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WHO ARE THE 144,000


Link of article or video : http://www.heart-talks.com/who.pdf

Hello all!

The Lord has placed so very much in my heart and mind lately, and it has been rather a blow to my past preconceived notions about so many Biblical truths. As I study out the things He is showing me, I am amazed at how difficult it is to find any modern studies that even remotely cover these revelations. I am finding that most of the best information is coming from believers that lived many years ago. The gentleman who wrote the following article was born in 1906 and had a ministry well into the 1970's, he became a doctor of divinity, and wrote over 40 books as well as having a radio show in Canada. I have never heard of him until today. His writings are a gift from God to me, as what the Lord has been showing me are being reinforced by this incredible man of God. I will be sure and include more of his articles as soon as I locate and read them. In the meantime, I heartily recommend looking into what this learned man of God has to say.

Patti C.


By H. C. Heffren

Just who are the 144,000 select individuals mentioned
in Revelation chapters 7 and 14? The Scriptures, which
describe this mysterious group have been subjected to a
great deal of speculation as well as a variety of
interpretations. This very interesting subject is introduced
as follows: "And I heard the number of them that were
sealed; and there were sealed 144,000 of the tribes of the
children of Israel" (Revelation 7:4). Then follows the
detailed classification in verses 5 to 8 which allots 12,000
members from each of the tribes of Judea, Reuben, Gad,
Asher, Naphtali, Manassas, Simeon, Levi, Issachar,
Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. It will be observed that
while twelve tribes are listed, the tribes of Dan and
Ephraim are omitted and replaced with Levi and Joseph.
What does this imply? Does this have any significance?
Several religious groups and cults owe their origin to
leaders who believed they fulfilled this prophecy. Usually,
they taught that when the full complement of 144,000
members associated themselves with their group, Christ
would come again and a millennial reign on earth and the
end of the world would ensue. The once-publicized House
of David of Benton Harbor, Michigan, is a prime example.
However, some Sabbatarian and Jehovah's Witnesses and
others have made similar claims. Usually these people
make sweeping declarations that they believe what the
Bible says, literally. Let us investigate these claims in the
light of the Scriptures.

In the first place, if we accept the literal figure of
144,000 then to be consistent we should also accept the
literal tribes of Israel mentioned. Since all tribal
distinctions have been obliterated after the Dispersion in
A.D. 70, it is no longer possible to distinguish separate
tribes in the original sense. Nor were the descendants of
Joseph and Levi numbered among the inheritance of
Israel's twelve tribes, although they are found here as
substitutes for Dan and Ephraim.

A further description of the 144,000 is found in
Revelation 14. The portion reads as follows: "And I
looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with him
144,000 having the Father's name written in their
foreheads. 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 144,000, which were
redeemed from the earth. These are they, which were not
defiled by 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: 1,3 and 4.).

The literal interpretation of this Scripture would
demand the elimination of all married men and the
exclusion of all women. The Berkley translation defines
the company as "celibates." A further stipulation requires
the Father's name in their foreheads and the ability to sing
the new song which only the redeemed could master. Thus
we have 144,000 people of Jewish ancestry selected
equally from twelve specified tribes that no longer exist
due to assimilation, and all of them celibates. This is
literally what it says, and for those who claim to believe
the Bible literally, this is what they must accept as
conditions required.

It seems to me there must be a much more Scriptural
interpretation of this portion of God's Word. First let us
ask why Dan and Ephraim were eliminated and why Levi
and Joseph were substituted to occupy their places, despite
the fact that the "tribe" of Joseph never did exist as such.
This greatly complicates the problem of being literal.
The real solution lies in observing the meaning of the
names of Jacob's sons. You will recall that when Jacob
blessed his sons while on his deathbed, he also blessed
both the sons of Joseph. By doing so, he maintained the
twelve tribes of Israel and still left the tribe of Levi free for
the office of the priesthood. The meaning of those names,
furnish us a clue as to why these specific tribes constituted
the 144,000. Reuben, the firstborn, means excellence of
dignity and power. Judah means praise. Gad means
overcomer. Joseph, please note, means a fruitful bough by
a well. Manasses means forgetting, with emphasis on
forgetting the harsh past, which Joseph experienced in
Egypt. Levi is chosen more because of his office of the
priesthood, signifying the priesthood of believers. You will
notice that all these names have meanings characterizing
Christian graces, such as praise, victory, fruitfulness, and
so forth.

