The 144,000 and the rest of the Jews
Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. To order prints visit her “Revelation Illustrated” site, http://revelationillustrated.com.
There are about 13 million Jews in the world at this time, who will return to Israel in the last days. Only 144,000 young Jewish men are selected by God to be sealed before the tribulation. What about the rest of the Jews?
The 144,000 are mentioned three times in the Book of Revelation:
(1) Revelation 7:3-8
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.
The rest, who have not been saved yet, but who will accept their Messiah’s salvation later, are described after this:
Rev 7:9 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;
Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, you know. . And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
So we see, that not just 144,000 Jews “make it to heaven,” as some people think, but many more do also. They have been persecuted or put to death as martyrs of the faith. They have been tested as faithful during the tribulation, and made it to heaven.
(2) Revelation 14:1
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.
(3) Revelation 14:3-5
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, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
Who are they?
From some interpretations, one gets the impression that the entire population of Jews in the world will return to Israel, and only 144,000 get saved when the tribulation comes. This is not what it says above.
Special points about this group:
1. they are young men only
2. they are not defiled with women – virgins
3. they follow the Lamb (Messiah) wherever He goes
4. they are first fruits to God and to the Lamb
5. they have a special song they sing that only they could learn at the time it was given
6. the tribulation is about to begin, but they will not be harmed.
Obviously, God will not ignore innocent men, women and children whose hearts cry out to God for salvation, and accept their Messiah.
The point of the tribulation is to give mankind one last chance to repent, before the wrath of God hits. God would be wasting his time doing this, if He had already picked out the only ones to be saved before the tribulation starts.
The 144,000 just happens to be a special group – the first to be saved in the land of Israel, that God sets aside as his first fruits. FIRST fruits means there is MORE fruits to come.
The Bible NEVER says the first fruits (144,000), were the ONLY ones saved during this time, only that they were selected out, sanctified, away from others, marked and sealed for special service unto the Lord.
So, what does “first fruits’ mean?
You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days… You shall convoke on this very day — there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves — you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. -Leviticus 21:15-16, 21
Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). On the calendar, it come 50 days after Passover.
*** As the new disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit on Shavuot, which marks the beginning of the church, it seems significant that another set of new disciples should be chosen on Shavuot to signal the end of the church age, end of the possession of the kingdom by the saints, and the onset of the tribulation, the final week of the 70 weeks, to fulfill the prophecy in
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
***The tribulation, then will be followed by the kingdom of the Messiah, as Messiah rescues his people Israel.
Agriculturally, Shavuot commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).
The period from Passover to Shavu’ot is a time of great anticipation. We count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavu’ot, 49 days or 7 full weeks, hence the name of the festival.
The counting reminds us of the important connection between Passover and Shavu’ot: Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality.
Shavu’ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu’ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their Spring holiday.
***note. The 144,000 are the first fruits unto God and the Lamb. Their sealing will be beforehand, before the tribulation, and then presented to God on Shavu’ot, or Pentecost, as Christians call it, which will occur 50 days, or 7 weeks after the Passover of that year. The first-fruits of the field (“reshit,” “bikkurim” of corn, of wine, and of oil) belong to Yhwh.
In Rev 6:6, the Lord commands to the angel opening the 3rd seal:
“…and do not harm the oil and the wine.’”
Symbolically, the Lord might be referring to the 144,000 here, as his first fruits. The oil and the wine also represent the Holy Spirit.
First fruits also includes the “first born.” So we see that these young people are selected as the first born, but not the only ones, born again unto the Lord. God will still bring in the rest of Israel for his final harvest.
*** Because of God’s tradition here about the giving of the Torah on Shavuot , I believe the first born (first fruits) have been selected to give the Torah to the rest of Israel, and to bring others into the kingdom of the Messiah.
Shavu’ot is not tied to a particular calendar date, but to a counting from Passover. (Hence, as Jesus said, you cannot know the day or the hour).
Because the length of the months used to be variable, determined by observation, and there are two new moons between Passover and Shavu’ot, Shavu’ot could occur on the 5th or 6th of Sivan. However, now that we have a mathematically determined calendar, and the months between Passover and Shavu’ot do not change length on the mathematical calendar, Shavu’ot is always on the 6th of Sivan (the 6th and 7th outside of Israel.
