who are the 144,000 mentioned in the Bible. Will they be the only ones to rise to meet Christ at that time?
I believe the 144,000 are the faithful remnant of Israel who will be protected in the wilderness for 1,260 days during the last half of the 7-year Tribulation (Revelation 12:6 & 12:14).
They are declared to be Believers in Yeshua the Messiah in Revelation 14:4-5, in that they are called firstfruits of the Lamb (Yeshua), and they are called blameless.
Non-Believers will never be called blameless. No person who rejects Yeshua as the Messiah (the Son of God) will ever be called blameless.
Therefore, the 144,000 Israelites must be Believers in Yeshua the Messiah.
Often when Scripture states something multiple times, and in multiple ways, it is for the purpose of implementing the principle of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15, Matthew 18:16, II Corinthians 13:1, I Timothy 5:9, Hebrews 10:28)
The 144,000 are all stated to be of the sons of Israel.
The 144,000 are all listed according to tribe.
It is a confirmation that it is to be taken literally, and not figuratively.
For example: 1,260 days = 42 months = time, times, and half a time = a literal 3 ½ years
The 144,000 are all literally descendants of Jacob (Israel).
They are literally 144,000 faithful, believing men of Israel.
The 144,000 of Revelation Chapter 7 are the same as the 144,000 of Revelation 14.
They are described in a similar way - as having been sealed with the Seal of the Living God.
For another example of Israelites being sealed for protection just prior to a judgment, see Ezekiel Chapter 9.
In Revelation Chapter 7, we see the 144,000 sealed in their foreheads.
Revelation 7:2-4 (ESV)
2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
In Revelation Chapter 14, the 144,000 have the Father's name on their foreheads (the Seal of the Living God).
Revelation 14:1-5 (ESV)
1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,
3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,
5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
In Chapter 7, they are sealed before the destruction of the Trumpets begins. (Revelation 7:3)
In Chapter 14, they are on Mount Zion with Yeshua (Revelation 14:1), having been redeemed from the Earth along with the other Saints who will be caught up to meet Yeshua in the air at the 7th Trumpet.
Mount Zion is on Earth. Unless there is another Mount Zion in heaven, the 144,000 will be on Earth, singing a song which they will be taught by those standing before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. (Revelation 14:3)
The 144,000 are not virgins in the carnal sense.
Revelation 14:4 says that they have not defiled themselves with women.
In other words, they are not guilty of adultery or sexual perversion, nor are they guilty of idolatry.
There are several examples in Scripture of the use word "virgin" not referring to a chaste person in the literal, carnal sense:
Isaiah 23:12, 47:1, Jeremiah 18:13, 46:11, Ezekiel 23:3, 23:8, Amos 5:2, II Corinthians 11:2
II Corinthians 11:1-3 (ESV)
1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me.
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste VIRGIN to Christ.
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The word translated as “defiled” (molynō) can mean, “those who have not kept themselves pure from the defilements of sin, who have soiled themselves by fornication and adultery.” (Outline of Biblical Usage)
The word translated as “virgin” (parthenos) can mean one who has “abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry.” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon)
The 144,000 of the Revelation are the same “virgin” of Israel that are described by the Prophet Jeremiah. Those who survive the sword will find grace in the wilderness.
Jeremiah 31:1-4 (ESV)
1 “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
2 Thus says the LORD: “The people who SURVIVED the SWORD FOUND GRACE in the WILDERNESS; when Israel sought for rest,
3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O VIRGIN Israel!
These are the 144,000 Israelites (literal descendants of Jacob) who have not defiled themselves by following Satan. They are not guilty of sexual sin, nor have they bowed the knee to Baal or observed the practices of the Babylonian Mystery religions. They are Israelites who have kept themselves pure (virgin) for God.
In Romans Chapter 11, Israelites (in the last days) who will accept Yeshua as Messiah are called firstfruits. These are a “remnant, according to the election of grace.” Paul said that it will be as if they are raised from the dead.
Romans 11:5 (ESV)
5 So too at the present time there is a REMNANT, chosen by grace.
Romans 11:15-16 (ESV)
15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but LIFE FROM the DEAD?
16 If the dough offered as FIRSTFRUITS is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
These Israelites described by Paul in Romans 11, are living during these last days. I believe these are the 144,000 Israelites of Revelation Chapters 7 & 14, who will be sealed before the destruction described in the Trumpet Judgments of the Tribulation. They will stand on Mount Zion with Yeshua at the end of the Tribulation. (Revelation 14:1)
In Romans 11:2, Paul states, “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”
Paul then goes on to relate that Elijah plead with God that he was the only faithful one left in Israel, and that the Baal worshipers were seeking his life. God’s response to Elijah was that there were 7,000 “reserved” who had not “bowed the knee to Baal.”
