Are The 144,000 Killed During The Tribulation?
First, let’s introduce you to the 144,000 Jewish Christians.
Who are the 144,000?”
The 144,000 are first mentioned in Revelation 7:4, “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” This passage comes in an interlude between the judgment of the sixth seal of the tribulation (Revelation 6:12–17) and the opening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1).
“Who are the 144,000?” Revelation 7:4 speaks of 144,000 actual people living during the end-times tribulation. Nothing in the passage leads to interpreting the 144,000 as anything but a literal number of Jewish men—12,000 taken from every tribe of the children of Israel, according to verses 5–8.
These 144,000 Jews are “sealed,” which means they have the special protection of God. They are kept safe from the divine judgments and from the wrath of the Antichrist. They can freely perform their mission during the tribulation. It had been previously prophesied that Israel would repent and turn back to God (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:25–27), and the 144,000 Jews are the “first fruits” (Revelation 14:4) of that redeemed Israel.
But Why Are There Here During The Tribulation?
There is only one reason why God raises these Jewish men for the greatest time of turmoil even seen on Earth. To Preach The Gospel To The World.
Their mission is to evangelize the post-rapture world and proclaim the gospel during the tribulation period. As a result of their ministry, millions—“a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9)—will come to faith in Christ.
The first mention of the 144,000 Jewish Christians/Evangelists is in Revelation 7:4.
“Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.” This passage comes in an interlude between the judgment of the sixth seal of the tribulation (Revelation 6:12–17) and the opening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1).
But When Do The Arrive?
Some in the prophetic community believe that the 144,000 witnesses could be here today. It’s possible that they will be present prior to the Rapture event, but saying this implies that the Rapture is a known date specific event, which it is not. We can only speculate if they are here now.
As stated above the first mention of the 144,000 occurs in Revelation 7:4, however, we have to understand that the 144,000 witnesses have been on earth and will bring many to Christ during the seal judgments. Here’s proof…
The Great Multitude in White Robes.
Revelation 6:9-11. 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 they cried out in a loud voice:
Their mission is very clear; to evangelize the post-rapture world and proclaim the gospel during the tribulation period. As a result of their ministry, millions—“a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9)—will come to faith in Christ.
Keep this in mind, it is the Rapture event that will trigger the Revelation timeline or countdown to the beginning of the 21 judgments about to occur. Scripture is silent on the amount of time between the Rapture and the breaking of the first seal, and again between the breaking of the first seal and the signing of the covenant between Israel and the Antichrist.
What Does It Mean: The Seal Of God?
There are five verses in the Bible that refer to a “seal of God” or an object or person sealed by God (John 6:27; 2 Timothy 2:19; Revelation 6:9; 7:2; and 9:4).
The word sealed in the New Testament comes from a Greek word that means “to stamp with a private mark” in the interest of keeping something secret or protecting or preserving the sealed object. Another way to understand why the 144,000 witnesses are sealed is to take a look at the fifth trumpet judgment.
During the fifth trumpet judgment, locusts from the Abyss attack the people of the earth with “power like that of scorpions” (Revelation 9:3). However, these demonic locusts are limited in what they can harm: “They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 9:4). The individuals who are marked by God are preserved. The seal of God during the tribulation is the direct opposite of the mark of the beast, which identifies people as followers of Satan (Revelation 13:16–18).
Did you see the bold text above? but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. This passage states that not just the 144,000 are sealed, but people, Christians will also receive a seal or mark from God as well.
But Why Are They Sealed? The Fifth Trumpet Judgment: Swarm of Stinging Locusts.
Revelation 9:1-12. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for 5 months. And their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
Read the passage above. The swarm of stinging locusts will swarm the earth looking for any person without the seal or mark of God. Each person who is stung will be gravely ill to the point of death, but death will flee from them. Why Does This Happen…?
This will be the last chance for the remaining population to come to Christ. God gives them 5 months to repent and be saved. Think about what these people that are stung have endure up to this point, war, near starvation, disease, earthquakes, poisioned water, a third of all natural light dimmed, hail and fire fall upon the earth, a great burning mountain thrown down. Imagine living through all that and still ignore the message of the 144,000 and other believers. This is the last chance before the judgments get worse.
The last mention of the 144,000 witnesses occurs in Revelation 14.
The Lamb and the 144,000
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. 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. 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. 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. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
The Apostle John witnesses an awesome scene of Mount Zion, The 144,000 are standing before Christ on Mount Zion singing a song of great praise.
Psalm 87:2–3 says, “The Lord loves the gates of Zion / more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. / Glorious things are said of you, / city of God.” According to this verse, Zion is synonymous with city of God, and it is a place that God loves. Zion is Jerusalem. Mount Zion is the high hill on which David built a citadel. It is on the southeast side of the city.
The word Zion occurs over 150 times in the Bible. It essentially means “fortification” and has the idea of being “raised up” as a “monument.” Zion is described both as the city of David and the city of God.
The word Zion is also used in a theological or spiritual sense in Scripture. In the Old Testament Zion refers figuratively to Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). In the New Testament, Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom. We have not come to Mount Sinai, says the apostle, but “to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). Peter, quoting Isaiah 28:16, refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).
No, The 144,000 Are not Killed. These witnesses are extremely vital to the whole of the 21 judgments, and without them prophecy could not be fulfilled.