Part 032 – The One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand (144,000)

The Book of REVELATION

A Study

Part 032

The One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand (144,000)

All the information regarding the 144,000

All the information regarding the 144,000, presented in chapters 7, 11, 12 and 14 of the Book of Revelation can be summarized as given below:

Chapter seven presents the sealing of the 144,000 (vv. 1-8), 12,000 from each tribe of Israel, along with the result of their ministry ― “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations…” (vv.9-17).

Chapter eleven drops back behind chapter seven in time and presents the apparent means by which the 144,000 will hear the message and be saved ― through the ministry of the two witnesses (vv.3, 13). In this chapter the 144,000 is referred as “the rest/remnant” in v.13.

Chapter twelve continues from chapter seven, providing additional information about the 144,000. In this chapter, the 144,000 being saved progressively during the first half of the Tribulation, with the complete number [all 144,000] brought forth, saved, by the middle of the Tribulation, is presented as “the birth of a man-child” (v.5); “Israel” seen as the mother and “the 144,000” seen as the child (vv.2, 4, 5). This chapter also gives details of that which will occur once the 144,000 have been brought forth (vv.1-17) and refers to the 144,000 as “the rest/remnant” in v.17.

Chapter fourteen then presents additional commentary concerning all that is revealed in chapters seven, eleven and twelve concerning the 144,000.

Viewing all the information about the 144,000 together

When all the above information is studied together, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can see the clear and complete picture about these 144,000. The gestation period for child-birth in the human realm is nine months, but for this man-child, it will be 3½ years ― the first half of the Tribulation. Development of the child in the mother’s womb (Israel’s womb) as it were, will progressively occur over a 3½ year period, as individual Jews are saved and added to the number throughout this time; this being accomplished through the ministry of the two witnesses. Then, near the middle of the Tribulation, when the number is complete, Israel would have given birth to the man-child, the 144,000 (Rev.12:2, 4, 5). The occurrence of this “birth” is indicated as “the birth pangs” or “the beginning of sorrows” in Matt.24:8 and Mark 13:8; and their ministry to be fulfilled before the end of the Tribulation is referred as, “the gospel preached to all the nations” (Matt.24:14 and Mark 13:10). Each and every individual saved prior to the Tribulation, would have been added to the Church and would have been removed at the time of rapture. Thus, all the 144,000 will have to be saved following the rapture of the Church, during the first half of the Tribulation. And when this number is completed, they are seen as “the remnant” (Rev.11:13) following the death, resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses (Rev.11:7-13). These 144,000, referred as “the remnant/rest of her offspring” will be the only people on the earth at that time, “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev.12:17). They “were afraid,” but no power could prevent them from witnessing; they boldly “gave glory to the God of heaven” (Rev.11:13).

In the middle of the Tribulation

In the middle of the Tribulation, the Beast who would have become the world ruler, will slay the two witnesses (Rev.11:7). Their bodies will lie on the streets of Jerusalem, and the whole world will rejoice. All the Jews, except the 144,000, will also apparently join in this rejoicing because they will still be unrepentant and in unbelief and guilty of the blood of the prophets, along with others sent unto them, including God’s Son (Matt.21:33-39; 23:37; Luke 13:33, 34; Rev.17:6; 18:24 19:2). After the two witnesses rise up and ascend to heaven, the Beast will break his covenant with the Jewish people, and enter into the Temple, declaring himself to be God (Dan.11:31; Matt.24:15; 2Thess.2:3, 4). At this time he will show his true colors, turn against the Jewish people and seek to destroy them from off the face of the earth.

