Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

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Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

The Panda
The more and more I think about this number, and the more and more aspects of our lives that will potentially keep us out of heaven, I am beginning to believe that it really could be a literal number,
- sins that nobody seems to think two hoots about such as gossip will destroy so many of us, we would not even recognize it.
The Panda
I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
Among Adventists, the discussion on whether its a literal or symbolic number has gone back many years, back to the days when "Shepherd's Rod" were all the rage. Most SDA's now believe that its a symbolic number representing God's end time church.
I suppose a thorough study of Revelation is required to get to the bottom of this so if you're willing to dig a bit we can go right into it.
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Vincy
In reply to this post by The Panda
I think for that number to be so clearly stated in the bible it must have some significance. What it is I annoy sure yet. Maybe some can start to lay it put s little clearer for us
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
OK, lets give it a try ans see how we get on, I think some basic questions we need to ask to arrive at the original question are:
1. What kind of group are the 144,000?
2. When do they appear?
3. In which relation do they stand to the great multitude and the remnant?

I'll start with the first one. When looking at the 144,000 as a group, the Bible only mentions this twice in Rev 7 and in Rev 14. They are a specific group of human beings which maintain a special relationship with Jesus. In Rev 14:1 they are standing with the Lamb, Jesus, on Mt. Zion. Those, who have been condemned and have been persecuted in chap.13, now triumph with the Lamb. Instead of the mark of the beast on their foreheads or their hands these people bear the name of the Lamb and of the Father on their foreheads. They belong to God. He keeps them. They resemble Him. They sing a new song, a song of their personal experience, which they went through in the final battle between truth and error, God and Satan. Even though they were unable to buy or sell (13:17), Jesus has bought them. Salvation was expensive. It cost Jesus' life.

Are there any other texts that reference this or expands on this group of people?
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
As always, we really need to go back to The Bible for the answer.
The 144 thousand was first mention in Rev.7 and then in Rev 14, look at the context and what the
Bible was talking about when this was mention.
Just before the Angels are let loose with the vials of distruction and before God's people are seal with the
seal of the living God, this special group of people will preach the last mesage of warning to the world.
It goes on to say that they are the first fruit unto God and the lamb.

JAW
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Vincy
Would there be first and second fruits then?

Would the first fruits only- get to go to live with Jesus or would the second also?  ( if there are any seconds that is)
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
Rev.14  explains that first fruits are those who were not defiled by "woman" ( Babylon the false system of worship) for they are Virgins. No guile or faults was found in them and they follow the lamb (Jesus) wherever He leads.  Then Rev.7 tells us that there was a great multitude which no man can number from
all walks of life stood before the Throne ( in Heaven) wearing white robes, these are the "second fruit"
Also remember that the 144,000 is the first fruit on the earth at that time, but the 24 elders and others were also taken from the earth before.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Vincy
That is quite interesting.  I really would love to understand fully all of this.
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
OK, lets discuss a little more about these "first fruits" Revelation 14 makes it clear that this group are part of the end time events and verses 6 - 13 implies that the "first fruits" or 144,000 has accepted the 3 angels message, so you know my next question, is the 144,000 just Adventists i.e. those that keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus?
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

The King
hi, I would say, the 144,000 are made up of people of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. that implies that they have come together from all faiths, and all denominations. The angel of revelation 18 who bring the 3 angels messages to a loud cry, calls all people to come out of Babylon, before they recieve of her plagues. this shows that they come together just before the close of probation in the 11th hour. It also implies that their will be a great many who are not yet Adventists, who will be in that number. I hope that answers your question, this shouldn't make us arrogant about our faith it should humble us in that it shows we have a great responsibility to give our message to the rest of the world.
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

The Panda
So is this symbolic or literal number...
The Panda
I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
well we're going through the study step by step in order for everyone to get a better understanding with the hope that the answer to the question becomes obvious.
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
Ok, now I going to throw a big spanner in the works? This is where we need to study carefully and let the Bible explain itself.
This is a discussion right? so lets discuss.
Rev 7. states that the 144,000 was sealed of all the tribes of the children of Israel, now we understand
that Jacob had 12 sons and they were also the tribes of Israel, but they was really 13 tribes in Israel.
Remember Jacob adopted  Manasseh and Ephraim the sons of Joseph as his own. After Joseph was sold as a slave, Jacob compensated manasseh and ephraim in place of Joseph.

