Revelation 7:1-4 states: "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. 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. 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."
Then the Scripture lists 12,000 from each of the following 12 tribes: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
Now the main question is whether or not the 144,000 are actually 12,000 literal Israelites from each of these respective tribes. Twelve tribes came from the 12 sons of Jacob, but because Joseph was sold into slavery by his older brothers, he was separated from his family for many years. After Joseph finally reunited with his father, Jacob promised to compensate by adopting Joseph's two sons as his own, to be numbered with his sons in place of Joseph.
"Now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine." Genesis 48:5. Hence, Joseph would be numbered twice through his sons. So its not the literal 12 tribes, but the clue to it being a spiritual meaning to the 144,000 was the way in which the tribes are listed in Revelation 7:5-8. This is the only time in Scripture that the names of the tribes appear in this order. Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, is listed as second while Judah, fourth in birth order, is listed as first. Joseph and Levi are included, while Ephraim and Dan are left out. Why?
Because "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder [viper] in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward" (Genesis 49:17), and "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone" (Hosea 4:17).
JohnB wrote: "Reasoning, this is a very strange reply as you defeat your own argument by it, to whit:
1. Reasoning said, "it doesn't say they are the "only" ones redeemed from the earth"
"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)
This statement (bolded) is not made about the great multitude, it is only made about the 144,000. So, they are the only ones that we are told are redeemed from the earth. If you are going to claim that they are not the only ones then you are going to have to give some evidence that the great multitude was also redeemed from the earth. So far you have refused to do that, your only appeal has been to a "logic" that disagrees with SoP and the Bible. "
It was talking about the 144,000 and they are redeemed from the earth, but again, it didn't they are the only ones to come through the last plagues alive to meet Jesus.
Yes, I can show you that, but we have to come to an agreement that the 144,000 are in the SDA Church before the Loud Cry, before the SDA Church is purified. That they are sighing and crying for the sins that's being done in the SDA Church. Can we agree on that?
I came across this article it may be of some interest for posters here.
I visited Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji recently. In all three countries, I encountered the same question: is the 144,000 a real number of living saints at the end of time or is it symbolic? Will there be only 144,000 Seventh-day Adventists saved when Jesus returns?
The text in Revelation 7:4 was written by the apostle John. It is prophetic, yet not typical prophecy. The context is apocalyptic. The Greek word apokalypsis means “revelation”, “disclosure” or “unveiling”.
The “revelation” about the 144,000 is exciting yet mingled with hesitance because the “unveiling” has not been entirely completed. Therefore, we should avoid speculation or an attempt to make the 144,000 an exclusive club.
In Revelation 6:12-16, John describes the apocalyptic events that precede the advent of Jesus Christ. In verse 17 the question is raised, “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (NKJV).
The responding “disclosure” is in Revelation 7. John “unveils” the 144,000 as saints who will stand triumphant, undeterred, undefiled and victorious when Jesus returns to earth.
As an apocalyptic prophecy, Revelation 7 is full of symbols. We do not see four angels holding back the literal winds of strife, do we? (7:1). Nor do we see an angel placing a literal mark on the foreheads of God’s children (7:2, 3). Just imagine what people would think if they saw us following an actual lamb or not getting married as a sign of our loyalty to God (14:4). The figures of speech in Revelation 7 are symbolic. So why would we interpret the 144,000 differently? We must be consistent in our interpretation.
"THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE WHO ACCEPTS JESUS CHRIST TODAY AS LORD AND SAVIOUR."
The 144,000 is an all-inclusive group of faithful followers who love Jesus and are obedient to His commandments (14:4, 5). They conquer the image of the beast, endure persecution (7:1-3; cf. 14:9-11; 13:15-18), stand victorious with Jesus Christ and sing the triumphant song of their experience with God (14:3). The number is therefore symbolic of God’s end-time universal church who make up spiritual Israel (7:4-8). They are the remnants who survive the shifting in Laodicea (3:14-22) and include those who respond to the loud cry of the third angel’s message when the image of the beast becomes law (15:2).
