Who are the 144,000?

By Peter Salemi

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Many churches when their numbers start moving towards 144,000,  feel that "maybe it's us"? Then a doctrine starts to take hold that they are the 144,000 prophesied in the book of Revelation. Who are these people? The answer is a simple one!

The Jehovah's Witness believe that they, the chosen 144,000, out of all of their membership are going to be saved. Makes you wonder why the rest of them continue in that organization since only 144,000 are going to be saved? but, this is their belief. Many other churches have also come to this conclusion that they are the chosen 144,000. There is a problem with this however. There is one reason why this cannot mean a church. There is no church that can claim to have baptized 36,000 JEWS!


What does the Bible say about who the 144,000 are? God told John this, "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads" (Rev 7:1-3). Why are these sealed? God's wrath is about to come on the earth, and God is sealing his servants so they are protected while the wrath of God is poured without admixture. Rev 6:17 says before, "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" The seal of God is the Holy Spirit of God in their foreheads, " Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts...In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise," (2 Corinth 1:22; Eph 1:13).

Ezekiel in a vision saw "man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side;" (Ezekiel 9:3). He went about the city, "and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." (v.4). Those who were faithful to God were then marked by God for protection from his wrath. "...Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark;" (vv.5-6). God will protect his people through the time of his wrath on this sinning world. God people are the ones who "sigh and cry" because of all the abominations that are being done in this world. They already have the mark or seal of God for salvation. Now they receive the mark, or seal of God for their protection. They receive this mark because they are "they that are with him are called, and chosen, and FAITHFUL." (Rev 17:14). They remained faithful to God and did not give in to the powers that be during the Great Tribulation. You can be called, chosen, and receive the Holy Spirit, but you must remain Faithful to God. We read in the Bible that some "fell away" or made "shipwreck" the faith. These had the holy spirit but went apostate. The faithful, because they remained in the faith receive the mark of God's protection.

There are two types of Salvation; spiritual and physical. The one is for the cleansing of our sins and then continuing in the word of God for eternal life. The other is physical salvation of the world before it destroys itself and for the saving of the elect because of mankind heading towards total destruction; Jesus said:

"Then let them [believers] which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 

"Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 

"Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 

"And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 

"But pray ye [believers] that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 

"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [Moffatt Transl. added "alive"]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:16-22).

Another example of God protecting his people physically was in the time of Noah. The flood was a type of the wrath of God, and before the waters came it says, "and the LORD shut him in." (Gen 7:16). By God's power-his holy spirit, God protect them during his wrath on that generation of sinning mankind.  Clarke's Commentary says, "This seems to imply that God took him under his especial protection, and as he shut Him in, so he shut the Others out. God had waited one hundred and twenty years upon that generation; they did not repent; they filled up the measure of their iniquities, and then wrath came upon them to the uttermost." (emphasis added).

The Great Tribulation 

The sequence of events according to Matthew 24:29 and Joel 2::31 are as follows:

  1. Great Tribulation
  2. Heavenly Signs
  3. Day of the Lord

These of Revelation 7, "are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (v.14). So obviously they are sealed for the time of the wrath of God, because, "...God hath not appointed us to wrath...For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" (I Thess 5:; Colossians 3:6). The Great tribulation is a time of Satan's wrath against his people, "...Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, [symbol of protection see Psalm 91] that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

"And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

"And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Rev 12:12-17). Some of the church of God will be protected others persecuted for a "times, and half a time" that 31/2 year period of the great tribulation. Remember that God chooses the strongest of his people to be martyred or persecuted for his names sake.

Who are Sealed?

The Bible describes who are these people that are sealed. "And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

"Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

"Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

"Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

"Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. " (Rev 7:4-8). Is that so hard? "there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Not a church organization, the tribes of Israel. These tribes consist of 36,000 JEWS! Judah, are the Jews. Simeon and Levi were prophesied to be "scattered" in Israel (Gen 49:7), and were part of the kingdom of Judah, therefore Jews nationally not racially. What of the other tribes? Where are they located?

