Friday, December 18, 2015


On December 25th, 1766, a son was born to shoemaker Samuel Evans and his wife, Joanna, in Llandysul, Ceredigion. The couple named the child Christmas. That boy would grow to be a tall, husky, bushy-haired preacher who would lead the spiritual revivals in late 18th- and early 19th-century Wales. But he had a hard road to the ministry he would pursue from Anglesey to Cardiff for over half a century.
            Evans’ father died when the boy was only eight or nine years old, leaving the family in poverty. Living with a drunken uncle, Evans received no schooling and by age fifteen, he still could not read or write. His illiteracy grieved him, and with dogged determination he set out to teach himself, plodding through Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress with the help of friends. They also studied the Welsh Bible together: “We bought Bibles and candles, and were accustomed to meet together in the evening in the barn of Penyrallt, and thus in about one month I was able to read the Bible in my mother tongue.”
            At 18 he was converted under the influence of Presbyterian pastor David Davies, and soon began preaching in cottage meetings, having memorized published sermons. Without financial means to further his education, Christmas Evans went to England to earn money in the harvest fields. But in England he began to despair of his prospects in the ministry and nearly lost interest in spiritual matters altogether. The turning point in his life came when he was attacked by a mob, apparently provoked by Evans’ objection to their ungodly activities, and was beaten unconscious. When he regained consciousness, he found that he was blind in his right eye. This crisis awakened his faith and his determination to serve God. At age 20 he was baptized in Aberdare by Baptist pastor Timothy Thomas and joined that congregation.
            At the Baptist Association meeting in 1790, Evans accepted a call to minister in Caernarvonshire. He was ordained at Lleyn to serve five small Baptist chapels in that area. It was there that he met and married Catherine Jones, a member of one of the chapels. Though his preaching was well received, the ministry there took a toll on his health. So after some months in Caernarvonshire, Evans took a vacation to Pembrokeshire. Since he could not afford a horse, he traveled on foot, preaching in every town along the way. Crowds followed him from town to town, spreading revival throughout western Wales.
            Refreshed by his coastal tour, Evans threw himself back into the ministry in Lleyn, walking twenty miles every Sabbath to preach in various chapels and open-air meetings. Yet in spite of the many converts from his ministry, Evans was not pleased with the level of spirituality on the peninsula, and in 1792 he accepted a call to the island of Anglesey, where, for a salary of 17 pounds a year, he was to be responsible for ten chapels. On Christmas Day – his 26th birthday – he and Catherine crossed the Menai Strait to take up residence in a dilapidated cottage with a ceiling so low the six-foot-tall preacher could not stand up in it! His ministry there prospered, however, and within two years he saw 600 converts, and the ten chapels had doubled to twenty.
            In 1823, Evans’ beloved spiritual companion Catherine died, and the same year he developed an eye problem which necessitated treatment in Aberystwyth. By 1826, the number of chapels in Anglesey had increased exponentially and Baptist preachers numbered twenty-eight. Evans then moved to Caerphilly where 140 more converts were added to the Baptist congregations. From there he ministered in Cardiff, then back to Caernarvon, “where he contended with great difficulties from church debts and dissension.” (Armitage, The History of the Baptists, 612)  On a trip to Swansea to raise funds for the Caernarvon chapels, he suddenly fell ill and died on July 19, 1838. His last message was, “I am leaving you. I have labored in the sanctuary fifty-three years, and this is my comfort, that I have never labored without blood in the basin,” a reference to Exodus 12:22. In his last breath he voiced the words to an old Welsh hymn and passed into eternity.
            Christmas Evans is reputed by some to be the most dynamic preacher of “the golden age of itinerant preachers” in Wales. Historian John Davies takes note of Evans, along with Calvinistic Methodist John Elias and Independent William Williams (William o’r Wern) as the prominent preachers in the revivals that swept Wales in the early 1800s. (The History of Wales, 359) It is estimated that between 1801 and 1851, a new chapel was built on average every eight days. Many of those chapels were the result of the tireless ministry of Christmas Evans.

        First published in Ninnau: The North American Newspaper, November-December 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(Isaiah 53:1 NKJV)

This time of the year there is a lot of talk about the birth of Jesus (though not nearly as much as in past decades!). The Baby Jesus, the helpless infant lying in a manger is a heart-warming image. The Babe in the manger is also less threatening, disturbing, than the adult Jesus of Nazareth who claimed to be the Son of God and Savior of mankind!

Isaiah prophesied not only of the coming of the Messiah, but also of the attitude of skepticism and outright disbelief of those to whom He came. “Who as believed our report?” Isaiah asks. The Apostle John witnessed the rejection of Jesus Christ by the Jewish nation under the instigation of their religious leaders, as well as the ignorant indifference of the world in general:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. (John 1:10-11)

The following illustration comes from Matthias Ruether, principal of Brake Bible and Missions School in Lemgo, Germany.

