The 144,000

In Revelation 7 and 14 we learn much about the 144,000.

Here is a verse by verse breakdown of the most important information about them.

Who Shall be Able to Stand?

The explanation of who the 144,000 are, starts with a simple question in Revelation 6, which is also the last verse of that chapter.

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
- Revelation 6:17 (KJV)

The answer is given in the next chapter, Revelation 7, and it is the 144,000.

The wrath of God refers to the seven plagues. Note that the wrath of God is different from the great tribulation we will all go through together. The wrath of God is mainly for the wicked, but the 144,000 are also still alive during that time.

The 144,000

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.
- Revelation 7:1 (KJV)

The first thing to note is that, through the angels, God is in control. Even satan is restricted as to what he is allowed to do.

The four corners of the earth refer to North, East, South, and West. Not literal in other words.

The winds of strife (or trouble), are being held back, waiting for something.

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, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
- Revelation 7:2-3 (KJV)

Here we learn that the 144,000 are servants of God. To serve God is to serve others (God uses man to get to man). God normally chooses laymen to serve Him. Some of the apostles were fishermen for example. The repentance of troubled sinful men, also make for better testimonies about what God has done in their lives. All the glory goes to God.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (KJV)

It doesn't matter what they've done, as long as they have a pure heart.

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
- Romans 8:33 (KJV)

The phrase "God's elect" can also be translated as "those whom God has chosen".

No matter what they've done, God will make them righteous.

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
- Romans 14:4 (KJV)

When Jesus says "Follow Me" he means it.

And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
- Luke 5:10 (KJV)

The 144,000 will preach the Gospel one final time, and then the end will come.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
- Matthew 24:14 (KJV)

God is clearly warning His people to come out of the Babylon churches (those that believe in a rapture, eternal Hell, and a Sabbath Sunday, etc).

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
- Revelation 18:4 (KJV)

Those that are His will come under one fold, and one shepherd.

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
- John 10:16 (KJV)

When it says "from the east", it means "from God".

I'm fairly certain that the sealing angel is Gabriel.

Protected

The 144,000 are protected all the way to the end.

Psalms 91 is the instruction manual for God's protection.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

- Psalms 91 (KJV)

There are other Bible verses for this also:

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
- Isaiah 54:17 (KJV)

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
- Isaiah 43:2 (KJV)

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
- Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

Interestingly, Cain may have received something similar.

And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
- Genesis 4:15 (KJV)

Sealed

The 144,000 are protected, and are sealed just before the seven plagues.

Their training is part of the sealing, and covers both knowledge of scripture, and character.

So, the sequence of events for the 144,000 is probably something like this:

  • The 144,000 are called (determining the costs, etc)
  • God's protection is given (Psalms 91)
  • Settling into the truth (training, maybe several years)
  • Latter Rain (outpouring of the Holy Spirit with some unknown measure)
  • The 144,000 are sealed (last thing Jesus does before He leaves the sanctuary)
  • Outpouring of the Holy Spirit without measure
  • Stand without a mediator

I suspect that when the servants receive the seal of the living God, they will also receive the Holy Spirit without measure soon after (or maybe even at the same time).

Why are the servants sealed last?

This might be because the 144,000 are being trained to stand during the seven plagues without a mediator. A more severe test in other words. It just takes longer.

To learn more about seals, please click here.

Tribes

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.
Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand.
Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

- Revelation 7:4-8 (KJV)

The reason John hears the number, is because at this stage the 144,000 are still scattered all over the Earth. Later John sees them together on Mount Zion, etc.

Some people think that the 144,000 are literal Jews from today's Israel, but this is not correct. Israel doesn't have these kind of tribes anymore, and it would be virtually impossible to find 12,000 from each tribe of those scattered all over the world.

In the New Testament (especially in prophecy), the definition of Jew and Israel has changed.

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
- Romans 2:29 (KJV)

In other words, Gentiles can be Jews also.

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
- Galatians 3:29 (KJV)

Israel today (or spiritual Israel if you will) means God's chosen people. Christians in other words.

So according to that definition, the 144,000 are called from among all believers, and are scattered all over the world. The idea that the 144,000 come from literal tribes is very hard to defend.

Literal versus symbolic

Another hot debate is that of whether 144,000 is a literal number, or a symbolic number.

Those who think it's symbolic claim that John heard the number, and then saw the unnumbered multitude, implying that the number 144,000 is symbolic for the unnumbered multitude.

