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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 60

The 144,000 and the Great Multitude

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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and the Great Multitude
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Welcome to this lesson! Let’s pray together:
O Lord,

For a very long time, the identity of the 144,000 intrigued those who looked into the book of Revelation.

But Your prophetic Word is now unsealed, and we are able to discover who they really are.

Please guide us by Your Holy Spirit during this fascinating lesson, so that our understanding may be in accordance with truth.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 6:12,14,16,17 Comments
I beheld when [the Lamb] had opened the sixth seal. (...)

The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (...)

[Men] said to the mountains and rocks, «Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?»
In our lesson «Great Signs in Heaven», we have seen that the sixth seal describes a striking scene taking place at the end of the world.

We have also seen that this seal ends with an important question, asked by terrified men: «Who shall be able to stand?»
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:1-4 Comments
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,

«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Before going on with the seventh seal, the book of Revelation immediately answers the question «Who shall be able to stand?»

The answer is: the 144,000, sealed by God.

But who are they?
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Picture 4 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:4,5 Comments
And I heard the number of them which were sealed.

And there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand (...).
The prophecy says that the 144,000 come from «all the tribes of the children of Israel».

This statement has led some people to believe that the 144,000 are Jews according to the flesh, direct descendants of Abraham.

But if we carefully examine the list of the twelve tribes, we will be surprised...
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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The list of the 12 tribes in Revelation is different from the original!
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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James 1:1 Comments
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. The prophecy of the 144,000 did not accurately reproduce the original list of the 12 tribes of Israel, because, under the New Covenant, the Israel of God is no longer made up of Jews according to the flesh, but of Jews according to the heart, that is, the Church of Christ.
Romans 9:6
For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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The Church of Christ now makes up spiritual Israel:
«For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.» (Galatians 6:15,16)

«Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.» (Galatians 3:7)

«And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.» (Galatians 3:29)

«I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.» (Revelation 2:9)

«For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.» (Romans 2:28,29)
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:4 Comments
And I heard the number of them which were sealed.

And there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
The number 144,000, which is the result of 12 x 12 x 1000, has a special meaning.

We have already seen that the number 12 symbolizes the alliance between God and men.

As for the number 1000, it indicates a very large quantity, as we can see in the second verse.

So, the 144,000 are a large number of faithful believers.
1 Chronicles 16:15
Be you mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
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Picture 9 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:2-4 Comments
And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,

«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Right before the seventh seal, that is, before the return of Jesus, an angel announces that the 144,000 must now receive the seal of God on their foreheads, before the destructive winds are released.
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Ephesians 1:13 Comments
In [Christ] you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Each faithful believer is already sealed with the Holy Spirit.

But the seal which is put on the 144,000’s foreheads is different, since it is not yet affixed.
Ephesians 4:30
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:1 Comments
And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. The 144,000, sealed with the name of God on their foreheads, reflect God’s character, and faithfully serve Him.

But there’s more...
Revelation 22:3,4
The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in [the city]; and His servants shall serve Him.

And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 13:16,17 Comments
And [the beast coming up out of the earth] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. In the last days, as the 144,000 receive the seal of God on their foreheads, others will also receive a mark on their foreheads: the mark of the beast.

The choice between these two alternatives will determine the eternal destiny of each individual.

What are the seal of God and the mark of the beast? Future lessons will answer these crucial questions.
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:2,3 Comments
And I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps.

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
The 144,000 sing a «new song» and the «song of Moses».

What is the subject of these two songs?
Revelation 15:2,3
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

And they sing the song of Moses.
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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The subject of the «new song» and the «song of Moses»: God’s salvation!
«O sing to the Lord a new song: sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen.» (Psalm 96:1-3)

«O sing to the Lord a new song; for He has done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, has gotten Him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation: His righteousness has He openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He has remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.» (Psalm 98:1-3)

«Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”» (Exodus 15:1,2)
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:3 Comments
And no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. The 144,000 sing the new song because they have been redeemed by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:18,19
You know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:4 Comments
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. In our lesson «The Pure Woman», we have seen that a woman symbolizes a Church.

The 144,000, «which were not defiled with women,» are therefore faithful to God, and refuse any compromise with other churches’ doctrines.
2 Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy.

For I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:4 Comments
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.

These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
The 144,000 «follow the Lamb wherever He goes».

Nothing in this world can divert them from their only goal: to follow Jesus and to serve Him.
Luke 9:61,62
And another also said, «Lord, I will follow You; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.»

And Jesus said to him, «No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.»
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:4 Comments
These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
The 144,000 are designated as «the first fruits to God».

This confirms that they are really a part of the Israel of God, that is, the pure and faithful Church.

They are «holiness to the Lord», being set apart by God to fulfill a very special work.
Jeremiah 2:3
Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first fruits of His increase.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:5 Comments
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. The work of the 144,000, a small group of active believers at the end of time, is to truthfully proclaim God’s message.

And what is this message?
Zephaniah 3:12,13
I will also leave in the middle of you an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.

The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies.
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Picture 20 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 14:5-7 Comments
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice,

«Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.»
This message is that of the three angels. We studied its content in our last lesson.

The word «angel» comes from the Greek word «aggelos», which means «messenger». This accurately represents the role of the 144,000 in the last days.
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Picture 21 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:9 Comments
After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. As the 144,000 proclaim the three angels’ message «to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people» (Revelation 14:6), a great multitude will favorably respond to this message, as we can see in this verse.

But who is this great multitude?
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Picture 22 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:4 Comments
And I heard the number of them which were sealed.

