144,000 Good Men
Using salt when instructions call for sugar dramatically changes a recipe. Sugar and salt are not the same, and no amount of symbolic interpretation can make them so. You must take the words literally, or your recipe will not come out as intended. Literal interpretation is important because words mean something.
Unfortunately, many people forsake literalism when reading the Bible, creating confusion and an improper understanding of the text. This is especially true with the book of Revelation. In Revelation 7:1–8 and 14:1–5, the apostle John described in detail a specific group of 144,000 people. Many Christians say this is merely a large company of believers. Others, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, identify themselves as the group. But the words John used make it clear that not one of these options is valid. Here is why:
- These people are sealed, saved, and Jewish—coming out of “the children of Israel” (7:4).
- John specifically listed “twelve thousand” from “all the tribes” of Israel (v. 4; cf. vv. 5–8).
- They are men who were not “defiled with women, for they are virgins” (14:4).
- They are fiercely loyal to the Lord, described as “ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (v. 4).
- They possess integrity and impeccable character. “In their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God” (v. 5).
- They stand victorious at the end of Daniel’s 70th week (the seven-year Tribulation). They are safe in Jerusalem, singing a “new song” of praise and victory they alone can sing on Earth when the Lord Jesus returns at the Second Coming (vv. 1, 3).
- They are redeemed early, “being firstfruits,” in order to serve the Lord during Daniel’s 70th week (v. 4).
- They have been marked with a seal on their foreheads, insuring their protection (7:3).
- They preach with great chutzpah (gall, nerve, extreme self-confidence). They preach consistently and constantly, unafraid of the consequences during this extremely dangerous time. Their message is the gospel of salvation through Messiah Jesus, and they preach it to all people left on Earth after the Rapture of the church. It is a message for everyone, regardless of nationality or creed. The result: “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” (v. 9).
- They are a light to the nations, a “light to the Gentiles,” fulfilling a purpose God always had for His Chosen People (Isa. 42:6; 49:6).
Thus 144,000 Jewish men will be separated for service and used by God for His purpose during the Great Tribulation, the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), because that is exactly what the words of the Bible say. And that is exactly what they mean.
2 thoughts on “144,000 Good Men”
A really good piece. Thanks!
I agree with 7 out of 10 points above but not quite for the following (3).
(1) They are redeemed early, “being firstfruits,” in order to serve the Lord during Daniel’s 70th week.
This might be true if Rev is written chronologically from beginning to end (with some interludes?) and if your rapture timing is at the pre-70th week point. However, I justifiably believe in a Tishri 1 rapture, 10-days before the Tishri 10 return of Messiah to earth followed 5-days later by the feast of Tabernacles that is the Messianic banquet Tishri 15 – 21/22. Thus these 144,000 Jewish men are indeed the first fruits of the Kingdom from Tishri 1, that is, after the resurrection/rapture near the end of Daniel`s 70th week. The creation year begins Tishri 1 but the Danielic weeks are Jubilee calendar years that END/START Tishri 10th to begin the last 1,000-years of God`s great millennial week, I.e., the 7th millennial Sabbath “DAY”.
(2) Their message is the gospel of salvation through Messiah Jesus.
Rev 14:1 – 5 is in the 2nd advent context (Tishri 10). They have been for the last 10-days teaching, witnessing priests from the 12 tribes of the one priestly nation Israel. Their message in this context is “The gospel of the Kingdom” “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and the wedding (on Tishri 1) has come and the wedding feast/reception (Tishri 15 – 21/22) is about to begin” and all are invited. Tishri 1 to Tishri 10 are Israel`s last chance to become right with God before the door is shut. By then, during those 10-days of awe, the left behind earth dwellers will be subject to the 7-bowls of God`s final wrath. Some believe from among the nations and all true “Israel” will see the Lord and be saved to enter the Millenial kingdom in mortal bodies.
(3) They are men who were not “defiled with women, for they are virgins” (14:4).
I see these 144,000 Hebrew men as priests who have obstained from sexual relations with their wives during these last 10-days of purification before the most Holiest day of the Year and 2nd advent on Tishri 10. They were sealed by the angel Tishri 1 (rev Ch 7) before the 7-bowls started and since their sealing have obstained from sexual relations and have not told a lie at all. they have been washed, sealed and made ritually pure to minister before God in the millennial temple in Jerusalem as the first fruits of the Kingdom unto God. They have not inherited the glorified kingdom by resurrection or rapture Tishri 1, but the 1,000-year earthly kingdom as the first of many. John the baptizer was maybe a type of the 144,000 as a priest, prophet and groomsman that prepared the way for people to be ready for their coming Messiah/Groom?
Note: the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls are chronological as they appear in Revelation but the book has many sub-chronological overviews. These many multiple overviews most often end with a second coming scene. And is why we have, for just one example, a description of the 7th Bowl with increasing detail, 4 times in the book of revelation 6:14-17; 8:5; 11:19 and 16:17-21.