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Section 9B .. The Future

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The 144000
 

The 144,000

There are two choices ... the number 144,000 and the description of this group, is either literal or symbolic.

At this point in time interest in the 144,000 has to be purely academic with little or no current relevance to us as believers.

In the here and now there are far more pressing things that we need to focus on and pay heed to  - Correctly understanding sin and salvation and the Wrath of God for example. Also we need to be prepared for the fact that we will not be raptured out of here before the going gets rough. We need to be aware  that we will not escape persecution by the antichrist and his minions (See The First Six Seals). Additionally, chapters 17 and 18 (the 'Two Babylons') of the book of Revelation that largely deal with specific targets of the wrath of God makes it imperative that we understand and heed the warning we have been given.

ON THIS PAGE
PART - I
The 144,000
The 'Sealing' - Literal Or Symbolic?
The Reason For The Sealing
Do the 144,000 Have an End Time Role to Play?
Physically or Spiritually Chaste?
Keeping Ourselves Blameless

PART II Who Are The 144,000?
The Jehovah's Witnesses?
Literal Hereditary Jews?

 

PART - I - The 144,000
In the interlude between the sixth and seventh seals an angel in possession of "the seal of the living God" cries to four other angels to not harm the earth, the sea, nor the trees, until the servants of our God are sealed on their foreheads.

    (2) And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, (3) saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (4) And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Revelation 7:2-4 NASB)

The next four verses list 12,000 people from each of 12 named tribes...  Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

    Note:  Seals were not only used on letters and other documents to keep them away from prying eyes and show that the contents had not been tampered with, but were also used to confirm and authenticate them (much as something is 'notarized' in our world). Additionally certificates that prove ownership in a business can be sealed with the company seal along with any necessary signatures.

    In Scripture being 'sealed' indicates we are God's people - bought with Jesus' blood. 2 Corinthians 1:22 talks of God establishing, anointing and sealing us and Ephesians 1:13-14 combines sealing with redemption.

See The End of The Age Part II - The First Six Seals   And   Part III - The Seventh Seal And The First Six Trumpets


The 'Sealing' - Literal Or Symbolic?
Since one can be reasonably certain that God neither pulls out His pen to write Scripture on someone's heart nor literally carves laws on our foreheads, the several references Scripture makes to God's marks or seals have to be symbolic. Having Christ's or the Father's name written on one's forehead simply indicates allegiance and loyalty.

    In Deuteronomy 6:8 Moses told God's people to keep all His statutes and His commandments, and instructing them to "bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes" (verses 2, 8).

    The hand and forehead probably represented the person's actions and thoughts respectively.

    In Revelation 3:12 the Lord told the church at Sardis: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem...".

    Referring to the time after the second coming, Revelation 22:3-4 says His bond-servants will serve Him, they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

Besides which, when the entire scene - the angels holding the four winds, the great multitude arrayed in white robes etc. is symbolic why should the sealing be any different? And that also goes for the number of people who are sealed. 144,000 is the number of the twelve tribes of Israel squared (12 x 12) then multiplied by 1000 which indicates symbolism.

 
The Reason For The Sealing
As said in the chapter on the first six seals (link above) the whole point of salvation is to be forgiven of one's sins thus not be the target of God's wrath. In the book of Revelation the wrath of God is only spoken of in connection with the trumpets and the bowls, never the Seals.

 The fifth seal describes the outcome of the fourth seal inasmuch as when the Lamb broke it John saw the souls of people under the altar who had been slain for the word of God. This can be none other than Christians.The Bible indicates that the spilling of the blood of believers is the final spark that sets off the fire of God's wrath. Babylon, the great city, will be thrown down "with violence" because all the nations were deceived by her sorcery and because ...

    "... in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." (Revelation 18:24 NASB)

Note that the breaking of the Sixth Seal is the first time that the wrath of God is mentioned. (Revelation 6:12-17) Nothing that went before had anything to do with His judgment.

The Persecution of The Church
However, this does not mean that the believer's path up to the point God's wrath falls on this planet is strewn with primroses. Much to the contrary, the Bible speaks of much trouble for Christians. Matthew 24:4-9 that describes the events leading up to and the actual persecution of the church are exactly paralleled by the first four Seals (Revelation 6-7). This means that these four seals have to be referring to the persecution of Christians not God's judgment on the rest of humanity. See The End Of The Age Part II... The First Six  Seals - A Comparison of The Seals And Matthew 24:4-9

