144,000 reasons to share the Gospel with your Jewish friends

Our Bible is replete with numbers, adding numerical precision to God’s counsel. Incidentally, we can tend to focus on parts of the Bible that do not have specific numbers and ignore those other parts that have precise numbers given to us for a reason. Unless otherwise specified–as in the seventy weeks of Daniel– we should always take biblical numbers literally.

So, what are we to make of God’s description of the 144,000 men from Israel in Revelation? Keeping with the context, in Revelation 7:1-8, they will be 12,000 Jewish men from the 12 tribes of Israel. They will not be Jehovah’s Witnesses or any other group of men. There is no reason to believe that they are spiritual Israel either.

Some have argued that tribal identity is no longer identifiable since–to the exception of the Levites who carry their tribal identity in their names like Cohen or Levy– all records kept inside the Temple in Jerusalem were destroyed when that very Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70.   So, today, the vast majority of the Jewish people do not know their tribal origins and will not be able to discover it by any other means. While this identity is lost to men, it was never lost to our omniscient God, and since He will personally hand-select the 144,000 men to become world evangelists during the Tribulation, we ought not to worry about who they are.

On the other hand, we ought to rejoice and be very grateful that even during such a time of turmoil on planet Earth during the Tribulation, God will provide a way out of eternal damnation through the powerful evangelistic ministry of these 144,000 preachers of the Word. The future of some of our loved ones left behind will depend on the witness of these evangelists.

In Revelation 14:1-5, we read again about the 144,000, this time towards the end of the Great Tribulation.

1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

 We can learn several things about these men from the two passages:

• Revelation 14:1 tells us that they will receive the special seal from the Lamb and the Father on their forehead as they will be set apart for a very special ministry. That seal will also protect them from harm during the Great Tribulation, also known as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” since it will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on the Jewish people.
Revelation 14:1, “having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”

 • Revelation 14:3 explains to us that they have been purchased. Yeshua paid the price for these men with His own blood, so they belong to Him.
Revelation 14:3, “the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.”

 • Revelation 14:4 adds that these 144,000 Jewish men will be pure as not having defiled themselves with women. There is no reason to look at this part allegorically. This speaks of virgin men set aside for celibacy and service to God.
Revelation 14:4 “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste.”

 • Revelation 14:4 also tells us that these men will be obedient to the call that they have received from the Lamb. They will be persistent and consistent against all odds.
Revelation 14:4 “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”

These men will turn out to be the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. Incidentally, since the Jewish people have been scattered by God into the Diaspora, we can find Jewish people all over the globe, and they usually speak at least two languages and often more. What a great asset to their evangelistic endeavor during the Tribulation. They will be unstoppable and through their ministry, many people will come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua the Messiah.

These men will be Jewish men left behind as unbelievers after the pre-tribulational, pre-millennial Rapture of the Church. They will become believers after the Rapture and then start their evangelistic ministry. Now, the one thing we cannot do as believers is to set a date for the Rapture. Yeshua Himself warned us. Nobody knows the day or the hour and we shouldn’t try to figure it out.
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Acts 1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;

Yet, there is something that we should do and be very excited about doing. When we look around us, no matter what country we live in, most people get the impression that we truly are in the last hour of the end-days. It is surprising to see that Yeshua hasn’t already returned to snatch the Saints and allow for the Tribulation to start. But God doesn’t wish for anyone to perish.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

While many will never accept Yeshua as the Son of God, Savior of the world and Messiah of Israel, He is longsuffering and is giving the world more time to come to Him. Considering the times we live in, it might not be an exaggeration to believe that some of the Jewish males we encounter and share the Gospel with will become part of the 144,000.  This is supposed to be an encouragement to all believers. Today, whenever we share the Gospel with a Jewish man, you could be planting a Gospel seed in the heart of one of the future 144,000. We would be investing in future kingdom work way beyond the Rapture. Along those lines, we also ought to start praying for the 144,000 and their ministry.

So, aside from seeking to bless the Jewish people and in return, be blessed by the God of Israel according to the promise given in Genesis 12:3, we truly have 144,000 reasons to share the Gospel with Jewish people today. We truly live in exciting times!

Could the conspiracy of Psalm 83 against Israel involve ISIS?

