Revelation 7. Jehovah’s Witnesses use these and other verses in Revelation to prove that only 144 000 will end up in heaven. They take the passages literally. However, much of Revelation is allegorical. An allegory is a picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning’. The 144 000 mentioned here are meant to represent the full number of God’s elect. Mounce says ‘the number is obviously symbolic. 12 (the number of the tribes) is both squared and multiplied by 1,000 — a twofold way of emphasizing completeness.’ We know it is symbolic because the passage goes on to say in verse 9 ‘After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number’. It is not just 144 000 that are saved – it is a great multitude that no one can number.
Not only are God’s elect a great multitude that cannot be numbered but they are also ‘from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages’ (verse 9). We are meant to get a picture that completeness doesn’t just come in number, but also in the diversity of His people. It should also be a motivator for us for missions. Christ’s second coming will only take place once every tribe, people and language group has heard the gospel, because only then will the complete number of God’s people be gathered together.
What will we do once all God’s people are gathered together? We will worship God and the Lamb by crying out together ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!’ (verse 10). And the angelic hosts will also join in worship with us (verse 11-12). What a great picture of true worship! What a great day to be looking forward to!
But wait there’s more … We also are reminded that there will be no more hunger or thirst (verse 16) and no more tears (verse 17). Those words should be familiar to you if you’ve attended the Sunday evening service recently. Jesus says of himself in John 6:35 ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’ The Lamb; the bread of life; Jesus, He achieves all this for us!
Prayer: Father we thank you for this great picture of a day to come in the future when we will be able to worship around throne. Help us keep this picture in mind as we struggle through life’s difficulties. Come Lord Jesus, Come. AMEN!