As you may know, this view was popularized by the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that 144,000 of their members (who have grown into the millions since their organization began) will be the only people who go to heaven. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! The truth is (as we shall see) the 144,000 mentioned in Scripture will be living on EARTH when Christ’s kingdom is set up. While they are living on earth, there will literally be countless people living in heaven.

Let’s read Revelation 7:1-4, “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have SEALED the servants of our God on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR THOUSAND OF ALL THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE SEALED” (NKJV). Notice, the 144,000 will be JEWISH BELIEVERS (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, as seen in verses 5-8) and not members of the mostly Gentile organization known the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They will be living during the coming seven-year Tribulation Period when the judgments of Revelation are being poured out on the earth. The SEAL IN THEIR FOREHEADS serve two purposes: 1) it marks them out as being God’s special servants; and 2) it guarantees their preservation from being killed, either by one of the catastrophic judgments, or by the Beast and the Antichrist who will be murdering the saints (see Revelation 13:7 & 15).

Now let’s read Revelation 14:1, “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb STANDING ON MOUNT ZION, and with Him ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” I have no doubt that this is the same 144,000 that we just considered and now they are seen ON EARTH with the Lord Jesus Christ on Mount Zion in the land of Israel. When does this take place? It takes place at THE END OF THE TRIBULATION when Christ returns to set up His glorious kingdom on earth, which means that the 144,000 have indeed survived the Tribulation and now they are standing in victory with their Savior and will enter into the Millennial Kingdom ON EARTH. Isaiah 24:23 makes it crystal-clear that Christ will reign from Mount Zion: “For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.” See also Joel 2:32; Obadiah 17, 21; and Zechariah 14:4. The 144,000 will have a special place in Christ’s kingdom on earth.

Now we will look briefly at a scene IN HEAVEN where there are saints worshipping the Lamb. Revelation 5:6-9 states, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain….now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…and they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, for You were slain, and HAVE REDEEMED US to God by Your blood OUT OF EVERY TRIBE AND TONGUE AND PEOPLE AND NATION.” Verse 11 goes on to say, “…and the number of them was TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND, AND THOUSANDS OF THOUSANDS.” We believe this vast company of redeemed saints is comprised of all those who lived during the Old Testament and all those who became part of the New Testament church, as well as the saints who will be martyred during the Tribulation Period. So instead of their only being 144,000 people in heaven, there will be millions upon millions worshiping the Lamb in heaven. (306.2) (DO)