This first mention of the 144,000 immediately follows the six seals during an interlude before the seventh seal.
Revelation 7:1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
Revelation 7:2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,
Revelation 7:3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees [Revelation 9:4] till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
- The 144,000 will be sealed after the Great Tribulation and Heavenly Signs.
- So none of the 144,000 have been sealed at this point in time.
- Because the 144,000 are sealed they will be protected from the Day of the Lord.
- The 144,000 are physical Israelites [12,000 from each tribe except Dan] that will be alive at that time.
- Since the 144,000 will be sealed after the Great Tribulation they will not be afforded a place of safety and will have to go through the Great Tribulation.
Now let’s compare and contrast this with the other mention of 144000
Revelation 14:1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
Lamb is Christ John 1:29; Revelation 7
Mount Zion can refer to the church; several other things;
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Christ is not physically standing on the church — this does not fit with any symbology anyway.
The reference is to a physical place and this would have to be at the return of Christ at the 7th Trump.
Obadiah 1:21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion To judge the mountains of Esau, And the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.
Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”.
1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
144,000 is obviously the same number, but it does not have to be the same people necessarily.
So, either this is describing two different groups or the same one; if it is just one then it would be just an expansion of the attributes giving us a clearer picture.
But Revelation is hard to understand — especially with the starting and stopping and interludes.
What we will see is that 144,000 is the same number, but that is where much of the similarities stop.
With that in mind let’s begin to notice this:
Father’s name Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem [reminiscent of Hebrews 12 that we read earlier], which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name
Revelation 3:10 I also will keep you from the hour of trial
If this group is Philadelphian then they do not go through the tribulation
Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.
Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 14:3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
before the throne, before the four living creatures… in their normal setting; this is not out of the ordinary
As it were…. because it was new in chapter 5:9; the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sang the new song then that was prepared for this time here
Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
Redemption is not for the spirit realm — but just for us as humans. Therefore this was not a song for them, but composed for us at a later time — the time spoken of in verse 3 above.
What we need to understand about this throne – it does not need to reside always in heaven.
before the throne… transportable throne
Ezekiel 1:4 Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Ezekiel 1:5 Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man.
Description of its movement and “propulsion”
Ezekiel 1:13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.
Ezekiel 1:14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.
Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Ezekiel 1:26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.
Ezekiel 1:27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.
Ezekiel 1:28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
This indeed was the throne of God that is described as portable.
Ezekiel 10:1 And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
Ezekiel 10:16 When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them.
Ezekiel 43:7 And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places.
Redeemed from the earth connotation of taken from the earth:
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Philippians 3:21 who [Lord Jesus Christ] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
Romans 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Paul uses words like futility or vanity and corruption to describe how the physical world is running down and moving towards decay and degeneration,
Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (men and women), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Paul is setting up this analogy to say this
the redemption of our body. [into that glorious one that was previously addressed]
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Revelation 14:4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
not defiled with women not speaking of men being with women, otherwise there would be no women in the 144,000 and we know this is not true:
Hebrews 11 mentions Sarah and Rahab as women of faith and note what awaits them as well as the men:
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
Hebrews 11:40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
So what this is talking about then?
A woman is a symbol of a church and the defiling is through a wrong church and/or wrong teachings.
The virgins are the spiritually chaste and remain a part of the true church.
2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you (as a woman/wife) to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
So they were around in a time when there were “churches” and they remained faithful. During the time of Revelation 7, the 144,000 receive the holy spirit after great tribulation. Since the definition of church is those with His holy spirit (Romans 8:9, 14) they only became a part of the church at that time and there was only one other church (woman not women) at that time to become defiled by.
So they are in the true church if they had the holy spirit which means that they:
follow the Lamb follow His word; not Him physically;
The same root word is used in 1 Peter 2:21:
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
This also is a hallmark of the Philadelphian era: “have kept My word” Revelation 3:8
redeemed from among men… not from the children of Israel (Revelation 7:4); Israelites are not mentioned;
First redemption is defined as: purchase of mankind for a price; deliverance from death by means of payment; to buy back
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Still a future fulfillment of the Passover in the future
Luke 22:15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
Luke 22:16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Just went through Pentecost and it’s meaning and we just read
Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit
so I won’t belabor this point.
James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
The caveat to this is that when it says “firstfruits” it does not say “the” or “only” so their could be others in addition this
Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
by contrast Israel was not this way (so of course this differentiates them from the physical Israelites of Revelation 7):
Zephaniah 3:11 In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds In which you transgress against Me; For then I will take away from your midst Those who rejoice in your pride, And you shall no longer be haughty In My holy mountain.
Zephaniah 3:12 I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
Zephaniah 3:13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; For they shall feed their flocks and lie down, And no one shall make them afraid.”
they are without fault before the throne of God… they have been judged
1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
So now they stand without fault before the God
Differences between the 2 groups of 144,000
Revelation 7 they go into the Great Tribulation not being sealed
Revelation 14 talks about these 144,000 firstfruits those having already been sealed
Revelation 7 if all go through the great tribulation none are in the place of safety
Revelation 14 Philadelphians will not have to go through the great tribulation as is promised to some of the firstfruits
Revelation 14 firstfruits that have had God’s holy spirit and GROWN in it
Revelation 7 if the 144,000 are sealed with the holy spirit at Jesus Christ return they will not have had the chance to grow, overcome, implement the way of God, prove to God that they want His way of life and qualify for a reward.
Revelation 14 they have been judged
Revelation 7 have nothing to be judged on
Revelation 14 are chaste virgins – meaning members of the church – the church being those with God’s holy spirit
Revelation 7 they just get the holy spirit which makes them a part of the church at that time.
Revelation 14 redeemed FROM the earth
Revelation 7 will be protected from the day of the Lord
Revelation 14 this 144,000 follow the Lamb
Revelation 7 they have not had a chance to follow the Lamb and can only do so at His return