The 144000 Will Never Die
Who are the 144000? Many people have never even heard of them. This group is in the Bible (Revelation 7 and 14) and they have much to do with the question of whether it is possible to cheat death. Let's look at this group.
This is part 5 of a 5-part study on Birth, Death and Resurrection (part 1). We are looking at the following diagram to understand the relationship between the different births, deaths and resurrections that the Bible speaks of.
First, let's ask, has anyone in the past ever cheated death and gone straight to heaven? Well, yes Elijah and Enoch both did. In Enoch's case, the reason is given:
"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for (or, because) before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Heb 11:5)
For comparison, someone else had that same testimony of pleasing God:
"And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I (Jesus) do always those things that please him." (John 8:29)
There is the suggestion in the Bible that some will be translated without seeing death as Enoch was:
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:15-17)
Obviously, if Paul thought he would be alive at the Second Coming, he did not correctly understand the timing. However, the principle that some would be alive at the Second Coming stands. Here is more of Paul's understanding:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor 15:51-55)
The saying "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" is because, at that point, some will escape death; they will not be hurt by it.
They will be translated, as Enoch was, because:
"And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev 14:5)
This is a description of the 144000. They will be a group of people who receive a special anointing in the last days to proclaim God's glory (character) and show, by their obedience through His strength (Phil 4:13), that God's law can, in fact, be kept. This will show that God's law is just and help to answer some of the questions of the Great Controversy.(Note that it is possible that some of the saved who are not among the 144000 will also be translated to heaven at the Second Coming without seeing death. That is something I do not yet fully understand but I can say I am quite confident that will be the experience of the 144000.
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