John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
The Plain Truth About
The 144,000 Firstfruits
The Plain Truth About The 144,000 Firstfruits
By Robert Ardis
As students of Herbert W. Armstrong, we were taught to let the Bible interpret the Bible! We should realize by now that Mr. Armstrong did NOT understand much of what has occurred in the Laodicean era, especially since the beginning of the Day of the Lord. This was not his fault! The TIME for the revealing of these TRUTHS did not come about until after Mr. Armstrong’s death.
The Word of God, the Holy Bible is written TRUTH! Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God and the Head of the One True Church. As has been stated often, the Church of God’s Faithful is His True Church, thus we are SET APART BY TRUTH! We have also previously stated that through preconceived ideas in a person’s mind, it is often very difficult to grasp even a plain and simple statement written in the Bible. Revelation 14:1-5 is a prime example of this statement. We will look at verses 1 and 4 first and then come back to verses 2, 3, and 5.
“And I looked and, lo a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads...These are they, which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the FIRSTFRUITS unto God and the Lamb” (Rev 14:1, 4).
Those two verses PLAINLY state that there will be 144,000 Firstfruits! It does NOT say they are a few of the Firstfruits, nor does it say they are Laodiceans, as the PCG claims. These verses tell us the 144,000 are ALL of the Firstfruits! The statement is so clear, however, the Church of God in the past has NOT believed it. Prior to 1986, none of us including Mr. Armstrong could imagine what was to take place in the Church of God within the next 23 years!
Before 1986, this PLAIN statement in the Bible seemed so improbable. How could this be, we thought? Only 144,000 Firstfruits from all of the BILLIONS of people who have ever lived! And immediately prior to Mr. Armstrong’s death, the Gospel was going into ALL nations fulfilling Matt. 24:14! Millions were reading the Plain Truth Magazine and viewing The World Tomorrow telecast. Nevertheless, when we consider the evidence we have from the Bible, 144,000 makes a lot of sense. The Bible always makes sense once we get our own preconceived ideas out of the way.
What Does History Reveal?
The Word of God reveals that from Adam through Noah, spanning a time period of 1650 years, only Abel, Enoch, and Noah were considered righteous men. From Noah to the time Israel entered the Promised Land another 900 years elapsed. Those who walked with God during those 900 years of history can be counted on our fingers and toes. Throughout the period of the judges, the kings, and the prophets of the Old Testament, how many are counted as righteous individuals possessing the Spirit of God? Seven thousand had not “bowed their knees to Baal” during this time (Rom. 11:4), but did they possess God’s Spirit? Only a very few had the Spirit of God during Christ’s 33 ½ years in the flesh. Those included in that group were Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias, Anna, Simeon, John, the Baptist and very FEW others of whom we are aware. Thousands followed Jesus and claimed to believe in him, but where were they on the Day of Pentecost as the New Testament Church began? Even his 12 disciples were not given God’s Spirit until PENTECOST of 31AD. Acts 2:41 tells us that after Peter’s stirring sermon on Pentecost, 3000 people: “… gladly received his word and were baptized.” In the last phrase of Acts 2:47 the Bible states: “…And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.” Verse14 of chapter 5 shows continued growth: “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” After Stephen’s death, persecution set in and the Church became scattered, and spread abroad. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).
Paul was inspired to write a warning of what was to come: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).
This has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it? Verse 10 shows how the ministry can fall away with the tragic results it brings upon the Flock. “For Demus has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. ONLY Luke is with me…” The time was approaching 65 or 66 AD. There was much persecution being thrust upon God’s people. Satan and his demons were bringing persecution from the World, OUTSIDE, and infiltrating the Church, INSIDE, with false ministers (see II Pet. 2:1-2; Jude: 3-4).
II Tim 4:16 declares: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but ALL men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” Many did NOT “endure to the end” as Paul sadly states in II Tim. 1:15! “This you know, that ALL they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”
144,000 Makes Perfect Sense
These scriptures describe the history of the early Church of God. How many of those THOUSANDS that were baptized on that Day of Pentecost in 31 AD and immediately afterward, remained FAITHFUL to the end? Thankfully, some did, but many did not! How many remained FAITHFUL in the EPHESIAN era? How many in the SMYRNA, PERGAMOS, THYATIRA, and SARDIS eras? Sardis is depicted as being dead! How many have remained FAITHFUL PHILADELPHIANS since the death of Mr. Armstrong? Think about that! When all of this is taken into consideration, 144,000 is a reasonable sounding number of Firstfruits! And it is a PLAIN statement in the Bible.
Let’s proceed with the description of the 144,000 Firstfruits in Revelation 14. Again, verse 1: “And I looked and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” We know the “Lamb” is symbolic of Jesus Christ. We know that Mt. Zion is synonymous with the City of Jerusalem in the land of Israel. However, there is a HEAVENLY Mt. Zion too! We will look at that next. Let’s also search out the meaning “… his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Hebrews 12 gives us the answer to WHICH Mt. Zion is being discussed in Rev.14. Begin with verses 18-19:
“For you are not come unto the mount (Horeb/Sinai) that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore…”
Continue with verses 21–22:
“…and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: But you are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.”
This PLAINLY tells us that the MOUNT ZION where Christ and the Firstfruits are standing is in HEAVEN! Do preconceived ideas and misconceptions in your mind prevent you from seeing this wonderful scene?
The meaning of “the Father’s name written in their [our] foreheads” is revealed in four very familiar scriptures. First look at Ephesians 1:13-14:
“In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Acts 5:32 adds:
“And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that OBEY Him.”
Our Lord tells us in John 17:11 that the Father has given us to Him. The Father’s NAME is then given unto us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own NAME those you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.” And it is a sure fact that God KNOWS and SEALS those that are his: “…Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this SEAL, The Lord knows them that are his…” (II Tim. 2:19).
