1. Subscriberduecer
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    19 Aug '09 13:17
    The book of Revelation has always presented the interpreter with challenges. The book is steeped in vivid imagery and symbolism which people have interpreted differently depending on their preconceptions of the book as a whole. There are four main interpretive approaches to the book of Revelation: 1) preterist (which sees all or most of the events in Revelation as having already occurred by the end of the 1st century); 2) historicist (which sees Revelation as a survey of church history from apostolic times to the present); 3) idealist (which sees Revelation as a depiction of the struggle between good and evil); 4) futurist (which sees Revelation as prophecy of events to come). Of the four, only the futurist approach interprets Revelation in the same grammatical-historical method as the rest of Scripture. It is also a better fit with Revelation’s own claim to be prophecy (Revelation 1:3; 22:7, 10, 18, 19).

    With the exception of the futurist approach, all of the other approaches interpret the 144,000 symbolically, as representative of the church and the number 144,000 being symbolic of the totality—i.e., the complete number—of the church. Yet when taken at face value: “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel” (Revelation 7:4), nothing in the passage leads to interpreting the 144,000 as anything but a literal number of Jews—12,000 taken from every tribe of the “sons of Israel.” The New Testament offers no clear cut text replacing Israel with the church.
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    19 Aug '09 15:041 edit
    There are two groups mentioned in connection to the number 144,000.

    How do you know that only one group is being refered to simply because the number is mentioned again?

    The 144,000 in chapter 7 are clearly Israelites, 12,000 from 12 tribes of the sons of Israel.

    The 144,000 mentioned as Firstfruits in chapter 14, I do not believe, refer to the same people.

    Here is who they are. At the time just before the end of this age of Grace, the church age, some Christians on the earth, (a remnant), will be raptured to the highest heaven where Christ is. Don't ask me where that is. I have no idea.

    They are a minority of all the people of Christ on the earth. They are not the majority. And at least the specific number 144,000 indicates that it should be a minority.

    So the whole church will not be raptured before the last three and one half years before the millennial kingdom.

    I do not believe that it means that only 144,000 will be raptured. But because they are mentioned in ch. 14 as Firstfruits and latter there in the same chapter there is a reference to Harvest, it should indicate that they are the first of the harvest.

    They are early ones to "ripen". They are early ones to mature. They are a remnant, a minority who are alive at that time and have become full grown.

    For the Father's satisfaction they are raptured before the great tribulation and out of it.

    It does not record them going up. It only speaks of them standing on some heavenly Mt. Zion. But the voice of them is out of heaven, so we know that they have been raptured there.

    They lived daily so close to heaven and to God in their daily lives on earth, that this was only a change in physical position. Their hearts were already there with the Father and they follow the Lamb in their lives whereever He may go. So, their sudden appearance in heaven should speak to us of their heavenly walk.

    They are like a corporate Enoch who walked with God in Genesis 5:24. Like Enoch who walked with God in that sinful generation and was rewarded by being taken away from the earth before the judgment of the flood, so these collective 144,000 follow the Redeemer, the Lamb, and are taken alive to heaven before the great tribulation.

    The vast majority of Christians left on the earth after this early rapture will be shocked. But this will help them to be braced for the great tribulation to come. Seeing that they have been left on the earth, they will no longer love the Satanic world system but will realize that Christ's physical descent is very close.

    The ones left who belong to Christ are the Harvest. Harvest and Firstfruits are indentical in nature. Firstfruits simply mature first and Harvest matures latter.
  3. Subscriberduecer
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    19 Aug '09 15:17
    Originally posted by jaywill
    There are two groups mentioned in connection to the number 144,000.

    How do you know that only one group is being refered to simply because the number is mentioned again?

    The 144,000 in chapter 7 are clearly Israelites, 12,000 from 12 tribes of the sons of Israel.

