Thursday, August 26, 2021

Who are the 144,000 ?

 

Who are 144,000?

After this I saw four angels stationed at the four corners of the Earth, firmly holding back the four winds of the Earth so that no wind should blow on the Earth or sea or upon any tree. (Revelation 7:1 AMPC) 

The four winds are usually mentioned as “being released” in connection with a great judgment coming from God (Ezekiel 37:9; Daniel 7:2; Zechariah 2:6). Now the four winds are being firmly “held back.” There is a space of time when God will halt judgment: this is echoed in the beginning of the next chapter:

When He [the Lamb] broke open the seventh seal, there was silence for about half an hour in Heaven. (Revelation 8:1 AMPC)

When there is a silence for half an hour, no judgements are coming forth from the Throne. If we continue reading, we see why it must be and what will happen on Earth during the silence in Heaven:

Then I saw a second angel coming up from the east (the rising of the sun) and carrying the seal of the living God. And with a loud voice he called out to the four angels who had been given authority and power to injure earth and sea, saying, “Harm neither the earth nor the sea nor the trees, until we have sealed the bond servants of our God upon their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:2-3 AMPC)

We will see that the first trumpet causes one-third of the trees and all the grass to be burned up (Revelation 8:7). Since God’s servants are being told not to hurt the trees until the servants are sealed, this must occur before the first trumpet.

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.… (Revelation 7:4-6 AKJV)

The next several verses show us that 12,000 are chosen out of the twelve tribes or “children” of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin. Two of the tribes are not mentioned: Dan and Ephraim. They were conquered by the Assyrians, and exiled, never to be mentioned again. 

God’s judgments are halted until 144,000 come into the Kingdom of God through the Lord. What a beautiful time that will be when our Jewish brethren say “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Part of the 144,000 may be from outside of the nation of Israel because Joseph was in Egypt and married an Egyptian woman. Descendants of his son Manasseh were considered part of the descendants of Abraham and given an inheritance in Israel on the other side of the Jordan. 

According to Jewish law, tribal affiliation follows the direct paternal line, while the question of Jewishness follows the maternal line. This means that one of the twelve tribes would not have the mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA) marking them as Jewish. The area Masasseh occupied is now claimed by Syria and possibly the northernmost part of Jordan. This means someone could have both Syrian or Jordanian heritage and be Jewish.

There are three possibilities we must consider, though only the Lord may have the answers:

The inclusion of the tribe of Manasseh could mean that there are those outside of Israel who will be part of the 144,000 from other countries. 

They may not even know they are Jewish because they do not carry the DNA marker through their mother.

The AntiChrist may be able to claim both Syrian and Jewish heritage.

After this I beheld, and, see, 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 sits on the Throne, and to the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-10 AKJV)

“After this” means that the time has continued and then this group appears. Now we see a group of people appearing from every nation, people and tongues standing before the Lord clothed in white which is righteousness. They worship and praise the Lord for what He has done! Heaven is filled with great joy when this happens:

And all the angels stood round about the Throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the AKJV) Throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:11-12 AKJV)

The word “amen” has a different meaning according to the context in which it is said:

  • At the beginning of a discourse - surely, truly, of a truth
  • At the end - so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled.

What is actually being said is something like this, “It is truth: blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God forever and ever. So it is!” Who are these that have appeared before the throne?

And one of the elders answered, saying to me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and from where came they? And I said to him, Sir, you know. 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. (Revelation 7:13-14 AKJV)

One of the elders questions John to see if he knows what is going on, then provides the answer for him. These are more than the 144,000; their great number marks them as the product of what has occured with the 144,000. Jesus refers to the two halves of Daniel’s Week as the “Tribulation” and the “Great Tribulation.” These scriptures show that there will be a great multitude that appears suddenly before the Throne after the “Great Tribulation”, which is what happens when the Rapture occurs.

Therefore are they before the Throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sits 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 middle of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:15-17 AKJV)

The fact that they were hungry, thirsty and had been damaged by the sun and heat, shows that they were on Earth during the trumpets; the second half of the Tribulation is often referred to as “the Great Tribulation.” There was also some pain upon the earth because tears are now wiped from their eyes. 

There is a perfect symmetry to the flow of this prophecy from the Lord through John. Some have suggested that we take apart these chapters and rearrange them as “parenthesis.” But when you have no preconceived notions about Daniel’s Week, the Tribulation and the Rapture, the Book of Revelation paints a beautiful picture. 

Chapter 1: Introduction of who it is from and acknowledgement of Jesus as God
Chapter 2-3: Who the prophecy is addressed to: the churches
Chapter 4: What is happening in the Throne Room before the Tribulation begins
Chapter 5: What it takes for Jesus to come and rule on the Earth
Chapter 6: The breaking of the seals
Chapter 7: The Lord commissions the 144,000 with a complete description of what their work accomplishes
Chapter 8-9: What happens as the trumpets are sounded occurs during the work of the 144,000
Chapter 10: A NEW prophecy is declared which will affect all peoples and nations - the following three chapters extend back to the beginning of the Tribulation.
Chapter 11: Two Witnesses - how their prophesying affects the world
Chapter 12: Israel’s Fate from Christ to the end of Daniel’s week 
Chapter 13: Satan’s activity from Jesus’ day to the end of Daniel’s week 

And I looked, and, see, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. 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...(Revelation 14:1-2 AKJV)

The 144,000 are mentioned before the trumpets and the recap of Daniel’s week with the new prophecy. It is mentioned again after we are told how the world will be affected and before the wrath of God is poured out in the next chapter. All 144,000 are with Jesus. This is a good confirmation that the rapture has occurred; because every single one of the 144,000 are there! What are the chances that every single one of the 144,000 would be killed by this point? 

