B1: Chapter 4: The Chosen

(1) Who are the 144,000?

Revelation chapter 7 takes place after the opening of the 6th Seal, but before the opening of the 7th Seal that starts the Great Tribulation (GT):

Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind would not blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. He cried out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand out of every tribe of the children of Israel: (7:1-4)

The four winds represent major natural disasters that will come upon the world during the GT. This also tells us that God will not allow any really big natural disasters until this point in time, because the winds are being held back. It means that when a tsunami hits the east coast, then it must be the 2nd Trumpet of Rev. 8. Rev. 7 continues:

Twelve thousand from the tribe of Judah were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Gad were sealed, 6 twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Naphtali were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Manasseh were sealed, 7 twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Issachar were sealed, 8 twelve thousand from the tribe of Zebulun were sealed, twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph were sealed, and twelve thousand from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed. (Rev. 7:5-8)

The first thing any student of Revelation should understand is that these 12 tribes are not Jews who will preach the Gospel during the GT or flee into the wilderness, which is the usual interpretation. That wrong interpretation results from taking this passage at 100% literal face value. Remember what we learned in another chapter? It is especially true of prophecy, and even more so of Revelation. Very little of Revelation can be taken literally; 99% of it is not literal. It has a literal interpretation, but is not directly literal.

As we have seen, the lamb represents Christ, the white horse represents the Holy Spirit; are you getting the picture here? Only natural disasters should be taken as actually taking place, such as an earthquake, because there is no way to discern a symbolic interpretation for an earthquake. And when it says that people are killed in the quake, then it is even more evidence that it should be taken literally.

Therefore, what would the 12 tribes represent, seen figuratively? Paul makes it clear that believing Gentiles have been given citizenship in Israel and are considered Abraham’s offspring, so Christians must be included in the 12 tribes, spiritually speaking. But the Church is never directly identified as Israel in the Old Testament or the New Testament, with good reason; there would be great confusion about who the passage was talking about, the physical descendants or the spiritual descendants. But here in Revelation, God is speaking symbolically, so it refers to the spiritual descendants.

In Revelation 2, Jesus said, “I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich). And I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9). (This verse has been wrongly used to fuel antisemitism. Some haters even claim it means those who said they were Jews were not actual Jews.)

The verse refers to nonbelieving Jews. To be a true Jew, you must be a spiritual Jew, by being on the tree of promise. Paul said the Jews who refused to believe in Christ were cut off the tree of promise, and the believing Gentiles were grafted on; the Jews “were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand by faith” (Romans 11:20). All the branches on the tree of promise are God’s chosen people, not just the Jewish branches, and they all stand by faith. Being born Jews did not make them heirs to the promise; it has always been by faith, or rightness of heart. (Nevertheless, God is still fulfilling his promises to the physical descendants of Israel, which will be discussed shortly.)

The Gentiles that Paul addressed were Christians who were grafted onto the tree of promise, thus making them part of the elect. There is a passage that makes a clear distinction between all groups and calls the collective church of Jews and Gentiles the chosen people:

[W]here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. 12 So embrace, as the elect of God, holy and beloved . . . (Colossians 3:11-12)

Paul also said that Gentiles are, “heirs together with Israel, members together of one body” (Ephesians 3:6). Paul does not say that the Gentiles have become literal Israelites, but merely that Gentiles now share in all the promises made to the believing Israelites; they are “together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ibid). Together, the Gentile and Jewish Christians form one body of God’s elect. (This is NOT replacement theology; physical Israel is NOT replaced by the Church. Rev. is a book of symbolism, so the list of tribes is NOT literal Israel. In spite of this evidence and clear statement, some ignorant people have still made the false claim that I teach Replacement Theology. I suggest you look up the definition in Systematic Theology, by Wayne Grudem!) Paul said we are all the “chosen people,” therefore, we are.

Both the Old and New Testaments say that the true offspring of Abraham are those of the promise who are the spiritual offspring, because they believe and follow God. They are called spiritual Israel. This is also seen in Rev.12 which describes a woman who gives birth to Christ and represents believing Israel; later it says, “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and he went to wage war with the remnant of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” So the Dragon makes war against Christians, both Jewish and Gentile Christians. If the woman was physical Israel, then the Dragon would only persecute Christian Jews, but that is not the case.

Therefore, the 12 tribes here in Revelation 7, represent God’s elect; in other words, all true Christians. Then who are the 144,000 chosen out of the entire body of Christ? They are the Firstfruits. We are about to learn that they will be in the first Rapture.