Straight away I would like to point out however that it doesn't say that John "heard the number while seeing the unnumbered multitude", but that there is a clear gap between the two.

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. ... 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 7:4-9 (KJV)

The phrase "after this" could be a minute, but it could just as easily be a couple of days. It could even be somewhere completely different.

The reason I think John heard the number is because at the time of the sealing the 144,000 are still scattered all over the world. It's hard to "see" that clearly (even in a vision). The next part of John's vision was then in front of the throne where everybody is gathered together. Here the 144,000 are seen among the unnumbered multitude (but stand out for some reason).

More importantly, if God really wanted to link the two together, it would actually make more sense for John to see the unnumbered multitude while hearing the number.

If the number 144,000 is symbolic, then the number 12,000 must be symbolic too. This is weird, because now, instead of "12,000 from a tribe" it could be something like "79,423 from one tribe", and "113,839 from another tribe", etc. That just doesn't make any sense. The Bible has already stated that it's "12,000 from a tribe", and the Bible doesn't contradict itself.

At the end of the day it's the Bible that interprets the Bible, and there is no verse that really explains that a number can be symbolic for an unnumbered number.

The Bible does explain the literal number concept however.

Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
- Joshua 3:12 (KJV)

So: twelve tribes, one from each tribe. Total = 12.

Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war. So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.
- Numbers 31:4-5 (KJV)

So: twelve tribes, a thousand from each tribe. Total = 12,000.

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. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
- Revelation 7:4-8 (KJV)

So: twelve tribes, twelve thousand from each tribe. Total = 144,000.

The Bible is actually really clear on this. When God needs a certain amount of people, He will take them from the twelve tribes. It's a literal number in other words.

Additionally, the two groups are different in character.

144,000Great multitude
NumberedUnnumbered
FirstfruitsThe remainder of the harvest
From the tribes of IsraelFrom all nations
ServantsSaints
TranslatedMartyred
Pictured on Mount ZionPictured before the throne
A song only they could learn-

So again, no doubt at all, there are clearly two groups here.

Think about it. How can the same group both be numbered, and unnumbered (no man could number) at the same time?

The 144,000 are the firstfruits, meaning there has to be another group that is the remainder of the harvest. Secondfruits if you will. Two groups.

Even the book of Revelation makes a distinction between servants, and saints.

And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
- Revelation 11:18 (KJV)

The number 144,000 itself is a little bit symbolic of course, because it can be explained as 12 * 12 * 1,000. The number 12 refers to completion or government, and the number 1,000 is an ancient military unit used in the army of Israel.

So I think it's fair to say that these servants are God's army for the last days.

Here's what Ellen White says about it.

The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.
- Ellen White, Christian Experience and Teaching, 58.1

Ellen White has used the phrase "in number" several times in her writings, and it was always literal.

I have lots of animals, 14 in number. How many animals do I have?

It's a little bit freightening to think that at some point the number of the living saints will be reduced to 144,000, but I think that's the truth.

The Bible does seem to back that up.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
- Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
- Revelation 13:15 (KJV)

It is a bit of a mystery after all.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
- 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV)

The requirements for translation are extremely high. For the last 6,000 years only two people (Enoch and Elijah) have achieved this. It seems to be me that you have to be thoroughly prepared for this, and that it's not just a matter of "who happens to be alive at the end".

Ellen White also says that the 144,000 can form a "perfect square" (where width equals height).

Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square.
- Ellen White, Christian Experience and Teaching, p. 59.2

Interestingly enough, you can only make a perfect square out of 144,000 when there is a hole in the middle.



I would argue that Jesus stands in the middle while He addresses the 144,000.

Making a perfect square out of some random large number like 1,378,912 (for example) is almost impossible, and it's actually a very strong case for the 144,000 being a literal number just by itself.

The 144,000 have a special work to do, and God simply called 12,000 from each tribe, Total = 144,000.

Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 611/612

We all serve God, but not everyone is a servant.

Groups of twelve?

Some say that the 144,000 are 12 * 12,000, but maybe they are 12,000 groups of 12. Like the apostles.

At the very least the 144,000 will be send out two by two.

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits.
- Mark 6:7 (KJV)

Using the world's population (7 billion), and dividing it by 144,000 we can see that there will be roughly 1 servant for every 50,000 people. For example, New Zealand has a population of 4 million people. So that's 80 servants, most likely either 7 or 8 groups of twelve.

