Steve Berryman (19 Apr 2012)
"2 Groups of 144,000, Both deal with future leadership"

There are 2 different groups of 144,000 found in Revelations.  One is immortal (incorruptible) and the other is mortal (corruptible).  Whether this number is actual or symbolic, I do not know.  What I do know is it is a multiple of the number 12 which is symbolic of leadership (right to rule).  Both these numbers are found again in Revelations 21, the description of the holy city New Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven and is the home of the bride. 
Let's examine the immortal 144,000 first.  Revelations 14: 1-5 describe this group.  This group is the bride of Christ and is the middle group of 3 sets of firstfruits unto the Lord.
Note concerning firstfruits: the first group of firstfruits were the many (worthy) OT saints whose graves were thrown open upon Jesus' death and who were resurrected with him.  They were seen by  many in Jerusalem during the days following Jesus' resurrection.  They were the dazzling white (my description) cloud into which Jesus ascended.  They are the 24 elders (a multiple of 12) of Revelations 4: 4 & 10, 5: 8 & 14, 7: 11 & 13, 14: 3, 19: 4.  They are the rye of Isaiah 28:25, the barley being the bride and the wheat the tribulation saints.  Foremost of this group is John the Baptist.  John 3:29 identifies him as a friend of the groom at the wedding.
I'm just trying to get the bigger picture straight here for those not so up on the subject.  The first group of firstfruits has already been (some 2000 years ago).  The bride (in 2 parts/clouds, first the dead, then the living) is impending and nigh upon us.  The last will be the tribulation saints which follow the bride by 7 years.  They will be resurrected and ascend with the 2 witnesses.  They are the cloud of Revelations 11:12.  Note their enemies behold this did many witness Jesus and the firstfruit OT saints ascend.  We also note that Jesus' return with these "cloud" saints is seen by all men (Revelations 1:7).   I think it is safe to say, all 4 ascensions will be seen by many.  (There is only one event which happens in the "twinkling of an eye" and it is not the ascensions.  We'll discuss farther down).  
Back to the bride, the immortal 144,000:  Revelations 14: 1-5. 
(1) "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion and with him and hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's 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."
This group of 144,000 which are redeemed from the earth and redeemed from among men are said to be firstfruits unto God.  They are then one of the three groups of firstfruits which God resurrects, changes to immortal and ascend to heaven.  All members of these firstfruit groups will also reign (rule) with Christ as kings and priests during His milleniel reign (Revelations 5:9-10 and 20: 4-6).
Besides firstfruits redeemed among men, the 144,000 are described as virgins whose mouths are without guile, in whom there is found no fault, i.e. they are saved and their sins washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.   My friend, we are all born into sin.  There is no man which has not sinned; therefore, we are all spiritual whores.   The only way to be a virgin again is to be spiritually reborn and washed clean by the blood of Christ.  These virgins are such.
Some other keys to note:  They have his Father's name written in their forehead.  They sing a new song before the throne, and before the 4 beasts and before the 24 elders.  They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, i.e. they are the inner most circle of his immortal saint government which will rule in the milleniel kingdom of Christ.
Where else in Revelations do we see this exact same description?  We will find it in Revelations 5: 9-10, just before Jesus opens the Seals of Revelations. This chapter begins as a scene before the throne.  On prominent display is a book sealed with 7 Seals.  The 4 beasts and the 24 elders are there....each having harps and golden vials.   In verse 9, we see a group of men of every kindred, tongue, people and nation.  They sing a new song......proclaiming the Lord Jesus is worthy to open the book of 7 Seals, for he was slain and redeemed them by his blood.....And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign (rule) on the earth.  
Without doubt, the scene here in Revelations chapter 5 and the one beginning in chapter 14 are one in the same scene.  Both are before the throne of God.  The 4 beasts and 24 elders are there....having harps and harping.  The virgins are redeemed from among men by the blood of the Lamb and they sing a new song.  Revelations 14 does mention that they have his Father's name in their forehead.  If we look back at Revelations 3 we see the worthy church at Philadelphia who in verse 10 are promised to be kept from the hour of temptation which comes upon the world.  Note in verse 12 that Jesus promises that he will write upon their forehead his new name.      
What is being depicted here is the bride of Christ (having been raptured) now standing before the throne alongside the 4 beasts and 24 elders.  Whether symbolic or actual, they have a number of 144,000 assigned.  Their future role is clearly defined as kings and priests of God, i.e. they reign (rule) with him during his milleniel reign.
For those who still have some doubts, take note this event takes place before the Seals of Revelations are opened.  The 7 day honeymoon of the OT was a foreshadow of the 7 years the bride has with Jesus in heaven before the wedding supper.  The 2 witnesses and the tribulation saints will arrive for this event.  The wedding is described in Revelations 19: 7-8 and the wedding supper in verse 9.  
The mortal group of 144,000, the sealed of the 12 tribes of Israel:  This group is sealed in Revelations chapter 7: 1-8.  These are sealed by angels, but I believe they were readied by the 2 witnesses, most likely Elijah.  Who exactly are they?  I am not sure, but would suppose they are of the branch of Judah (the nationstate man calls Israel) and of the Jewish religion.  I wouldn't wish to put any limitations on who they are.  We know that the tribes were scattered throughout both major branches, i.e. Israel and Judah.  We know that even today they are still globally scattered.  But, it would make sense to me that they are primarily of the nationstate man calls Israel (God calls Judah). 
How do I know they remain mortal?  Simple, they do not ascend into heaven but are hidden in the wilderness and protected by angels.  Secondly, they are sealed to protect them from the locusts (demons/devils?) who ascend out of the bottomless pit at the first Woe (Revelations 9:4).  An immortal would not have to be sealed. 