Jesus told his disciples to, "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:6). The House of Israel did not dwell in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

Jesus also said, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

"As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10:14-16). They were not among the Jews! Where did they go?

The House of Israel in Europe

The House of Israel got taken away by the Assyrians in many successive waves of invasions between 734 B.C. to 669 B.C. These ended up between the Black and the Caspian Sea and were known as the Khumbri, Kimbri, Cimmerians. Also the Saka, Sacae, Scythians. These migrated up into Europe and settled in Britain, and Northern Europe and Scandinavia. (Read our articles on the different tribes Here; also our booklet the USA in Prophecy Here).

The disciples were sent to them. The ministries of the Apostles after the resurrection are clearly documented. Many of them went to Parthia, Carthage, Britain, all the colonies of the exiled Israelites, and Phoenician colonies who were also Israelites.

The Israelite Kingdom was split  in two. There was the southern kingdom of Judah, the House of Judah. Then, there was the Northern Kingdom of Israel the House of Israel. The Bible makes clear note of these two entities, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:" (Jeremiah 31:31). So Jesus told his disciples to go to the "lost sheep of the House of Israel." NOT Judah! They were already among the House of Judah. But they were told to go to the house of Israel!

Modern Identities

We here at BICOG have painstakingly researched for years the identity of the modern nations of Israel. Here is the list and the links to read the separate articles for yourself to study and download the modern nations of Israel.

Tribes of Jacob Modern Location
Reuben Northern France
Simeon Welsh and Jews
Levi (Israeli, Scots and scattered within Israel)
Judah Royal sons of Perez and Zerah: includes the royal lineages of Ireland, Scotland, and England. Ethnic Israelis; Occidental (white) Jews , Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews; also sons of Shelah:
Dan Ireland & Denmark
Naphtali Norway & Sweden
Gad Switzerland
Asher Belgium and Luxembourg, South Africa
Issachar  Finland
Zebulun (Holland) Netherlands
Ephraim British Commonwealth
Manasseh United States of America
Benjamin Normans, Iceland, Quebecois

The 144,000 will come out of these peoples!

Why is Dan not Listed?

The 144,000 of the tribes of Israel that will stand on Mt. Zion with Christ when he comes does not include Dan. (Rev 7 & 14). Why? Some blame it on an ancient scribal error in copying an original document sometime in the far distant past and this error was copied from then until the present. Others say Dan received their inheritance before all the other tribes therefore not listed.

These explanations do not satisfy. Revelation 7:4 says that, "all the tribes of the children of Israel." are listed as the 144,000. So why does it say Manasses  instead of Dan? The solution is simple. Dan is split into two nations, Ireland and Denmark. Ireland is Catholic, 80% of the Danes are Lutheran (Church membership 2013 3.1.2013 Kyrkans tidning (Danish); Statistics Denmark Statistikbanken.dk).

Today, the tribe of Dan in Ireland is still given into idolatry following the traditions of  their ancestors the Grecian Danites. They are as a nation, an integral part of the false mystery system God labels as “MYSTERY,  BABYLON THE GREAT” in Revelation 17:5. This is a great false church, a worldly church, which has persecuted God's true servants down through the ages (Verse 6).

Notice in Revelation 2:20, this same false church is likened to that wicked “woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a  prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” God says He will smite her children with death because they have known the “depths of Satan” (Verses 23-24).

Jezebel’s children, then, are those who have been taught at an early age her abominable idolatries and filthiness (Rev. 2:20) and are deep in her doctrine (Verse 24). This woman Jezebel symbolizes the Roman Catholic Church. Most Danites (Irish) are members of this false church from birth, attending her schools, festivals and idolatrous religious worship services. This is the same false church God commands His people to “come out of” so they will not receive of the plagues He is going to bring on those who worship her (Rev. 18 :4). Since the nation of Ireland, the modern Danites, are in the “depths of Satan” and do not know God’s true way, probably nothing less than the complete destruction of this false Roman church, combined with the presence and power of Christ’s rule on this earth, will finally bring them to repentance. Dan says to God: “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord” (Gen. 49:16).