    The 144,000 mentioned as Firstfruits in chapter 14, I do not believe, refer to the ...[text shortened]... ruits are indentical in nature. Firstfruits simply mature first and Harvest matures latter.
    interesting take. I don't however believe in the rapture (the word appears nowhere in any form in the NT).

    numerology was important to the jews, 144,000 is significant in it connotates wholeness. I believe this figure to be representative of the whole church, and reject the literal translation of 144,000 people. If we are to take the number strictly literal, then we must also accept that the 144,000 will literally be Jews as well. We can't pick and chooose which parts are literal and which parts arn't. I believe the book needs to viewed with an interpretive viewpoint.
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    19 Aug '09 18:211 edit
    Originally posted by duecer
    interesting take. I don't however believe in the rapture (the word appears nowhere in any form in the NT).

    numerology was important to the jews, 144,000 is significant in it connotates wholeness. I believe this figure to be representative of the whole church, and reject the literal translation of 144,000 people. If we are to take the number strictly litera ral and which parts arn't. I believe the book needs to viewed with an interpretive viewpoint.
    Absolutely it needs an interpretive viewpoint. I only barely scratched the surface.

    What I would draw attention to is not the number at the moment. But I would highlight the sequence of scenes in chapter 14. I visualize it this way:

    Verses 1 - 5 - the Firstfruits

    verses 6-7 - the eternal gospel

    verse 8 - the announcement of the fall of Babylon

    verses - 9 - 12 - the warning to earth dwellers not to worship Antichrist

    verses 13 - blessing on martyrs during great tribulation

    verses 14 - 16 the Harvest of believers at the end of great tribulation

    verse 17-20 the grapes of wrath at in the winepress of God


    Now if you notice the sequence. You have something taking place at the beginning of the great tribulation, then you have the things during the great tribulation, then you have the conclusion of it.

    In this sequence you have Firstfruits and Harvest. Between these two you have the events of the great tribulation.

    God's crop of believers is seen. Those who do not need the great tribulation to ripen, ripen first as Firstfruits. Then comes the heat of the great tribulation. The majority of the rest of the crop ripen under the intense "heat" of this troubled time.

    Firstfruits, tribulation, then Harvest. This is the main thing I would like to point out to you. That is chapter 14 in a nutshell.

    To further explain Firstfruits, I would have you consider the seven letters to the churches in chapters 2 and 3. Each letter ends with a promise to those who "overcome". I'll let you look it up if you're that interested.

    The "overcomers" are those who rise to the standard of God's call. They do not exceed the standard. They are not an elite. They are normal. In God's salvation it is normal that we should overcome, that we should be "more than conquerors".

    Overcomers do not rise above the standard. Overcomers are simply at the standard. To be defeated in the Christian life is abnormal. It may be prevalent but it is abnormal. It is normal that Christ's grace is sufficient to cause us to be victorious in His salvation.

    Do you follow so far?

    So, the Firstfruits are not some class of superspiritual elite. They are simply normal overcomers living on the earth at the time just before the commencement of the great tribulation.

    But in the history of God's people on earth, the ones rising up to the standard are usually a minority.

    I am not getting to involved with rapture here. My point is that Firstfruits and Harvest should mean overcomers who mature early and the majority who mature with the help of the sufferings of the Great Tribulation.

    The Firstfruits sing a song which no one else could learn. A song comes out of their experience. Their unique experience leads to their unique song. They have an experience which none of the other saints of God have. What is it ??

    I believe it is that they are taken alive to heaven. They walked right out of the world by following the Lamb whereever He goes. This is an experience that millions of believers down through the centries have not had, though there have been many who overcame.

    They are a collective Enoch. Now I have said that these Firstfruits are the living overcomers. What about those overcomers who have died before Christ returns? They are depicted in another chapter, chapter 12 as the Manchild.

    I have gone over this without my customary references to verses. That's a lot of work.

