Revelation 7: The 144,000 and the 233,000

There is an interesting thing to me that this list in Rev.7 is different from the other 12 tribes. Ephraim was omitted here.
Ephraim’s attitudes and apostasy should be noted also as Hosea tells us. His desire was to seek help of the other nations and He/Northern tribes had the continual habit of idolatry and false worship. He had a jealousy for Judah and Zion finding its home there.
“Modern Ephraims” seek help from other nations and their idolatry is in not accepting the Christ of Judah and the Zion which is above. They instead help and hope to build the Babel/Babylon below to usurp the true. Just, as Ephraim in Bethel and Dan did in the North in the divided Kingdom.

The tribe of Dan is missing. How am I wrong?

Ephraim and Dan the backbiter are both missing. Here included in the heavenly Jerusalem list, …Levi had no land allotted in OT and Joseph was not in the OT list rather both his sons.
There may be another thought here that Ephraim called the first born in power in. Jer. was not chosen but Manasseh the literal firstborn was…opposite to Jacob & Esau. Also, not all physical Israel but those chosen in Christ to make up by His choosing "spiritual Israel. " Not to Him who is willing or runneth but to whom God has mercy.
Some will say Ephraim was there in Joseph but it is not apparent. I suggest it has meaning.

I found this essay to be insightful and pregnant with spiritual meaning. I even found the thoughts on the 233,000 to prod one’s sympathetic nerve!


There is no verse, only mass graves. And then Revelation’s insistence that the 144 000 are made up of the tribes of the children of Israel. Try to feel the force of the metaphor. I have no other advice.


Maybe this is God’s response to bring an end to senseless human suffering that God fearing humanity has endured in all human history. Maybe the 144,000 are already “sealed,” this is living with white robes in anticipation of heaven’s response to unjust human suffering.

Yet, I wish I understood why God uses the very means that evil has utilized, invented and made popular in His dealing with evil–the painful suffering of the wicked in hell fire, with all haven enjoying the smoke of their torment “forever and ever,” as the third angels message says. Being an American it seems to me to be against human rights as “cruel and unusual” punishment.

Dennis Johsonin in his seminal book The Triumph of the Lamb postulates that the 144000 are those martyred, which is fitting to the remarks of the author. [quote=“Trust_Him, post:2, topic:17814”]


I don’t think that those who have suffered martyrdom in history will think it is “cruel and unusual” punishnent Frank. Are we more righteous and “loving” than God? Rom.2 :5 ;12:19

Prof. Dennis Johnson has provided several valuable, invigorating works. Many are available online: Books By Dennis E. Johnson

Johnson’s Table of Contents to The Triumph of the Lamb provides inviting descriptions:

  1. Introduction: A Strategy for Seeing
  2. Structure: Framing the Pieces of the Puzzle
  3. Vision: The Son of Man among His Churches (1:7-20)
  4. Letters: The Son of Man Speaks to His Churches (2:1-3:22)
  5. Scroll Opened: The Lamb Is Worthy (4:1-5:14)
  6. Seals: Instruments, Rationale, and Climax of Judgment (6:1-8:5)
  7. Trumpets: Current and Coming Woes (8:1-9:21; 11:15-19)
  8. Scroll Delivered: The Prophet Eats, Measures, and Testifies (10:1-11:14)
  9. Cosmic Conflict 1: The Mother, the Dragon, and the Beasts (12:1-13:18)
  10. Harvest: Celebration (14:1-15:8)
  11. Bowls: The Last Woes (16:1-21)
  12. Harlot: Babylon’s Luxury, Violence, and Destruction (17:1-19:10)
  13. Cosmic Conflict 2: The Thousand Years and the Last Battle (19:11-20:15)
  14. Bride: New Jerusalem, Wife of the Lamb (21:1-22:21)
  15. Conclusion: What Should This Book Do to Us?
    Appendix A: A Concise Overview of the Book of Revelation
    Appendix B: Schools of Interpretation


Good article just out on the subject…

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Hi Paul,
I’ve read a few articles in Proclamation and agree wholeheartedly with some.
I do find their views a bit dispensational at times however. I haven’t studied them in depth however.
I am not referring to adventism. I REFER TO GENTILES who have accepted Christ and become part of the commonwealth of Israel. One temple of Jew and gentile is now being built…not 2. Eph.2: 11-22 .

Hans LaRhondelle wrote a excellent book entitled “The Israel of God in prophecy.” He writes with the view of covenant continuity not dispensationalism. Again, Colleen may not be dispensational. I would suggest it would be a good read for both of you.

