Even many Christians misunderstand Revelation. For some, Revelation is so bizarre that they pretty much ignore it. Others mistakenly apply Revelation’s symbolism to our present day. But Revelation is really not so difficult once you grasp the context and symbolic language. Remember, it is part of the Bible and there is little, if anything at all, in Revelation that is not found elsewhere in the Bible. Indeed, there are hundreds of references in Revelation to the Old and New Testament.
Let’s just take a quick look at the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14. These were the FIRST FRUITS to God and the Lamb (Revelation 14:4), not some later group! They were the ones coming out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14). John, the author of Revelation, said he was in the tribulation AS HE WAS WRITING (Revelation 1:9)—in the 60’s AD. There are many proofs that demonstrate that the Great Tribulation was the persecution of Christians under Nero and the subsequent Jewish-Roman War that culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. And there are many confirming proofs that Revelation was written before AD 70, as over 130 theologians have been identified as holding to the pre-AD 70 date.
There were twelve tribes of Israel, so the 144,000 can be understood for what it signified. The number 1,000 is symbolic of “fullness.” So, 12 times 12 times 1,000 equals 144,000. As the first fruits, the 144,000 represents the FIRST GENERATION CHRISTIANS (the righteous remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel) who experienced the Great Tribulation, culminating in the desolation of Jerusalem and the Jewish holocaust in AD 66-70! The 144,000 is clearly not to be taken literally—as, for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses think. Romans 8:23; 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, and James 1:18 further identify the first fruits as first-century believers.
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