    Let me ask you this. It says "And I heard a voice out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; and the voice which I heard was like the sound of singers playing on their harps." (14:2)

    Now if you don't believe in rapture (because the word does not appear in the Bible) HOW did this group of people get up there to heaven?
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    19 Aug '09 18:28
    Originally posted by duecer
    The book of Revelation has always presented the interpreter with challenges. The book is steeped in vivid imagery and symbolism which people have interpreted differently depending on their preconceptions of the book as a whole. There are four main interpretive approaches to the book of Revelation: 1) preterist (which sees all or most of the events in Revelati ...[text shortened]... e “sons of Israel.” The New Testament offers no clear cut text replacing Israel with the church.
    But as confusing as you say it is, would you believe that God would know exactly who the 144,000 are?
  6. Subscriberduecer
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    19 Aug '09 18:28
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Absolutely it needs an interpretive viewpoint. I only barely scratched the surface.

    What I would draw attention to is not the number at the moment. But I would highlight the sequence of scenes in chapter 14. I visualize it this way:

    Verses 1 - 5 - the Firstfruits

    verses 6-7 - the eternal gospel

    verse 8 - the announcement of the fall of Ba ...[text shortened]... not appear in the Bible) HOW did this group of people get up there to heaven?
    the Nt says that Christ will come again, on that we all agree I think. if the "first fruits" are taken, then subsequently the rest of the believers, then that would be a third appearance. nowhere does it say that christ will come unseen and take people away, much less a third appearance.
  7. Subscriberduecer
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    19 Aug '09 18:31
    Originally posted by galveston75
    But as confusing as you say it is, would you believe that God would know exactly who the 144,000 are?
    its not literal. if it is literal then virtually no JW has a heavenly hope, and all those who claim they do are liars.
    the number 144,00 is symbolic. 12= 12 tribes, squared and times a thousand signifies completeness. God's complete church...everyone.
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    19 Aug '09 18:58
    Originally posted by duecer
    its not literal. if it is literal then virtually no JW has a heavenly hope, and all those who claim they do are liars.
    the number 144,00 is symbolic. 12= 12 tribes, squared and times a thousand signifies completeness. God's complete church...everyone.
    Whatever the original, irretrievable intentions of the author, I think they had something to do with gematria.

    This one has a pretty illustration:
    http://revelation2368.com/glossary%20of%20signs/144000.htm

    This one's by Aleister Crowley:
    "144. A square and therefore a materialisation of the number 12. Hence the numbers in the Apocapyse. 144,000 only means 12 (the perfect number in the Zodiac or houses of heaven and tribes of Israel) x 12, i.e. settled x 1000, i.e. on the grand scale."
    http://www.ashami.com/eidolons/Gematria

    This one's spectacularly wacky, with UFOs and everything (144,000 is 'the number of light'😉:
    http://www.secretofnine.com/eltanin.html

    This one's more sober and convincing, somehow:
    "Bible scholars both ancient and modern have interpreted this number as reflecting the symbolic perfection of redeemed man in terms of the “perfect” number 12 which signifies perfection of government in Scripture multiplied by divine order (Ten signifies divine order in scripture). 144,000 is the square of 12 times the cube of 10."
    http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Matthew%27s%20Genealogy%20of%20Jesus%20of%20Nazareth.htm

    Each to their own! I am amused by people who claim that the number is not symbolic and then go on to find all kinds of hidden meanings in the text in support of that claim.
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    19 Aug '09 19:071 edit
    Originally posted by duecer
    the Nt says that Christ will come again, on that we all agree I think. if the "first fruits" are taken, then subsequently the rest of the believers, then that would be a third appearance. nowhere does it say that christ will come unseen and take people away, much less a third appearance.
    ============================
    the Nt says that Christ will come again, on that we all agree I think. if the "first fruits" are taken, then subsequently the rest of the believers, then that would be a third appearance. nowhere does it say that christ will come unseen and take people away, much less a third appearance.
    ======================


    There is a secret rapture. And some people will be taken without Christ being seen.

    They are taken without Christ having to descend. But you've got me at a time when I am not too much interested in a long debate. If you're interested I could labor on it.
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    19 Aug '09 19:12
    Originally posted by duecer
    its not literal. if it is literal then virtually no JW has a heavenly hope, and all those who claim they do are liars.
    the number 144,00 is symbolic. 12= 12 tribes, squared and times a thousand signifies completeness. God's complete church...everyone.
    I didn't ask that. Does god know what this means?
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    19 Aug '09 19:181 edit
    7 is the number for perfection in time.
    12 is the number for perfection in eternity.

