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Featured Identifying the 144,000

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Deeje, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    This thread was started because of a conversation between @shmogie and myself on the identity of the 144,000, but others are free to join in the discussion.

    Here is how JW's understand the 144,000 of Revelation.

    Beginning with Revelation 14:1-5 we read...

    "Then I saw, and look! the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was like singers who accompany themselves by playing on their harps. 3 And they are singing what seems to be a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, and no one was able to master that song except the 144,000, who have been bought from the earth. 4 These are the ones who did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, 5 and no deceit was found in their mouths; they are without blemish." (NWT)

    Or from the NASB.....
    "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."

    So who are these 144,000 mentioned specifically only in Revelation?

    We see these 144,000 "standing on Mount Zion" with Jesus. This is a heavenly location because "New Jerusalem" is the heavenly seat of God's worship, pictured by the earthly arrangement in one geographical location concerning the fleshly nation of Israel. We are now dealing with a group of Christians who have no particular geographical location as Jesus said. (John 4:21-24) Christians are an international body. The 144,000 are seen standing with Jesus, having an identification "written on their foreheads" as belonging to Christ and his Father.

    These are singing a song that only they know, and it says that they have been "purchased from the earth" being bought by the blood of Christ. They are chaste, or spiritually undefiled. They follow the Lamb in whatever direction he leads them.

    They are said to be "firstfruits" meaning that these are selected first from among mankind as those who will occupy positions in heaven as 'kings and priests' to rule over redeemed mankind on earth. (Revelation 20:6; Revelation 21:2-4) "Firstfruits" are the pick of the crop, with the secondary fruits to follow.....who are still perfectly acceptable, but not counted as favorably as the firstfruits.

    These are resurrected "first" so that the Kingdom arrangement can begin ruling mankind as soon as God, by his Christ, cleanses the earth of all wickedness and those who practice it. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 25:31-33)

    Now let's go to Revelation 7 and see who make up this exclusive group of Christ's followers.

    4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel:. . . . .After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. 10 And they keep shouting with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (NWT)

    Or NASB
    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:. . . . 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 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

    Is this literal Israel? Does literal Israel attribute salvation to Jesus Christ? Do they recognize Jesus as the one seated on the throne with his Father?

    At Galatians 6:16 we will see whom the apostle Paul called "the Israel of God"......it was not just the Jews but those of any nation who came to accept Christ as Messiah and savior. This included Jews who saw Jesus as the one sent by God....the one heralded by John the Baptist....and who were the first to be taken into the Christian arrangement. A Fine Shepherd had led them out of a spiritually contaminated pen and into a new one...clean of all spiritual defilements and without the stain of blood on their hands. Later, Gentiles were added as those offered salvation as well, fulfilling God's promise to Abraham that "all nations would bless themselves" by means of the seed that he would send in his lineage. (Genesis 22:18)
    By saying that these ones would "bless themselves" he was indicating that they had to take action in order to receive that blessing, just as the first Christians did.

    Now notice that there is another group identified as a "great crowd" or "multitude". The first group is numbered but the second group cannot be counted. These are the ones who attribute salvation to God and his son who are seen in heaven surrounded by the 144,000.

    Revelation 7:13-15...
    "In response one of the elders said to me: “These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?14 So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 That is why they are before the throne of God, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne+ will spread his tent over them." (NWT)

    Or the NASB...
    "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them."

    This second group are said to "come out of the great tribulation" which is to occur at the very end of this present system of things. It is included as part of the "sign" that Jesus gave to indicate that he was ruling in his Kingdom. (Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:21) This meant that Christ's rulership was not to bring peace immediately....rather the opposite, as the Psalmist indicated in Psalm 110:1-2. Messiah was to "rule in the midst of his enemies".

    So we see the 144,000 as "spiritual" Israelites, not fleshly Israelites unless they individually come to Christ and acknowledge him as Messiah. (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:28-29)

    Those waiting for literal Israel to be converted to Christianity at the last moment, will be disappointed I believe.
    They have had almost 2,000 years to think it over and to this day as a nation, they have not acknowledged 'the one who came in Jehovah's name'. (Matthew 23:37-39) They have found countless reasons to keep denying him.

