…Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and to be baptized with?” And He just told them that He was going to be crucified. “They said to Him, ‘We are able’ ” (vs. 22). And of course they didn’t know what that was. You know it’s kind of like a Marine recruit. “Are you able to go up and capture that enemy machine gun nest?” “Yea, I can.” Don’t even know what you’re saying. Never been under fire. “We are able.”

“And He said to them, ‘You shall indeed drink of My cup, and shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit at My right hand and at My left hand is not Mine to give, but shall be given to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” So the Father is in charge of all of this, right? Yes He is. Not just us as human beings, or just Christ alone. “And after hearing this, the ten were indignant against the two brothers” (vs. 23-24). Because they got there first. The other 10 would have liked to have gotten there first to ask. That’s what they were mad at. Cause, you know, just carnal human, wanting to be the best, the greatest, and all this sort of thing.

“But Jesus called them to Him and said, [He’s giving the lesson here] ‘You know that the rulers of the nations exercise lordship over them, and the great ones exercise authority over them.’ ” And of course the exercised dominion is katakurieuo, which is “downward”. And the other one is kataexousio, which is “authority downward”. “However, it shall not be this way among you; but whoever would become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever would be first among you, let him be your slave; just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many ” (vs. 25-28). Now that all ties in with those who are going to be in the resurrection.

Now, let’s come over here to Matthew 22 and let’s look at the guests. Matthew 22:1. “And again Jesus answered and spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is compared to a man who was a king, who made a wedding feast for his son,’ ” Now the king there is God the Father, and the son obviously has to be Jesus Christ, Who is giving a parable. “And sent his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast; but they refused to come” (Matt. 22:1-3). Let’s stop right here. The king who is God the Father is going to have the marriage and He is going to select the bride. Have to be.

He “…sent his servants to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast; but they refused to come. Afterwards he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Say to those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and the fatted beasts are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’ But they paid no attention and went away, one to his farm, and another to his business. And the rest, after seizing his servants, insulted and killed them.” Just a summary of the life of the apostles. “Now when the king heard it, he became angry; and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Now that is Jerusalem, and the fall of it in 70 A.D. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast indeed is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy; Therefore, go into the welltraveled highways, and invite all that you find to the wedding feast.’ And after going out into the highways, those servants brought together everyone that they found, both good and evil;…” Now this is talking about people who are bad people and good people, not in a sense of spiritually speaking but just in their lives. And of course both the bad and the good have to repent. It’s harder for the good to repent because they don’t see the sins that they have done. “…And the wedding was filled with guests” (vs. 3-10).

Now here the parable breaks down a little bit because obviously this is referring to the first resurrection, but there is not going to be anybody in the first resurrection who’s going to be there without the proper wedding garment. But in order to show that you have to apply yourself and have to have the proper wedding garment, this is here in the parable. So when will those who do not prepare to be guests, when will they be cast into outer darkness? Well that will be the lake of fire, which will be at the end of the Millenium and the Great White Throne Judgment. So in order for the sake of the parable to show it, it has to be combined here. Let’s read it.

“And when the king came in to see the guests…” Now the king being God the Father, maybe this helps answer the question: when we are resurrected will we see God the Father? Why not? Will we be spirit beings? Yes. Are we not His children? Yes. Would He not want to see His children just resurrected, born from the dead? Yes. Would we not want to see Him? Absolutely. As well as Christ? No doubt. So this says He came to see them. “…He noticed a man there who was not dressed in proper attire for the wedding feast; And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you enter here without a garment fit for the wedding feast?’ But he had no answer. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hands and feet, and take him away, and cast him into the outer darkness.’ There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (vs. 11-14).

Let’s go to Matthew 25. Now let’s hope we can understand this a little bit more. Verse 1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” Now here we have the virgins and the bridegroom. Before we had the guests coming to the wedding. This is obviously a different category of people. “…Went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The ones who were foolish took their lamps, but they did not take oil with them” (Matt. 25:1-3).

Now you need to understand about the lamps. The lamps that they had were probably as you see the top of this little teapot here. A little bigger than this and maybe just a little deeper as it sits over on it’s side. And there was a little wick that came out on the side. Olive oil was put into the middle of it and the wick would hang over the edge of it and give light. Well obviously if you only have oil in your little lamp here you don’t have very much. So that’s why they should have had some with them to carry an extra amount to pour in there when they needed it.

