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, found in the book of Revelation, it is difficult to know where to start. The Word is conveying to the Believer through the visions (and dreams) of the Apostle John a specific number concerning a certain people. The number is 144,000, not a million, not a billion. Some try to make this number mean something other than what it is. It is the number of Israelites, 12,000 from each tribe, that the Creator, our Savior Himself has determined to be the actual “first fruits” representative of and for Himself. They are actual people of Israel, from the line and blood of the Children of Jacob -- these are saved from among the actual flesh and blood of Israel to stand with YaHshua at His return -- these are those changed, quickened, born again, from the flesh to the Spirit. Go to the Word:
“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)
Several things in this single verse stand out, but first things first. Let’s establish the fact that the number spoken of here is an actual number and not a symbol for a greater, or lesser, number. Go to the Word for confirmation, like, a second witness:
“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)
Then there is this next discription. It is about these Isralis, marked by the Father's name -- they are all virgins -- not women but men. Like YaHshua, this will be virgin men that have never known, sexually, a woman. I have myself, speculated about different possible meaning, but the word is what the word says -- read it for yourself.
(Rev 14:4) 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.
The remark about not being defiled by women; for they are virgins, may seem harsh to our modern ears, but it says what it says. They are virgin men. 144,000 virgin, males, that will accompany YaHshua, as Firstfruits of the Father and to the Lamb. This should settle the false claim some make about who the 144,000 really are.
The 144,000 is not the Christian Church
The 144,000 is not 144,000 Jewish evangelicals set loose on the world after the (false) rapture of the good Christians, leaving behing these Jewish Evangelist preaching the Gospel. Notice, in the above quote, these are worthy enough to be, personally, with YaHshua and go where He goes. But, according to that false teaching these 144,000 have to stay on Earth to suffer with the rest of the wicked?
The 144,000 is not "symbolic" for any group either. The Jehovah's Witnesses used to claim they were the 144,000 -- that is until their numbers grew beyond that number, then it became "symbolic", or a representation of those called from 33 AD to the present. Lots of problems with that, for one, it does not say that, not at all.
The 144,000 was not replaced by the Roman Catholic Church either -- another useless symbolic application, part of the Replacement Theology concept and, or, the Dominion Gospel, both of which are false. What the 144,000 does prove, is that
The 144,000 are not the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 either -- I know, but some do teach this. It is as if some teachers want these specially selected, these very special people (men) to be anything, or anyone other than Jewish/Israelis, or only men. But, that is what the word says -- Romans 3:4.
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 all of this misguided conjecture, simply by accepting what we read from those three verses and no more, no less, letting the Word speak for itself. This 144,000 is a certain number, a diffinite, specific number of men, a special group of Israelis, not gentiles, but of Israeli descent. These do not represent all Israel either, but are most certainly from among the people of Israel, a certain number set aside by our Savior for Himself, very similar to another number of people mentioned in the Old Covenant -- a set apart people, 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 presented in symbolic language, or a parable, or a dream, even a vision, it is usually explained within the context of the subject being discussed, within the chapter, and sometimes two or more chapters. In other words, believers are not kept in the dark about teachings revealed to them in the pages of the Word -- the Word explains itself. The words in this book, the Book of Revelation, and 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, or the real truth, denying the Creator and our Savior Himself -- so it goes with their lack of understanding, being the authority themselves, and in their ignorance and lack of understanding, they show a certain hate for the Truth 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.
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 witnesses will be here when it happens – as will the 144,000. 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 and when YaHshua returns, they will walk with Him. 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 set aside the 7,000 in the time of Elijah's ministry against all of the Lord 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. The times of the Gentiles is close to coming to an end. 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 be birthed into Spirit as "firstfruits" to walk with their Savior, our Savior YaHshua -- wherever He goes they too will go -- HalleluYaH.
144,000 Part 2