And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. (Revelation 7:4-8)
In John’s vision, One Hundred Forty Four thousand sons of Israel are sealed with the seal of God, immediately before the judgment of God is loosed upon the earth. Twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel are redeemed and sanctified unto God as a kind of first fruits, showing God’s intention to save all of Israel in one day.
Why 144,000? Twelve is the number of the people of God. There are twelve sons of Israel and twelve apostles of the Lamb. Twelve times twelve times a thousand , symbolizes all of the people of God.
There will literally be 144,000 sons of Israel; sealed unto God as evangelists,and so consecrated and separated unto the Divine task, which is the salvation of Israel. T Revelation 14 tells us that they are virgins, for they will all willingly forgo legitimate sexuality(marriage) in an age of fornication, in order to entirely devote themselves to follow the Lamb.
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.(Revelation 14:3-5)
For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.(Matthew 19:12)
God has not forsaken his people, He has promised to save the estranged nation in the last of days,
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.(Romans 11:26-27)
The redemption of these first fruits, the one hundred and forty-four thousand is the signal act that commences the salvation of all of Israel. It is the sign also that the ‘fulness of the Gentiles has come in and the time of Redemption for Israel has arrived.
The names are of significance also. Bible readers soon notice that the names are not in the chronological order as in other places, Judah is first, and not Reuben. Dan isn’t on the list. Joseph is there instead of Ephraim, to go along with Mannaseh.
What could this mean?
The vision will lead to an innumerable multitude of men from every tongue and tribe of men, standing before the throne of God with palm branches and great joy, singing the song of redemption. Not just the 144,000 sons of Israel, but uncountable multitudes from every people group on earth are saved!
I believe the names of the tribes as listed in Revelation 7 are re arranged to make a theological point about the general testimony of every son of Adam who has been saved unto God, through the testimony and blood of the Jewish Messiah, and having been prepared by the foundation of Jewish apostles and prophets.
Like the gates and foundations of the Holy City to come, the names of these sons of Israel are somehow imprinted on our hearts and experience. Consider the names in their order,
1. Judah “This time I will praise the LORD.”
2. Reuben “… the LORD has seen my affliction…”
3. Gad “How fortunate!”
4. Asher “Happy am I! ”
5. Naphtali “I have wrestled , and I have indeed prevailed.”
6. Manasseh “God has made me forget all my trouble”
7. Simeon “Because the LORD has heard…”
8. Levi ” attached to me, ”
9. Issachar “God has given me my wages ”
10. Zebulun “God has endowed me with a good gift;
11. Joseph -“God has added…”
12. Benjamin “The son of my right hand.”
What is the singular testimony of all of the children of men, who have been called out of the sin and darkness of the world into the city which is above?
“I will praise God, He has seen my affliction, How fortunate and happy am I! All of my wrestling, he has made me to forget, and He has heard me and joined me to himself. God has paid me my wages, he has given a good gift to me, And God has added to all of this, the Son of his own right hand!”