One of the things that troubles me about the church is how many lack any passion for what they claim they believe. The church has grown lukewarm about its faith. Why is it that those who believe false religions and ideologies are often so passionate about them and so many who have the truth are complacent about it? Look at all the terrorist suicide bombers who are lining up to blow themselves up for a false religion. Many Christians are afraid to even utter a word about their faith among the unsaved. I remember years ago, when twenty-four years old, I got saved. I was working in a factory at the time. Within a couple of days, everyone there knew I had found Jesus because I was so excited about it. After a couple days one of the workers there came up to me and whispered, “I am a Christian too.” I was shocked that he had kept it such a closely-guarded secret. I knew the guy and had absolutely no idea he was a Christian.
Those who make the company of the 144,000 will be very passionate about their faith and their Savior, Jesus. He will be first in their thoughts and minds. This is certainly one of the things that sets aside the 144,000 from the rest of the church. Their fervent desire to follow the Lamb in reckless abandon often causes them to look very foolish in the eyes of other Christians – those who lack the fire of zeal and who would never allow their religion to cost them so much. Paul admonishes us, Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord (Rom. 12:10 NIV). Those of the 144,000 would gladly give their lives for the Lord. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death (Rev. 12:11).
A Literal Number?
Is the 144,000 a literal number? In my book, Hidden Jewels from the Revelation, I explain a couple reasons for 144,000 being a symbolic number. One is that the top of the altar of Ezekiel’s temple is 12 x 12 cubits which is 144. The 144,000 are those who have had the baptism of fire before the Great Tribulation Period. Therefore, they will rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years. Thus we have 144 x 1000 = 144,000. However, it may also be a literal number as well, which I also give some evidence for in the book.
I used to think it could not be a literal number because it is too small of a portion out of the entire confessing church. But as I observe how lukewarm the church is growing, it is becoming more and more believable. One thing is certain: this is a very elect group who will have special rewards in the millennial reign of Christ. This is a position that must be contended for and won. It is not something that is automatically bestowed on every Christian. This group is the bride of Christ called out of the lukewarm church. I wrote my book on Revelation for those who want to be a part of the 144,000.
They Will Escape the Great Tribulation!
Because the 144,000 get sanctified before the Great Tribulation, they will escape it. One of the purposes of the Great Tribulation is to sanctify many who have wasted too much of their time running after the things of this world. It is a second chance to make the first resurrection. However, since the time is shorter, the heat must be turned up. The 144,000 will escape this very unpleasant time on planet earth. They will, however, make visits to help their less fervent brothers and sisters.