The Wrath of God
Scripture makes it clear that no believer will be the target of God's wrath that begins with the breaking of the sixth seal. Those who are 'sealed' or have the name of the Father "written on their foreheads" (Revelation 14:1) will be protected but those who have the 'Mark of The Beast' on their foreheads will suffer the full extent of the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation. See The Two Tribulations of Matthew 24 Wrath of God and The Mark of The Beast

    (9) Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, (10) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  (11)  "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:9-11 NASB)

The prophet Joel spoke about protection for God's people in the time of His wrath,

    The sun and moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness. The Lord roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the Lord is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel. (Joel 3:15-16 NASB)

Revelation 9:3-4 further emphasizes this protection when 'locusts' will be forbidden from harming those who have the seal of God on their foreheads

    Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (Revelation 9:3-4 NASB)

There was at least one other occasion when the foreheads of men obedient to the Law were symbolically marked or 'sealed' to protect them from what was about to happen.

    The Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." But to the others He said in my hearing, "Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. "Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary." So they started with the elders who were before the temple. (Ezekiel 9:4-6 NASB)


Do the 144,000 Have an End Time Role to Play?
The very next verse following the listing of the 12 tribes (Revelation 7:4-8) reads

    After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  (Revelation 7:9 NASB)

Many mainstream commentators are of the opinion because that because the verse above comes immediately after the details of the 144,000, there has to be a cause and effect relationship between them. That is, the 144,000 are responsible for the great saved multitude - their mission apparently being to evangelize and proclaim the gospel during the tribulation period. Because of their ministry this great multitude will come to faith in Christ.

This is reading far more into the text than it actually says. All John wrote was after the sealing of the 144,000 he looked and saw this great multitude. In no shape, form, or fashion does he even hint that the multitude was evangelized by the 144,000. Besides which the expression 'after these things' is used several times between verses in Revelation without even a hint of no cause and effect. For example,

    'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."  (Revelation 3:22-4:1 NASB)

    for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"  After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. (Revelation 6:17 - 7:1 NASB)

    "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For All the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed." After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, (Revelation 15:4-5 NASB)

    "The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth." After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. (Revelation 17:18-18:1 NASB)

    "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; (Revelation Revelation 18:24-19:1 NASB)

First Fruits
Revelation 14 is the only other chapter that makes mention of the 144,000. Verse 4 tells us that they have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. This has given rise to the belief that the 144,000 will be the first fruits of the coming harvest to be sealed - those who hear and heed their testimony during the Great Tribulation will also be sealed.

However, the Bible make absolutely no mention of two sealings nor does it tell usone way or the other whether or not the 144,000 have an assigned mission.

Note: The feast of first-fruits, on the 17th day of Nisan, was a celebration of the harvest, when a sheaf representing the very first of the harvest was waved before the Lord, as a symbolic gesture that dedicated the coming harvest to Him. (This sheaf was likely to be barley, which was the first crop to ripen). Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of First-fruits. His resurrection was like a wave offering presented to the Father as the first-fruits of the harvest to come at the end of the age. Now these are the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.

    But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NASB) See The Seven Feasts of Israel


Physically or Spiritually Chaste?
In a later chapter of Revelation the hundred forty and four thousand who have the name of the Father on their foreheads are depicted as standing on Mt. Zion with Christ.

    (1) Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.  (2) And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. (3) And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. (4) These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. (5)  And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:1-5 NASB)

They are said to have "not been defiled with women" but "kept themselves chaste", which can carry one of two meanings... a) They are either physically celibate (see Matthew 19:21) or b) they are spiritually faithful.

In the Old Testament, unfaithfulness to the Father was spoken of as prostitution or adultery...

    for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God-- otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. (Exodus 34:14-16 NASB)

    Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB)

    How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. (Isaiah 1:21 NASB)

    Surely, as a woman treacherously departs from her lover, So you have dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel," declares the Lord.  (Jeremiah 3:20 NASB)

    Do not rejoice, O Israel, with exultation like the nations! For you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved harlots' earnings on every threshing floor. (Hosea 9:1 NASB)

In the New Testament, the church is known as the "bride" of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7, 21:9). The context of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 11:2 ..."For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin" (NASB) simply means that believers would not be tainted by a "different gospel" but would stay faithful to the true Gospel which they had already heard from the apostles - a warning that we would be well advised to heed today. See Doctrines of Demons

In other words, the 144.00 may well be described as celibate men to highlight their moral purity. They escaped all spiritual defilement by distancing themselves from our materialistic, godless system that has grown fat at the expense of many, the 'harlotry' of embracing of false gods and man made religions, and the apostate church. As J. Hampton Keathley, III says...