    7 is composed of 1 plus 6 or 3 + 4.

    12 is a mingling of two numbers, 3 and 4. They multiply out to be 12.

    Seven represents an addition. Twelve represents a mingling.

    3 is the number for the Triune God.
    4 is a number signifying the creation especially man.

    3 plus 4 would indicate the Triune God bringing man to himself.

    1 plus 6 would mean the unique God adding Himself to man.

    12 would be the mingling of God and man, as 3 times 4, a mingling of the two numbers.

    The four sides of the New Jerusalem have three gates each. That would be 4 times 3 = 12. The New Jerusalem represents the mingling of God and man for perfection in eternity.
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    19 Aug '09 19:262 edits
    Originally posted by jaywill
    7 is the number for perfection in time.
    12 is the number for perfection in eternity.

    7 is composed of 1 plus 6 or 3 + 4.

    12 is a mingling of two numbers, 3 and 4. They multiply out to be 12.

    Seven represents an addition. Twelve represents a mingling.

    3 is the number for the Triune God.
    4 is a number signifying the creation especially man ...[text shortened]... es 3 = 12. The New Jerusalem represents the mingling of God and man for perfection in eternity.
    ????? Thanks for this info but what does it have to do with the 144,000? Just asking.

    There are a couple numbers your missing but good job except for the trinity thing..
  13. Subscriberduecer
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    19 Aug '09 20:53
    Originally posted by galveston75
    ????? Thanks for this info but what does it have to do with the 144,000? Just asking.

    There are a couple numbers your missing but good job except for the trinity thing..
    the point is that 144,000 is not a literal number, but represents wholeness
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    19 Aug '09 21:484 edits
    The 144,000 in chapter 7 are clearly Israelites, 12,000 from 12 tribes of the sons of Israel. - Jaywill

    i myself feel that this is a clearly erroneous statement, for the following reasons, firstly Christ states of the natural nation of Israel that the kingdom shall be taken from them and given to a people producing its fruits.

    (Matthew 21:42-43) . . .Jesus said to them: “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From Jehovah this has come to be, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?  This is why I say to you, The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.

    quite clearly this is a reference to the natural nation of Israel, who because of their rejection of the messiah, and numerous other transgressions, God withdrew his protection and the nation was treated with the utmost cruelty by Titus and the Roman armies in 70 C.E. (anyone who has read Josephus, can testify to the details). What is interesting about the destruction of Jerusalem form a genealogical point of view, which has a direct bearing on this scripture, is that genealogical records of the Hebrews were destroyed, making it impossible to determine from which tribe a person arose. (some have tried to explain that God knows, but I fail to see its relevance)

    also peter himself makes reference to thsi rejection of the messiah and the adoption of another nation,

    (1 Peter 2:7-10) . . .It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, “the identical stone that the builders rejected has become the head of[the corner,”  and “a stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense.” These are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were also appointed.  But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies” of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  For you were once not a people, but are now God’s people; you were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy.

    making a spiritual application, Paul makes the distinction between a natural Israelite and a spiritual one, please note these verses

    (Romans 9:6)  However, it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who spring from Israel are really “Israel.”

    (Romans 2:28-29) . . .For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code. The praise of that one comes, not from men, but from God.

    clearly these individuals, from all nations make up spiritual Israel, or as Paul terms it, the Israel of God.

    therefore i reject Jaywill assertion that these are natural Israelites, the reference being a symbolic one as is the book of Revelation and its application being spiritual as i have endeavoured to show.
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    19 Aug '09 21:491 edit
    Originally posted by duecer
    the point is that 144,000 is not a literal number, but represents wholeness
    no, its a very specific number and is in contrast to a great crowd, which no man was able to number, revelation 7:9
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