WHY THE END HAS NOT YET COME
Christ is waiting for only one thing to happen
before He can initiate the final events of earths history.
As soon as the event for which He is waiting occurs, the final
acts in this drama of earth will take place, and Christ will
come to put an end to the trials of earth forever.
Revelation 12:12 tells us that Satan knows
that someday he is going to die. Therefore rejoice, ye
heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of
the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you,
having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short
time. Naturally Satan does not want to die. He, like most
of us, would rather liveforever. His time is running out,
and he is in a panic trying to figure out how to keep himself
Satan knows why Christ has not yet returned.
He realizes that if he can prevent the one thing for which Christ
is waiting from happening, he will be able to continue to live.
He knows that if he can keep people from realizing exactly why
Christ has delayed His return to earth, if he can keep them from
understanding the Bible, and if he can keep them from realizing
exactly what God expects of them, the event for which Christ
is waiting will not happen. Everything that Satan does on the
earth, therefore, is designed for only one thing: to keep him
alive. By his concentrated barrage of lies and propaganda, through
which he deceives the whole world, he attempts to prevent this
one event from occurring. To discover what this event is, let
us review exactly what God expects of His people.
How high is the standard God wants His people
to attain? Is it possible, for instance, after one comes to realize
and understand the situation in this world concerning sin, to
live a perfect sin-free life thereafter? Sin is defined in 1
John 3:4 as breaking Gods law. Whosoever committeth
sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression
of the law. Is it possible for the human being to attain
the goal of perfection in this life so that he never again breaks
any of Gods laws, the Ten Commandments? Can the human being
reach a level of character development where it is impossible
for him to commit a sin? Does God expect perfection from His
Many will take exception to the thought that
it is possible for us to reach the plateau of perfection. But
before we hastily rule out this possibility, let us consider
some of the many verses of Scripture which discuss this point
and see exactly what God does expect of us and whether or not
perfection is possible for us to attain.
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus gives us a command:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
heaven is perfect. This command for us to be perfect just
as God is perfect seems like a total impossibility to us because
Satan has instilled in our minds that we can never achieve such
When Jesus commanded us to be perfect, He
was commanding perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. Would
Jesus ask us to do something that we could not possibly do? Of
course not. However, man cannot achieve this state of perfection
by himself; he needs the grace and power of God in his life if
he is to accomplish this.
First of all we must understand from 2 Timothy
3:16,17 that we need the message of the entire Bible, both the
Old and New Testaments, in order to be able to reach perfection.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness: That the man of God may be PERFECT, throughly
[thoroughly] furnished unto all good works. Notice that
God gave us the Scriptures so That the man of God may be
perfect. Thus we see that the entire Bible contains the
information and instructions that we need to achieve perfection.
Ephesians 6:11 tells us to Put on the
whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil. The whole armor of God is the whole
truth of God contained in the entire Bible. This text indicates
that if we have on this armor, we will be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil; if we can stand against the wiles of
the devil, we will be able to keep from breaking Gods law
Speaking of the new covenant, which, you
will remember, is shown in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 8:10
to be Gods law written in our hearts and minds, Ezekiel
36:26,27 says, A new heart also will I give you, and a
new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony
heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and CAUSE you to walk in
my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
This is a mighty promise God makes to His true people. He says
that He, Himself, will cause them to walk in His statutes. He
will be the power in the lives of His true Christians to cause
them always to obey the Ten Commandments.
Furthermore, God says that His people WILL,
indeed, keep His statutes and His laws. When God promises each
of us that He will cause us to walk in His statutes and that
we will keep His judgments and do them, how could one of Gods
people possibly say that he could never achieve this goal?
Gods causing us to walk in His statutes
is somewhat analogous to power steering on a car. Power steering
will not turn the wheels until the driver moves the steering
wheel slightly. Then the power steering takes over and moves
the wheels for him. Likewise, if we want perfection with all
our hearts and strive for this goal ourselves, God will take
over and do it for us just as He promised.
God promised that He would keep us from breaking
His law, and Jude 24 tells us that He has the power to do so.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and
to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with
exceeding joy. . . . Since Christ has the power to keep
us from falling, to keep us from breaking His law, and since
He promised that this is exactly what He will do, what excuse
do we have for ever breaking any of the Ten Commandments?
If we do not know that it is possible for
us to stop breaking Gods law, chances are we never will.
Satan, you see, has been working very hard to convince everyone
that it is impossible to reach perfection. We must realize that
we have all been deceived all our lives on this point. However,
in order to reach perfection we must want this more than anything
else in our lives.
Over and over again the Bible indicates that
God answered the prayers of Christ while He was on earth. Suppose
Christ prayed that God would keep His people from evil, from
breaking the Ten Commandments. Would God answer a prayer like
that? Of course He would. Jesus prayed that exact prayer, as
recorded in John 17:15: I pray not that thou shouldest
take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them
from the evil. Christ prayed that His people should remain
in the world but that God should keep them from evil. This is
exactly what God is doing for His true people, who really want
to be perfect.
That God answered this prayer is shown in
2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful, who shall
stablish you, and keep you from evil. Evil, of course,
is sin, the breaking of any of the Ten Commandments. Since the
Lord keeps His true Christians from breaking the law, they can,
indeed, live perfect lives if this is what they desire more than
A very important point is brought out in
the following verse. Some may get the mistaken idea that God
is simply going to take sin out of our lives, without requiring
any effort on our part. This idea is not correct, for the following
verse indicates that we are still required to resist the temptations
which will come to us. God never says that the task of overcoming
sin will not require effort on our parts. In fact, our successful
resistance to some temptations will require considerable effort.
God does promise to give us the power and the grace which, coupled
with our efforts, will make us successful. God also promises
in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not allow the devil to tempt
us beyond our capacity to resist. There hath no temptation
taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that
ye may be able to bear it.
Since God is not permitting us to be tempted
beyond our capacity to resist the temptation, how can we possibly
have any excuse for sinning? Since He is not permitting us to
be tempted beyond our capacity to resist, how can we say that
it is impossible for us to stop breaking the Ten Commandments?
We sin, you see, because we have chosen to do so. We sin because
we put our desires (lusts) before God. God has done everything
to make it possible for us to resist the devil, to overcome sin
completely, and then to live perfect lives, but to achieve perfection
we must desire it more than life itself.
God again tells us, in 1 Peter 5:10, that
He, Himself, will make us perfect. But the God of all grace,
who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after
that ye have suffered a while, MAKE YOU PERFECT, stablish, strengthen,
settle you. God will indeed do this, but He will never
do it against our will.
The key to perfection is that one must desire
with all his heart to be perfect and, without wavering, strive
for this goal above all others. God will not give us the power
to be perfect unless perfection is what we really want. One of
the reasons so many fail so miserably to achieve perfection is
that they are not ready to go all the way with God. They have
some pet habits they know are coming between them and God, but
they are not quite ready to give them up. Or they have some things
they want to do yet, things they know are not quite right in
Gods sight, things they know will take time and means from
We all know how easy it is to do something
when asked by someone we love. Indeed, we often take great pleasure
in obeying one whom we dearly love. Can our love for God be any
different? When our love for God exceeds our love for everyone
and everything else, we are pleased to do as He has asked. When
we cherish God above everything else, we are pleased to obey
In Ephesians 4:13,14 we see again that God
expects us to be perfect. Till we all come in the unity
of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of
Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight
of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
Notice the meaning of perfect in this text: Unto a perfect
man, unto . . . the stature . . . of Christ. God, you see,
expects us to become as steadfast against sin as was Christ.
Does a truly born-again Christian commit
sin? The term born-again implies death to our lives
of sin. If we have died to sin, will we continue to break Gods
law, the Ten Commandments? The Bible definition of a born-again
Christian is found in 1 John 5:18. We know that whosoever
is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth
himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. Remember
that God is not permitting us to be tempted beyond our capacity
to resist. If we sin, it is because we have chosen to do so!
