THE IDENTITY of the 144,000 men who appear in Revelation 7 and again in Revelation 14 has been debated for the last two millennia.
We talk about the difference between being sealed by God and marked by the Beast, which seems to be more like the brand used on cattle. We also revisit our discussion of who the 144,000 are and why Dan and Ephraim are not among the tribes of Israel in Rev. 7:5–8. As early as the mid-second century AD, Christian theologians like Irenaeus and Hippolytus, citing Jeremiah 8:16–17, believed that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan.
The prophecies of Jacob (Gen. 49:17) and Moses (Deut. 33:22) over Dan, likening the tribe to a serpent and “a lion’s cub that leaps from Bashan,” the land of the dead, contribute to this interpretation.
John’s vision of the 144,000 with the Lamb (Jesus) on Mount Zion is surely a glimpse of the spirit realms, since Jesus does not return to Earth until Revelation 19 at the battle of Armageddon. This suggests that the 144,000 sealed by God will be martyred during the Great Tribulation.