The 144,000 Bride Conundrum Resolved
"As we were traveling along, we met a company who also were gazing at the glories o the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments: their crowns were brilliant; their robes were pure white. As we greeted them, I asked Jesus who they were. He said they were martyrs that had been slain for Him. With them was an innumerable company of little ones; they also had a hem of red on their garments. Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lilies. And I saw the little ones climb, or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly, to the top of the mountains and pluck the never-facing flowers. There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place; the box, the pine, the fir, the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with the weight of its timely figs--these made the place all over glorious. And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, 'Only the 144,000 enter this place,' and we shouted, 'Alleluia."
The Apparent Problem With the 144,000 Being a Literal Number
In Revelation Chapter 7:1-8, the 144,000 are delineated by tribe. Then in verse 9, John beholds a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. In verse 13, one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 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. 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."
By "appearances," the great multitude are part of the 144,000, and vice-versa, because both go into the temple. Ellen White says that only the 144,000 enter the Temple on Mt. Zion. What is a possible answer to this "apparent" contradiction?
Every saved individual is part of the Spiritual Temple of God:
1Cr 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Cr 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
Heb 12:22, 23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Since all true Christians are spiritually part of the corporate body of Christ, He being the Head, and we being the body, we all would follow Christ into the Temple spiritually and by faith. In fact, Ellen White says that we should enter there now by faith, Early Writings, 254, 255. In this degree all enter the Temple and worship Christ day and night. However, Ellen White further distinguishes the 144,000 from the martyrs and the great, numberless throng, as follows:
"Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs."
One would assume that nearest the throne would be the bride of Christ. I believe Ellen White was referring to the Temple on Mt. Zion that was to be cleansed after the Thousand year millennium. That Temple cannot be fully cleansed until all the cases have been judged and all truly unrepentant sinners are finally destroyed. After that process, John the Revelator sees NO TEMPLE in heaven: "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." Revelation 21:22.
The 144,000 will go into the Temple until the Millennium is over and the Sanctuary is cleansed by the final resolution of the sin problem. They will officiate with Christ, as heads of the church, such as only the High priest and lesser priests went into the Temple on earth. If the heavenly Temple is the antitype of the earthly type, then only the priesthood comprised of the High Priest [Christ in the case of the heavenly Temple], and the lesser priests, go into the Temple, and in the heavenly Temple, the lesser priests would be the bride, the 144,000. So Ellen White had Biblical support for the fact that only the 144,000, the lesser priesthood faction enter the Temple on Mt. Zion with Christ, He being the High Priest.