Paul concludes by stating that there were still, in Paul's day, a remnant of Israel, “according to the election of grace.”
Just as there were 7,000 faithful Israelites in the days of Elijah; and there was a remnant of faithful Israelites at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Romans; there are 144,000 faithful Israelite men now, in these last days.
God told Elijah:
I Kings 19:15-18 (ESV)
15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.
16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.
17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.
18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
Just as it was in the days of Elijah, many in Israel will be killed during the Tribulation (Zechariah 13-14, Isaiah 10:20-23, etc...); but God has reserved a remnant of 144,000 Israelite men to be protected in the wilderness during the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation.
The 3 ½-year Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21), also called the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), begins when Satan and his angels are cast to earth (Revelation 12:9), and the antichrist arises as the leader of the world government. At this point Satan/Antichrist will go after Israel with a vengeance, but he will be stopped miraculously from destroying all of Israel. A faithful remnant of Israel will be saved.
Revelation 12:14-16 describes the earth opening up to protect Israel.
Water like a river is poured out in an attempt to destroy the woman ( the faithful remnant of Israel) which is fleeing. The earth will open its mouth and swallow the river, thereby saving the remnant.
A river can be literally referring to water, or it can represent a large group of people, such as an army. In this case it appears to represent an army.
This will be similar to the Red Sea crossing, in which Israel was saved and the Egyptian army pursuing them was destroyed when the walls of water on either side of the divide crashed in on them and drowned them. (Exodus 14:21-31)
The picture painted when Revelation 12:13-16 and Zechariah 14:1-5 are taken together, is that the faithful, believing remnant of Israel (144,000) will flee through a valley in the midst of the Mount of Olives. The earth will open up during a great earthquake to allow the remnant of Israel to escape into the wilderness. Then the divide will close up, crushing the portion of the antichrist’s army that is in close pursuit.
Revelation 12:13-16 (ESV)
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.
16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
Zechariah 14:1-5 (ESV)
1 Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.
2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah...
The last part of Zechariah 14:5 occurs 3 ½ years later, when Yeshua returns with His Saints.
The Israelites will not flee when Yeshua returns.
Zechariah 14:5 (ESV)
5 ... Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
There were literally 7,000 Israelites (probably not counting women and children) that had not bowed the knee to Baal in the days of Elisha.
There will be literally 144,000 faithful, believing male descendants of Jacob in Israel, along with women and children, at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. They will flee through a divide in the Mount of Olives, and will be protected in the wilderness for 1,260 days (3 ½ years) during the Great Tribulation.
The 144,000 are mentioned twice in Revelation, chapters 7 and 14. They were “redeemed from the earth” (KJV) and when they sing, it is from heaven. (14:2-3). So they are in heaven. In Revelation 7 they are described as being members of tribes of Judah. Some think this means they are all Jews. But this must not be overpressed as “the Israel of God” (Ga 6:15-16) is the “new creation."
They are distinguished from a “great multitude” (KJV,7:9) which is a much larger group. They are identified as those who came out of the “great tribulation” (7:14) and the lamb “shall guide them to fountains of waters of life.” (7:17, ASV)
This makes two saved groups, a smaller one in heaven and a second larger group that comes out of the great tribulation on earth and is never said to go to heaven. They also don't yet have life eternal as they are being guided to it.
Some suggest that the 144,000, Revelation 7:1-8 are the same as the great multitude which no man can number in verse 9. The book is visionary and concepts shift from one vision to another in order to enlarge and develop the whole picture.
The epistle to the Ephesians and the epistle to the Colossians convey a similar thing, viewing the saints in one way, on earth, on pilgrimage, and then viewing them again, as seated in heavenly places ; yet much is similar in the two epistles.
So, it is suggested, that the two descriptions of 144,000 and a great innumerable multitude, should be accepted as one and the same thing, but viewed in different ways.
And those two aspects are quite similar to the two epistles of Paul.
This view, therefore, does not see certain persons being 'special' among the vast multitudes (in every age) who repent and believe in God. The sealed, twelve by twelve thousand, are one way of viewing the entirety of all of the people of God.
Seen in a different way, they are - also - the vast innumerable multitude. There is no scope in this understanding for some to have some kind of precedence over others.
This view, also, does not conform to ideas of more than one second coming of Christ, more than one rising from the dead, or more than one ascending of saints to heaven.
In this view, the Lord Jesus Christ returns, and immediately time ends, the dead arise, the sheep are separated from the goats in a day of judgment, the true disciples of Christ go to be with him for ever and the unrepentant unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire together with Diabolos and his angels.
