Who are the 144,000?

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"We should all strive to be counted in the number of the 144,000 to bring glory to Christ Jesus our Lord, Saviour and soon coming King."

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The 144,000 of Revelation

There are two prevailing views in the Christian churches today regarding who the 144,000 are. One belief is that the 144,000 are literal Jews. The other belief is that the 144,000 represent the 'general body of believers' in Christ. But BOTH of these views are wrong. Those who believe these are literal Jews, also tend to believe that literal Israel is still the special chosen nation of God. But they have missed the clear Bible truth on this. Yes, Revelation 7 says that the 144,000 are of the 'twelve tribes of Israel', but just as the Jews of old did, Christians today miss the spiritual aspect of God's kingdom and what it means to be a TRUE 'Jew' (Romans 2:28-29, Galatians 3:28).

Not only that, we have been given plenty of evidence in the Bible that tells us probation has closed on the nation of Israel. Not the individual people themselves, but rather the nation of Israel. Probation has closed on the nation of Israel as God's chosen.

Please see our page about ISRAEL IN THE END TIMES to learn the truth. Remember, Jesus Himself told the Jews that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to another (Matthew 21:43)

So what about the view that the 144,000 represents the 'general body of believers'? This cannot be true either. You see, many Christians today believe that the general body of believers are the 'bride of Christ'. Well, if that is true, then who are the guests at the wedding (Matthew 22)? The general body of believers cannot be both the bride AND the guests. Plus in Revelation 21, John says that the NEW JERUSALEM is the bride.

So who are the hundred and forty four thousand, if they are not Jews or the general body of believers? Let us take a closer look:

Revelation 14:1-5 ...'And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with The 144000him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: 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. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God'

Standing on Mount Zion with Jesus - Now many will look at this and say 'see, these are Jews, because they are standing on Mount Zion which is Jerusalem in Israel.' ... And here they make the same mistake that the Jews and the Apostles to some extent made in New Testament times. They are focusing on the literal, rather than the spiritual application. What did Jesus say to the woman at the well in John 4, when she asked how the Jews say that worship should be in Jerusalem? Jesus told her in so many words not to focus on literal Jerusalem, because the Father seeks those who worship in spirit and truth. Jesus also told the Pharisees who were focusing on the literal, that 'the kingdom of God cometh NOT with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.' (Luke 17:20-21).

Jesus taught the people that the kingdom of God at this time is a spiritual one - until the second coming, when it will become a literal kingdom. So what is 'Mount Sion' in Revelation 14?

Hebrews 12:22-24 ...'But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.'

John doesn't see the 144,000 standing on the mount in Jerusalem, Israel. He sees in vision, the 144,000 standing with Jesus in the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM. So this is a special group of Christians who have gotten the victory over sin through Christ and are 'symbolically' seen by John standing in heaven. And that is the special attribute of this group as we will see. They have been perfected by Jesus in this life. They are no longer sinning, because they have CLAIMED THE POWER OF CHRIST AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and are living sin free lives. This is the symbol of them standing on Mount Zion with Jesus. They have claimed a victory like no other people have, including the general body of 'believers'.

Isaiah 62 speaks of the 144,000, whose 'righteousness thereof goes forth as brightness' which 'all Gentiles and kings' of the world see. They are the 'bride of God', and are 'The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord.'

The Father's name written in their foreheads - This group of Christians in the last days are the one's reflecting the image of God. They are full of the light and glory of the Holy Father in heaven. The name of God is IN their foreheads. Meaning their minds have been transformed into the likeness and character of God. To have the name of God upon us and in our foreheads, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity. We must forsake every evil way, and then we must trust our cases in the hands of Christ, who is our righteousness. While we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Yes, we must do our part, but it is God who must aid us, and sanctify us, through His Son.

Please understand this important point. Who's name do the saints have? THE FATHER's. Some translations say 'The Father and the Lamb'. So either way, the 144,000 are the one's who worship the one true God the Father .... AND His Son Jesus Christ. They do NOT worship the FALSE TRINITY GOD. They have 'settled into the truth' of the Father and His Son and therefore receive the seal of the 'LIVING GOD'. How can you get the seal of God if you don't worship the one true God? You can't.

Isaiah 62:1-3 ...'For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.'

Speaking to the church of Philadelphia, Jesus says ... Revelation 3:12 ...'Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is NEW JERUSALEM, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.'

What did John say is the 'bride of the Lamb' in Revelation 21? ... 'And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.' ... So the New Jerusalem is the 'bride of Christ'. And who receives the NAME OF NEW JERUSALEM? They are the Philadelphian church [the 144,000], as confirmed in Revelation 3:12. These are the group who become 'pillars [leaders] in the temple of God'. So the 144,000 are also the bride of Christ, as REPRESENTATIVES of New Jerusalem on earth.

