Like many of the topics in Revelation, there is much mystery surrounding the 144,000 mentioned in chapters 7 and 14. Who are they? What is their significance? What will be their objective? Will they be protected? Will they have any effect on the lost people of the Last Days? Although we do not know everything about the events that will take place and those involved, the Bible does reveal some details about the 144,000. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says as we discover the traits of the coming Jewish evangelists who will preach to the world during the Tribulation. If twelve Spirit-filled Jews turned their world upside down, imagine the magnitude of the revival that will take place during the Tribulation!
What Happens Before the Lord Returns?
Perhaps, if you go to an evangelical church you may have heard your pastor, or some visiting teacher, say that before Jesus Christ comes back to this earth there is going to be a great revival and people are going to come back to the Lord. Now all of us wishes that would happen, and perhaps it will in a small way. But there is no indication in the Scripture that we should expect such a thing.
In fact, the Bible teaches us the exact opposite. The Bible says that before the Lord returns to take us to heaven there is going to be a falling away from the faith and if you look at the statistics for mainline churches today, it seems like we might be in the beginning of that because a lot of people who used to go church, a lot of people who used to be religious, have pushed away and churches are struggling.
The Separated Servants of God
The Bible says in Joel chapter 2 that “it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
These 144,000 witnesses are selected from the twelve tribes of Israel. They are sealed on their foreheads and they are servants of the living God. And the Bible says they are also separated to God—that means they have a special calling from the Lord. Revelation 14:4 says, “these are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.”
Now a lot of people have tried to spiritualize that and talk about the fact that they had not committed spiritual adultery, but that’s reading too much into the text. I believe these men will be celibates who just run around the earth preaching the Gospel. And frankly, when you read about what goes on in the Tribulation, there won’t be any time for these men to have families. They’ll be on a journey and on a mission, and it will be a full-time task. When we understand the pressures of the Tribulation period, it’s easy to comprehend why these preachers would have a difficult married life.
The 144,000 Are Spared From Judgment
They are also spared from the coming judgment. Notice it says, “do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads” (Revelation 7:3). In other words, these men will not be able to be taken out. There will certainly be an anger against them because of their preaching. But the Bible says no one is going to be able to touch them because Almighty God is going to have His arms wrapped around them.
You know it’s an interesting thing that even today we can practice that, can we not? I’m going to tell you a little secret. When I first started to travel as a young pastor, my kids were young. I used to get on airplanes flying out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and have a little pang of fear that would come into my heart. Now I wasn’t afraid to die—I wasn’t anxious to die, but I wasn’t afraid to. But I had a great fear for my kids, for my wife, and my little children. And one day an older pastor came to me and gave me this little saying, and I wrote it in my Bible. Here’s what it says, “God’s man, in the center of God’s will, is immortal until God is done with Him.”
Hope for Our Nation
As devastating as this period will be, the thing that I carry away from this is that God never removes His hand from this earth. I hear people say, “Do you think God has given up on America?” I don’t think that’s the right question. I think the question is, “Has America given up on God?” You know that’s the question. I can answer the first one with assurance. Almighty God has not given up on our nation. And it could well be that before the Lord returns to take those who have put their trust in Him to heaven, He will pour out His spirit once again on this nation.
Maybe we will have a fourth great awakening in America. I would love to be a part of that and see God do that, and it could happen. But listen, one of these days this world as we know it is going to come to an end, and the Tribulation will happen and during that Tribulation, when there is so much evil, God will still be reaching and begging people to come to Him and receive His grace.
The Spiritual Revival During the Darkest Time
Listen to this report filed by John in the seventh chapter of Revelation: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). What a wonderful picture that is!
The Bible says so many people are going to come to Christ during that time that you don’t even have any way to number them: “A great multitude which no one could number.” And they represent all of the nations and tribes and the peoples and the tongues from all over the earth. The harvest from the great revival of the 144,000 witnesses. And that is going to be something you know that we’ll be able to observe in heaven. This is, I believe, the fulfillment of this promise of Jesus given in His Olivet Discourse. Jesus said the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.
Ladies and gentlemen, one of these days there is going to be this massive spiritual return to God during one of the darkest times on planet earth.
For deeper study of Revelation and Prophecy, visit Dr. Jeremiah’s Prophecy Academy where you will find a panorama of prophetic materials to enhance your understanding of God’s Plan for the end of the world.