(2) The Bride of Christ

The Bride of Christ is not a real woman who will marry Jesus, the Bride symbolically refers to the Christians who will be in the two Raptures. In Revelation 21, the Bride of Christ is depicted symbolically as a physical city, the New Jerusalem. Contrary to popular doctrine, the Bride of Christ is not the Church, the whole body of believers; the Bride is chosen out of the Church.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came to me and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, her light like a most precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were written: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 He who talked with me had a golden rod to measure the city and its gates and wall. 16 The city lies as a square, its length as long as its width. He measured the city with the rod: one thousand four hundred miles. Its length and breadth and height are equal. 17 He then measured its wall: two hundred feet by the measurement of a man, that is, of an angel. 18 The wall was built of jasper and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all kinds of precious jewels. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. (Rev. 21:9-21)

There are several reasons why this cannot be a literal city. For example, the city is so tall that it would stick up through the stratosphere where there is no oxygen and the temperature is below freezing.

The city has 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles on them, but the gates have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. The gates are built on the foundation. This tells us that all residents of the city are Christians, but since you must pass through the gates to enter the city, it means you are also an Israelite.

Contrary to popular belief, just being a Christian does not qualify you to be in the Rapture; but only those who actually live according to the teachings of Christ. Christians with unrepented sin in their lives might go to heaven when they die, but they will not be in the Rapture.

This is seen clearly in the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. Jesus told one church that unless they repent they will be cast into tribulation ten days, which could be a threat to miss the final Rapture, because the Days of Awe last for ten days, and the final Rapture happens before the Days of Awe. (I also believe it could have a double meaning, and indicate the GT will last for 10 years.)

Jesus promised deliverance from tribulation only to the church in Philadelphia because they kept his Word and did not deny him (3:8-10). All the seven churches of Revelation exist today throughout the world. How could anyone reading the condemnations of those churches, believe that they would go in the Rapture? Nonsense! Some of them might go to heaven if they die, but going in the Rapture is something completely different.

Therefore, the 12 tribes here in Revelation 7, symbolically represent the whole body of believers, Jews and Gentiles, called the Church. The 144,000 are chosen out of the Church; therefore they are all those who are spiritually ready to be in the first Rapture, and be the first group that will be part of the Bride of Christ. There is a very important symbolic connection between the city in Rev. 21, and the 144,000 chosen from the 12 tribes in Rev. 7.

(3) Symbolic Number

Each literal tribe most certainly contains a different population; some will have a large population, some smaller. So a large tribe will have a larger number of righteous than a small tribe. Therefore, the number of those who will be chosen could not be exactly 12,000 from each literal tribe. This alone tells us that the 144,000 is a symbolic number which is confirmed in Revelation 21 in the description of the New Jerusalem that has walls that are 144 cubits thick and 12,000 stadia (furlongs) in length; so every 1,000 stadia of wall equals 144,000 (1,000 x 144) x 4 sides. But this will not allow you to figure up how many people will be in the Rapture; it is merely telling us that the number will be very large.

The actual number of those who will be numbered among the 144,000 will likely be several hundred million, perhaps even a billion. There are more than 2 billion people who claim to be Christian today, but most are not spiritually ready for the Rapture. But the two Raptures include many of those who have lived and died during the past 6,000 years.

(4) Firstfruits

In Revelation 14, the 144,000 are called “first-fruits”:

They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. (14:3-4)

In the Old Testament, the Firstfruits was an offering to God before the Spring harvest began. A small portion of the best grain was selected and presented by the priest as an offering. In 1 Cor. 15 Paul said:

But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (15:20)

Jesus fulfilled the Firstfruits offering by rising from the dead! Therefore, the Firstfruits here in Revelation represents those who will be in the first Rapture. There was three steps to this offering:

The marking and gathering refers to the activity of identifying the first barley to mature and binding it in a sheaf, usually with a red cord to make it easy to spot. Then this chosen barley was brought to the priest to be presented by waving it before the Lord at the altar. (Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts, Michael Norten, page 27)

So, here in Revelation we see that the 144,000 were identified and marked, or sealed. We will learn shortly when they will be waved before the Lord; which means, Raptured.

The reference to the 144,000 being virgins, is a figurative way to show that these are among the most righteous. They are not greedy for money like the Christians of Laodicea. Only those who keep God’s Word will be in the 144,000. Only this group will be in the first Rapture, because only this group follows the Lamb wherever he goes. In other words, they have a close relationship with God, and are not committing idolatrous sins.

