Why do the 144,000 not believe “the lie” after the Rapture?
Not all unbelievers will believe the Wicked One’s lie (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). Those who believe the lie will previously have crossed a line of wilfully rejecting the truth (verses 10, 12). Only God knows the location of that line.
The 144,000 will be saved by a sovereign intervention of God, foreshadowed by Paul’s conversion (1 Corinthians 15:8; 1 Timothy 1:16). Although all believers will be taken at the Rapture, God will not leave Himself without witnesses. Following the Rapture, He will save the 144,000, making them a testimony established apart from any human instrumentality. They will be sealed and thus protected from the judgments of God that are about to fall on the ungodly (Revelation 7:1-8).
What is the meaning of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:31-45)?
King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and therefore considered that his gods had overcome the God of Israel, Jehovah (Daniel 1:2). God gave him a dream of future events (2:28). Demonstrating that He could reveal the unknown, God revealed to Daniel both the dream, that only the king knew, and also its interpretation. Thus the Lord affirmed to Nebuchadnezzar that He knew and controlled the future and that He had given the king his kingdom (verse 37). This dream also helped God’s people because it informed them of the course, extent, and conclusion of the troublesome “times of the Gentiles,” the period when Jerusalem is under Gentile control (Luke 21:24).
The dream centered around an image composed of four metals: a head of gold, arms of silver, torso of brass, and legs of iron (verses 3 1-33). Daniel interpreted these as four kingdoms, beginning with the Babylonian empire (verses 37-40). In keeping with the revelations in Daniel 7, 8,9, and 11, the other three kingdoms are Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. Viewed from head to feet, the image had metals of decreasing value, a reflection of the increasingly less autocratic structure of the successive kingdoms. The “iron kingdom” is a divided kingdom (verse 41) because at the image’s feet the iron was mixed with clay, an unstable combination. Since the kingdoms are sequential, this suggests that the Roman kingdom is viewed in one form, iron, and a later form, iron and clay. Between these two forms is most of the present Church age.
Daniel draws attention to the toes of the image and their instability (verses 42, 43). When he then refers to “these kings” (verse 44), Daniel seems to be interpreting the toes as kings, 10 in number. In the days of this 10-king confederacy of the revived Roman Empire, a stone “cut out without hands” struck and destroyed the image in the king’s dream and became a great mountain (verses 34, 35). Thus, as Daniel’s subsequent visions reveal, the revived Roman kingdom, over which “the Beast” will reign (Revelation 13:1, 2; 17:11-14), will end when our Lord, the Stone rejected, yet exalted (Matthew 21:42, 44), will destroy Gentile power and establish His everlasting kingdom.
What are “the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3; Acts 13:34)?
The expression is reminiscent of God’s everlasting covenant with David and his household (2 Samuel 7:16; 2 Chronicles 21:7; Psalm 89:3, 4). God promised David regarding his son, “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul. . . And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:15, 16). “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast (translated “sure” in Isaiah 55:3) with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven” (Psalm 89:28, 29). Therefore, Isaiah 55 anticipates the future day when the Lord will encourage His earthly people to return to Him and enjoy the fulfillment of His promises to David. This kingdom of Christ, the Son of David, is assured by the resurrection, since Acts 13:34, 35 relates these “sure mercies of David” to Psalm 16:10, “Thou shalt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” “The sure mercies of David” guarantee that our Lord, the risen Son of David, will have a throne in Jerusalem and an everlasting kingdom.
To whom does “us” and “we” refer in Revelation 5:10, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth”?
The manuscripts used in Darby’s translation, for instance, change “we” to “them” and omit “us.” The sense of the passage, therefore, is that the Lamb has made those He redeemed with His blood (verse 9) kings and priests to God; those redeemed ones will reign on the earth. We need not be upset to learn that, in subsequent years, scholars found more reliable manuscripts than those used for our beloved Authorized Version. God’s truth stands immutable: “For ever, 0 Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). The manuscript changes are very minor and, as in this passage, affect no doctrine, but only our understanding of the passage.