Revelation 7

Revelation 7: 144,000

                “ 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. (Revelation 7:1-4)

                In this same chapter we learn that each tribe of Israel (12) will have a select 12,000 from each one, 12,000 x 12= 144,000. Who are these Angels? The Doctrine and Covenants gives us an insight into this; “We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. Andy, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 77:9)

Who are the 144,000?

 

The 144,000 are High Priests who have done well in the eyes of the Lord and will be sealed to administer the gospel of Jesus Christ during the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we are given more insight from the Doctrine and Covenants; “We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are thy who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the firstborn.” (Doctrine and Covenants 77:11)

Judges 15-16

Judges 15-16

Chapter 15: Samson Slays 1,000 Men

Samson decides to go back and visit his wife, who at this point had been given to someone else. But apparently no one told Samson this, because he seems to be out of the loop on this one. He tries to go into her room to see her, but her father won’t let him in; basically saying he thought Samson hated her, so he gave his daughter to someone else to marry.

The father suggests that Samson take his younger daughter to marry and even tells Samson that she is much more attractive than her sister. But Samson does not want to marry this woman and this is when I like to say that the “hulk” brewing inside of Samson begins…

Samson tells him that he is going to do the Philistines a “displeasure” see verse 3.  Samson gathers 300 foxes and attaches torches to their tails. He then lights up the torches and lets the foxes loose to run through the fields… ultimately burning the grain, olives and their vineyards.

The Philistines ponder over who could have torched their fields and when they find out that it was Samson and more specifically it was Samson angry over his wife, they kill Samson’s wife and father in-law by burning them. But this only upsets and angers Samson even more, so he slaughters many Philistines before returning to Israel.

Samson runs off and the Philistines catch up to him in Judah, where the Philistines make the Israelites hand him over, so they do and they bind Samson with ropes and bring him directly to the Philistines. As he approaches he has another “hulk” moment and rips off the ropes and grabs a nearby donkey jawbone and strikes down 1,000 Philistines with it. After doing his killing the “hulk” (Samson) becomes very thirsty and pleads with the Lord for water.  God causes a spring to form and he is able to drink. We also learn at the end of the chapter that Samson ruled over Israel for twenty years.

Chapter 16: Samson Kills 3,000 and Himself

Samson visits a prostitute named Delilah in Gaza. When people hear that Samson is there, they lie around the city in wait for him to come out, thinking that he would come out at dawn so they could kill him. Well Samson gets up in the middle of the night and tears down the posts and gate of the city and carries them off.

Samson falls in love with Delilah and the Philistines decide to use her to gain access to knowledge of Samson. Delilah was told that if she got information on the weak points of Samson that each of the rulers of the land would give her 13 kilograms of silver which was a “lot of money”.

Samson also tells Delilah that if he is tied up with seven fresh bowstrings that once they dry he will become as weak as anyone else. Delilah gets upset that Samson lied to her after he breaks free so easily that it was as if he had only a thin piece of thread binding him.

Delilah demands to know the truth and he tells her another fake story, that seven fresh ropes will bind him, but she calls (presumably while he is sleeping) out saying that the Philistines are coming and again he snaps it, very easily.

A third time, Samson, tells Delilah that if his hair is woven into the fabric on a loom and tightened with a pin that he won’t be able to break it. Same thing, he breaks it! So Delilah tells Samson that he must not love her, if he cannot confide in her… so Samson finally tells the truth about his hair.

No razor has been used on his head, because he was a Nazirite set apart by God from birth. If his head was shaved he would lose all his power., and become as weak as any other man. Delilah then sends the word to the Philistines, they show up, give Delilah her silver and shave the seven braids of Samsons head. Samson wakes up and without his power is captured by the Philistines, who remove his eyes and throw him in prison.

In prison, the hair on Samson’s head began to grow again. The Philistines gather together in the temple of their god Dagon to thank him for the capture of Samson. The gathering is about 3,000 men. To celebrate further they take Samson out of prison so he can be “entertainment” to them. Because he has no eyes, he is led out by a servant. He asks the servant to take him to the pillars of the building so he can rest upon them. Samson then prays to God to give him one more boost of power, so that he can get revenge for the gouging out of his eyes. The Lord listens and Samson pushes against two pillars, which cause the temple to collapse, killing not only himself but all of the Philistines inside. Samson’s family comes to take his body to bury in their father’s tomb. All in all, Samson ruled Israel for twenty years as a judge and in death killed more Philistines than in his life.

Judges 11-12

Judges 11-12

Chapter 11: Jephthah Captain of Israel

                Jephthah (the illegitimate son of Gilead), because he was the son of a prostitute is slowly pushed away from his brothers. Jephthah goes off to live in the land of Tob where he lives amongst idle men. Because of this Jephthah becomes a mighty warrior. When the sons of Gilead are oppressed by the Ammonites they go to Jephthah for help.

                Jephthah responds to his brothers “…Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? … why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?” (Judges 11:7)

                They tell him that essentially it doesn’t matter what happened in the past, if he helps them, then he can become leader over them!

