The 144,000 – Dead or Alive

Question: Is the number made up of only those who are living at the time when probation closes, or does it include any of those who have died since 1844?

The Sealing of the 144,000

The 144,000 have the Father’s name written in their foreheads.

Revelation 14:And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

They also have the “seal of the living God” “in their foreheads”.

Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

The “Father’s name written in their foreheads” is the seal of the living God. The Bible only speaks of one class of people as having the seal of the living God – the 144,000. The Spirit of Prophecy only ever refers to one “sealing time” – the sealing of the 144,000.

The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. {3T 266.2}

When did the sealing time begin? In her book, ‘Experience and Views’, written in 1851, Sr. White writes presently of “this sealing time”:

Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver… {EW 43.2}

…I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. {EW 44.1}

On January 5, 1849, Sr White had a vision of the sealing. She says:

The nations are now getting angry… I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood! My blood! My blood!” Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel fly with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do in the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! hold! hold! hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” {CET 102.1}

I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father, and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. {CET 102.2}

When was this vision given? In the midst of the European Revolution of 1848. This revolution began in France and spread as far as Latin America. Over fifty countries were affected. It was a revolution which would have brought on the destruction of the world, as demonstrated by the angels being about to let go the four winds. But Jesus “gazed on the remnant that were not sealed”, and pleaded His blood on the behalf of His people. The angels were bidden to hold the winds until “the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.”

Just a month and a half before this vision, she had received another one relating to the “sealing”.

In Joseph Bates’ pamphlet, titled “The Seal of the Living God,” dated January 1, 1849, he refers to a meeting held in the home of Brother Otis Nichols, at Dorchester, near Boston, Massachusetts, on November 18, 1848, and says:

“A small company of brethren and sisters were assembled in a meeting near Boston, Massachusetts. . . . We had made it (the manner of publishing the message) the subject of the prayer at the Topsham conference meeting a little previous, and the way to publish not appearing clear, we (now) therefore resolved unitedly to refer all to God. After some time spent in prayer for light and instruction, God gave Sister White a vision.” “The Seal of the Living God,” dated January 1, 1849,

Joseph Bates copied down the words that Ellen White spoke in vision which were as follows:

“He (God) was well pleased when His law began to come up in strength. That truth [the Sabbath truth] arises, and is on the increase, stronger and stronger. It’s the seal! It’s coming up! It arises, coming from the rising of the sun, like the sun, first cold, grows warmer, and sends its rays. When that truth arose, there was but little light in it; but it has been increasing. Oh, the power of these rays!” ibid.

“The angels are holding the winds. It is God that restrains the powers. The angels have not let go, for the saints are not all sealed.

The time of trouble has commenced. It has begun. The reason why the four winds are not let go, is because the saints are not sealed. It (the trouble) is on the increase more and more: that trouble will never end until the earth is rid of the wicked. Why, they (the winds) are just ready to blow. There is a check put on because the saints are not all sealed. Yes, publish the things thou hast seen and heard, and the blessing of God will attend.” Ellen White {1916 JNL, QSM 16.1}

Note the words – “When that truth arose, there was but little light in it; but it has been increasing”; “It’s coming up! It arises…” What was that truth? The Sabbath truth – “It’s the seal.”

Until the year 1848, the importance of the third angel’s message (the importance of the Sabbath) had not been appreciated, but in that year it arose with power in its rays.

John Loughborough makes the following statement in Questions on the Sealing Message:

It was because of these plain statements [statements quoted above and others by Sr. White], that our people and ministers, down to 1894, believed and taught that the sealing work had been going on since 1848, and that the 144,000 were being sealed. I do not see how we could draw any other idea, from the testimonies we have quoted, than that the sealing work had begun in 1848-1850. {1916 JNL, QSM 21.1}

Therefore we see that the sealing of the 144,000 began in 1848, as taught by the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

What about those who have died?

The third angel’s message was the light on the Sabbath question.

When we began to present the light on the Sabbath question, we had not clearly defined idea of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-12. The burden of our testimony as we came before the people was that the great second advent movement was of God, that the first and second messages had gone forth, and that the third was to be given. We saw that the third message closed with the words: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” {1T 78.2}

That third message is followed by a promise:

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

The proclamation of the third angel’s message (the Sabbath) commenced in 1848 and a special blessing is pronounced upon those “which die in the Lord from henceforth.”

What is that special blessing pronounced upon those who die in the faith of the third angel’s message? It is the promise of participation in a special resurrection.

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

At what point in time during the time of trouble does this special resurrection take place?

Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: “It is done.” Revelation 16:17. {GC 636.2}

That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake,

“such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” Verses 17, 18.