When we look at the order in which the prophecy is given, it flows beautifully without having to put chapters aside or in their own “special” box! The stamp on the forehead is not for Jesus or Jerusalem as we see elsewhere. These individuals are dedicated to God as His people; Hebrew by birth. This shows a brilliant organization: Sandwiched between the mentions of 144,000, God reveals a new prophecy and shows how the different groups of people will be affected throughout Daniel’s week, as we have previously discussed. Then, when that week is over, we see a bit more about the 144,000. 

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 AKJV)

Their devotion to Jesus allows them a special place in Heaven and a special song to sing! The next two verses show why they have this special place:

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the Throne of God. (Revelation 14:4-5 AKJV)

The translation of this verse was done in a male-dominated society. Though on the surface it may look like these are all men, that may not be so. We need to look at all the definitions and see if there is a possibility of a different meaning. The actual order of the words is quite different from what is written which may have something to do with the translation from Greek to English or it may just be helpful to get the translator's point across. Here are the words in the order they were written:

*Underline - words chosen
*Bold - Other possibilities

  • These - hoytos (hoo'-tos): he (it was that), hereof, it, she, such as, the same, these, they, this (man, same, woman), which, who.
  • Are they - eisi (i-see'): they are, there are:—agree, are, be, dure (work in agreement together), were.
  • Which hos (hos): pronoun, who, which, what, that:—one, (an-, the) other, some, that, what,
  • With - meta (met-ah’ ): with, among, after
  • Women - guné (goo-nay’ ): women
  • Not - ou (oo) no, without
  • Defiled - molynō (mol-oo'-no) 3rd Person Plural those who have not kept themselves pure from the defilements of sin, who have soiled themselves by fornication and adultery; to soil (figuratively):—defilement

The word translated “are they” has an implication to affect an outcome which is why the translator assumed it must be intimacy, especially since the following verse mentions “virgins.” However it could easily include women who were without defilement or without being defiled. There is a possibility that because of the time when this was spoken, John pointed out that some of the 144,000 working for the kingdom were women, since this was not a common practice. There is also the possibility they were all men.  At this time, it seems either of these scenarios could be true. 

These are the qualities of the 144,000 who receive the seal of God between the breaking of the sixth seal and the trumpets. This is what the Lord revealed to me, when I asked Him if they would all be men, as the scripture seems to indicate:

Priests in Israel were always male. According to many Hebrew traditional beliefs, men needed the ritual actions of priesthood in order to remain close to God and follow His ways. Women “have superior inherent spiritual wisdom,” known as binah. That makes them less dependent than men on the performance of timely religious practices to retain a strong spiritual connection to God. (www.jpost.com. Retrieved 2019-03-08)

Binah: “processed wisdom,” also known as deductive reasoning. It is  davar mitoch davar—understanding one idea from another idea. While Chokhmah, related to man, is intellect that does not emanate from the rational process (it is either inspired or taught), Binah is the rational process that is innate in the person which works to develop an idea fully. 

Classical Jewish texts, The Bahir,  states:
binah yeterah natun l'nashim (an extra measure of binah was given to women).

This may explain why women could be judges (Deborah) and prophetesses (Miriam and Huldah) but were not priests. Women are not in any way less than men spiritually speaking, but daily rituals were not needed to keep women close to God. 

We should also consider that Paul wrote several letters to many cities: Ephesus (Ephesians), Thessalonica (Thessalonians), and so on. In many letters Paul talks about women and their roles. At that time, a female goddess was ruling those areas. If women had been led astray, submitting to another god or goddess, he warned that they shouldn’t be allowed to lead others. Perhaps this has to do with that extra binah, having been connected to a wrong god, it is better to sit on the bench because their inner leading had been trained in a wrong way. This is another good reason for John to specifically mention that these women were not defiled in the book of Revelation.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 AKJV)

The 144,000 may not all be males. They are those who are devoted wholly unto Jesus. We must look to the New Testament to see why this is the correct interpretation of virgins:

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2 AKJV) 

Paul refers to those who are devout and devoted to God alone as “chaste virgins.” That is a pretty close synonym to being “undefiled.” In Second Corinthians, he refers to both men and women who make up the Bride of Christ as virgins.

The 144,000 are Jewish believers who have not defiled themselves by submitting to another god - including but not limited to the AntiChrist. This may be why when the sealing of the Israelites begins, the scriptures refer to the“children of Israel,” and not “sons” which would be a stronger indication that they were all male (Revelation 7:4 AKJV). It could refer to female believers as well. 

Until the Lord gives us a firm answer, we can wait and see: Time will tell. The one fact we can determine is that they will be active after the sixth seal is broken and doing the job they are commissioned to do until after the trumpets, then they will be taken to Heaven in the Rapture. Jesus told us that some would escape:

Keep awake then and watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36 AMPC)

This is why we are studying Revelation. We must be awake and alert. There is a Great Tribulation coming then the wrath of God will be poured out upon mankind. Praise God that those who learn His ways and serve Him are not appointed to His wrath, but may be accounted worthy to escape it!

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 AKJV)

But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief… For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:4 & 9-10 AKJV)

The book of First Thessalonians is one letter. The chapter breaks were put in when the Bible was created. I encourage you to read the entire section from First Thessalonians 4:13-5:22. These verses give a full view of what Paul was saying to the new Christians. We need to take our status as a child of God and a Citizen of Heaven seriously if we want to be accounted worthy of escaping the wrath of God! 


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