I always felt sorry for the 144,001st person; you know the one who missed out and didn’t make the quota for the number of people who get saved. I’m being a bit “tongue in cheek,” so let me explain myself.
In Revelation 7, it talks about 144,000 people who are saved. I grew up in an environment in which the issue of whether the number 144,000 was a literal or symbolic number was a significant discussion and debating point. In the past, I tended to think that it was a literal number. But now I know better.
Exactly who the 144,000 are has always been a fascinating question, but there’s no question over the fact that they are saved. My question is “Are they the only ones who are saved?” Because they are, then God help the 144,001st person – literally!
Does God have some kind of numerical cut-off for salvation in any way? Is there a limit to his forgiveness, his mercy and grace? And, if you think that you really aren’t good enough, could you miss out?
If you trust in Jesus and have made him your friend, there is no way that you could ever miss out on salvation! The number 144,000 is a symbolic number only. It is made up of 12 x 12 x 1,000. Twelve is the number of those people under the rule of God. The number twelve is repeated twice, because two is the number of witness. The number 1,000 is used to represent a vast number of people. So, what the symbolic number of 144,000 represents is that God guarantees that the number of the saved will be a vast number of people.
In fact, in verse 4 of Revelation 7, John first hears the number of the saved. It is 144,000, then he looks up and sees them in verse 14:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throneand before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:9–10, NIV).
Whoever you may be, there’s room for you in eternity.
Notice that it says that the great multitude was so great, that no one could count them. There are no restrictions on the love of God, or on his power to save anyone who repents and turns to Jesus as their Saviour. That’s why, at the end of Revelation 22:17 we are told,
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life (Rev 22:17, NIV.)
Whoever you may be, whatever may be your failures and weaknesses, no matter how great, there’s room for you in eternity. All you need to do is to come and take the free gift of salvation that Jesus Christ offers you.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.