Graves are opened, and “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth” “awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” [Daniel 12:2.] All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept his law. “They also which pierced Him,” [Revelation 1:7.] those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of his truth and his people, are raised to behold him in his glory, and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient. {GC88 637.1}

The voice of God is heard from Heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to his people. Like peals of loudest thunder, his words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening, with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are lighted up with his glory, and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked cannot look upon them. And when the blessing is pronounced on those who have honored God by keeping his Sabbath holy, there is a mighty shout of victory. {GC88 640.2}

The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai. {EW 14.1}

I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, “The third angel is binding, or sealing, them in bundles for the heavenly garner.”{EW 88.3}

I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, “Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.” {EW 118.1}

Those who have died in the “faith of the third angel’s message”, which as we have seen is the Sabbath question or “the sealing message”, will be resurrected by the voice of God at the commencement of the seventh plague.

SUMMARY

Thus far we have seen the following:

  1. The Sabbath is the sealing message
  2. The sealing began in 1848 when the importance of the Sabbath was first fully comprehended
  3. The Bible and the Testimony only speak of one class of people that are sealed with the “seal of the living God in their foreheads”
  4. Only the 144,00 are sealed with the “seal of the living God in their foreheads”
  5. Therefore, the sealing of the 144,000 commenced in 1848
  6. Those who have died since then will be resurrected at the commencement of the seventh plague

Only the 144,000 sing the song of Moses and the Lamb

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, [and] over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints.

Revelation 14:3 And they [the 144,000] sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience–an experience such as no other company have ever had. {GC 648.3}

Now consider the following statements from the Spirit of Prophecy concerning those who shall learn the song of Moses and the Lamb. In 1888, Sr. White wondered how many present at that assembly would sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

I had very solemn thoughts as I looked upon that assembly. I wondered how many present will hail with joy the glorious appearing of the Lord and Saviour. How many will receive the crown of life? How many will lift up their voices in glad hosannas, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints”? {ST, April 20, 1888 par. 9}

Here is another from 1907 where she calls for school to be established to gather out a people who shall unite with the “redeemed among men in singing the song of Moses and the Lamb”.

Schools for colored children and youth are to be established in many different places in the Southern field. I am deeply interested in the maintenance of these schools. I have often spoken on the importance of this work. I desire to do my part in helping this branch of the Lord’s cause in the Southern field. And I am calling upon my brethren and sisters in America to act their part. I am pleading with them to show by their works a firm faith in the power of God to gather out from the Southland a people who shall be a praise to his name, and who shall finally unite with the redeemed from among men in singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. {GH, October 1, 1907 par. 9}

Again, in 1888, she wrote to her brethren to encourage them to educate their voices to sing that song:

Now, brethren, we are almost home; we shall soon hear the voice of the Saviour richer than any music, saying, Your warfare is accomplished. Enter into the joy of thy Lord. Blessed, blessed, benediction; I want to hear it from His immortal lips. I want to praise Him; I want to honor Him that sitteth on the throne. I want my voice to echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven. Will you be there? Then you must educate your voice to praise Him on earth, and then you can join the heavenly choir and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. God help us, and fill us with all fullness and power, and then we can taste of the joys of the world to come.–Manuscript 8, 1888. {1888 128.5}

A letter to a bereaving husband promising that his wife will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

She also wrote to a bereaving husband encouraging him that if he was faithful, he would walk the streets of the New Jerusalem with his loved one who had died and sing with them the song of Moses and the Lamb.

Mary, dear precious child, is at rest. She was the companion of your sorrows and disappointed hopes. She will no more have grief or want or distress. Through faith’s discerning eye you may anticipate, amid your sorrows and griefs and perplexities, your Mary with her mother and other members of your family answering the call of the Life-giver and coming forth from their prison house triumphing over death and the grave. Your faith may see the loved and the lost ones reunited among the redeemed of earth. You with them erelong, if faithful, will be walking in the streets of the New Jerusalem, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, wearing the jeweled crown. . . . {HP 272.4}

Here we clearly see that those who have died in the faith would sing the song that only the 144,000 could sing.

There will only be 144,000 saints upon the earth during the seventh plague

Following the special resurrection, the law of God will be displayed in the heavens. Soon after that, the day and hour of Jesus coming will be proclaimed. At this time, there will only be 144,000 saints upon the earth.

Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai. {EW 14.1}

SUMMARY

Now we have also learned:

  1. Only the 144,000 sing the song of Moses and the Lamb
  2. Sr. White spoke of preparing the people in her time to sing the song
  3. Counsel was given to a man that if he was faithful he would sing that song with his wife whom had recently passed into the grave
  4. There will only be 144,000 upon the earth AFTER the special resurrection

One more consideration

“These [the 144,000] are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1-5. “These are they which came out of great tribulation;” they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault” before God. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great heat, and they themselves have endured suffering, hunger, and thirst. But “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:14-17. {GC 648.3}

Now we learn the following from the above:

The 144,000 are those who:

  1. Have come out of great tribulation
  2. Have endured the anguish of Jacob’s trouble
  3. They have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments
  4. They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence and the sun having power to scorch men with great heat
  5. They themselves have endured suffering, hunger and thirst

Let us consider this.