Only God knows where the servants are most needed of course.

Tribe names

Looking closely at the tribes, you can see that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim are missing, that Joseph and Levi were added, and that the order of the tribes is wrong (not according to birth order).

Here is a possible reason as to why Dan was removed.

Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
- Genesis 49:17 (KJV)

Dan also means "judgement" which is what God does now, so maybe there is no need for the tribe of Dan anymore.

Here is a possible reason as to why Ephraim was removed.

Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
- Hosea 4:17 (KJV)

The Levites were previously priests all throughout Israel, but now have their own tribe.

Each tribe name has a Biblical meaning.

Judahmeans"I will praise the Lord"
Rubenmeans"He has looked on me"
Gadmeans"Given good fortune"
Ashermeans"Happy am I"
Naphtalimeans"My wrestling"
Manassehmeans"Making me to forget"
Simeonmeans"God hears me"
Levimeans"Joined to me"
Issacharmeans"Purchased me"
Zebulunmeans"Dwelling"
Josephmeans"Will add to me"
Benjaminmeans"Son of the right hand"

If we string them all together we get a coherent story.

I will praise the Lord [for] He has looked on me [and] given good fortune. Happy am I [because] my wrestling, [God is] making me to forget. God hears me [and is] joined to me. [He Has] purchased me [a] dwelling [and] will add to me, [the] son of the right hand.
- Amazing Facts

I like this one as well.

Praise God, a son, a company of sons, redeemed and happy, after wrestling in prayer, forgetting self and the past, hearing God's word, joined to God as servants, dwelling with added joys and blessing, as sons of the right hand.
- Austin Cooke, An Enduring Vision, p. 481

It's hard to say, but perhaps the different tribes reflect certain personality types, e.g. someone might be like Judah, Reuben, etc.

For example:

NameBeforeAfter
1ReubenUnstable as waterGreat searching of heart
2SimeonCruel, murdererRepentant
3LeviParticipated in murderFaithful in crisis
4JudahTendency to selfishnessIntegrity
5ZebulunSelf-centeredReady to die for Christ
6IssacharNatural bent to evilStrong, burden bearer
7DanBackbiterManasses the just
8GadBacksliderMighty in battle
9AsherNatural propensitiesGiving all to the cause
10NaphtaliFree from responsibilityComforter, giver
11JosephTendency to self-elevationFaithfulness, self-sacrifice
12BenjaminGluttony, passionateMissionary spirit of Paul

The above table is from Numbers1317.org.

For further study on this, please click here.

Revelation 7 (continued)

Verses 9-12 speak about the unnumbered 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; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
- Revelation 7:9-12 (KJV)

Verses 13-17 speak about the 144,000 again.

We know this is about the 144,000 because of the phrase "and serve him day and night in his temple", and because of the reference to the fourth plague (sun).

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
- Revelation 7:13-17 (KJV)

The 144,000 are part of the unnumbered multitude, but for some reason they stand out. There are in fact several groups in heaven, e.g. saints, martyrs, prophets, etc.

The comment about serving God in the temple day and night, is also mirrored in the letter to the church of Philadelphia.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
- Revelation 3:12 (KJV)

We know the church of Philadelphia refers to the 144,000 because of the comment about the hour of temptation.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
- Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

The phrase "I also will keep thee" is another reference to God's protection.

It is interesting that God uses people with "little strength" to become pillars in His Temple.

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
- Revelation 3:8 (KJV)

I don't believe the 144,000 will always be in a temple by the way. I think that phrase just means "forever in the service of God".

Even in Israel there were rosters, etc.

The 144,000 (Mount Zion)

This is not a second group by the way. Same 144,000 as in Revelation 7.

In Revelation 7 we only heard the number, but here the 144,000 are clearly seen together on Mount Sion. It's the same group, but on a different location.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
- Revelation 14:1 (KJV)

The name of the Father is not literally written on their foreheads.

In the Bible "name" means "character".

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
- Isaiah 57:15 (KJV)

God's name is not Holy, it's a referral to His character.

The 144,000 will be a reflection of God's character (Holy, Love, Ten Commandments, etc).