It is a very straightforward and uncomplicated view of the book of Revelation and this view accepts that the epistle is in seven sections, the end of time being repeated and the vision being that of seven 'layers' - seven aspects of the whole Church age from the ascent of Christ until his return.
There are many distinctions between the 144,000 chosen Jews and the 12 chosen apostles which included Paul after Judas was cast out.
1) The 144,000 will be preaching the gospel of the earthly kingdom of Messiah as the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, Son of man, whereas the 12 apostles were preaching the gospel of salvation for the Kingdom of God.
2) The 144,000 will be sealed by a visible mark, whereas the 12 apostles were sealed by the invisible Holy Spirit.
3) The believers of the kingdom gospel of the 144,000 will be "before the throne" as servants of God.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev 7:13-17)
Whereas, the believers of the 12 apostles gospel--the church--will be "in the throne" as sons of God, even as the Son of God will be in the throne with His Father.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Rev 3:21)
4) The 144,000 will be on this earth following the time when the church--including the 12--are taken out of the earth--caught up.
5) Those who believe the preaching of the 144,000 will refuse the mark of the beast, quickly die, and will not remain on earth to pass their gospel on to others as believers are allowed to do during the church age. This makes the job of the 144,000 very difficult because they only will be preaching for about 3 1/2 years to believers who will die quickly.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Rev 14:13)
6) The 144,000 chosen Jewish believers will mass reproduce as believers of the gospel of the "earthly kingdom" over a very short period of time (3 1/2 years), then they quickly die, whereas the 12 chosen apostles began to more slowly multiply the "gospel of salvation "in the earth over a much longer time (close to 2,000 years). The believers of the apostles gospel were allowed to remain alive on this earth--sometimes for a long period of time after their acceptance-- to pass on this good news.
The visible "earthly" kingdom of heaven required Matthew along with Luke's gospel to show Jesus as the "son-of-Abraham-and-Son of David King", also being the required "son-of-man Judge", whereas the invisible Kingdom of God required all four gospels to provide testimony of Jesus as the Son of God, Son of man, ox or calf of the ox beast of burden, and the king-of-the-heavens, eagle. It is very probable that Matthew and Luke, together with their lineages, and together with the Law and the prophets, will be used by the 144,000 for their ministry.
Because the earthly kingdom provides for the promised visible dwelling of Messiah on this earth, Jesus, as having the face of the eagle is not needed. That pertains to the spiritual Kingdom of God as instructed by John. Moreover, Marks gospel portraying Jesus as the suffering servant--ox, calf of an ox, will not be needed. Jesus will never again suffer and be subservient as He did before and during His suffering on the cross. When He declared, "It is finished", His suffering was FINISHED. Jesus now has the complete right to sit and rule boldly upon the throne of David because He is the rightful resurrected living heir to David's throne. He also has God's full authority to judge during His reign because He is the "Son of man". (John 5:27) This is why the "earthly tabernacle" and the "earthly temples" have cherubim having only two faces--the lion and the man.
We who are saved rejoice in God fulfilling His promise to the Jews concerning the land on earth that He promised them because the kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of God are two distinct gospels, both of which will be merged together at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ and both of which are entered into through faith in the Word of God, .
To answer the second question, no, the 144,000 will not be the only ones to rise from the dead to meet Christ; 144,000 sealed from the children of Israel will have resurrected bodies; the Saints who died will rise from the dead in their resurrected bodies to meet the Lord too; except, the Women or the children of Israel who were saved or protected from the face of the serpent, nourished for three and a half years, will not rise from the dead for they did not die but they will meet up with Christ. Most importantly, the Women all Israel who are going to be delivered will be human, mortals, in the Millennial reign, not having a resurrected body: Zechariah 8:3-5 and Isaiah 65:17-23; they are of very old age, thus, will die.
Before answering the first question, I will present a general timeline in the book of Revelation.
The time line
Revelation 1:19 states: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. The Things Written has three time lines: A) the THINGS which thou hast seen the things John, the Writer, has seen (past tense) is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:12-17 verse 17 “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead…”
B) the things which are, present, the time John wrote this book: the things which are: refers to the Seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1:4,11), chapter 2 and 3 are to the “Things which are” the historical Seven Churches in Asia.
C) the things which shall be HEREAFTER: to the future Churches/Saints about the 144,000 sealed and the Women. Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. The first voice were of a trumpet talking was Jesus Christ, Revelation 1:10, now will “Shew thee things which must be HEREAFTER” which after taken up, the angel shows John these things. The things hereafter: Revelation 22:6 “…sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” And in Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.”