    This view fits with the following words, "these are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. The whole group has remained devoted and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ; they follow and serve Him as obedient servants in contrast to a world that as a whole goes whoring after the beast. [01]

Keeping Ourselves Blameless
However, what really matters is that we too need to be found blameless. God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5 NASB)

The 'Great City' spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18 (The Two Babylons) is not a literal city but a figurative description of two systems... a religious system is outlined in chapter 17, and a political/commercial system described in chapter 18. Both are specific targets of the wrath of God which is why a "voice from heaven" issued an unambiguous warning to God's people

    I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5 NASB).

Since it is obvious that we cannot physically leave this planet 'coming out from her' means separating ourselves from the world's endless quest for power, money, sex etc..

See What Is Holiness? Part II A -
The Bible Defines Holiness as something set aside exclusively for God

The commandment to be separate, perfect and complete were unchanging, and consistently repeated from one end of the Bible to the other. Holiness, or separation from the world and it's standards is NOT a virtue, it is the commandment of God, and anyone who professes Christianity without holiness is as phony as the proverbial three dollar bill.

And, it seems that the 144,000 have done just that... escaped all spiritual defilement by distancing themselves from our materialistic, godless system that has grown fat at the expense of many, the 'harlotry' of embracing of false gods, man-made religions, and the apostate church.

We have to constantly keep in mind that we are strangers and exiles on the earth. We do not belong here but are merely passing through. Being conformed to the world or even flirting with what the world has to offer is dangerous ground for the Christian to be treading. If you have your heart set on gaining material wealth. If everything you do revolves around 'getting ahead' then you may have a serious problem.

    Note: Religious "Babylon" is a spiritual kingdom that reached back to Shinar and the tower of Babel, then physically and/or spiritually persisted in the physical kingdom of Babylon and other nations as diverse as Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome - all of whom wreaked havoc on Israel. This kingdom, the antitheses of Jerusalem, is alive and well and still endeavors to carry away captives and win the battle. Until finally defeated it will extend it's tentacles into the future when spiritual apostasy and pure unmitigated evil will peak under the regime of the beast See Two Babylons



PART II - Who Are The 144,000?
The identity of the people that John heard were to be sealed has given rise to much speculation. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses claim this literal number will come from their ranks, while others believe the 144,000 will be Jews who will be saved from the physical nation of Israel. 

Scripture does not support either of these claims.

The Jehovah's Witnesses
In summary the Jehovah's Witnesses are convinced that that they will be the only ones who will survive the Great Tribulation. Not according to the prophet Zephaniah who said

    I will completely remove all things from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. "I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. (Zephaniah 1:2-3 NASB)

    Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them On the day of the Lord's wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end (Heb. klh), Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. (Zephaniah 1:18 NASB)

    The Greek word Klh means to utterly consume

A Great Multitude
Additionally Revelation says that John also beheld

    "a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  (Revelation 7:9 NASB)

Counting only those who actively preach the Gospel as of 2023 Jehovah's Witnesses numbered close to 9 million worldwide. Just over 20 million attend the annual Memorial of Christ's death. [02]

Either way, they are easily counted and cannot be the multitude "that no man can number" that John saw.

Typology When Luke drew a parallel between the days of Noah, the days of the Son of Man, and the days preceding the destruction of Sodom, he specifically said that all the inhabitants Sodom were destroyed after Lot, his wife, and his two daughters escaped the city on the urging of the angels.

    (26) "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (27) they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  (28) "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; (29) but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  (30) "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.  (Luke 17:26-30 NASB)

A 'type' is one or more event or person that foreshadows or points to one final and very important event (or person) called the antitype

    Lot being moved to safety before Sodom was destroyed gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Once believers are taken out of the way (The Rapture) the Seven Bowls will destroy all the inhabitants of the earth. See The Rapture and the Seven Bowls

    Similarly the the Ten Plagues of Egypt were a type of the Seven Trumpets. Gradually increasing in intensity, plague after plague fell on the Egyptians, but the Israelites who lived in their midst were not affected. However, once the Israelites were safely on the far shore of the Red Sea (a 'type' of the rapture), the Egyptian army was completely destroyed (the Seven Bowls).

    See Prophecy and Typology

They further add that 

    God selects a limited number of faithful Christians who, after their death, will be resurrected to life in heaven. (1 Peter 1:3, 4) Once they have been chosen, they must continue to maintain a Christian standard of faith and conduct in order not to be disqualified from receiving their heavenly inheritance. Ephesians 5:5; Philippians 3:12-14....

They will serve alongside Jesus as kings and priests for 1,000 years. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:6) They will form the "new heavens, or heavenly government, that will rule over the "new earth, or earthly society. Those heavenly rulers will help restore mankind to the righteous conditions that God originally intended. Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13.  [03]

Neither of the quotes passages from Revelation either say or imply that only a limited number of people will reign upon the earth.

