Who are they?
Where they come from?:
Revelation 7:2-6King James Version (KJV)
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 14:1-5King James Version (KJV)
14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 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 to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Who could be part of them (key word is maybe because some in the below would be outside the 144,000):
Revelation 20:4-6King James Version (KJV)
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Revelation 7:14-17King James Version (KJV)
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Would religious leaders or the “anointed” be part of it?
Matthew 5:8King James Version (KJV)
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Acts 20:28American Standard Version (ASV)
Romans 10:14-15New International Version (NIV)
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[a]
So they have to be pure of heart and are appointed as overseers and “sent” (what defines this?) for openers.
Matthew 7:21-23New International Version (NIV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
2 John 7New International Version (NIV)
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
2 Corinthians 11:13New International Version (NIV)
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
1 Timothy 4:1-4New International Version (NIV)
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
Revelation 22:18-19New International Version (NIV)
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
They can’t be false prophets. Making a blanket statement that one particular bible is true and the rest are of Satan is bogus (NWT or KJV). Mind that men make mistakes both in preaching and bible translation. Making money by using the name of God or commanding members of a church to commit crime, slander or hate is a false doctrine.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe only 144,000 are in the body of Christ and go to heaven. They believe that Jesus only mediates them in 1 Tim 2:5. This is what verse 6 says:
1 Timothy 2:6American Standard Version (ASV)
6 who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;
When one is asked if he or she is in the body of Christ (as per Eph 5:23 and Col 1:18), which we know is saved (John 10:9 and Acts 4:10-2) and the answer is “no,” that is denying Christ.
Who is the angel from the east in Rev 7:1-4 and was it present since the beginning of the gathering? Remember that Revelation is a PROPHECY. Nostradamus predicted Hitler and JFK, for instance.
- Some say it is Cyrus (MSG and AMP Isaiah 46:11 specifically calls it out as the bird of prey). The time is 537BC. Geographically, this is in the Middle East. If you look at history, why would a tyrant be an “angel?” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great does also say he recognized the religions of the countries he conquered. His rule extended from the Middle East to parts of Asia.
- Some say it is a specific person from the far east in the 20th century (using Isaiah 43:5-6, Isaiah 42:10, Isaiah 46:11 most versions, and Matt 24:6-7 and 13). It is an Asian country with a strong Christian influence and spread of the church is to the far west and going eastward. The religion is worldwide. All this is consistent with God’s upcoming wrath. WW1 is the first major war on earth. There is a silence in heaven space of half hour (Rev 8:1) and that seems to coincide with the interval between the end of WW1 and start of WW2 (as mentioned earlier, it could be possible that the 7th seal is opened before the 3rd-6th written in Rev 6; initial examination indicates the first and second seals could have been open before WW1 – see the article “The Seven Seals of Revelation”); it indicates a calm before a series of tragic events. One also has to admit there have been a number of wars (WW2, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, the current campaign in the Middle East since 9/11/2001) and rumors of wars (since 1945, the nuclear threat; the Bay of Pigs in 1962 almost caused WW3 and the world being on the brink of it at this point). There have also been an increase in the number of earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes in the 21st century (Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, numerous earthquakes in Asia, and the recent New Orleans flooding) consistent with 2 Peter 3:6. “There are so many preachers in the east that claim to be the vessel or the instrument of God in preaching the truth. One of them very much known in the Far East is a Korean by the name of Sun Myung Moon. Another is a Filipino by the name of Felix Manalo who teaches that he is the angel ascending in the east in the book of Revelation Chapter 7. Another still is a Filipino by the name of Salvador Payawal, who preached that the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth will be on January 1, 2001, 12:01 in the morning. And of course, in the Philippines, there is also Bro. Soriano.” (as claimed on a blog by a certain Elisio Soriano).
- A Wikipedia article about Unification Church and its “Divine Principle” states God combines masculinity and femininity, which is in direct conflict with the Bible since God is referred to as “He” and that woman came out of Adam’s rib.
- Felix Manalo registered the Iglesia Ni Cristo on July 27, 1914 and was originally Catholic. He ultimately ended up as a 7th Day Adventist minister (and it was said he also studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses) before losing interest in organized religion. Source: Wikipedia.
- Elisio Soriano is the chief evangelist of Members of Church of God International (aka Ang Dating Daan or “the Old Path”), formed in 1980 after he and 16 others broke from a church started by a dissident Iglesia Ni Cristo minister in approximately 1925. Their reason for breaking off is the leader of the church was a woman. Look up the Wikipedia article.
- What was stated about Salvador Paywal (“the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ….. Jan 1, 2001”) contradicts Matt 24:36 and 2 Peter 3:7-13.
