The Good News of the Judgment

The "144,000" and the Judgment Hour
William Diehl

The 144,000

When interpreting the book of Revelation our principles of Biblical interpretation of the symbolic apocalyptic portions of the word of God ought to be in harmony with the clear teachings of the New Testament regarding how all sinners are saved. From Adam to the last repentant sinners saved, all are saved by the unmerited grace of God through faith in God's covenantal promise of forgiveness in both the old testament and the new testament. Even Abraham was justified by faith in the blood of the sin offering that pointed forward to the atoning death of our Lord on the cross, as are all who have been saved from the wrath of God throughout history.

Many perfectionistic Bible interpreters mistakenly believe that this group called the "144,000" are a special group who have a special anointing and who become sinless before the final day at the end of time.

The symbolism of Revelation should be explained from the imagery given in the text itself.

The text shows us the candlestick of the holy place of the Hebrew tabernacle and tells us that these lamps symbolically represent the churches of God scattered in the province of Asia Minor .

From the symbolism in Revelation 4 of the angels surrounding the throne of God and the scroll of the Law and the sin offering of the Lamb and the four living creatures and the 24 elders as witnesses to the judgment, we can readily see that the scene is that of the Day of Atonement when the day of judgment begins and all the world, symbolically called Babylon , is called to judgment in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God sends plagues, famine, sword and wild beasts of the earth (the four horsemen) as curses upon all who break the covenant with God; while He sends blessings to all who are within the sanctuary encampment and sealed with the seal of the living Godthe "144,000"spiritual Israel. Those who refuse the gospel proclamation to believe in Christ and refuse to repent of their sins will the receive the "Mark of the Beast" and along with the beast and the false prophet receive the full outpouring of the wrath of God at the coming of Christ and again at the second resurrection of the wicked lost after the millennium. .

The Beast in Revelation is the kingdom of the Roman empire which sits upon seven hills and later receives a "deadly wound" at the fall of the Roman empire, but the wound is "healed" and it becomes the Lamb-like beast of the antichrist Papal Rome, the false prophet, which takes over the throne of Rome and continues to make war with the true remnant of Israel (the Christian believers) who do not bow the knee to the false gospel of the Baal god being worshipped and promoted by the papacy.

The symbolism of the False Prophet comes from the old testament account of the priests of Baal confronting Elijah and the 7,000 faithful remnant at Mount Carmel. The Papal false prophet calls "fire down from heaven in the sight of men" and deceives the world by means of his false claims and the miracles he performs.

The "3 and 1/2 year" symbolism of Revelation also comes from the Elijah motif when the Lord withheld rain for the 3 and 1/2 years of Ahab and Jezebel's apostasy. It was during the 3 and 1/2 years that Elijah fled and was in the wilderness hiding from the wrath of Ahab and Jezebel. Thus, we see in Revelation the "woman" flees into the wilderness to escape from the wrath of Satan for "1,260 days". The 1,200 days are symbolic of the entire Christian era during which Christ wages war with the demonic kingdom called Babylon. The proclamation of the everlasting gospel and the word of God is the sword with which the Lord defeats the forces of Satan.

So getting back to the interpretation of the symbol of the "144,000", we must interpret this as representing all of the redeemed of the earth, or as John is shown that the interpretation of this symbol is the "innumerable multitude of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people". These are all those who are spiritual children of Abraham who, like Abraham, have been justified by faith in the imputed "righteousness that is by faith".

Look what the apostle Paul says about who the real "Israel" of God is. True Israel whether Jew or Gentile are all who believe in Christ and are justified by God's unmerited grace through faith in His sinless life and atoning death. Thus Paul could say, "all Israel shall be saved". The "Israel" spoken of here is spiritual Israel whose hearts have been "circumcised" through faith in Christ and become partakers of the blessings of the Everlasting Covenant ratified by the blood of Christ.  

Here is Paul telling us who the real Israel is:

Romans 11:2-36 Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias (Elijah) ? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace .  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?  For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them , and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery , lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved : as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Also "He who is justified by faith shall live."


"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4:7 These are the true "Israel" of God from every nation, kindred, tongue and people.


Bill D


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