Who are the Elect?

3-30-23 Who are the Elect


Muslim claim:

The ‘elect’ consists of only 144000 people.

Revelation 7

3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.”

Do not believe in this verse. It’s basically saying out of billions of people who have ever lived on this planet only 144000 Jewish Christians virgin men enter heaven (reference: revelation 14).

Jesus would open only a small gate for those who believe him:

Matthew 7:13-14

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and ONLY A FEW find it.

Whereas Allah opens 8 gates of Paradise for us:

“Paradise has eight gates, and one of them is called Ar-Raiyan through which none will enter but those who observe fasting.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 3257. Book 59, Hadith 67]


My Response:

That is not what the Bible teaches. This IS what some false cults, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, wrongly teach.

The very verse you cite, Revelation 7:4, states these individuals are from all the tribes of Israel. They are all part of a select group present on earth at the same time. They are all from the 12 tribes of Israel. This group of 144,000 is mentioned again in Revelation chapter 14, where at verse 4, we learn they are all men, virgins, who have not been defiled with women.

To suggest that only 144,000 is the total number of individuals who will ever be saved, or as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim, are the only ones who can have a “heavenly hope,” is a very mistaken interpretation of what the Bible actually teaches.

Revelation 7:9 speaks of a great number, so great that no one could count them, who are in heaven.

You may believe that “Allah opens 8 gates of Paradise for us.”

The Bible teaches:

2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

King James Version

Does Islam teach anything about the subject of repentance? Jesus did:

Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Luk 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

For further in-depth study of Revelation 7:4 see the notes and references from The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury which I share below:

Revelation 7:4
I heard. Rev 9:16, 2Co 12:4.

the number. Num 1:46, +*Psa 68:11; Psa 115:14, +*Isa 27:6; +*Isa 66:19, Eze 36:38, Mic 5:2, Luk 14:22, Act 3:26, Eph 1:10; Eph 3:15.

of them. +*Deut 4:30, Isa 9:6, 7; *Isa 10:21, 22, 23; Isa 46:3, 4, Joe 2:18-32, **Mic 5:2; **Mic 5:3, *Zec 8:6, 7, 8.

which were sealed. Rev 9:4.

an hundred and forty and four thousand. What is the significance of the number? Vincent states this number is symbolical of fixedness and full completion.

Reginald T. Naish, in his volume Spiritual Arithmetic, suggests that since this number contains the square of twelve, it “is naturally associated with that number, which is perfect government. It emphasizes it, and expresses spiritually the fact that perfect government of the life is only possible through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Hence it may well be called, the number of the Spirit-guided life.”

In Gen 1:2, the Hebrew word translated “move” (rachaph) has a numerical value or gematria of 288, or 144 x 2, Its next occurrence is Deut 32:11, where it is translated “fluttered.” Naish states “In both these passages the gracious work of the Heavenly Dove, the Holy Spirit of God, is described.”

Other occurrences of this number are to be found in the word “eastward” (Gen 2:8) in the phrase “eastward in Eden,” showing that God intended man “should live a life of perfect government, a wonderful garden life, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit, and finding their chief joy in communion with their loving God.”

The cubic capacity of the ark, found by multiplying its three dimensions of 300 cubits, 50 cubits, and 30 cubits, was 450,000 cubic cubits, a number whose prime factors are 5x5x5x5x5x144.

The number appears here in Rev 7:4 of the number “sealed by the Holy Spirit before God’s judgments fall on earth. It does not of course mean that this identical number are saved in that time of tribulation. It is only using the numbers 144 and 10 in the spiritual sense in which these numbers are used through Scripture to tell of those who by the power of the Holy Spirit are kept from that time of trouble.”

The same number occurs in Revelation 14, “Again, we are given a symbolical picture of those who have yielded their lives wholly to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They are taken up to be with Christ, their Savior, before the actual ’harvest of the earth’ is reaped” (Spiritual Arithmetic, pp. 107-109).

Who are the 144,000? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the 144,000 is the body of spirit-begotten believers who have a “heavenly hope” (Rom 8:24, Eph 4:4, Col 1:5, Heb 7:19, 1Pe 1:3, 1Jn 3:3). All other believers can have only an “earthly hope” (Job 14:7, Jer 31:17, Act 26:6).

Once the Watchtower organization had more than 144,000 adherents, the teaching was developed that the “great multitude” mentioned later in the chapter (Rev 7:9) referred to those Christians who had only an earthly hope.

