painted by an unknown artist, depicting the 144,000 from Revelation 7, from a copy of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Saint Beatus of Liébana The numbers 12,000 and 144,000 are variously interpreted in traditional Christianity. Some, taking the numbers in Revelation to be symbolic, believe it represents all of God's people throughout history in the heavenly Church. One suggestion is that the number comes from 12, a symbol for totality, which is squared and multiplied byone thousand for more emphasis. Others insist the numbers 12,000 and 144,000 are literal numbers and representing either descendants of Jacob or others to whom God has given a superior destiny with a distinct role at the time of the end of the world. One understanding is that the 144,000 are recently converted Jewish evangelists sent out to bring sinners to Jesus Christ during the seven year tribulation period. Preterists believe they are Jewish Christians, sealed for deliverance from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. DispensationalistTim LaHaye, in his commentary Revelation: Illustrated and Made Plain, considers the 144,000 in Revelation 7 to refer to Jews and those in Revelation 14 to refer to Christians.
believe that exactly 144,000 faithful Christians from Pentecost of 33 AD until the present day will be resurrected to heaven as immortal spirit beings to spend eternity with God and Christ. They believe that these people are "anointed" by God to become part of the spiritual "Israel of God". They believe the 144,000 will serve with Christ as king-priests for a thousand years, while all other people accepted by God, will be given an opportunity to live forever in a restored paradise on earth. Individual Witnesses indicate their claim of being "anointed" by partaking of the bread and wine at the annual Memorial of Christ's death. More than 19,500 Witnesses worldwide—an increase of about 11,000 since 1995—claim to be of the anointed "remnant" of the 144,000. The members of the Governing Body who exercise teaching authority over Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide claim to be among the anointed 144,000, and also consider themselves as a group to be the faithful and discreet slave of and .
believes that the sealing of the 144,000 relates to the high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; "for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn."
The ChristianSkoptsy sect in Russia believed that the Messiah would come when there were 144,000 Skoptsy believers, based on their reading of the Book of Revelation.
The Unification Church founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon believes the 144,000 represents the total number of saints whom Christ must find "who can restore through indemnity the missions of all the past saints who, despite their best efforts to do God's Will, fell prey to Satan when they failed in their responsibilities. He must find these people during his lifetime and lay the foundation of victory over Satan's world".
144,000 is alleged to have been the number of Sahaba of Muhammad, though other totals have been given. The number is also given as the total number of prophets in Islam, although this has also been reported as 124,000 or 244,000. The actual number of prophets or Sahaba is not known, however, 25 prophets are mentioned by name in the Qur'an.