In Revelations 12, we see that Satan is thrown from heaven.  We are also informed that he has wrath toward the woman (the race who brought us Jesus).  Out of this group, the 144,000 sealed are referred to as the remnant.  This group has a place prepared for them in the wilderness where they are hidden and protected during the 1260 days of the second beast.  In Revelations 11:13, we see that this remnant witnesses the death, resurrection and ascension of the 2 witnesses (also the tribulation saints)....and they are frightened.  It is shortly after this event that they are hidden. This takes place in the time period of the second woe.
It is plain that this mortal but sealed group is here on earth until the return of the Lord Jesus.  Revelations 12: 17 does make it clear that these now have the testimoney of Jesus Christ and keep his commandments.
What is the purpose of this 144,000?   Well, the number is again symbolic of leadership.  These are future rulers, but of the mortal government of reconstituted Israel.  Scripture tells us that after Jesus returns, all the tribes of Israel will be gathered again and returned to the Promised Land.  It is a land from the Nile River in the West to the Euphrates in the East.  This prophetic promise is why the Arab Muslims want desperately to stamp modern day Israel from any heritage in that part of the world.  These are the appointed leaders for this  reconstituted nation.  It is of significance because God has promised this new Israel to be chief of nations.  You can bet they will be blessed.
But, understand this.  The mortal leaders of this nation, like the mortal leaders of all the nations will be under the global government rule of Jesus and his immortal saints.  The bride will be of the innermost circle of this immortal global least for a thousand years. 
There is one other group of men mentioned in Revelations and that is the tribulation saints.  Revelations 7: 9-15 says they are a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues.  This is the same makeup as the bride....but obviously a much greater number.  Verse 14 tells us these have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.  They are before the throne and serve the Lord day and night in his temple.    
This group is also mentioned in a couple other places.  Revelations 6:9-11 describe their troubles in the tribulation after the first beast comes to power, during the timeperiod of the 5th seal.  They are being systematically killed, even beheaded.  Revelations 14: 6-13 (right after the description of the bride) is a warning to those left behind of the dangers they face and the rewards they will receive if they remain faithful and do not accept the mark of the beast nor worship his image. Revelations 20: 4-6 is another description of the trials and death they face, but also a solemn promise of reward, i.e. to be resurrected and serve as priests during the milleniel reign as well as not having to face the second death sentence during the white throne judgment.
This group will be resurrected along with the 2 witnesses.....likely on a Pentecost Sunday, some 7 years after the rapture of the bride.  They will attend the wedding supper which is at the end of the bride's honeymoon.  This group is the last of the firstfruits.  The next resurrection will not occur for some thousand years.  It is the great white throne judgement of Revelations 20: 11-15, also described in John 5: 21-29.  Take note it is by far the largest resurrection and includes both those who receive eternal life as well as those who recieve eternal damnation.   
The free gift of salvation is applicable to this resurrection at the last day (the last trump).  The first fruits resurrections are rewards for being worthy (overcoming).  Read Jesus' letter to the 7 churches in Revelations chapters 2 and 3.  These are all Christian churches, churches of believers founded by the apostles and Paul.  Note that there are those who are worthy for the reward and those who are not and are thrown into the trials of the tribulation.  The greatest contrast between the 2 groups are found in chapter 3, the worthy church at Philadelphia versus the lukewarm church at Laodecia.  The latter sounds familiar concerning most of our modern church groups.  
Let's take a closer look at the events (yes plural) of the rapture of the bride.  It is near and a most important event.  God says his people perish because of a lack of knowledge.  One needs to understand how these events will likely take place.  If it is just a sudden disappearance.....great, no decisions need be made.  You disappear or remain.  But, scripture paints an entirely different picture.
The bride group is actually made up of 2 separate ascensions.  1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 tells us the dead shall ascend first, then the living.  The ascensions are described as clouds, note plural, there are 2.  They are far enough apart in time to be described as separate clouds.
There is a time lapse here between these events.  The parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25: 1-10) indicates a time passage as well.  The midnight cry is the resurrection and ascension of the dead in Christ.  It is called the midnight cry because of its association with Passover.....albeit Second Passover.  It is this event which alerts the living virgins.  Take note there is plenty of time for conversation before the foolish notice there is a difference between them and the wise.  This difference is caused by the "changing" of the wise to immortal.  There is more time for conversation before the wise depart and the door to the wedding is shut.
This necessary "changing" to immortal (incorruptible) event for the living is described in 1 Corinthians 15: 50-53.  The dead are raised incorruptible...therefore they may immediately ascend.   But the living must first be changed.  It is this event which happens in the twinkling of an eye.  The ascensions will be witnessed.  I will go into all the details later, but I believe this will follow the pattern of the Second Passover celebration of Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 30.  It will likely take place over 7 days and 7 days, followed by a Holy Spirit outpouring on the left behind 10 days after the ascension of the living wise bride. 
The warning here is do not panic if you hear the trump and see the resurrection and ascension of the dead in Christ....then you see yourself standing there mortal and earthbound.  Neither should you fall for any earthy or demonic delusions.  You should be aware that we have been prepared by our national leaders for an alien invasion.  The discovery and history channels have really been prepping us for it.  Yea, you will probably see some UFO's and it will be in the news.  Know the truth and trust in the Lord.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread follows the midnight cry of Second Passover.  It is a time period of spiritual cleansing and preparation.   Observe this 7 day feast and prepare for the changing.   If you are changed to immortal (incorruptible) are going home, albeit yet for a few days.
Your friend in Christ,