There are some who believe that only 144,000 Israelites from the 12 tribes are saved and nobody else. They say that Jesus died only for the Israelites and that everything in the Bible has been fulfilled in AD70. Let us see what the truth is below:
The book of Revelation was written by John during the time of tribulation. He wrote it to the 7 churches in Asia (Roman Empire) addressing the 12 tribes of Israel – who were scattered in Asia that were previously addressed by James and Peter (James 1:1, 1st Peter 1:1). Remember that Peter, James, and John were sent by Christ only to the circumcised 12 tribes of Israel.
Galatians 2 ” 9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.”
John was addressing circumcised believers from the 12 tribes of Israel scattered in Asia during the great tribulation.
We will find that he talks about TWO separate groups of people.
- The 144,000 believers from the 12 tribes of Israel who were going to be martyred.
- The Gentile believers who were already in heaven having been martyred.
The first proof of this is here in Revelation 7
Revelation 7 “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.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.“
So here, we see that judgment would not come on the earth until the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel would be sealed with the Holy Spirit.
During that time John saw a vast multitude of Gentiles in heaven who were already martyred:
Revelation 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 before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands…..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. “
These two are NOT the same group of people because of the following reasons:
- The Israelites are numbered by man as 144,000 from the 12 tribes
- The Gentiles cannot be numbered and even John does not know the number!
- The 144,000 are on the earth being sealed by the Holy Spirit when they believe in Jesus Christ, hearing the Gospel on the earth.
- But the great multitude from all nations is ALREADY in heaven having been martyred during the great tribulation.
How can we be so sure that these are TWO separate groups of people? We find the evidence in Revelation 6
Revelation 6 “9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.”
So here we see two separate groups of martyrs:
- The first group is already in heaven. These are the Gentiles
- The 2nd group is on earth who were going to be martyred. These are the 144k from the 12 tribes of Israel.
We need more evidence, where in scripture does it say that the full number of Israelites will be saved after the Gentiles are already saved?
The Apostle Paul reveals this mystery here in the epistle to Romans:
Romans 11 “11 Again I ask: Did they (Israelites) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!….. they (Israelites) were broken off because of unbelief, and you (Gentiles) stand by faith…..And if they (Israelites) do not persist in unbelief, they (Israel) will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again…. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved“
Paul clearly said that Israel rejected Christ so that the Gospel went out to the Gentiles. But after the full number of Gentiles was saved, then ALL Israel would be saved. Therefore it is clear that God would save the last remnant of Israelites after all the Gentiles were saved.
This is the clear proof that it was NOT ONLY the 144,000 from Israel that was saved but it was also a great multitude of Gentiles who were saved in the great tribulation of the 1st Century!
So then the book of Revelation is primarily written about the salvation of the 144,000 Israelites scattered in the nations.
Revelation 14 “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.”
The 144,000 are the only ones with Christ on Mt. Zion and they are the only ones who know the song of redemption. This is because the song is a Jewish song related to the old covenant of Israel.
Revelation 15 “They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb”
But we don’t see the great multitude of Gentiles singing any song in heaven in Revelation 7. We only see them praising God and Jesus for salvation. They do not know the song of Moses or Israel! Its because the Gentiles were outside the covenant of Israel and had no connection to Israel.
Ephesians 2 “11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
And we also see the Gospel being preached to the nations AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.
144k – were counted by John, only Israelites from 12 tribes on the earth being sealed
The FULLNESS of Gentiles are in heaven, their souls are in heaven waiting for the resurrection. They are given white robes when the 144k are being sealed. They are in heaven while the 144k are on the earth being sealed with the Holy Spirit undergoing the great tribulation.
Revelation 14 “6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Revelation 14 “8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” 14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.”
“19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
“4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
There are TWO groups of people in Revelation 5, Revelation 7 and Revelation 14.
There are TWO resurrections in Revelation 20: One for the martyrs during the tribulation and One after a very long time in the future!
Clearly in AD70, only Israel was judged and no other nation was judged.
In Revelation 17,18 and 19 we see the judgment of Babylon a.k.a Jerusalem in AD70 and then Satan is bound for 1000 years at the 1st resurrection of the martyrs of the great tribulation. But in Revelation 20, we see the judgment of ALL nations after the 1000 years at the 2nd resurrection of ALL nations.
We see Paul saying that the Gentile believers will judge the entire world and the angels at the 2nd resurrection (Satan and angels are judged only at the 2nd resurrection).
1st Corinthians 6 “If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”
In Matthew 24, we see the judgment of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple during the Great Tribulation within that generation.
But in Matthew 25, we see the judgment of ALL nations in the 2nd & final resurrection when Satan and his angels are thrown in the fire.
Matthew 25 “31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
So then my friends, the Gospel still remains today. It did not end in AD70. The Gospel being preached to all nations is an everlasting Gospel:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose the third day.
He will come again to judge the world.
Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ, will be saved, forgiven all sin and receive the righteousness of God as a free gift. Simply believe!!