Therefore, the passage in Revelation 7 means that, just before the start of the GT, those whose spiritual condition is right with God will be counted and sealed; which represents being chosen to be in the Firstfruits Rapture. The sealing represents divine protection from God’s judgments during the first part of the Great Tribulation. As we will see in another chapter, the first Rapture will take place when the 7th Trumpet is ready to sound.

The Greek for “servant” in Rev. 7:3 is doulos, and means “bond-servant,” or “bondman.” This indicates that the 144,000 are people who are dedicated to serving God. This means their primary concern in this life is doing the will of God. Many Christians are caught up in the things of the world, and they have let their relationship with Christ grow stale, as seen in the letters to the 7 churches. Sadly, many church-going Christians engage in lying, cheating, slander, gluttony, or perhaps they are greedy, or suffer from many other sins. So just being a Christian is not enough to make the Rapture. Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland have even bombed and murdered each other, so there is more to being a Christian than believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and attending church services.

The reason this appears before the start of the GT, is because many people will repent during the GT who would not otherwise repent. God will bring events upon the world designed to get people to repent before the world is burned with fire at the return of Christ at the end of the GT. The only Christians who will be in the first Rapture are those who will live right, and are serious about God, before things get really difficult.

That said, it does not mean that you must be totally sinless; it merely means you must make the effort to maintain a good relationship with God, which includes asking him to forgive your sins, and making an effort to not commit overt sins.

Jesus spoke about the future state of the righteous when he said:

“But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they cannot die any more, for they are equal to the angels and are the sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:35-36)

This indicates that the Rapture will contain a limited number, “those who are counted worthy.” Notice that word “count,” just like in Rev. 7. He did not say, those who will believe in me, but those who are worthy; this suggests a special group beyond the average believer. The selection and sealing of those who will be in the Rapture will take place before the start of the GT, which means that the Church will be judged at this time. Judgment begins with Christians (1 Peter 4:17).

The events of the GT will cause many people to fill churches, so there will be a revival during the GT. The idea that 144,000 Jews are going to preach the Gospel around the world after all the Christians have been removed in a Pre-tribulation Rapture is laughable. The Bible says no one can come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws them; and yet we are supposed to believe that millions of people will be saved during the GT after the Holy Spirit has been removed from the planet. You cannot be born-again by the Holy Spirit if the Holy Spirit is not here! LOL, but, thank God, the Spirit will be here.

It is possible that God will speak to each of the 144,000 and tell them where to go and what to do, in order to be safe from the disasters of the Trumpet judgments. This is one way God will protect us from the judgments during the GT. But God may merely rescue them wherever they are. Henry Gruver has reported that God said there are seven cities of refuge in the U.S. In these cities, Christians will be safe from WW3. I am sure that there will be many more places where a family may live; but as far as a large number of Christians being totally safe in a large city, I cannot say that many cities in the United States will be safe during the GT; because not only will there be the Trumpet events, but also a civil unrest and World War 3.

After the description of the 144,000 in Rev. 7, the angel shows John another group of people, an uncountable multitude.

(5) The Last Great Awakening

This next group that John sees are clearly Christians, but they are not called servants. The 144,000 are the only ones that “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev. 14:4):

Then I looked. And there was a great multitude which no one could count, from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out with a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying: “Amen!

Blessing and glory

and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor

and power and might

be to our God forever and ever!

Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

He said to me, “These are those who came out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

they are before the throne of God,

and serve Him day and night in His temple.

And He who sits on the throne

will dwell among them.

16 ‘They shall neither hunger any more,

nor shall they thirst any more;

the sun shall not strike them,’

nor any scorching heat;

17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne

will shepherd them

and ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’

‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (Rev. 7:9-17)

Since this group is an uncountable number that will come out of the GT, then they are not the same group as the 144,000. Notice that they have “washed their robes and made them white.” This indicates that they are converts, and the wording suggests that they become Christians after the 144,000 are sealed; so they become Christians during the GT. This group includes many professing Christians who were not worthy to make the first Rapture, but will make the second Rapture.

When things are going well and people are prosperous, most people feel no need for God, but when times get difficult they want to pray and get right with God. After the planes hit the World Trade Center buildings in New York in 2001, the churches were full of people. But they did not stay. This time the disasters will be bigger and people will genuinely turn to God. This is why there will be a revival during the Great Tribulation. By the end of the GT, there will be very few people who are lukewarm. God wants people to repent before the Day of Judgment, and the Wrath of God that follows.

The GT will be the greatest years for Christianity; it is likely that more miracles and more converts will take place than in the past 2,000 years of Christian history. Yet, the Pre-trib Rapture theory teaches that the entire Church will be removed before any of the GT.

