Today is the 16th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you as we close down another week. And we’ve been reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible all week, which is what we’ll do today. We’ve been reading through the book of Micah in the Old Testament, which we will conclude today, and then take the next step forward in the book of Revelation, but first, Micah chapter 5 verse 1 through 7:20 today.
Okay. So, let’s take a quick look at what we read in Revelation today. As I said when we began this book, it’s interpretations are many. And that’s a gross understatement. And these interpretations in no way agree with each other in a lot of cases because we have lots of complexity in prophetic utterances and in symbolism and no way to concretely determine time. So, our goal here isn’t to interpret every nuance of the book of Revelation, or any of the associated Old Testament visions and apocalyptic prophecies that exist. We’re just trying to look at things as we go along to keep ourselves rooted in the story and have a bit of context so that we can engage with the text. So, there were seven seals. And Jesus, depicted by John as a lamb, was able to open these seven seals. And we’ve seen six of them opened. And four of those seals represented horsemen and their riders who were tasked with unleashing unrest upon the earth. The fifth seal had to do with those who had been killed for holding on to their faith, martyrs. And the sixth seal seems to depict the end of the cosmos as we know it. So, we’re expecting this seventh seal, but that’s not what we get today. We will get to the seventh seal, but what we have today is a discussion on people who are sealed. So, we had these four horsemen that were sent into the earth and then as we began today’s reading, we have four angels who are standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth. And most scholars would agree, this is symbolism that is meant to show that they have power over the earth. And then another angel rises up from the east and mentions that the earth or the sea or the trees shouldn’t be harmed until the servants of God are sealed, that the seal of God would be placed on their foreheads. And the number of those to be sealed are 144,000, 12,000 each from the named tribes of Israel, but the tribe of Dan and the tribe of Ephraim are omitted from this list. And it gets pretty complicated here, this hundred 144,000. You’ve probably heard of the hundred 144,000 in a lot of ways before. And there’s a wide range of speculation among scholars, and entire church denominations have been formed out of interpreting this. So, if you’re taking a literal view of the book of Revelation, then 144,000 people, 12,000 people exactly from specific tribes will get the seal of Christ. And these are all ethnic Jewish people who know the tribes that they come from, which would be rather complicated, because in a northern kingdom, the kingdom of Israel, the 10 tribes there were taken into exile by Assyria, they’re lost, like, they’re lost to history. And with the southern kingdom, which would be Benjamin and Judah, were taken in exile by Babylon. They were eventually able to go back and they were paying close attention to the Levites, like to the priestly tribe, but tribal identity was mostly lost. So, if John is talking about ethnic Jews then it’s complicated. And if we were taking a presentist attitude, interpretation, like, this is all happening, or this is about to happen, then it’s kind of complicated to find 12,000 ethnic Jews who know the tribe that they are from in this day and age. And it would be equally as difficult to find 144,000 ethnic Jews who live in modern-day Israel who are believers in Jesus. The number is more like 10% of that, just for a little perspective. I mean, there are mega-churches in the world that contain more people who are professing to be followers of Jesus then all of the believers who live in modern-day Israel put together. And for those who don’t take 144,000 as a literal number, some would say that this represents all ethnic Israel, all those who are ethnically Jewish will be saved at Christ’s second coming, while others would say the 144,000 isn’t a literal number, it’s a figurative number, and it represents all who would be sealed, the people of God, and the formation of a new and true Israel. And I’m not going to unpack that conflict right now, like, we’ll wait until we get into Paul’s letters next year, because it would take us on a bunny trail that would take way too long. So, I think it’s safe to say that most, but not all, scholars do not take this 144,000 number to be a literal number with exactly 12,000 people from specific tribes. Like, this is more of a figurative speech representing God’s true people and part of that comes from what comes next. So, we have this 12,000 from all of these tribes numbering 144,000, and we get to the end of that and then John says, after this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language which no one could number standing before the throne and before the lamb and they were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. So, if the numbers just 144,000, then the next thing we know we have people without number. No one can number them. So, more than 144,000, which leads some scholars to say, okay, there’s 144,000 and those people are being sealed in this time of testing, this tribulation, and they’re the remnant army of God. And then we move to this other visionary experience, where the host of heaven, all the souls standing before God and before the Lamb from every nation, and tribe, and tongue are standing before God. And we can easily think these are the