“But the wise took oil in their vessels along with their lamps. Now when the bridegroom was gone a long time, they all became drowsy and slept.” Showing that they will all have their own individual problems. “But in the middle of the night there was a cry: ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there not be enough for us and for you. But instead, go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves’ ” (vs.4-9). Now this obviously showing that they did not have enough spiritual character in order to qualify as part of the bride.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came…” Now again in a parable it can’t fit everything to the exact facts. “…The bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. And afterwards the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered and said, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ ” Now in this case he doesn’t say, “Depart into outer darkness and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” So this does not necessarily show a loss of salvation. But this shows a loss of being part of the bride. The door to being the bride is shut. It doesn’t say they won’t be in the kingdom of God, but it does tell us they won’t be part of the bride. “Watch therefore, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is coming” (vs. 10-13).

Now then, I think that that’s the best understanding I’ve been able to derive from this. In other words these virgins by the virtue of the fact, now it says they were virgins, but by virtue of the fact that they didn’t exercise the spiritual character they should have had they, in a sense, disqualified themselves from the marriage. Now it doesn’t necessarily say that they sinned and lost the, what we would call the spiritual virginity, but it does show that they were very negligent.

Now let’s answer the question concerning the firstfruits. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 15:20. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the first–fruit of those who have fallen asleep.” Now we know that this is the first of the firstfruits by several things. Number 1, God says in Exodus 34 that you are to bring the first of the firstfruits unto the Lord. We also know by the wave sheaf offering that was elevated on the wave sheaf offering day, that that signified Christ ascending to the Father to be accepted as the firstborn from the dead. So we have Christ Who is the first of the firstfruits.

Now let’s notice. “For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order:…” (vs. 21-23). Notice, every man in his own order. So there is an order to the resurrection. Part of what we have of the order that we saw was what? The last shall be first and the first shall be last. Now if Adam repented and made it, is he going to be the last one resurrected? I don’t know. But the ones who are going to be the very last, who are going to be resurrected, are those who are alive when Christ returns. I Thessalonians 4 says that they which are dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive will be caught up in the air together with them and meet the Lord in the air. Now meeting the Lord in the air can also have the meaning “for the meeting with the Lord in the air”. So there’s an order. Ok, the bride is the firstfruits.

Let’s go to James 1:18. Here in James 1:18 we are called firstfruits. All those in the first resurrection are called firstfruits. Christ is called firstfruits. So Christ is the first of the firstfruits, now let’s look at the rest. “According to His own will, [that’s speaking of the Father] He begat us by the Word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all His created beings.” Now that means of His creation, meaning those of us who are created in Christ Jesus. That’s what it’s referring to. So we are called firstfruits. Christ is also called the firstborn, isn’t he? Romans 8:29, “…that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” We’re also called “the church of the firstborn”, Hebrews 12:23.

Now then let’s go back to Revelation 14 and let’s see concerning the 144,000 here. And the distinction between this and the 144,000 in Revelation 17 becomes very clear when we analyze all the differences. What is said of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 is that they are 12,000 from the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. It lists Joseph, and it lists Manasseh, and it does not include Dan. Now that’s because of the prophecy that Dan will wait for his salvation.

Now here in verse 1, “And I beheld the Lamb standing on Mount Sion,…” Now that’s what we are to come to, correct, the Church of the Firstborn, Hebrews 12? “…And with Him one hundred and fortyfour thousand…” Now when you look at Revelation 7 with the innumerable multitude and 144,000…let’s go back there.

Revelation 7:9, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one was able to number, out of every nation and tribe and people and language, was standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and holding palms in their hands;” Now you have to have the white robes in order to be a guest, correct? Yes. This is probably indicating that these are all guests. They stood before the throne. That is out around before the throne. “And they were calling out with a loud voice to Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, saying, ‘The salvation of our God has come.’ Then all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, ‘Amen. Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power and strength be to our God into the ages of eternity. Amen’ ” (Rev. 7:9-12).

“And one of the elders answered and said to me, ‘These who are clothed with white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?’ Then I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘They are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; and they have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and the one Who sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall not hunger any more, nor shall they thirst any more; neither shall the sun nor the heat fall upon them, Because the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them, and will lead them to fountains of living waters; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ ” (vs. 13-17).

