Tag Archives: truth

Better than Dove Chocolate and a whole bunch of money

chocolateThe commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them  there is great reward.  Psalm 19:8b-11

David is revelling in God’s Word.  Are you starting to get the idea that the Bible is a big deal?

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  Commands and precepts are similar.  They aren’t God’s suggestions, they are “must do’s.”  We can’t take them or leave them or explain them away.  The commands of God are pure, or radiant, and they give us light.  David wrote in Psalm 119:105 that God’s word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.  In other words, as we stake our lives on the Bible and obey what is written in it, we will receive guidance from God.  He will direct our steps.

Take the opposite side for a minute.  If you don’t have any regard for God’s commands, your eyes will be dark.  Have you had ‘dark eyes’?  Do you someone else like that?  They are troubled and evil minded.  And, your path will be muddy and jumbled.  You won’t get to where you try to get to.  Something will always get in the way.  That’s because you’re not doing things God’s way.  Things won’t work out then.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.  In Proverbs 1:7 we find that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (or wisdom).”  If we fear God that means that we take His Word seriously and have an intent to obey, knowing that God always gets His way.  God’s word is clean, pure, and perfect.  And God’s Word endures forever.

There aren’t many things that endure forever.  Our stuff doesn’t.  Our hobbies don’t.  Our souls do, what God says (His Word, or the Bible) does, and things we do that have eternal value last forever.  Matthew 6:19 tells us to store up treasures in Heaven.  One way to do that is spend time on spiritual things, like prayer and Bible study.

The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  Other words for rules are judgments, laws or ordinances.  God’s judgments are just and righteous.  Psalm 119:160 summarizes this well by saying, “The sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever.”  If you pick a fight with God, you’re bound to lose.  So surrender to the rightness of His ways and you will find peace.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  God’s words are more precious than a big bank account.  And they are sweeter than Dove chocolate.  Can you say this?

By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  God’s commands give us warnings for those who violate them and rewards  for those who keep them.  The rewards are usually not monetary, though it can involve having a blessed life.  That blessed life extends from this life into a guaranteed eternal life in Heaven.

May you have the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s commands and to experience God’s rewards.

 


The Bible Stands

Bible thumper

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.  Psalm 19: 7-8

David is declaring his praise for God’s law, and more generally, all of God’s written word.  We know it as the Bible.  How we view and esteem the Bible is foundational to our faith.  If our beliefs about the Bible are faulty, our faith will be faulty as well.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.   There are no mistakes or contradictions in the Bible, contrary to the claims of doubters.  The Bible is also sufficient to meet all of our needs.  Some may say that this is a book written by men, but that is not true.  God told 40 men what to write through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  They wrote using their personality and writing style, but rest assured, the Bible is God’s words.  

And they are accurate and authoritative and they convert or revive our soul.  In other words, as we digest God’s words, they change us from the inside out. And they give us spiritual life and health.

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.   That means that what God says about Himself, where we started and why we are here is true.  It is also trustworthy, rock solid and prove-able.  What God says, He will do.  He will always keep His promises and we can rest on that truth.  This makes us simple, or humble, people wise.  If you want wisdom and humility, make the Bible your best friend.  

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart or giving joy to our hearts.  Precepts are things that we are responsible for carrying out.  They are God’s decrees and commands.  God’s commandments are given to us for our provision and our protection, just like a parent’s rules for a teenager.  Like a teenager may balk at his rules at times, but later sees it was for his benefit, so it is with God’s parameters for us.  When we follow them, we find joy and freedom.

No other book or way of life will change our lives, make us wise and give us joy.  The Bible is the prescription for whatever ails our hearts.  Or, as David reflects in Psalm 119:93, “I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.”

Are you in the Word?  Has it changed your life?  Or do you just own several copies of it with fancy covers and pens for them?  Just like your credit card: “Don’t leave home without it.”

 


God, my shield and the lifter of my head

shieldBut You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill.  Psalm 3:3-4

Have you ever been so depressed or overcome that you can’t even lift your head?   Or have you felt so attacked by troubles, people and problems that you need a shield to protect you so you can stand?  Then this is good news for you to grab a hold of and to live by!

God is our shield.  In Genesis 15:1 God appeared to Abraham and told him, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”  So fear not–don’t be afraid or anxious.  In Psalm 5:12 David declared, “For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.”   Just like Joseph, David and Daniel had God’s hand of favor on them, we can be covered with God’s favor shield as we walk obediently with Him.  There are many verses that tell of the shielding benefit of God to rest on.

