Who are the 144,000?
2011/05/27 5 Comments
In March this year, the South Pacific Division began to present a series of 24 lectures on the book of Revelation. The series is developed by Dr Jon Paulien of Loma Linda University in cooperation with Dr Graeme Bradford, and published under the guidance of the Biblical Research Institute of the South Pacific Division. I attend the meetings and need to share my findings, because some interpretations seem to be imposed on the Bible, instead of being derived from it. In this essay I will present a confusing interpretation of the meaning of the 144,000 of people who are sealed or receive the seal of God.
Branjop holds that “Being sealed … is the sign of a genuine Christian. Therefore, sealing became associated with circumcision in the first century (see Romans 4:11) and baptism in the second century.” He adds that “Having a “seal on the forehead” means those people who receive it are protected because they really are God’s people.” Later on he adds that “the 144,000 are now called a great multitude that no one can count” and explains that “John [is] using a literary device to describe the same people with two different symbols.”
One might expect that ‘the 144,000’ and ‘the great multitude’ refer to the redeemed of all ages, including the apostles who lived in the first century, because they are genuine Christians “sealed by the Holy Spirit.”
Darren who presented the topic confirmed this idea by saying that with God there is no second-class people. He quoted some verses like: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all” to support his view. And so, the matter should have been settled. But when I studied the pamphlet provided during the presentation I noticed that Branjop provided another definition of the 144,000 that was intermingled with the first one.
For instance, Branjop explains that “The 144,000 are sealed as a way of protecting them during the great tribulation.” This statement makes sense only if the 144,000 are only those redeemed who live through the great tribulation (Abraham, Moses, David, apostles etc. are excluded!). Next, Branjop asks the question: “What is the final sealing?” This question makes sense only if the final sealing applies to a subset of 144,000 who live through the great tribulation. And if so, is there something like a final sealing? How does it differ from a general sealing? Who is sealed in each? Further, Branjop talks about differently expressed sealing and comes to a conclusion that “this sealing involves how people relate to Go at the end time.” Again, he is talking about a subset of 144,000, those who live through the great tribulation.
A question arises: Who is represented by the 144,000 people?
- All the redeemed of all ages (including Abraham, Moses, Darren, etc.) also represented by the great multitude of Rv7:9, or
- Only those redeemed who will live through the great tribulation?
When I spoke with Darren I showed him that Branjop has 2 definitions of the 144,000. One definition holds that the 144,000 represents all the redeemed of all ages, beginning with Adam and Eve, which means that Abraham, Moses, Enoch, Elijah, the apostles, etc. belong to the 144,000. The other definition holds that the 144,000 are only those who will live through the great tribulation, which is still in the future. In agreement with this definition, Moses, Elijah and others do not belong to the 144,000. But Darren responded that for him it is the same thing and he did not see any problem with it.
To me, however, this kind of view does not make sense, and Darren’s thinking, accepting two conflicting ideas as being in harmony, makes it impossible to distinguish between truth and error. Jesus emphasized deception as one of the most important signs mentioned by Jesus when disciples asked him when He would come. How can anyone escape deception if we give up logic and accept Darren’s way of thinking? There is no way to do it unless we ignore Darren’s opinion and accept the way of thinking that Jesus demonstrated all through the Bible. Hence, every person who will be taken to heaven (represented by both the great multitude and the 144,000) went through the great tribulation. Referring to the great multitude, one of the 24 elders explained that “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
It becomes clear to me that both Branjop and Darren ignore what Jesus revealed to John; they just twist the Bible to support their own ideas and make it appear as if the Bible taught the concept they present.
 Fictitious name for the authors/developers of the series
 Mt24:4nasb “And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.