THE 144000 WHO ARE THEY?
OPEN-MlNDEDNESS.---"In your study of the word, lay at the door of investigation your preconceived opinions and your hereditary and cultivated ideas. You will never reach the truth if you study the Scriptures to vindicate your own ideas. Leave these at the door, and with a contrite heart go in to hear what the Lord has to say to you. As the humble seeker for truth sits at Christ's feet, and learns of Him, the word gives him understanding. ...
"Do not read the word in the light of former opinions; but, with a mind free from prejudice, search it carefully and prayerfully. If, as you read, conviction comes, and you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the word, do not try to make the word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the word. Do not allow what you have believed or practiced in the past to control your understanding. . . .Find out what is written, and then plant your feet on the eternal Rock." Messages To Young People p 260
"The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of self-sufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God's word in a perverted light." Testimonies to Ministers p. 108
"... Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God. -Counsels on Sabbath School Work p, 34. 1892" Counsels to Writers and Editors p. 35
"... There are veins of truth yet to be discovered; but spiritual things are spiritually discerned....
"The reason that many professed Christians do not have a clear, well-defined experience, is that they do not think it is their privilege to understand what God has spoken through His word." Fundamentals of Christian Education p. 188,189
Let us heed the admonition as given in the above quotations taken from the Spirit of Prophecy, as we pursue our study concerning the subject of the 144,000.
"Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty four thousand. Review & Herald March 9, 1905"- 7B.C. 970
How can we strive with all our power to be among the 144,000 if we don't know anything about them?
In order to heed this admonition, it is imperative that we know something about them. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy has revealed much on this subject. Back in the early days of the Advent message there had arisen some controversy over this subject and the servant of the Lord was compelled to pen these lines: "It is not His will that they shall get into controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as, Who is to compose the 144,000? This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question. Manuscript 26, 1901" Vol. 1 Selected Messages p. 174
According to the last sentence of the above quotation, the time would come when the subject would be crystal clear, as there would be no question as to the identity of the 144,000. It is true that we are not able to pick out certain individuals and say: "this one is to be one of the 144,000 and that one will not be," as God only knows which one has the seal.
"Angels Read the Mark.-What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption." (Letter 126, 1898). 7 Bible Commentary p.968- E.G. White.
"The work of separation is given to the angel's of God, and not committed into the hand of any man." Testimonies to Ministers p. 47.
The following is an interesting letter written to Elder Andross for Sister E. G, White, by her personal secretary, Clarence C. Crisler, "I feel confident, Elder Andross, that the brethren in Southern California will find blessing in reviewing the teachings of Scripture concerning the 144,000, and bringing to bear upon these teachings whatever light there may be in the published writings of Sister White: and as prayerful consideration is given the matter in all its bearings, I believe that God will make the truth sufficiently clear to make possible the avoidance of needless and unprofitable controversy over questions not vital to the salvation of precious souls." Dec. 8, 1914.
In order to strive to be among the 144, 000 we must know something about them, such as: When are they sealed, What church they come from and what the requirements are for obtaining the seal. These things we must know, in order to strive to be among them. "Brethren, we must sink the shaft deep in the mine of truth." Counsels to Writers and Editors p . 41
"We do not go deep enough in our search for truth. " 1 Selected Messages p. 415
When are the 144,000 Sealed?
"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
"And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea.
"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
"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." Revelation 7:1-4
Verses 5-8 tells us there are 12,000 sealed out of each of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
Verse 3, makes it very clear that the four winds do not blow until the 144,000 are sealed. If we can find when the four winds blow, we will know when the sealing of the 144,000 is completed. We find the answer in the Testimonies.
"The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since; but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth. That will be a decisive time for God's children, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Testimonies, Vol. 5. p. 152
Here we see that the angels holding back the four winds, is their holding back the mark of the beast. Plain it is then that the sealing of the 144,000 is completed just before the mark of the beast (or time of trouble) is imposed upon us.
"Just before we entered it (the time of trouble), we all received the seal of the living God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds." 7 B.C. 968
Evidently the mark of the beast is the beginning of the time of trouble.
"Four mighty angels hold back the powers of this earth till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. ... When this restraining power is removed, there will come a time of trouble and anguish." 7 B.C. 967
"These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God's church. The angels of God do His bidding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads." Testimonies to Ministers p.444
Since the 144,000 are sealed just prior to the Sunday Laws (mark of the beast) being imposed upon us and the fact that they are making such tremendous strides in the world today in uniting the churches, which will culminate in the establishment of the Sunday Laws, is it not about time for the Lord to disclose to view His guileless servants, the 144,000?
"Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former Years; In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome." Great Controversy p. 563
"The word of God teaches that these scenes (of enforcing a false sabbath) in past ages are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday." (statements within parentheses ours) Great Controversy p. 578
"When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy. . . " Great Controversy p . 445
These and kindred quotations show us just how close we are to the end of the sealing of the 144,000.
