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I have a few thoughts on 144 that I have noticed, but would like further evidence-based references from others. The 144,000 that are "sealed" and mentioned in Revelation is a number that seems to be of uncertain meaning. I have heard that since 12 is a number of perfection and 12x12 is 144, this is just representative of the Lord's perfection. I have also read that this means there will be 12,000 chosen from the 12 tribes and that the 144,000 must only be Jews because of this. However, I have some other observations and would love any other thoughts about these.

  1. There are 24 hrs. in a day and 6 days in a "working" week (minus the Sabbath). If we take 24x6, we get 144 hours of labor and 24 hours of rest for a full week.
  2. 3/5 of a circle is 144 degrees and these patterns are even found on leaves in nature. There are numerous references to plants being representative of both Christ and humans (depending on context).

I would like to know of other verses that point to the meaning or revelations that might be found within Revelation 7:4 and 14:1.

Revelation 7:4 KJV

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 14:1 KJV

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

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    The 144,000 are mentioned twice in Revelation (7:4 & 14:1). On this site, a specific text in the Bible must give rise to a question that explores what the text reveals (or two texts if closely related at these two are). Opinion-based answers and speculation and esoteric ideas are out-of-bounds. This is not the site for raising a general topic that goes down such avenues. This site is not like most other religious sites, for it requires precise examination of the text(s) in question. Can you adjust your question accordingly, please?
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 2 at 18:37
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    I just attempted to edit in accordance with your request. I hope this is more of what would be appropriate.
    – user51058
    Commented Jan 2 at 18:55
  • Yes, it's necessary to make the texts in question the priority by quoting them. What is not suitable for Hermeneutics, however, are your points 1. and 2. These introduce subsidiary ideas that detract from the focus that needs to be kept on the texts in question. Answers could go off at a tangent and enter the realms of speculation and private interpretation. A laser-like focus on the texts in question is required here! Persevere, do!
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 3 at 10:06
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    Many see the number as representing the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles thus encompassing both phases of the progressive revelation of God in Old and New Testaments. Then 10 by 10 by 10 is a matter of completeness associated with Deity. Thus many see it as the full body of persons called under both parts of the Divine revelation, all united into one body as is set forth in the epistles of the apostles.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 3 at 12:11

3 Answers 3

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Let me put this good question in some context and then the meaning becomes clearer.

  1. The 144,000 is clearly a highly symbolic number; that is, it cannot be literal because the 12 tribes of Israel no longer exist. Further, the 144,000 do not follow a literal lamb (Rev 14:1), further reinforcing its symbolic nature
  2. The number twelve appears in the NT to be always associated with the kingdom of God or the New Jerusalem. Indeed, its occurrence in the book of Revelation is arranged chiastically as follows:
  • A: 12 stars in the crown of the good woman (12:1)
  • . B: 12 gates in the New Jerusalem (21:12)
  • . . C: 12 angels at the gates (21:12)
  • . . . D: 12 names of the tribes of Israel (21:12)
  • . . . D: 12 foundations in the New Jerusalem (21:14)
  • . . C: 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb (21:14)
  • . B: 12 gates are 12 pearls around the New Jerusalem (21:21)
  • A: 12 fruits on the tree of life in the New Jerusalem (22:2)
  1. In the case of the 144,000 = 12x12x1000, the analysis in the appendix below shows that the 144,000 are the saved and sealed saints.
  2. The scene of the 144,000 in Rev 7 appears to be a direct allusion to Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (eg, Matt 21) where the same elements exist, victory, the arrival of the king, palm branches, etc. We are also told that they have survived the "great tribulation", Rev 7:14.
  3. The only other place is Rev 14:1 where we are told that the 144,000 follow the Lamb (= Jesus) wherever He goes and have His name on their foreheads. This is the counterpoint to the wicked who have the mark of the beast on the foreheads or hand (Rev 13:16, 17).