Now let’s come back and compare that with the 144,000 in Revelation 14. 144,000 at mount Sion “…having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. Then I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of great thunder; and I heard the sound of harpers playing their harps. And they were singing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one was able to learn the song except the hundred and fortyfour thousand, who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins; they are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb;…” Now since we are all called firstfruits what category are these? Verse 5, “And no guile was found in their mouths; for they are blameless before the throne of God” (Rev. 14:15).

Now let’s go back and just analyze this just a little bit more. Let’s begin with firstfruits. These were redeemed from among men, not the children of Israel. Can be from any race or people or whatever. Firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. Now Christ is called firstfruits so we know He is the first of the firstfruits. Could we say then if this 144,000 represents the bride, are these the next category of firstfruits because it says everyone in his own order. And then all of the rest in the first resurrection will be called firstfruits. So we have three categories of firstfruit. Christ the first, the bride next, all the rest of us after that. And I think if we put the scriptures together properly we can see how that will be.

Let’s go back and look at this a little bit more. Last part of verse 3, “who were redeemed from the earth”. It says “redeemed from the earth”. Again showing that it’s from all nations. But this is differentiating it from the children of Israel. “These are the ones who were not defiled with women,...” Now what does it mean to be defiled with women?

All right, let’s look at it. Let’s go to Revelation 17. What does it mean to not be defiled with women? Who are the women that defile the saints of God? That’s another way of answering the question, see. Revelation 17:1, “And one of the seven angels who had the seven vials came and spoke with me, saying to me, ‘Come here; I will show you the judgment of the great whore who sits upon many waters; With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’ Then he carried me away in the spirit to a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, full of names of blasphemy. And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and pearls and precious stones; and she had a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominations and the filthiness of her fornication; And across her forehead a name was written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:15). So it could be mother Babylon or any one of her daughters that can defile the saints. So these 144,000 of Revelation 14 were never defiled by false doctrines. The false doctrines of the churches of this world.

“They are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4) because it says then Christ and the bride say…let’s go back here to Revelation 22. And this a summary of what goes on during the Millennium. Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit [Who is Christ] and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who thirsts come; And let the one who desires partake of the water of life freely.” So this is Christ and the bride. Everything in the Millennium will flow from Christ and the bride. Who will it flow to? Well let’s go to Revelation 20:6. “Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection;…” Now that’s a blessing upon all. “…over these the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Now we also know from Matthew 25 that there will be those who are reigning over cities. We know also from Jesus explaining about who’s going to sit on the 12 thrones of the children of Israel, that it’s going to be each one of the apostles. So they will be kings. Here we have priests. We will reign as kings and priests with Christ. But the 144,000 are with Christ wherever He goes. Whereas those who are priests will be where ever Christ sends them to be priests. So it’s a little bit different situation.

Now let’s go back and look at this right here. Revelation 14, Verse 1. “Having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. …”

Now let me clarify something here. Let’s come to Revelation 14:4. “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins;” Now that means from the time of baptism. See, that has to mean from the time of baptism. Now hold your place here and let’s go to 2 Corinthians 11 and let’s see that. Verse 1, Paul writes, “I would that you might bear with me in a little nonsense; but indeed, do bear with me. For I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God because I have espoused you to one husband, so that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For indeed, if someone comes preaching another Jesus,…” Now that’s when after you have been baptized and you believe in a different form of Christ, then you are not really believing in the true Christ. So these were the false apostles coming and teaching false doctrines. And so in believing these false doctrines and following these false doctrines then those who were once virgins lose their virginity spiritually. But they can repent and still be in the kingdom of God.

Ok, let’s go back here to Revelation again. The question was asked: is the 144,000 a literal number or a symbolic number? Well if you have a symbolic number then what does that mean as a literal number because we have 144,000 literally of the children of Israel, those who were sealed. And then we have the great innumerable multitude, which then no one can number, so how could you say there could be a symbolic number with the great innumerable multitude because there’s no number. So I would be more inclined to think that the 144,000 is perhaps a literal number. Now how is God going to choose that? Well, He alone knows. Will there be other virgins who were just slovenly, who are still going to be in the kingdom of God. Yes we had the parable of the 10 virgins. But the door to the wedding to be part of the bride was closed. But it doesn’t say they were excluded from the kingdom of God, they just couldn’t be part of the bride.