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that members of the “great multitude” who have only an earthly hope do not need to be born again (see related note, Joh 3:7).

Peters remarks “It is a matter of amazement how coolly and deliberately men can appropriate Scripture to themselves which relates to the future. Sects, at various times, have professed to be those sealed ones” (Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 323, note 1).

Not considering that the number sealed refers to a time yet future, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim the number represents the total number of those who can be born again and have a heavenly hope.

How long would it take for the apostolic church of the New Testament to reach the size of 144,000 converts? Suppose we assume that the first converts were zealous witnessing Christians during the lifetime of the apostles. Suppose each convert was able to win just one person to Christ each year of his new life in Christ, and that each of these converts continued to win an additional convert each year.

Take into account only the growth theoretically possible for the new converts won by the original group of 5,000 converts mentioned in the book of Acts. Exclude from consideration any additional converts won through the ministry of the apostles (Paul, Barnabas, Apollos, and the original twelve disciples) to compensate for any of the original 5000 who may not have been active soul winners.

In the year A.D. 33, the size of the church would be 5,000, In 34 A.D., 10,000; 35 A.D., 20,000; 36 A.D., 40,000; 37 A.D., 80,000; 38 A.D., 160,000—assuming each new convert continued to win one additional convert per year.

Thus before Paul began his first missionary journey in A.D. 45, the New Testament church could easily have surpassed the figure of 144,000 genuine converts. If any converts beyond that figure were limited to an earthly hope without opportunity for new birth and “heavenly hope,” this most certainly would be reflected in the teaching of the New Testament epistles of Peter or Paul. The earliest of Paul’s epistles was written in A.D. 52 or 54, fourteen or more years after the time the New Testament church exceeded the 144,000 maximum number the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach can have a heavenly hope.

Is this situation reflected in the writings of Paul? At the time Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians (A.D. 52 or 54), he specifically confirms that the “falling away” or apostasy had not yet occurred (2Th 2:3). This Scripture evidence would lead us to believe that the vast body of believers had remained faithful. What few that fell away during this time would be more than made up by any converts won beyond the first five years after Pentecost.

If the claim of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the heavenly hope is limited to 144,000 has any validity, the significance of that hope for anyone today is purely historical, for since this number was reached within five years of Pentecost, no person alive today could possibly lay claim to be one of that fixed number, not even the leaders of the Watchtower in Brooklyn, New York.

Following Jehovah Witness doctrine to its logical conclusion, the apostle Paul must have been mistaken in his theology, for he continued to emphasize the “heavenly hope” and the necessity of the “new birth” (2Co 5:17; 2Co 6:2, Gal 6:15) long after the “heavenly class” was complete in number.

The 144,000 of Rev 7:4; Rev 14:1 do not pertain to persons who have lived before now, but to a specific group in the future. The book of Revelation supplies its own outline in Rev 1:19, The 144,000 are mentioned well after Rev 4:1, where the third grand division of the book pertaining to “things which must be hereafter” commences.

Therefore, these events must take place during the “day of the Lord” (Rev 1:10 note), after the rapture of the church (1Th 4:16, 17, 18), and during the Great Tribulation.

The 144,000 are all males (Rev 14:4), and are all Jews (Rev 7:4, “of all the tribes of the children of Israel”).

Scripture speaks of three categories of persons its contents concern: the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God (1Co 10:32). What is stated in Rev 7:4 pertains to Israel—it cannot pertain to any other group.

The names of the tribes of Israel are nowhere in Scripture ever applied to the Gentiles or the church of God.

Furthermore, the 144,000 are not the only saints in heaven. They were preceded by all those who died in Christ before the rapture (+*2Co 5:8, 1Th 4:14). They are preceded by those who have been martyred for Christ (*Rev 6:9, 10, 11).

