Q. Why is it that the 144,000 are so frequently referred to as Jews when in reality they are 12,000 from each tribe of Israel including Judah?
A. I assume you are referring to Rev. 7:1-8. The 144,000 are referred to in the King James Version as “servants of our God” and “children of Israel” (Rev. 7:3-4). But you’re right when you say many refer to them as Jews.
The first time the word “Jew” appears in the Bible is in Esther 2:5. It was probably derived from the word “Judah” or “Judea” but has been used to describe all tribes of Israel, especially since the Babylonian captivity. Even the Apostle Paul referred to himself as a Jew (Acts 21:39), although he was from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1). For most people the word “Jew” describes all descendents of Abraham through the sons of Jacob.