After the middle of the Tribulation

Then the first part of Rev.11:13 apparently has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jewish people, occurring at that time. Then in the second part of Rev.11:13, attention is called to “the remnant” ― individuals who are “afraid” but boldly witness, giving “glory to the God of heaven.” The Jewish people are told to run for their lives (Matt.24:16-21). A segment of the Jewish people will escape to a specially prepared place in the wilderness or the mountainous terrain of Moab (Rev.12:6, 14; Isa.16:4). And the remainder will be either slain or sold as slaves or driven out among the nations of the earth (Joel 3:6, 7; Luke 21:20-24). The present nation of Israel will cease to exist as a nation throughout the second half of the Tribulation (Dan.9:26; Rev.11:2). Then Israel will not have a national identity, till they repent and cry out to the Lord; and then Christ, their Messiah will return, regather them from all the nations, and reestablish them in their Land (Jer.32:37-41; Ezek.36:24, 25; 37:21-28; 39:21-29; Matt.24:29-31). The present nation of Israel existing in the Middle East consists of only a part of the world Jewry; they are gathered by human efforts; they have returned back without repentance and are continuing in unbelief. But when Christ returns, the regathering and restoration will occur through Divine activity; all the Jews from all the nations will be regathered; and they will return with repentance and in belief.

The man-child caught up to God

In the middle of the Tribulation, the Beast would have attained power over all the nations, and be crowned (Rev.12:3; 13:1). Satan and his angels would have been cast down from the heavens to the earth (Rev.12:7-9, 12); and Satan would have given his power, his throne and great authority to the Beast (Rev.13:2); the Beast would have killed the two witnesses (Rev.11:7) and started severely persecuting the Jewish people (Matt.24:15-21). Satan and the Beast will also turn in fierce anger toward the man-child ― the 144,000 ― to destroy them (Rev.12:4, 17). At that moment “the man-child will be caught up to God and His throne” (Rev.12:5) to escape the wrath of Satan and the Beast. In Rev.14:1, the man-child is seen in the presence of Christ in Mount Zion in heaven. In the following verses, they are said to have been “redeemed from the earth” (v.3), “redeemed from among men” and as “the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb” (v.4). During the short time spent in heaven, the 144,000 will likely be taught the message they are to proclaim throughout the Gentile nations.

The man-child sent back to the earth

Then the 144,000 will be sent back to the earth to proclaim this message to all the nations during the second half of the Tribulation (Matt.24:14; Mark 13:10); as first-fruits of the nation, they will fulfill one of God’s purposes for calling the nation into existence. They will be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth during this time (1Kings 8:54-61; Isa.43:8, 9) and are seen as individuals possessing “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev.12:17). Immediately after introducing the 144,000 in Rev.14:1-5, an angel is seen with “the everlasting gospel” which is to be preached to all those who dwell on the earth, and giving a warning in a loud voice about the impending judgment of God (Rev.14:6, 7). Though an announcement is made by the angel, Israel is the nation which God has called into existence to deliver His message to the Gentile nations throughout the earth. What the angel announced, will be accomplished by the 144,000 ― the first-fruits ― seen in the immediately preceding verses. By the end of the Tribulation, the entire nation of Israel ― the main harvest ― will be brought forth “in one day” (Isa.66:8). After the Tribulation, the entire Jewish nation will carry God’s message worldwide during the millennium.

The entry into the Millennial Kingdom

Regarding all of us who are saved and added to the Church throughout the present dispensation, our life and labors, our sufferings and overcoming, our judgment and rewards; they are all seen fully dealt with in Revelation Chapters one to four. Now, the ministry of the 144,000 will reach to the ends of the earth in a short span of 3½ years ― to “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Rev.7:9). Many reached with the message will be slain for their faith, and they are described in Rev.6:9-11; 7:9-17; 20:4. During the time between their death and the end of the Tribulation they are seen in Christ’s presence in heaven (Rev.6:9-11 and 7:9-17), and during the Messianic Era they are seen occupying regal positions with Christ in His kingdom (Rev.20:4). Those individuals, who come out of the Tribulation alive, are seen being judged by Christ on His return in Matt.25:31-46; the faithful will be allowed to enter into the Messianic Kingdom and the unfaithful will be turned away. All the unfaithful, apart from being denied entry into the kingdom, will be punished/tormented as metaphorically pictured in John 15:6 and Heb.6:8, all through the Messianic Era.