An old saying states: “As the church goes, so goes the world.” This is true of the final generation that lives at the end of time. The Saviour likened the end of the world to the world at the time of the flood, stating:
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-39, NKJV1)
Before the flood, the world was engaged in the pursuit of pleasure: eating, drinking, sex – all oblivious to divine realities. The same is true of the world today. Multitudes are focused on food, sex, movies, toys – anything and everything that they think will bring them “pleasure” all while blind to the fact that the world is soon to end.
The church that comes from such world conditions is, like the world, blind to divine realities. It has failed to be a light in the world and, “religious” reputation notwithstanding, has become one with the world. Yahuwah knew that the church of the final generation would become blind to its true condition. In mercy, He sent an all-important warning that all should heed:
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of [Yah]: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16)
Sadly (and ironically) this warning, called the Laodicean message, is repeatedly rejected by a people who insist it does not apply to them. The divine warning goes on to explain why Yahuwah finds their state so nauseating: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17)
When one mingles hot water with cold water, the result is neither cold nor hot but merely a nauseating lukewarm. The church of the last generation has very hot works. They go to church and even mid-week prayer meetings. They support various ministries with their money. They hold evangelistic seminars and stop-smoking clinics. They are very zealous to do good works . . . but their hearts are cold. The “hot” works they do are not out of love for the Father and the Son but have degenerated into a form of salvation by works.
The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of [Yahushua]. The [Master] can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of [Yah]. Then he can receive the gift that [Yah] is waiting to bestow.2
And what is truly sad, is the very ones with all the hot works, who are, by those works, attempting to work their way to heaven, genuinely do not know that is what they are doing. They are blind and truly do not know that in Heaven’s sight they are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” and in need of everything. Their religion, like the Pharisees of old, is an external religion that does not touch their cold, sin-hardened hearts. The combination of hot works with cold hearts creates a “lukewarm” state which, unless repented of, will be utterly rejected by Yahuwah.
In mercy, the Heavenly Father offers the solution and a cure: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18)
Then comes the loving reassurance: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:19, 20)
Yahushua died to save sinners – even Laodicean sinners of the final generation. Because blindness is one of the distinguishing attributes of the final generation, those who heed the warning must accept by faith that the deplorable condition describes them individually. It has to be accepted by faith because Laodiceans are blind to their true condition. All who accept that the Laodicean message applies to them individually will be saved.
Revelation goes on to describe a very special group of people. Because they come from the last generation, they were Laodiceans. They accepted by faith that the Laodicean message applied to them and have repented. Scripture calls them the 144,000.
Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living [Elohim]. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our [Elohim] on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed. (Revelation 7:2-4)
The 144,000 have heeded the council of the True Witness. In repentance, they have sought the Saviour to do for them that which they cannot do for themselves.
The gold that He [Yahushua] offers is without alloy, more precious than that of Ophir; for it is faith and love. The white raiment He invites the soul to wear is His own robe of righteousness; and the oil for anointing is the oil of His grace, which will give spiritual eyesight to the soul in blindness and darkness, that he may distinguish between the working of the Spirit of [Yah] and the spirit of the enemy. “Open your doors,” says the great Merchantman, the possessor of spiritual riches, “and transact your business with Me. It is I, your Redeemer, who counsels you to buy of Me.”3
The 144,000 are transformed into the image of their Maker when they accept the gold, the white raiment and the eye salve offered them. The white raiment, which is the righteousness of the Saviour, covers them and they are accepted in the Beloved. The eye salve cures their sin-blindness, enabling them to perceive and understand all the divine requirements. The gold of faith and love, leads to full faith in Yahuwah’s word and entire obedience to the divine law, motivated by love.
It is for this reason that the 144,000 receive special honors in heaven.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:1-3)
By full surrender to the Saviour, the 144,000 have been transformed. Whereas before they were proud, boasting of their spiritual discernment, their works, and their own “righteousness,” they now rely wholly on the merits of the Saviour. With Paul, their testimony is: “I am crucified with Yahushua, therefore ‘I’ no longer live. Yahushua the Messiah now lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Yah, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (See Galatians 2:20.)
The description given in Scripture of this final remnant is unlike any other group ever before:
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto [Yah] and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of [Elohim]. (Revelation 14:4, 5, KJV)
In the Bible, “women” are used as symbols of churches. Thus, a “harlot” symbolizes a corrupt church while a “virgin” is the symbol of a pure church. The fact that their mouths lack guile is further evidence that their purity has reached the very heart. The lukewarm Laodicean, having “hot” works but a “cold” heart is a thing of the past.
Yahushua explained that a mouth which speaks guile reveals a hidden heart that is full of guile:
And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23)
A sincere person can still be sincerely wrong, having guile in their mouths, teaching others by word and example, to do what is wrong or to worship on a wrong day. Those who have no guile in their mouths have been thoroughly cleansed. By the gift of eye salve, they have been enabled to perceive all the law requires. By faith in Yahushua, motivated by their love for Him, they restore the law to its rightful place in the minds and hearts of men. By word and by example, they declare that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:12)
Long has the Voice from Heaven pleaded: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16) The 144,000 have done this. With eyesight restored by the divine eye salve, they have studied the Law of Yahuwah and discovered to their shock many areas of the law which the Christian world had declared unnecessary and set aside.
The main area of blindness spanning all of Christendom, embracing every denomination, is when to worship. Once the 144,000 clearly discern the divine law, they become teachers. They love much because they have been forgiven much, and they bend all their energies to bringing light to those who still sit in darkness. They raise the standard of truth higher and still higher.