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
- Romans 8:29-30 (KJV)

Having the Father's name written in our foreheads, is very similar to being "sealed" with the Ten Commandments. (This will happen to all of us at some stage)

Think about it: no more sin, no more guile, and no more knowledge of evil.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
- Revelation 14:2-3 (KJV)

The voice described here is that of the 144,000 playing their harps.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
- Revelation 15:2 (KJV)

The harps are undoubtedly used to sing the song of the 144,000.

In prophecy "song" means "experience".

The experience of the 144,000 is that of "deliverance". Victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. They will even be alive during God's wrath on the wicked.

Only the 144,000 can sing this song, because it's their unique experience (which no other company will have).

The 144,000 are redeemed from the living, and will have the seal of God's protection. This guarantees that they will be alive at Jesus' Second Coming. They will not taste death, but will be translated instead. You can only be translated if you're without sin (think Enoch and Elijah). This can only be achieved with the help of the Holy Spirit.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
- Hebrews 11:5 (KJV)

And during the Second Coming of Jesus.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)

To be "caught up" also implies being translated (or changed).

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
- 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV)

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.
- Revelation 14:4 (KJV)

This does not mean that the 144,000 are literal virgins.

In prophecy "woman" means "church".

The 144,000 have simply not defiled themselves with churches that have false doctrines such as "Eternal Hell", "Rapture", "Sunday Sabbath", etc. Their doctrines, coming from a love of the truth, are pure, and as such they are 'virgins'.

They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith.
- Ellen White, Christ Object Lessons, p. 406

When Jesus says "Follow Me", the 144,000 will follow Jesus, no matter where He goes.

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
- John 12:26 (KJV)

The "Follow Me" part might also be part of their reward, e.g. becoming pillars in God's Temple, visiting other worlds, etc.

And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, "Only the 144,000 enter this place," and we shouted, "Alleluia.
- Ellen White, Christian Experience and Teaching, p. 63.2

The gospel is all about redemption, and the 144,000 are redeemed from men. They are simply the first. That's all.

These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as "the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb".
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 649

The 144,000 are just another part of the body of Christ. They are firstfruits. Servants.

They are here for you.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
- 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (KJV)

I quite like this verse with regards to being redeemed.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
- Isaiah 43:1-2 (KJV)

And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
- Revelation 14:5 (KJV)

The terms "without fault", and "no guile" also refer to the character of Jesus.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.
- 1 Peter 2:21-22 (KJV)

Note that it says "without fault before the throne". That means the 144,000 will still be flawed, but that they will be "without fault" in the eyes of God.

Victory Over the Beast

The 144,000 will be alive during God's wrath (the seven plagues).

And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
- Revelation 15:1-4 (KJV)

In prophecy a "sea of glass" refers to the area before the throne.

In prophecy "throne" normally refers to judgment.

This scene takes place after the seven plagues. It shows that, in the context of the seven plagues, the 144,000 will be victorious.

The 144,000 will stand without an intercessor during God's wrath. Mainly because God's Spirit is withdrawn from this world at that stage. No more mercy at this point.

God will reveal the time of Jesus' Second Coming to the 144,000 just before the beginning of the seven plagues.

Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p.14.1

This may seem contradictory to the verse below.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
- Matthew 24:36 (KJV)

However, this verse only says that only God the Father knows the day and hour. The day and hour will never be known before the close of probation, but after the close of probation all cases have already been decided, so God shares the day and hour with the living saints, the 144,000.

Why does God tell the 144,000 this?

I think maybe because of the verse below.

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
- Amos 3:7 (KJV)

Now the 144,000 have something to look forward to in what is probably the most difficult time ever.

Additional Information

There are plenty of other references to the 144,000 in the Bible. I'll just briefly mention them here, so you can study them further yourself.

In the spirit and power of Elijah

It is the 144,000 that will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. All of them. Just like John the Baptist.

The phrase "in the spirit and power of Elijah" simply refers to the Elijah message (repentance and reconciliation), the Holy Spirit, and the type of miracles Elijah performed (see 1 Kings).

The 144,000 shall prepare the way for the Lord.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
- Malachi 3:1-3 (KJV)

Note that the phrase "who shall stand when he appeareth" is shown here again (see the beginning of this article for more on that). It's another nod to the 144,000.

Similar language can also be found in the book of Joel.

And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
- Joel 2:11 (KJV)

The 144,000 (being firstfruits, firstborns?) may even receive a double portion of Elijah's spirit, just like Elisha did.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
- 2 Kings 2:9 (KJV)

Who knows what a double portion of Elijah's spirit can do?