It is Denmark that will be part of the 144,000. How can we know? The clue is in the name "Manasses." Back in Judges the 18th chapter the inland Danites who moved to Denmark, when they migrated to Laish and named it Dan after their father. Afterward the children of Dan "...set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land." (v.30). The Septuagint has "Manasses" just like the book of Revelation. (Barnes Notes). This group of Danites migrated to Denmark. God is telling us that it is Denmark and not Ireland that will have 12,000 that will rule with Christ on Mt. Zion. The Irish will have to go through the plagues, watch the Catholic church be destroyed (Rev  18), and Jesus himself to help them come out of idolatry that they have been steeped into for centuries. (Read the article on the Tribe of Dan for full details).

But will only these be saved? No!

Many fail to quote the rest of the Chapter that says, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

"And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

"And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God," (Rev 7:9-11). These are they that come out of all nations, Israelite and Non-Israelite. These will also have the seal of God in their foreheads, and will receive protection as well because they remained faithful to God.

Notice what the rest of the chapter says, "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

"For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (vv.13-17). These came OUT OF the Great Tribulation. So they went through it, converted Christians persecuted but remained alive. God will protect them when his wrath comes by giving them his mark of protection, the spirit of God, "shall lead them unto living fountains of waters:" This means the Holy Spirit, the seal of God (see John 7:37-39).  Now even though God will protect many in his church from persecution, the conditions of the earth still cause many of them to suffer, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." 

Why the 144,000 Singled out?

Why are these Israelites singled out?

Revelation 14 reveals the answer: "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." (v.1). This is the second coming of Jesus Christ, standing on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and the 144,000 with him.

"and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth." (v.3). In verse 2 the people in heaven were singing a new song by the throne of God, and only the 144,000 could learn this song. "These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." (v.4). These were the "firstfruits" of God. Jesus, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinth 15:20). He was the first of the firstfruits to be resurrected. The 144,000 are the firstfruits as well, in the first resurrection. The firstfruits were holy to God. These were presented to God as the firstfruits of the harvest. (Lev 23:10; Deut 26:2). The first resurrection, these people are described as, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev 20:6). So the 144,000 will be a part of the first resurrection. But why single them out?

Verses 4 and 5 tell us, "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins...And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (vv.4-5). These remained loyal to God in every way during the greatest calamities the world will ever see. And the greatest persecution that the followers of Christ will ever see.

These particular phrases like "virgins," "defiled by women," are all spiritual in nature. Paul wrote of the followers of Christ, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinth 11:2). He feared that they might be deceived by "another Gospel," (v.4). Being defiled by "women" is often used as a symbol of a false church. The woman that sits on top of the beast is a great fallen church called a woman, and is a "MOTHER of HARLOTS." (Rev 17:5). These 144,000 were not defiled by these false churches. Being "defiled" is accepting their false doctrines committing spiritual fornication with them. Ezekiel says, "with their idols have they committed adultery," (23:37). "and committed adultery with stones and with stocks." (Jer 3:9). This was spiritual harlotry in the sight of God. Committing fornication with idols. The 144,000 did not do this, but stayed loyal to God throughout the greatest time of trouble in all of history. Also, they were Israelites who inherited the birthright promises of Abraham as well, therefore they are the firstfruits to God, "Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase" (Jer 2:3).

In the time of the Exodus when Israel camped at the mountain, there were the Israelites and the "mixed multitude." (Ex 12:38). These were people of mixed blood, half Israelite and gentile. During their encampment, it was the Israelites that were the closest to God, and the mixed multitude farthest away. Not that they were less important than the others. But the inheritors of the birthright received the special privileges because it is their inheritance. "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established." (Ex 15:17). These are the reasons why the 144,000 are singled out and are closest to Jesus when he comes. So the 144,000 is not a church, but the tribes of Israel that survive through the Great Tribulation, and remain faithful to God in the most troublous times. The only way to know when these people are chosen, is when the heavenly signs begin, and God seals his people. Then and only then will they know that they are the chosen ones.

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