If we sin, we have not died to sin and are not born-again.
Thus we have seen many times using many texts
that a true born-again Christian will never break any of Gods
Ten Commandments. We have seen that God has promised that by
His grace and power each true Christian is able to overcome sin
fully and then live the remainder of his life without ever again
breaking any of Gods Ten Commandments.
The definition of a born-again Christian
is also found in 1 John 3:9. This verse not only tells us that
we can achieve perfection, but it also says that it is impossible
for a true born-again Christian to commit a sin! Whosoever
is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in
him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. A true
born-again Christian simply does not break Gods Ten Commandments,
for it is impossible for him to do so, as we just read! The phrase
his seed remaineth in him refers to Gods law
written on our hearts and in our minds. Do we have the faith
to believe this promise of God? Do we have the faith to overcome
sin forever? Is this our desire above even life itself?
If so, perfection is not far away.
From the verses we have just been considering,
a definition of the perfection which God requires becomes apparent.
God requires that the person reach a point where it would be
impossible for him ever to sin again. Even Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden before sin entered were not perfect according
to this standard, for even though they had never sinned until
Satan tempted Eve, they were capable of sinning. God wants His
people to attain such quality of character that they are incapable
of breaking His law. He wants His people to reach the point where
their characters will not permit them to sin.
With so many texts which indicate that a
person can totally overcome sin and live a perfect life, why
do so many believe that this is impossible? Why is it so difficult
to believe that a Christian can live the remainder of his life
without sin? Because of the devils propaganda, which has
inundated this world. God tells us that He will keep us from
falling, and we believe the devil! Perhaps we do so because it
is easier on our consciences if we have an excuse, no matter
how flimsy, for doing things that we know God would not approve
of. It is time that we reject all false doctrine and accept the
truth from God, for He will do what He promises. We must have
the faith to accept what the Bible says, regardless of how wrong
or how difficult it seems to us, and believe that God will, indeed,
enable us to overcome sin totally and to live perfect lives if
we truly want Him to.
How does God cause us to walk in His statutes?
How does God enable us to keep His laws perfectly? He does this
in two ways. By helping us to develop a hatred for sin which
rivals His own in intensity. When a person hates sin as much
as God does, the option to sin is simply not open to him.
The second way is that God gives us a powerful
conscience against sins. Every time we say no to a temptation,
we are stronger to resist temptation and our consience against
sin increases in power and intensity.
Because God promised that He will enable
those of us to keep His law who really want to with all our hearts,
1 John 3:6 makes the statement that Whosoever abideth in
him sinneth not: Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither
known him. Here we see that if anyone continues to sin
he does not even know the Lord. In fact verse 8 says that He
that committeth sin is of the devil. A born-again Christian
is one who has died to sin and has been born into a new life
free from sin. As the apostle Paul says in Romans 6:2, How
shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
If we are still sinning, we are not born-again, and, as the verse
says, we dont even know the Lord. There is no such thing
as a born-again Christian who breaks Gods Ten Commandment
Not only do they who sin not know the Lord,
but 1 John 2:3,4 tells us that those who say they know the Lord
and yet break any of the Ten Commandments are liars! And
hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Remember again
that God is not permitting us to be tempted beyond our capacity
to resist. If we sin, it is because we have chosen to do so;
and if we choose to do so, we certainly do not know the Lord.
Overcoming sin and living perfect lives is
entirely possible, as we have seen. Christians who have overcome
sin and have achieved perfection are described in Revelation
14:4,5: These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever
he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits
unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile:
for they are without fault before the throne of God. They
are without fault; they are perfect.
There are other verses in the Bible which
mention those who have completely overcome sin and who keep Gods
laws perfectly. Revelation 12:17 describes these people: And
the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with
the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God,
and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. These people are
described as keeping the commandments of God. It does not say
they keep most of them, or that they keep them sometimes. It
says that they keep them always. Revelation 14:12 also
describes these people: Here is the patience of the saints:
here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith
of Jesus. It is, then, indeed possible to keep Gods
law perfectly, for these verses describe the people who do.