    So what do others believe with regard to the identity of the 144,000?
     
    #1 Deeje, Apr 14, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  2. sooda

    sooda Well-Known Member

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    That is so pagan .. What a turn off.
     
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  3. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Yeah...the Bible is so totally pagan......:rolleyes:
     
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  4. savagewind

    savagewind Veteran Member
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    The number is symbolic which just means that it doesn't mean exactly 144,000. Unlike the Jehovah's Witnesses believe* they are all God's servants of whom some lived before, some during, and some after the temple of God.

    *The governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses teaches that "no soul ascended to Heaven before Jesus did" means that only souls alive after Jesus died are of the 144,000. But, they do not know the truth about the resurrection.

    **John 3:13
     
    #4 savagewind, Apr 14, 2019
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  5. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    There are a variety of views on the 144000 and I would not be overly simplistic about it.
    I also don't think it's the most important issue.

    In one view it is redeemed Jewish believers (but since they are all virgin males I think that's makes one think there might be something more symbolic going on or maybe the not defield with women is the symbolic part or males or the number just means a number of completion). The most typical dispensational view.

    In another view both the 144000 and the number that cannot be counted both are both the church, also a possible interpretation to consider but not intuitive The most typical reformed view.

    I would not rush into an interpretation or put too much weight in it. It seems better to put weight into things that are more clear and more consequential

    Maybe its ok to say, not sure
     
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  6. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    I defend your right to your beliefs, as I defend my own, though they are very different.
     
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  7. Landon Caeli

    Landon Caeli What's your stoyle?

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    No, but your total reliance on scripture is a trait that some pagans did have regarding their scriptures prior to Christianity.

    Christianity was not initially a Sola Scriptura faith when considering the first Christians were Gnostics and the Desert Fathers... It just never was - They were Mystics. It's a trait the Protestants copied from the Pagans, Jews and then Muslims.

    ...Copy cats. :rolleyes:
     
    #7 Landon Caeli, Apr 14, 2019
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  8. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Why does heaven need a ruling class?
     
  9. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Thank you for your thoughts....I don't mean it to sound "simplistic" but I don't think this topic has to be so difficult to understand. If we use scripture to explain scripture the mystery is solved. This applies to just about every bone of contention that exists within the Christian faith.

    Many in Christendom believe that they are going to heaven just because they "believe" in Jesus Christ, but the Bible says it was never God's intention originally to take any humans to heaven.....we were designed to live forever on earth. It was only when the first humans disobeyed that God denied access to the only means they had to keep living.

    The Jews had no belief in a heavenly resurrection because they were looking forward to Messiah's kingdom being established on earth. It was only when Jesus began his ministry that he began to talk about heaven. But his Jewish disciples didn't understand. Even as Jesus was ascending to heaven, they asked if he was going to establish his Kingdom on earth right then and there. (Acts of the Apostles 1:6) only after their anointing with holy spirit at Pentecost did they receive their heavenly calling.

    But then, Jesus said that "the meek shall inherit the earth"....so it was apparent that not all would receive a heavenly reward. Those who go to heaven, do so for a purpose and they are chosen by God for this role, not men.

    Understanding God's original purpose for mankind, I believe, is very important in seeing our place in God's arrangement.
     
  10. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Seeing as how Jesus himself constantly referred to the Hebrew Scriptures, then I believe that we should adhere to scripture too.

    Traditions of men have always supplanted scripture in men's minds.....Judaism fell to this, so did Christendom. The first Christians were not mystics, they were footstep followers of their Master. We should be too....so what happened to that?
     
  11. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Lately it seems as if my fictional tales about history could be more factual than accepted "fact".
     
  12. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Because the Kingdom of God is a real functioning government that will rule over redeemed mankind, we need to appreciate that any government is a minority ruling over a majority.

    This government of God is not elected by men, but by God himself, making them the right people for the job. Ones who have a proven record of faithful obedience to God.

    Like Jesus, they have lived a human life and will be compassionate rulers and priests, taking us back to the beginning and giving us back what Adam and his wife threw away......everlasting life in paradise on earth. This is the whole purpose of the kingdom. It facilitates a reconciliation with God because sin created a barrier between us and out Maker. Jesus removes the barrier and takes us home.
     
