Monday, October 25, 2010

Chapter 3 - The origin of the "144,000" and "12,000" in the Book of Revelation

Chapter 3: The origin of the "12,000" and "144,000" in the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation written by John is a highly encrypted book with several symbolic representations deriving from several sources. His book will be proven to be a manuscript concerning a non-violent revolution towards the Roman Empire. The book he had written is also a document concerning the inner political struggle between two or more factions within the early Christian community. The coded messages he uses will be decoded for all to see and it will expose his work as simply a desire and an opinion on how the early Christian community should be guided and lead.

The "12,000" tally of each tribe listed in Chapter seven of the Book of Revelation signals or expresses the equality of each individual among the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians within the ‘Body of Christ’. The number of each tribe is not of primary importance but rather its meaning in representing equality between the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians. In the Book of James, supposedly written by the half-brother of Jesus, it states in JAMES 1:1 - " the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greetings."

Therefore, the mention of the tribes in the Book of Revelation was an expression of the equal observation of the 'Law' among the Christian community. 'Law' (Acts 21:24) being “the mercy” of their concept of God. Accordingly, the equal number of the tribes listed (Revelation 7:4-8) is simply will be shown as a symbolic decision for equality before the 'Law' to resolve the several social conflicts and dilemmas which has plagued the early church or Christian congregation and it also presents a fragmented leadership. In comparison, the number of the tribes listed in the book of Numbers (located in the Old Testament) is symbolically represented as the old order where tribes were not treated or even represented with equal importance. John; the writer of the book of Revelation, expresses through symbolism, and at times direct quotations from the Old Testament, the equality of each individual to the 'Law' of the New Testament. While in another segment of the New Testament canon, James (James 2:8-13) and Paul (Galatians 4:4-5), addressed the dilemma concerning foods offered to idols and other social problems. For instance, how they would interact with non-Christian authorities and their congregations concerning the food regulation (Acts 21:18-25).  

Even though, the writer was expressing his deep felt intentions that his book is “divine” it will be proven not to be the case. The book of Revelation is a natural or temporal revolutionary manuscript with an observation rather than a divinely inspired manual.

The evidence of the contradiction:

Revelation 2:14 - " But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Ba'laam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. "


1st Corinthians 8:1-13


Paul also challenges the order of the early Christian leadership stated in the previous evidence, Acts 21:25, which Paul violates. Which is proof of ideological discord but yet each of the books in the New Testament canon are given the level of being divinely inspired. Are the books and letters contained within the New Testament canon equally “divinely inspired” or a collection of natural body of works created through group-member interactions? Hence, the writer of the book of Revelation has coded or encrypted many passages of his book which is addressed to the early Christian community to either admonish competitors or praise allies. Furthermore, the concealed messages, through symbolism and allegorical language, will be proven to be instrumental in the preservation of the temporal Christian leadership. Therefore, the knowledgeable early Christian leadership would be able to decode the symbolic languages within the Book of Revelation. Furthermore; a fairly knowledgeable Christian member, during the era of Roman occupation and persecution, could identify or decode the book of Revelation. Therefore, to decode the writer's message it would take the knowledge of knowing the Old Testament, Hebrew numerology, and knowledge of the history of the Essenes. The last variable could be determined by reading through the writings of Flavius Josephus.


First, deciphering the actual tally of "12,000". The writer's usage of the number "12,000" for each tribe is an expression of a departure from Jewish priestly leadership. The part of the proposed theory showing some type of numbering scheme was employed to stimulate the readers during the time and era of Roman occupation. This type of numbering would also be part of the "666" riddle which the Second Temple audience would have tried to decipher. The initial verses presented would lead to the conclusion which would have been obvious for the Christian believer but confusing to the non-believer of that particular era and therefore would qualify as a code:


Revelation 7:8 - "Of the tribe of Zeb'ulun were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand."

The topic and the identification of the tribes originate from the book of Genesis and the Book of Numbers. The tribe of JOSEPH does not exist but rather it is a combination of both the EPHRAIM and MANASSEH tribes.


