Great Crowd & 144,000

Who are the Great Crowd & 144,000?

Abraham’s Promise, The Seed Blessing

Genesis 13 16 And I will constitute your seed like the dust particles of the earth, so that, if a man could be able to count the dust particles of the earth, then your seed could be numbered.+

Genesis 22 16 And Jehovah’s angel proceeded to call to Abraham the second time out of the heavens 16 and to say: “‘By myself I do swear,’ is the utterance of Jehovah,+ ‘that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one,+ 17 I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore;+ and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies.+ 18 And by means of your seed+ all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.’”+

Acts 3 25 YOU are the sons+ of the prophets and of the covenant which God covenanted with YOUR forefathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed* all the families of the earth will be blessed.’+

Galatians 3 15 Brothers, I speak with a human illustration: A validated covenant, though it is a man’s, no one sets aside or attaches additions to it.+ 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham+ and to his seed.+ It says, not: “And to seeds,” as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one:+ “And to your seed,”+ who is Christ.+17 Further, I say this: As to the covenant previously validated by God,+ the Law that has come into being four hundred and thirty years+ later does not invalidate it, so as to abolish the promise.+ 18 For if the inheritance is due to law, it is no longer due to promise;+ whereas God has kindly given it to Abraham through a promise.+ … 26 YOU are all, in fact, sons+ of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ+ have put on Christ.+ 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek,+ there is neither slave nor freeman,+there is neither male nor female;+ for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus.+ 29 Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed,+ heirs with reference to a promise.+

 

The Promise of Abraham’s Seed

So the promise to Abraham by and of his seed was that “all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves”, that “all the families of the earth will be blessed”. Paul wrote “the congregations of Galatia” (a mixture of Jews and non-Jews) “Now we, brothers, are children belonging to the promise the same as Isaac was.” — Galatians 4:28

Sharing in the promise did not mean that they were all now Jews. It just means it doesn’t matter if, racially speaking, you’re Jew or Gentile. We share the same promise by being sons of God through faith in Christ, and as Christ is the seed, if we are one with him, we are part of that seed. (Galatians 3:27-29John 17:20-23)

 

“Spiritual” Israel, “Spiritual” Jews

28 For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside,+ nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh.+ 29 But he is a Jew who is one on the inside,+ and [his] circumcision is that of the heart+ by spirit, and not by a written code.+ The praise+ of that one comes, not from men, but from God.+ — Romans 2:28, 29

 

Romans was written to the mixed race congregation of both Gentiles and Jews. You are not a “true Jew” just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a “true Jew” is one whose heart is right with God. And “true circumcision” is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people… Therefore since we don’t follow Jewish Laws we don’t become circumcised (as Jews, as men who are circumcised aren’t Jews) and we don’t seek to become Jews. God doesn’t want us to become Jew’s, but rather to follow his direction which is to follow his Son. The next chapter in Romans shows this: “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is he the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles — it is not by race or nationality. A Jew is a Jew, a Gentile is a Gentile. But we are all one in union with Christ. The concept becomes easier to grasp when we think of it in racial terms such as “black and white”, instead of Jew and Gentile.

Gentiles are also “circumcised”:

By relationship+ with him YOU were also circumcised+ with a circumcision performed without hands by the stripping off the body of the flesh,+ by the circumcision that belongs to the Christ, for YOU were buried with him in [his]* baptism,+ and by relationship with him YOU were also raised+ up together through [YOUR] faith+ in the operation+ of God, who raised him up from the dead.+ — Colossians 2:11

The Jews didn’t receive the promise just by merit of being Jewish:

However, it is not as though the word of God had failed.+ For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.”+ 7 Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children,+ but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.”+ 8 That is, the children in the flesh+ are not really the children of God,+ but the children by the promise+ are counted as the seed. — Romans 9:6-8

Neither did the Gentiles lose out on the promise by not being Jewish:

Now the promises were spoken to Abraham+ and to his seed.+ It* says, not: “And to seeds,” as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one:+ “And to your seed,”+ who is Christ.+ Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed,+ heirs with reference to a promise.+ — Galatians 3:16,29

 

Gentiles Become “Heirs to the Promise”

Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the shepherd to lost sheep of the nation of Israel.