ones that have been martyred, but the ones that are martyred are talked about here. So, who is this throng of people dressed in white, if not the hundred 44,000 and the not the martyrs? So, we get an answer that as we read along. One of the elders, so, one of the 24 elders, asks John who they are. Who are the people robed in white? Where did they come from? And, so, John’s like, sir, you know. So, he’s saying, like, you would know but I don’t know. And, so, the elder tells him, these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. So, these are the ones that stay true. And some interpret this as that these are the true children of God, descended from Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham was that he would multiply their descendants and they wouldn’t be able to be numbered. So, these are the children of God who have come out of the great tribulation. So, for interpreting this futuristically, then there is a great tribulation to come that’s going to be very, very, very difficult on the earth. But if we’re a little more pragmatic in our interpretation, then tribulation has been around a while and Christian specific tribulation has been around since Jesus. And enduring that and growing strong because of it and allowing it to shape us and build character and make us true is part of the metanarrative of the New Testament. Either way, this throng of people from every tribe and nation and tongue are before the Lord and they have washed their robes and they have become white and they have washed them in the blood of the lamb. So, to look at this literally would present some challenges. Like, if you wash a robe in blood it’s not going to come out white. And where did they get these robes in the first place? And where can one acquire one of these robes? It just becomes difficult to make literal. Symbolically, the interpretations are that, you know, those who wash their robe in the blood of the lamb and it comes out white, that is representing the ongoing work of sanctification, the process of becoming pure and clean and Christ like, which requires endurance and perseverance and all the things that we‘ve been talking about all year. And for those people, beautiful, beautiful imagery is given. These people serve God day and night in his sanctuary, in his presence, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them and they won’t hunger anymore and they won’t thirst anymore and the sun won’t beat down on them and strike them anymore and heat won’t hurt them anymore because Jesus, the Lamb, who was at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will shepherd them. He will guide them to springs of living waters and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And I think that is beautiful no matter how you’re looking at this book, no matter how you’re interpreting this. It’s a beautiful picture that, in the end, there is God’s presence and things are as they should be, and nothing is lost, and there is no lack, and our tears will be wiped away by God himself, which is where we end today, in the book of Revelation.
Father, once again we’re inviting You to speak through all that we’re reading in Your word and we’re taking it all in and inviting You. And it is our hearts desire to be one in that throng with people from every tribe and nation and tongue. We want to be one of them and we have the clear picture that we must endure and that we must remain true and that our lives can’t be spent just trying to be one in that throng, but one of many that You were able to reach and love and rescue because You were able to work through us. Come, Holy Spirit, give us the eyes and the ears of the Kingdom. May we each be responsible for a great cloud of witnesses celebrating before Your throne. Come Jesus, we pray. In Your holy name, we ask. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here. It’s certainly Christmas time, so it’s Christmas stuff that’s going on around here.
The Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box for 2017 is still available, basically just through the weekend. Monday will be, sort of, last call for arrival by Christmas, you could still order, but by Christmas. And that is only if you live in the United States. If you’re outside the United States that time has passed. We certainly will still send them to you, but it probably won’t arrive for Christmas. So, we’re kind of getting down to it on that. The Christmas Box is, itself, full of goodies – things for you, things for you to give away. There’s the Advent CD from our friends at Mission Chattanooga in there to just continue the season of contemplation of the arrival of the Savior. The family Christmas CD is in there - lush orchestrations of traditional carols. It’s very contemplative, perfect for a night of shutting off all the lights and just leaving the Christmas lights on taking some time to just drink it in. Two copies of Sneezing Jesus are in the box this year. A book by my friend Ian called The Road Back to You is in the Box. It’s been a book that’s been helpful to me this year. A Black Wing pencil. The Daily Audio Bible Christmas bulb for 2017. And you can only get that in the Christmas Box, is included. A pack of 20 of the Daily Audio Bible Christmas cards for this year. And then your choice of coffee or tea, our Wind Farm coffee or tea. So, check that out. They’re still available.
If you’re looking for that special gift for somebody that you just have been able to figure out yet, especially if their a journaler or a writer, I recommend one of the Daily Audio Bible journaling bundles. Those are fantastic. I love them. I use it every day. And you can look at those in the Lifestyle section of the shop.