Either way, Jesus Himself says:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- John 14:12-14 (KJV)

Note that the promise of "Elijah" is the last prophecy in the Old Testament.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
- Malachi 4:5-6 (KJV)

Some have suggested that the phrase "the great and dreadful day" can be split into two:
1) The great day = Jesus' First Coming
2) The dreadful day = Jesus' Second Coming

The 144,000 will prepare the way for the Second Coming of Jesus.


- Source unknown

Labourers in the vineyard

The 144,000 are part of the eleventh hour labourers in the parable of the vineyard.

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
- Matthew 20:1-7 (KJV)

Every three hours a new group of labourers is introduced.

TimeLabourers
Early in the morningIsrael
Third hourChristians
Sixth hourProtestants
Ninth hourAdventists
Eleventh hourMiscellaneous

Ellen White says this.

Many Not in Our Ranks to Come to the Front - There are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches-even the Catholic Church-whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofore. For this reason the eleventh hour laborers will receive their penny. These will see the battle coming and will give the trumpet a certain sound. When the crisis is upon us, when the season of calamity shall come, they will come to the front, gird themselves with the whole armor of God, and exalt His law, adhere to the faith of Jesus, and maintain the cause of religious liberty which reformers defended with toil and for which they sacrificed their lives.
- Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol 3, p. 386

The twelfth hour is a reference to God's Kingdom.

Job

The book of Job is really interesting too, because it teaches us to keep the faith when we're caught in the middle of the battle between God and satan. We can't always see clearly, but the book of Job teaches us to remain steadfast in our faith.

The 144,000 are to be like Job in that sense.

The Gideon band

The 144,000 are sometimes also called the Gideon band (see the book of Judges).

Low in number, but very effective (because of the Holy Spirit).

Know that this is God's battle, and His victory.

Ezekiel 9

Ezekiel saw the sealing of the servants.

And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
- Ezekiel 9:3-4 (KJV)

This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel.
- Ellen White, Testimonials p. 445

Those that "sigh and cry" (a character requirement) will receive the mark, and will be safe from destruction.

The phrase "the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side" is most likely Gabriel (the sealing angel).

The mark is not a physical mark. It's for the angels to see, not us.

The Hebrew word for mark is "tau", and looks very much like a cross.



I thought that was rather interesting.

Men who have not bowed the knee to Baal

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
- Romans 11:1-6 (KJV)

Ellen White then adds:

There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the day time we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.
- Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 80.1

Isaiah's commission

Could this be the commission of the 144,000 as well?

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
- Isaiah 6 (KJV)

Basically God told Isaiah (in advance) that his message would not be well received, and that people would probably end up with softened heart, or a hardened heart.

Ellen White confirms this.

The word of the Lord came to Elijah; he did not seek to be the Lord's messenger, but the word came to him. God always has men to whom He entrusts His message. His Spirit moves upon their hearts and constrains them to speak. Stimulated by holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they enter upon the performance of their duty without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord has given them. But the servant of God is soon made aware that he has risked something. He finds himself and his message made the subject of criticism. His manners, his life, his property, are all inspected and commented upon. His message is picked to pieces and rejected in the most illiberal and unsanctified spirit, as men in their finite judgment see fit. Has that message done the work that God designed it should accomplish? No; it has signally failed because the hearts of the hearers were unsanctified.
- Ellen White, Testimony, vol. 5, p. 299.2

Levites

The Levites served God in His temple.

These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
- 1 Chronicles 23:24 (KJV)

The 144,000 also serve God in His temple.

And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, "Only the 144,000 enter this place," and we shouted, "Alleluia.
- Ellen White, Christian Experience and Teaching, p. 63.2

The Levites/144,000 then are the representatives of God.

The appointed ministers of the sanctuary, the Levites received no landed inheritance; they dwelt together in cities set apart for their use, and received their support from the tithes and the gifts and offerings devoted to God's service. They were the teachers of the people, guests at all their festivities, and everywhere honored as servants and representatives of God. To the whole nation was given the command: "Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth." "Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance." Deuteronomy 12:19; 10:9.
- Ellen White, Education, p. 148/149

The verse below is also interesting. Is that what it means to be firstfruits?

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
- Malachi 3:3 (KJV)

The Time of Jacob's Trouble

The time of great trouble (seven plagues) is sometimes also referred to as the time of Jacob's trouble.