Imagine being not prepared when the king arrives. That's rather tragic. But this is just what happened in a small restaurant in Ladenburg near Heidelberg, Germany, on August 22, 2011. Around noon, a friendly-looking married couple in their mid-sixties was seen standing in front of the "Gueldener Stern" ("Golden Star"), the oldest inn in town, studying the menu. The proprietress walked up to them and told them, somewhat gruffly, that they were at capacity. She went on to explain that a wedding reception was taking place that day, and not one table was to be had. Maybe they'd have better luck in the pizza restaurant next door. So the famished couple walked over to the Italian restaurant, much to the joy of the pizza baker, who realized at once who stood in front of him - namely, the Swedish royal couple, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia! ….

When the proprietress (of the inn) was asked about her faux pas, she was more than just a little uncomfortable about it. "I just don't have time to read magazines all day," she offered in explanation as to why she did not recognize the royal visitors. . .

Christmas reminds us that the King of the world came. Unrecognized by most, he became man in a small town in Israel. "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him" (John 1:11). Had the proprietress but recognized the Swedish royal couple, she would have been saved from major embarrassment. But there is a lot more at stake at Christmas. He who recognizes the Son of God will have eternal life. "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God," (John 1:12).  (Translated from German by Ilka Jones)

"I just don't have time to read magazines all day," said the proprietress.  But do folks today have even a few minutes of the day to read the Bible? Even those who profess to be Christians are too busy to read and study God’s Word. Surveys have indicated that only 10% of those who say they are evangelical Christians have read the Bible in its entirety. In Jesus’ day, even those who did read the Scriptures failed to recognize the Messiah when He was in their midst:  “You search the Scriptures,” Jesus challenged the religious leaders, “for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39)

Who has believed our report? asks Isaiah. Indeed. I challenge every reader today to read all of Isaiah 53, and ask yourself honestly: “Who does this chapter describe?” And pray that God’s Holy Spirit would reveal Christ to you. For Isaiah goes on to ask: And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”

Unless and until God opens a person’s heart and mind to the truth, that person will remain in darkness and ignorance. The problem is not intellectual – it is spiritual. Pride keeps people from yielding to Christ. Jesus prayed,

 "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. (Matthew 11:25-26)

Have you believed the report, the message of Christ prophesied centuries before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem? Have you embraced Him as your Lord and Savior?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


No book of the Bible has attracted more unfruitful speculation than the Book of Revelation. Yet God promised a blessing for the reading, hearing, and heeding of that book:

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.  (Revelation 1:3 NASB)

In order to gain that blessing and avoid the rabbit trails of speculation, we need to understand the main message God wants us to get, which is the contrast and conflict between the fallen world system and the kingdom of God.  Note how this theme is developed in the following points:

1.   The present world system is hostile to God and His people. Its values and practices are contrary to all God’s commandments.
2.     The world system gets its directions from Satan (the serpent, the dragon).
3.   The world system has its own form of religion that mimics God’s revealed faith and practice. An antichrist (the beast), a false prophet (an unholy spirit), and a false “father” (Satan).  Note: the second beast superficially looks like a male lamb, but speaks like a dragon (Satan) (13:11)
4.    This system is supported by deceptive “great signs” (13:13; 16:14; 19:20) Those who are seeking “signs and wonders” to support their faith will be especially susceptible to this deception.
5.     This false religion persecutes true believers.
7.   The evil world system uses religion to control the people, but once that control is accomplished, it rejects and destroys all religion but its own. (17:16-18)
8.     God’s people are commanded to “come out” of this evil system. (18:4)
9.     God’s people will be persecuted, even to the point of physical death, but they are assured of eternal life and a reign with Christ. (5:10; 20:6; 22:5)
10.  A new heaven and a new earth in which there will be no sin, no tears, and no death await the faithful in Christ. (21-22)

The real danger in reading and studying the Book of Revelation is that we can get so caught up in trying to fit every detail into our preconceived prophetic scheme and world events that we miss the real message!  God promises a blessing to those who get that message and live by it!

Have you bowed in simple trust to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The time is short. God’s final message – the Apocalypse, The Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ – holds great hope for those who belong to Him.  But it proclaims eternal judgment to those who reject God’s Son.