Now let’s clarify something else. During the break it was brought up that there were these classes of the firstfruits. Christ the first of the firstfruits. Then the seven church harvest represented by the seven churches, Revelation 2 and 3. That’s a second category. They are firstfruits. The third category is the 144,000 of Israel. The fourth category is the great innumerable multitude. And the fifth category would be the 144,000 of Revelation 14. So you have five categories all together, and five is the number of grace. So there may be something to that, but that helps substantiate what we covered in 1 Corinthians 15, Christ the firstfruits, and after that those that are His at His coming, but every man in his own order. So how Christ is going to order that out we don’t know.

Now let’s look at Revelation 2 and 3 and we will see that out of the seven churches… Now as I mentioned in the “Seven Church Harvest”, these seven churches represent:

#1 The seven churches that were then.

#2 The projection of the history of the Church down through history.

#3 Represents the attitudes of Christians at anytime during any period.

And some of us can identify with several of the churches with our various attitudes as we have gone through our Christian life. So it’s awfully hard to say exactly where each person belongs. And in that sense it is good from the point of view that God is the One Who is going to make the decision, and salvation is by faith. Salvation is not knowing which category you are in. Salvation is by faith. And I think we can trust God to know what He’s doing, and we can trust God that to be in the first resurrection in any category is a blessing. Because it says in Revelation 19:9, “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” So it’s all a blessing. But what it does do, it shatters some of our carnal approaches to who we may think we are. [Laughter] Lest we pull a Job and tell God who we are and God tells us we’re not who we say we are. But you are who I say you are. See.

Now let’s look at the seven churches here. First one is Ephesus. Now they’re commended for their works. They have good works, they have patience, they labor. You can’t stand them which are evil. I’m just sort of summarizing here. And you’ve tried them which say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars. Now some people get mad when you do that. Well we still do that today, don’t we? Yes. And someone said, “Well take me off your mailing list because of what you say about Herbert Armstrong and that if anyone doesn’t agree with you well then you’ll have nothing to do with them.” No that’s not the case brethren.

I wish there were 10,000 faithful ministers. Just think what could be done. I have tried working with other ministers, to get beat up, knocked down, mailing list stolen, and the whole works. Now I’d be happy to work with any minister. But I’ll tell you one thing I will not do. I will not compromise or play politics to please anybody, because if we do not please Christ then it doesn’t matter who else you please. All bets are off. Paul said, “...For if I am yet pleasing men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10) And he wouldn’t even give one minute to any man to come against what Christ had revealed to him. And he should not. And so likewise I’ll just take the same attitude that Paul had. You know. Be glad to work with any man but don’t come and steal from us. Don’t come and take brethren. Don’t come and have your own personal thing. I don’t set myself up as some big thing. I just want to teach the word of God and serve and love the brethren. I don’t want people to look up to me as some big muckymuck because I’m not. But in handling the word of God I won’t countenance one minute people twisting and turning the word of God.

Now what we’re doing here for the Bible Study tonight, we’re trying to understand some difficult to understand scriptures, wouldn’t you say? Yes. Maybe not everything we have here is exactly correct yet. But what we’re doing, we’re thinking it through, comparing the scriptures, looking at the scriptures to try and have it so we can understand the word of God even more. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. And that’s something that we should do. If we find ourselves wrong in anything we’ll change. We’ll change. If someone finds something that I’m doing wrong that I shouldn’t do, or say something I shouldn’t say let me know, and I’ll correct it. No problem with that. But I don’t want the brethren to be beat up, and I don’t want to be beat up. And I’ve been beaten up enough. I fought the hierarchy within Worldwide from 1972 on and it was really a tough situation. And I’ve seen what they did to each other and to the brethren. And that should never be. And yet we called ourselves the church of brotherly love, right? Everyone wants to be a Philadelphian, we’ll look at that one in just a minute, but it’s very obvious that not everyone can be.

Now those at Ephesus, he says here in verse 4. “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Now what is losing your first love? That’s not just being excited and knowing the truth when you first come to it. The first love is loving God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and being. That’s what they lost. Now how could they lose it? Could it be from negligence? Could it be letting in some idolatry? I don’t know but they lost it. So He says, “Therefore, remember from where you have fallen…” So He considers this a great sin. “…And repent, and do the first works…”(Rev.2:4-5). So we can conclude from what we have here that those who did this and lost their first love probably have defiled their garments. Probably have lost their spiritual virginity from baptism, but then if they repent and do the first works they can be restored. Now the question is will they be part of the bride of Christ? That is God’s judgment. But if we look at it from Revelation 14 we can say that these have defiled themselves with women.

