The 144,000 – Parts 4-6

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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.)


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