God is our glory.  If you are absorbed in weight lifting and stare at your muscles in the mirror while you’re working out, you might say that your glory is in your strength.  You take pride in how much you can lift, or in how trim or muscular that you are.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 commands, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understand and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.”  We do not glory in our smarts, our strength or our money.  We glory in the love, justice and righteousness of God.  In God we trust.

God is the lifter of our heads.  There are those days when you can’t lift your head out of shame, depression, tiredness, or even an injury of some sort.  On those days, call out to the lifter of your head to do for you what you simply cannot do.  He will hear and He will act through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Ask for His strength and His grace when you need it.

I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me.  That’s what He does.  Jeremiah 33:3 promises, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Don’t wait until you’re in trouble to pray to God, pray early and pray often!

 


God’s prospering hand on you

tree plantedHe is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the ways of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  Psalm 1:3-6

There is a contrast between the one who daily seeks the Lord, meditating on His word.  It is the difference between a sturdy and strong tree vs. chaff that is blown away by the wind.  The strong and mighty tree yields fruit.  It doesn’t just eek by.   These verses tell us that whatever we undertake, we will prosper.  That’s another way of saying that we’re blessed.  

The wicked might prosper short term.  They might have a lot of money, nice houses and things look like they’re on the top of the world.  But this is not a prosperity that will continue beyond this life.  In eternity they will be condemned and they will perish.  It is easy to envy those people who seem to have it all, thinking that somehow we went wrong.  Oh no.  Filter it through the eyes of God, with His eternal lenses, and we see their end.  It’s not good.

Joseph, David and Daniel are guys who God had His hand on to prosper them.  In Genesis 39:2-4 tells us, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and because his attendant.”  NIV  

When you flee wickedness and make faithful people your friends, get to know the Bible as your best friend, and then put its principles into practice, you will prosper.  No, you might not get rich or suddenly become a star of some sort.  But you will have God’s hand on you and your paths will be straight.  You will make decisions that turn out to be the right ones, avoid trouble, and doors will open up as people see that you are a good worker.  They might not even want to hire or advance you, but God makes it happen.

And in the end, you will have eternal life in Heaven.  That’s where our rewards come, our true blessings, our time to be with Jesus face to face forever.  But the end of the wicked is not good.  They will spend eternity in hell.  

 


Are you blessed?

blessed

Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but delights in the law of the Lord, and on His law meditates day and night.  Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed.  Who doesn’t want to be blessed?   Is being blessed an ‘entitlement’?  Not necessarily.   David, the psalm writer, tells us how to be blessed.  There are things we need to do and ways to live our lives.  Would you describe your life as being blessed, or is it one big struggle?  If it’s a struggle, read on.  It might help you to figure out why ‘there’s always something.’

Is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.   It  has something to do with not living the same way that people who don’t know Jesus live.  It is also taking our cues from them, seeking advice from those who don’t love the Bible.  If we make our counselors and closest friends those who do not live according to God’s principles, we think and act like them, not like God.  Further, if we consistently watch TV shows and movies that are wicked, we are contradicting this spiritual principle.  Can you sing all of the old TV jingles, but not be able to quote a Bible verse from memory?  

Nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.  We must hate sin.  In Psalm 139:21 David goes as far as to say, “Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?  And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?  One night I was out with friends at a pizza place.  The friends were not believers and the husband took great delight in telling his stories of their drunkenness and rebellion.  I had heard the stories many times, complete with the supporting cast.  In walked one of his old buddies and they began to recite the stories again.  I was laughing at the funny parts, until God spoke this verse straight into my mind.  

I froze, knowing that I was not hating those who shake their fist at Him.  To be honest, that was the last time I saw those friends.  I knew I needed to part ways with them because they were not desiring to change their lives, but were continuing this life of rebellion.  Do you shut the TV off when you know the show is promoting sin, or leaving a group of friends that have gone too far?  

But delights in the law of the Lord, and on His law meditates day and night.  This is the positive solution to changing our hearts and minds to be like Jesus.  We must have a daily habit of not just reading quickly through a chapter of the Bible, but studying, memorizing and meditating on it.  And then putting it into action.  The result?  We will be blessed.  That is a promise.  