This is all the information we have about the 144,000.

APPENDIX - Antithesis Passages

The following pairs of passages speak of the same thing using symbols that are the opposite of each other. In each case, John hears one thing and sees something apparently different.

What John HEARS What John SEES
Rev 1:10, Voice like a trumpet Rev 1:12 7, lampstands and one “like the Son of man”
Rev 5:4, Lion of the tribe of Judah, Root of David Rev 5:5, Lamb looking as if it had been slain standing in center of throne
Rev 6:1, 3, 5, 7, Voice of living creature Rev 6:2, 4, 5, 8, Horses of various colors
Rev 7:4 - 8, 144,000 sealed from 12 tribes of Israel Rev 7:9, 10, An innumerable multitude from every nation on earth
Rev 14:13, Blessed are the dead Rev 14:14, White cloud with Son of Man
Rev 17:1, Prostitute sits on many waters Rev 17:3, Scarlet woman rides on the beast
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  • I thin the angels at the gates doesn't actually belong in the chiasm; take it out and your have names matched with names; as it is, with the names not lining up the structure is off-balance
    – Traildude
    Commented Jan 16 at 2:28
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As one of my grad school professors used to say, if you're taking a number in Revelation literally you're almost certainly doing it wrong. Revelation is apocalyptic literature, and in that kind of literature almost anything is a metaphor or symbol.

This definitely applies to the oft-misunderstood number one hundred forty-four thousand. Happily it's straightforward in the Greek; both Rev. 7:14 and 14:1 read the same:

ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες

which translates to one-hundred, forty, four, thousand, or in numerals simply 144,000.

Any number that large has to be broken down to find the meaning. The breakdown has to be in terms the original audience would have understood; this excludes the conjecture about "3/5 of a circle" because no one would have thought of that. It also has to be complete, which excludes the above as well but also the conjecture about the hours in a working week since neither of these includes the thousands element. There's a lesson here: never try to fit metaphors/symbols from ancient literature into things the ancient audience would not have thought of!

What almost everyone back then would have noticed first would have been that 144 (using numerals for brevity's sake) is what in English is called a gross, a dozen dozen, the product of 12 times 12. For anyone familiar with the Hebrew scriptures 12 stood for the twelve tribes of Israel as a whole, while for anyone familiar with the Gospel message 12 was a reference to "the Twelve", shorthand for the twelve apostles; and just as the first 12 stood for all of Israel, the second stood for all the church. Multiplying, as opposed to adding, indicates the unity of the two numbers, so 144 stands for all the people of God from the old covenant and the new covenant, not as two different sets of people but as one people.

That leaves the 1,000. Anyone familiar with the Hebrew scriptures would have recognized the meaning of this without having to break it down, even though the meaning is found by breaking it down to 10 times 10 times 10, since 1,000 was used symbolically often enough to effectively stand on its own. The number 10 indicated completion as in a job thoroughly done, so 1,000 indicates a job thoroughly done, thoroughly done, and again thoroughly done. Making that threefold repetition raised the thoroughness to the level of perfection, to the divine, so 1,000 tells us that this job was finished to a level of divine perfection.

Combine that with the 144 and the meaning is that the whole people of God has been completed to divine perfection. That means no one was left out who should have been included, as well as that no one was included who should have been left out. It also tells us that those who are included are fully people of God; no one straddling the fence, no one not completely worthy is in this group.

This is confirmed by the context. In 7:14 we are told these are "the servants of our God"; in 14:1 they are "who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads" -- having these names on their foreheads corresponds to them being "sealed" in 7:14.

So 144,000 indicates all the people of God, no one missing, no one incomplete.

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I think 144,000 refers to are DNA everyone of us was born with 72,000 chromosomes from our mother and are father on each side of our DNA stran making up the double helix of our DNA 72,000 + 72,000= 144,000 God's design the MNRA vaccines add a third stran of 72,000 that is not of God's design

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