Actually, it is only the perfect who will
be saved to enjoy the beautiful eternity with God, for God will
not take anyone to heaven who would ever break any of His Ten
Commandments after he got there, as we see in Proverbs 2:21,22.
The upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall
remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth,
and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it. The perfect
shall dwell in the land.
Nahum 1:9 also tells us that no one will
ever again break any of Gods laws after sin and sinners
are destroyed. What do ye imagine against the Lord? he
will make an utter end: affliction [sin] shall not rise up the
Some may be worried at this point about people
who have died without having reached perfection. These people
will not necessarily be lost. God will save a person if that
person lived a proper life based on the truth that he had. This
is implied in Acts 17:30: And the times of this ignorance
God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
God will save people who sincerely strive to obey Him, and who,
in the pure society of heaven, would realize that sin is intolerable
and immediately abide by the law; but God will never take anyone
to heaven who would break any of the Ten Commandments after he
got there. We simply do not have the capacity to judge others
at this time, and we must rely on the fact that God is totally
just and that He will do the right thing. Remember that at the
end of the millennium the entire universe votes unanimously that
Christ is totally righteous and totally just.
Why does God tell us the same things over
and over again in the Bible? We have all lived from childhood
literally in a sea of deception from the devil. We have believed
the devils lies all our lives, and often Bible truth seems
impossible to us. We rationalize and philosophize and explain
away the verses we will not accept; we become dogmatic and stubborn.
Thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and
thy brow brass. (Isaiah 48:4). We must have complete faith
in God that He will not lie to us. We must believe what God tells
us in the Bible regardless of what we feel is right. Proverbs
16:25 tells us that There is a way that seemeth right unto
a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. God tells
us things over and over again hoping that the truth will penetrate
our brows of brass.
If God told us something a thousand times,
probably most people would still not believe it. As we have seen,
He has told us repeatedly to keep the Commandments, yet most
do not even believe that the law is applicable today. We have
seen that the Lord has told us over and over again that He Himself
will make us perfect, yet most refuse to believe it. What must
God do to get through to the people of this world?
We sometimes wonder about the severe punishment
for sin which was administered in Old Testament times. God severely
punished some of the early sinners so that those living afterward
would understand that He means exactly what He says. We need
to realize that when God tells us something, we can rely upon
it. He has told us that He will keep us from sinning and that
true, born-again Christians cannot sin. We should search our
own hearts to find out why this is so difficult for us to believe.
The parable of the wheat and the tares, found
in Matthew 13:24-30, gives us an extremely important clue in
our study of why Jesus has not yet returned to gather His faithful
people from the earth.
Another parable put he forth unto them,
saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed
good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and
sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade
was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares
also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him,
Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then
hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The
servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather
them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares,
ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until
the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,
Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles
to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Here we have a farmer who planted a field
of wheat. During the night his enemy came and planted tares.
Strangely, the farmer wanted to let the tares grow until the
harvest. This is usually not the case in the real world. The
farmer would pull up the weeds to allow his crop more room to
grow. What does this parable mean? Jesus explains the meaning
of this parable in Matthew 13:36-40. Then Jesus sent the
multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came
unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of
the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the
good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good
seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children
of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the
harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so
shall it be in the end of this world.
We see that the situation on earth is symbolized
in the parable of the wheat and the tares. Christ is allowing
both the wicked and the righteous to grow together until the
harvest at the end of the world. The tares referred to here are
Bearded Darnell grass, which before ripening looks exactly like
wheat. If the seeds are eaten, however, they produce violent
nausea, convulsions, and sometimes death. Only at the time of
ripening is the difference between the Bearded Darnell grass
and the wheat apparent, for the Darnell grass turns black and
the wheat turns a golden brown.
One reason why Christ wants to allow the
wicked to flourish beside the righteous is that if He punished
the false Christians before they showed their true colors, He
would appear to be unjust, and many would fall away. The righteous
would not understand about the false Christians, thinking that
their fellow church members who were punished had been true Christians.