*Image from La Casa youth

 


Going Rogue

obedience__1_samuel_15_22_by_symplearts-d66j86e.jpg

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.  1 Samuel 15:22-23

Samuel spoke these rebuking words to King Saul.  Saul had not done as God had commanded him to do.  He was supposed to completely wipe out the Amalekites.  Instead Saul saved back the king and the best of the sheep, oxen and lambs–all that was good.  He said he was going to sacrifice them to God.  This wasn’t the first time that Saul had gone rogue.  Samuel delivered heavy words from God: God regretted that He made Saul king and He was going to replace him.

Samuel asked Saul in 1 Samuel 15:19, “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?”  This is rebellion and it obviously did not play well with God.  God didn’t want Saul’s sacrifice, He wanted obedience.  Saul rationalized what he did in 15:24, saying he did “because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”

Partial obedience and delayed obedience is rebellion to God no matter how we justify it to ourselves and others.  When God tells us to do something, He expects us to obey completely.  To God, when we disobey it is worse than us turning to witchcraft (the sin of divination) and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.  This is because rebellion opens doors to Satan just like divination or witchcraft does.  Both sins cut us off from God.  It is better to fear God than to fear people and do things to mollify them.

A spirit of rebellion must be renounced in any way, shape or form.  If you short cut what you know God is telling you to do and stubbornly continue in patterns of sin, watch out. You will be disciplined by God because He loves you and has a claim on your life.  He will not let you continue down this path.

Samuel also told Saul, “presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.”  The word for presumption in Hebrew means “seething pride.”  That means we think we know better than God.  We just act without checking in with God to find out what He thinks about a situation.  And then when we find out it was wrong, presumption would be shrugging it off as a little deal, like King Saul did.

David prayed in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.”  God, show me where I am being partially obedient, slow to obey, and how I am shrugging off sin as no big deal.  May I always check with You first and not think “I’ve got this.”  Forgive my rebellious heart and change it to be soft, open and ready to listen and to act.

*Image from Symple Arts

 


To sin: “You’re not the boss of me!”

sin-you-aint-the-boss2.jpg

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.  Genesis 4:6-7

“For sin will have no dominion over you.”  Romans 6:14

The glorious message in the Christian life is that sin no longer is your master.  Because of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, we can live free from enslaving habits and sins.  We can live in victory and freedom. Let freedom ring!

Most Christians would readily agree that sin is crouching at our doors.  If we give that sin a place in our life, sin will take over and be our boss.  Addictions and chronic sin patterns are like that.  But what many miss is the freedom and victory that Jesus offers.  Our new master is Jesus and He has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us to say “no” to sin and “yes” to the life that He wants to give all of us.

Some of the things that we must build into our daily diets to conquer sin are:

  •      Stay away from tempting sins.  If you want to quit eating chocolate, don’t stand in the candy aisle!
  •      Confess and obey immediately. The longer you hang on to a sin, the harder it is to break.
  •      Walk in the Spirit, consciously committing each day to God.  Ask God to empower you with His Spirit, being careful to listen to His promptings.  It is through the Holy Spirit’s power and energy that we are able to live out the Christian life.
  •      Take the time to read and study the Bible.  This is not a magic formula, but it is like eating.  You wouldn’t go a day without eating because it would make you weak.  So don’t go a day without getting your spiritual food.
  •      Flood your life with the opposite good of what you’re trying to flee.  Instead of just focusing on not doing something unproductive or sinful, start filling that time with doing something good, productive and nondestructive.
  •      Find a trusted friend to be honest and vulnerable with to keep each other accountable to the things that are in your lives that need to go.

Victory over sin is possible through Jesus.  Sin does not have to be our boss.  That is today’s good news!

*Image from kyroisity@wordpress.com


Jesus Wins!

white horse battle

Then I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!  The One sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but Himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is The Word of God.  Revelation 19:11-13

This is a future battle scene that will take place at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week.  In Matthew 24, Jesus’ first appearance is in the clouds.  Once He appears, the intensity of events builds, with God’s wrath unleashed: “Hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come,” Revelation 6:16-17.  There is a pouring out of a series of judgments via seven trumpets.  When each trumpet blows, things are unleashed like hail and fire, the sea turns to blood, and the rivers and water are poisoned by a star named Wormwood.  At one point, locusts are released that heads with crowns, faces like humans, hair like women’s hair, teeth like lions and stings like scorpions.  They torture people for five months.  

