The symbolism of the numbers in the Bible (Part 11)
“Then I saw, and look! the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1)
This text describes King Jesus Christ in heaven, with the group of 144,000 who will share royalty and the priesthood with him. It is quite normal to wonder whether this number of 144,000 is to be taken literally or figuratively. It is the context of the Book of Revelation that allows us to have a clear answer, especially in Chapter 7:3–8. In verse 4, it is written: “And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel”. The following verses (5–8), list the 144,000, in 12 tribes of 12,000.
Next, from verses 9–17, the apostle John described a great crowd that will survive the great tribulation. Regarding this group of humans, he wrote: “After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). In this text we have indirect information which clearly indicates to us that the number 144000, is to be taken literally: “After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number”. Why did the apostle John write “no man was able to number”? Because this information on the innumerable great crowd, is in contrast with the previous one, that of the precise group of 144,000. This vision follows that of the complete group of 144,000, divided into 12 tribes of 12,000, which shows that the number of 144000, is to be taken literally.
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