As “first fruits” of the final harvest, the 144,000 are part of a much more abundant harvest of people from the earth, beginning with Adam and Eve and including every soul who accepts Jesus Christ before the close of human probation. Individuals will be gathered before God from all nations of the earth. Those redeemed will be an enormous multitude of people no-one can count (7:9). They will celebrate before God and the throne day and night (7:10-12).
We should not worry ourselves with numbers. Space is not a problem for God. The 144,000 is only symbolic of saints portrayed in the Bible as faithful to God and ready to meet Jesus face-to-face at the end of time. There is room for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ today as Lord and Saviour.
Let’s break down denominational barriers. The 144,000 are faithful followers of Jesus Christ who make up the end-time universal church of God. The focus will not be on denominational distinction but instead on faith and loyalty to the reign of God in our lives.
Our responsibility then is not to worry about who makes up the 144,000. It only leads to a spirit of judgement and criticism. Instead, let’s strive to be among the 144,000 saints who will live to witness the return of Jesus Christ. We must be faithful to the daily reign of God in our lives in anticipation of His eternal kingdom.
Wow! What an awesome privilege to follow Jesus Christ.
Lord, what a fantastic promise that awaits each one of us. Please help us to be ready for Jesus to come. Should we be alive when Jesus returns, we pray that we too will be among the 144,000 living saints. May blessings, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen (Revelation 7:12)
Lomani Manu O’uiha is a pastor in the North New Zealand Conference.
Remember, only 8 came through the Flood.
Richard wrote: "Remember, only 8 came through the Flood"
Hi brother Richard, I would like to thank you for being a blessing with your contributions here on AO, your post has sparked many conversations.
I know that example, in regards to only 8 coming through the flood in used, however applying that example to the teaching that "only" 144,000 will be alive when Jesus comes is not taught in the Bible or the writings of EGW (SOP)... from what I understand, and if I'm wrong, I welcome correction.
Think about this, let's say those alive when Jesus comes are the 144,000 first fruits of the living and maybe 100-300 million of the rest of the harvest of righteous living saints (that was gathered during the Loud Cry), out of what, 8 billion people on earth? That's not a good ratio either.
I don't know how many will come out of Babylon, but I do know a great multitude will come out, it's one of the final grand climaxes the SDA Church looks forward to brother Richard.
The question is, is it a SDA Church teaching that there will be "only" 144,000 out of the that great multitude ( gathered during Loud Cry) of righteous saints to come out of great tribulation and survive and see Jesus when He comes in the clouds when all eyes can see Him?
Or is the SDA Church teaching that the 144,000 are Laodiceans (SDA), they are the mains ones to come out of the shaking that's to happen in the SDA Church, then they go out and call out a great multitude of righteous living saints from Babylon during the Loud Cry, and when the Loud Cry is over, they all are protected and go through and come out of great tribulation during the last plagues , then they all see Jesus and are translated to meet Jesus, and meet the great multitude of righteous saints thats resurrected. Of course, as you know, this is the understanding I'm getting, it's something being taught by SDA pastors.
This fits type of the harvest,
EGW : "From the harvest fields the first heads of ripened grain were gathered, and when the people went up to Jerusalem to the Passover, the sheaf of first fruits was waved as a thank offering before the Lord. Not until this was presented could the sickle be put to the grain, and it be gathered into sheaves. The sheaf dedicated to God represented the harvest. So Christ the first fruits represented the great spiritual harvest to be gathered for the kingdom of God. His resurrection is the type and pledge of the resurrection of all the righteous dead." Hvn p.104
The first fruits represents the harvest, just like Jesus' resurrection, and those who He resurrected with Him represents the larger harvest of dead righteous saints from all of earth's history to be resurrected when Jesus comes. The same applies to the harvest of living saints, the 144,000 literal amount of saints represents the larger amount of living saints, those who will be gathered during the Loud Cry, and goes through and come out of great tribulation with the 144,000.