I had a few different kinds of thoughts about the possibilities regarding the 144,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.Please let me know if you think that this may be possible:
Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.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;13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. 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.
Why would one of the elders ask John that? Certainly, he was not giving John a pop-quiz.But, perhaps, he was doing that, because he knew the answer would practically knock John off his feet.Who are these people, uncountable, and from every ethnic group from all over the world, worshipping before the throne?Whatís with all of them in white robes, and how did they all get there?And John, not knowing the answers, admits that he believes that the elder has the answers to these perplexing questions.The elder tells him that this multitude came out of great tribulation, out of extreme trials and suffering.John had witnessed the first six seals being opened, and all the horrific things that followed.Yet, instead of giving up, or being bitter with Jesus, this multitude chose to trust him, and are saved for all eternity.How could so many people repent, and believe on Jesus, when all those horrible things are happening?Then, the elder further explains that their robes, are robes that had to be washed, which clearly were previously unwashed.How? He said they ďhave washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the LambĒ.They knew that they were defiled and unwashed, and they had to turn to Jesus, and by faith, be washed in his blood.Clearly, they made the choice to be saved, while others in the world chose not to repent, not to believe on Jesus.
How were this many people, from all those different ethnic groups, saved during great tribulation?Well, this has led many to think that the 144,000, mentioned right before this, were all evangelists.That is why many have said that they were like 144,000 apostle Pauls, leading all these Gentiles to Jesus.However, nothing in chapters 7, 9, or 14, where it speaks of the 144,000, says anything about them being the evangelists.Also, the elder, in explaining how they got there, and about washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb, didnít mention them.So, how did the gospel spread, before, during times of persecution?
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
The non-apostles, the non-clergy, i.e. every day people, were scattered abroad, and everywhere they went, they preached the word.
Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.26c And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
How far did the Christians bring the gospel, in those days?
Colossians 1:6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:23a If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven;
Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
And if they were able to do that in the 1st century, during persecution, without modern travel, then why not in the tribulation?Especially since Jesus said that it would be:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
No, 144,000 apostles are not needed to reach the world, and Jesus has proved that, already.It appears that the 144,000 were chosen special, to walk close to Jesus, and to live holy lives before the rest of Israel and Gentiles.
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fatherís name written in their foreheads.2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:}3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
The 144,000 sing before the throne in heaven, and they sing as it were a new song that no one else could learn.It says that they were redeemed, and the only redemption is by the blood of the Lamb.Chapter 7 tells us that they are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.The tribes of the north have long been called the lost tribes of Israel, but clearly the LORD knows exactly where they all are.So, perhaps, these 144,0000 are living in various parts of the earth, chosen, and protected by the LORD.By the LORDís grace and power they are kept from fornication, and are still unmarried.The gospel, somehow, is given to them, they repent and believe, and are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.It doesnít say whether they are taken to heaven like the two witnesses, or whether they are martyred for believing in Jesus.Nor does it mention persecution or suffering, which still may be what they will go through on earth.It does mention their not being defiled and not having guile in their mouths.So, in their case, the focus is on how they live, rather than how they die.On earth, they deny themselves, and in eternity, faultless, they follow the Lamb wherever he goes:
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
These will be the firstfruits of those redeemed of Israel:
Romans 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
Exodus 34:26a The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.