The name Dan, on the contrary, means "A serpent by
the way, an adder in the path..." There is nothing
redemptive or consistent with this characteristic in God's
church. Consequently the tribe of Joseph, the fruitful
bough, is substituted for Dan. The omission of Ephraim is
not so clear because his name means "double fruitful."
This might indicate preference over some of the others
chosen, but is qualified by "bringing forth fruit in a strange
land," There are no "foreigners" in God's household. In
Psalm 87, a great issue is made for those who are born in
Zion, and it specifically excludes those who were born in
Egypt or nations outside Israel. The new birth mentioned
in the New Testament symbolizes deliverance from
bondage (Egypt) and makes us citizens of the Kingdom of
God. This is why Levi, of the priesthood, takes precedence
over Ephraim, the foreigner.

When we examine the further limitations of
membership among the 144,000, it seems preposterous to
exclude all women and all married men. But this absurdity
immediately dissolves when we relate the interpretation to
its proper Scriptural place. We must remember that the
church is the Bride of Christ. It is espoused to Christ. To
be espoused means to be given under a solemn vow to
marriage. Mary was espoused to Joseph and when Mary
was discovered to be with child, Joseph was lenient in
planning to offer her a bill of divorcement for the law
permitted stoning. Mary made a sacred commitment to be
the bride of Joseph, and only the divine intervention of the
angel convinced Joseph that he should honor his espousal.
Christ regards His Bride, the church, in the same light; and
any flirtation, compromise or assimilation with the world is
compared with adultery. That is why the 144,000 are said
to be celibates. They are undefiled. They have not defiled
themselves by committing adultery with the world (James
4:4). They are all redeemed ones. They all sing the new
song of deliverance and victory. They follow Christ
wherever He goes. What a glorious portrayal of the church
this affords!

Twelve is the Biblical number that signifies
completeness. Twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles
were chosen to introduce both the Old and New
Testaments. The 144,000 is the square of twelve
multiplied a thousandfold. Thus it represents all the
redeemed from both the Old and New Testament times.
They represent the true church, undefiled by the world,
separate from evil and joined in holy wedlock to Christ. In
the church are manifest all the Christian graces, and
through it Christ spreads His blessings. If you are
redeemed and can sing the new song of deliverance from
sin, then you can have assurance of being included in this
perfect number of completeness that signifies all the

In Revelation 7 we are told that each one of the
144,000 is sealed. This strongly suggests the seal of the
Holy Spirit. This is referred to a number of times. In
Ephesians 1:3b, "In whom also after that ye believed, ye
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are
sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30),
"Who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest (pledge)
of the Holy Spirit in our hearts" (2 Corinthians 1:22). Thus
it is plain that those who are saved receive the seal of the
Holy Spirit, which corresponds with the seal of the

You will observe that the location of the 144,000 is on
Mount Zion in the presence of the Lamb. This is
significant. Mount Zion is the church, the dwelling place of
God in the New Testament. The 87th Psalm glows with
prophetic ecstasy by extolling the significance of Zion.
"The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the
dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O
city of God...And of Zion it shall be said, this and that man
was born there." God is the census taker and He wants to
know where you were born. If you were born (born again)
in Zion, it makes you a citizen of the Kingdom of God, a
member of the church, which is the Body of Christ. You
accept all the responsibility of a follower of Christ, and you
receive all the privileges and protection afforded through
citizenship in Zion, both in this world and in the world to
come. Your birth certificate will be sealed by the Holy
Spirit and this is your passport to heaven. No wonder the
recipients sing a new song, which only the redeemed could
learn. This seal, citizenship, and song, separates this
group from all other people on earth. This seal is the
evidence of membership in this select number. It is the
exclusive mark of the redeemed.

Let us now observe reference to the fact that the
144,000 are said to be, "The firstfruits unto God and the
Lamb" (Revelation 14:4b). In the Old Testament the
firstfruits were regarded as belonging to the Lord. In some
cases it was the earliest portion of the harvest, but it could
also be first in the sense that it is the principal or best
quality fruit. This was an acknowledgment that all life
and produce was a gift from God over which the
worshiper was a steward. In James 1:18 the antitype of
this principle is refined and its spiritual significance is
demonstrated. "Of His own will begat He us with the word
of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His
creatures." In Romans 8:23, Paul further identifies it thus,
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within
ourselves, to wit, the redemption of the body." Other
references could be supplied but these suffice to show that
the church of believers constitute those bearing their
firstfruits to God in accordance with Revelation 14.
It is necessary to call attention to the sentence, which
says, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever
he goeth." Suffice to call attention to the well-known
words of Christ recorded in John 110:27: "My sheep hear
my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." To truly
follow Christ implies much more than being a nominal
church member. It means total surrender and complete
obedience to His will. This is another hallmark of the