Friday, October 16, 2015


For all its mysteries, the Book of Revelation makes one thing very clear: those who have claimed this fallen, sin-cursed world as their permanent home are the enemies of God and His people. Revelation calls them “those who dwell upon the earth,” or “earth-dwellers.” The word used in the original Greek text is the participle form of katoikeo, which means to settle down, to live permanently in

It’s not hard to see this philosophy in everything from beer commercials to the latest alleged medical breakthrough that holds out the hope that people will one day live forever – on this same earth, with its wars, crime, hatred, greed, and lust! This world is all the earth-dwellers have and they hold on to it will all their strength and determination. They also resent any disruption of their enjoyment of this world, things like disease, accidents, and natural disasters.  When homes are destroyed by hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes, we hear people say, “It’s just not right!”  They want to blame someone.  Ultimately, the one they blame is God.  “How could a good God allow such terrible things to happen?” The Bible’s explanation that the sin of mankind brought all this misery, that Paradise was lost when man rebelled against God, is dismissed without a thought.

The Book of Revelation strips away the mask of self-righteousness from the earth-dwellers and shows them for the enemies of God they are.  Let’s look at some passages.

The first mention of the earth-dwellers is in Jesus’ message to the small but faithful church of Philadelphia in Asia Minor, what is today Turkey.

Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 3:10 NASB, phrase highlighted in bold throughout.)

Jesus assures His faithful followers that they will be protected from the wrath that will be poured out on the earth-dwellers.  In Revelation 6:10, the martyrs in heaven appeal to the Lord for judgment of those who slew them for their faith.

“and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"  (Rev. 6:10)

The attitude of the earth-dwellers toward God’s people is vividly portrayed in their hatred and persecution of God’s two witnesses (possibly representative of the Church in the last days)[i].

“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 11:3-10)

It’s Christmastime for the ungodly earth-dwellers when they believe they have silenced God’s witnesses forever! But that’s not the end of the story!

Judgment of the Earth-Dwellers
The judgment for which the martyrs prayed is announced in Revelation 8:13 --

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"

Those trumpet blasts announced the judgments of God recorded in chapters 9-11, which include the release of demonic hordes and painful torments on those very earth-dwellers who reject God. That judgment is further depicted in Chapter 11, after the rapture of God’s witnesses:

But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." Then they went up into heaven in the cloud,[ii] and their enemies watched them.[iii] And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. "And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:11-18)

Rather than worshiping God, the earth-dwellers worship the Beast, Satan incarnate (Rev. 13:1-9), whom Paul calls “the man of sin” (or “lawlessness,’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The earth-dwellers are already being prepared for such a “leader,” as we see the rule of law being flouted shamelessly by national and world leaders. The arbitrary rule of a world dictator who will offer peace and prosperity to all who will give him absolute allegiance (e.g. “worship”) is more feasible than ever.

A Challenge to Citizenship
Everyone is a citizen of either this present world or the world to come. Paul contrasts the two when he encourages the Philippians to persevere in faith and holiness:

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:18-21, bold print added.)

Sadly, some who once declared their allegiance to Christ and even ministered in his name eventually show that their true citizenship is in this present world. Such was Paul’s former co-worker Demas:

for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica . . .
 (2 Timothy 4:10)[iv]

Where is your citizenship today? If you have lived for “this present world” up to this point, your future is not bright. But it doesn’t have to stay that way! The invitation of God’s Spirit is still extended:

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (Revelation 22:17)

The New Heaven and New Earth
In one of the most blessed passages of Scripture, the Apostle John describes his vision of what awaits those who have trusted Christ and are citizens of Heaven:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (Revelation 21:1-7)

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

Where is your citizenship? This old cursed world is coming to an end, and a glorious new Earth is coming soon.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)

And Jesus said:

"And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 22:7)

[i] See Beale, G. K., The Book of Revelation, for a thorough and compelling presentation of this view.
[ii] Compare 1 Thesssalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
[iii] As William Hendriksen pointed out in More Than Conquerors, this is “hardly a secret rapture!”
[iv] Contrast Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


