The Remnant and the 144,000 (Fourteen 2)

Revelation 12:17 comes at the climax of chapter twelve, which covers the whole Christian era from the birth of the Messiah (12:5) to the final battle of earth’s history. That battle is summarized as a conflict between the dragon and the remnant. As we have seen, chapter thirteen elaborates on the dragon’s side of that conflict. The fourteenth chapter of Revelation elaborates on the remnant’s side of the final battle. So one could say that Revelation 12:17 is a nutshell summary in advance of the final battle that plays out from Revelation 13 all the way to chapter 20.

Revelation 14 is generally divided into three parts, first, the remnant is described (14:1-5), then its message is presented (14:6-13), and finally the outcome of the battle is outlined in symbolic language (14:14-20). But the word “remnant” is never mentioned in chapter fourteen, so how would one come to the conclusion that chapter fourteen is an elaboration of the brief mention of “remnant” at the end of chapter twelve?

To summarize, God’s faithful people are called “remnant” in Revelation 12:17 and “144,000” in 14:1. Are these two different groups or two different ways of describing the same group? I would conclude the former. Revelation 14:1 contains an allusion to Joel 2:32. In Joel, God’s faithful ones are those who call on the name of the Lord, reside in Mount Zion, and are called “remnant.” Revelation 14:1 mentions the name of the Lamb and the Father, Mount Zion, and calls these faithful ones the 144,000. The fact that Joel has “remnant” is John’s key to the perceptive reader that he is describing the remnant’s side of the final conflict with the dragon in chapter 14. This observation helps us see the interconnection between chapters twelve, thirteen and fourteen in the book of Revelation.

5 thoughts on “The Remnant and the 144,000 (Fourteen 2)

  1. Bankole

    Thank you for your invaluable contribution in understanding the Book of Revelation. Questions for you: Is Jesus ever presented as a high priest in Revelation. Can we adduce from evidence in the Book of Revelation “Sanctuary” teachings in the book of Revelation?

    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      Ross Winkle wrote a dissertation on the high priestly dress of Jesus in Revelation 1. I did an article on the Sanctuary in the book of Revelation, found in The Deep Things of God, chapter six or seven.

  2. Henry Hills

    Revelation 12 goes back to the war in Heaven that was before the fall of man.

    It thus covers the period aligned with Israel in the wilderness from Egypt’s death decree to the Exodus for 1260 years (the woman was pregnant). Then it covers Christ’s ministry for 1260 days. Then it covers the Christian period: after Christ was born and went to Heaven.

    Tradition can limit our understanding if we let it.

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