Now then we come down here to the church of Smyrna. Now this one there is no correction at all, no calling to repentance. He says, verse 9, “I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of the things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (vs. 9-10). No correction. They didn’t submit to any of the false things that came along. Whether it was persecution by the Jews. Whether it was persecution by the pagans. Whether it was inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church. They didn’t give in to any of it so they kept their spiritual virginity.

Now Pergamos really got themselves in trouble. Pergamos and Thyatira, wow. It’s selfexplanatory here. They had the doctrine of Balaam, which I will talk about here in the very near future. They also had the doctrine of Nicolaitanes. They ate things sacrificed unto idols. So He says verse 16, “Repent! For if you do not repent, I will come to you quickly, and will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.” So here Christ has to fight against His own Church here. But notice Pergamos is right where Satan’s capitol is. And when you are so close to the things of Satan it’s awfully hard to not inculcate some of those practices into your daily way of doing things. But that’s what happened. We’ve had some of that today in this form. Not exactly, well we’ve had some of this very same thing recently with the demise of Worldwide Church of God going clear into Sundaykeeping. But we have had some of it even within the ministry and teaching that they bring out a lot things of psychology instead of preaching the word of God. And so that’s getting so close to the world that you look at the things that the world has which is good and you bring in that and equate that with righteousness of God. The goodness of this world comes from which tree? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is good. It can do good things. But it doesn’t equal the righteousness of Christ. Now we’ve seen that.

Then we come to Thyatira. Boy Thyatira is perhaps the best and the worst all combined together here. It talks about their… It says, “I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your endurance, and your works; and the last are more than the first. But I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols” (vs. 19-20). Well there it is right there. Most of those in Thyatira, even in repenting, could not be considered virgins after they were baptized, because talking about their condition after they were in the Church because the message was to the church at Thyatira. So it’s not before they were in the Church but after they were in the Church.

Then we come to Sardis and when you get the “Seven Church Harvest” with Sardis in there I did an indepth study on that and it was really quite a revealing thing here. Chapter 3:1, “And to the angel of the church in Sardis, write: These things says He Who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works, and that you have a name as if you are alive, but are dead.” I tell you this is perhaps the worst spiritual condition. This is worse than lukewarm. At least lukewarm you’re still alive. But here you’re a corpse with just a pulse. “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die. For I have not found your works complete God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard, and hold on to this, and repent. Now then, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you shall by no means know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white because they are worthy. The one who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments; and I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels” (Rev. 3:1-5). So here they just make it by the skin of the teeth. I don’t even say skin of the teeth. Boy. But only a few are going to make it. I mean when you go through and you look at these things and you ask the question: how much does our choice count in all of this? Everything, as far as our responsibility is concerned.

Now over here to the Laodiceans. We beat up on the Laodiceans long and often and hard and difficult so we won’t get in here and beat up on them too bad. But being lukewarm, talking back to God saying, “For you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy,…” (vs. 17). Sounds a little bit like Job doesn’t it, talking back to God? “…And have need of nothing’;…” Well now as I wrote in a letter recently it’s all taken away. It is all gone. Ok, now He commands them to… They are so bad they are vomited out of the mouth of Christ. Christ is outside knocking on the door to get in. They can repent. They can receive salvation. They can sit in the throne of judgment as Christ sits in the throne of judgment, but they have to become zealous.

Now let’s look at Philadelphia and let’s compare that to the 144,000 of Revelation 14. And the church at Philadelphia comes the closest to describing Revelation 14 and the 144,000 there, with the exception that we have to also do as Christ did in commending Smyrna. That they had no faults before God. Now let’s read it here, verse Revelation 3:7. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write: These things says the Holy One, the one Who is true; the one Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shuts, and Who shuts and no one opens.” We always like to look to the open door but there’s a time when God shuts it. And I think we’ve lived in the time where God has shut the door of radio and television as an effective way of reaching people. Now He’s going to open another door, and when He does we have to be prepared and be ready. Whatever it may be Christ will have to open the door for any one of the seven churches here, but in particularly for those who really love God, He’s got to open the door. Why? We’ll see.

