144,000 - Part 1
By Your servant, Dan L Baxley
144,000 Who are They?
So much has been said and written about the 144,00, mentioned in the book of Revelation, that it is difficult to know where to start. Most of what is found, outside of the Biblical narrative, is speculations and outright assumptions that are nothing more than the imaginations of men.
The Word, recorded in the Book of Revelation, chapter 7 and chapter 14, is conveying to the Believer, through the visions (and dreams), given to the Apostle John, a specific number concerning a certain people -- a particular people, who are named by group and the number for each, collective group is given. The number is 144,000, not a million, not a billion, but 12,000 in each group and there being 12 groups, or Tribal families, amounting to 144,000 total. I repeat this because too many try to make this about themselves or their small group or giant group, all wanting to be the 144,000.
Verses 5-8, goes on to name and list the number 12,000 from each Tribe. Some try to make this number mean something other than what really means, what is clearly stated. To repeat, again, it is the number of Israelites, 12,000 from each tribe, that our Creator, our Savior, Himself has determined to be the actual “first fruits” representative of and for Himself at a time of His Return -- yes, there are other, millions of others, others that are not Israelis, but these others are not the 144,000, they are believers from the other nations, who will be raised back to life (Rev 7:9, the Great Multitude). The 144,000, are actual people, people of Israel, from the line and blood of the of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel -- these are saved (separated) from among the actual flesh and blood people of Israel to stand with YaHshua at His return -- these are those changed, quickened, born again, from the flesh to the Spirit -- the Firstfruits offered to God the Father and to the Lamb. Go to the Word:(Rev 7:1) 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.(Rev 7:2) 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,(Rev 7:3) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.(Rev 7:4) 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.
“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.” (Rev. 14:1)"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." (Rev 14:4)
Several things in these two verses stand out, but first things first. Let’s establish the fact that the number mentioned is an actual number and not a symbol for a greater, or lesser, number of people or groups. Go to the Word:
“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:” (Rev. 7:4)
The 144,000 is not the Church or Some Secret Society
The 144,000 is not 144,000 Jewish evangelicals set loose on the world after the (false) rapture, preaching the Gospel.
The 144,000 is not "symbolic" of some special group -- Jehovah's Witnesses used to claim they were the 144,000 -- that is until their own numbers grew beyond that number, then it became "symbolic". Don't forget, either, that the Jehovah's Witnesses, also call on and worship in the false name, JESUS, just like all of the other Jesus name callers.
The 144,000 was not replaced by the Roman Catholic Church -- another useless symbolic application, also connected to the Replacement Theology concept (The New Israel, replacing the Old Israel) and, or, the Dominion Gospel, both of which are false. The 144,000, numbered as all Israelis, by blood, actual descendant of Jacob, does not fit the fake or false narratives, so the imaginations of men go to work. I suppose, if one is going to take on the mantle of Israel and replace them, you know, as the Chosen People, then these same usurpers should be willing to take on the curses and cursing that follow them and hang over their heads, as well, right? Before the people of Isarel, ever get to the 144,000, a relative small number in comparison to the population of the world or some other religions, but before this number is literally set aside to receive YaHshua, many trials and tribulations are to come on this people.
The 144,000 are not the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 -- I know, but some do teach this. It is as if some teachers want these selected and very special people to be anything, or anyone other than Jewish/Israelis.
Please stay with me as we go through a few things so we can all be on the "same page", so to speak, ridding ourselves from all of this misguided conjecture, simply by accepting what we read from these two verses and no more, no less. This 144,000 is a certain number, a diffinite number of people, a people from the loins of the man called Jacob, later changed to Israeli -- his descendants. These do not represent all Israel either, but from among the people of Israel, a certain number set aside by our Savior for Himself. This is something very similar to another number of "set aside" people, a selected number of people mentioned in the Old Covenant -- The 7,000 He set aside in the time of Elijah (Rom 11:2-4, 1 Kings 19:18). Let's dig a little more --
There is an interesting thing about bible prophecy -- when something is given in symbolic language, or a parable, or a dream, even a vision, it is usually explained within the context of the subject being discussed. In other words, believers are not kept in the dark about teachings revealed to them in the pages of the Word. The words in this book may seem foolish to the World (John 16:13, 1 Cor 2:14). The World reads and does not understand so the World is critical of the Word because of their lack of understanding, which comes, first from not accepting the word as the real Truth, denying the Creator and Savior Himself -- so goes their ignorance and lack of understanding. But from the word we, believers, can understand as revelations from out Creator -- so, we can forgive them for not understanding what is supposed to be a revelation for us, the Believer, but a witness against them -- the World.
