Following Jesus

A Transformed Family Illustrates the 144,000!

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Jacob had four wives who among them gave birth to 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. Jacob also had at least one daughter, Dinah, who is mentioned by name. Beginning with jealousy and envy among the wives and Jacob’s unabashed favoritism towards Joseph,betrayal, deceit, and dishonesty were also shamelessly exhibited by the brothers. Their history reveals murder, incest, lying, and stealing. It is not a pretty picture of family harmony, unity, and loving care for one another.

What is important to note is that in spite of their failures, fiascoes, and flops, God worked among them and through them to accomplish His purposes. While being far from perfect, the biblical record indicates that a spiritual maturity eventually was manifested among the brothers. In Revelation 7, it is the family of Jacob that God chooses to illustrate as those who will receive the seal of God and ultimately be standing among the redeemed when Jesus comes again. It almost seems inconceivable that a family with so many issues, problems, and vices would be used to exemplify a portrait of the redeemed. Yet it is the family of Jacob that makes up the 144,000 that are seen standing before Jesus and the throne of God, singing their unique song of victory and praise to God! 

It is most intriguing that this most dysfunctional family in all of scripture ends up as the poster board family of “Who’s Who Among the Redeemed”! It is said that God has a sense of humor, so perhaps this is one of those examples. Or just maybe it is a most profound way that God illustrates how even the worst of families can be transformed through His saving power and grace. The family of Jacob, pictured as the 144,000, is described in Revelation 14 as people of purity, people who follow Jesus wherever He goes, and people who are without deceit.

The story of Jacob’s family stands as a clear message of encouragement to every family that struggles with the wiles and attacks of the devil. If God could take Jacob’s family with all their foibles and transform them into a people of honesty and faithfulness, then surely He can do the same for every family today.

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