Verse 8, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” So here is a small church. Little strength. “…And have kept My word…” Now no other church is commended of really keeping the word. Now if you’re going to keep the word that means you have to number one, you have to have it. Number two, you have to know it, because how can you keep something that you don’t know? You can’t. “…And have not denied My name.”

Now that’s a little different than over here with Pergamos. It says Revelation Chapter 2 verse 13, “I know your works and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; but you are holding fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” So they only held on as long as they had Antipas for their leader. After that everything went to hell in a handbasket to Balaam, and to the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which this book “Primitive Christianity…” does an excellent job of bringing out what that really means.

“Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan…” (Rev. 3:9). Now who’s the synagogue of Satan? The synagogue of Satan combines the economics, the religious, and the political affairs of this world, who control the world. And we are living in a time when that synagogue of Satan is coming to the fore again like it never has. Now I’m going to give a sermon here in the very near future on the beast that was and is not and yet is. And I think we will understand it even more clearly. And that we are living in those times.

Now these we can just say, those of the synagogue of Satan are rewarded by Satan. How does he reward them? What did he promise Christ if He would worship him once? The whole world. So those who control the world and the world establishment in banking, in religion, and in politics are all part of the synagogue of Satan with all of their followers and all of their subordinates with them, and those who truly are part of the synagogue of Satan worship Satan directly and get their orders directly from him. And we are in a struggle brethren. We are in a fight, and I’m going to bring out, well I won’t bring it out tomorrow but I’ll bring out a little bit about it. But we are in a fight for the word of God. We are in such a position today that no longer can we say, “Look it up in your Bible. Read it in your Bible.” Now we’ve got to tell them, “Look, before you can even look it up in the Bible, you better make sure you have the right Bible.” Cause you may not find it in the one Satan has perverted through Westcott and Hort, and through the New International Version, and the New American Standard Bible, and some of the others. I mean it’s a horrendous thing that they have done to it. And that’s all part of the synagogue of Satan, “…who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie—behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.”

Now Christ loves His whole Church but there is a special love that God has for the Philadelphians, why? Because they love Him. That’s why. And you can’t love the brethren truly unless you love God first. Now you can have a social club. You can get along with each other, you can like each other, you can be desirous to be in each other’s company, but to truly love the brethren with the love of God, that’s got to come from God. It has to come from God.

Now notice verse 10, “Because you have kept the word of My patience…” Now notice. Twice He says, “...and have kept My word, and have not denied My name”, verse 8. Then He says, “Because you have kept the word of My patience [or patiently kept My word]”, which means what? In spite of the synagogue of Satan, in spite of anybody else around, in spite of the consequences that comes to you, in spite of what you go through, you stay faithful and keep the word of God. He says, “…I also will keep you from the time of temptation which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly; hold fast that which you have so that no one may take away your crown” (vs. 10-11). Showing that there is a battle, there’s a fight. That you’re having to fight against all of the odds that are coming. Someone trying to take your reward, take your crown.

Now notice verse 12. Notice how closely this ties in with Revelation 14 more than any other. “The one who overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out any more [follow Christ wherever He goes]; and I will write upon him the name of My God [which Revelation 14 says], and the name of the city of My God [which is not back there in Revelation 14], the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new name.”

Now the bride always what? Takes the name of Her husband, which is a new name. Now, since there have always been Philadelphians down through time, is this out of these kinds of Christians, are these the ones who are going to be part of the bride of Christ? Of all that we have examined of all the firstfruits, being the seven churches, being the 144,000 of Israel, the great innumerable multitude, and the 144,000 of Revelation 14, this attitude here ties in more closely with Revelation 14. So the only thing we can say is the parallel is very close. But, lest we get carried away with categorizing things ourselves and saying, “He is, he isn’t. She is, she isn’t. We are, they aren’t.” We’ll just say it is all in God’s hands and let Him take care of it. And when it comes time for the resurrection we’ll all find out then won’t we? And regardless of what it is, we’re all going to be happy about it. The whole goal is to be in the kingdom of God and receive eternal life. God is the One Who is going to give the rewards. God is the One Who is going to pick the bride. Christ is the One Who is going to marry the bride. And if we can be there as guests, why hey: I’m all for that, because it says, “Blessed and holy is he that is called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

So at least this will give us something to think on. Give us something to study more into, and we don’t want to get carried away with anything and treat what we’ve had with…now we have something new and we can beat everybody over the head with, because that’s not correct, you know. Because whatever we understand comes from God. Now when we try and understand these things and the understanding that comes from God will then lead us to change any of our understanding in the future, then by all means we’ll change. No question about it. I don’t want to be in a category of holding on to any teaching or doctrine which isn’t correct.

