Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#204. Above we have discussed their identity of the 144,000 as those End-time Saints alive at the moment of Christ’s Return who are then ‘snatched’ or raptured off this earth. When we now use this number it will mean the same as the Large Crowd at Revelation 7:9-17 and the Saints at Revelation 13:5-7, 10. So, we will use the expression 144,000-Saints to be the same as “we the living” in 1 Thessalonians 415-17; “the Chosen Ones” in Matthew 24:21, 22, 30; “the people who are the Saints of the Most High” in Daniel 7:18-27; and “your People” in Daniel 12:1.
#205. The 144,000-Saints are those who live through the 42 months of Great Oppression brought upon them by what Daniel calls “the Little Horn” and the Apocalypse describes as the wild Sea-Beast. Compare Daniel chapter seven with Revelation chapter thirteen. Just prior to this period called ‘a time, times, and half a time,’ the Devil is ousted from heaven to begin his war against the ‘remnant of the Woman’s Seed.’ (See Revelation 12:10-17) These are the 144,000-Saints. We believe in the possibility that this period of three and a half years, or 1,260 days, has within it that ‘five months’ during what is described in Revelation 9:1-6 occurs. Revelation 9:4 clearly shows the 144,000-Saints are still on earth and in a position to be ‘harmed’ by these apocalyptic locusts. We feel it likely that the 144,000-Saints are present during this whole episode up until the blowing of the Seventh (Last) Trumpet. It would seem harmonious with Paul’s ‘last trumpet’ of 1 Corinthians 15:23, 50-53 (also 1 Thessalonians 4:17) that this seventh apocalyptic trumpet is that moment when the parousia-Judgment arrives and the End-time Saints (the entire Church of Christ) are raised or raptured. (Revelation 11:11, 12, 15, 18)
#206. One of the main features of the Great Oppression is the test of either accepting or refusing ‘the mark of the Wild Beast.’ (Revelation 13:10, 16, 17; 15:2, 3) This ‘mark’ or ‘name’ is related to the commercial or economic necessity ‘to buy or sell.’ There is no stronger way to control people than by their ability to buy or sell something. So, the test which comes upon the 144,000-Saints at this moment is an economic, commercial, or financial one. One can now see the value of the Nazarene’s parable at Matthew 25:31-46 where the sheep and goats are judged by how they treat, or did not treat, their ‘brothers’ who were strangers in flight, hungry, thirsty, cold or imprisoned. We can expect some of the Saints to be put into prison or executed with the ‘sword’ according to Revelation 13:10. Without the ability to buy or sell the individual Saints would have to rely on the hospitality of others during this time of Great Oppression.
#207. Regardless, at some point in this Great Oppression, no doubt right at the limit of the three and a half years, the Lord Christ Jesus returns and the 144,000-Saints are raptured or snatched out of harm’s way. Revelation 14:1-5 describes the 144,000-Saints upon Mount Zion or in heaven with the Lamb. This is repeated again in Revelation 15:2 without using the number 144,000 but by describing their victory. These are the last Saints who ‘are victorious over the Wild (Sea) Beast and its Image and the mark or number of its name.’ Those so mentioned or described in Revelation 15:2 are limited to those who experienced the whole revival of the wild Sea Beast, the setting up of its Image, and the global enforcement of the use of this ‘mark’ as a tool for buying and selling. The 144,000-Saints are relieved of this great pressure and persecution caused by the Great Oppression and safely raptured under the protection of God’s ‘tent.’ (Revelation 7:15)
#208. Following the lovely description in Revelation 15:1-4 the vision of the ‘seven last plagues of God’s anger’ occurs. The 144,000 are in heaven, likely within the protection of the New Jerusalem, the Celestial City of God. At this moment the seven plagues unfold upon the earth with Babylon the Great, the Wild Sea-Beast, and the False Prophet as its focus. We leave a discussion of these plagues to future pages. For our purposes at the moment it is enough to see where the 144,000-Saints are when the plagues occur---in heaven.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved