A Little Help with the Imagery of the Book of Revelation
· 144,000 is one of the many symbols in Revelation.
o 144 is a multiple of 12.
o 12 represents God's people: 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles.
o 1000 is the number of completeness.
o So 12 x 12 x 1000 = 144,000 which is the number representing all of God's saved people.
o It is never intended to be taken literally. Otherwise they could only be Jews of all but one tribe, as in chapter 7, and only virgins, as in chapter 14.
The beasts are the Roman Emperor and his henchmen – bent on enforcing Emperor worship.
“They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” is another symbol. It just means that though Christians were killed for their faith - by the Romans - they lived forever with Jesus. In other words, complete victory. Another symbol. It’s saying the same thing, in a different setting, that Jesus says in John 6 and 11 about never dying but having eternal life.
42 months, time, times and half a time, and 1260 days are just a way of referring to the period of persecution of God's people, but also the period which they come through and overcome. Check out the references in context in Revelation to see that this is true.
This New Testament book of Revelation, as with all of the New Testament, is about victory in Jesus for those who remain faithful to Jesus, no matter how bad things get.
I'm sure this is a powerful encouragement to many people in countries today facing terrible trials.
The first-century setting of Roman Empire persecution is the sternest test for King Jesus and his people. The book begins by telling us what must “shortly come to pass.” If they could win that battle, anyone can win any battle at any time in any place. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is King of time and place and history.
Just to whet your appetite:
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:9-12
Remember Jesus promising the kingdom would come with power within the apostolic generation in Mark 9:1? Just another clue as to the time-frame of the book of Revelation. We may lose our life, yet gain glory. Mark 8:34-38.
Satan’s time is short. Out time will never end … thanks to King Jesus - the Lamb slain who came to life and lives forever! No myth. Pure fact! Get real!
Never be deterred from reading Revelation. When you get used to it, you’ll love it. It’ll grow on you and you on it!