Early registration for the More Gathering for women, which happens to make a great gift idea, is open until the end of the year, the early registration pricing until the end of the year. And you can and find out all about that dailyaudiobible.com in the Initiatives section or just go to moregathering.com and you can get all the details there.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible as we approach the end of the year, and thank you for your partnership, profoundly, there’s a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996. Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hello Daily Audio Bible family. This is SarahJane. Yes, that SarahJane. And I would like to say Happy Jesus birthday to all of you. But particularly, Christmas, is a bit of crazy time. You all buy Christmas boxes, which is wonderful, but I get to pack them all and I could not do that without Brad and Patty B, Katy U. The Seabrun family helped out this year and also Al and a bunch of others. In fact, I always have to do a throwback to Marc and Sheryl M. I am very, very, very blessed that we have awesome help in Colorado Springs. So, if you live in Colorado Springs and you’re interested, drop me an email. And again, as for every year, thank you to my volunteer team and bless all of you enjoying your Christmas Boxes. Love you.
Hey family, it’s SarahJane again and I forgot to say thank you to Beth and Paul, who were also there…and I shouldn’t have named names…but I really am blessed for my volunteer team. Love ya.
Hey Daily Audio Bible family. This is Joyce in California and I had a really rough day with pain today. And I just finished hearing the prayer line. Thank you so much. I just love you guys so much. And I’m so grateful. These are…I’m just so happy. I’m so amazed at our beautiful family, that even if we haven’t seen each other or met each other that we can love each other so much. Thank you so much. I just…and mother Annette from Oklahoma City, I love your voice. I love all your calls and so many others. I just…thank you. Thank you so much, all of you for being here with me. And my studies have been amazing. I’ve been retaining things. I read it once and I can get through it. And I scored 100% on some of my practice tests and I slept well and I’m just praising God for each of you. The Lord’s brought me here so I could find family at last and I’m so grateful. Thank you so, so much. God bless you. I love you all. Ok. Bye-bye.
Hello everyone. This is Abiding in Him. I’d like to pray for our sister Marked as His in Wisconsin. Lord, we thank You so much for our sister and we rejoice with her in the news that her mother is doing well after fighting cancer Lord, that the harvest has come in plentiful Lord. We just thank You for Your wonderful goodness and Your mercy to us Lord. And I also thank You for my sister’s honesty in that she’s struggling, that someone that once took advantage of her in enjoying things in life that she’s yet to enjoy, but it seems horribly unfair in a life that has had many unfair moments. Lord, I pray that You come meet with my sister in a special way, that You reach out to her in the depths of her struggle and the pain and You reveal to her a deeper love, a deeper connection, a deeper abiding that is available to those who have suffered and lost much. It seems that in this world Lord, You strip many things away from us in order to bring us closer to You. And in a way, we should be thankful for these opportunities but they still hurt. They still cause pain. So, that great mystery Lord, where You enter into our pain and You manifest Yourself as being present and close, despite our anguish Lord. I pray for that peace to come to her for my sister. She says she’s Marked as Yours Lord, so, prove it to her, in a special, individual and unique way that only You can do. We ask for the comfort of Your Holy Spirit. Lord, we praise You and thank You for everything we have. In Jesus’ name.
Hi family. I desperately, desperately need your prayers. This is Amanda from Williamsburg, Virginia. I need prayers for my children’s school. We went to a parent’s meeting last night and they told us last night that we are going to be doing emergency fund raisers and things like that, but the landlord has really taken advantage of them and like tripled the rent and all of this. And they’re not sure how they are going to make this…through the school year. And the heartbreaking part is, this Greenwood Christian Academy is amazing. It has incredible academics and incredible teachers and it’s a small Christian academy. My 5 children thrive there. And it breaks my heart. I don’t know what to do. So, the only thing I know to do is to turn to you. Family, please, lift up Greenwood Christian Academy. Help us to raise $100,000, help us to find a new location. We just…we need God to move. And we know that He has a plan and we’re trusting Him and we’re are all working hard…but we just need…we just need intercession, please. Please just lift up the community of Williamsburg, Virginia, that they can come around this amazing school and these amazing kids and these amazing teachers and see it for the gem that it is and just be able to push forth and grow this school. We need this. Our children’s future needs this. Just, please, pray for our education. Thank you.