"The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name." (E.White, Early Writings, p.15)

Many Christians believe that the bride of Christ is the 'churches' in general, all those who 'believe' in Christ. But as we have mentioned above, this cannot be so, because if the churches in general are the bride of Christ, then who are the guests at the wedding, as confirmed in Matthew 22, and represented by the '10 sleeping virgins'? Do you see the problem with this? If all believers are the 'bride', then who could the guests be, and who are the 10 sleeping virgins? You see, the guests of the wedding [sleeping virgins] actually represent Christians in general who have been saved by Christ, but have not reached the character perfection in Christ like the 144,000 - hence, why the virgins are 'sleeping' and need to be woken up. The 144,000 are the true bride of Christ. They are a special group of end time people who have, in their lives truly become UNITED WITH CHRIST [truly married to Christ] in their walk and they are 'without fault' before the throne of God, because they have fully submitted their lives to Christ and Jesus is living HIS LIFE IN THEM.

The general body of believers in the churches who are saved are that 'great multitude' of Revelation 7:9, not the 144,000.

So to confirm. The 144,000 are the bride of Christ, as representatives of New Jerusalem on earth. And the rest of the believers in Christ, who are represented by the ten virgins who 'ALL slept', are the 'guests' at the wedding. And who is it that wakes up the ten virgins to warn them that they must go to the wedding? Who else but the 144,000, the bride!

They sung a new song that no other man could learn - This group of people really do stand apart from the rest of the human race and the churches in general. And the fact that they sing a new song that no other man could learn, shows that fact.

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 the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.'

"They sing 'a new song' before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb--a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song, for it is the song of their experience--an experience such as no other company have ever had. 'These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.' These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as 'the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb' (Rev. 15:2, 3; 14:1-5.) 'These are they which came out of great tribulation'; they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob's trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments." (The Great Controversy, p.649)

They are not defiled with women and are without fault - What does it mean to not be defiled with women? Well, a woman in the Bible represents God's professed people, like the 10 virgin women 'guests'. Also, the 'pure' woman of Revelation 12 is a representation of God's pure church. And the 'harlot' woman of Revelation 17 is a representation of an apostate church.

So if a woman represents God's professed people. Then to defile ourselves with women, means to be defiled with apostate churches. And the 144,000 are the one's who are not defiled with any apostate church. How? Because as the verse also confirms, they 'follow the Lamb wheresoever He goeth'. This is a group of people who do not just follow the church leaders. They follow Jesus and Jesus alone. They have been cleansed by Him. He is their leader and they put their trust and confidence in Him and His Word alone!

Please take careful note of the above point. No matter what church you are a member of, if you submit to that church FIRST, before submitting to Christ and His truth, then you are 'defiled with women' and cannot be part of the 144,000. There are many professed Christians today who submit to their church on a certain doctrine, LIKE THE TRINITY, rather than submitting to Christ and His truth, making them 'defiled'. So to NOT be defiled with 'women' (fallen churches), the 144,000 need to separate from those fallen churches and follow Christ instead.

'And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.' ... The 144,000 truly follow Christ's example ... 1 Peter 2:21-22 ...'For even hereunto ye were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.'

As mentioned above, this group of people have a special attribute that no other man has. In them there is found no guile and they are without fault before God's throne. Meaning they have been perfected by Jesus dwelling in them through His Spirit.

"All who follow the Lamb in heaven will first have followed Him on earth, in trustful, loving, willing obedience; followed Him not fretfully and capriciously, but confidently, truthfully, as the flock follows the shepherd." (Manuscript Releases, 14, p.93)

2 Peter 1:2-3 ...'Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.'

2 Corinthians 10:5 ...'Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing in to captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'

1 John 3:6-10 ...'Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not ... Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.'

Friend, do you believe in the Word of God? If God says that when we live for Him and Christ abides in us we will not sin, do you believe that? Because let me tell you something. If you believe like the majority of professing Christians do, that we cannot stop sinning, then you are rejecting the power of God. It's that simple. If you don't believe God can transform you into a NEW creature, laying captive every thought to Christ Jesus, becoming dead to sin, then you have not fully accepted the gospel message and the wonderful, all powerful grace of God. And that means you cannot be part of the 144,000.

The end time saints are not the ones who just 'believe' in Jesus, they are the ones who are living the faith OF Jesus ... Revelation 14:12 ...'Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.'

"Barley was the earliest grain in Palestine, and at the opening of the feast it was beginning to ripen. A sheaf of this grain was waved by the priest before the altar of God, as an acknowledgment that all was His. Not until this ceremony had been performed was the harvest to be gathered." (E.White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p.539) ... In the same way, the 144,000 are the 'firstfruits' unto God and Jesus cannot return and 'harvest' His people until this number is made up and are ready.

What Job does the 144,000 Do?

"Why were they [the 144,000] so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory." (Sermons and Talks, Volume 1, p.72)

The 144,000 stand before the whole world proclaiming the truth that is in Jesus Christ. The 'everlasting gospel' message. The truth about THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. The truth about THE SABBATH DAY. The truth about the MARK OF THE BEAST. The truth about THE ONE TRUE GOD. The truth about SOUL SLEEP, etc.