 Years ago, among the old dilapidated volumes in the “Foreign Language Books” section on the fourth floor of John K. King Used and Rare Books in Detroit, I found a large, leather-bound family Bible in Welsh. I carefully opened to the flyleaf (which was loose) and looked at the penciled price: $12.50. That’s all I needed to know; I would have paid much more for it.
            At home I carefully leafed through the old Bible, which was written in an older Welsh than is currently used, and I discovered a clipping from what appeared to be The Saturday Evening Post. It was a portrait of a pleasant-looking, gray-haired gentleman with a whisk-broom mustache on a very Welsh-looking face. He looked familiar, but I could not identify him, nor was there a caption to help me. Years later, a documentary on Great Britain in World War I revealed that the photo was that of Great Britain’s prime minister from 1916 to 1922, David Lloyd-George. I wondered who the Welsh family was who had owned the Bible and had placed the clipping inside. The Bible also contained a homemade bookmark with the lyrics to “God Bless the Prince of Wales.” Since the title page was missing, the date of publication was lost. If the owner of this Bible was living in Detroit when Lloyd-George was prime minister of England, he or she would likely have been a member of the Welsh Baptist Church on Detroit’s richly ethnic East Side, which today is the city of Eastpoint. At the turn of the 19th century there were Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Hungarians, Eastern European Jews, and Germans, in addition to the Welsh and Irish in Detroit, all with their own places of worship in their own languages.
            I learned about the Welsh church in Detroit many years ago from an elderly Russian woman, Stella Karenko, who had grown up on the East Side. “On my way to my church,” Stella told me back about 1990, “I passed by the Welsh church, and I remember hearing their wonderful singing! I wonder what happened to all those Welsh hymn books?”
            By the mid-twentieth century, nearly all the foreign-language churches in the Detroit area had become English-speaking, and they gradually lost their distinctive ethnic character, or simply ceased to exist. Immigration from Great Britain declined throughout the early 1900’s, and the Welsh population assimilated into American culture.
            Who knows how long that big old Welsh Bible had rested on the shelf of John K. King Books before I came along? It will remain a treasure on my bookshelf as a reminder of the Welsh Baptist Church in old ethnic Detroit.

Copyright Thomas L. Jones. First published by the Welsh-American Genealogical Society newsletter, Fall, 2015.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV)

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  (2 Peter 3:5-7 ESV)

The Wizard of Oz was, for all his likeability, a phony.  He projected an imposing image and a god-like voice that intimidated the subjects of his illusionary kingdom.  Until, that is, Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, pulled back the curtain and revealed the truth about the “all powerful” wizard!  That’s what the Word of God does to the “wizards” of this age, the social and political manipulators who speak with imposing words in authoritative tones, telling us that all we are and all we see around us is but the product of mindless evolution.  It is scientific fact, they intone authoritatively.  Yet it’s an illusion created by godless people who wish to control others and who have no qualms about lying.

Whether they are pontificating about “Global Warming” (or its new morph, “Climate Change”) or the underlying theory of evolution, godless social manipulators have never been averse to lying or withholding pertinent facts.  A famous example was the “discovery” of allegedly human fossil remains in 1912 which were labeled Piltdown Man, and quickly were touted in the press as the “missing link” in human evolution.  Piltdown Man was studied for decades and strongly influenced evolutionary research – until 1953 when it was uncovered as a hoax!  The fragments of skull, which had been doctored in appearance, were dated at only 1,000 years – a modern man – and the jawbone and teeth were from an orangutan, doctored to look like an intermediate stage between ape and human.  How many weak Christians, and gullible ministers, altered their beliefs or abandoned their faith during the forty years this hoax went unchecked?

Another deception perpetrated by secular scientists, whose agenda is to bolster the “orthodoxy” of evolution and oppose belief in a personal Creator, is the reporting in the popular press only those findings that seem to support evolutionary theory, while keeping to themselves the data that strongly contradicts that theory.  Scientists of various disciplines have, of course, their technical journals in which they share their discoveries, hypotheses, and theories.  Since they know these journals are read almost exclusively by other scientists of like convictions, they freely share their findings in an objective way. Not infrequently those findings do not fit evolutionary orthodoxy, and sometimes run strongly contrary to it.  Evidence contradictory to evolution, however, does not get into the popular media.  So the average person is left with the impression that evolution is established scientific fact.

The general public and most Christians are unaware that there are bona fide, credentialed scientists who regularly pore over those scientific journals and reveal the growing body of evidence that contradicts evolution and its hundreds of millions of years.  Scientists at the Institute for Creation Research, the Creation Research Society, and Answer in Genesis, regularly report clear scientific evidence for the veracity of the Bible account.  Since the popular media and evolutionary scientists cannot account for the data that contradicts their orthodoxy, they are reduced to the logical fallacy known in debate as ad hominem, that is, attacking the person making the argument instead of addressing the argument itself.  So we see creation scientists denigrated as ignorant religious fanatics not worthy of attention. 

The big question arises: Just why are evolutionary scientists and the public who willingly follow them so determined to protect and promote their theory as absolute truth?  The biblical answer is found in the verses cited above.  They “deliberately overlook” the truth (2 Peter 3:5) because they find “pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12).  Responsibility to a personal God would cramp their style!  The delusion that this life is all there is “frees” them to pursue their unbridled desires.  The foundational issue then is spiritual.

I invite Christians, and I challenge all, to peruse the websites of the organizations I have mentioned and consider the evidence they present, evidence often drawn from the research of evolutionary scientists themselves!

