The 144,000 of Revelation
The 144 thousand are mentioned twice in the book of Revelation. Let's look at the scripture containing the 144,000 ... Revelation 7:4 ...'And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.'
Revelation 14:1 ...'And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.' ... It says that the 144 thousand are from the 12 tribes of Israel in chapter 7. You will note that the order in which the tribes are listed is the only time they are listed like this in the entire Bible. Are these literal Israelites? Well, look at many other things in Revelation, 'The candlesticks'; 'The stars'; 'The Horses'; The beasts'; 'The harlot woman'; Are these literal? Of course not. Revelation is full of prophetic symbols. I believe these 144,000 are a type of God's 'special forces'. A group of people taking God's truth to the world at the end times, exposing the antichrist and staying true to Christ Jesus, and as the Bible says, they are the one's keeping God's Commandments and continuing in the truth 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.'
You could say that the 12 apostles were a type of God's special forces in the New Testament. After Jesus had trained them, He used them to take His message to the world, to penetrate satan's dominion and cause a great expansion of the Christian faith. And so are these 144 thousand given the same job during the end of time. But who are they? The majority of the Christian world believe that they are literal Jews. Are they right? The first thing I ask you to do, is to pray and ask God to reveal the truth about this subject to you. The second thing I ask is that you go and compare what I say here with the Word of God. God's Word is the true test of anything said, and whether you agree or disagree with the views stated here, I ask that you check it against the Word. Please see HERE for the truth about Israel in the end times.
Could the 144,000 be literal Israelites? Well, take a look at 2 Kings 17:6 ...'In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.' ... The ten northern tribes of Israel gave themselves over to idolatry, therefore, God gave the Israelites over to the Assyrians, to carry them away in 722BC. Now when the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were later carried off to Babylon, after 70 years in exile there, thousands returned to Israel from these two tribes. But, nowhere in the Bible does it mention any mass return from the ten other tribes back to Israel ... 2 Kings 17:24 ...'And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.' ..... As you can see from the above verse, the King of Assyria brought back to Israel an assortment of people from the pagan nations. These later became known as the 'Samaritans', which is why the Jews in the New Testament detested them, because they were not pure blood Israelites.
"Today, a genealogist would be hard pressed to find even one vaguely pure descendant from the tribe of Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, or Simeon—much less 12,000! In fact, because these tribes were so thoroughly scattered around the world and assimilated by their host nations, it is very possible even you have traces of Abraham in your bloodline." (D.Bachelor, Amazing Facts)
God confirmed that He would scatter them among all the other nations ... Ezekiel 12:15 ...'And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries.'
Who are TRUE Israel?
Romans 2:28-29 ...'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; whose praise is not of men, but of God.'
Galatians 3:28-29 ...'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.'
Colossians 3:11 ...'Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.'
Do you see who the true Israelites are? They are you and me, or anyone who follows Jesus with all their heart and soul. So when the Bible talks about Israel, it is talking about 'spiritual' Israel, anyone who is in Christ Jesus. God no longer counts literal Israel as His chosen nation. Do you know why? If you study the 70 weeks of Daniel, FOUND HERE, you will see that God gave the Jews 490 years from the time of the command to rebuild Jerusalem in 457BC to put an end to their sins and make reconciliation with God. This prophecy came to an end in 34AD. Do you know what happened then? Stephen gave the Jewish leaders his famous speech, to which they closed their ears and then stoned him. In doing this, the Jews had rejected Jesus completely, they had rejected God's grace and therefore they lost their place as God's chosen nation. Jesus Himself told them this ... Matthew 23:38 ...'Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.'
And now the apostles in the New Testament books refer to the Christian church as Israel (spiritual Israel) and God's chosen nation:
1 Peter 2:9-10 ...'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.'
Do you see who Peter is talking to? He is talking to those who were in darkness but have been called into God's marvellous light, who were once NOT a people, but are now the people of God. These are clearly Christians who were Gentiles, not Jews. And yet this is the exact label that God gave to the Jews in the Old Testament ... Deuteronomy 14:2 ...'For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.' ... Do you see? Christians are a continuation of Israel from the Old Testament. There is no longer the Jew as being God's chosen, for we are now ALL ONE in Christ Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile.