You Mean In Heaven?
Revelation 14 is an obvious portrayal of 144,000 Firstfruits with Christ on Mt. Zion in the Heavenly Jerusalem. The first Resurrection has taken place and the Firstfruits have been born into the God-Family.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we KNOW that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we will see Him as He is” [See I John 3:2].
The 144,000 Firstfruits bare the NAME of the Father, GOD! When this is all a reality, the marriage of the SON of GOD to the FIRSTFRUITS will be ready to commence.
Revelation 14:2 states:
“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they 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.”
Again I caution you, the reader, not to let misconceptions that may be deeply ingrained in your mind, to dim the magnificence of the spectacle being described here. These occurrences are at the very THRONE of GOD in HEAVEN! It should NOT seem strange to realize that the 144,000 FIRSTFRUITS become BORN MEMBERS into the Family of God at the first Resurrection. As God-Beings, Christ will have them ascend to HEAVEN and stand in the PRESENCE of GOD THE FATHER! Verse 5 declares: “…they are without fault before THE THRONE OF GOD!” Our Lord and Savior will present us before His Presence “without fault.”
Now observe WHEN it is that they “stand in His Presence.” Revelation 15:1 and 6 gives this startling information:
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues: for in them is filled up the wrath of God…And the angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues…”
Now read verses 2, 3, and 4 and realize the picture here is BEFORE THE LAST PLAGUES are poured out.
“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire [Rev. 4:6]; 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.” This is a WONDERFUL; absolutely AMAZING statement of ENCOURAGEMENT! What we see depicted here is that portion of FIRSTFRUITS who must OVERCOME and achieve VICTORY over the BEAST and his IMAGE! These pictured here standing in TRIUMPH had: “…kept the commandments of God and had the testimony of Jesus…!” But they did NOT “grow in grace and knowledge” (see Rev. 12:17 and II Pet. 3:18). They had “HELD FAST” but refused to GROW and become a part of the one TRUE CHURCH. They are the Laodiceans and the unfaithful Philadelphians who are not “accounted worthy to escape” to the Place of Safety. These begotten children of God must OVERCOME in the MOST DIFFICULT of ALL SITUATIONS! They must endure physical, mental, and emotional suffering on a scale we, thankfully, can not imagine, before they are allowed to die in the HORROR of the Great Tribulation! “And they OVERCAME him…” [Satan, the Beast, the Image] “…by the blood of the lamb, and by the Word of his testimony, and they loved not their LIVES unto the death” (Rev. 12:11).
Overcoming in the Great Tribulation
God, in His great mercy, inspired John to write this portion of scripture portraying them as VICTORIOUS! God singles them out from the rest of the 144,000 Firstfruits for this special honor due to the severity of their trial and for their encouragement when they finally “awaken”—in the Tribulation. This is written as part of the “Word of His Testimony” informing them that they CAN OVERCOME! Through the Spirit of God, they must lose their PHYSICAL LIFE, but gain the ultimate VICTORY— ETERNAL LIFE! Remember, this great scene is BEFORE the last plagues are poured out! The Resurrection occurs before the seven last plagues are cast upon the earth! The Bible says so!
In the 14th and 15th chapters of the book of Revelation, the FIRSTFRUITS are standing before the Throne of God and they all have harps. Rev. 15:3 shows them singing the songs of MOSES and the LAMB. Chapter 14:3 describe them singing a new song that no one else could learn. The Greek word for “song”, Strong’s #5603, can be singular or plural, as in these two verses. [See also Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16.] Consequently, verse 3 may be paraphrased as “and they sung as it were new songs…and no one could learn those songs of Moses (and the Lamb), except the 144,000.”
Our very important booklet, The Feast of Trumpets—Or—The Day of Pentecost—Which? continues from this amazing point of revealed TRUTH. Hopefully you now understand that there are quite a few AMAZING events PLAINLY described in the Bible that have been hidden until now. I hope it is as plain to you as it is to me, that the Resurrection of the 144,000 FIRSTFRUITS occurs on Pentecost—the Feast of Firstfruits—BEFORE the seven last plagues are cast upon the earth and the remaining rebels of mankind.
The False Shepherds
The divided ministries of the synagogue of Satan and Gerald Flurry’s lukewarm Laodicean PCG refuse to understand the plain truth of the 144,000 Firstfruits that you have read in this article. They have turned their attention to the world and are attempting to duplicate Herbert Armstrong’s commission that was successfully completed as Matt. 24:14 and Zech. 4:9 declares. All of the combined efforts of these divisive and contentious churches don’t “hold a candle” to what Christ accomplished through his Elijah. Their efforts are futile! God is not calling the world now! He is interested in His Lost Sheep who are presently asleep in the synagogue of Satan or the blind Laodiceans of the PCG. The Midnight Cry magazine is designed to awaken those sleepy and blind eyes. Jesus Christ will “gather” those who respond (II Thess. 2:1).
Those divided and bickering churches are only causing confusion as to who and where is the True Church. Nevertheless, Christ is here in the CGF, and is identifying us as His True Church by revealed Truth as you have read in this article. The subject of the “Innumerable Multitude” of Rev. 7:9-17 is another stumbling block to the divided churches. They have believed since prior to 1986 that the Innumerable Multitude are those who come to God from the Great Tribulation although that would contradict the plain statement in Rev. 14:1-4 of 144,000 Firstfruits.
In our booklet, The Deep Things of God, we cover the subject of The Innumerable Multitude—more wonderful and undeniable Plain Truth from the Living Christ, the head of his One True Church.
© Church of God's Faithful 2018