It is sad to watch Christians waver under the imposing voice and image of Oz!  And when the truth comes to light, the popular media can only shout: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” 

Christian, don’t be intimidated by the pseudo-science that ridicules your faith in God’s Word.  Do yourself a big favor: spend a little time perusing articles at the following websites.

Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Jones

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.  (12)  He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.  (13)  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.  (14)  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who[1] had the wound of the sword and has come to life.  (15)  And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.  (16)  And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  (17)  and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.  (18)  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.  (Rev 13:11-18 NASB)

The world’s fascination with the number 666 seems to have no bounds.  In popular films and novels it is always connected with the devil or the occult.  In the comedy film The Burbs, neighbors of the strange, suspicious family the Klopecs decide to visit them and get acquainted.  But when they knock on the door, a loose house number flips over and changes the address from 696 to – you guessed it – 666, thus proving decisively that the Klopecs are evil!

Christians through the centuries have identified the beast from the sea in Revelation 13 as the Antichrist, the “man of sin” mentioned by Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV, NKJV).  Speculations have run wild, especially in the last couple of centuries, as to who exactly this Antichrist might be, and the number 666 has often been considered the key to his identity.  By assigning numerical values to letters, interpreters have identified a wide variety of candidates from Nero Caesar[2] to Ronald Wilson Reagan (whose first, middle, and last names all have six letters!).[3]  Kim Riddlebarger’s comment shows the futility of modern speculation about the number 666:

The attempt to calculate the number of the beast using gematria (computing numerical value of letters) can also be problematic because this kind of methodology can be manipulated to refer to almost anyone, in what has come to be known in certain circles as the “pin the tail on the Antichrist” game.[4]

            John tells us in verse 18 that discerning the meaning of the number of the beast requires “wisdom” and “understanding,” not mathematical or kabbalistic acumen!  The word translated “calculate” in v. 18 is used only one other place in the New Testament – Luke 14:28 – where Jesus gives an illustration about counting the cost of a decision.  The idea is clearly one of using wisdom in evaluating a given situation.  In Revelation, as we have noted previously, numbers generally have symbolic significance, and so it is with the number 6 and its repetition in 666.

Throughout Scripture, and certainly in Revelation, the number 7 represents the fullness or completion of divine acts.  God’s work of creation was complete on the seventh day, and so He rested, signaling the fullness and completion of creation.  God’s judgments in the Book of Revelation are in groups of seven, symbolizing their fullness and completion.  The number six, on the other hand, represents humanity.  The man, created on the sixth day, was to bear the image of God’s character, the reflected glory of God. But he sinned, and in his fallen, distorted humanity, he continually comes short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Satan would have mankind assert its independence from God.  Satan, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the earth (the false prophet) represent an unholy trinity dedicated to usurping authority from God, yet continually falling short.  The number of the beast, appropriately, is 666 – the three-fold assertion of fallen humanity.  The number three stands for perfection, as in the Triune God who is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Isaiah 6:3). The number of the beast declares mankind in their alienation from God to be “perfect” in unholiness, spiritual lepers who ought to be crying out: “Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!”

A key point in this interpretation is the fact that New Testament Greek did not have the indefinite article “a,” as in “a man.”  The indefinite article is supplied in English translations where it is clearly needed, as in the phrase, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John” (John 1:6).  In Revelation 13:18, however, it is not clear that the indefinite article “a” is needed.  If we translate the Greek text literally, we read, “for it is number of man.”  Beale renders it, “a number of humanity.”[5]  The same grammatical construction is found in Revelation 21:17, where John describes the dimensions of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem, saying the measurements were “human measurements” (NASB), or literally, “measurement of man.”

What does the number 666 represent, then?  Beale explains it well:

It is a number common to fallen humanity … This generic notion is consistent with 13:1, which affirms that the beast has its earthly origin in the sea of fallen humanity (See also 17:15).  The beast is the supreme representative of fallen humanity, separated from God and unable to achieve divine likeness, but always trying.[6]

 Can there be any doubt that the dominant “religion” in most of the world today is what we call “secular humanism,” the assertion that mankind is the supreme sovereign over both his own life and the destiny of this world?  Those who buy into that “religion,” and refuse to repent, do in fact bear the mark of the beast and the number of this name.  How much better to bear the seal of God, the name of God and the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ!

Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Jones

[1] Based  on the masculine pronoun in the Greek for “who,” the NASB seems justified in using the masculine personal pronoun for both the first beast and the second beast.  The ESV refers to the beast with the pronoun “it,” implying that the beast may be an impersonal entity rather than an actual human dictator.
[2] Riddlebarger, Kim.  The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About The Antichrist.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2006, p. 111.  As Riddlebarger notes: “None of the church fathers, apparently, were aware of any connection between 666 and Nero.”
[3] Ibid., p. 111.  Note: Riddlebarger rejects this connection as ridiculous, as do I!
[4] Ibid., p. 111.
[5] Beale, G. K.  The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999, p. 724.
[6] Ibid.  p. 724.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Next to the number 666, the number 144,000 is the most discussed and debated number in the Book of Revelation.  Interpretations range from that of The Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim that the 144,000 sealed servants of God refer to members of their organization, to Classic Dispensationalists who see those thousands as Jews in the last days who are chosen witnesses during the Great Tribulation[i], to the growing number of commentators who see the number as symbolic of the whole company of believers in Christ.  Those in the last category can be divided into two camps: Those who see the 144,000 as believers from all epochs of redemptive history,[ii] Old and New Covenants up to the present and on to the culmination of this age; and those who believe it applies to martyrs during the end-time tribulation and judgments of God. [iii]

Both of these latter views see the number as symbolic, not literal.  There are good reasons for viewing this number as symbolic.  First, while the first mention of 144,000 sealed believers lists twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8), the verses following describe “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Rev. 7:9-10 ESV)  Then in Chapter 14 the 144,000 appear again:

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (Rev 14:1-3)

It would certainly seem that those who bear the name of Jesus (“the Lamb”) and God the Father, and who sing the new song are all the redeemed of God, regardless of ethnic background.  Verse 3 also states that they “have been redeemed from the earth.”  Mounce, a pre-millennialist, states: “The number is obviously symbolic.  Twelve (the number of the tribes) is both squared and multiplied by a thousand – a two-fold way of emphasizing completeness.”[iv]  While Mounce limits this “completeness” to “that generation of faithful believers about to enter the final turbulent period that will mark the end of human history,” Beale, an amillennarian idealist, sees the 12 x 12 x 1000 as the whole number of believers from Old Testament times through to the very end.  He relates the number to “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2 ESV).[v]  John consistently uses the title “bride” to refer to the Church, those for whom He shed his blood on the Cross (John 3:29;[vi] Rev. 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).  

I agree with Beale.  The Holy City described in Revelation 22 clinches it for me.  The angel clearly identifies the “city” as “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:9).  Then he goes on to describe this Bride in richly symbolic terms:

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel's measurement. (Rev 21:9-17 ESV)

Look at the twelves in that passage!  Twelve gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel – a reference to Old Testament believers.  The twelve foundations of the wall of the city bear the names of the twelve apostles – a reference to New Testament believers.  And the wall is 144 cubits – 12 x 12.  Multiply 144 by 1,000 (indicating an innumerable company) and you get 144,000, the totality of the redeemed people of God.  And that “city?”  Are those measurements literal?

The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. (Rev. 21:16 ESV)

The measurement “stadium” is equal to a furlong, or about 1/8 of a mile.[vii] The city described would be a cube of 1,500 miles!  Symbolic, don’t you think?

I find great blessing in the grand and glorious plan of God and its culmination in the glorification of all God’s redeemed children, united in the presence of God Himself!  “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)

Next: "666 -- What Does It Mean?"

[i] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Chicago: Moody Press, 1971.
[ii] Hendriksen, William. (1967) More Than Conquerors.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1967; Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U. K.: William B. Eermans Publishing Company, 1999.
[iii] Mounce, Robert H.  The Book of Revelation.  Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, U. K.: William B. Eardmans Publishing Company, 1977.
[iv] Ibid. p. 158.
[v] Beale, pp. 1076-77
[vi] This statement of John the Baptist might seem to imply that only the New Testament Church is the Bride, and that John does not include himself in that number.  The “Bride” is a corporate designation, not individual. Each believer is not personally “married” to Christ; each believer is a part of that corporate body that makes up the Bride.  John was simply saying that Jesus, not John himself, was the Bridegroom.  This does not exclude Old Testament believers from the body that makes up the “Bride of the Lamb.” 
[vii] American Heritage Dictionary

Monday, February 16, 2015


I promised in my last blog article that I would deal with the subject of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 and 14.  That I will do very soon, but I felt that I needed to explain first the pilgrimage I began years ago that has led me into a new understanding, not only of the Book of Revelation, but of God’s grand plan of redemption.

Having been nurtured spiritually on the New Scofield Reference Bible and educated in the Classic Dispensational system of interpretation, I found it hard to consider anything but a literal view of the numbers and names in the Book of Revelation, even though dispensational commentators themselves admitted that the book contains much symbolic language.  The dispensational mission board with whom I served for twenty years required missionaries to sign their statement of faith every year, and that dampened any impulse to question the validity of pre-millennial dispensationalism.  Still dispensational interpretations of certain Scriptures always bothered me.