What is a true shame is when those with the spirit of the Living God slide right by the principle of "context" and falling into the various traps set to confuse the "revealing". Actually, it is not a principle at all, it is an observation that all believers and professing followers of the Word revealed should be aware of without question. Does this mean that the Believer has all truth and understanding right now, all at once? Of course not, otherwise there would be no need for the instruction to “study” (2 Tim 2:15), plus, all believers would have the same knowledge at the same time and we know that is not so. But, in your search for the truth and the understanding of the Word, the scriptures must speak for themselves, just as though delivered by the angel of the Lord, just as it was delivered to John, who obliged us with a written record. Now here is the principle that is a principle, and we will go to the Word for that "principle":
“What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles (Words) of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: ...” (Romans 3:1-4)
When it comes to what we need to know, what we need to understand then let it come from the Word, from the pages of the scriptures and by comparison – as coming from the Living God YH. “… every man a liar.” Our authority comes from the pages of the book, not any man. Once the reasoning steps outside of what is actually written it is all speculation and the Word. This is how we judge what is true and what is not. If it is something we do not understand immediately then let it set, eventually His Spirit will "reveal" what is not fully understood -- the final understanding will come at His literaly return. We are to judge by the word and the message His words convey to us, His children. We must not make something out of what is not said or take things out of context or imagine what is not there. This is where "symbolism" gets people in trouble and leads the seekers of truth down dead end paths. I know, I have been down a lot of them. If the symbolism is not explained by the Word itself, then it is not symbolic but real -- thus, something being "revealed", not hidden. It is called the Book of Revelation, or of Revealing.
There is another aspect -- not all prophecy is to be understood at this time. I know, we might think this is a contradiction of what was said earlier, but it is back to the "context" of what is being said. Many times the understanding of what is being said can only be understood after the event. If we do not yet understand every word of prophecy then neither did the believers of the centuries before us. No, it is not hidden, as man determines a thing being hidden, for there is no hidden prophecy to the children of the Living God. This is not a contradiction but something that needs to be understood, and really should be plain to the student of the Messiah. The words of prophecy are the witness to, and of, the Creator God, the Living God YH and His Son, YaHshua. Prophecy declares Him and proves Him. Prove? Yes, proves He is who He says He is, so man is without excuse. Enough bible prophecy has already occurred throughout the history of mankind to prove the written word and its accuracy. When prejudices are pushed aside this cannot be denied. Of the prophecy yet to occur we can only guess for we, just like the apostles, do not see the things to come clearly yet (Col 2:17, Heb 10:1), but we will when the things, these shadows prophesied comes to pass. It is in the fulfillment of “prophecy” that we become the witnesses for and of our Messiah and Heavenly Father and that they are true -- the Word, their Word, is true and “every man a liar” (Romans 3:4) by comparison. He plans, forcastes the future, tells us in advance and by this we cannot deny Him --
(Isa 46:8) "Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'
We need to understand this point if we are going to shine light on the literal or symbolic application of the Word -- some of the prophetic Word has occurred and is plainly understood in the historical record – unfulfilled prophecy is seen only as a shadow of things to come. There is a time coming when the shadow of a thing will be removed then the believer will see the prefect knitting together of the Word with the actual happening. No one will have to explain it to us for we will be the witnesses to the fact of His Word, of His deeds, of the things He has fore-told. This is what witnessing is all about. I know that is probably contrary to what some teach. Many popular self-proclaimed prophets of today make their living from books teaching their views and proclamations and virtually to the man they have proven themselves not to be prophets of the Living God by the failure of their proclamations. And, like good students of our God and Savior, we go to the word --
(Mat 7:15)"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. ESV(Deu 18:22) ...when a prophet speaks in the name of the YHWH, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the YHWH has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deut 13:1-4, 2 Time 4:3)
Still, these prophets of error continue to readjust their writing to fit the past failures of their word and they find millions of willing ears to be fascinated by their speculations and false statements. The year 2000 debacle uncovered many of these false prophets and their books of false proclamations can be found on the internet still and in used book stores and thrift stores by the dozens but the pagan Christians continue to hand on the words of these proven fakes. We then, are witnesses to their error. This is not to suggest everything they print is false, far from it, but their prophetic statements -- as though they speak for the true God -- are and have been proven false. Much can be learned from their research but we must always stand by the Bible as our first guide. Again, we are the witnesses against these false prophets. When they stand in front of YaHshua and declare their works and word to Him He will push them aside saying he does not know them (Matthew 7:22). This, of course, is not my judgment, not my saying but a warning to any that would suppose to speak for the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, claiming miracles in His name, claiming great works in His name. Which brings me to – What is the work of the Living God? Go to the Word:
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God (the Father) requires?’ Yahshua answered, ‘the work of God (the Father) is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ “ John 6:28-29
The first century witnesses actually met the Messiah in person and witnessed his many acts, so, they were the eye-witnesses testifying to the truth, these being the Apostles and thousands of followers. They witnessed to the world His deeds His having raised from the dead. We have only a small number of these eye witness accounts written out in what we call the New Testament. These first century witnesses witnessed to the factual fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures concerning the coming of the Messiah -- how true and accurate the written word is.
