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 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 on the other hand 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 lying 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 1,260 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 are 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 Christ's sinless life and atoning death on the cross. 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 Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. 7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day." 9 And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always." 11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until (while) the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?" 35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?" 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.


"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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