When I became chaplain of the Hiawatha Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan, it happily occurred to me that my employer, the State of Michigan, was no longer requiring me to adhere to a particular doctrinal position.  I could explore every issue, every doctrine, in light of Scripture, allowing commentators from differing viewpoints to have their input.  As a result, the Scriptures took on new life!  My wife and I had new enthusiasm in our Bible study.  We also saw prophecy and apocalyptic Scriptures in a new light.

I saw more clearly than ever that each Bible student views the Scriptures through a set of prisms that organize the data into a system.  That is not necessarily bad, but we need to be careful that our system doesn’t take on the authority of Scripture itself, that we realize that our understanding is never infallible.  I recently bought an instrument that most people consider a toy: a kaleidoscope.  I hadn’t looked through one since I was a kid.  The kaleidoscope holds a lesson for everyone who wants to interpret and understand the Bible.  The same little pieces of plastic lie in the bottom of the lens, yet as you look through the scope and turn the outer chamber, ever so slightly, the whole pattern changes!  What might be predominantly red and purple flowers in separate groups suddenly transform into one large pattern of green and yellow mixed with flecks of red and orange!  Now don’t take this illustration too far: I’m NOT SAYING that the Bible can mean different things.  I’m just illustrating how the same bits of information – Scriptural statements and passages – can form different patterns depending on our presuppositions, and if we never bother to turn the “prism,” we would never see anything but the one pattern.  I decided to turn the prism on prophetic and apocalyptic Scripture, and it has been very rewarding.

One of the first books I explored was a very helpful book titled, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic, by D. Brent Sandy.[1]  Another helpful book was Four Views on the Book of Revelation, C. Marvin Pate, Gen. Ed.[2]  That was followed by Understanding Dispensationalists, by Vern S. Poythress.[3]  Then I took the bold step of buying and reading Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism.[4] Most recently I have been working my way through G. K. Beale's commentary on the Book of Revelation, along with my own studies in the Greek text of Revelation.

What I have discovered has been a blessing beyond my expectations!  The Book of Revelation itself promises: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy . . .” (Rev 1:3a).  Yet, according to the Classic Dispensational viewpoint, the Church is gone after Rev. 4:1, raptured, and God returns to dealing with ethnic Israel. What’s more, the numbers in Revelation were to be taken largely as literal.  When I began to question that presupposition, Scripture in general began to make more sense to me, not only, but especially, the Book of Revelation.

I found that there is great blessing in the imagery and symbolism of Revelation, and it’s not difficult to understand. There is sound exegetical and hermeneutical[5] grounds for the symbolic interpretations. The Book of Revelation was intended by God to be an encouragement and a preparation for His people as we face the trials and challenges of serving Christ in this increasingly godless world.  We know that The Lamb of God will overcome!  His Kingdom will come!  “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20b)

Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Jones

[1] Sandy, D. Brent.  Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic.  Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002.
[2] Pate, C. Marvin, Gen. Ed.  Four Views on The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998.
[3] Poythress, Vern S.  Understanding Dispensationalists, 2nd Ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1994.
[4] Riddlebarger, Kim.  A Case for Amillenialism: Understanding The End Times. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2003.
[5] Exegesis is the process of observing what a text is actually saying, literally “reading out” a text, as opposed to reading something into a text!  Hermeneutics is the science of interpreting a text.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side; and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it." To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple.  (Ezekiel 9:3-6)

Then 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 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 God on their foreheads." (Revelation 7:2-3 compare 14:1)

He [the beast from out of the earth] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:9-10)

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.  (Revelation 15:2)

So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
(Revelation 16:2)

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)[i]

            During the 1960’s and ‘70’s there was a great deal of hysteria regarding the Antichrist and the “mark of the beast,” fired up by popular TV and radio preachers and books on the End Times.  Many back then speculated on exactly what the “mark of the beast” would be, and what the “number of his name” meant.  Even today many sincere Christians – and some non-Christians fascinated with prophecy – are concerned that the government might require them to receive some sort of mark or implanted chip for identification, and that this might be the mark that condemns them before God.  While they focus on a feared physical mark, most people in this world miss the vitally important spiritual meaning of the passages quoted above.  External symbols can neither save us nor condemn us. It is the condition of the heart that we must examine.

The key to understanding the Book of Revelation[ii] is recognizing its richly symbolic and metaphoric nature.  The images of a seal, a mark, the forehead, and the hand, are all symbols of spiritual realities. When Moses exhorted the new generation of Israelites who were entering the Promised Land to remember and obey God’s commandments, he said,

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy  6:6-9)

"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Though Israelites then, as well as Jews today, have taken literally the binding of commandments on their hand and between their eyes, and thus have made phylacteries and mezuzahs to show honor to the Torah, these passages in Deuteronomy clearly command that God’s words are to be “in your heart and in your soul.”  It’s not difficult to discern the spiritual meaning behind symbols like “hand” -- what we do -- and “between your eyes,” -- what we see -- and since “frontlets” would be on the forehead, God’s word should guide what we think.