And there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
First, let’s not mix up the 144,000 and the great multitude:
  • the 144,000 are a group which can be numbered (John said, «I heard the number»);
     
  • the great multitude is a group which «no man could number».
So, the 144,000 and the great multitude are two distinct groups.
Revelation 7:9
After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could number.
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:10-12 Comments
[The great multitude] cried with a loud voice, saying,

«Salvation to our God which sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!»

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying,

«Amen! Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever! Amen!»
Just like the 144,000, the people belonging to the great multitude glorify God for the salvation He gave them, and join the heavenly hosts in worshiping the Almighty Lord.
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:13,14 Comments
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, «What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And from where came they?»

And I said to him, «Sir, you know.»

And he said to me, «These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.»
The Bible says that the great multitude comes out of the «great tribulation».

Although believers were persecuted in every century, the tribulation of the last days will be more severe than ever before.
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Picture 25 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Daniel 12:1,2 Comments
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which stands for the children of your people.

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.

And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The book of Daniel confirms that the last days will be a time of trouble, distress, and great tribulation, «as never was since there was a nation».
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Picture 26 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Daniel 12:1,3 Comments
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which stands for the children of your people.

And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. (...)

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
The same passage in Daniel links the great tribulation with turning «many to righteousness».

Indeed, the message proclaimed by the 144,000 in the last days will lead people of all nations to accept God’s offer of salvation.
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Picture 27 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Zechariah 8:22,23 Comments
Yes, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.

Thus said the Lord of hosts;

«In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, “We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”»
So, the 144,000, that is, the Israel of God in the last days, will teach the great multitude, that is, all those who will respond to God’s call shortly before Jesus’ return, after hearing the proclamation of the 144,000.
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Picture 28 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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The message of the 144,000 will lead a great multitude to salvation:
«Behold, you shall call a nation that you know not, and nations that knew not you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.» (Isaiah 55:5)

«For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged.» (Isaiah 60:2-5)

«Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen! (...) Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.» (Revelation 18:2,4)
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Picture 29 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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The experience of the 144,000 calls to mind the apostles’ at Pentecost:
«And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (...) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (...)

[Peter said,] “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (...)

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.» (Acts 2:1,4-6,16,17,41)
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Picture 30 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 6:9,11 Comments
When [the Lamb] had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. (...)

And white robes were given to every one of them.

And it was said to them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
The 144,000 and the great multitude will soon join all the believers faithful to God throughout history, and all of them will receive Christ’s white robe of righteousness.
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Picture 31 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Revelation 7:13-17 Comments
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, «What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And from where came they?»

And I said to him, «Sir, you know.»

And he said to me, «These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (...) He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.»
Finally, after the tribulation of the last days, the 144,000 and the great multitude will know eternal happiness.
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Picture 32 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 60
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Let’s pray together:
Father,

Jesus said, «Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.» (Matthew 28:19).

You call each one of us to become one of the 144,000, on which You will very soon put Your seal, so that Your message may be proclaimed to the great multitude who will accept it.

Please give us the courage we need to join Your Church, as we are really living in the last days of this world’s history.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Header Picture: Picture from the Web site: http://www.lamblion.com/articles/prophecy/revelation/RV-08.php Screen 1: «Rainbow on the mountain». In: «National Geographic Photo Gallery», National Geographic Interactive, 1997. Screen 2: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.111. Screen 3: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM256.BMP. Screen 4: «The Sealing of the Elect» from «Trinity Apocalypse» (c.1255-60), Trinity College Library, Cambridge, England. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.21. Screen 5: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 15, 1994), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Table of Screen 5: First picture: In: «My Bible Friends, volume 1» (DEGERING, Etta B.), n.p. Used by permission. Copyright ©1963, 1991 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Second picture: LEASON, Percy. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.95. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 6: JUSTINEN, Lars. In: «Questionnaire Adulte de l’Ecole du Sabbat», Pacific Press Publishing Association, Fourth Quarter, 1996, front cover. Screen 7: Photo from Fisher/Fotogram-Stone. In: «Le Moniteur», Pacific Press Publishing Association, Fourth Quarter, 1996, front cover. Screen 8: In: «Adventist Review» magazine (June 30, 2000), p.9. Used by permission. Copyright ©2000 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 9: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 15, 1987), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 10: Image by Digital Imagery, Photodisc, 1999. In: «A Love Stronger than Death» magazine, Family Heritage Books, 2000, p.8. Screen 11: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (September 15, 1988), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.15. Screen 12: Unknown source. Screen 13: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.317. Screen 14: In: «Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, volume 1» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.192. Used by permission. Copyright ©1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1976 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 15: HEASLIP, William. In: «The Bible Story, volume 9» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.51. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 16: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 15, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 17: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 15, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Screen 18: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 1, 1993), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 19: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.61. Screen 20: PADGETT, Jim. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C. Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.350. Screen 21: REMMEY, Paul. In: «The Bible Story, volume 9» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.181. Picture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 22: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 1, 1986), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.17. Screen 23: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.121. Screen 24: REMMEY, Paul. In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.188. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 25: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (May 1, 1993), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.23. Screen 26: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (January 1, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 27: «Apocalypse, depicting the killing of the seven-headed beast» from «Trinity Apocalypse», Anglo-Norman, c.1255-60, Manuscript, Trinity College Library, Cambridge, England. In: «Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.64. Screen 28: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.127. Screen 29: EL GRECO. «The Pentecost», Prado Museum, Madrid. In: «Great Bible Stories and Master Paintings» (RACHLEFF, Owen S.), New York, Abradale Press Publishers, p.367. Screen 30: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.103. Screen 31: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.146. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 32: «Dawn on the lake». In: «National Geographic Photo Gallery», National Geographic Interactive, 1997.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

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