Today’s Readings: Psalm 97; Ezra 7:11-26; Matthew 14:1-12; Revelation 14:1-13
When we are reading the sacred texts of our tradition, it is easy to receive the words at face value and draw conclusions that may not be in line with the author’s original intention.
Take, for instance, today’s passage from Revelation. In that passage there are two references to the number 144,000. Revelation 14:1 reads: “Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Revelation 14:3 reads: “… they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth”.
Some folks in the Jehovah’s Witness tradition interpret those words literally and suggest those words mean there will only be a total 144,000 individuals who will be redeemed. Others interpret such passages metaphorically and think the importance of the number is more symbolic than literal.
The challenge in our faith walk, it would seem, is to have a discerning spirit and know when to engage material at face value and when to engage it metaphorically. My question for you to consider today is this: how do you decide how to engage the material in the sacred texts? Do you chose whatever method seems most convenient for you on any given issue, or do you have other ways of discerning this? Til next time…