Who are they?
Revelation 7:1-8 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
Revelation 14:3-5 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
So, what do we know about this elite group? We know they are descendants of Jacob (Israel). This is plain to see. Some view 144,000 as symbolic. This can not be since the bible makes this group very distinctive. If it were symbolic there would be symbolism associated with the other passages about this group. Some even claim that the 144,000 will be the only ones redeemed. This can not be true as the bible shows a larger group that is also redeemed. The bible even states that the 144,000 are the firstfriuts, not the only fruits.
Most claim that the 144,000 are strictly Jewish simply because they are of the tribes of Israel. There are several reasons why this can not be true. First of all, this group follows the Lamb where ever He goes. Therefore they must believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Jews do not believe this. Messianic Jews are a possibility but, again, the bible does not directly say they are Jewish in any sense. Secondly, there is no longer a pure bloodline of the 12 tribes. The tribe of Judah, for example, has a mixed bloodline. King David had a son named Solomon, who later became king. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Most, if not all, were not Hebrew or Jewish. King Solomon had a son named Rehoboam, who later became king. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, the Ammonite. Just in three generations we can see how the blood line does not mean only Jewish today. This, by the way, is the blood line of Jesus Christ. You could be a descendant of one of these tribes. Even if you are not directly from the bloodline of the 12 tribes, you are still considered a seed of Abraham, through Jesus Christ. Either way, you are richly blessed.
Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Back to the 144,000. What do we know so far? They are an actual group during the end times. They are descendants from the 12 tribes of Israel. They are not strictly Jewish. We learn from Revelation 14 that this group stands with Christ on Mount Sion just before the harvest, or “rapture”. We also learn from Revelation 14 that this group will sing a new song which no man can learn, they are virgins, no guile is found in their mouth. Meaning they are not deceptive or liars. They are redeemed from among men, it doesn’t say they are men. Our human race is called man throughout the bible. This group could easily be children.
About the seal set upon this group. I would like to point out that all of God’s people have His seal upon them.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ephesians 1:9-14 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Interesting that the 144,000 are not sealed until the end.
I’m going to end this with a piece from Ezekiel 8-11.
He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar.
And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.
Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.
Who marked the forehead of the man clothed with linen who had the writer’s inkhorn?