Perhaps we ought to include some reference to the
words, "Having his Father's name written in their
foreheads" (Revelation 14:1b). Evidently these people are
branded. A brand signifies ownership. They belong to
God, because they have been redeemed by His Son. We
are told in Genesis that God created Adam in His own
image. In Romans 1:23 we are told how fallen man
"Changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image
made like to corruptible man." It is not possible for fallen
man to reflect the likeness of God. But in Romans 8:29 we
read "For whom He did foreknow, He did also predestinate
to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be
the first born among many brethren." Here firstborn refers
to the highest, or first in rank, rather than first in
genealogy. But it also implies that the image of God,
which was lost through Adam's fall into sin is restored
through redemption. It is evident in the believers. This
image, or likeness, characterizes every child of God
regardless of race, color, creed, language or social status.
They all bear the image of family-likeness of Him who has
"begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3). The Father's
name is written in our foreheads when, as Paul said, "We
have the mind of Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:16). Only
redemption can perform this miraculous transformation. It
is not difficult to identify the 144,000 if we reject all
private interpretations and simply compare Scripture with
Scripture. It is not a mathematical number, but a number
symbolizing the complete totality and fundamental unity of
all the redeemed for all time.

Let us briefly return to the phrase, "Whom He did
foreknow, He did also predestinate to be conformed to the
image of the Son" (Romans 8:29). What does predestinate
mean here? Perhaps a simple illustration will help.
Suppose a man who could not swim decides to leap into
the deep swirling waters of a raging torrent. From a
natural standpoint he is predestined to drown. Or if a man
wearing only light summer attire goes out in a blinding
snowstorm with extreme sub-zero temperatures, he is
predestined to freeze. If, however, he decides to enter a
cabin where there is a blazing fire in the stove, he is
predestined to get warm once he enters that room. In a
similar manner, when a sinner comes to Christ in
repentance, and surrenders himself to His will and follows
Him obediently, God says that such a man "Is
predestinate to be conformed to His image." The choice
is ours. The effect is according to God's eternal law. You
are conformed to the likeness of the thing you love. That
is why God warns us not to love the world but to love God
(1 John 2:15). To have the Father's name in our foreheads
indicates the enthronement of Christ and His reign in our
hearts. We make the choice. God's law determines the

The foregoing interpretation is in complete harmony
with God's Word in a sense not possible with a literal
application. Any cult that claims to be the 144,000 ignores
the other elements required, namely 12,000 from each of
twelve tribes and the fact that all are celibates.
Viewed in the light of its intended meaning to represent
the redeemed of all ages, it is etched on the prophetic
horizon as a theme of enchanting beauty and lofty purpose.

The Bride, which is the church, is "celibate" in that it is
espoused to Christ and is not defiled by any illicit love
affair with the world. They all sing the song of the
redeemed, which none can learn until delivered from the
bondage of sin. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes, a
characteristic which only the redeemed can fulfill. The
number if not limited to mathematical exactness, but it
symbolizes completeness, which the tribal compositions
indicate by their meanings that they produce the fruit of
the Spirit. Only such a group could be called the
"firstfruits." Only the redeemed could be said to be
without guile and without fault before God, as the passage
asserts. Literalism only distorts this metaphor into a
caricature of private interpretation which is condemned in
2 Peter 1:20 and 21. Truth in symbol is just as valid as
truth in any other attire. Truth is found in its meaning and
its intent. The words are meant to communicate the idea.

The majestic beauty of the church revealed through these
symbols is beyond controversy, for they glorify our
Redeemer as Saviour and Lord throughout endless ages.

Re: WHO ARE THE 144,000

Hi Patti....Well, you've come closer than most have to the meaning of the 144,000. When I once read that the number "144" was also associated with New Jerusalem (Rev.21:17), I knew then that the 144,000 were believers, and not "virgin" Jewish men.

Also, all the tribes of Israel in the OT began with the tribe of Reuben. This listing is different in that it BEGINS with the tribe of Judah. That should immediately tell us who the "Firstborn" of the 144,000 is...Jesus Christ!

