The 144,000 are mentioned three times in the Book of Revelation:
- Revelation 7:3-8 (ESV)
- saying: "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
- Revelation 14:1 (ESV)
- Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.
- Revelation 14:3-5 (ESV)
- And they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. For it is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
The numbers 12,000 and 144,000 are variously interpreted in traditional Christianity. Some, taking the numbers in Revelation to be symbolic, believe it represents all of God's people throughout history in the heavenly Church. Others insist the numbers 12,000 and 144,000 are literal numbers and that the 144,000 people who are either descendants of Jacob (also called Israel in the Bible) or who God has given a specifically superior destiny to have a distinct role at the time of the end of the world. Other views of the 144,000 include; that they are recently converted Jewish Evangelists, sent out to bring sinners to Jesus Christ during the 7 year tribulation period. Another view is that the 144,000 are a larger version of the ancient Israelite army, sent out at the end of the tribulation period to kill the ungodly.
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