- Some say it is Jesus. Heb 1:5-6 says that God does not allow an angel to sit beside Him. Those that reject Apostle Paul may believe this and some Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it, although it is not specifically taught as part of their doctrine. They do believe Jesus made a silent return to earth in 1914. The main dispute is the bible verse. Also not enough substantial evidence. Also verse 13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” By rejecting Apostle Paul, that leaves open that Michael is Jesus; however another article compares Jude 1:9 to Acts 20:28 ASV and Mark 16:19 (and they will try to say that NWT is the only true bible).
- http://www.goodnewspirit.com/michael.htm interesting article. Few teach this prophecy. This would indicate a future angel from the east and is a biblical interpretation. Also remember that Michael has been present since the beginning and is literally an angel.
All 4 of the above examples are in the eastern hemisphere. It cannot be a religious leader in the United States because that is the Western hemisphere.
Closer look at Rev 7:2 says “an angel from the east.” This could indicate the possibility of more than one angel from the east including #1, #2, and #4; and #4 is a future. If one takes Rev 7:4 and Rev 14:1-5 literally, it means the 144,000 are Jewish male virgins without fault; in short, “saints.” Also, Eph 5:27 says the church shall be presented without spot and blameless. The gathering of the 144,000 (or at least those beheaded in the name of Jesus as written in Rev 20:4-5) has been ongoing. The verses used to associate a man being an angel are in Rev 2: “angels of the church” refer to bishops.
Psalm 116:15New King James Version (NKJV)
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.
Psalm 16:3New King James Version (NKJV)
3 As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
So saints can be both dead or alive. This would give rise to 1 Thess 4:16-17.
Questions about the 144,000:
- When did they start gathering? It would have to be somewhere around the time of the prophets. The apostles would have to be part of it. John the Baptist was beheaded in Matt 14:8 as a birthday present for the Pharaoh’s daughter (consistent with Rev 20:4-5). Persecution is part of the quality of being one of the group. #1, therefore makes sense in this case; however, Cyrus as a sole angel from the east would indicate that the 144,000 were gathered before Christ’s time.
- Are they still being gathered? In the case of #2 and #4 in regards to the angel from the east, yes.
- Felix Manalo died in 1963. The Iglesia Ni Cristo spread to the western hemisphere in 1968 and is in 101 countries with approximately 4 million members. During World War 2, a number of Christians in the Philippines were slaughtered by Japanese soldiers, 6 million Jews and a small group of Jehovah’s Witnesses were exterminated in German concentration camps. How many of these were worthy of sainthood? It is not impossible that some remnants of the 144,000 could be called during this timeframe (although the 144,000 are not taught in INC).
- Soriano proclaimed himself as such as in the quote. Self-proclamation is skeptical.
- Events after 1963 to present:
- Priests and ministers were jailed and even executed for their beliefs in Communist countries.
- Between 1967-1972, Jehovah’s Witnesses were beaten by police and citizens for refusing to obtain political cards. Some were even murdered.
- Christians in the Middle East (including children) are being beheaded by ISIS.
- In the recent Marawi incident in the Philippines, there were reports of people being beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam.
- Michael the Archangel is a literal spirit being. According to Revelation 12:7 he leads the battle of good and evil (“Armaggedon”) just before 2nd coming of Jesus; consequently, this would indicate a final gathering of the last remnants. One more thing of note is King Cyrus is mentioned in Daniel 10:1 as is Michael.
- Do they come from a specific religion? Literally it would be Jews. Figuratively, Jews or descendents (including Christians). Most modern preachers recognize that they are Jews (including some INC and MCGI).
- Would only that number be worthy of being in the first resurrection? It is POSSIBLE given the stringent requirements. that is about 2 percent of the world population.
- Their purpose as defined in Rev 20:4-5 would be to rule with Christ for 1000 years.
- Are they the only ones going to heaven? Not necessarily. Rev 19:1
19 After these things I heard[a] a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord[b] our God! This verse in Rev 19 is also related to the survivors of the Great Tribulation (Rev 7:9-13 is amplified by Rev 7:14-17).
There is a chosen group:
1 Peter 2:9New King James Version (NKJV)
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Deuteronomy 7:6New King James Version (NKJV)
6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
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So what do other do other religions say about an angel from the east?
Not a lot even preach it. It is a prophecy open to interpretation. To prove it incorrect requires bible verses.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus made a silent return to earth in 1914 to acquire the remnants of the 144,000. This is based on the date of the siege of Jerusalem being 607 BCE (which is really the destruction of Assyria). There are numerous sieges:
Also keep in mind that Wikipedia is populated by users so check other sources. There are some Jehovah’s Witnesses that believe Jesus is the angel from the east (although Watchtower does not formally teach it).
Final thought: given that there are the above beliefs that “an angel from the east” is a man, what about the possibility of it working through a man? This could settle the dispute. Michael the Archangel leads the battle of good vs evil. So why couldn’t he also guide a messenger? Daniel 10 seems to indicate the possibility based on Cyrus appearing in verse 1 and a mention of Michael in verse 13. The events around Felix Manalo between 1914 thru 1963 (WW1, a number of martyrs in WW2) could also indicate the possibility.