Derek Prince - Who Are The 144,000
Let me just give you one other passage, that speaks about, I believe, this period, and that’s in Isaiah 24. I want to back this up so that you’ll see this is not just one single passage of Scripture. I could find fifty passages that refer in some way or other to this. This is an amazing chapter, chapter 24 of Isaiah. Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants. And it shall be with people, so with priests; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
In other words, neither wealth nor social position will protect you. This is coming on the whole earth. The earth shall be utterly emptied and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away, the haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. That’s the reason for the wrath of God. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
And then we go on to the latter part, verse 17: Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitants of the earth, and it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth are shaken. But notice what’s to follow, because this is the prelude to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.
We go on to the last three verses, verses 21–23: And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the hosts of exalted ones and on the earth the kings of the earth. So God will deal with the rulers on earth and He’ll deal with the principalities and powers in the heavenlies. They will be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit [or the dungeon], and will be shut up in the prison; and after many days they would be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed... Do you know why? Because their light will be so pale in comparison with the glory of God. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his elders, gloriously. So that’s what precedes the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. If you want the kingdom, you have to be prepared for the birth pangs. No birth pangs, no birth.
Now, I could stop here but seeing we have so many Jewish believers here, I want to go a little further. I have good news for you. You don’t hear much good news but I’ve got some. We're going to go on to Revelation chapter seven. I tell you, I spent five years in East Africa. And every time I see an African in a congregation, I just preach to him. And then I spent many years in Israel, and every time there's one Jew, I just preach to that Jew. And it's been a blessing to me because I've heard two languages I love, today: Swahili, What's praise the Lord in Swahili? Mahesh? Buonne a seve whay (phonetic). That's right. And than, Hebrew. Two languages that mean a great deal to me. Anyhow, we're going to go on to this good news for the Israelites.
Chapter 7. I have to move quickly, time is passing. After these things. [That’s the complete destruction of everything on earth, an earthquake which rocks the whole earth.] After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth that they should not blow on the earth, on the sea or on any tree. Then 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 granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads. So before, the final cataclysmic judgments come, God has something to do.
He has a group of His servants who are to be sealed on their foreheads. And do you know what? They’re all Jews. And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed. And then it lists the tribes and it omits one tribe, do you know which that is? Dan. Ask me why, I don’t know. I’m not ashamed to say I don’t know. But every tribe is included, 12,000 out of twelve tribes which makes 144,000. Then it goes on: After these things I looked and behold, a great multitude whom no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying: Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.
Verse 13: Then one of the elders answered, saying to me: Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from? And I said to him: Sir, you know. So he said to me: These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. I believe those two passages are joined in one chapter as cause and effect. The harvest from all nations, peoples, tribes and tongues will be gathered in by 144,000 Jewish believers. Jesus said the first will be last and then the last will be first. So the Jews were the first, they became the last, but the last will be the first. They’ll conclude the task of evangelism.
Think of 144,000 Spirit-filled young Jewish men turned loose. We can’t calculate what would happen! How many of you know the word chutzpa? Well, that’s one characteristic of the Jewish people. It can be good and it can be bad, but they don’t get embarrassed, you can’t silence them. Nobody can shut them up. Now I just want to go to the close of this which is in Revelation 14. This is the end of the 144,000. Incidentally, do you know what I believe? I believe there will be 144,000. Not 143,999 and not 144,001 but precisely 144,000. If you observe God’s dealings He’s very precise in all His measurements and all His numbers. And I believe it’s going to be exact.
Now, let’s look at the end in Revelation 14: Then I looked and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads. Notice that was the seal. It wasn’t revealed in chapter 7 but the seal was the name of Jesus and the Father. And you see, if you read the intervening chapters, the antichrist also places a seal on the forehead of every person that will accept it. So in the end I think every human being will have one or other of two seals: the seal of the antichrist or the seal of God. And I heard a voice from heaven like the voice of many waters and like the voice of loud thunders, and I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 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 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. They had their own song.
These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. All the language is male, it’s all talking about males. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. What a testimony! To follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. As I understand it, they must be young, Jewish men, probably not more than 16, 17 or 18 years old. Never involved in sexual immorality, set aside by the choice of God for this specific task. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but more and more evangelism is becoming the lot of young people. Have you seen that? Some of the most effective evangelism today is done by King’s Kids, sent out by YWAM.
See, young people don’t have the inhibitions that we older people have. They just go out and tell it like it is. That’s what God wants. Listen, this is a beautiful testimony: In their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God. What a picture. What a glorious picture! So in the midst of all the turmoil and the confusion, the suffering and the slaughter, God has His positive side. You can look at the positive, or you can look at the negative. But believe me, brothers and sisters, if you don’t come to this with a vision of Jesus the victor over sin, death and the grave; as the Judge; as the only one competent to open the scroll; as the Lion of the tribe of Judah; if you don’t have a vision of the throne room of God and its power, and its complete control, I think you’re going to be very fearful and disheartened and discouraged, in what lies ahead.
I want to commend to you this picture of Jesus in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. And do you know what else He was in the midst of? The throne of God. Isn’t it good news that the one who's in the midst of the church is also in the midst of the throne of God. He can take care of His own. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is totally faithful. When He rides out of heaven on His white horse — and I didn’t have time to talk about the white horse appearing again from heaven, that’s in Revelation 19—when He rides out from heaven on His white horse, His name is Faithful and True. You can trust Him, you can put your confidence in Him.