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 The 144,000 
The completing book of Holy Scripture at the end of our New Testament, the Revelation,
describes a very special group of people under the names of the twelve sons of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham.
The description
of this group of people comes after six of the seven Seals of the divine Inheritance Scroll have been broken, in the interlude before the breaking of the seventh, which is the opening of the Scroll. Because this special group of 144,000 is given as being 12,000 from "every tribe of the sons of Israel" it has been understood as believing/Christian 'Jews' during a Great Tribulation who are special preserved or protected to continue Israel;'s identity as a nation.
this racial interpretation conflicts with vitally important statements of Holy Scripture given earlier about Israel, and therefore, if Holy Scripture is inspired of God, and therefore consitent with itself, this racial interpretation cannot be true.
content of the book of Revelation assumes that the reader has understood the preceding revelations of all of Holy Scripture. Most contention and confusion in the interpretation of the awesome symbolism of this particular book arises specifically from a lack of knowledge of this and of the cultural context of the writer to whom this Revelation was given.
At the end of Israel's Babylonian captivity, the prophet Daniel seeks God for a restoration of his people. He is told in effect that a restoration of his nation as he had asked would not be in his lifetime. It would take, not the seventy-years of the Babylonian captivity, but seven times that number of years, and that this divinely decreed waiting period of 490-years would commence from the Persian decree to rebuild Jerusalem.
"Seventy weeks [sevens] are decreed about your people and your holy city,
to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal
[confirm] both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place"
This 'righteousness' is a description of nothing less than the future rule/reign of Israel's Messiah.

should not be hard to understand that this description has not yet happened.
New Testament explains that there was to be a time which neither the angels of God nor His prophets were aware of, a Hidden Time, which would be after and as the consequence of Israel's rejections of it's Messiah. The book of Revelation includes a description of the remainder of these 490-years before the completion of which Israel cannot be restored as a nation before God – a period of exactly 3½-years, or 42-months, or 1260-days. In the Revelation, this final period is still pending during the description of the 144,000, which therefore precludes their racial identification as the nation Israel.
Who are they then?

The Hidden Time
closer look at the Bible's description of this special group of 144,000 people, in the wonderful symbolism of this book, gives us the answer.
Although they are described as being of "every tribe" of Israel, the listing is – Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin; even though God had disinherited Levi and Simeon from any tribal territory because of their vicious cruelty at Shechem (Gen.49:5-7), and the legitimate tribe of Dan is left out altogether. So this is not a normal tribal listing!
have tried to explain this exclusion of Dan as being the tribe of Israel from which the 'Antichrist' would come in this end-time period (as though God would punish a whole tribe for the action of one person), but this exposes serious confusion! The Antichrist is so-called as being 'against'-Christ; not as 'ante-Christ' in the place of Christ, a 'false' Christ. There is no Biblical reason whatsoever to think that the Antichrist as the final world ruler will be in any way Jewish! That confusion seems to have started with Hippolytus of Rome in the third century and has even fed antisemitism over the years.
key to the identity of these 144,000 persons lies in the meaning or their number: 12 x 12 x 1000.
The number twelve no more means Israel than that God's promise of Abraham about Ishmael meant that his Arab descendants would become Jews (Gen.17:20)
"As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly.
He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation."
That number had special significance for Abraham before Isaac was born, and before their were twelve sons born to Jacob.
found frequently among these ancient civilizations, the division of their agricultural year into twelve moons (months) represented the governance or rule of the Creator over all. This is the reason why the removal of Levi from the numbering of the twelve of Jacob was compensated by counting Joseph twice through his two sons, to maintain the number as twelve. For this reason the ancient Egyptians divided daylight into twelve parts and night into twelve parts (from which we get our 24-hour day); Hammurabi of ancient Babylon published his laws as twelve-tables, and the earliest constitution of the Roman Republic was called the Twelve Tables. It is the rule of God Most High which is referenced in that number!
12 in Egypt
12 in Babylon
12 in Rome
unique group of '12x12x1000' people, the "Israel of God" (Gal.6:16) in this special future time (which Jesus described as the worst of all times, Matt.24:21), represent nothing less than the rule, the authority, of the Most High God in this time, in defiance of all else!
 These are God's answer to Antichrist! 
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