Hi folks. This morning the preacher explained the 144,000 described in Revelation 7:4. It was the first time I had ever heard it explained with perfect clarity. I’m going to try to condense the message of the sermon here for the rest of you. I hope I can do it justice. Read slowly and read twice because this is good stuff.
Let’s start at Revelation 6. It’s important to understand that the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls are not different things. They are the same seven items described in different ways. Revelation 6:13 says “the stars of heaven fell unto the earth”. Lets compare that to Matthew 24:29 where it also says “the stars shall fall from heaven”. The two verses are talking about the same event. It’s important to keep in mind that Matthew 24 is talking about the end of the jewish age which happened in AD 70, Matthew 25 is talking about the end of the world which is yet to come.
Now lets move into Revelation 7. Revelation 7:1 talks about four angels “holding the four winds of the earth”. The four winds are God’s judgment. We can know this by letting scripture interpret scripture. Jeremiah 49:35 and 36 are talking about God’s judgment against Elam. In Jeremiah 49:36 God says “upon Elam I will bring the four winds”.
So God’s judgment is being held and 7:3 tells us that it is held back “until the servant’s of our God are sealed”. The term sealed means marked, chosen, separated. Again we can let scripture interpret scripture. Ezekiel 9:4 -7 is a prophesy about the very same event and makes it clear that the men being sealed are being chosen before a judgment and are being separated out so that they do not take part in it.
Next Revelation 7:4 tells us exactly who is being sealed/separated. It says 144,000 people and it specifically says from the children of Israel. Revelation 14:1 is also referring this same group of 144’000 and 14:3 says they were “redeemed from the earth”. Then 14:4 calls them the “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb”. The term firstfruits has a specific meaning here. It refers to the first part of each harvest which was handed over to the Lord. See Leviticus 2:12 and again let scripture interpret scripture.
A quick recap. God’s judgment is withheld until 144,000 are chosen out and removed from the earth. We know these are all from the children of Israel.
We can read another reference to this group of servants in Revelation 20:4, “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God”. This is the same group of people. It says they “reigned with Christ a thousand years” then 20:5 says “the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection”. The term “thousand years” is a figurative term. It’s basically a span of time that only God knows.
Now let’s put these events in their proper perspective. Let’s again let scripture interpret scripture. Matthew 27:51-53 are describing events that took place at Jesus’ crucifixion. 27:51 says “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom”. This is another symbolic and very specific term. In the jewish age, that is under law, there was a veil in the temple in front of the holy place. Only priests could go behind it and no one else could even look behind it. Jesus put an end to this. Now anyone could approach God through Christ. It’s a symbol of the end of the jewish age and the beginning of the Kingdom.
Then right after that Matthew 27:52 and 53 say “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many”. This was at the crucifixion, before any gentiles had been converted. All these saints which arose were Israelites. They appeared to many but didn’t stay around. Are the lights coming on yet? These saints which arose after Jesus’ resurrection were the 144,000 spoken about in Revelation 7:4. This was the first resurrection spoken about in Revelation 20:5. These were the firstfruits spoken about in Revelation 14:1-4. These men reign with Christ RIGHT NOW and they have been reigning with Him since the first resurrection described in Matthew 27:52 and 53, which took place about 33AD.
Let’s look back in Revelation again at 7:9. This is after the 144,000 were sealed. It says “After this I beheld, and, lo, 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” THAT’S US. That is the Church. We are the rest who take part in the second resurrection. The first resurrection has already been, it was all Israelites. The second resurrection will be “of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues” as it says in Revelation 7:9.
I’ll give you a few verses to prove this time frame is correct. Again let scripture interpret scripture. Matthew 24:34 says “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”. Some of them were indeed still alive when these things took place. If these are future events then Jesus’ would have to have been wrong when He said that and we know that’s not possible. Again in Matthew 16:28 Jesus says “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom”. Some of those were still alive when the events took place. Let scripture interpret scripture. Again the only way this could be a future event is if Jesus were wrong in that statement. Not happening.
So the 144,000 were sealed, they were removed from the earth at the first resurrection right after Jesus’ resurrection in AD 33 and finally the four winds/God’s judgment came in 70 AD.
Condensed from a sermon by Elder Nichols.