To understand the 144,000, and the great multitude, one has to understand
that God's work today embodies two entities, Christianity and Judaism.
One also has to realise that the faiths of Christianity and Judaism
present today are linked to the two divisions of Israel which arose
after the reign of Solomon's son;
- Christianity associated with - the House of Israel (10 tribes)
- Judaism associated with - the House of Judah ( 2 tribes + Levi).
[ NB: Following the reign of Solomon, God split the nation of Israel
into two kingdoms, and thereafter they remained separate.
- The House of Judah, despite periods of ungodly
leadership, through time have retained a
connection to the Old Covenant.
- The House of Israel, fell into paganism, was
cast out of the Promised Land by the Assyrians,
became dispersed amongst the nations, and over
time lost awareness of their identity. ]
With this knowledge one can grasp the teaching of Romans chapter 11.
Rom 11:28 Concerning the gospel they (ie the Jews) are enemies
for your sake, but concerning the election they are
beloved for the sake of the fathers (ie Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob).
:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
:30 For as you (descendants of the House of Israel) were
once disobedient to God, you have now obtained mercy
through their (House of Judah) disobedience.
:31 even so these (the Jews) also have now been disobedient,
that through the mercy shown you (Christianity) they
also may obtain mercy.
:32 For God has committed them all (both houses) to
disobedience, that He might have mercy on all
As shown in the New Testament when God set His hand to show mercy to
the disobedient descendants of the House of Israel He first raised the
understanding of a chosen group of Jews. Then, when the time was right,
used these chosen Jews to witness to the dispersed descendants of the
House of Israel. Acts 11:18.
So we might expect a similar play out of events in the end-time; a select
group of Christianity chosen (ie given greater depth of biblical wisdom)
and provided the commission to teach and enlighten those found worthy in
With this in mind we can now consider the 144,000 and the subsequently
mentioned Great Multitude.
Revelation Chapter 14 - 144,000
Rev 14:3 And they sang as it were a new song before the throne,
before the four living creatures, and the elders; and
no one could learn that song except the hundred and
forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
The number 144,000 being linked to the appointed number of skilled Levite
musicians/singers who held this role at the time of David - ie 288
musician/singers, refer 1Chr 25:7. These were not just musicians/singers,
as they prophesied with harps, stringed instruments and cymbals; refer
Consider the following verse;
2Chr 5:12 and the Levites who were the singers, all those of
Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and
their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar,
clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed
instruments and harps, and with them one hundred
and twenty priests sounding with trumpets.
Notice the connection to harps in Rev 14:2 and the white linen
connection to the bride's 'clean and bright(white)' linen in Rev 19:8.
Also notice the 288 singers were accompanied by 120 trumpeters!
Revelation Chapter 7 - 144,000
Now when we turn to the text of Revelation chapter 7 we do not see any
mention of singing. What we do notice is that a number of 144,000 are
sealed with knowledge of God (ie 'on their foreheads') prior to the
unleashing of the 'four winds' upon the 'earth'.
Following this information, 12,000 each of 12 tribes are listed.
The listed tribes exclude the tribe of Dan (the eldest son of the
handmaid of Rachel).
The list also includes Joseph and his eldest son Manasseh separately.
However, Joseph's second eldest son Ephraim is not mentioned by name.
The tribe of Ephraim became the dominant tribe of the House of Israel
so not mentioning this tribe by name is significant. The tribe of
Ephraim being instead referred to by Ephraim's father's name, ie
There are two aspects to this list of tribes;
- the order of the tribes mentioned
- the numeric significance of 12,000 each
*** Order of the Tribes ***
As can be seen from the listings below the Revelation chapter seven
sequence does not appear to correspond with any of the commonly
The Revelation chapter 7 order is as follows;
Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar,
Zebulun, Joseph (ie Ephraim), Benjamin.
NB: 1) The tribe of Dan is not mentioned.
2) Sons of Joseph were Manasseh and Ephraim.
The Genesis chapter 29 order (Gen 29:31-24,35:16-18);
Leah - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah,
Bilhah - Dan, Naphtali,
Zilpah - Gad, Asher,
Leah - Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah(daughter),
Rachel - Joseph, Benjamin.
The 1 Chronicles 2:1-2 order;
verse 1 - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun,
verse 2 - Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, Asher.
1 Chronicles chapters 4 to 7;
chapter 4 - Judah, Simeon
chapter 5 - Reuben, Gad, Manasseh (East),
chapter 6 - Levi,
chapter 7 - Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh (West), Ephraim,
NB: The tribe of Dan is not mentioned.
Listing of David's army at Hebron (1Chr 12:23-37);
verses 24-26 - Judah, Simeon, Levi,
verses 29-31 - Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh (West),
verses 32-36 - Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, Dan, Asher,
verse 37 - Reuben, Gad, Manasseh (East).
Listing of David's Officers of the Tribes (1Chr 27:16-22);
verses 16-17 - Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Aaron (priests),
verses 18-19 - Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali,
verse 20 - Ephraim, half Manasseh,
verses 21-22 - Manasseh (in Gliead), Benjamin, Dan.
NB: 1) Tribes of Asher and Gad (sons of Zilpah) are missing.
2) Priesthood mentioned separately.
The marching order of the tribes was (Num 10:14-28);
1st banner - Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Levi (Gershon & Merari),
2nd banner - Reuben , Simeon, Gad, Levi(Kohathites),
3rd banner - Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin,
4th banner - Dan, Asher, Naphtali.
The order around the tabernacle of meeting (Num 2:1-34);
East side - Judah, Issachar, Zebulun,
South side - Reuben, Simeon, Gad,
West side - Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin,
North side - Dan, Asher, Naphtali.
