A statement was made that indicated that the one hundred and forty-four thousand bond-servants, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel, would be caught up in the rapture of the church.
When we do a lookup of either, the numeric value 144,000, or, the term written out, we only find three references; all of which occur within the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which John wrote.
The first reference to the 144,000 is in Revelation 7 where we see four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that they did not blow on the earth or sea, or even on any tree. What does that mean to those who are here? It says the average mean temperature is going to rise by at least 10- 15 degrees. Along with all the other horrors that will be going on during this time of judgment, it will be unbearably hot.
In Revelation 7:2,3 we see an angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. This angel shouted to the four angels, who had been given the power to harm the land and sea, “Wait! Don’t harm the land and sea or trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.
Revelation 7:4 NLT states, I heard how many were marked with the seal of God – 144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel.
Those who are sealed are specifically from the tribes of Israel, not Jehovah’s witnesses. Verses 5-8 spell out how 12,000 from the sons of Israel were chosen from the tribes listed there.
Now the oddity in this story, if we were to keep reading, is that Revelation 7:9 immediately takes the reader into the throne room of God, where a vast crowd, too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, are found standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. These were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands. 7:10 tells us, they were shouting with a great roar, Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!
In Revelation 7: 13 John asks, who are these people and where did they come from? The answer is given in verse 14 where a voice responds; you are the one who knows. The speaker then explains, “these are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. (And) That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his temple.”
What’s the point so far?
If I were to try and understand who the 144,000 are from a chronological standpoint, based upon what I see in the following verses, all this is happening within the seven years of wrath. Since we see an uncountable multitude standing before the throne, then there would have to have been a terrifying rush to kill people who have chosen to follow Christ early on, or enough time has passed to attain such numbers. This scenario is in consideration of the fact that three and one-half years into the seven, the false prophet will be unleashed upon the world. According to Islam, this man will be the enforcer of Sharia law, and the chopping off of the head is the primary method of killing.
The other place we find the 144,000 is in Revelation chapter 14.
“Then I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Tziyon (Zion); and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing waters and like the sound of pealing thunder; the sound I heard was also like that of harpists playing on their harps. They were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living beings and the elders, and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who have been ransomed from the world. These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been ransomed from among humanity as firstfruits for God and the Lamb; on their lips, no lie was found—they are without defect.”(Revelation 14:1-5 CJB)
The Lamb, of course, is Jesus the Messiah; and, if He is standing on Mount Zion, then He has returned victoriously and returned the earth into the hands of the Almighty God. Since the 144,000 are, to the best of our knowledge, witnesses to the Jews during the time of wrath, then it is evident that their work is completed.
Look at a scene king David painted with words over three thousand years ago.
Psalms 2:1-6 ESV Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, (3) “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (4) He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (5) Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, (6) “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
David was talking about events that happen within and moments after the time of wrath – this time of wrath is the same thing most of the modern church mistakenly calls “The Great Tribulation.” Within this horrific time of tribulation, there will be a period in which the slaughter becomes even more numerous, and that is the time that Jesus spoke of when He said if God does not cut the time short no one would survive.
Since God seals the 144,000, they are untouchable and cannot be exterminated; at least we know that they cannot be killed by the things God is unleashing upon the land. However, we have no evidence that any of these died.
- That would mean that they were not raptured.
- And, it most likely means that they are alive today.
- There is nothing that says they are exclusively in Israel, for we have Jews all over the world.