This work by the 144,000 is clearly foretold in Scripture:
from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of [Yahuwah] honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in [Yahuwah];
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
This sacred work was foretold by Yahushua Himself shortly before His death at the time of His transfiguration. (See Matthew 17:1-13.) The disciples were confused. They believed Yahushua to be the Messiah, but they had just seen Elijah talking to Him! They asked Him: “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” (Matthew 17:10)
Yahushua’s reply is a two-fold response. He first looks ahead to the 144,000, speaking in the future tense, assuring the disciples: “Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things.” (Verse 11) The 144,000 do the work of Elijah. By holding out the divine law and calling upon all to repent and return to the worship of the Elohim of Heaven on His holy days, they are a type of Elijah.
Then, switching to past tense, Yahushua continued: “ ‘But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished.’ . . . Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.” (Matthew 17:12-13)
Like the 144,000, John the Baptist was a type of Elijah, doing the work of Elijah by calling people to repentance and obedience to the divine Law.
Used by permission of Darrel Tank, darreltank.com.
The prophecy to which the disciples were referring when asking about Elijah coming before the Messiah appeared, is found in Malachi 4. It is the very last prophecy in the Old Testament, found in the very last verses of the last chapter, of the last book:
Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of [Yahuwah]. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:4-6)
The placement of this prophecy, the very last words recorded in the Old Testament, would seem to indicate that this admonishment is of utmost importance. The instruction to “Remember the Law of Moses” implies that something has been forgotten. The prophecy of Isaiah 58, quoted earlier, links the restoration work of the 144,000 to the Sabbath. But it is much more than the weekly seventh-day Sabbath.
The “Law of Moses” includes statute law as well and the worship of the Creator on all of His holy days.
“I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them. Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am [Yahuwah] who sanctifies them.
“Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me . . . they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths.
“But I said to their children . . ., ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I am [Yahuwah your Elohim]: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am [Yahuwah your Elohim].’ ” (Ezekiel 20:11-13, 18-20, NKJV)
The sign between Yahuwah and His people is not just the seventh-day Sabbath. Included in the sign is the keeping of all the feasts, which are a part of statute law. These feasts are listed in Leviticus 23 and the very first feast listed is the seventh-day Sabbath.
The word translated “Sabbath” in English actually comes from one of two Hebrew words: shabbâth (#7676) and shabbâthôwn (#7677).
Shabbâth (#7676) Shabbath, as a noun, means “the sabbath.” . . . The “sabbath” was the covenant sign of [Elohim’s] lordship over the creation. By observing the “sabbath,” Israel confessed that they were [Elohim’s] redeemed people, subject to His lordship to obey the whole of His law.
shabbâthôwn (#7677) a sabbatism or special holiday: - rest, sabbath.4
Both words are used interchangeably in Leviticus 23.
The Christian world declared the Law of Yahuwah void when it set aside the fourth commandment which commands worship on the seventh day of the week. Even seventh-day Sabbatarians have broken the divine law by insisting that the annual festivals, the yearly “sabbaths,” were somehow “done away with” at the cross.
The 144,000 are not law-breakers. They are law-keepers. Having heeded the council of the True Witness and having bought of Him the gold of faith and love, the white raiment of His righteousness, and the divine eye salve, they see the perpetuity of all of the divine law. They “Remember the Law of Moses, [Yahuwah’s] servant, with the statutes and judgments.” They worship the Creator on the seventh-day Sabbath and set aside as holy time the yearly feasts.
The seventh-day Sabbath and the annual festivals are all “feasts of Yahuwah.” They belong to Him. The 144,000 show the depth of cleansing that has taken place in their heart by perfectly keeping the divine law. They are virgins, having no guile in their mouths. They exalt the divine law and, as did John the Baptist and Elijah before them, seek to draw others to repentance and obedience to the holy, divine law.
Yahushua, the “Second Adam,” perfectly kept the divine law through faith in His Father. The 144,000, as a metaphorical “Bride of Christ” are, in a sense, a “Second Eve.” Through total surrender to the will of Yahuwah, and faith in their Saviour, they also perfectly keep the divine law. This is not done in their own strength, but by and through the faith of Yahushua.
Human “faith” is not sufficient. All who overcome, do so by the faith of Yahushua, for only His faith has been tried and purified in the fires of affliction. Yahushua’s faith is the gold tried in the fire.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our [Elohim], and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our [Elohim] day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:10, 11)
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of [Elohim] and the faith of [Yahushua].” (Revelation 14:12) The 144,000 become perfect Law-keepers when they allow Yahushua to live in them and through them.
The 144,000, as restorers of the breach made in the divine law, perfectly keep the law by the faith of Yahushua. They remember the Law of Moses and worship the Creator on His weekly Sabbaths as well as His yearly feasts. By heeding the council of the True Witness to the Laodiceans, their hearts have been transformed into the divine image and they are fit partners for Yahushua, inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Now, while the invitation of mercy is still open, choose to surrender entirely to the will of Yahuwah. Choose today to be among the 144,000. Join with brothers and sisters around the world in exalting the law of Yah and honoring the Creator by worshiping Him on all of His holy days.
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1 All Scripture references taken from the New King James version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.
2 Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 300.
3 E. G. White, “Look to God for Wisdom,” Review & Herald, August 7, 1894.
4The New Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 834.