Who are the 144,000?
In Revelation 7, we are introduced to a special group of believers who are called “the servants of our God” (Revelation 7:3). They are sealed by God for ministry before the 7th seal is opened. This number is exact of a certain group of people – the Jews, 12,000 from 12 tribes (Rev.7:4).
Some people claim that we do not know who they all are. It does not matter, God does.
The tribe of Dan is excluded (Revelation 7:6) and Manasseh who is one of the sons of Joseph takes his place.)
The 144,000 are not sealed to become Israel but are sealed OUT OF Israel.The Bible tells us these men from the 12 tribes of Israel who will be evangelists to the world during the Tribulation period.
The genealogical background of the 144,000 is Hebrew Rev. 7 tell us clearly that they will be totally Jewish in origin because they are called “children of Israel”. The scripture tells us plainly that there will be 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The importance of the number 12 is a consistent one. In Mt.10:2 Jesus picks 12 men that will be evangelists to Israel (in contradistinction, Jesus seals 12,000 men from 12 tribes to go to the world). Acts 1:21-26, the 11 apostles recognize that Judas must be replaced to keep this consistent number of 12.
Matt 19:28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
In heaven the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles are recognized. Rev. 21:12-14: “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Of the New Jerusalem the number is kept as its theme:
“The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel” (Rev. 21:16-17).
The 144,000 will be saved men that will give faithful witness to Jesus Christ- they are His Jewish witnesses in the Tribulation period.
These are later referred to (Revelation 14:4) as the “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb”. They will be the first to come to Christ as Saviour in the Tribulation period.
It will be these evangelists that will go throughout the world preaching the gospel fulfilling what Jesus said “and then the end will come.”
Rev 7:9: After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” These are those saved by the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists from without the world as the witness to every nation and people.. The white robes ands palm branches speak of salvation.
Rev. 7:13-14 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
This is a future people that are saved during the great tribulation. This is not taking place now.
In Rev. 14 we see them in a vision with the Messiah on the mount when he returns.
They are sealed for ministry and protection throughout the tribulation period:
In Rev. 9:1-4 the bottomless pit is open and this demonic force are told not to touch those who are sealed Rev 9: 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
And they are also virgins (this should be taken literally):
Rev. 14:4-5: “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. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
So we learn that they are all males, they are unmarried (virgins) and they speak only truth (no deceit in their mouth).
The 144,000 Jews appear to be on the earth throughout the complete tribulation period as they are sealed for doing ministry. Being sent throughout the world they might be in the city of Petra (Bozrah) when Israel flees at the second half of the Tribulation (Rev.12), and be influential in leading Israel into their repentance (Zech.12:9-14); then they will call upon Jesus to come back (Mt.23:39; Zech. 13:9; Hosea 5:15; Rom.11:26), first to rescue them then to the valley of Meggido where the battle of Armageddon will occur (Zech.14:2-5.)