These things in the “Churches” are the future Churches around the world for the “things hereafter” time line indicates the future Churches or Saints things are written to them; also, about the 144,000 sealed and the Women who are protect/saved. The Saints, the 144,000 virgin men, and the Women clothed with the Sun represents, All Israel being saved, are in the hereafter timeline
To answer the question, who are the 144,000, I will show who the 144,000 are, and who they are not, by distinguishing them from the Saints i.e. the Great Multitudes out of every nation, kindred etc; and the Women revelation 12 clothed with the Sun moon under her feet with a crown of 12 stars representing the children of Isreal: men, women, children and infants.
The Saints are the “Great Multitude” which make up of Jew and Gentiles those who first trusted in Christ Ephesians 1:12,13. To distinguish them between the Women, the Saints are first killed; the 144,000 Israelites are the second group to be killed all explained in the first part; except, the Women were saved or delivered; explained in the third group below. Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; Notice, the Saints or the “Great Multitude.”
The audience to which the Book of Revelation was written to the Historical Seven Churches in Asia and the Future Churches or Saints; speaks about the 144,000 sealed and the Women clothed with the sun represents All of Israel.
First Part: The Saints in Revelation 6:9-11 verse 11 "And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Notice, the first group: the Saints, Great Multitude out of every nation, kindred etc are the ones given white robes, a connection and proof, that they are the Gentiles and Jews (election that God saved Romans 11:1-6 with the Fulness of the Gentiles coming in) believers in revelation 7:14. Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Revelation 6:11: And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. These Saints of whom came from the Great Multitude out of every nation, kindred people etc were killed; white robes were given to them for they were "they which came out of great tribulation”; not raptured out but killed for their faith: Revelation 13:5-7, verse 7 " And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them" so the Beast is given permission to make war and overcome the saints. In addition, the Saints whom came from the Great Multitude were Martyred/killed first; their souls under the altar in Heaven crying out to the lord Revelation 6 verse 10: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?” The Lord tells them “to rest yet for a little season, until their brethren, that should be killed as they were should be complete/fulfilled.” These saints came from the Great Multitude which no man could number of all nations kindreds and people and tongues are distinct from the 144,000 sealed who has specific names of their tribes. Revelation 5:9 “…. for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
This second group, the brethren are the 144,000 sealed of the Twelve natural tribes of Jacob, that should be killed as they were: the saints given the white robes, are the as they were group killed first. Revelation 6:11 The 144,000 are men who are virgins, 12,000 from each 12 tribes of Israel: Revelation 7:3-8 & Revelation 14:1-5 verse 4 said "4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins." These Virgin men are persecuted like the saints.
Ezekiel 9:6 come not near any man whom is the mark is a type and shadow of the 144,000 “Men” 3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; 4 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 midst thereof. 6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
Notice, there is a man with a inkhorn who makes a mark, similar to, the angel who seals, the 144,000; also, those who were marked WERE MAN verse 4 and 6 like the 144,000; lastly, both in Ezekiel 9 and in Revelation 7 the marks or sealing are upon their foreheads of the men and the 144,000 male virgins. Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. This does not mean 144000 were not killed only protected from the angels plagues. As discussed above, the saints were the first group killed, this being their brethren, 144,000 that should be killed.
Furthermore, the 144,000 are numbered and sealed 12,000 from each tribe of Israel/Jacob; these are not spiritual Israel Galatian 6:16.
A Clear distinction between the 144,000, how they are not the Church, Israel of God in Galatians 6:16, are by the tribes of Israel/Jacob listed, specifically. All are the literal tribes of Israel who are mentioned. Manasseh and Joseph or Ephraim tribes belonged to Jacob (Genesis 48:5) “…Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.” BSB Despite, the tribe of Dan not been listed, does not mean these 12,000 sealed are Christians for the Lord God simply elected Levi’s tribe, instead of Dan’s. Also, the Church do not make up the natural branches Romans 11:16-24 the children of Israel do. We, the Church are spiritually, if anything, apart of Christ’s tribe, Judah: Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Galatians 3:29 “…And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed…” That text in Galatians 6:16 does not mean we are now the tribes of Israel, but the Israel of God; we are engrafted into the tree family line, that being Abraham’s seed or a Jew inwardly as branches: wild by nature. Romans 9:6-8, not all descendant of Israel are of Isreal but in Isaac thy seed by called; in Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” The Promise was to Abraham and Jesus Christ thru whom we are partake, Israel of God.