The tribes listed in chapter seven of the Book of Revelation derived from meanings referred in Genesis chapter forty-eight and forty-nine. The primary meaning of the tribes listed is to show the Jewish Christian community leading the Gentile Christian community in the application of the "knowledge" which springs from the Jewish Christian members who are part of the "Body of Christ". Jesus takes the place of Moses through an allegorical and symbolic red sea crossing (this was noted by Isaiah in Isaiah 63:10-14 in describing the roles of Zerubbabel and Joshua the High priest. The transition is from the 1st Temple's destruction by the Babylonians to the building of the 2nd Temple by Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest (Haggai 1:1 and 1:14)).


Genesis 48:5 states -

"And now thy two sons, E'phra-im and Manas'seh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. "

First, there is no tribe of Joseph listed in the Book of Genesis but it is stated in the Book of Numbers 1:32-35 that they are the children of Joseph with their combined sum total: 40,500 + 32,200 = 72,000


Second, what is contained in the verse Revelation 7:7 and the previous verse in Genesis 48:5 -


"Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Is'sachar were sealed twelve thousand."


Third, the tribe of Levi is included because they are the next tribe listed and it parallels with Genesis 48:5 - EPHRAIM and MANASSEH. The tally for the tribe of Simeon is 59,300. The SIMEON tribe is listed and stated in Genesis 49:5 and Numbers 2:12-13.


Revelation 7:7 -"Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Is'sachar were sealed twelve thousand. "


Genesis 49:5 -" Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations."


Notice the order of Simeon and Levi in both books? They are similar. This only implies copying and therefore this is the first indication that the Book of Revelation is not from a supernatural source.


Fourth, the sum of the first three tribes which is: 59,300 + 72,700 = 132,000


This is the first proof: 144,000 - 132,000 = 12,000


This is the second proof: 132,000 + 12,000 = 144,000


The clue: The tribe of Levi is not factored in the final tally in the Book of Numbers with other tribes when the census was taken by Moses. There is a hidden meaning by the author of the Book of Revelation to suggest the principle of equality between the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.


Fifth, the identification of the "12,000".


Acts 1:15 -" And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about a hundred and twenty,)"


120 times "X" = "Y"/"X" and "Y" being the unknown variables will be known. Let us now assume that the "Y" variable is "12,000" giving us the numerical value of each tribe listed in the Book of Revelation. The value of "Y" is also the difference between "144,000" and "132,000".


The reason for ACTS 1:15 as a factor is because of ACTS 1:19 -" And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called, in their proper tongue, Acel'dama, that is to say, The field of blood."

The BLOOD SACRIFICE is crucial to understand the mind of the author because the writer uses the actual ceremonial sacrifices located throughout the books of Leviticus and Numbers then employs them symbolically within the Book of Revelation.


Sixth; the rationale for the multiplication scheme, ACTS 1:15, are the New Levites or the new symbolical leadership for the nascent Christian community. Hence, the term: Jewish-Christians and the mention of the grafting of the gentiles into the Jewish body of Christians (Romans 11:23-26). The writer is again being very symbolic and attempted to describe the sacrificial ceremonies of Leviticus, Exodus and Numbers into his treatise because of Revelation 14:1 and 14:4 which mentions "Lamb". Another reason is to add his extensive ceremonial knowledge into the Book of Revelation to compliment an explanation of Jesus' crucifixion stated in the Book of Hebrews. In other words, the style of Revelation is similar to the Book of Hebrews.


The writer of the Book of Revelation has also stated the "144,000" and "virgins" in Revelation 14:4 which would have expressed the writer's background as an Essene or very much influenced by this movement. The writer, John, has definitely presented an acknowledgement of Old Testament scriptures. For example, Revelation 14:4 parallels to the order of having pure wives for the Levitical priest in Leviticus 21:7. Furthermore, this is another evidence of borrowing events and then symbolizing them into his book. John's extensive knowledge of the Old Testament canon explains a prime example: the number and type of animals needed for sacrificial ceremonies for each tribe in NUMBERS 7:11-88.

