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Who are the 144,000?

Who are the 144,000?

The 144,000 are spoken of in Revelation 7:2–4, which says,


“I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed.”


During the time of Jesus’ first coming, the twelve disciples were a type of “special forces.” After three and a half years of intensive personal training with Jesus, the disciples were used by God to achieve great victories for the kingdom of heaven. They penetrated Satan’s dominion to spearhead a great revival and expansion of the Christian faith.

But the book of Revelation tells us of another special forces unit, a vast “army” of 144,000. They have a special relationship with the Lamb, and they are sealed with a special name. They also sing a special song.

Why are the 144,000 so important?

Because they are commissioned with the greatest mission in the last days: to prepare the world for Jesus’ return. Yet many are bewildered by this group—and a lot of confusion exists about them. So what exactly is this holy army and who will fill its ranks before the end?

We are told this distinctive group is comprised of 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, which are Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Because the ten northern tribes of Israel were conquered by the Assyrians and dispersed hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, it is unlikely Revelation is speaking of 12,000 leaders from these literal ancient Hebrew tribes.

Frequently, the names used in the book of Revelation have a symbolic meaning. Thus, the 144,000 will be composed of believers in Christ from around the world.

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