They would mistake the tares for wheat. Thus, they would be appalled
at what they would believe to be the injustice of God. The farmer
in the parable did not want to uproot a tare for fear that wheat
might be uprooted also. This parable, therefore, reveals the
great care with which Christ works for the salvation of everyone.
He is not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter
These false Christians are the subject of
Matthew 7:21-23: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth
the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me
in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. The world thinks
that they are true, but God knows differently, and they must
be permitted to ripen for the harvest at the end
of time so that the difference is readily apparent to all.
That Christ is waiting for the harvest is
also mentioned in James 5:7: Be patient therefore, brethren,
unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for
the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain. Here Jesus,
the husbandman, is pictured as waiting very patiently for the
fruit of the earth to ripen. When the fruit ripens, then follows
the harvest, which is described in Revelation 14:14-19. And
I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat
like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown,
and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of
the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud,
Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee
to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat
on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth
was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is
in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came
out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with
a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in
thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the
earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in
his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth,
and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
We see here that the true Christians (the
wheat) and the wicked (the tares, or in this last symbolism,
the grapes of the earth) both get ripe together. When a person
first becomes interested in the message of the Bible, he begins
to study. Gradually he understands and applies his newfound knowledge
to his life, and some of his sins are forsaken. As he learns
more and more and forsakes more and more sin, he grows closer
to God and closer to the goal of perfection. This is the process
referred to in the Bible when it speaks of Christians ripening
for the harvest. The righteous are becoming more and more righteous.
Likewise, the wicked in their ripening process are becoming more
and more wicked.
Revelation 14:12 describes the end product
of this ripening process. Here is the patience of the saints:
here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith
of Jesus. Here we have people who indeed do keep the commandments
of God. They do not just keep some of them, and they do not slip
once in a while and sin. Here are they that keep all the commandments
all the time. Here are the perfect people. Here are they who
have successfully put sin out of their lives. Here are they who
have achieved perfection. Here is the ripened wheat for which
Christ is waiting.
Will those who achieve perfection realize
that they have done so? No, they will not. As they get closer
and closer to the goal, they get closer and closer to Christ.
They are aware of their past sins and see themselves in comparison
with Christ, and none of them will feel that he is perfect.
Christ is patiently waiting for 144,000 of
His people to achieve perfection before returning to earth to
take them to heaven. Why does He wait for 144,000 people to reach
perfection before He will return? When He was on earth He lived
a perfect life, showing us that it can be done. Satan, however,
complained that Christ could live a perfect life because He was
God in heaven, but that men could not achieve this. Another accusation
against Christ and His law.
Christ, therefore, must wait until He has
144,000 people whose characters have developed to the point where
for them sin is impossible. He can then point to them as proof
that his law can be obeyedperfectly. Then, what can Satan
say? Nothing. To the entire universe the 144,000 prove him to
be a liar. As soon as the 144,000 perfect people appear, the
final events of earths history will immediately occur,
and the pain and misery of earth will come to an end.
Why the number 144,000? This is the number
of people that Christ feels is adequate to prove to the universe
that the accusations which Satan made against Him and His law
are false. This is the number which Christ feels is required
to make Satan, himself, admit that he was wrong.
It is sad that only 144,000 of the vast population
of earth will achieve this perfection of character in these last
days. The 144,000 are discussed in Revelation 14:1-5: And
I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him
an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fathers
name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven,
as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder:
and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And
they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before
the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that
song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were
redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled
with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow
the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among
men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in
their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before
the throne of God. Thus we see that the 144,000 are, indeed,
the perfect people, for they are without fault before the
throne of God.
The phrase not defiled with women
is often misunderstood. This simply means that the 144,000 perfect
people do not defile their characters in the least with the false
doctrines and practices of the many false churches. A woman,
you will remember, is the symbol of a church in Bible prophecy.
These perfect people will have nothing to do with any heathen
doctrine. Their religion is the pure Word of God. Notice that
the 144,000 are redeemed from among men. They do not die. They
are the righteous living when Christ returns.
