They first appear in REVELATION 7:4 And I heard the number of them that were sealed…an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel; and in 14:1-5 …a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. It goes on to say they sung…a new song before the throne, and no man could learn that song but them which were redeemed from the earth. They follow the Lamb wherever He goeth…the firstfruits unto YHWH and to the Lamb, and they are without fault before the throne of YHWH.
Whoever these people are, two things occur to me as I read this: they are special, and we should aspire to be like them, or part of this group.
The 144,000 are divided into twelve groups or tribes. The original twelve tribes, sons of Yacob to four mothers, were: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Yudah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Yoseph, and Benyamin. We see here in the 144,000 however that Dan has disappeared to be replaced by Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were Yoseph’s sons to his Egyptian wife. Yoseph replaced Reuben as firstborn (they both being the firstborn of Yacob’s two wives) because Reuben slept with one of his father’s concubines. Consequently Yoseph received the double portion of inheritance given to all firstborn sons in order to care for his parents in their old age. Ephraim however, like his uncle Dan also, became idolators in the northern kingdom when Israel split apart after the death of King Shelemoh (Solomon). So their names were blotted out of YHWH’s Book of Life (MAL. 3:16-17). That is why Yoseph and Manasseh’s names are used in this end time list.
The removal of Dan and Ephraim is a picture of the removal of all those who idolize and worship false gods, specifically the antichrist system, and those who receive the mark of the beast.
Most commentators today interpret these 144,000 to be Jews. But as I am becoming used to saying: this cannot be so! As stated, the twelve tribes eventually split after Shelemoh’s death due to his idolatry, and formed the northern kingdom of what became known as Israel, and the southern kingdom of Yudah. Yudah was composed of only two tribes: Yudah and Benyamin, with some Levites and a sprinkling of other tribes. These became known as Jews. After 260 years the northern tribes were taken by Assyria into captivity because of their continuing offense of idolatry. These became known as the ‘ten lost tribes of Israel’. Yudah also was taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The only Jews who returned from Babylon were the ones taken last from Yerushalem, and then not all of them. Only a very small remnant returned. The descendants of these returned Jews and other Peoples who later converted to Judaism are today called Jews.
The Jews would like to think the people who call themselves Jews and have in modern times ‘returned’ to Israel from such places as Europe, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Russia are the full ten lost tribes and two tribes of which the Jews consisted. But they are not, for these returnees are all called Jews, that is, they adhere to the religion of Judaism. The original Jews were only from Yudah or Benyamin and a few Levites. The northern kingdom of Israel NEVER called themselves or were called Jews. Anyway, these twelve tribes gathered from the four winds in REVELATION and MATTHEW are obviously still dispersed throughout the earth or nations.
There are many Scriptures that refer to these ten lost tribes, and the revelation about them and their whereabouts was given over a hundred years ago. We know these 144,000 MUST be Christians because they follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. So they are clearly part of the Church. Many interpret the 144,000 to be Jews and NOT part of the Church because they erroneously believe the Church will have already been raptured by that point, chapter 7 in REVELATION. On close examination, as we are now doing, we see this is a false teaching that greatly contributes to the complacency and blindness of the Church. I will show how these people can be Israelites and still Christians in my next post because it is quite a long, in fact enormous, revelation. I’ll shorten it, but for now we’ll talk about the numbering.
The numbering is done according to the Scriptural principles applied to the counting of the Israelites coming out of Egypt. All the men over the age of twenty are numbered. Women and children are not. This is because a husband and wife are counted as one (flesh), and simply because women were not counted in a census. Even when Yahshua fed the multitudes only men were counted. Children under twenty are under their father’s covering. Unmarried daughters also remain ‘hidden’ under a father’s headship. So there may be exactly 144,000 MEN, but their families are with them, as well as any number of other women and children. It should not surprise us how the Almighty is so exact in His numbering. Like counting the hairs on our head, it is a picture of His absolute accuracy.
The number ‘twelve’, as in twelve tribes with 12,000 in each tribe stands for divine government and apostolic fullness, therefore 144–a 12 x 12 square–is YHWH’s ultimate perfection in government x 1000 years of their millennial reign.
These Elect are sealed and gathered by angels during the Great Tribulation before being taken by them to the now denuded Mt Zion in Yerushalem (see post What Shall Be the Sign of Thy Coming?). The book of EZRA (10:7-9) shows us this will take place in the first three days: And they made proclamation throughout Yudah and Yerushalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Yerushalem; And whosoever would not come WITHIN THREE DAYS, according to the counsel of the princes and elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and he himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away. On the seventh day the Elect will be made holy, manifesting the glory of the Most High: He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean (NUM. 19:12).
This is the fulfilment of the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement. Like the two goats, half the Church will perish as a sacrifice, and the other half shall be sent into a spiritual wilderness.
The Elect will be the rod of iron in the hand of Yahshua. They will be sent to the nations and tribes of Earth to evangelize the eighty percent of the population yet to hear the True Gospel: And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations…and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of My fame or seen My glory. There they will declare My glory to the nations (IS. 66:19). This they will accomplish during the first three and a half years of the final SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION period, they being kept safe throughout. This rod of iron, along with enthroned kings and queens already in Heaven (dead Christians), will comprise the government in the Millennium (REV. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15).