Ezekiel chapter 48 sequence (Ezek 48:1-7, 23-28);
Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, Judah, (Levi),
Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad.
Prophetic message spoken by Jacob (Gen 49:1-28);
Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher,
Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin.
Sequence of offerings of tribe leaders (Num 7:11-84);
Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Ephraim, Manasseh,
Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali.
First census Num 1:19-45,
Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Manasseh,
Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali.
Second census Num 26:4-51,
Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Manasseh, Ephraim,
Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali.
Listing of tribes to stand on Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal (Deut 27:11);
Mt Gerizim - Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, Benjamin,
Mt Ebal - Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali.
It has been noted by other scholars that the unusual sequence of tribes
in Revelation chapter 7 may be due to God wanting to convey a message
through the use of the meanings of each name.
If one simply takes the full text provided in Genesis 29:32 - 30:24 &
35:18(in the margin) & 41:51 verses, the result is as follows:
Judah - Praise the LORD.
Reuben - The LORD has looked upon my affliction.
Gad - A troop comes.
Asher - I am happy for the daughters will call me blessed.
Naphtali - With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister,
and indeed I have prevailed.
Manasseh - For God has made me forget all my toil and all my
Simeon - Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, he has
therefore given me this son also.
Levi - Now this time my husband will become attached to me,
because I have borne him three sons.
Issachar - God has given me my hire, because I have given my
maid to my husband.
Zebulun - God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my
husband will dwell with me, because I have borne
him six sons.
Joseph - The LORD shall add to me another son also.
Benjamin - Son of the right hand.
While this carries some meaning, the added side comments;
"he has therefore given me this son also" (Simeon),
"because I have given my maid to my husband" (Issachar)
"I have borne him three sons" (Levi), and
"because I have borne him six sons" (Zebulun),
tend to confuse the reader.
So, to consider if a message is really being conveyed, we will focus
solely upon the meaning of each Hebrew name.
To identify the true meaning of each name, and not just the Genesis
modified meaning, we will utilise the stated meanings in Strong's
[ NB: Benjamin was initially given the name 'Ben-Oni'
(by His mother) but as this name is not found in
Revelation we will not consider it.]
Judah - 3063 - 'celebrated'
Reuben - 7205 - 'see ye a son' (7200 'see' + 1121 'son')
Gad - 1410 - 'a troop comes'
Asher - 836 - 'happy'
Naphtali - 5321 - 'my wrestling'
Manasseh - 4519 - 'causing to forget'
Simeon - 8095 - 'hearing'
Levi - 3878 - 'attached'
Issachar - 3485 - 'he will bring a reward'
Zebulun - 2074 - 'habitation'
Joseph - 3130 - 'adding'
Benjamin - 1144 - 'son of (the) right hand'
(ie 1121 'son' + 3225 'right hand/side')
Adding a few extra 'joining' words suggests the following message;
I have celebrated, see you a son, a troop comes and I am happy,
my wrestling it is causing to forget. Hearing, He has attached
to me, He will bring a reward, a habitation, adding to the son
of the right hand.
- The text suggests a wedding ceremony has taken place.
(The prophesied union between Bride and Bridegroom.)
- Following this 'a son', composed of a troop, is approaching.
The bride is happy to see this symbolic son and as a result
the memories of her past trials are being forgotten.
- Apart from the blessing of the son, a son destined to be
of great help to her, God has heard her prayers and attached
to her a further reward, a splendid spiritual habitation.
John 14:2 In My Father's house are many mansions,
if it were not so, I would have told you,
I go to prepare a place for you.
So the Revelation chapter seven sequencing of the names of the
tribes, seems to provide us with an interesting message from the
future wife of the Bridegroom!
A message describing a future son of their union (a son composed
of a troop) and a symbolic habitation in which she will be able
The fact that twelve tribes of Israel are mentioned in this chapter
has led many to consider that all of the tribes of Old Covenant
Israel (except the tribe of Dan) were in full or part composing
the 144,000. However, once one recognises that the tribes have been
listed to convey a message - then it leaves the true identity of
the 144,000 in doubt.
*** Numeric Significance of 12,000 Each ***
The number 12 is very significant in Scripture; 12 sons of Jacob, 12
tribes allocated a share of the Promised Land, 12 apostles of Christ,
As already noted there was also 120 trumpeters accompanying the 288
The number 12,000 is also found in relation to the image of New
Rev 21:16 And the city is laid out as a square, and
and its length is as great as its breadth.
And he measured the city with the reed:
twelve thousand furlongs. Its length,
breadth, and height are equal.
Interestingly enough we also have the number 144 connected to
Rev 21:17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred
and forty-four cubits, according to the
measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
The overall inference is that there is a strong connection between
the 144,000 and the New Jerusalem city depicted in Revelation
chapter 21. They both seem to be symbols for the wife of Christ.
The 144,000 are 'sealed' (ie, taught a new song), before the 'earth',
'sea' and 'trees' are harmed (Rev 7:1-4). The teaching is that they are
'sealed' with understanding BEFORE the onset of the Great Tribulation.
Jerusalem plays a major role in prophecy and it was the city which
became the capital city of the three tribed House of Judah. What we
are subtly being told is that the wife of Christ will be formed of
those of the Jewish faith which have learnt to sing a new song
(given to them by an elect end-time group from Christianity).
The 144,000 are those of the Jewish faith who respond to the revealed
end-time witness! Converts to a 'new song' a song taught by an elect.
The Great Multitude
This group clearly represents a great number of people. This entire
group has come out of the Great Tribulation where they have suffered,
and learned their lesson.
Rev 7:14 ... These are the ones who come out of the
great tribulation, and washed their robes...
:16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst
anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor
The great number of people relates to the 'son' composed of the
'troop' mentioned in the Revelation chapter 7 hidden message of