For Paul points out in Romans 9:1-4 verse 3 “from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” verse 4 “Who are Israelites…” and Romans 11:1 that he is “an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Benjamin, there is a remnant according to the election of grace; therefore, there will be a election of grace, redeemed men from the earth from God, 144,000 sealed from the tribes of Israel too as Scriptures say. It is literal
As the lord said thru Apostle Paul in Romans 11:26 ”For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” There is a mystery we should not boast against the branches nor to think we are the spiritual Israelites. These natural branches in particular, the 144,000, are men who are virgins, from the 12 tribes of Israel/Jacob.
All of Israel will be delivered/saved represents the Women in Revelation 12
The Third Group: The Women in Revelation 12:1,6,13-16 represents all Isreal being saved from Romans 11:26; the Women are Israelites just like the 144,000 but the Women are comprised of men, women and children who has fleed to the mountains: Matthew 24:16-20. Key words: “flee” in verse 16 and “FLIGHT” in verse 20 like that in Revelation 12:6, 14 key words: “Fly” &”Fled” ”the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."Wings of a great Eagle might fly in her place." The women(All Israel) will be "Nourished and protected" from "The face of the serpent" that figure being, the Beast/Antichrist/ or Little Horn of Daniel 7 for 3 in a half years The Women or Israel's seed in Revelation 12:17 represents the Gentile and Jews who believed in Jesus Christ and keep the commandments being the Saints (Love thy neighbor as Christ commanded John 15:12 and to BELIEVE in the NAME of Jesus Christ-1 John 3:24) for Revelation 13:10 & Revelation 14:11&12 are saints that keep the commandments of God the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST Christ; These saints, the Women's seed, are immediately persecuted by the Beast in Chapter 13:7
To grasp the correct understanding of this topic today I prefer to start from a cumulative conclusion, composed by the hypothesis presented by Bee and Nigel J:
The “144,000 and a great innumerable multitude, should be accepted as one and the same thing, but viewed in different ways” (Nigel J). Furthermore, “There will be literally 144,000 faithful, believing male descendants of Jacob in Israel […]” (Bee).
Is this cumulative conclusion correct? According Revelation the 144,000 were composed singling out 12,000 peoples of every tribe of Israel (Rev 7:4). But, since the Bible clearly speaks about some different ‘Israel’, we may ask ourselves, what ‘Israel’ John was speaking of? The ‘natural Israel’ (1 Cor 10:18), or the ‘Israel of God’ (Gal 6:15-16)?
To be brief, it’s fit to the entire context of the Bible to conclude that Revelation (7:4) refers to the ‘Israel of God’. On the contrary, the first hypothesis (the ‘natural Israel’) causes more understanding troubles. Why?
1) The tribes cited in Rev 7:4-8 aren’t that original ones. For a factor, (a) we don’t find any tribe of Dan in the Revelation list of tribes. Furthermore, (b) if the 144,000 and the ‘great multitude’ are ‘one and the same’, in what manner the first group come from the natural tribes of Israel only, whereas the latter group come from “all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues” (7:9)?
2) John’s phraseology used in 7:10 puts a clear-cut break between the verses section 1-8 and 9b-10. In fact, the Greek expression μετα ταυτα ειδον (“After these [things] I saw”, 7:9a) introduces – constantly, in Revelation – a different scene, with different aspects considered. See this by yourself in Rev 4:1; 7:1; 15:5; 18:1. Then, since in Revelation, the ‘one and the same’ aspect/character (of) was never introduced by the expression μετα ταυτα ειδον, the 144,000 and the ‘great multitude’ must represent different aspects and not ‘one and the same thing’.
3) The antithetical valency of the expressions based on two derivative terms coming from the Greek verb ἀριθμέω (‘to enumerate’) is another factor to take into an account. In fact, as regards the 144,000, John wrote “και ηκουσα τον αριθμον των εσφραγισμενων”, namely, ‘And I heard the number of the sealed ones’ (Rev 7:4). On the other hand, as regards the ‘great multitude’, John stated “οχλος πολυς ον αριθμησαι αυτον ουδεις εδυνατο”, namely, ‘a great crowd which no one was able to number' (7:9). Here it appears clear that the two sets (144,000/great multitude) are different: beings, the first, a numerable group; the latter, a not numerable group.
As regards the heart of the matter (“Who are the 144,000 mentioned in the Bible?”) it seems to me Thomas Pearne has – so to say - ‘hit the target in the centre’, with his short explanation.
Besides, Lord Jesus himself presented these likelyhoods in Matthew 5:3, 5, when he spoke about some ‘dwelling places’ of the 'sheep', as the ‘kingdom of heavens’ - on the one hand - (vs. 3), and, on the other hand, about the ‘earth’ (vs. 5).