James 1:1 ...'James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.' ... James' book is clearly addressed to the new Christian church and yet he refers to them as the 12 tribes. This is how God sees us now, we are spiritual Jews. We are spiritual Israel who worship God in spirit and truth, as THIS WORSHIP SITE shows.
Note: Jesus wasn't concerned about choosing the 12 apostles from the different tribes of Israel. Most of them came from the one tribe of Judah. So why would He be concerned about the 144 thousand coming from the literal 12 different tribes in Revelation?
What about the number 144,000 itself. Is this an exact number of God's special end time Christian force? There's no reason why it shouldn't be. In Revelation, although there are many symbols, the numbers stated often equate to literal numbers. Like the 7 churches, the 24 elders etc. These are literal numbers. 144 thousand is the sum of 12 x 12,000. Now the number 12 is a symbol of God's kingdom. There are 12 gates to the new Jerusalem, 12 foundations, 12 kinds of fruit on the tree of life. There were 12 tribes of Israel from the Old Testament, 12 stones on the breastplate of the high priest, 12 patriarchs, 12 judges and of course the 12 apostles in the New Testament. But does this mean that only 144 thousand people at the end will be saved? Although this number could be an exact number of God's end time Christian army, praise God, they are not the only one's saved. See the following verse:
Revelation 7:9 ... 'After this I beheld, and, lo, 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.' ... After the listing of the 144,000, John sees this great multitude of people, which no man could number. So although we should strive to be part of the 144,000 who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, these are not the only ones saved.
Revelation 7:13-14 ...'And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. 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.'
So these are the multitudes that came out of great tribulation. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians don't believe they will have to go through any tribulation, because they believe they will be raptured away before it starts. If you are one of these who believe in the rapture, then I urge you to see THIS WEBSITE for the truth. Countless millions of Christians throughout the dark ages went through tribulation when the Roman Catholic Church persecuted anyone who would not bow down to her, where at least 50 million were slaughtered for their true faith in Jesus Christ. (By the way, 50 million is a conservative estimate). God's true followers have always been persecuted and have gone through much tribulation throughout history, and it will be the same for the end time saints. So there was one great tribulation during the reign of the Roman Catholic Church in the dark ages, and there will be another great tribulation just before Jesus returns. Friend, we need to be ready for it!
Daniel 12:1 ...'And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.'
Remember what makes these 144,000 special ... Revelation 14:4 ...'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.' ... They follow Jesus wherever He goes. A woman in prophecy is a symbol of a church. Therefore, these people have not defiled themselves with false religion, or apostasy, and have kept their faith based on the pure doctrine of God's Word, rather than on the tradition of man. And what do they do? ... Revelation 14:12 ...'Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.' ... They keep the Ten Commandments of God and keep the faith of Jesus Christ.
What Job does the 144,000 Do?
Revelation 18:1-4 ...'And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.'
An angel in Bible prophecy represents a 'messenger'. So we are not going to see a literal angel flying around the world with the above message. It is a symbol of God's messengers on earth, His true people. And who is it that will 'lighten up the earth with the glory of God'? It will be the 144,000 who have put on the character of Christ Jesus. God will pour out His Spirit upon this group and empower them to lighten up the world with His glory. The 144,000 are a special end time group of people who completely surrender to the Lord and follow Jesus in all His ways. They love the Lord so much that they would rather die than sin against Him.
And what call do the 144,000 make to the world? 'Babylon has fallen, fallen, 'COME OUT of her God's people' - The 144,000 make the 'loud cry' to God's people caught in the fallen churches and religions to come out!
Who will the 144,000 be? Will they be the leaders of the church? Men of high position and well educated? Well, take a look at the following inspired quote. I think we will all be surprised as to who makes up the 144,000.
"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 Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 319)
This is the Bible truth about the 144,000. We all should be striving to be one of the 144,000. Follow Jesus wherever He goes and give all your heart, soul, mind and strength in service to Him.