Who are the one hundred and forty four thousand that Revelation speaks about?

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The one hundred and forty four thousand are mentioned only in the following references: Revelation 7:4; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 14:3. They are not literal Jews but figurative Israelites, spiritual Israel, and the Christian church (Rom. 2:28, 29; 9:6, 7; Gal. 3:28, 29; 6:16).

They are presented as those who are “able to stand” through the terrible events portrayed in ch. 6:17. They have the “seal of the living God” (ch. 7:2) and are protected in the time of universal destruction, as were those who possessed the mark in Ezekiel’s vision (Eze. 9:6). They are approved of Heaven, for John later sees them with the Lamb on Mt. Zion (Rev. 14:1). They are declared to be without guile and without fault (Rev. 14:5). And they are designated as “first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4).

The one hundred and forty four thousand are not the only saved ones for Revelation also talks of another group that is the great multitude: “After this I beheld, and, lo, 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, and palms in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).

Thus, beyond this group there is a great multitude that is saved out of the last tribulation. The 144,000 are the last day apostles that God uses to convert the great multitude. They are commissioned with the greatest missions in the last days that is to prepare the world for Jesus’ return. During the early church, God poured out His Spirit on the twelve apostles plus the 120 that were in the upper room. Through their ministry, thousands were baptized. Today, God is going to fill the 12 times 12,000 with His Spirit in the form of the latter rain to reach the world (Joel 2:23).

One of the most important characteristics this special group is the special seal and name they bear in their foreheads (Revelation 7: 1-4; 14:1). Shortly after this special seal is given to them, the great tribulation and seven last plagues will fall onto the unrepentant world.

In the New Earth, this group will have a special relationship with the Lamb and they will also sing a special song “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne…and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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