Revelation: The 144,000 and the Multitude

June 5, 2011

By the end of chapter 6, six of the seven seals have been opened. Before opening the seventh and final seal, the opening of seals paused so the Christians on earth could be marked and protected.

Rev 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.
Rev 7:2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:
Rev 7:3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

There were 144,000 servants of God who were to be sealed — twelve thousand, from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Those sealed were still on earth, where the four winds were being held back. They were marked so that the plagues and destruction sent by God would not fall upon them, but rather just upon their oppressor.

Remember, by the time Revelation was written, the Israel of God was the church (Rom 2:28-29, Gal 3:7-9, Phil 3:3, etc). So these 144,000 were Christians. The number 144,000 is symbolic — twelve times twelve times a thousand — representing the thoroughness with which God would mark and protect his people. Not one would be missing.

Meanwhile we also get another glimpse of heaven:

Rev 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Rev 7:10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Rev 7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God,
Rev 7:12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Rev 7:13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
Rev 7:14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Rev 7:15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Rev 7:16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.
Rev 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Here in heaven, worshipping before the throne of God, was another group in white robes. These are clearly identified as having come out of the great tribulation. These include the martyrs, to whom we saw white robes being given after the fifth seal was opened. These former martyrs are revealed to the saints remaining on earth, who were under threat of martyrdom themselves. The potential future martyrs are being reassured that they, too, will worship in heaven before the throne of God; that they will be cared for by the Great Shepherd; that they will be led to springs of living water; and that God would wipe away every tear from their eyes. Their faithfulness would be richly rewarded! The message to them is the same as that given to the church in Smyrna:

Rev 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.


  1. […] a vision is given of the 144,000 in heaven! Just a few chapters earlier, they had been marked by the angel to protect them from the plagues God was sending upon the Roman […]

  2. It’s always wonderful to ponder upon that in heaven, all tears shall be wiped away. no more sorrows and no more pain. We praise God for this heavenly future in Christ Jesus alone.

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