16 “And I have other sheep,+ which are not of this fold;+ those also I must bring,* and they will listen to my voice,+ and they will become one flock, one shepherd.+ — John 10:16

 

Jesus himself foretold that the ministry would be opened up to the nations by telling the lost sheep of Israel that he had other sheep who would listen to his voice, thus believing Jews and Gentiles would become one flock. After he was resurrected, he appeared to his eleven disciples:

Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+ 20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”*+ — Matthew 28:18-20

 

Peter was sent by divine direction to Cornelius in Caes·a·re?a, an army officer*+ of the Italian army and an uncircumcised Gentile. Cornelius was the first of the uncircumcised non-Jews to become a Christian, showing that by this time it was not necessary for Gentiles to become Jewish proselytes. — Insight Book

34 At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial,+ 35 but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.+ 36 He sent out the word+to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace+ through Jesus Christ: this One is Lord of all [others].+ … 44 While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word.+45 And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.+ — Acts 10:44, 45

 

Paul confirmed it was necessary for the word of God, the good news, to be given to the Jews first, but since they thrusted it away, it was being given to the nations for the glory of God.

44 The next sabbath nearly all the city gathered together to hear the word of Jehovah.+ 45 When the Jews got sight of the crowds, they were filled with jealousy+ and began blasphemously contradicting the things being spoken by Paul.+ 46 And so, talking with boldness, Paul and Bar?na·bas said: “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken first to YOU.+ Since YOU are thrusting it away+ from YOU and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations.+ 47 In fact, Jehovah has laid commandment upon us in these words, ‘I have appointed you as a light of nations,+ for you to be a salvation to the extremity* of the earth.’”+

48 When those of the nations heard this, they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah,+ and all those who were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers.+ 49 Furthermore, the word of Jehovah went on being carried throughout the whole country.+ — Acts 13:44-49

 

While Peter was the apostle to first take the good news to the nations in the account of Cornelius (Acts 15:7, 8) it was Paul who took up the ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 15:12-14). Paul also boldly reminded the Jews that Isaiah prophesied they would be unreceptive and not “hear”, but that the nations would listen and glorify God for his mercy. (2 Samuel 22:50Psalm 18:49)

“The holy spirit aptly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to YOUR forefathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “By hearing, YOU will hear but by no means understand; and, looking, YOU will look but by no means see.+ 27 For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they should never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn back, and I should heal them.”’+ 28 Therefore let it be known to YOU that this, the means by which God saves, has been sent out to the nations;+ they will certainly listen to it.+And when he had said this, the Jews went away, having a great deal of disputing among themselves.” — Acts 28:24-29

 

Because the Jews rejected the stone (Isa. 53:3; Ps. 118:22, 23Mark 12:10, 11; Acts 4:8-111 Pet. 2:4-6), Jesus as the foretold Messiah, there was a dulling of their senses until the full number of the nations might come, by faith, into God’s mercy.

For I do not want YOU, brothers, to be ignorant of this sacred secret,+ in order for YOU not to be discreet in your own eyes: that a dulling of sensibilities+ has happened in part to Israel until the full number+ of people of the nations has come in,+ 26 and in this manner all Israel+ will be saved. Just as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion+ and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob.+ 27 And this is the covenant on my part with them, when I take their sins away.”+ 28 True, with reference to the good news they are enemies for YOUR sakes,+ but with reference to [God’s] choosing they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.+ 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are not things he will regret.+ 30 For just as YOU were once disobedient+ to God but have now been shown mercy+ because of their disobedience,+ 31 so also these now have been disobedient with mercy resulting to YOU,+ that they themselves also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut them all up together in disobedience,+ that he might show all of them mercy.+ — Romans 11:25-32

 

Christ came to minister to the circumcised Jews to verify the promises his father made to their forefathers, and so that by God’s undeserved kindness salvation might be extended to the nations that they might glorify him for his mercy. (See  Romans 15:9 in Kingdom Interlinear where it contrasts Christ’s role—to the circumcised and the nations—with “but” rather than the “and” rendered in the New World Translation.