There are seven bowls that follow, which include more plagues and destruction.  The Euphrates River is dried up to prepare the way for the kings to come from the east, according to Revelation 16:12.  Demonic spirits are released to assemble the kings of the whole world for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.”   They assemble at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon, according to Revelation 16:13,16.  This is Megiddo, which is a city in Israel, in the Valley of Jezreel.  This is where the battle will take place.

In Revelation 17 John saw that the leaders from ten countries will hand over their power and authority over to the beast to make war on the Lamb.  ‘The beast’ is described in Rev. 13 as having ten horns and seven heads.  This beast is described more in Rev. 17:7-14.  It seems to be a body of nations and rulers who line up against Jesus.  As you read further in Rev. 13 there is a second beast, which appears to be the Antichrist.  He is the one who will perform great signs to deceive those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image of the first beast that everyone must worship.  He will also then cause everyone to take a mark to be able to buy or to sell.

Back to the battle, it will culminate in the Valley of Jezreel where Megiddo is, otherwise known as Armageddon.  In Revelation 19:11-21 there is a marvelous description of Jesus coming out of Heaven on a white horse, followed by the armies of Heaven who are arrayed in white  linen and riding on white horses.  The kings of the earth with armies will gather to make war and are then defeated.  The beast is captured along with the Antichrist and are thrown into the lake of fire.  The rest are slain in that valley.

As you continue to read, Revelation 20:1-3 tells how Satan the dragon is bound and thrown into a pit for a thousand years so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.  Jesus then sets up His kingdom where He sits on a throne in Jerusalem to rule and to reign for a thousand years.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26 tells us that Jesus “must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  So the good news is that evil does not win out, but Jesus does.  God has a plan that He has been working out and will work out.  That plan includes good things for the those who call upon Jesus to save them from their sins, admitting that they are a sinners, confessing with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believing in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, according to Romans 10:9-13.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Daniel 7:22-23 prophesies, “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole Heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.”


The Great Tribulation

great trib.jpg

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  Revelation 12:17

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”   Matthew 24: 21-22

The Bible is telling us a story, God’s story.  Some people can read the Bible for years and never really grasp what this story is.  Part of it is because we want to make it our story, and latch onto verses that encourage us, just reading random verses and missing the big picture.  The big story is that God made us, we sinned, He sent Jesus to die for our sin, and we must come to Jesus by faith to receive forgiveness and eternal life.  One day Jesus is coming back to judge the world and to set up a real kingdom.

25-30% of the Bible contains prophecy about this time when Jesus comes back, but yet people skip over it.  They say it will all pan out in the end, or that it’s not an essential and focus on other things.  If God spent so much time talking about it, He must want us to know how things will end.  Many Christians hold to a view of the end times that includes us getting ‘raptured’ out of the seven years of prophetic events.  I struggle to find that as I take a look at the prophetic passages and match them up with each other.  

Others say that the events written about in Revelation have already taken place in history.  They use a symbolic interpretation to determine who the beast, or oppressive world leader, has been and what the mark of the beast would stand for.  There are a couple of things that I would point to in sticking to the face value interpretive principal.  

One is that the events written about in Revelation coincide with Old Testament prophetic writings, as well as Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2, to name two New Testament passages.  They point to the ‘end of the age,’ or the end of ‘this generation.’  Matthew 24 culminates with Jesus’ return in the clouds, which hasn’t happened yet. The other is that there are many near/far prophecies in the Old Testament that had a fulfillment in the people of that time’s near future, but also a secondary fulfillment related either to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection or to the time when He will return.

Getting back to the great tribulation and Satan’s fury poured out on Christians, according to Matthew 24:21, the great tribulation starts just after the Abomination of Desolation. And in Matthew 24:29-30 we find that it ends with Jesus’ return: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened…and then will appear in Heaven the sign of the Son of Man…and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with great power and great glory.”  

As mentioned in previous devotions, this tribulation is a product of Satan’s wrath.  Revelation 12:12 states, “For the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”  When the sixth seal is opened, God’s wrath comes to the earth, as Rev. 6:16-17 states, “…calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  We don’t know the length of time of this great tribulation, but Matt. 24:22 indicates that the time is cut short for the sake of the elect.  

