The Psalm 23 Adventure, Part 47
July 7, 2017
We covered Revelation 4:1-13 as we wrapped up last week’s Coffee Break and we need to consider the significance of what John saw and experienced.
What’s the first thing John sees? 24 elders seated about the Throne of God. I’ve shared this before but it’s been awhile so let me revisit this picture.
In Revelation 7, we have our first picture of a group of 144,000 — twelve thousand from every tribe —who are worshiping the Lord, gathered around the Throne of God.
Revelation 7:9-12: After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
When you put together the picture of the four beasts with this first group of 144,000, it is clear that this is a prophetic picture of the redeemed of Israel ministering to the Lord, fulfilling their ultimate destiny as paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross with His death and ultimate resurrection. What may not be clear to many is the fact that the four beasts were representative of, and had the faces of, the four groups of the tribes of Israel who surrounded the Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness.
I won’t take time to expand on that picture other than to say that the placement of each group of three tribes surrounding the Tabernacle was a prophecy of that which was to come. It was a visual for Israel for the generations to come of their ultimate destiny to replace Lucifer and to minister to the Lord, to surround Him, to provide protection to the Throne (remember the Hebrew phraseology used in describing “the anointed cherub that covereth?”).
But that’s only part of the picture that John sees.
Revelation 14:1-5: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
What is different about this group of 144,000 is that this group is not that same 144,000 redeemed from Israel. (We will talk about the significance of the number 144,000 momentarily.) This is that people redeemed from among men, from the nations of the earth. Remember what Paul wrote to the Romans about Israel and the “Gentiles” (the non-Jewish nations of the world)?
Romans 11:25-29: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Are you seeing the picture? You have the two groups of 144,000 — the first from the 12 tribes of Israel — and the second from among the children of men. There are some real significant elements to these two groups.
It’s going to seem like I’m running down a rabbit trail, so bear with me for a minute.
First of all, the number, 144,000, is a Hebrew metaphor. As you know, every Hebrew letter has a numerical value to it. Every Hebrew word has a numerical value. Those values translate into the Greek as well. In fact, the Hebrew and Greek languages are the only two languages with mathematical values attached to each letter and each word.
144,000 is the number 12 taken to completion in both Hebrew and Greek numerology. I don’t want to get off track here, but this is extremely significant. The number 12, is the number of preparation. It is the number of government. There are several other significant values to it, but let’s deal with the number as it relates here.
First of all, you should know that in atomic physics, the maximum number of atoms that can be connected in cohesive relationship is 12. If you add a 13th atom, the 12 come apart.
When Jesus chose His disciples, He chose 12 — not 13 or 14 or any other number. Why? Because 12 is the number of individuals or families that can be joined together in a cohesive relationship. When you add more than that, things begin to come apart, relationship-wise. It is a principle woven into the fabric of everything that God created.
There were 12 sons of Jacob/Israel who formed the 12 tribes. It is a picture of cohesion. Huge groups and gatherings lack that, and they lack the intimacy that goes with it.
12 is the number of Ekklesia. I’ve already shared this in the past, but consider the word, Ekklesia. It was the word created by the seventy scholars who, under the direction and mandate of Ptolemy IV, translated the Old Testament Hebrew into Greek. There was no companion word in the Greek language that properly matched the Hebrew, Ya.ad, or its derivative, Mowadah. Generally translated in the OT as, “the tabernacle of the congregation,” this word literally translates to: ”the calling together of the betrothed by the Bridegroom.”
It represented the calling together for training, for preparation, for hearing the direction of the Spirit of the Lord as a preparation to be His People and His representation in the earth.
Hence, we have the Greek Ekklesia, a contraction of ek, and kaleo, meaning, “called out.” It isn’t exact, but the fundamental concept is there.
When you take a look at Paul’s ministry, for example, you will see that he always traveled with others, but the size of his entourage never exceeded 12. By the same token, when you look at the individual Ekklesias that he refers to where he names the people in them, that number never exceeds 12. It is a spiritual principle.
(You’ll pardon my digression, but you see churches where they dote on numbers.
They’ve missed the point. The really successful ministries — and I will point out two that I am familiar with — like Church on the Way in Van Nuys (established by Jack Hayford) and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church — where these fellowships have been built around small home ministries. Each home ministry is an Ekklesia unto itself, but they gather together with all of the other Ekklesias to form the larger gathering on Sundays. It would be rare for any of these individual home fellowships to have more than 12 families — and as a practical matter, most of them have less.)
OK. So why have I taken you down this path? The obvious question in the mind of many is likely to be, “What in the world does any of this have to do with, ‘Thou anointest my head with oil’”? Bear with me, folks! We’re getting there — even if I have to take you around a 40-acre field to show you the whole picture.
We’ve been led in the Paths of Righteousness — and here’s the key to that leading — for His name’s sake! That is for the sake of His onoma, His character and makeup being formed in us so that we are restored back into His image and likeness.
Remember what John wrote in his first general epistle to the body of Christ?
I John 3:2-3: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The change in us is a product of the Paths of Righteousness and our total obedience and responsiveness to Him. Jesus’ anointing came after 30 years of responding to the preparation processes so that he — as a normal man — would now become THE Son of God! Jesus’ transformation and anointing didn’t just come for His sake, He went through all that He experienced for our sake!
I remind you that we were created for Him in the first place. We were created for Father’s pleasure. We were created to bring a dimension of praise and worship to the Throne that Lucifer was never able to bring.
Let’s not kid ourselves! What Lucifer brought to the Throne as a part of his anointing and commissioning for praise and worship was nothing short of spectacular. But He had no other purpose. He wasn’t part of the family of God, and was never made to be family in the first place. He wasn’t made in the image and likeness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He wasn’t created for God’s pleasure. He was created for one reason, and one reason only. There was never any love between him and the Lord.
Praise and worship take on a wholly different dimension when one adds the components of family and intimate love. The love we bring to the Lord brings Him a delight and pleasure that Lucifer was never able to provide. It brings a spiritual dimension and a sound that was missing to the Throne prior to our creation and our replacing of Lucifer. Was he anointed? Sure he was, but his anointing pales by comparison to that for which we have been created.
Let’s get back to the number 12, and the spiritual panorama that goes with it, and why this is so important for us to see with reference to the anointing.
Take a look at some of what John sees when he is taken in the Spirit into Heaven.
Revelation 4:1-4: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
What’s the first thing that John hears? He hears a trumpet, a musical sound with an announcement that he was going to see things to come. After seeing this dazzling Throne, he then sees 24 elders seated around the Throne — not in front of it, and not behind it, but around the Throne! They surrounded it. Once again, I remind you that Lucifer’s original position and function was to surround the throne.
Now, skip down to verses 10 and 11: We sing verse 11 periodically.
Revelation 4:10-11: The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
So the 24 elders are worshipping the Lord. They surround the Throne, and they are covering it with praise and worship. That’s precisely what Lucifer did before he lost both his anointing and commission – and his position in Heaven.
There’s more to cover here, and we’re not finished, so let’s pause for now and pick this up again next week.
For those of you who’ve been participating in our Monday night Healing Prayer Conference Call, we just want to let you know that beginning with the month of July and continuing until the first Monday night in October, we will be taking a break for the summer. We’ve found during the past three years of doing this call that participation during the summer months drops significantly because of folks taking their vacations, and being involved in other activities. That said, we will resume our prayer calls on Monday night, October 2nd.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available by Skype. If you wish to participate by video on Skype, my Skype ID is regner.capener. If you miss the live voice call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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