Seventh, the final evidence of attaining the "12,000" is through the symbolic use of silver and gold coins.

ACTS 1:15 has given the writer the "120". Again the proof: (120 times "X" = 12,000) " X " numerical value should be "100". To get the value of "100" the topic of ceremonial procedures would have to be read over in the book of Leviticus. Leviticus 27:3-7 we get the total and value of "90" counting only the male portion of the demanded sacrificial animals. Verse 3 = 50 shekels of silver, Verse 5 = 20 shekels of silver , Verse 6 = 5 shekels of silver ,Verse 7 = 15 shekels of silver - Total = 90 shekels of silver.

Only the males are counted because "males" are implied in the Revelation 14:4 (Leviticus 21:7) and the theme of the "Lamb" (Revelation 14:1 and 14:4) is complimented with Leviticus 27:3-7. "Leviticus" is the common denominator among the previous evidence given. The remaining "10" value is located in 2nd Samuel 18:10-11 - " And a certain man saw it, and told Jo'ab, and said, Behold, I saw Ab'salom hanged in an oak. And Jo'ab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle. "

SILVER, according to the writer of the Book of Revelation, would equate to a "curse" in comparison to GOLD as an example derived from Revelation 3:18. The reason is because of the use of Silver coins, only stated in the Gospel of Matthew 26:15, were used in the betrayal of Jesus. Why is 2nd Samuel 18:10-11 relevant to the presentation and to understand the mind of the writer in furthering his message? Because according to the followers of Messiah Jesus their messiah was hanged on a type of tree by the Romans. Paul states this in Galatians 3:13 in which the Jewish regulation and custom was stated in Deuteronomy 21:22-23. The individual was punished by hanging on a tree for particular crimes. This type of punishment was used on non-Judaic kings by Joshua (Joshua 10:26-27). Nevertheless, this is where the remaining "10" derives from based on the evidence.

Proof: 90+10 = 100,120 times 100 = 12,000 then 132,000 + 12,000 = 144,000 of the Book of Revelation chapter seven and chapter fourteen.

Of course, adding the 12,000 assigned to each tribe also would result in the total "144,000" but the writer does not explain the reason for the "12,000" total for each tribe listed in the Book of Revelation. The previous presented proof is an alternative theory only and not the final conclusion. The name of the theory is The Silver Shekels Proof. The previous may be too complicated to be reasonably used by the writer and this forces another theory to be presented.

The hypothetical formula presented:

Ephraim tribe + Manasseh tribe + Simeon tribe + Levi tribe (Acts 1:15) times 100 silver shekels = 144,000.


The alternative conclusion is that the source of the "144,000" derives from another perspective. Hence, it may be the case that John was calculating the "1,000" year reign of the saints (Jews and Gentile believers of Christ (Revelation 20:4)) with the stated "12" tribes (Revelation 7:2-8) and a symbolic "12" which either represents the leadership of the nascent Christian congregation under James or reinforcing a symbolic representation of the new "grafted" Gentiles (Revelation 7:9 and Romans 11:1-36). However, most likely referring back to the Gospel of Matthew where the twelve disciples are mentioned (Matthew 26:20) and this is most likely the case knowing that the term “new testament” (Matthew 26:28) are both stated in Revelation (Revelation 11:19 and 21:14):


(12 x 12 x 1,000) = 144,000 (Revelation 14:1)

Eighth, finally and as concrete evidence of the writer's background as an Essene, or influenced by this movement, there is evidence of possible use of other documents to encrypt his message. The clues are based on the understanding of wearing the color white as a symbolic gesture.


Revelation 3:4 -" Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. "


 Revelation 19:8 - " And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

Ecclesiastes 9:8 also states - "Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment."

