The 144,000 of Revelation

The Scriptures teach the reward of the righteous will be heaven. Nowhere do the Scriptures make a distinction between the pure and "purest," nor do they speak of two different rewards-- i.e. one in heaven and one on the earth. Some denominations, such as the Jehovah's Witnesseses, teach that in the end there will be some righteous who will go to heaven and some remaining on a refurbished earth. This teaching is false and is based on a misconstruing of Revelation chapters 7 and 14, with a distinction being made between the "Great Multitude" and the "144,000" mentioned in these passages. They state that the "Great Multitude" is the "earth class" who will remain on the earth, and that the "144,000" is the "church class" who will be with God in heaven.


However, when one reads these passages he finds that the "great multitude" and the "144,000" are terms which speak of the same group. In studying the book of Revelation it must be keep in mind that John is describing visions and dealing with symbols. This number, 144,000, is not a literal number of people, but is a symbolic figure, here indicating a full or complete number. In Rev. 14:7, John does not see the sealing of the 144,000 but only hears it. He then looks (v. 9) and beholds "a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands." The "great multitude" are those whom John heard being sealed. Notice where they are-- "before the throne," i.e. in heaven not on the earth.


Those who teach the doctrine of a earth/heaven reward try to smooth over this problem by saying, God's throne is in heaven, and His footstool, the earth, is before the throne. Therefore the great multitude is on the earth. But what about the angels, elders, and four living creatures, who "fell on their faces before the throne" and worshipped God in verse 11? Are they on the earth too? Also, the 144,000 is "before the throne" in Rev. 14:3. The terms "144,000" and "great multitude" in these passages refer to the same group of redeemed individuals who are victorious in heaven with God and the Lamb. 


There are other problems with making the "144,000" the church who will go to heaven, and making the "great multitude" those who will dwell on the earth. For example, when one reads Rev. 7:4 and Rev. 14:4 he finds that the 144,000 were JEWS and were all MEN who are VIRGINS.


If one consistantly holds to the teaching that the "144,000" is the church, and the "great multitude" are those who will live on the earth, then there can be NO WOMEN in heaven and no MARRIED MEN. This would exclude Peter from heaven because we know that Peter was married (Matt. 8:14).


Notice the following contradictions in the doctrine of the earth/heaven reward with the teaching of the Bible: Peter is an apostle and is listed as one in Matt. 10:2. We know from 1Cor. 12:28 that the apostles were in the church. Therefore, Peter was in the church. According to the doctrine of the earth/heaven reward, the church is the 144,000. So, Peter is one of the 144,000. But according to Rev. 14:4, the 144,000 are composed of "virgins"--unmarried men. Therefore, Peter could not be one of the 144,000, the church, since he was married. Yet, the Bible teaches that he was a member of the church. See the problem! The manner in which the doctrine of a earth/heaven reward contradicts the Scriptures proves that it is a false, man made doctrine.


The problem is some want to take some things literal and some things figurative in these passages to fit their doctrine. To make sense of these passages one must again remember John is describing visions and dealing with symbols. The term "144,000" represents the fullness or completeness of those redeemed, they are a "great multitude," the spiritual Israel, who have kept themselves spiritually chaste, sanctified to their Lord. These will have their reward in heaven and will worship and serve God before His throne.