    And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10 NASB)

    Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 NASB)

Much to the contrary Paul told the Romans that although those who are in the flesh cannot please God they (his readers) were not in the flesh but in the Spirit. And if Christ was in them they were alive even if the body was dead. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwelt in them, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead would also give life to their mortal bodies through His Spirit. (Romans 8:911)

Heaven?
The Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that it is a "misconception" that all good people go to heaven. Quoting Psalms 37:11, 29 and 34 they say "God promises everlasting life on earth for most good people"

    But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity....  The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever... Wait for the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. (NASB)

This unfortunately shows a complete lack of understanding as to the nature and location of 'heaven'. See What And Where is Heaven?


Literal Hereditary Jews?
There are several compelling reasons one cannot consider the 144,000 to be literal hereditary Jews.

1) The New Testament teaches that all who believe in Christ are descendants of Abraham and that the middle wall of partition has been removed merging believing Jews and Gentile into one body and one building.

    For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,  (Ephesians 2:14 NASB)

Additionally, Paul made the following statements...

    Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  (Galatians 3:7 NASB)

    Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall... in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:12-14 and 21-22 NASB)

And Abraham was

    ".. the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:12-13 NASB)

In view of which are we really supposed to believe that Jewish believers are protected while their Gentile brothers are left to perish?


2) What Jesus said to the disciples in Matthew 19:28 makes it very unlikely that the 12 tribes are to be considered literally in the New Testament.

    And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel". (Matthew 19:28 NASB)

While it is true that in Moses' time twelve men - one from each tribe ("each of whom was of his father's household") were the leaders of Israel (Numbers 1:44), Jesus had to be speaking figuratively because the twelve disciples did not belong to twelve separate tribes... Peter and Andrew were brothers, as were James and John.


3) The names of the 12 tribes are clearly listed (Judah, Reuben, Gad,  Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin), thus a literal interpretation of this verse would mean that anyone who was not a member of these particular tribes would be left out. This would include Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all of whom never belonged to any of the tribes of Israel.

Additionally, the tribes of Ephraim and Dan are not on the list, which means that Joshua (Ephraim) and Samson from the tribe of Dan (Judges 13) will also be excluded. And, of course, all Gentiles (non-Jews).

    Yet, Jesus said... "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 8:11 NASB)


4.) In the book of Revelation, the phrase "bondservants" always refers to all of God's people, not just ethnic Jews. For example,

    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bondservant John,  (Revelation 1:1 NASB)

    'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  (Revelation 2:20 NASB).

    Note: This was written to the Gentile church in Thyatira that was situated on a major road of the Roman Empire. Lydia, the seller of purple, mentioned in Acts 16:14 came from Thyatira.

    And a voice came from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great."  (Revelation 19:5 NASB)

    There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;  (Revelation 22:3 NASB)

 

Conclusion
In view of all of  the above, we cannot possibly believe that the 144,000 "sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel" are anything but a spiritual representation of the "holy nation" of believers.

 End Notes

[01] J. Hampton Keathley, III. Special Announcements (Rev 14:1-20. https://bible.org/seriespage/20-special-announcements-rev-141-20

[02] How Many of Jehovah's Witnesses Are There Worldwide?
https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/how-many-jw/

[03] JW.org. Who Go to Heaven? https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/go-to-heaven/

 

Footnote I
The tribes of Israel have been listed several different ways in both Testaments -the variation probably meant to emphasize something.  It is possible that in Revelation 7 the tribe of Levi - the priestly tribe that did not an inheritance among the twelve tribes because their inheritance was the Lord Himself (Deuteronomy 10:9)  are possibly included in the list in Revelation because all priestly functions ceased with the coming of Christ.

The tribe of Dan may not mentioned because more than once they they were guilty of idolatry on many occasions . Jeroboam set up one of his idolatrous golden calves in Dan 

    The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land.  (Judges 18:30 NASB)

    So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. (1 Kings 12:28-30 NASB)

    Some think that 'the serpent by the way' means the Antichrist comes from the tribe of Dan

    "Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel. "Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, That bites the horse's heels, So that his rider falls backward. (Genesis 49:16-17 NASB)

On the other hand, Dan heads the list of the tribes receiving an inheritance in Ezekiel's list (Ezekiel 48).

The tribe of Joseph was usually represented by both Ephraim and Manasseh. However, while Manasseh in specifically mentioned in John's list, Ephraim is not mentioned by name but under the banner of the tribe of Joseph. 

However, the Bible says nothing about these lists therefore any ideas we have are strictly our own.  [PLACE IN TEXT]

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