Therefore, according the writer of the Book of Revelation, wearing white is symbolic for purity. The writer of the Book of Revelation may have simply borrowed the language from the Ecclesiastes source above. The other theory would be to assume that John was a previous member of the Essene movement or John was influenced by this movement and later embraced Christianity. The obvious conflict exists between Paul and the writer of the Book of Revelation concerning the consuming of foods sacrificed to idols. The previous statement could be a crucial outlier telling us that the Book of Revelation was intended for the audience of A.D. 70 to A.D. 140. Flavius Josephus, someone who has lived during the time of the Romans, observes and lists the behavior of the Essenes in his book:

The Wars of the Jews or the History of the Destruction of Jerusalem- Book II, Chapter 8, Point 7 states:

" 7. But now if any one hath a mind to come over to their sect, he is not immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living which they use for a year, while he continues excluded'; and they give him also a small hatchet, and the fore-mentioned girdle, and the white garment. And when he hath given evidence, during that time, that he can observe their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living, and is made a partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not even now admitted to live with them; for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his temper is tried two more years; and if he appear to be worthy, they then admit him into their society. And before he is allowed to touch their common food, he is obliged to take tremendous oaths, that, in the first place, he will exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards men, and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord, or by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and be assistant to the righteous; that he will ever show fidelity to all men, and especially to those in authority, because no one obtains the government without God's assistance; and that if he be in authority, he will at no time whatever abuse his authority, nor endeavor to outshine his subjects either in his garments, or any other finery; that he will be perpetually a lover of truth, and propose to himself to reprove those that tell lies; that he will keep his hands clear from theft, and his soul from unlawful gains; and that he will neither conceal any thing from those of his own sect, nor discover any of their doctrines to others, no, not though anyone should compel him so to do at the hazard of his life. Moreover, he swears to communicate their doctrines to no one any otherwise than as he received them himself; that he will abstain from robbery, and will equally preserve the books belonging to their sect, and the names of the angels [or messengers]. These are the oaths by which they secure their proselytes to themselves."

The info above would explain the reason for the Book of Revelation to be filled with encrypted or coded verses. Most importantly, the evidence provided by Flavius Josephus has properly identified the writer of the Book of Revelation to be a prior member of the Essenes or someone greatly influenced by them. Another identifier is further stated in points twelve and thirteen of the particular chapter by Flavius Josephus :

" 12. There are also those among them who undertake to foretell things to come, by reading the holy books, and using several sorts of purifications, and being perpetually conversant in the discourses of the prophets; and it is but seldom that they miss in their predictions.
13. Moreover, there is another order of Essenes, who agree with the rest as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the principal part of human life, which is the prospect of succession; nay, rather, that if all men should be of the same opinion, the whole race of mankind would fail. However, they try their spouses for three years; and if they find that they have their natural purgations thrice, as trials that they are likely to be fruitful, they then actually marry them. But they do not use to accompany with their wives when they are with child, as a demonstration that they do not many out of regard to pleasure, but for the sake of posterity. Now the women go into the baths with some of their garments on, as the men do with somewhat girded about them. And these are the customs of this order of Essenes. "

Here we get the most important evidence: There were other individuals who could foretell the future like Nostradamus during the days of Jesus. The point not mentioned is that healers also existed during the era of Jesus of Nazareth. Paul even described someone he knew that may have had these abilities (2nd Corinthians chapter twelve) and this description mentioned in the Corinthians passage does not describe Barnabas but actually John himself. The disagreement definitely derives from their disagreement concerning foods sacrificed to idols (1st Corinthians chapter eight and Revelation 2:14, 20).

Points 12 explicitly states that the Essenes are readers of the Bible and other Jewish texts. Point 13 also states that another group within the Essenes does not marry. The customs of the Essenes are expressed by the writer of the Book of Revelation in Revelation 14:4 -

"These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins and these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb."

