THE 144,000 SEALED SOULS IN REVELATION
WHO ARE THE 144,000 SOULS SEALED IN REVELATION?
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. 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, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 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…
There are multiple explanations as to the fulfillment of this specific group of people who were specifically referred to by an angel in the vision of John to be servants of God. Some presume this to be figurative and not literal, pointing to all the believers of The Messiah to be the fulfilment. Some would specifically point to the first century Jews who followed The Lord Yeshua. Even some believe that only the 144,000 will be received in the Kingdom of Heaven while everyone else who are also saved shall live on this same world once it is renewed and cleaned of any corruption.
Who are these people? Why do they seem special to God in that even the destruction of the world is made contingent to the completion of their number to be sealed?
THE 144,000 ARE JEWS
The Apostle John was specific in detailing who belong to this group of people.
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:
5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.
The group of 144,000 would come from the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 thousand from each tribe, thus they are Jews. This would seem to be the hurdle why it would be hard for Christians to acknowledge this evangelical fact as this would make it appear that non-Jewish believers of Yeshua-Christos are just made secondary in importance before God. But that is simply not the case. The fact of the matter is that God loves the world (Jn. 3:16) and not just the Jewish people.
THE 144,000 ARE THE REMNANT PEOPLE OF ISRAEL
The Prophet Isaiah foretold of the remnant of God’s people:
20 And it shall come to pass in that day
That the remnant of Israel,
And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob,
Will never again depend on him who defeated them,
But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob,
To the Mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea,
A remnant of them will return;
The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord God of hosts
Will make a determined end
In the midst of all the land.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”
11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.
12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth…
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.
Could the 144,000 sealed souls seen by the Apostle John be the same remnant group of Israel who were prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah? They could very well be, and let us see how this could be scripturally sound.
In the prophecy of Isaiah, he made mention of a banner to the people (Isa. 11v10) from the root of Jesse (the father of King David) who is sought out by Gentiles. Who is He and why was He made a banner to the people? Another of his prophecy would help clarify the connection of his prophecy to the vision of John:
5 “And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
6 Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
The prophet prophesied about the chosen Servant who shall “restore the preserved ones of Israel”. The preserved ones of Israel should be the same remnant mentioned earlier as they need to be brought back or gathered, raised and restored - the same meaning as return, recover, gather and assemble mentioned in the 10th and 11th chapters of Isaiah.
The Servant given this task (also sought out by Gentiles) is God’s Son himself, Yeshua-Christos. Why are we certain on this? He was the One given by God to be man’s “salvation to the ends of the earth” (v. 6, Jn. 3:16).
THE REASON GOD KEPT A REMNANT OF ISRAEL
Why is there a need for God to keep a remnant of the tribes of Israel? What has He done to them?
7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
There was a time in the history of the nation of Israel when God cut-off His relationship with them. When He did, two-thirds were cut off and die while preserving one-third and leaving them in.
Why would God ever put an end with His relationship to the people of Israel? This would happen when they strike the Shepherd – the Man who is God’s companion. The Shepherd and companion of God is none other than His Son, The Lord Yeshua-Christos. The time when the people of Israel killed The Messiah is the time when God put an end with His relationship as God to them. Who are represented by the two groups whom God cut-off? They are the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel – these two kingdoms were composed of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Who are the last one group of people whom God preserved? They will come from both kingdoms of Judah and Israel, the ‘same preserved ones and remnants’ prophesied by Isaiah in multiple instances and were seen by Apostle John to total 144,000 once their number is completed.
GOD’S EVERLASTING COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
Why is there a need for God to save a remnant of the people of Israel?
19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.
The Almighty God has established an Everlasting Covenant with Abraham. Had He completely cut-off every one of the nation of Israel then He would have had breached His Covenant with Abraham, a thing that He could never do.
THE SEALING OF THE 144,000
As stated in Revelation 7v3, someone is sealing the remnant people of Israel. It is important to note the relevance of this work of sealing as well as the completion of the number (144,000) in such that even the harming or destruction of the world is put on hold. Who has the seal and what is this seal?
