THE 144 THOUSAND: BEYOND THE DISCUSSION!
I have read several theologians who spoke of 144,000 issue in Revelation 7 and 14. I have also read several other commentators on the same subject. I have read and reflected on the biblical texts where this very special group is mentioned. As a language student who I am; and as an admirer of philosophy too; I have come to the following conclusion: the question of 144,000 is far beyond what we think or interpret. Jesus is the person who will explain everything! Today we have a very small capacity to understand something so divine. Tomorrow, when Jesus comes back and rescues us to heaven, we will have an intellectual capacity as before the fall of man. Even so, I want to think on the range of the meaning and representation of that very special group.
The climax of the story of the fallen world will be something extremely unthinkable in its details. Affecting sides, the lost and the saved one, there will be situations, supernatural and unimaginable events. No one can conceive details of this event; only those who live will see. Men of both sides will have to be the best. In Olympic competitions, for example, the finals are made only by the best. Until the finals, many are eliminated. The weak will be eliminated by natural selection situations. The final moments of the Great Controversy will be amazing; believe or not, real. We are tempted to symbolize Revelation too much. We commit error like this: symbolize, or 'literalize' a lot the book of Revelation. And I'm not immune to that. It's a very difficult question! Only the Holy Spirit can guide us the true boundaries between the literal and the symbolic part of Revelation.
In Revelation, the group is mentioned in a context of many catastrophes. The message remains: WEAK BELIEVERS DO NOT HAVE ANY CHANCE in that time. Another thing that is clear in the text of 144 thousands is that this issue is not a point that can make you lose the eternal life for not understand it.
The theories that have appeared on the 144,000 are several, but it is noteworthy to say that they are: a) the Palestinian Jews who will accept Jesus as the Messiah; b) symbolic number; c) literal number; d) mixed. We can rule out the option (a) because it is impossible to reunite the Jewish tribes again. So, there are others theories for debate. And my comments are not intended to say that one is right and other is wrong. I mean that we have to think much beyond what each theory says.
The People of the symbolism for that number claims that, the interpretation should be symbolic because there is a lot of symbolism in both chapters. The followers of literalness say that there is textual facts which prove that group of 144,000 is literal. And there are scholars that use both arguments because they find literal elements and symbolic ones.
The theologian Alberto Timm says in an article that the group of 144,000 is the "last generation of true worshipers of God." And this group is too special because it has unique features hard to find in one person. The components of this group are: sealed, resistant, musicians, true, authentic Christians, redeemed and special. Those qualifications are extremely difficult to find in someone. The weak believers will not have any chance in that time.
I want to you pay attention to some details. Pay attention to the qualification, the magnitude of the event, the solemnity and the clash. We have commented on the qualification. We will be living at the last moments on the Earth. The finalization of Great Controversy must be comprehensive. The numbers that appear in the text are revealing the amplitude of this event. Number 4 and 12 are recurrent. Theologians say that number 7 is the number of perfection. The number 4 is human. It represents the totality and universality to man. Number 3 is the number of God. It represents the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The man and God (4 + 3) result in perfection of action (7). Number 12 is the number of God's choice. It is the number of government approved by God (4X3 = 12). Governments guided by God here on earth were headed by number 12 (12 tribes, 12 apostles ...). In Heaven and in the New Earth that number will continue; just look at the descriptions of the book of Revelation. When the Lord had used the language of 144 000 (12X12X1000) He was indicating that it would not be a local event, but universal. All inhabitants of the earth (who choose the Lord) will experience the promises and reflect the authentic Christian qualities doing all the truth. Before the final climax people could be saved practicing part of true, that is, people had to be faithful in what he did know. But in the final climax God’s people has to understand all the truth and to practice all the truth as written in the Bible. The focus will be in the Ten Commandments.
The solemnity is great. I will not register here, but you can pick up your Bible and read the verses that speak about of 144,000 and you will see that there will be great solemnity. This group has perks. It is special because their qualifications exceed all others. And it will not be conquerors in its own right, but the Lamb's blood, Jesus, who died on the Cross. This whole solemnity is a great lesson for all Christians: ALL HONOR IS TO THE LORD JESUS. If you do something great and you take possession of the honors, beware! Probably his master is the ANTICHRIST.
Speaking about the clash, I want to remain anymore. The 144,000 is the group of contrast. It contrasts with whom? It contrasts with the worshipers of the Beast. Look at this group, 144,000, it will receive the mark of God ("... till after we have sealed in the foreheads of the servants of our God"). In Revelation 13 the worshipers of the Beast receive the mark of the Beast ("...that these should be marked on their right hand or on their forehead'). The clash is world-wide. It is easy to understand the clash. Christianity today has become fashionable and we can find Christians of all kinds: the dancing rock'n'roll, those who marry persons of the same sex, those who deny the commandments of God, those who deny half of the Bible ... The State will join together with the Church again, as the Revelation 13 says; and this union will create a black list of religious rebels. And who do you think will make up this list? The group of 144,000! Being symbolic, literal or mixed; You will have to face the worshipers of the Beast if you are God’s people indeed.
I reach the following conclusion that goes beyond the discussion of the symbolic, literal or mixed issue. The remnant church will be prohibited by the State. In this moment, the sealing will start. The remnant church will become the persecuted church. At that time, the weak will die or give up of your faith. The entire structure of the remnant church will be confiscated by the State, because that church will not agree to abandon the true commandment that identify who is the Creator. It will be at this time that the so-called Sunday Law will work in all its intensity.
Who that is the remnant church and who that loves the organizational structure more than Jesus himself and his people, this one will yield the State pressures. For now, the remnant church is doing its part. We do not know when exactly the remnant church will cease to be effective; but we know that God is already preparing the group of 144,000. As the prophecy spoken by Jesus in Matthew 24 has had dual application, (for literal Israel and Spiritual); probably the group of 144,000 may have as well. Not everything is symbolic in the text which speaks about of 144 000, for example, the mark of God is literal. So, it should have some literal application too, despite the arguments of the defenders of the symbolic application being strong and consistent.
Rather than embrace an explanation it would be better ask and fight to have a character; and qualification of this group. Strength, wisdom, holiness are qualities that we should pursue forever. The great tribulation is not for the weak people. To resist, to preach, to live at the critical time; is just for the person who has the qualification like group of 144,000.