The Faithful Church of God in Laodicea, who I believe is a split from COG-FF, has put out an article about “Who are the 144,000 of Revelation 14?” The article starts out in splendid COG tradition that many do not understand because of preconceived ideas, and then goes on to try to prove their point as though any other are irrelevant.
“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads”… “These are they, which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the Firstfruits unto God and the Lamb” (Rev. 14:1-4).
These verses plainly state that the Firstfruits are made up of 144,000 people.
Um, no, that isn’t what it says. That is what is known as reading into the text. It says that the 144,000 are firstfruits. The hard and fast 144,000 are the only firstfruits makes 3 mistakes.
The first mistake is that we have to remember the Bible was written in another language. Nuances in language can be missed, and they can change over time. Take the above. The NIV translates v 4 as:
4These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
You can see here that there is no indication they are the only firstfruits.
Furthermore, the 144,000 are from the tribes of Israel that come out of the Tribulation (Rev 7:1-8). If they are the only ones, then what of the Gentiles?
Speaking of Gentiles, Rev 7:9 makes mention of “a great multitude” who also comes out of the Tribulation. If only 144,000 are firstfruits, then what of them?
With so many people coming into the Church during those times and in the following years, could it be possible that only 144,000 will be the Firstfruits unto God?
Fortunately, God is not so limited.
Shortly before Herbert Armstrong died in the mid-80's, he pointed out during a Feast message that WCG had about 144,000 people attending Feast sites. He wanted us to note the significance of that number.
But then things changed, didn't they?