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
According to The Savior, “God The Father has set His seal on Him.” What is the importance of the Seal of God on His Son? It simply shows the delegation of God’s authority unto His Son so that The Son can do His work of saving (Isa. 63:8-9; Jn. 12:47) and of judging the world (Jn. 5:22, 27). In the case of the 144,000 remnant Jews, the One who does their sealing is none other than The Messiah himself together with His angels or messengers.
How is the work of sealing done and when will it be completed?
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The work of sealing is done when the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached – it is all the things commanded by The Savior. Take note of this very important fact, only the teachings of The Savior shall be taught as only them can seal one and make him or her a true disciple.
To further clarify this specific sub-topic: The Savior has the seal and He does the sealing with His disciples. This is the very reason He commissioned them to “make disciples of all the nations” and to preach “in all the world” as the Jewish people have become a nomad people and can be found in (possibly) all the nations around the world!
What is the correlation between the totality of the number 144,000 from among the remnant of Israel with the return of The Savior otherwise presented in Revelation 6v17 as the great day of the Lord’s wrath? As mentioned in Revelation 7v3, that day of total destruction will not come until each one of the 144,000 has been sealed and accounted for. If so, it would be safe to assume that the sealing and accounting of this specific group of God’s servants is not yet completed since The Lord Yeshua has not returned yet.
JEWS AND NOT THE GENTILE FOLLOWERS
What proves the apocalyptical fact that the 144,000 mentioned in the 7thChapter of Revelation are not the Gentile believers of The Messiah?
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, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 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. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The great multitude who could not be numbered due to their sheer number yet still receive God’s salvation and heavenly life that is eternal are the Gentile believers and followers of The Christ! How could we be so certain? They come from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.” They also receive the same salvation and eternal life as the Jews who number a total of 144,000.
Why were they presented separately in John’s vision? It is not to mark a dividing line between Jews and Gentiles in the Kingdom of Heaven but rather to simply emphasize to all of God’s people that within His work of salvation is embedded His specific will to fulfill His Everlasting Covenant with Abraham by saving a remnant of His descendants.
Why would it be a misfortune to Gentile followers of The Christ who fail to see this evangelical importance but rather cling to the notion that they are part of the 144,000 servants of God though they are not Jews?
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Non-Jews who claim to be among the 144,000 are in essence claiming to be Jews. This is not a good thing as this is blasphemy and those who fall unto this wrong mindset are called by The Savior as a synagogue of Satan. And rightfully so, since this mindset will derail His specific mission of bringing back the remnant of Israel unto God.
If Gentile believers and followers are already convinced that they are the prophesied 144,000 in Revelation, would they still reach out to the Jews in order to teach them about The Lord Yeshua being God’s Son and Savior of the world? Most likely not.
IMPORTANCE OF GENTILE DISCIPLES
In prophetic times, it has already been foretold how important the Gentile followers are to The Lord’s work of salvation. Here’s how Isaiah prophesied about their relevance.
(Isaiah 61:1, 5)
1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound…
5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner
Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
The strangers and sons of the foreigner who are prophesied by Isaiah to be the plowmen and vinedressers (or field workers) of the prophesied Messiah (verse 1) are His Gentile disciples. They play a vital role in the work of The Christ in tending and feeding of His flock. This spirit of prophecy is the same spirit of The Savior when He commanded His mainly Jewish disciples “to make disciples of all the nations” (Mat. 28:19) so that “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world” (Mat. 24:14) which will naturally effect to the completion of the work of sealing the remnant people of Israel (144,000).
In The Lord’s general mission of saving the world, He has a specific task - a work so important that even the day of His return is dependent on its completion. This mission, which is to gather the remnant of Israel, has been prophesied by Isaiah hundreds of years before The Lord’s appearance on earth, and shall continue until each one of the 144,000 Jewish souls have sealed and accounted for.
Prior to The Messiah’s ascension to heaven, He has commissioned all of His disciples (Jews and Gentiles) to do His work for Him – to save as many men that could be saved including the 144,000 Jews. When this specific task of The Savior is completed, “then the end will come.”