There are five raptures in the first resurrection; the 144,000 constitute only one of these five. The five raptures are:

(1) Christ and the saints in Jerusalem at his first resurrection, 1Co 15:20; 1Co 15:23, Mat 27:52, 53, Eph 4:8, 9, 10,

(2) Afterward, they that are Christ’s at his coming, 1Co 15:23; 1Co 15:51, 52, 53, 54, +*Luk 21:34, 35, 36, +*Joh 14:1, 2, 3, 2Co 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Eph 5:27, Php 3:11; Php 3:20, 21, Col 3:4, 1Th 2:19; 1Th 3:13; 1Th 4:13, 14, 15, 16, 17; 1Th 5:9; 1Th 5:23, 2Th 2:1; 2Th 2:7, Jas 5:7, 8, 1Pe 5:4, 1Jn 2:28; 1Jn 3:2,

(3) The 144,000 Jews saved in the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation (of Daniel’s 70th week), caught up to heaven as the manchild, Rev 12:5; Rev 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Isa 66:7, 8, Dan 12:1,

(4) The great multitude of tribulation saints saved after rapture number two above, during Rev 6:1—Rev 19:21,

(5) The rapture of the two witnesses, ending the first resurrection which began with the resurrection of Christ, Rev 11:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1Co 15:20; 1Co 15:23.

The 144,000 do not comprise the totality of all saints possessing a “heavenly hope” throughout this age. All of the 144,000 are on the earth at the same time. This is evidenced by the fact that they are as a group “sealed” and protected from the tribulation by the angel.

The 144,000 do not constitute the “little flock.” The “little flock” is comprised of all born-again believers. The flock is little because there are “few that be saved” (+*Mat 7:14). The term “flock” is used in the New Testament for the true church made up of born-again believers (Act 20:28).

The “other sheep” are the Gentile Christians who, in addition to the Jewish believers, are now being constituted one body in Christ, the church (Act 10:45; Act 15:7; Act 15:17, +*Eph 4:4).

The Great Tribulation is still future, and pertains to Israel. The church is raptured prior to the manifestation of the Antichrist, 2Th 2:8 note, and prior to the Great Tribulation (Joh 14:1, 2, 3, 1Co 15:51, 52, Php 3:21, 1Th 4:16, 17, 18, +*2Th 1:7; 2Th 2:1, +*Tit 2:13 note).

Christ’s Second Advent occurs at the end of the tribulation, when Christ personally destroys the Antichrist. Since it is certain that Antichrist is destroyed before the Millennium, this proves absolutely that Christ’s coming is premillennial (2Th 2:8 note).

At the Second Advent, Christ returns visibly in power and great glory (+*Mat 16:27 note) with his saints to rule over His eternal kingdom on this earth (+*Dan 7:13; +*Dan 7:14, Zec 14:5; Zec 14:9, +*2Ti 4:1 note).

Since the rapture of the Church and the Great Tribulation are future, and the 144,000 are protected during the first half of the Tribulation, the 144,000 must constitute a group that is yet future, and cannot pertain to any denomination or other religious group of today. **Rev 14:1; **Rev 14:3, Gen 15:5, Exo 20:6, Deut 1:11, Dan 7:10, *Rom 9:27; *Rom 11:5; *Rom 11:6.

all the tribes. The tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from the list which follows, being replaced by Levi and Joseph. The reason for Ephraim’s omission is suggested by Hos 4:17. For possible reasons for Dan’s omission see the related texts and note (Gen 49:17, Lev 24:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, Deut 29:18, 19, 20, 21, Jdg 5:17; Jdg 18:2-31, 1Ki 12:26-33, 1Ch 7:12 note. Jer 8:16). Dan and Ephraim are included in Ezekiel’s prophecy of their inheritance in the eternal earthly kingdom of Christ (Eze 48:1, 2; Eze 48:5, 6; Eze 48:32), demonstrating God’s faithfulness to his covenant and promise (Lev 26:44, Mal 3:6, Rom 11:29; Rom 15:8). Rev 21:12; Rev 21:17, Gen 28:14; Gen 35:22, 23; Gen 46:8, 9, 10; Gen 49:28, Exo 1:1,2, 3, 4, Num 1:5-15; Num 13:4-13; Num 26:34; Num 26:55, Deut 27:11, 12; Deut 33:6, 7, 8, 1Ki 18:31; 1Ch 2:1, 2; 1Ch 7:12 note. 1Ch 12:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29; 1Ch 27:16-22, Ezr 6:17, Eze 47:13; Eze 48:19; Eze 48:31, Zec 9:1, +*Mat 19:28, Mar 13:27, +*Luk 22:30, Act 26:7, Jas 1:1.

children of Israel. Rev 2:14; Rev 21:12, Exo 1:1; Exo 28:21, Num 1:17, 2Ch 11:3, +Act 5:21.

This entry was posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Bible Prophecy, Bible Study Tools, Doctrinal Discussions, False Religions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.