What will happen in the short period of intense tribulation?  ‘The Beast,’ or the Antichrist will exercise power, according to Revelation 13:5-7, “The beast…was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months (3 ½ years).  It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and His dwelling, that is, those who dwell in Heaven.  Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.”  

It is during this time period that the beast will demand for everyone to worship him and to slay those who don’t.  A mark will be required on the right hand or the forehead, “So that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”  Rev. 13:17.

There will be false christs and false prophets that can perform great signs and wonders, so much so that even the elect may be deceived, according to Matthew 24:24.  Don’t be deceived by them.  Stick to the Bible and its enduring message.  Remember that Israel will be hidden away ‘in the wilderness’ by God.  Revelation 12:6 says, “and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1260 days.”  With the Jewish calendar having 360 days, 1260 days is equal to 3 ½ years.

Why do we need to know about this time of great tribulation?  Because the Christians that are on the earth at this time will experience the fury of Satan.  He will make war on the Christians and slay those who don’t comply with his demands.  Revelation 13:10 says it well, “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  We need to know about the possibility of this happening so that we will stand, even if it means death for the sake of Jesus.

Just like you would prepare your children if they were to go to the doctor to get shots, God prepares us.  In John 16:4 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”   Along with needing to stand strong, we also need to understand that if we are on the earth during this time that God has a purpose for us.  Rather than hiding out or cowering in fear, we need to be ready to stand in faith and do what it is that God has for us.

 


The 144,000

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.  Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’  And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.  Revelation 7:1-4

In walking through the book of Revelation, we encounter things like seals, trumpets, a group of people called “the 144,000,” two witnesses, and time periods of days that mean something.  If you understand these basic events, time periods, and groups of people, it may help you to understand what we can from the book of Revelation.  There is a certain mystery to prophecy that leaves the knowledge of what will really happen to the people that are alive at that time.  Maybe it will be us, maybe not.

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The 144,000 is an interesting group of people that will play a part in things just after the sixth seal.  Who are they?  Chapter 7 tells us that there are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Jacob).  Between Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5 we find these details:

  • They have Jesus and God’s name written on their foreheads as a seal
  • They will be redeemed (or purchased) from the earth
  • They are virgins and no lie was found in their mouth, they are blameless
  • They will follow the Lamb wherever He goes
  • The Day of the Lord doesn’t begin until they are sealed for protection
  • They are redeemed as firstfruits for God and the Lamb

Again, I am using a non symbolic, face value interpretation of the Bible.  To be redeemed or purchased from the earth indicates to me that they were dead and are brought back to life.  The next deduction that can be made is that in order to get 12,000 pure Israelites from each tribe, they would have to be brought back to life from before the time that the northern kingdom fell to Assyria in 722 B.C.  That was when the Israelites (northern kingdom) intermingled with the Assyrians and the tribal lines wouldn’t be pure after that.  

Ezekiel 37 tells the account about Ezekiel seeing a vision with a valley of dry bones and God tells him to prophesy so that they would come to life.  In verse 9-14 it says, Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God:  Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O My people.  And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’

We have the same words used as Rev. 7 uses, with four angels holding back the four winds  so that the 144,000 can be sealed for protection.  Add to that Daniel 12:1-2, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time…And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  

My view is this: God is going to bring back to life the Jewish people who lived before Jesus.  They never had a chance to accept or reject Him.  He will protect them in the wilderness to deal with them.  Isaiah 26:20 states, “Come, My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.”  Zechariah 12:10-14 describes how God is going to deal with them “when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child (vs. 10).”  Rev. 12:6 adds, “And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1260 days.”

To summarize, the 6th seal will be opened some length of time after the event of the Abomination of Desolation.  That will be a topic for another day.  There will be a flurry of intense persecution by Satan where, according to Rev. 12:13-17,  he will go after Israel and won’t be able to get to them because God is hiding them away.  He will then go after Christians.  We will get to Revelation 12 as well.  

Before the 7th seal, I believe that the 144,000 will be brought to life.  Also, an exceedingly great army of Jews will be brought back to life as well so God can deal with them and then bring a remnant of them into the restored land of Israel, as Zechariah 13 describes.  The events that take place once the seventh seal is opened will be a series of events that pours out God’s wrath on those who rejected Him.  It will culminate in a battle between Jesus and Satan, with Jesus winning.

That’s the good news for today!  Jesus wins and He will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  1 Corinthians 15:25-26