"The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. " 2 Selected Messages p. 81
Thus far we have found that the 144,000 are already made up at the commencement of the time of trouble, or mark of the beast, (See 7 B.C. 968, Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 152) and yet we are told that probation is still open. (See 2 Selected Messages p. 81)
It must be that probation has closed (sealing work finished in the church) for those in Laodicea before it closes for those in Babylon (world).
"The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people." Vol. 3 Testimonies p. 266
"The time of God's destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth; Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time. (Review and Herald July 5, 1906). "
The reason why probation closes for the church before it does for the world is because the judgment for the living begins at God's church. This is why the 144,000 are called first fruits (Rev.14:4). They are the first ones to be judged for the living.
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17
"He who presides over His church and the destinies of nations is carrying forward the last work to be accomplished for this world. To His angels He gives the commission to execute His judgments. Let the ministers awake, let them take in the situation. The work of judgment begins at the sanctuary." Testimonies to Ministers p. 431
"Let ministers and people remember that gospel truth ruins if it does not save." Vol. 5 Testimonies p. 134 par. 1.
"But I speak not my own words when I say that God's Spirit will pass by those who have had their day of test and opportunity, but who have not distinguished the voice of God or appreciated the movings of His Spirit. Then thousands in the eleventh hour will see and acknowledge the truth." 2 Selected Messages p. 16
After probation closes for those who have had their day of test and opportunity, then those out in Babylon will join God's remnant people. The Loud Cry takes place during the reign of Babylon the Great. She will rule for one hour, from the 11th to the 12th hour.
"Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come." Revelation 18:10
"It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people." Great Controversy p. 636
"The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. . . . In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church....Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat." Vol. 5 Testimonies p. 81
"But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor." Vol. 5 Testimonies p. 80
The terms, gold separated from the dross, a sifting, chaff separated from the wheat and the purification, all show a separation or purging that is to take place in God's church about the time of the blowing of the four winds or the mark of the beast (beginning of the time of trouble).
Why should we as Seventh-day Adventists think it strange that the door of probation should close for us before it does for the world, when all down through the ages probation has closed for some while it is still open for others?
"There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven.
"There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation. 'Your house is left unto you desolate' (Matt.23:38).
"I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angel's messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God and it no longer pleaded with them." Selected Messages p. 63
The judgment for the living which commences at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17), starts with His church from which 144,000 come forth purified. All who are left after the purification of His church will be called holy.
"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
"When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Isaiah 4:3,4.
144,000 Come from God's remnant church
"And I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
"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." Revelation 14:1,4.
NOT DEFILED WITH WOMEN
The 144,000 are not defiled with the Babylonish churches .
"In Revelation 17 Babylon is represented as a woman---a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church." Great Controversy p. 381
"Babylon is said to be 'the mother of harlots. 'By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world....
"Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome's example of iniquitous connection with the ' Kings of the earth'---the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term 'Babylon'---confusion--- may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories." Great Controversy p. 382, 383, 384.
Since the 144,000 are not defiled with these other woman (Babylonish churches), then it must be that they come from God's remnant church who have no part with Babylon.
"We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked. the denial of the Pre-existance of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God's holy and sanctified day." Testimonies to Ministers p. 61
144,000 ARE VIRGINS
The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy applies the term 'virgin' to God's true church.
"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2 Cor.11:2
Concerning the parable of the ten virgins, the Spirit of Prophecy says: "They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith." Christ's Object Lessons p. 406
If the 144,000 profess a pure faith then they must come from God's remnant church.
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12
144,000 ARE ISRAELITES
In Rev.7:1-8, we found that the 144,000 come from the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. Let us turn to the Spirit of Prophecy and see who modern Israel is today.
"Through all the years of their captivity, through all the ages since they were dispersed among the nations, they have remained a distinct people. So the people of God-the true Israel-though scattered throughout all nations, are on earth but sojourners, whose citizenship is in heaven. " Patriarchs and Prophets p. 447
"We are numbered with Israel. All the instruction given to the Israelites of old concerning the education training of their children, all the promises of blessing through obedience, are for us. " Ministry of Healing p. 405
Since the 144,000 do not come from Babylon, but from the 12 tribes of Israel, then it must be that they come from the Seventh-day Adventist church, modern Israel.
God in His own way and time will see to it that Israel will be gathered into His remnant church by the three angel's messages.
"The Gathering Time. September 23, the Lord showed me that He had stretched out His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people, and that efforts must be redoubled in this gathering time.- In the scattering, Israel was smitten and torn, but now in the gathering time God will heal and bind up His people. In the scattering, efforts made to spread the truth had but little effect, accomplished but little or nothing; but in the gathering, when God has set His hand to gather His people, efforts to spread the truth will have their designed effect."
"The Lord has shown me that the message of the third angel must go, and be proclaimed to the scattered children of the Lord...." Early Writings pp. 74-75.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING THE SEAL
"This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. John also had been a witness of this most startling revelation." Testimonies to Ministers p. 445
A mark which angels read.--- "What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption (letter 126, 1898).
