Sermon Series: Part 4 of 4 The Holy Jerusalem
Sermon Series: Part 4 of 4
The Holy Jerusalem
God, in the Bible, proves that he can work in multiples. When He says 70 weeks (as in Daniel), he could mean 70 literal weeks, 70 years, 70 days, 70 weeks of years (490 years), etc. Therefore, when he says '70 weeks', we must hear '70.' Likewise here, the term '12,000 furlongs' is used, not so we can convert it to English measurements or the metric system, but so that we hear the number 12,000, and similarly are the references to 144 cubits important in that it is 144. We already know the height of the wall to be 144 cubits, so in what way is the city described as 12,000 furlongs high? The only element left is the gates. Now, let's put together all of the details about the gates: (1) there are twelve, (2) they are engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, (3) they are positioned according to the positioning of the camps of the tribes of Israel, (4) twelve (Jesus' twelve apostles) angels stand at the gates, (5) they are made of pearls (clearly from the sea), (6) they measured in 12,000 units of measure. I, therefore, suggest that the gates symbolize the 144,000 Jews, found in chapter 7, using the following equation:
12 gates X 12,000 'furlongs' = 144,000 (Jews)
Twelve angels = 12 Jewish apostles
Now, let us consider the wall. "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof." (Rev. 21:14-15) Earlier, in verse 12, we read about a wall 'great and high.' Now, a little more information is added. This wall has twelve foundations, and the foundations are inscribed with the names of the Lamb's twelve apostles.
In verses 18-20, we are given the composition of the wall and its foundations. "And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst." As the gates were made of pearls from the sea, the wall was made of the precious stones, which are mined from the earth. A similar relationship to Genesis can therefore be made, for all things created from the earth were made on day number six.
When we hear the word 'wall', we must realize to what is referred in conjunction with its usage. In Isaiah, we are told that "the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls" (Isa. 60:10) thus indicating that the wall will be built by the Gentiles. Furthermore, this wall had twelve foundations. Paul shows us what the foundations are in Eph. 2:19-20. "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets." And again, Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations." (Heb. 11:10) God promised twelve Gentile apostles in Ishmael, saying, "As for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation." (Gen. 17:20) Whereas the wall represents the Gentile church, the foundations of twelve precious stones signify the apostles of it.
Now we can look at the details of the wall: (1) it has twelve foundations, (2) they are engraved with the names of the Lamb's twelve apostles, (3) they are made of twelve precious stones (mined from the earth), (4) it is measured in 144 units of measure. If we then employ the 'multiple principle' as in Daniel, and put with it these elements, we can make the following equation:
The wall, which has 12 foundations of precious stones = 144,000
(those found in Rev. chapter 14)
Twelve precious stones = 12 Gentile apostles
To this agree the words of Jesus "glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." By this, He showed that there are two phases of His church: in the 5th millennium, sending out fishers to gather the Jewish half of The Church first, and after, in the 6th millennium, sending many hunters to gather the Gentile half of The Church to 'hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.' The group made from the unification of these two halves is The Church, the 'Bride, the Lamb's Wife,' as Paul says in Eph. 2:14-15, "He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace."
These 288,000, which are The Church, are foretold of allegorically in the musicians of David. "All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king's order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight (288)." (1 Chron. 25:6-7) There were not 144 singers instructed in the songs of the Lord, but twice that. Hence, the two accounts in the 7th and 14th chapters of Revelation of those which sung before the Lord. The rest of chapter 25 is dedicated to numerating the chief singers, or song leaders, although they had already been named in verses 2-4. This is done to emphasize their number: twenty-four. It is no coincidence that this is the sum of the apostles of the early and latter churches, as described in Rev. 21.
THE GREAT MULTITUDE
There are still those who make up the innumerable multitude. In both millennia, there are many, many believers that do not find themselves specifically numbered among the 144,000. They are prophesied of, allegorically, in the account of Joseph's harvest. "And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number." (Gen 41:48-49) In that we are told 'he left numbering' shows that he did number some. We are told of the early church in a similar manner. After the church had attained unto such a manifest glory, that lying to Holy Ghost resulted in instant death, we are given the following account.
"And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." (Acts 5:11-16)
Many people became believers, but none dared join unto that assembly, where Peter and the apostles were. If the Church is 'the Bride', then the innumerable multitude comprises those that are described as the guests of the wedding, the bride's maidens, and the foolish virgins.
Salvation is not limited to 288,000, but as in the Marriage of the King's son:
"Many are called, but few are chosen." Amen.
By David M. McNabb
(Note: This sermon is from the True Sayings Series. These sermons are available in booklet form, in their entirety, upon request. Please refer to contact information.)