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The 144,000 – Parts 4-6


Begin Text:

The identity and purpose of the 144,000 has been puzzling to Christians for 2,000 years. Because the 144,000 come form the 12 tribes of Israel, some Christians believe the 144,000 will come from the Jewish race. They believe these 144,000 Jews will be converted to Jesus after a rapture of the church takes place, and the 144,000 will preach the gospel of Jesus throughout the whole world.


On the other hand, a number of Christian denominations believe the 144,000 will come form their particular church. These denominations typically believe they are “Spiritual Israel” – and as such, the 144,000 from their church membership will serve the Lord as Kings and priests when He takes the saints to Heaven.


Other Christians say the number, 144,000, is a symbolic number – that is simply represents a numberless multitude of people that will be redeemed at the Second Coming. One thing is certain; there is no lack of diversity among Christians!


I’d like to begin today’s study by presenting a number of statements (assertions) about the 144,000 and then, we will examine the details. I would like to present these conclusions first so that you can see what the Bible actually says a lot about the identity and mission of the 144,000.


1.   The number, 144,000, is a literal number. It is literalbecause there is no such thing as a symbolic number in the Bible. The Bible says that 12,000 people will be selected from the 12 tribes of Israel. If the twelve tribes are literal, so is the number, 144,000. Yes, John saw a numberless group of people taken to Heaven, but the 144,000 are not part of the numberless group.


2.   Before the commencement of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will thoroughly test and select 144,000 people from all over the world to be His prophets. These prophets will speak for Jesus during the Great Tribulation.


3.   144,000 prophets will be selected from every language, religion, culture and nation. That’s right, under the New Covenant, the 12 tribes of Israel are determined by the condition of their hearts instead of genealogy, religion or race. Because Jesus can read hearts, He will handpick 144,000 faith-ful-honest-hearted people from every walk of life to speak for Him during the Great Tribulation. At the present time, most of the people who make up the 144,000 are not Christian. However this will change. The 144,000 will become immediate followers of Jesus just like Saul the Jew became Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.


The 144,000 will be given words from Jesus to speak just like Ezekiel was given words to speak. (Ezekiel 3; Revelation 10) This means the testimony of the 144,000 will be “the testimony of Jesus.” The 144,000 will be given boldness and holy courage to fearlessly deliver an unvarnished and antagonizing testimony to their fellow brothers and sisters.”

They will not speak on their own. They will speak with clarity and the penetrating power of the Holy Spirit as did John the Baptist. They will speak the truth in the plainest of terms and they will suffer painful consequences.


4.   By suddenly transforming 144,000 faith-ful-honest-hearted people from every religion into followers of Jesus, Jesus will have “converted brothers and sisters” speaking to their fellow “brothers and sisters.” This simple arrangement will help to overcome the world’s greatest problem: Religious arrogance. Consider this: 


By choosing 144,000 people out of every religion, tribe, language and nation Jesus will be able to save the largest number of people during the Great Tribulation because each ethnic group of people will hear one of their own speaking the words of Jesus…  And those within every culture, race and religion who love truth will receive the words of Jesus and take their stand with the 144,000!


The 144,000 will not be soliciting money nor given to display and theatrics. They will not be attended by a 20-piece band. They will not act pompous nor “showboat.”  Rather, they will humbly speak “the testimony of Jesus.” They will forcibly present the terms and conditions for salvation as Jesus speaks through them.


Because of the fear and turmoil at that time, most of the Earth will be inclined, at first, to listen to the 144,000 because of the horrible manifestations of God’s wrath. I believe the 144,000 will predict in advance, the timing and nature of each of God’s coming judgments. As these events occur on time, the 144,000 will gain credibility and it will become clear to honest-hearted people that the 144,000 are speaking for Jesus.


Furthermore, the 144,000 will be able to perform miracles at will. This, too, will give them credibility. As I said, the 144,000 will present the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will address the religious errors and practices of their fellow brothers and sisters. Of course, this will anger a lot of people.


But, by using converted brothers to speak for fellow brothers, Jesus will be able to get around some of the religious prejudices that presently thwart the advancement of His gospel. Furthermore, this method of using brothers to speak to brothers allows the honest in heart within all religions to thoughtfully consider the will of God from within their religious paradigms.


(In other words, a Moslem will not listen to a Jew nor will he have to become a Jew in order to be saved. A Protestant will not have to listen to a Moslem nor will he have to become a Moslem to be saved.) Very clever of God.


5.   According to Joel 2, the 144,000 will be both men and women. The book of Revelation also says they will not be ‘defiled by women.” This phrase is often misinterpreted. The idea of not being defiled by women comes from Ezra 9 & 10 where the Levites defiled themselves by marrying foreign women during the Babylonian Captivity. When the Jews returned to their homeland after the captivity, this compromise was discovered. In order to serve the Lord in His temple, the Levites were put to a difficult choice: they either had to divorce their wives and leave their children or forfeit the priesthood.  