  • The seventh plague will be the most horrendous when the earth will roll to and fro like a drunkard and hailstones will from the skies the size of a cement bag and Armageddon will be fought. Therefore those who are resurrected at the commencement of the seventh plague will come out of great tribulation. As the saints are delivered out of of Jacob’s trouble by the very voice of God that raises the sleeping saints (“It is done”), we must conclude that those who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message have already passed through Jacob’s trouble previous to the time of their death. If Sr. White wrote in 1892 that “the plagues of God are already falling upon the earth”, AND stated in vision in 1848, as quoted by Joseph Bates that the time of trouble had already started and that it would increase, it would not be unacceptable for us to conclude that already Jacob’s trouble had commenced for certain individuals.

We must remember that there are griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear and pains that touch no responsive chord on earth (DA 483.1).

  • Jesus will be absent from the sanctuary during the seven plagues, therefore the resurrected saints will stand through the final outpouring of God’s judgments without an intercessor.
  • The earth will be already greatly wasted by the time the seventh plague commences. The plagues will accumulate in their effect, therefore the resurrected saints will witness all these things.
  • In respect to the resurrected saints enduring suffering, hunger and thirst, in a time in which God’s people have been delivered, we have the following thought.

BLESSED are they that die in the Lord from henceforth

What is the blessing pronounced upon those who die in the faith of the third angel’s message? Is it only the blessing of partaking in the special resurrection and being alive on the earth to see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven?

Note the scripture again:

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

The promise there is the promise of REST.

Now carefully read the following letter to another man who was grieved at the loss of his wife:

Dear Brother:

I hardly know what to say to you. The news of your wife’s death was to me overwhelming. I could hardly believe it and can hardly believe it now. God gave me a view last Sabbath night which I will write…. {2SM 263.2}

I saw that she was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000. I saw we need not mourn for her; she would rest in the time of trouble, and all that we could mourn for was our loss in being deprived of her company. I saw her death would result in good. {2SM 263.3}

The promise was that she was sealed, and come up at the voice of God to be with the 144,000. They were not to mourn for her because she would REST through the time of trouble.

Here again is the letter to the other bereaved husband we read previously.

Mary, dear precious child, is at rest. She was the companion of your sorrows and disappointed hopes. She will no more have grief or want or distress. Through faith’s discerning eye you may anticipate, amid your sorrows and griefs and perplexities, your Mary with her mother and other members of your family answering the call of the Life-giver and coming forth from their prison house triumphing over death and the grave. Your faith may see the loved and the lost ones reunited among the redeemed of earth. You with them erelong, if faithful, will be walking in the streets of the New Jerusalem, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, wearing the jeweled crown. . . . {HP 272.4}

Those who died in the faith were sealed, and part of the 144,000, therefore they would be raised at the commencement of the seventh plague. The time of trouble for those who have lived through the six plagues ends in the commencement of the seventh when Babylon comes up in remembrance before God to give to her the cup that they have drained to its dregs. Those who have died in the faith, will have the special blessing of being preserved from the time of trouble. They will “rest through the time of trouble” and “no more have grief or want or distress”.

Of her own husband, Sr. White writes:

While my husband was lying in his coffin, our good brethren came to me and urged that we pray that he be raised to life. I told them, No, no. While living, he had done the work that should have been shared by two or three men, and now he was at rest. Why call him back to life to endure again that through which he has passed? “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”{DG 219.4}

Had he not already endured enough? God will not call him forth to endure the time of trouble again.

Another quote that demonstrates that those who have died had suffered much:

I know that poor Stephen must have suffered severely, but let us be thankful that the end came quietly. Of him the words apply: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors: and their works do follow them. {RY 62.2}

Conclusion

As with Apostle Paul, those who die in the third angel can say, “I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith”. What faith is that? The third angel’s message. And what did it involve? A fight. But they have fought a good one and God blesses them with rest through the six plagues.

There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” With Paul they can say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also which love his appearing.” There are many whose grey hairs God honors because they have fought a good fight and kept the faith (Letter 207, 1899). {7BC 982.1}

Indeed, as Sr. White admonished the church in her day:

Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand (RH March 9, 1905)

Posted on June 23, 2012, in The 144000. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai. {EW 14.1}

    It’s very clear. 144k sealing it cannot start in 1844 if they are living saints.
    The 144k are the living saints at Sunday Law to Close of Probation and Jesus returns

    • le traducteur

      Hello Ziuadeodihna,
      The sealing message began in 1848, right when the nations were getting angry in Europe, in fulfilment of the words of Rev. 11:18. And you must remember that the 144,000 living at that time (when God’s voice is heard) will comprise those who had been sealed under the third angel’s message but who died and who will be resurrected at the special resurrection of Daniel 12:2 (towards the end of the plagues): “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

  2. “….None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience–an experience such as no other company have ever had. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1-5…” {GC 648.3}

    What does it mean that these (the 144,000) having been translated from the earth, FROM AMONG THE LIVING mean?

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