Even though, it may be symbolic and not literal, it is evidence that the writer was a follower of the Essenes or influenced by them because the manner of language John employs in the Book of Revelation as per stated by the Flavius Josephus source. The other clue is that the number "12,000" is generic and it would mean that it would be a “sin” or crime to know the exact number or tally census according to the manner and style of the Book of Revelation. Evidence: 1st Chronicles chapter twenty-one and 2nd Samuel chapter twenty-four. The evidence of this is clearly stated and the other evidence is the usage of the ceremonial sacrifices as symbolic representations. The "12,000" generic tally most likely derive from the number of disciples but the number disciples mention in the Gospels is a symbolic code rather than a literal number. The next proposed theory is that the number is derived from a symbolic split of the number twenty-four. The number of elders described in the Book of Revelation is twenty-four (Revelation 4:4, 4:10, 5:8, 5:14, 11:16, and 19:4). In Revelation 14:3, the twenty-four elders are combined as one homogenous group within the “144,000”. The reason for this combination is to present an alternative government in opposition to the Roman senate. The Roman government was ruled by the twelve tablets and ten men ruling board called Decemviri which formulate new social codes. Therefore, the twelve used by the writer of the Book of Revelation was presenting the twelve elders for the Gentile Christians and twelve elders for the Jewish-Christians which were grafted together as one (Romans 11:23-26 and Hebrews 7:13). The Roman senate was represented as “SPQR” or Senatus Populusque Romanus (Roman Popular Senate) and the letters were probably visible during crucifixions and the Roman soldiers’ shields. The previous evidence would suggest that the writer was setting up an image of two opposing forces which spiritually gathered during the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth called properly – “Armageddon”. The previous suggestion will be presented in another chapter describing the meaning of Armageddon as past spiritual battle which already occurred.




     The Book of Revelation 19:9 - "And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” The Gospels speak of 12 disciples of Jesus (Matthew 26:47, Mark 14:43, Luke 22:47 and John 20:24). The previous evidence from the Gospels presents the possible conclusion that the number twelve, utilized to describe the number of disciples, is more symbolic than actual facts.

     Even the prophecies contained in John’s last book could not be taken literally nor to be clear “divine” prophecies of the future but rather natural predictions of events. For example, several eras before John, King Saul himself was known to demand people who would be able to predict future events (1st Samuel 28:7-25) and even non-Jews of the past as noted in the Old Testament passages had similar abilities (Numbers 22:5 - Numbers 24:25). Even though, it is clearly stated that such things are a “sin” (Isaiah 8:19-20). Moreover, the writer of the book of Revelation is a Jewish-Christian with prior influences from the Essene sect and this is a highly probable speculation. However, like most Essenes of his day, the writer was correct in predicting the fall of the Roman empire but was not correct concerning the immediate return of Jesus (Revelation 1:7,Revelation 2:27, and Revelation 3:9-11) and this ambiguity will be addressed in a later chapter. John, the Jewish-Christian with possible prior membership in the Essene sect, also had composed and produced the gospel of John. John is either predicting through natural means or ultra-natural means (like psychics or psychic-like abilities) without a supernatural guidance or 'divine command'. John may have also predicted the demise of the Roman emperors (Revelation 17:10) and the Roman Empire but falsely predicted the seven decades cycle (Revelation 8:10-11). The previous which would have signaled the physical return of Jesus, did not materialize. The failure of the prediction will also be addressed in another chapter. However, it may be the case that he simply heard about the destruction of the Temple and then composed the book of Revelation while on the island of Patmos. John simply gave a natural prediction and not a supernatural one concerning the fall of the Roman Empire.


The clear proof or refutable evidence above is the conflict between the writer of the book of Revelation and Paul concerning foods sacrificed to idols which is an indication of the possible fallibility concerning the book of Revelation. So, a critical question is developed and delivered, which of the books in the New Testament Canon is the literal word of God? The books are opinions by men who are following their own desires, insights and predictions into the immediate future. Even Paul makes this observation of the possible fallibility of the supposed New Testament and other sources (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) but it may be the case that Paul was attacking Matthew 10:5-15 because of his opinion in Romans 11:23-26. Therefore, the evidence is based on the absence of the terms - "Roman" or "Rome"- within the book of Revelation. Nevertheless, the book is an expression of political survivability in the midst of inner conflicts and state directed oppression against the nascent Christian community.



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