From the Old Testament:

And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
- Genesis 32:22-32 (KJV)

From Ellen White:

"These are they which came out of great tribulation;" they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob's trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 649

Here is some more:

Jacob's history is also an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. While Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to comfort and protect them in the time of peril. The assaults of Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but the Lord's eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. God's love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 621

Character

The character of the 144,000 is described in Psalms 15.

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
- Psalms 15 (KJV)

144

This is probably a coincidence, but check out the following verse.

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
- Revelation 6:17 (KJV)

This question is answered in the next chapter, e.g. the 144,000. Servants that stand.

Now check out this verse:

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
- Romans 14:4 (KJV)

Again it refers to servants that stand.

I think it interesting that this particular verse (14:4 = 144) is linked to the book of Revelation in this way.

Ellen White

The Bible and Ellen White go hand in hand, and the writing of Ellen White is definitely inspired.

If you're interested then just google "Ellen White 144,000".

For example:

Why were they [the 144,000] so specially singled out? Because they had to stand with a wonderful truth right before the whole world, and receive their opposition, and while receiving this opposition they were to remember that they were sons and daughters of God, that they must have Christ formed within them the hope of glory. They were ever keeping in view the great and blessed hope that is before them. What is it? It is an eternal weight of glory. Nothing could surpass it.
- Ellen White, Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 72.3

And again:

There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place-the box, the pine, the fir, the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with the weight of its timely figs; these made the place all over glorious. And as we were about to enter the temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, "Only the 144,000 enter this place," and we shouted, "Alleluia!"
- Ellen White, Heaven, p. 88.1

Etc

Vindicate God

So what are the 144,000 about really?

What's the real purpose of the 144,000, besides preaching the gospel (serving God)?

Imagine the following conversation.

Satan:God's Laws are too hard, and they cannot be kept. We're not to blame for sinning.
God:My Son Jesus kept all of them perfectly.
Satan:But He's a heavenly being (God in fact).
God:Very well, I will train 144,000 in the weakest generation, in the most difficult time, and they will keep my Laws.

Or as Ellen White puts it.

In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. When men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God's favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner.
- Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 761

Satan essentially put God on trial.

But Jesus, in human form, has already shown that it is possible for a human being to keep God's Law, but now, God, using the 144,000, will prove to everybody (humans, angels, etc) that God's Laws can be kept, no matter what the circumstances, and that satan is a liar.

At the onset of the seven last plagues, Jesus will leave the sanctuary, and then no man can enter the temple during the seven plagues.

And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
- Revelation 15:8 (KJV)

During the seven plagues the 144,000 will therefore have to stand without a mediator, and must not sin.

And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
- Revelation 14:5 (KJV)

This can of course only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit (in full, or without measure).

Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 15

To learn more about how to stand without a mediator, please click here.

Only the 144,000 have this experience, and only they can sing that song.

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
- Revelation 14:3 (KJV)

Who is to blame for sin? Was it God's fault (Laws too hard), satan's fault (he tricked us), or our fault?

Sin is clearly our fault. There's no excuse.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
- Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV)

Sinning (breaking God's Law) is very much a personal choice. You can ask God for forgiveness, and your sins will be forgiven.

This world is essentially an open court room, and the 144,000 will provide a crucial bit of evidence, e.g. that with grace and the Holy Spirit, it is possible to overcome sin, and to keep God's Law.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
- Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

Satan can't kill the 144,000 or destroy the message, so he will try and discredit the messengers as much as possible. So keep that in mind when the 144,000 enter the scene, because they will probably have "issues".

And the message of the 144,000?

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- Matthew 3:2 (KJV)

The message never changed...

When

When will the 144,000 become active?

I believe that all of this will start during the latter rain which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days.

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
- James 5:7-8 (KJV)

Here's a better idea of what the latter rain is.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- Acts 2:17-21 (KJV)

Here is what that's like:

And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
- 1 Samuel 10:6 (KJV)

And then later at the seven last plagues the Holy Spirit is poured out without measure.

Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 15

The Father gave his Spirit without measure to his Son, and we also may partake of its fulness.
- Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, November 5, 1908

When the servants shall prophesy they will become "servants the prophets".

The 144,000 will undoubtedly have their own version of Pentecost.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
- Acts 2:1 (KJV)

So, when is the latter rain?

It's hard to say, but it will be at some point before the mark of the beast, which could be any day now...