Shavu’ot will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
Jewish Year 5768: sunset June 8, 2008 – nightfall June 10, 2008
Jewish Year 5769: sunset May 28, 2009 – nightfall May 30, 2009
Jewish Year 5770: sunset May 18, 2010 – nightfall May 20, 2010
Jewish Year 5771: sunset June 7, 2011 – nightfall June 9, 2011
Jewish Year 5772: sunset May 26, 2012 – nightfall May 28, 2012
The Feast is one of the three times when all young men were required to appear before the Lord, a pilgrim festival (Exod. 23:17; 34:23, Deut. 16:16).
Historically, the main activity on the Feast of Pentecost was the presentation of a wave offering to the Lord, two loaves of bread with leaven (Lev. 23:15-21). The bread was to be brought with seven male lambs, a young bull and two rams as a burnt offering (Lev. 23:18). The sin offering was a male goat (Lev. 23:19).
*** Here, before the tribulation starts, we see the young men (144,000 virgins) appearing before the Lord as a wave offering to Him.
The wave offering expressed the Hebrews’ dependence on God for the harvest and their daily bread. This was a thanksgiving offering. The link between Passover and Pentecost is the omer.
Another reference on the first fruits:
Ceremony of ”Bikkurim”
Shavuot was also the day on which the ”Bikkurim” (first fruits from the seven species for which Israel is praised) were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem by each individual. These species are: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8). In the largely agrarian society of ancient Israel, Jewish farmers would tie a ribbon around the first ripening fruits from each of these species in their fields.
** notice there are 7 kinds of “fruit” to pick. This reminds us of the 7 attributes of the holy spirit in
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
At the time of harvest, the fruits identified by the ribbon would be cut and placed into baskets woven of gold and silver. The baskets would then be placed on oxen whose horns were laced with garlands of flowers, and who were led in a grand procession to Jerusalem. As the farmer and his entourage passed through cities and towns, they would be accompanied by music and parades.
At the Temple, each farmer would present his ”Bikkurim” to the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) in a ceremony that followed the text of Deut. 26:1-10. The ceremony of ”Bikkurim” conveys the Jew’s gratitude to God both for the first fruits of the field, and for His guidance throughout Jewish history.
** the 144,000 are the bikkurim to be presented to the Kohen, Gadol, who is now Yeshua, the Messiah, the most high priest of God.
Other uses of the number 144,000 (incidental information, may not be relevant):
Baktun is 20 Katun cycles of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar, which contains 144,000 days (400 lunar years). This is an interesting coincidence, since the current “era” on the Mayan calendar ends about the time the Messiah is thought to be due to come.
God told Abraham in Genesis 15:13 that his descendants would be afflicted in a foreign land for 400 years (144,000 days).
There are 144,000 days (400 years) between the old and new testaments. Maybe the 144,000 represents the time between the new testament biblical time of Jesus and his ultimate return.
A child’s innocent heart beats about 144,000 times a day. The virgins are innocent).
There are 144,000 seconds in 2400 hours.
144000 / 60 years Israel has been back in the land = 2400
Daniel 8:13- 14 says:
Dan 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, How long [shall be] the vision [concerning] the daily [sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
Dan 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
America has been around for about 144,000 days (400 lunar years). since 1607.
Israel has been around for about 4000 years. (144,000 x 10 days), if one counts from Jacob, and about 4100 years if one counts from Abraham.
There are 144,000 limestone casing slabs that over lay the great pyramid
Isaiah 19:19-20 says,
“In THAT DAY there will be an ALTAR to the LORD in the MIDST of the land of Egypt, and a PILLAR at the BORDER thereof to the LORD. And IT shall be a SIGN and a WITNESS to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Savior, and a Great One and He shall deliver them.”
The new Jerusalem will be of 144,000 cubits in breadth and height.
Revelation 21:10-13, 15-17, “He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her Light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had TWELVE GATES, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the TWELVE TRIBES of the children of Israel:
On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. . . And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.
The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, 144,000 cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.”
**** Extra note:
All the Jews have value here. The 144,000 are those who are sealed, because they will be exposed to the dangers and need the protection the most. They are there to witness to the rest of the Jews and to the world. That is why they are “first fruits.” There are more “fruits” to come.
God does take care of the rest of Israel. He is coming for the entire nation, not just the 144,000. If you look in Revelation 12, the woman (Israel) is protected by God in the wilderness when Satan comes after her twice. He also inspires the “earth” (new believers who have come to faith because of the 144,000) to come to the aid of Israel when she is being attacked.
The entire nation of Israel is holy unto God. So are non-Jews who will be saved because of the witness of Israel in the final days of the tribulation.
The Jewish return to Israel in the end times.
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