Q. Re: The 144,000 of Rev. 7 and 14. If one of the groups consists of Jews, and the other represents the raptured Church, does that mean that 144,000 is the pre-determined number of Christians who will be saved & raptured before the Great Tribulation? In which case, aren’t there a lot more Christians in the world than that today? Does this mean that only a select portion of the Church will be taken in the rapture?
A. In my study of the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14 I wrote that both are literal numbers, though they represent different groups. In Rev. 7:4-8 we have 12,000 from each of 12 tribes of Israel living on Earth.
But in Rev. 14:1-5 we see 144,000 who have been redeemed from the earth and are standing on the heavenly Mt. Zion.
This group is but a sampling of the redeemed Church which will have been brought to heaven in the rapture. They’ll be presented as the first fruits of the harvest of souls (Rev. 14:4), just as the wave offering was the first fruits of the harvest of grain (Lev. 23:9-14).
All the grain was harvested, but only a sample was presented before the altar. So it is with the Church. The 144,000 is not meant to be the full number of the raptured Church, just a sample.