The 144,000 are again mentioned in Revelation
7:1-4: And after these things I saw four angels standing
on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the
earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the
sea, nor on any tree. And 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 given to hurt
the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the
sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God
in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were
sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand
of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Notice verse
four is very specific about the number that were sealed.
The Bible text just quoted implies that after
the 144,000 are sealed the earth is inundated with great tribulation.
The 144,000 are the only living Christians during the great tribulation
and who go through the seven last plagues.
Revelation 14:3 mentions that the 144,000
sing a song that no others can know. This song refers to their
experience of going through the terrible time of trouble, the
seven last plagues.
Human probation will close shortly, and after
it closes Christ will no longer forgive sins. Revelation 22:11,12
shows that probation will close just before Christ returns to
this earth. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:
and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that
is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy,
let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward
is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
After the close of probation, none of the wicked will be converted.
They will remain wicked for the remainder of their lives.
At the beginning of this great tribulation,
Jesus will put off His priestly robes and don His kingly garments.
At this time there will no longer be a high priest in the heavenly
sanctuary to mediate for sinful man and forgive sins. To show
that human beings can, indeed, obey the Law of God perfectly
and live without sin and without a mediator to forgive sins,
God must allow Satan to do anything he wants to these people
to try to make them sin. This is what causes the seven last plagues.
Most people blame God for the plagues, and
indeed, the Bible describes angels as pouring out the seven last
plagues on the earth. But, we know that God takes responsibility
for things that happen on earth even though He does not do them
because He could prevent them from happening if He wanted to.
Perhaps the one verse that shows most clearly that God does not
cause the plagues is Revelation 15:8. And the temple was
filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power;
and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven
plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. This verse
shows God withdrawing into the temple and isolating Himself until
the plagues are finished, showing that He has nothing to do with
The plauges are the result of God allowing
Satan to have a free reign in the earth at this time, and Satan
cannot hold things together. The plagues are the result.
Continuing with Revelation 7:5-8 we see that
the 144,000 come from the twelve tribes of the children of Israel,
12,000 from each tribe. The term Israel, which means
ruling with God, refers to the true Christians in
the world today. (Galatians 3:28,29). If Gods true people
today are Israel, how, then, can they be from the twelve tribes
of the children of Israel?
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve
thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe
of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim
were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed
twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe
of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon
were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed
twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve
We can get some insight into the meaning
of these different tribes by considering Genesis 49:1-27. These
verses describe the last testimony Israel (Jacob) gave to his
twelve sons just before his death. Notice that this is a prophecy
for the last days, the days in which we are living. And
Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together,
that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob: and hearken
unto Israel your father. Israel then proceeded to describe
the character of each of his sons:
Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might,
and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity,
and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not
excel; because thou wentest up to thy fathers bed; then
defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments
of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou
into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou
united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will
they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob,
and scatter them in Israel.
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren
shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies;
thy fathers children shall bow down before thee. Judah
is a lions whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone
up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion;
who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and
unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal
unto the vine, and his asss colt unto the choice vine;
he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood
of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white
Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of
the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border
shall be unto Zidon.
Issachar is a strong ass couching between
two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that
it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a
servant unto tribute.
Dan shall judge his people, as one
of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an
adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider
shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.
Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but
he shall overcome at the last.
Out of Asher his bread shall be fat,
and he shall yield royal dainties.
Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a
fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The
archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were
made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence
is the shepherd, the stone of Israel: Even by the God of thy
father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless
thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that
lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb: The blessings
of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors
unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be
on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that
was separate from his brethren.
Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in
the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide
Thus Israel described the characters of each
of his sons. Remember that this was a prophecy for the last days.
These twelve personalities represent the twelve character groups
of mankind. Therefore, from each of these twelve different character
groups will come twelve thousand to make up the 144,000. How
perfectly Christ has planned for this drama of earth and for
the salvation of mankind! So that there can be no accusations
by Satan that one character type had advantages over others,
Christs perfect people, His 144,000, will come equally
from every temperament, indicating that salvation is equally
available for everyone in the world. It is totally up to the
individual whether he will obey the Lord and be saved or not.