I fail to understand what you mean. I was not talking about anybody that suffered martyrdom. I am not sure how you reached your conclusion.

Did I read your comment wrong? Does God destroy evil on two levels or is He just to destroy the wicked?
Some things are imagery. But, He did destroy righteously Sodom & Gomorrah and He will righteously destroy after judgment. NOT cruel and unusual.

The moral issue I am thinking about, I know I should just accept it as fact and let it be, is the long suffering that the wicked endure in hell fire. EGW says some burn in hell for very long periods while others a short time and black slaves will be as if they were not born. After everyone is all consumed, Satan burns on…while the saints inside New Jerusalem can watch it all in real time.

So I wonder out loud, how can one use the means that sin has created, to destroy sin? (This is not said out of disrespect for God, just honest reflection looking for answers, if there are any. If Hitler were caught alive, would it be humain for us to burn him slowly for years in a concentration camp–or just publicly try him and hang him?)

Hi Frank. I don’t hang my hat on all the extra biblical “insights” of Ellen.
I do believe SDA’S are correct about annihilation. Other notable Protestants such as Stott are open to that view.
I’ll be happy to let the judge call the length of time. I dont see it by God or the saints as something relished. The imagery reminds them of the results of sin and rebellion…don’t go there again. God is Just and Love. That’s the way I see it.

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And there are other numbers, as you suggest, Sigve.

The ongoing deep tragedy of the Falun Gong religious practioners in China has been largely ignored by Adventists.

This is particularly heartbreaking in regard to the “organ harvesting” of Falun Gong political prisoners for profit.

I understand why no one wants to stand up to the Chinese government any more than they wanted to stand up to the Third Reich.


I would like to see a discussion of LLU ethicist James Walters’ book, What Is a Person? in relation to the issue of organ harvesting, as he advocates changing United States law to allow the harvesting of organs from living anencephalic infants.

In the face of the continuing atrocities against the Falun Gong, surely this ethical discussion is long overdue, particularly since Peter Singer is invoked as a mentor in the book.

The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval.

—Peter Singer

I have to wonder if Walters’ book would, or could, even have been written if Adventists had grappled authentically with their collusion with the Third Reich.

To (correct me) charge a hermeneutic method (Storm Clouds Over Historicism), or blame the devil (Timeout: From Daniel to Revelation) for the abject Adventist failure in Germany is to have failed to learn anything from history, it seems to me.

We are in a black hole of the deeply inexcusable.

Pilgrimages won’t save one Falun Gong believer from being murdered by doctors for profit this week.

Tweaking our hermeneutics or our metanarrative will not help us see them as human beings, or give us the courage, or the ability, to do something for them.


Can you do anything about this, Sigve?

Neither can I.

I would want to go on your pilgrimage, but I know it would be symbolic, and the Falun Gong will still be butchered by doctors for filthy lucre in the land of large Seventh-day Adventist churches and ordained woman pastors.

Do those women pastors want their parishioners to meet the fate of the Falun Gong?

They have to be silent, at the very least.

They know this. We all know this.

Let’s surrender to the reality of how helpless we all are in the face of our own evil.

There is nowhere else to start.

I went on a pilgrimage to the Branch Davidian property outside of Waco a couple of years ago.

I sat on the side of the swimming pool and wept.

During the siege, I tried to get in touch with Vernon Howell/David Koresh through KRLD radio in Dallas. He said on air that I was his friend.

I went to Waco twice. I got as far as the forest of media trucks. I could see where the Davidians were.

His mother told me I was the only person who could talk him out.

But I failed. There was nothing I could do.

The whole world lieth in wickedness.

If we understood that, it would crush us.

As I understand the meaning of ‘burning or being tormented forever’ in scripture, it simply means until something is burned up. The text references back to Isaiah 34, where God’s vengeance on Edom is described as burning so that the ‘smoke shall ascend forever’ ( vs. 10)…but of course Edom is not still burning, and in vs. 11, the prophet describes the destroyed Edom as being possessed by various animals, which of course would not be possible if it were still burning.

Of course I agree with you that hell fire is not eternal, but until one is consumed. I know that I am asking questions that should not be asked. Yet it seems to me that even the act of burning is painful and cruel. The “smoke” that ascents to heaven indicates that the punishment may be a very slow. In USA such a means as a death penalty is illegal, on the grounds of human dignity. I find it hard to understand why God would use a means created by evil–for good to triumph in the universe. Maybe hell fire is just all symbolic in language of some other means for good to exterminate evil. I hope so.

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