Who are the 144,000 in the book of Revelation?

Q: Kindly explain to me who are the 144,000 in the book of Revelation, so I may share with my non-Adventist friends. — Augustine, from Zambia

A: There are various views within Adventism regarding the precise identity of the 144,000 and whether they are a separate group or the same as the “great multitude which no one could number” (Rev. 7:9; see the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7). But I believe that this group is end-time spiritual Israel (see Rev. 7:1-4; Rom. 2:28-29), who are alive when Jesus comes.

“Spiritual Israel,” of course, does not refer to literal Jews or the modern country of Israel, but to people who believe in Jesus as their Savior and have received “the seal of the living God” because they have refused to accept the mark of the beast. They have God’s name written in their foreheads (Rev. 14:1), meaning that they reflect His character and keep all His commandments through the faith of Jesus (vs. 12). Through the wonderful gift of Christ’s imputed and imparted righteousness, they are even described as “without fault before the throne of God” (vs. 5).

Just as Israel was protected from the plagues that fell on ancient Egypt, this final group are preserved through the time of trouble when the seven last plagues will be poured out on the wicked (Rev. 16). See the beautiful promises given in Psalm 91:7-11. The 144,000 are those who lean completely on their Savior for salvation and for witnessing to the world about the amazing relationship we can have with God if we totally trust in His power to save and to change our lives.


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