Even heathenism, through astrology, recognizes
that there are twelve different character groups into which the
human race falls, each under a different sign of the zodiac.
Incidentally, God tells us in Jeremiah 10:2 to have nothing to
do with astrology. Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way
of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven (signs
of the zodiac); for the heathen are dismayed at them.
The 144,000 will not be the only ones to
be saved. After Revelation 7:1-8 describes the 144,000, consisting
of twelve thousand from each character type, Revelation 7:9 describes
a vast multitude which are also saved. After this I beheld,
and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before
the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and
palms in their hands. These are the righteous people of
all ages who will be resurrected to enjoy an abundant life in
Gods eternity when Christ returns.
Thus we see that before He can return to
earth and put an end to sin forever, Christ must wait for His
144,000 perfect people. Therefore, when the Lord will return
is really up to us.
Revelation 19:7 also shows most clearly that
the Lord is waiting for his people to get themselves ready before
He will return to the earth. Let us be glad and rejoice,
and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready. Second Corinthians
11:2 tells us that His church, His people, are to be presented
to Him as His bride. For I am jealous over you with godly
jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. When His true
church, His wife, makes herself readywhen 144,000 of her
members reach the goal of perfectionthe Lord will return
How long will we keep Him waiting? How many
more people will have to suffer and die before we understand
that we are keeping Christ from returning? How many more millions
of people will be butchered by the communists and other ruthless
dictators around the world before we realize that Christ is waiting
for us? How many more unborn babies will be murdered in the abortion
clinics of the world before we realize that Christ is waiting
for us to get ready for His return?
We think too much of having fun. Many plan
all week long what they are going to do on the weekend to have
fun, and as they have their fun, millions suffer. People waste
a fourth of their lives in front of television sets absorbing
the devils lies by the millions, as he prepares this world
for the final crisis.
Suppose Christ has 143,999 people and is
waiting for one more. Suppose also that the last person will
be you. How will you feel to learn of the misery, pain, suffering,
and death many people were caused to bear because you were not
quite ready, because you wanted to do other things before you
surrendered your life fully to Christ, and He had to wait for
We have seen that Christ Himself gives us
power to be perfect. He has promised that we will never be tempted
beyond our ability to resist the temptation. Therefore, there
can be no excuse for breaking Gods Ten Commandment law.
Christ has done everything necessary for each one of us to be
able to reach perfection. There can be no excuse for keeping
Christ waiting any longer.
If we sin after we have once understood,
it is because we have willingly chosen to serve ourselves instead
of our Creator. We have made a conscious choice to break Gods
law. Once a person understands Gods word and becomes a
true follower of Christ, he will never permit himself to sin,
for sin will be as loathsome to him as it is to God. Remember,
that 1 John 3:9 tells us that it is impossible for a true born-again
Christian to sin.
It is time to realize that God is in earnest.
Sin is despicable in His sight, and it is time for His people
to understand this. Perfection, you see, is not only possible;
it is what God requires.
Often one hears the expression, We
must finish the work so the Lord will return. There are
different ideas as to just what this work is. We have seen that
one of the jobs which must be done is on the individual, by himself,
with the help, the grace, and the power of God, who is able to
keep us from falling. Let us get to this work, and, indeed, finish
it quickly so that God can end this drama of earth and cleanse
the universe of sin forever.
Through the plan of redemption, God
has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting
every temptation, however strong. The strongest temptation is
no excuse for sin. However great the pressure brought to bear
upon the soul, transgression is our own act. It is not in the
power of earth or hell to compel any one to sin. The will must
consent, the heart must yield, or passion cannot overbear reason,
nor iniquity triumph over righteousness. If you will stand under
the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, faithfully doing
His service, you need never yield to temptation; for One stands
by your side who is able to keep you from falling.
Maranatha, p. 225