Q. I am teaching Revelation in an adult Sunday school class. I am confounded by the different opinions on the 144000. Some say they are the same as chapter 7 and some say they are from the church ( your articles on rev support the latter ). My question is why would the church be mentioned at this point in the book of revelation. Being at the mid point of the tribulation, the two witnesses have been killed and raised from the dead and taken into heaven….why not the 144000 Jews of ch.7 also? It seems more consistent with the other events. They are singing a song before the throne and the “elders”- who are suppose to represent the church anyway. The only problem with this view that I can think of is that it requires another “RAPTURE” to get the 144000 in heaven.
A. The two witnesses aren’t introduced until Rev. 11. The Great Tribulation begins in Rev. 13 To me that means their 3 1/2 year ministry does not fit into either half of Daniel’s 70th week but overlaps them.
The 144,000 of Rev. 7 are not part of the Church, but are Jews who come to the Lord after the Rapture. We’re not told of their disposition, only that the angels can’t send the next judgment until the Lord puts His seal on their foreheads to protect them from harm. If they are all martyred they won’t be resurrected and receive physical bodies again until the 2nd Coming, yet John’s description in Rev. 14 implies physical beings. Also John apparently didn’t recognize them as being the ones he saw in Rev. 7. The fact that the 24 elders are with them is not a problem since they only represent the Church, just as the heads of the 24 courses of the priesthood represented the entire group. but could still be present among them.
And finally the description of the 144,000 in Rev. 14 fits the Church, especially since verse 4 says that they were redeemed from mankind, implying both Jews and Gentiles.