"The angel with the writer's ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel (letter 12, 1886),
Seal is settling into truth.---"... it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved- just as soon as God's people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. " (MS 173, 1902) 4 B.C. 1161
Read Vol. 5, Testimonies pages 207-216 entitled, "The Seal of God". In this chapter the Spirit of Prophecy brings to our attention that the seal of God spoken of in Revelation 7: and the mark by a man in linen recorded in Ezekiel, chapter 9: is the same event. Revelation 7:1-4 tells us how many in the church get the seal and Ezekiel 9:1-11, tells us what they must do in order to obtain it. Sabbath observance is not the only requirement for receiving the seal.
"Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master's will, they understood every point of faith, but they had not corresponding works." Vol. 5 . 5 Testimonies pp . 213, 214.
"What are you doing, brethren, in the great day of preparation?...Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth---these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity." Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 216
"And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the mist thereof." Ezekiel 9:4
"These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 210
"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God." Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 211
"The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. Those who link in sympathy with the world are eating and drinking with the drunken and will surely be destroyed with the workers of iniquity. " Vol. 5 Testimonies p. 212 par. 3.
"Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons." Vol. 5, Testimonies p, 212 par. 4,
"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them, It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement, Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost," Vol. 5, Testimonies p, 214
WHY WE DON'T HAVE PENTECOST NOW
"God's displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions." Vol. 3, Testimonies p. 270
"The neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem." 2 Selected Messages p. 378
" If the presence of one Achan was sufficient to weaken the whole camp of Israel, can we be surprised at the little success which attends our efforts when Every church and almost every family has its Achan?" Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 157
"There is chaff among us, and this is why we are so weak." Vol. 1, Testimonies p. 288
"I saw that none could share the 'refreshing' unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action." Early Writings p. 71
"Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement." Evangelism p. 702
"God rebukes His people for their sins, that He may humble them, and lead them to seek His face. As they reform, and His love revives in their hearts, His loving answers will come to their requests. He will strengthen them in reformatory action, lifting up for them a standard against the enemy. His rich blessing will rest upon them and in bright rays they will reflect the light of heaven. Then a multitude not of their faith, seeing that God is with his people will unit with them in serving the redeemer." Review and Herald Feb. 25, 1902 Christ Our Righteousness p. 123
Thus we see that before the Lord can pour out His Holy Spirit in great power, we must have a revival and reformation in our midst, so that we can be enabled to finish the work in the world.
THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT
"Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it, the third angel's message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry." Review and Herald Nov. 9, 1908.
"Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict, 'Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners' (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer." Prophets and Kings p. 725
"The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant . -Letter 32, 1892. " Evangelism p. 707
"It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. THE SAME WORK, ONLY IN GREATER DEGREE, MUST BE DONE NOW." Testimonies to Ministers p. 507
WHY ARE THE 144,000 CALLED FIRST FRUITS?
"The Lord requires His people to use their reason, and not lay it aside for impressions. His work will be intelligible to all His children. His teachings will be such as will commend itself to the understanding of intelligent minds." Vol. 1, Testimonies p. 230
Jesus was called the first fruits of them that slept.
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
"But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. 1 Corinthians 15:20,23.
The resurrection of Christ and those that arose with Him is a type of those saints who are to be resurrected at His second coming.
"Like the wave sheaf, which was the first ripe grain gathered before the harvest, Christ is the first fruits of that immortal harvest of redeemed ones that at the future resurrection shall be gathered into the garner of God." Great Controversy p. 399
"At the Saviour's resurrection a few graves were opened, but at His second coming all the precious dead shall hear His voice and shall come forth to glorious, immortal life." Desire of Ages p. 787. (See also pp. 785-787, and 1 Selected Messages p. 307)
Jesus was called the first Fruits of those that slept because He and those that were raised with Him was a representation or a type of another harvest of saints to be raised at His second coming.
The 144,000 are also called the firstfruits, but they are the firstfruits of the living.
"These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living are counted as 'the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.'" Great Controversy p. 649
Just as Jesus and those resurrected with Him (being the first group to be resurrected from the dead) pointed forward to another harvest of resurrected saints at His second coming, so the 144,000 (first fruits of the living) must point forward to another living harvest to be harvested just before Christ's second coming, a second fruits.
Let us look at this word "first" from another angle.
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, ..." Revelation 20:5,6.
The first resurrection signifies there is to be a second resurrection. The second death implies there is a first death. This same logic or reasoning applies to the first fruits. WHERE THERE IS A FIRST THEIR MUST BE A SECOND.
We found that the 144,000 are sealed just before the mark of the beast is set up. The Spirit of prophecy and the Bible has made it very clear that the 144,000 are made up from those in God's remnant church (See Vol. 5. Testimonies pp. 207-216).
"Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation." Vol. 1. Testimonies p. 187
That they are called first fruits because they are the first one's to be judged or harvested when the judgment for the living commences.
It is our sincere prayer that the reader of this little booklet will see the need of overcoming every defect of character, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement so that he might be among those upon whom the latter rain will fall as it fell upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. See Vol. 5, Testimonies p. 214.
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