However, not too long ago, I posted an article about this. Again, I used J. Preston Eby as source material because none have a better explanation.

Here is most of what I posted:


We should listen carefully to what God is telling us! We are the "BODY of Jesus Christ" (spiritually). We are "born again" INTO HIM. We are THE LOWER PART OF HIS BODY....FROM THE NECK DOWN. Jesus Christ is our HEAD...and the BODY IS CONNECTED TO THE SAME PERSON AS THE HEAD. We are NOT a "decapitated" body...our life and thoughts come from Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit (as Rebecca came to Isaac through the guidance of the "servant of Abraham"...and at the END of the journey, the marriage was consummated....they were "joined together").

If the HEAD has the name of "Jesus Christ", then WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE BODY?? Revelation 2:17 says we shall receive "a white stone with a new name". If our HEAD has the name of "Jesus Christ", then what NAME do you think we receive?

If my name is "John Doe". My head is "John Doe" as is my body....because they are CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. And thus are we all in JESUS CHRIST....BECAUSE OUR "NEW NAME" WILL BE THE SAME NAME AS HIS when our "marriage" to Him is CONSUMMATED.

BUT WE MUST GROW SPIRITUALLY...from "little children", to "young men", to "fathers" during our time here on earth....see I John 2:13. God does not "marry" children. His ultimate "WIFE" (after the consummation) will rule and reign with Him. A "babe" (or child) in Christ is not qualified to do this and will not be "chosen" for this honor.

It is explained very well in what is told to us about the 144,000 who are "sealed" by God....those who are making the journey (through the Holy Spirit) to qualify. They are "spiritual virgins". They have NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING JEWISH. AND IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BEING FAITHFUL TO THE "WORD OF GOD" (Who is "Jesus Christ"...see John 1:1)


Understand what journey each of us should be taking, as explained by J. Preston Eby:

Piece of the article:

“Out of Jacob came twelve sons and they were mighty ones, God’s Israel for that generation. Out of them came twelve tribes, and they were God’s Israel for their generation. Then, finally, out of the twelve tribes came Jesus, and while Jesus was in the world, He was God’s Israel, God’s Prince. Then out of Jesus came a generation of enChristed Israel and they were God’s Israel, God’s mighty ones, for their generation. Then over the last 2,000 years have come generation after generation of enChristed Israel. Each out of the previous generation, and they were God’s Israel for their generation and now, we who have been called and chosen by the Spirit of God out of the masses of the world and religious Babylon, that God might deal with us and change our nature, that he might change our name — we are God’s Israel for our generation!


Another piece of the article:

All who are called and chosen of the Father as king-priests are diligently climbing up that ascending pathway! We are daily applying ourselves to this walk! By the strength and power of the Christ within, we are pressing upward through one tribe at a time. The twelve tribes were not all birthed at the same time! The head of each tribe was born in his time, one after another, until all twelve had been birthed! This is a picture of our progression in spiritual life from one tribe to another! As we pass from tribe to tribe we experience within ourselves all that each tribe embodies. When we have arrived at the last tribe — Benjamin — we will be sons of the right hand! We will have experienced within ourselves all the authority, power, and dominion of God’s omnipotent throne! Once the reality of each of the twelve tribes has been progressively fulfilled within us, the victorious believer is then complete, mature, and has attained the first resurrection and the glory of manifest sonship. We will be able to rule over all things as sons of God! God’s promise to Abraham in the long ago will at last be fulfilled in all its glorious and eternal reality — “in thee, and in thy seed, shall ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED!


This link describes the journey through ALL the "tribes" in the life of the believer:



Now you should know what your "new name" will be when your "marriage" is consummated and "New Jerusalem" is REVEALED. IT IS THE REVELATION OF "JESUS CHRIST".

BUT....we have to wait for this until all of Gods plan for this age is completed. New Jerusalem is revealed when the "new heaven and a new earth" comes to pass...see Revelation 21:1.

If what you are told in the Bible does not match the doctrine you believe....REPENT (re-think) of your false doctrine NOW, and start studying the Bible for what it REALLY says....and not what some Pastor tells you it says.

I like to think of it as we are "climbing up Jacob's ladder" as we become, as Jacob did....the "Israel of God". The "first step" of the ladder has changed us to "Israel" in making the higher journey until we have reached the "consummation".....ever looking forward to that "joy" that Paul saw as the "prize" of the "high calling"...Philippians 3:14.