The words “great tribulation” only appear in the Bible three times, once in Matthew 24, once in Rev. 2:22, and once here.

(6) Additional Evidence

This section contains additional evidence to support my claim that not all Christians will go in the two Raptures, but only the truly righteous. I added this section three months after this book was originally published because I did not previously realize that these other passages also support this idea, and has been updated. But the passages do not show two Raptures, but only one at the end of the GT, which is the main one.

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us a parable of ten virgins, which is familiar to most Christians. In the parable, the cry goes out that the Bridegroom approaches; they all wake up, and five foolish virgins discover that their lamps have gone out.

But notice that ALL of the virgins are asleep! I have often wondered why there are none who are awake. I believe the answer is, that the Bride is awake. These virgins do not depict the Bride, but merely members of the bridal party. The bride’s maids will not be marrying the groom! This parable only shows us those who will miss the first Rapture. The wise virgins who have plenty of oil for their lamps will be in the second Rapture near the end of the GT in Rev.14.

During the GT the five foolish virgins are able to get oil; which means they repent and get full of the Holy Spirit, and they also want to go in the second Rapture at the end of the GT, but they will not be allowed to enter. They must remain outside, which means they will remain on Earth and must survive the Wrath of God and remain alive on this earth so that the human race will continue. They will be the righteous who inherit the earth and produce children during the rule of Christ. (If all Christians go in the Rapture, then the wicked will inherit the earth, but the Bible says the righteous will inherit the earth.)

Even though this parable does not show those who are awake, this parable is just one piece of the end-time puzzle; so, in order to see the entire puzzle, we must consider this information along with other pieces to get the full picture. Therefore, fitting this parable into the bigger picture, it can be assumed that those who go in the first Rapture, then, are not asleep at the start of the final years of the GT. The entire Church is not asleep.

This parable means that we will all be judged before the start of the Trumpet events, and those who are judged to be asleep– lukewarm or with sin, but yet are genuinely saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, will go in the second Rapture; but those who claim to be Christians, but are cold and worldly will miss both Raptures.

The next passage is found in the letters to the seven churches. Based on all the information I have dug up on the seven churches, these letters refer both, to the people of that time, and to some Christians who will be alive during the end times. So the letters have a dual application. To the church at Sardis, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). Jesus goes on to say that the majority of those at Sardis are not going in the Rapture. He did not say, if they repent, they will walk with him dressed in white, no; He said unless they repent, they will be killed in the Wrath of God:

Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Rev. 3:3)

The symbolism of Christ coming as a thief refers directly to his coming to destroy the world in the Wrath of God that takes place after the second Rapture. He appears to be saying that the people of Sardis have already been judged to miss both Raptures, and so they need to repent if they want to survive the Wrath of God. The next verse proves it:

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. They shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” (Rev. 3:4)

Jesus here is saying, that a few people at Sardis have been judged and found righteous; these righteous will walk with Christ dressed in white, which means they will go in the first, or perhaps second, Rapture. So here we have two groups of Christians: one group will be with Christ dressed in white; the second group needs to repent or they will be killed when Christ comes in judgment. This is exactly what I have been teaching in this chapter. There may be other passages that also support this view.

(7) Conclusion

If you want to be counted among the 144,000, you should seek after things that are heavenly, and live a moral life (though you won’t be sinless, there are NO sinless Christians); feed the poor, clothe the naked, and cultivate a personal relationship with God by reading the Bible and praying frequently, preferably every day.

We were told the 144,000 are sealed before the four “winds” can blow and harm Earth. The four winds are never actually mentioned again, but they are apparently natural disasters, and therefore are believed to be the first four Trumpets in Rev. 8; as they all appear to be natural disasters. And since the 144,000 are sealed before those events begin, it is safe to assume that the 144,000 are here on Earth during those events. And since they are the Firstfruits, then there is no Pre-tribulation Rapture.

Those who are part of the great multitude who will come out of the GT, will suffer hunger, thirst, and heat. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the GT will include famine and drought, but the worst of it will be the final years. It also suggests that God will not perform great miracles to keep the great multitude from this suffering. Though I am sure that many miracles will happen for the great multitude, they will not get as many miracles as the Firstfruits.

Regardless of your beliefs concerning the Rapture, this teaching that says only the righteous Christians will go in the Rapture, is a huge change from the teaching that all Christians will go in the Rapture. But I am not the only one who has ever taught this doctrine; my mother was taught it by her parents, so I don’t know where it originated.

 

 

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