Other Names for the 144,000

by Colin and Russell Standish




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Note by Ron: Unfortunately, the Standish brothers did not include the designation Zion as the “bride of Christ” (Isaiah 62:1-5), for the 144,000. There she is referred to as righteous. She is called a virgin (bethulah in Hebrew) meaning strictly pure, whereas a deeper Lexicon study of the word virgin will show that the 10 virgins may have been concubines. They are not as pure as the bride of Christ.

They did not show how Desire of Ages, 179, refers to the disciples of Christ as His bride.

They did not mention Christ’s Object Lessons, 405-6, where the voice of God AND THE VOICE OF THE BRIDE awaken all 10 virgins, and Matthew 25 says that all those virgins slept. In Isaiah 62:1-5, it is Zion the bride that is married—verses 1-5. In verse 11, she is told to give a message to her daughter. That message is the same as the message of Matthew 25:1-6.

Also it is unfortunate that the Standish brothers did not include the designation True Reformers per the following statement by Ellen White:

"Characteristics of True Reformers.--Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel's message, those who avow themselves God's commandment-keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered [written--Heb. 12:22, 23] in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations." E. G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, 1151.


God awakens (calls) the True Reformers first as Jesus called His disciples first. They awaken the ten virgins, the guests at the wedding. Also see The Great Controversy, pp. 426, 427 for the distinction between the bride and the guests.


It is equally unfortunate that the Standish brothers did not mention that the bride is called Philadelphia for the following reasons:


·       She is the church of brotherly love.

·       Though defined as weak, Philadelphia is not faulted—is found blameless.

·       She is kept through the time of trouble.

·       She is made pillars in the Temple (Rev. 3:10-12) in heaven and Ellen White says that only the 144,000 enter the Temple, Early Writings, p. 19.


Also, the Standish brothers did not mention that the 144,000 are referred to as representatives of the heavenly Jerusalem, GC, 426-7.


They did not mention that the 144,000 are referred to as:


·       Heavenly Mt. Sion (Zion).

·       Church of the firstborn.

·       Just men made perfect, Heb. 12:22, 23:


 22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.




Other Names for the 144,000


By Colin and Russell Standish


Down through the history of the world, God has always provided special names to designate His people. Some of these names have existed throughout history. Others, such as the 144,000, are associated only with end-time events. It will be helpful for us to identify other terms which God uses to designate His people at the end of time to expand more completely our understanding of who the 144,000 are. We will examine a few of these names.


The “Very Elect” or the “Chosen 

 We commence with Jesus’ designation in His declaration concerning those who will not be deceived by Satan. Matthew 24 presents Christ’s answer to the query of the disciples concerning the events which occur just prior to the end of the world. Four times Christ warns against deception:  


And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4–5)  


And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Verse 11)  


For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Verse 24)


 It will be noted in verse 24 that so deceptive will be the guile of Satan that almost the entire inhabitants of the world will be deceived. So important was this warning that Jesus designated His end-time people who cannot be deceived as the “very elect.” Surely, many of them will form the 144,000. Now, who are the very elect? We believe that the apostle Peter expressed the plainest characteristic of this group:  


Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:2)  


In the same epistle Peter elaborated, 


But ye are a chosen* generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Peter 2:9) 

*Note: The word “chosen” in 1 Peter 2:9 comes from the same Greek word as does “elect” in Matthew 24:24 and 1 Peter 1:2. The same Greek word is also translated “chosen” in Matthew 20:16; 22:14; Luke 23:35; Romans 16:13; 1 Peter 2:4; and Revelation 17:14.   


Paul further presented the holy characteristics of the elect. 


Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. (Colossians 3:12)  


These words of Peter and Paul help us to understand the characteristics of those who will not be deceived by Satan at the end of time. It is of great discomfiture to us to know that a large number of those who now espouse the Seventh-day Adventist faith will be deceived because they do not accept the fullness of the saving power of Jesus in their lives.


No doubt, the 144,000, as part of the “very elect,” cannot be deceived because they have the mind of Jesus, as is referred to in Paul’s epistle:  


Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)    



The term “remnant” has been used down through the ages. In most cases, it is a term used to designate the genuine, faithful souls among God’s professed people. One of the most sobering statements concerning the remnant is to be found in the introduction of the prophetic writings of Isaiah: 


Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:9)  


It is greatly disturbing to think that only a very small remnant remained in Judah at a very critical time in the history of that nation. A little later in his epistle Isaiah added, 


For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Isaiah 10:22) 


 This was the prophecy concerning the upcoming Babylonian captivity, signaling the fact that when that captivity was over and the decree permitted the Jews to return to their homeland, only a remnant would return. Presumably, most of the Jews felt comfortable in Babylon. They were at ease with the worldly affluence of their heathen environment, for they had forsaken God, “having loved this present world” as did Demas in a later era. (2 Timothy 4:10) However, both of these prophetic passages regarding the “remnant” possess great relevance to the closing moments of earth’s history when the 144,000 will be made up for the kingdom of  heaven. Paul changes the language a little to present these texts in his epistle to the Romans in the context of salvation at the return of Jesus, certifying that these prophecies will be fulfilled in our day: 


Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. (Romans 9:27–29) 


Paul was addressing God’s modern-day Israel, and once again, God impressed the disturbing fact upon His professed people that only a remnant will be saved, and the 144,000 certainly will be a very small remnant. Who are the remnant? Zephaniah was very explicit in setting forth specific details of their characters: 


The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth. . . . (Zephaniah 3:13)  


The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity. How devastating it will be for those who claim that God’s people will continue to sin until Jesus comes! Some have attempted to confuse the issue of sin by redefining iniquity to mean the sin of our nature, or “original sin” as the Roman Catholics and most Protestants falsely declare. For example, in Elder Jack Sequeria’s book Beyond Belief, the author wrongly clarifies iniquity as follows:  


This [iniquity] does not primarily refer to an act of sin, but to a condition of sinfulness: by nature we are spiritually “bent” (see Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6). Jack Sequeira, Beyond Belief, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1993, p. 17. 


While all three texts cited by Elder Sequeira mention the word “iniquity,” not one plainly states that iniquity is a condition of sinfulness by nature. Some have tried to twist Psalm 51:5 in that direction. To support this false interpretation many resort to using the disgraceful translation of this cry of David as presented by the early New International Version. Let us compare the truth as found in the reliable King James Version with this debased translation of more recent times:  


Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5 (KJV)  


Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 (NIV)  


Our Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal has been seriously compromised by the inclusion of this doctrinally false rendition of the latter translation. (See Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, No. 756) 


However, the following verses cannot be so interpreted.  


But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)  


All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) 



        Iniquity involves transgression of God’s law—the sinful, deliberate acts of commandment breaking. 


        This is confirmed in many texts, including the words of Christ.  


Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. (Psalm 141:4) 


For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. (Isaiah 32:6)



The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. (Malachi 2:6) 


And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23) 


        Notice that our Savior specifically stated that iniquity was a work, not an inherited state. 


        It will be noted in Zephaniah 3:13 that iniquity clearly is not the state of our being or our nature. Rather, it is something that is done, for the text says “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity.” It also says that the remnant will not speak lies nor be deceitful in any way. This parallels the purity of the 144,000: 


And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:5) 


        Thus it is plain that at the end of human history, just before Christ’s return, the remnant is the same group as the 144,000. In detailing God’s end-time faithful, John addressed them as the remnant: 


And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17) 


        It is of fearful implications to recognize that Satan is angry with the pure woman at the end of this sin-ridden world, for he is filled with wrath against the church which possesses a pure faith. Satan is never wroth with an impure church. There is only one church which professes a pure faith at the end time, and that is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  


        It is also of deep consequence that the remnant of God’s church alone will be under the attack of Satan, for he is making war with the remnant of her seed. While Satan has attacked all who profess to be Seventh-day Adventists, he especially focuses his attacks upon those who are faithful. The faithful are characterized by those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). Today, vast segments of the Seventh-day Adventist membership do not believe it possible to keep the commandments of God in spite of the fact that there are such wonderful promises to those who do His commandments. 


Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)  


The servant of the Lord stated under inspiration that 


He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 360 


        Here again are presented the characteristics of the 144,000. They are law keepers, not in human strength, of course, but in the power of the indwelling Christ. They also have the testimony of Jesus Christ which is the Spirit of Prophecy.  


And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10) 


        Many are openly rejecting the Spirit of Prophecy; others are effectively ignoring it. Such can never be included in the 144,000. 



Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12) 


He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:10) 


        Once again, we discover that the saints keep the commandments of God. The 144,000, we are told, are not defiled with women; that is, they have not accepted false doctrine from the churches of fallen Christendom. They have not been ensnared by the ecumenical movement. Even more importantly, they have not followed the doctrinal apostasy of some Seventh-day Adventist Church administrators, theologians, and ministers. They are virgins, an indication of their spiritual purity, and they are without fault before the throne of God. 


And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:5) 


        We notice in Revelation 14:12 that the saints not only keep the commandments of God but they also keep the faith of Jesus. We cannot keep the commandments of God except we have the faith of Jesus. 


        Thus, the 144,000 will be made up of those who have implicit and unwavering faith in Christ in every facet of their lives and ministry. By studying the very elect, the remnant of Israel, and the saints we have gained further precious insights into the characters of those who will comprise the 144,000.


In our next e-Magazine we will continue our series with a study called “The Investigative Judgmentand the 144,000”


The current series is taken from the book The 144,000, The Great Multitude, And The Return of Jesus, by Colin and Russell Standish. To order a copy of the entire book visit


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