  13. Landon Caeli

    Landon Caeli What's your stoyle?

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    You are aware that the Pharisees did believe in an afterlife but the Saudicees did not believe in life after death, right?
     
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  14. Landon Caeli

    Landon Caeli What's your stoyle?

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    But isn't it true that He was always referring to scripture only to the Pharisees whose goal was to kill him?

    ...But with his flock, he was always breaking bread, curing people and doing fun stuff like walking on water.

    IOW, he wasn't asking anyone to hit the books.
     
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  15. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    No, actually the Pharisees believed in the resurrection and the Sadducees did not. The ancient Israelites did not believe in an afterlife at all....only that once Messiah's kingdom was established on earth that they would be restored to this life by a resurrection. They believed that a person slept in death awaiting the call to return to life in the flesh.

    Later on the Jews fell to Greek influence and adopted the Platonic belief in an immortal soul. This is not a Bible teaching.
     
    #15 Deeje, Apr 14, 2019
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  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Jesus did not teach anything outside of the Hebrew Scriptures. What he taught was different to what the Pharisees taught because they had deviated from the path of scriptural truth to invent their own rigid version of it. Like Catholicism, men introduced their own ideas and claimed that these were from God.

    Actually he was primarily a teacher....read the Sermon on the Mount if you want to know what Jesus taught.

    He healed people and even fed them on a couple of occasions, but his primary mission was as a preacher and teacher. He taught from the Hebrew Scriptures.
     
  17. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    So now, in your Christian journey, another book of the NT bites the dust.

    Tell me ahain, what creed is it that sums up your belief structure ?
     
  18. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    I don't have confidence that I understand your beliefs, or that you honestly state them. It is doubtful that we can resolve those issues. After 45 years worshiping God, it has become clear to me that his desires are quite simple for us and sadly humanity, because satan works in us, strives to make all that complicated and onerous. Micah 6:8, "The Lord's Prayer, and a very few other things outline his desires for us.
     
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  19. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    If all you have for your points of reference is Christendom's version of events, then that is understandable. I came out of Christendom myself over 45 years ago. Nothing they taught made a lick of sense to me. But the Bible explains itself if you know what it says.

    The Lord's Prayer outlined what were to be the priorities in our own prayers.....in order, they are the sanctification of God's name, clearing it of all the reproach that humans have heaped upon it....then the importance of the coming of God's kingdom and God's will being done on earth as it is now done in heaven. Asking for the necessities of life for each day, rather than being anxious about tomorrow and what it will bring.

    Who even understands what the words mean when they parrot off that prayer? The preceding verses warn us not to repeat things mindlessly.

    But who really lives a life of that kind of simplicity? It's a nice goal, but barely achievable for the majority. Satan has created an empire down here that will soon be snatched away from him and all who follow his lead.....to make way for the kind of government that God had in mind at the beginning. A true Theocrasy, not a puny human imitation.
     
  20. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    No, the first Christians were the Apostles, who later deemed the the gnostics heretics, I haven´t a clue as to who the desert fathers were.

    The Apostles were not mystics

    The books of the NT, written by the Apostles, sharing Christ, his teachings, and their teachings, were in circulation by 100 AD. These were what guided the immediate post Apostolic church.

    By 175 AD, error crept in, as predicted by the Apostles, and mysticism, tradition, asceticism and more became part of the Church.

    The Reformation, the Protestants brought the church back to what was intended, the religion of the first century, the teachings of Christ and the Apostles in the Bible, nothing more. sola scriptura

    Sadly, many of the teachings of the Apostles. of the Apostles have been abandoned by a number of Protestant denominations.

    Some have become nothing more than self help groups, others have abandoned teachings the world doesn´t like, making themselves not reflections of Christ, but reflections of the tired old sinful world.

    Christ said there were two paths, one wide and easy, the other narrow and difficult.

    The first path leads to death, the second leads to life.

    Denominations that do not hold to all the teachings of the Bible, no matter how hard, have placed their people on the wide path to perdition.
     
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