JAW
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
Sorry I got taken away from post this morning so I will continue now.
But my main point is that most ( well 10) of the tribes of Israel had fallen to idolatry so why would they
be part linked to the 144,000?
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
Interesting question and most certainly linked to the 144,000. I think the first thing to realize is that the tribes are descendants of Jacob's (Israel) children. This shows the list being slightly different depending on where you read, a verse search on the 12 tribes brings up this:
Genesis 35:23-26
Exodus 1:2-5
Numbers 1:20-43
1 Chronicles 2:2
Revelation 7:5-8

The names vary but generally Reuben and Joseph got dropped and Joseph's 2 sons became part of the 12 tribes so you can say the 12 tribes are descendants of the sons of Israel

I'll post a follow up in the morning when my brain is back in gear
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

The Panda
so why did reuben and joseph get dropped? did they do something wrong ?
so if we really only have 12 tribes, where do we go from here.
The Panda
I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
In reply to this post by Noey
Adding to this, the 12 tribes from Jacob we could say also that Levi was not a tribe because they were not
to inherit any land of promise because of who they were.
But if we read Rev.7 we see that they are listed.
Many different churches teaches that the 144,000 in Rev.7 is a different group listed in Rev.14.
What is you views on this?
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
Sorry for the delay but back to what I was trying to say, I think the different lists in the Bible comes down to the intentions of the writers, Levi is left off some lists in the OT, mainly because his sons became the priests of the land and did not receive an allotment of land like the other 11 tribes.  Instead, Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, received land, keeping the number 12 intact.

But the list in Revelation is not for land allotments, so Levi makes an appearance.  One would expect, then, that Joseph would be on the list and the number would come out to 12 again, corresponding to the actual 12 sons of Jacob who originally headed the 12 tribes.  Joseph does make this list in Revelation 7, but so does one of his sons- Manasseh.  Ephraim, on the other hand, does not make it  Dan, one of the original 12 sons of Jacob, is also left off the list.

So the question I would ask is why were they left off the list? What was John trying to say in Revelation? He definitely wasn't talking about the division of lands.

Due to the wonders of technology, specifically word search and referencing, I was able to find this passage that may explain why Ephraim and Dan were left off, have a read and see if my thought is valid, its in 1 Kings 12:25-33

The tribes of Ephraim and Dan became the centers of idolatry for the Northern Kingdom.  Instead of going to God’s Temple in Jerusalem to worship and offer sacrifices, the citizens of the northern tribes (all except Benjamin and Judah) would worship at these two centers of idolatry.  

One of the major themes in Revelation is about idolatry, so I think it was because of their role in leading Israel into idolatry as to why they were omitted from the list.  Those who participate in idolatry, who worship anything other than the only One worthy of worship, have no inheritance in God.  

Just my take on it but what are other explanations?
Noey
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

calderman
And that is one of the main reasons why Revelation is full of symbolic terms, Idolatry played a great part
to most of the tribes of Israel, so why would God have them for His end day messengers. Also
some of the tribes was great comparing to others, so why have a set amount (12,000) from all the tribes?
That is why I think that John was not talking about ancient Israel but Spiritual Israel (12 disciples) look at
James 1.1 KJV, James was refering to his brothers in faith as tribes which were scattered Thecontent of James letter is clearly addressed to Christians, and yet he plainly refers to them as spiritual Jews from 12 spiritual tribes.
 
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Re: Is the 144000 of revelation a literal number ?

Noey
Is it possible that James' epistle was written to the Jews who had accepted Jesus rather than the Gentiles that had accepted Jesus? does it make a difference? To me James uses language that the Jews could understand, a concept the Gentiles had very little interest in!!!
Noey
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