Who Are the 144,000 Witnesses in Revelation 14 – Are There Two Groups?
144,000 Witnesses – Jewish Saints: Before the Antichrist administers his mark, God will send an angel to mark the foreheads of 144,000 Jews. 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes (Jacob’s 12 sons), in Revelation chapter 7 144,000 Witnesses (see Rev. 7:4-8). The 144,000 sealed Jews will be commissioned to be witnesses during the tribulation. Those verses go on to identify the “tribes” each of the 12,000 comes from. Most Jews alive today do not know which tribe they come from. But God does! And He purposely selects 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes.
Some scholars argue that the 144,000 evangelists (of Revelation 14), aren’t necessarily Jews? 144,000 with the Fathers Name Written in their Foreheads (see Rev. 14:1-2). Could those be different? Can they be Christians? Read Similarities between the Two Groups for a comparison of the two.
You may notice when you read (Rev. 7:4-8), that 2 tribes are missing, and 2 others have been substituted in their places. Why? Some scholars believe the tribe of Dan is missing because the Jewish Antichrist, known as the False Prophet, will be a descendant.
This certainly seems to be the meaning of an ancient prophecy that Jacob gave about the tribes of Israel in the last days: “Dan will be a serpent in the way, a venomous viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward” (Gen. 49:17).
Ephraim is left out because that tribe led the way in causing the civil war which first divided the ten tribes of the North from the two in the South. The tribes of Dan and Ephraim were the first to lead Israel into idolatry. Does that mean individual members of this tribe are beyond redemption? No. But none of the tribe members are given the special honor of representing God in the hour of Tribulation.
Instead, the tribe of Levi is substituted for Dan, and Joseph (Ephraim’s father), is substituted for Ephraim.