These, and many other precious truths, the hundred and forty four thousand are to stand before the world and proclaim. But for these truths, and because their holy characters are a constant rebuke to the rest of the world and fallen churches, they will receive great opposition, especially from the fallen churches of Babylon. These saints, the 144,000, proclaim the One true God and Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour ...

John 17:3 ...'And this is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'

And don't think that the 144,000 will comprise of the leaders of the churches. No, God will use the simple, common man to finish the work. Those who are humble enough to submit to the Lord's will. Those who take God's Word as it reads, rather than being puffed up in their own thoughts, like the majority of leaders today ... "But the Lord will use in the accomplishment of His work means that we do not now see. He will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be his disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done, will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places." (The Paulson Collection of E. White Letters, pp. 319)

The only Living Saints when Jesus returns?

Revelation 14 shows us that the hundred and forty four thousand are those who have been perfected in Jesus Christ. They are the ones who are able to pass through the time of trouble. They are the ones who will be able to stand without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments upon the world. And they are the ones, who inspiration tells us will be translated when Jesus returns, being the 'firstfruits unto God'...

"Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake." (Early Writings, p.14-15)

"The 144,000 shouted, 'Alleluia!' as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air." (Early Writings, p.15-16)

"These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.' These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as 'the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb' (Rev. 15:2, 3; 14:1-5.) 'These are they which came out of great tribulation'; they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob's trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments." (Last Day Events, p.268-269)

So does this mean that only 144,000 will be saved in the last days? No. There will be many more people who are saved in the last days. But the 144,000 are the only saints who are living at the second coming. You see, there is a time coming, when probation has ended, when Jesus will leave the heavenly temple to return to earth. During this time, those who are living will be living without an intercessor before God. Therefore, only those who have been perfected and are living without any sin will be able to stand through that time of trouble without an intercessor. This will be the 144,000, who are without fault before the throne of God.

There will be others who are saved in the last days before the end of probation, because one of the final messages to be given to the world, found in Revelation 18:4 is a call to God's people to COME OUT OF BABYLON. So there will be a coming out of the fallen churches of Babylon in the last days, and these people who come out and heed God's call will be saved. But Revelation 14:13 confirms ... "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.". And Revelation 13:15 confirms that those who do not worship the image of the beast or take the mark, should be killed. So those who have faithfully followed the Lord according to the light they had, but did not reach the perfection of the 144,000 - they would not be able to stand through the time of trouble, and the Lord will lay them to rest. For some, dying for the truth and for Jesus in the last days will be their purifying act.

So what will happen to the 144,000 when the beast kingdom seeks to kill them? ..."The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name. At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another's feet and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet." (Early Writings, p.15-16)

Because the hundred and forty four thousand have been made perfect, God will protect them and they will see no death before Jesus returns. Hence the symbol of them standing with Jesus on the heavenly mount Zion. They had gotten the victory over sin through Christ, and the fallen churches will see this and be brought to their knees before them.

Is the 144,000 a Literal Number?

Even though Revelation is full of symbols and prophetic signs, when numbers in Revelation are given in a literal format, they tend to be literal numbers. Like the 7 churches and the 24 elders. Whereas the 1260 days/years is given in symbolic language, for example, Revelation 12 says 'time, times and half a time'. And Revelation 13 says 'forty and two months'. So two different formats for the same time. Yet the 144,000 is given in a literal format and are exactly the same in both Revelation 7 and 14. Plus we have inspiration to help us.

"The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake." (Early Writings, p.14)

"They, though but a small remnant, finally triumph, and are seen on the 'sea of glass mingled with fire,' and on Mount Zion with the Lamb, singing the song of their experience, and their redemption 'from among men,' (not from the grave, for they will be alive at the coming of Christ and be changed,) which no others in all wide heaven 'could learn.'" (James White, The Third Angel's Message, p.6)

"John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." (Review and Herald, March 19, 1889, Par.6)

Important Point: Even though we believe the 144,000 to be a literal number, this is not the important point to focus on. The important point to focus on is their attributes. Because whether there are 144 thousand or 144 million, the qualifications to be part of that number remains the same. And that is perfection in Jesus Christ. We are not talking about absolute perfection, because only God has that. We are talking about a transformed life in the Spirit. A life that 'Sins no more'.

We all should be striving to be one of the 144,000 and bring glory to God. Unfortunately, the majority would rather follow the crowd, or follow their church leader rather than follow Jesus. The first commandment tells us to give all our heart, soul, mind and strength in service to God. If we truly did this, and relied upon the power of Christ's transforming Spirit in us, then we could be counted in that number. Are you willing to surrender all to Jesus?

"Then the angel said, 'You must go back, and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000, shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds and viewing the handiwork of God." (E.White, Early Writings, p.40)