                Jephthah asks several times if this is really true, and finally agrees to help them, once he becomes the leader over them. He first sends a message to the Ammonites and asks them why they have been attacking. They respond, because the Israelites took away their land.

                Jephthah sends a message back, and in short tells them that the Israelites tried to be nice. They first asked permission to go through the land and they were denied, they had to wage war and ultimately it is their God who gave them the land. For three hundred year the Israelites have occupied the land, why, he asks, WHY? Haven’t you tried to take the land back before then?

                The king of the Ammonites ignores Jephthah and the Lord tells Jephthah to go to war against the Ammonites. Jephthah however makes a vow to the Lord, that he will make a sacrifice of whatever comes out of the door of his house to meet him when he returns home. Jephthah and his men fight the Ammonites and the Lord delivers them into their hands. Jephthah returns home to meet his only daughter. This makes Jephthah sad, because he made a vow with God, so he must sacrifice his only child, his daughter.

                His daughter understands that he must do this, but makes a request that she get two months to wonder the roads and hills with her friends. So she does this. Her and her friends weep in the hillsides and finally she returns, still a virgin. Jephthah sacrifices her unto the Lord (Judges 11:39-40). It became a custom for daughters of Israel to lament the daughter of Jephthah four days of the year.

Chapter 12: 42,000 Ephraimites Die

                The men of Ephraim gather together and go to fight with Jephthah, because they were angry that they were not “called/invited” to fight with him. Jephthah argues that he asked for help, but when everyone ignored him he went with his small numbers and the Lord delivered the people of Gilead into his hands.

                The people of Gilead are upset, because the tribe of Ephraim said that they were “fugitives” from their group. So the people of Gilead fight with Ephraim and when they try to cross the river back home, they ask them if they are an Ephraimite, if they respond no, they then ask them to pronounce the word “Shibboleth”. So one said Ephraimite says “Sibboleth” because he couldn’t pronounce the word right, so they killed him and some other 42,000 Ephraimites!

                Jepthah leads Israel for six years before dying. The following three judges of Israel are:

  • Ibzan; who led for 7 years
  • Elon; who led for 10 years
  • Abdon; who led for 8 years

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Chapter 31: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors

At this point in the story, we have learned that Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses as the new leader for the Israelites. Joshua received the priesthood authority. Moses has another task, before he can be gathered completely to his people.

The Lord commands Moses to take vengeance upon the Midianites. Remember Numbers 25? Where the Midianites seduced the Israelites and caused that some of them worshiped their idol gods? Well Moses sends out 12,000 troops to fight the Midianites. This amounts to 1,000 from each tribe. With this group Moses sends Phinehas (the son of Eleazer) who takes some articles from the tabernacle and some trumpets which he uses for signaling.

The Israelites easily defeat the Midianites, killing every single man and taking the women, children and loot for themselves as plunder. They kill the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Balaam and Reba.

The warriors return with the plunder and everyone except Moses is happy. Moses asks them;  “…Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor…” (Numbers 31:15-16).  Essentially telling them that the women were the ones who caused the Israelites to sin, so they should have been killed too.

Moses commands them to kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man, but save those who had not slept with a man. Anyone who participated in the killing or touched the dead bodies, would have to stay outside of the camp for seven days as part of the cleansing process.

After that, they divide up the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the Israelites. The Levites are to receive 1 out of every 500 of everything the soldiers receive and 1 out of every 50 items that the rest of the Israelites receive.

The officers of the army report to Moses that they had 0 casualties, they wiped out an entire nation without any loss! They thank the Lord for this victory, by presenting an additional offering of 190 kilograms of gold. OR in today’s standard of Gold to US dollar equals:  $6,118,000!!! That’s right… over 6 MILLION dollars in Gold.

Chapter 32: Conquering of Canaan

The Israelites are about to enter into the Promised Land, what will become “Israel”, the land on the west side of Jordan. Before they cross Jordan, the Reubenites and the Gadites take a look at the surrounding lands on the East side, or the former lands of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Hesbon, Elealeh, Sebam and Beon. The Reubenites and the Gadites see that the land would be good and ask Moses if they can keep these lands instead, because they were favorable in their eyes.

Moses of course gets a little angry, especially since they haven’t made it to the Promised Land that they Lord had planned for them, and they already want something else. Moses speaks to the children of Gad and Reuben, saying: “…Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And therefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?” (Numbers 32:6)

                The Lord has prepared the Promised Land for them and wanting something else, is really not putting their trust in the Lord and this causes him to be angry. The children of Reuben and Gad come back to Moses and tell him that they will go with Israel into the Promised Land.

The Lord even reminds them of why they had traveled in the desert for forty years: “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed” (Numbers 32:13). Essentially we learn about trials and tribulations…

The Lord gives us Trials that we can be strengthened. By “filtering” out the evil in the children of Israel, the Lord through a 40 year process was able to find the strongest and most faithful of the Israelites to live in the Promised Land. This reminds me of a scripture in (Romans 5: 1-6)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

                We glory in tribulations… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh receive their inheritances east of Jordan. They covenant to join the other tribes in conquering Canaan.