In the Book of Revelation, two groups of people are said to be “sealed” with a mark on their foreheads or their hand: The servants of God and the worshipers of the Beast, the devil incarnate.  A seal can mean several things in Scripture, but in this context two aspects are certain: It signifies ownership and protection.  God seals those who belong to Him, and he guards their faith, keeping them from spiritual harm from their enemies and physical harm from His judgments which will fall on the wicked.  On the other side are those who identify themselves with the Beast, the representative of Satan, “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).   

God’s seal on His children protects them spiritually.  As G. K. Beale points out: “The nature of the protection is spiritual.  This is apparent from the fact that believers and unbelievers suffer similar physical afflictions . . . But, whereas these trials purify God’s servants, they harden the ungodly in their response to God (so 9:19-20)."[iii]  In Ephesians 1:13 we read: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise . . .  And again in Ephesians 4:30 we are admonished:  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  The Holy Spirit of God is the seal on God’s children, and by that indwelling Holy Spirit, we bear the Name of God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (Compare Revelation 14:1)[iv]

On the other hand, those who cherish their life in this world more than life eternal are those who worship the Beast.  Jesus said, For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)  In Revelation, John assures us that those who follow Jesus to the death will be victorious over Satan:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
(Revelation 12:10-11)

Clearly, God’s people are marked, but that mark is not a physical but spiritual mark.  Just as the angel in Ezekiel 9 marked all those in Jerusalem who sighed and cried over all the abominations done in that city, God has marked, and will mark, all those who choose to follow Jesus and mourn over the abominations being committed in this evil world.  Blessed are those who mourn, Jesus said, for they shall be comforted.  (Matthew 5:4)

If the mark of God is a spiritual mark, it seems clear that the mark of the Beast is also a spiritual mark.  The location of the mark is also packed with symbolic meaning.  Those who follow the Beast, the Antichrist, do the will of the devil (mark on the hand), and they think like the devil (mark on forehead). 

But if this mark of the Beast is not a physical mark, how is it that those who do not have the mark will not be able to buy or sell?  The Greek word for “mark,” charagma, “was used for the emperor’s seal on business contracts and the impress of the Roman ruler’s head on coins.” (Beale, p.715)  During the persecutions under Emperors Diocletian and Decius, certificates were issued to those who offered incense to the image of the emperor, and those certificates authorized the person to buy and sell.  G. K.  Beale explains the symbolism of the mark in Revelation:

The “mark on the forehead,” which is “the name of the beast” and “the number of this name” (so v. 17), is the parody and opposite of the “seal” in 7:3-8, which is the divine “name written on the foreheads” of true believers (14:1; so likewise 22:4; 3:12)  
Since the seal of true believers is invisible, so also is the "mark" on the unbeliever.  That the two are parallel in being spiritual in nature and are intended to be compared is evident from the immediately following mention of God and Christ's name "written on the foreheads" of the saints (14:1). (p. 716) 

The ungodly world has always been able to identify its friends and its enemies.  Christians all over the world are being denied access to basic necessities because of their loyalty to Christ.  And even in America, Christians are being discriminated against for their stand against evil laws enacted by state, federal, and local governments.  Ungodly society also knows who its friends are, even when they masquerade as Christians! 

Lots of people today are carrying around “the mark of the Beast” and don’t even know it!  Even many who profess to be Christians!  In my decades of ministry I have met professing Christians who were living in immorality, all the while firmly declaring that they would never accept “the mark of the Beast” on their hand or forehead!

What spiritual seal, what mark, is upon your life?  Those who are born of God through repentance and faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior have a spiritual birthmark!  It ought to be evident in everything we think and everything we do.  In this age of grace, there is yet time to repent, but the time is coming when hearts will be so hardened that they will not repent no matter what judgments fall upon them. (see Rev. 9:20-21)

Coming Next: The 144,000: Who Are They?

[i] All Scripture passages from the New King James Version.  Bold print added for emphasis.
[ii] In some Bibles the title is The Apocalypse, which comes from the Greek title, which means unveiling.
[iii] Beale, G. K. The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation, p. 409.
[iv] For the argument in favor of the 144,000 representing all believers, the faithful remnant of ethnic Israel and Gentile believers “grafted into” the root of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Rom. 11:17), see G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, and Simon J. Kistemaker, Revelation