God had forbidden the Israelites from marrying foreign women because God knew foreign women would defile the nation. (Solomon is a good example of what foreign women can do to a king and to a nation.)  The point here is that 144,000 will not be distracted from their calling. They will not be held back by marriage or familial relationships. The 144,000 will belong first to Jesus and they will not allow human relationships even their marriages to interfere with their calling and mission. (More about this later on.)


6.   For the most part, the 144,000 will be lowly people humble people, not highly educated – very ordinary people – upon whom the extraordinary power and authority of the Holy Spirit will rest. By temperament and disposition, these men and women will range from timid to aggressive. Intellectually, they will range from simple to profound. Age wise, they will range from young to old.


7.   Few, if any, of the 144,000 will know each other, yet they will all say and do the same things.


8.   Most, if not all of the 144,000 will die as martyrs during the Great Tribulation.


9.   Problem:   Because the 144,000 are scattered and diverse, because the 144,000 will be ordinary people, because the 144,000 will not be recognized by the world as prophets of God, a big problem will arise. (Incidentally, the same thing happened to Paul.) So, how will people be able to tell whether the 144,000 speak for God or whether they are demon possessed? (Remember, the Pharisees though John the Baptist and Jesus were demon possessed. Luke 7:33, John 7:20)


So, how does Jesus prove to a diverse human race that the 144,000 are His prophets, speaking His Words? Two infallible witnesses will confirm the authenticity of the 144,000: The Bible will back up everything they teach. Even more, they will speak with usual authority and the Holy Spirit will give their words incredible weight – piercing the heart and convicting those who hear them with overwhelming guilt. (John 16:8) These two witnesses, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, will validate the message and the messengers of Jesus.


10.   As firstfruits of the end-time harvest, the 144,000 will be sealed first. They will be first to have their carnal natures removes. After they are sealed, they will have no predisposition or proclivity for sin as human beings currently do. After they are sealed, the 144,000 will be Adam and Eve before their fall. The 144,000 will be living examples of God’s covenant promise to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin. In other words, the gospel message presented by the 144,000 includes God’s covenant promise to set us free from the power of sin.


The wonderful thing about this is that after a person is sealed, he will not be tempted to sin as we now are. (Incidentally, the sealing explains how sinners will be able to live on Earth after mercy ends without sinning.)


11.   The 144,000 will accomplish in a mere 1,260 days more than all Christian missionaries combined have been able to accomplish in the past 2,000 years. Did you know that the population of the world is nearing 7 billion? Did you know that the total number of people claiming to be Christian is only 27% of the world’s population? Did you know that 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 25? Did you know that 4 billion people live on less than $ 3 dollars a day?


Did you know that according to the American Bible society, 3.5 billion people have never heard of the name of Jesus and this number is currently increasing by 78 million people per year? When you ponder these statistics, one thing becomes very clear: Unless the Lord Himself carries out the gospel commission, the end of the world won’t happen for two thousand more years!


Jesus said:


Matthew 24:14   “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”


12.   The 144,000 will not be self-appointed. In other words, a person cannot volunteer for the job. In fact, if it were not for Jesus appearing before them and empowering them to do what he wants done, they would not choose the job nor the responsibility of being a prophet during the Great Tribulation. The Bible reveals that the life span of God’s prophets is usually short and very painful.


13.   The 144,000 will be taken to Heaven on the 1,265th day of the Great Tribulation (a Sunday?). They will be presented to God as first fruits (a sample) of the coming harvest of “sealed souls.” The 144,000 will return to Earth with Jesus at the Second Coming. The wicked who put them to death will see them coming with Jesus! But, millions will be redeemed through the faithfulness, sacrifices and suffering of the 144,000. 


14.   Why did God limit the number of prophets from the 12 tribes to 144,000 in the first place? What is the significance of 12,000 being selected from each of the 12 tribes? There’s an important object lesson in this matter. It parallels “Gideon’s army.” When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, He wanted to make the nation of Israel a nation of priests and kings.


God wanted the nation of Israel to be a light unto salvation for the Gentiles. So, God chose the biological descendants of Abraham to be a nation of priests and kings because He wanted a nation of “faith-full Abraham look-alikes” to serve as trustees of His gospel.


Originally, under the Old Covenant or “Plan A” as I call it, it was planned that Jesus would come to Earth and die for our sins. THEN, Jesus would set up His eternal kingdom on Earth. (Instead of returning to Heaven.)