But let’s understand this, the knowledge of this does not change your salvation. Does it? No. In other words it gets right back to the same thing that we covered in Matthew 20 when we started. When Christ told the mother of John and James the sons of Zebedee, “You don’t know what you’re asking for and it’s not Mine to give, but the Father’s.” So here the Father has to make the decision doesn’t He? All we can do is look at it and say, the most we can come to is that these scriptures give us a little better understanding and some indications of what God is going to do. That’s the most that it can do for us. If we try and make any more out of it, then we will get carried away with our own selfimportance. We don’t want to do that at all. And we certainly don’t want to pull a Job and walk up and tell God what to do. You know, that didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. And I’ll just close with this. The longer that I have been in the Church, the more that I understand that there is really literally nothing that we haven’t received. Everything comes from God. And the most important thing we need to concentrate on…[God and His Way].

Let’s finish with this by going to 2 Corinthians 10. Here’s the most important thing, and this is the greatest tool for overcoming. Begin in verse 1. “Now I Paul am personally exhorting you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, On the one hand, when present with you I am base; but on the other hand, when absent I am bold toward you. But I am beseeching you so that, when I am present, I may not have to be bold with the confidence with which I intend to show boldness toward some, who think that we are walking according to the flesh” (I Cor. 10:1-2). And walking according to the flesh is as according to human reason, human rational, human ideas and things like this. Or as Paul was fighting it, philosophy, as he brought out in the first part of 1 Corinthians 1.

“For although we walk in the flesh [which we do], we do not war according to the flesh…” And as I mentioned concerning psychology and psychological methods of overcoming. No, you don’t do that. Here’s the way we overcome. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the overthrowing of strong holds,...” And this is the battle we have to keep at. “Casting down vain imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ,” (vs. 3-5). Now that’s what we have to work on. That’s what’s the most important thing. Why? Because in your mind is where sin begins. And your mind and your thoughts of self and importance, and all of the things of the world to puff up the self then are idols before God. Meaning that anything that you think that you understand or know, or can do, earns you salvation or earns you something or makes you more special than someone else, becomes an idol.

For us to proclaim, “We are Philadelphians and anyone who is not with us is not a Philadelphian” [is not right]. Look, we don’t know. That would be an imagination. A thought exalting itself against God. So when thoughts like that of selfexaltation or thoughts that come along of sin, or whatever it may be, you are to grab that thought, bring it into captivity and cast it down and bring your mind into obedience to Christ. And this is what we need to do. Now, I don’t know about you but I have a struggle with my own mind. Just like Paul did, see. So that’s why it’s so important we keep our perspective in this.

And verse 6, “And having a readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever your obedience has been fulfilled.” Wow, that’s quite a statement, isn’t it? How do you fulfill your obedience? Ok, everything that you do and it starts in your mind, see. “Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s even so are we Christ’s.” And that’s what we really need to keep in mind.

So anyway, it’s late so we’ll have to quit here. It’s after 10 o’clock. Let’s see, shall we be back at seven? [Laughter]

(End of Sermon)

Transcriber: Carolyn Singer

More on the 144,000—Pentecost 2000
June 17, 2000
Scriptural References

  1. Matthew 20: 1-4, 9-16 /li>
  2. Revelation 7:14
  3. Revelation 11:3-15
  4. Matthew 20:16, 20-28
  5. Matthew 22:1-14
  6. Matthew 22:1-14
  7. I Corinthians 15:20-13
  8. Exodus 34:26
  9. James 1:18
  10. Romans 8:29
  11. Hebrews 12:23
  12. Revelation 14:1-5
  13. Revelation 7:9-17
  14. Revelation 17:1
  15. Revelation 22:17
  16. Revelation 20:6
  17. Matthew Chapter 25
  18. Revelation 14:1,4
  19. II Corinthians 11:1
  20. Revelation Chapters 2-3
  21. Revelation 19:9
  22. Revelation 2:4-5, 9-10, 16, 19-20 /li>
  23. Revelation 3:1-5, 7, 17
  24. Revelation 2:13
  25. I Corinthians 10:1-2
  26. II Corinthians 10:4-6

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