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144,000 and the 'Whore of Babylon'


Hi friends, welcome to this week's blog post. Last week, we promised to deal with the 144,000 which, if you’ve ever spoken to a Jehovah Witness, you’ll have heard of! Well, the passage this is coming from is in Revelation 7. Let’s take a look at verse 1-4: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And 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 given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Who are these people? Are they physical Jews? And the answer is they could be. It could be actual descendants of Abraham that get saved. But we really don't think that's what it's talking about because of the numbers involved. 12 times 12! It's just all so symbolic, there has to be a metaphor in here.


The number 12 typically represents the completion of God's plan. You have 12 apostles, you have the 12 are sons of Abraham, the foundation of the city of God has 12 foundations, 12 gates and so on. So, it seems pretty obvious that it's not talking about a literal 144,000 people. It's referring to the people of God.

Did you know that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and is born again becomes a Jew! The Bible says in Romans 2:24 that He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly. Neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit and not in the letter.


So, the 144,000 is a metaphor for spiritual Jews, those who have come into the covenant of Abraham and receive eternal life through Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. The fullness of those will be brought in. That's what this is a picture of.

It also says in Galatians 3:29 that if he be Christ, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs, according to the promise. And then Jesus says in Matthew 8:10-11 Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.


The 144,000 is not talking about a Jewish remnant, it's talking about the people of God in general.


Now then, what about this thing called the Whore of Babylon? Without meaning to use vulgar language here, that’s what the Bible calls it! Revelation tells us that something called the whore of Babylon will be destroyed at the return of Jesus Christ, but what is it?


Revelation 17:1-6 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.


This is a picture, a metaphor for idolatry and false religions or belief systems of the world. The Bible depicts the church as a bride and as a city that proclaims God’s message, holy and loyal to God. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The church is likened to a bride that is pure, just like a bride on her wedding day wants her white dress to have no spot or wrinkle. The bride is then presented to her husband, Jesus. The church is also compared to a city in several passages. Revelation 21:2 says And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The whore of Babylon is a representation of ‘worldliness’. It’s a whore instead of a bride. The church is a pure and spotless bride. Babylon is a whore who is unfaithful. The metaphor in scripture for an unfaithful Israel is often a prostitute (Ezekiel 23). In Hosea 1:2, Hosea was told to marry a prostitute as a symbol of unfaithful Israel. This imagery of a prostitute being like those who worship idols, reject the true and living God, who adhere to false doctrine is common.


The Tower of Babel was idolatry. Idolatry is simply getting your needs met from anything other than the One True God. The people of Babel tried to ascend to heaven to be like God and make a ‘name for themselves’. Over the years, many false gods and evil ideology came from Babylon.


First John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.

The love of the world’s system is a rejection of God. A whore, decked in jewels, flaunting her wealth is a metaphor for those who love the world’s system and worship all things worldly. Idolatry, lust, false religions are all coming under this same banner or imagery that we see here in this passage. This passage is full of metaphors for anything other than the worship of the One True God.

Galatians 4:26 ‘But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all’ whereas Revelation 17:5 calls the whore of Babylon ‘the mother of harlots’. Can you see the imagery here?


We hope this has been a helpful study of this tricky subject. Don’t miss next week as we move into the final stages of the Great Tribulation, Armageddon and the Return of Jesus Christ.


Have a blessed week!


Upstream Ministries


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