It was only fifteen years ago that I was conducting research for my first book on anti-Semitism They Have Conspired Against You. This led me to an in-depth study of the 83rd Psalm written by Asaph who was a contemporary of King David. Psalm 83 spoke of many enemies of Israel and of the pleading of Asaph with God for His miraculous intervention on behalf of the Jewish people. Of the several points made by this short psalm, I was intrigued by the ten people groups who were described as conspiring against Israel. In digging a little deeper, I realized that this covenant of nations had never taken place in the history of Israel. I also thought that there was a strong possibility that Asaph usage of the sentence: "They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more." could very possibly be a literary device to express emphasis in despair. Maybe Asaph wanted to express that Israel had enemies–a true statement–and for emphasis, he described all her neighbors as the enemies, akin to someone with a few foes saying:"The whole world hates me!"

Of course, an equally valid interpretation could be that it is a future attack on Israel by a confederation of countries and/or states. I find it fascinating to look at the people described in Psalm 83:6-8: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them, and compare them to modern day countries or people groups. The results could even be too close for comfort.

Edom - Southern Jordan
Ishmaelites - Ishmael was one of the fathers of all the Arabs.
Moab - Central Jordan
Hagarenes - Egypt
Gebal - Lebanon
Ammon - Northern Jordan
Amalek - The Sinai Peninsula
Philistia -  The Gaza Strip
Tyre - Lebanon
Assyria - Iraq and parts of Syria

By these standards, Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies who have conspired together to destroy the Jewish state. This would be a likely scenario in light of the fact that eventually the whole world will go against Israel, but we are faced with an inconsistency. There are two countries that have an ongoing peace treaty with Israel in the whole Middle East: Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon) and Egypt (Hagarenes, Sinai Peninsula). Yet these are listed as enemies of Israel, so how can this be possible? I wonder if the answer could not be found in the events of the last year and the progress of ISIS (Islamic State) in the region? ISIS is continuously making progress in a very volatile region, not to mention their global recruitment over the last year. A quick review of their progress could lead credence to an upcoming fulfillment of Psalm 83:

• ISIS started their bloody takeover campaigns in parts of Iraq and Syria.
• ISIS has also been trying to gain some ground in Northeast Lebanon and Northern Lebanon. The mere idea that Lebanese Christians would praise Hezbollah for fighting ISIS is frightening at best and most likely temporary.
• They even got into the Gaza Strip, giving Hamas a run for their money.
• Of course, they also recently launched an offensive in the Sinai Peninsula. How's that peace treaty with Israel looking right now? Very shaky if ISIS spreads further into Egypt!
• This leaves us with Jordan and the Iraqi border, which have also been affected.

So there you have it in a nutshell. To an extent, ISIS has infiltrated all the areas listed in Pslam 83, INCLUDING JORDAN AND EGYPT, the only two countries with existing peace treaties with Israel. Asaph might have spoken prophetically and we might be getting really close to seeing the evil confederacy of Psalm 83 being formed. It was almost impossible to fathom that Psalm 83 would have a literal fulfillment 15 years ago. Today and with the advance of the Islamic State, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it took place. And what if it did take place?

While the entire civilized world appears to be in agreement regarding the barbarism displayed by ISIS, it is now becoming obvious that the terrorist group is not being stopped, let alone even contained. It is very surreal and quite puzzling to see ISIS recruits coming from all corners of the world to train under "the black banner of death". So yes indeed,  the grip around Israel is tightening at the hands of ISIS.

Israel has her plate very full with a Hamas ruled Gaza Strip in the south and a Hezbollah ruled Lebanon in the north. The Jewish state has been on high alert since May 14, 1948. They will not provoke but they will certainly respond. They will do it better and faster than the rest of the world because their existence depends on it. To an extent, the rest of the world's existence also depends on how serious we are about ISIS. But when you hear people such as Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 who said that:We cannot destroy ISIS, so we will have to learn to live with it", you wonder how serious anybody really is about defeating ISIS? We are not even discussing how Islamic ISIS really is or is not, but we are still faced with a terrorist group that is organized, wealthy, well advertised and very arrogant. The minute that ISIS crosses the line where Israel feels threatened, they [Israel] will respond swiftly and efficiently. No question about it.

We must also keep in mind the rest of Psalm 83 like verse 5 describing the enemies of Israel as the enemies of God Himself:"For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant." God might or might not intervene between ISIS and the world, but if they [ISIS] go against Israel, I am certain that He will get involved. Yet, there is still time for the enemies of Israel to repent because God might be just but He is also patient as Psalm 83:15-18 says:
So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm.
Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish,
That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth

The prophetic hourglass was turned on May 14, 1948 and it is running out of sand in its top section!