A witness for today might give a witness of himself as to how the Messiah has improved or changed his, or her life, but a witness for the written word as the authority of the Creator you see the truth of these words in fulfillment. You look, with belief, for things that have not yet happened. A true witness of the written word believes as a child would believe a parent, without question. The witnesses prove the words of the Living God and His son are true and righteous. You become an accurate witness for the Messiah and the written word as a student studying the words to gain further knowledge of the Father. This brings us to another point that every student of the Word should grasp. Let’s go to the Word:
“… For the testimony of YaHshua is the spirit of prophecy” Revelations 19:10
A true witness sees something then gives witness to the thing seen – as did the Apostles. We see the Word coming true in every generation but there is coming a time when witnessing the Word and the Testimony of the Messiah will have extra meaning and that will be for the end days of man’s rule and the happening, event of events -- the coming Kingdom of the Living God, YaH . Prophecy past has proven YaHshua is Messiah, is Savior of man and any Testimony about Him comes from these prophecies. Your “testimony of the Messiah” in your life should be about Him, not you – then you would be doing the work of the Father -- not that you should preach (1 Thes 4:11and Rev 22:11). Future prophecy about the Great Tribulation and about the coming Wrath of God and about the Messiah’s return and about the 144,000 will prove the Creator God, our Father and His Son as true and truthful top their Word -- we do not need any "new" word, they have told us what we need to know and, as Paul Harvey would say, ".. and now for the rest of the story. We will all receive the same knowledge and the rest of the story when our Savior, YaHshua, returns. The last prophecies will be a witness as to who the real, true, living God is.
144,000 Reserved for YaHshua
To deny or change the meaning of the final days prophetic words is to deny the Creator God, the only Living God. But, no matter what you or I think, His word is true and this world is in for some big changes and His Gentile witnesses will be here when it happens – as will the 144,000, whom He has reserved for YaHshua -- These Israelis will not look like the picture or the character or the customized Jews of these past centuries. The word is plain on this and no matter how you read it it is always the same -- the 144,000 is a collection of flesh and blood Israelites, 12,000 from each of the tribes, set apart from this world -- a specific number -- not so visible but sealed by Him, reserved by Him, in a very similar fashion as the 7,000 that Elijah, a true man of YaHWeH, did not see or recognize, virtually invisible to the world. When YaHshua returns, this 144,000, Sealed and recognized by Him and His Angels, will walk with Him -- they will be His entourage (Rev 7:1-4 and 14:1-4) they will go where he goes, they are the Firstfruits, while He is the Firstfruit. The rest of us are the Fruit of His Labor.
It has always been the purpose of YaHshua to save Israel. The 144,000 is a specific number, just as our Creator chose 8 individuals to survive the flood and again setting aside (marking of sealing a certain number with His Holy Name) the 7,000 in the time of Elijah's ministry against all of the LORD (Ba'al) worshipers. This, of course does not count the number of those to be raised from the grave, nor does it take into account the Gentile converts, but we are told that this is a much greater number, ".... a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, ..." Rev 7:9-12. The times of the Gentiles is close to coming to an end -- Luke 21:24. The 144,000 are not Gentiles, they are not the Gentile Christian Church, as some claim, and in doing so, deny the simple word. Believe what its says -- the 144,000 are marked, sealed by the Name of our Heavenly Father and will have been birthed (reborn) into Spirit as "firstfruits" to walk with their Savior, The First Fruit -- No matter which race of people you are, called to Him, He is our Savior YaHshua, as well. The 144,000, however, will go wherever He goes, and they are all descendants from Jacob, who was renamed, Israel -- Israel's destiny is salvation -- Our Creator God and Father, did not raise Israel up to fail, He has determined their eventual success -- HalleluYaH.