Later on, when the time was right, it was also planned that Jesus would purge the faithless in Israel out of His kingdom. After this purge, Jesus would then send out a pure nation of Israel (12 tribes) into the world to invite everyone to come to the city of Jerusalem and be saved from the great destruction that was about to befall Earth. (We covered this topic at length in our study on the book of Ezekiel.)


This scenario is just like the message in Noah’s day. “If you want to live, come and get in the ark.” In other words, everyone in the world was to be invited to come and participate in salvation because the time for the destruction of sin had sinners had come.


And, as you well know, “Plan A” was not implanted because of Israel’s rebellion, therefore, God established a New Covenant (which I call “Plan B.”) God modified the final gathering of the honest-in-heart in “Plan B.”  The result is that at the appointed time, Jesus will send a measly 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes throughout the world with a message that will separate the sheep form the goats in all religions. 144,000 servants represent 1 prophet to approx 50,000 people.


So, under Plan B….


a.   Everyone will hear the gospel invitation. Instead of traveling to Jerusalem to get inside the city (as in Plan A), people will be invited to enter into God’s rest on His holy day. Of course, the price in terms of persecution for doing so will be great.


b.   Everyone will have to make a decision for or against the demands of God on how He wants to be worshiped. (You know about the fourth commandment.)


c.   Everyone will be tested with persecution to see what his decision really is.


d.   Then, those who take hold of God’s offer through faith will be given the seal of God.


Eventually, all who refuse to enter into God’s rest will be forced to take the mark of the beast. Thus, the sheep will be separated from the goats – all over the world! After this separation has been completed (and other matters resolved), all the sheep will be gathered up into the air and taken to the Holy City at the time of the Second Coming.


The point here is that under Plan B (the New Covenant), Jesus accomplishes the separation of the sheep from the goats in every corner of the world using a tiny fraction of the army that He would have used under Plan A! It’s a Gideon’s army parallel….  And we all know that Gideon didn’t get the glory for that victory, the Lord did!

The harvest

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty!”


The bad news for organized religion is that God is going to “leapfrog” all Christian organizations by doing something very simple. He will choose people from every religion to be His prophets – His spokespersons for the end-time.


The simple plan of converted brothers and sisters will help to deflect man’s inherent religious arrogance and ignorance (both of which are so great that they cannot be measured). For example, what would be the possibility of a devout Christian listening to the gospel of a devout Moslem? And the reverse is also true!


A devout Moslem cannot listen to a devout Christian and vise versa.


So, God shows His love and generosity to all of us. He addresses the diversity of mankind by converting faith-full-honest-hearted people within all religions and they will speak to their own people for 1,260 days. How cool is this?


When the dust finally settles after 1,260 days, the harvest resulting from the work of the 144,000 will be a numberless multitude that comes from every nation, kindred, tongue and people. God will be able to save the maximum number of people this way!


What a merciful God! What a God of love! Jesus will choose the humblest of people as instruments of His glory to save a world full of faith-full-honest-hearted sinners! “Thank you, Jesus.”


Now that you have heard a summery statement of my understanding on the 144,000, let’s look at some details to see how these conclusions were reached.



                                                                              4th Seal

Jubilee Calendar Ends - /                                Today  / --1,260------

70 Jubilee cycles-------/------------------------------x--/-------------------      

                                   1994         WAIT!!                 Earthquake

                                Full cup


Angels given seven trumpets in 1994:


Revelation 8:2   And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.




Revelation 7:3   “Do not harm the Earth until the seal of God is put on the 144,000 servants.


These four angels have been waiting since 1994 to hear the following words: Revelation 10:6 … “There is no more delay!


When the appointed time arrives, the 4th seal will be broken open and the punitive judgments of God will begin. There will be a global earthquake.


This earthquake will break up the world into small physical cells (thus eliminating travel), and in each cell, there will be a prophet of God. (1/50,000) The infrastructures of Earth will be badly damaged (transportation, communication, commerce, banking, economy, etc.) There will be panic and anxiety everywhere. The 144,000 will begin to speak….


They will speak and the world will hear the words of Jesus, “the testimony of Jesus” through them. They will predict the time and places of the first trumpet judgment. Etc. They will present four messages that we will discuss later on…..


Before we close, I would like to show you an overview of the relationships that exist between the first four prophecies (P1, P2, P3, P4) in Revelation:



                                                                          Four           Many         Second

Seals P1:        1798   1800   1844                    Judgments  Martyrs      Coming


                        1          2          3               Today   4                5                     6


144,000    P2                                                          /x-----------------------------/----/


Trumpets  P3:                                                         /---------------------/

                                                                                 1234       5     6


Two Witnesses   P4:                                               /---- 1,260 Days----/

                                                                                                    7th Trumpet


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