Who Are The 144,000?
Who Are The 144,000?
The subject is, “Who are the 144,000?” First mention of this number in the Bible is in Revelation 7:4: “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.” Revelation 7:2. “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having theseal 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.” Note that this angel is ascending and not descending. In contrast to this, Revelation 18:1 says, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory.” This mighty angel is not ascending, descending, nor coming, but “come.” If the angel made the trip from heaven to earth in less than 15 minutes in answer to prayer (Daniel 9:4-23), while it takes light millions of years to travel part of the distance, we can easily understand why the expression “but come” is used, meaning suddenly appearing without warning. This angel is the Loud Cry angel, an addition to the third angel and the message of the fall of Babylon as given by the second angel is repeated, as foretold in the 18th chapter of Revelation. The people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.
Early Writings, page 277: “Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’ The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel, comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message, as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel’s message… This message seemed to be anaddition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.”
Of the three angels of Revelation 14:6-11, John writes: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,…and the third angel followed them.” These angels, following each other, were seen flying in the midst of heaven where the sun would be at mid-day, in its full strength. There is a difference between these angels and the ones in Revelation 7 and 18:1. These angels are neither “ascending” nor “come,” but continue to “fly in the midst of heaven.” The meaning is that these angels’ messages are not as powerful as the one of Revelation 18:1, for John says he saw the angel “come,” that is, stand upon the earth. The angel mentioned here is near by, but the other three angels are at a distance. This symbol shows that they could not be as powerful as the one that is close by, but these three angels are flying and continue to fly. The meaning is that while they are not as powerful, they continue a long time until this other angel of Revelation 18:1 joins in with them, as it has been with the first, second, and third angel’s messages until now.
We go back to the angel of Revelation 7, the one in which we are most interested at the present time. This particular angel is ascending from the east. “Ascending” here could not mean departing or flying away, but simply coming, or advancing. For example, in the morning while the sun is rising or ascending, the temperature gains in heat as it nears mid-day, just so with this angel that is to seal the 144,000. The angel was seen coming, but he is taking time. The sealing cannot begin until after he arrives, for the seal of the living God is in his possession. If we can locate the time when he arrives we may know the beginning of the sealing time of the 144,000. Did we know the time when the first second, and third angel’s messages began? Our answer is: Yes.
There is no reason for not knowing the definite time when this angel of Revelation 7 arrives. If we did not know the time, we would have no message, and if Satan can deceive us from present truth, he has won with his deceptive powers. John’s prophecy in Revelation 7, of this ascending angel was only a vision of something to come, and the fulfillment of this prophecy was realized when Sister White was given her first vision in 1844, which was a vision of the 144,000. Read Early Writings, pages 13-20. John prophesied of this movement and the scene of the angel ascending in the east (John’s vision) became a reality in 1844, but the angel is in the east, and we must await his arrival, for when he arrives, the sealing begins.