For I say that Christ actually became a minister+ of those who are circumcised+ in behalf of God’s truthfulness,+ so as to verify the promises+ He made to their forefathers, 9 and that the nations+ might glorify God for his mercy.+ Just as it is written: “That is why I will openly acknowledge you among the nations* and to your name I will make melody.”+ — Romans 15:8, 9

 

By Jesus confining his work to the nation of Israel while on earth he demonstrated God’s loyalty to his promise to the nation of Israel, and thus those of the nations who came to believe were evidence of God’s mercy. Though Jesus was sent as a shepherd and the Messiah for Israel, he welcomed the Gentiles thereby giving glory to God’s name.

 

 

Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles of the Nations

Jesus is known as the Christ to the nations, and believers become the body of Christ. While the twelve apostles preached the good news to Israel, Paul bore the message of the good news to the nations. Whereas the apostles preached repentance to Jews, Paul’s message focused on faith.

In his earlier books, Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, and Titus, often speaks of Jewish concepts (to the congregations which were often made up of both Jews and Gentiles) but these concepts fade in his later books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and 2 Timothy. We see a transition in the writing and treatment of the Gentiles in relationship to the Jews from before the account at Acts 28:28 to after up to the modern day. By the end of Paul’s ministry, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek or Gentile in the congregation of Christ.

It is Paul who makes it clear to us that the Gentiles could become a part of the channel of blessings to others of the nations by faith—rather than by flesh, since they were not Jews, or circumcision, since they were not under Law.

 

The Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:12-27    

12 For just as the body is one but has many members, and all the members of that body, although being many, are one body,+ so also is the Christ.+ 13 For truly by one spirit we were all baptized+ into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink+ one spirit.

14 For the body, indeed, is not one member, but many.+ 15 If the foot should say: “Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body.+ 16 And if the ear should say: “Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,” it is not for this reason no part of the body.+ 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the [sense of] hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the smelling be? 18 But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.+

19 If they were all one member,+ where would the body be? 20 But now they are many members,+ yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand: “I have no need of you”; or, again, the head [cannot say] to the feet: “I have no need of YOU.” 22 But much rather is it the case that the members of the body which seem to be weaker+ are necessary, 23 and the parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, these we surround with more abundant honor,+ and so our unseemly parts have the more abundant comeliness,24 whereas our comely parts do not need anything. Nevertheless, God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another.+ 26 And if one member suffers, all the other members suffer+ with it; or if a member is glorified,+ all the other members rejoice with it.+

27 Now YOU are Christ’s body, and members individually.+

Ephesians 1:22, 23    

22 He also subjected all things under his feet,+ and made him head over all things+ to the congregation,23 which is his body,+ the fullness+ of him who fills up all things in all.+

Ephesians 4:4-6    

4 One body+ there is, and one spirit,+ even as YOU were called in the one hope+ to which YOU were called;5 one Lord,+ one faith,+ one baptism;+ 6 one God+ and Father of all [persons], who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:11-16    

11 And he gave some as apostles,+ some as prophets,+ some as evangelizers,+ some as shepherds and teachers,+ 12 with a view to the readjustment+ of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ,+ 13 until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown+ man, to the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ;+14 in order that we should no longer be babes, tossed about+ as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching+ by means of the trickery+ of men, by means of cunning in contriving error. 15 But speaking the truth,+ let us by love grow up+ in all things into him who is the head,+ Christ. 16 From him all the body,+ by being harmoniously joined together and being made to cooperate through every joint that gives what is needed, according to the functioning of each respective member in due measure, makes for the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.+

Colossians 1:13-28    

13 He delivered us from the authority+ of the darkness and transferred+ us into the kingdom+ of the Son of his love,+ 14 by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins.+ 15 He is the image+ of the invisible+ God, the firstborn+ of all creation; 16 because by means of him+ all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities.+ All [other] things have been created through him+ and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things+ and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,+ 18 and he is the head of the body, the congregation.+ He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,+ that he might become the one who is first+ in all things; 19 because [God] saw good for all fullness+to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile+ again to himself all [other] things+ by making peace+through the blood+ [he shed] on the torture stake,+ no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.

21 Indeed, YOU who were once alienated+ and enemies because YOUR minds were on the works that were wicked,+ 22 he now has again reconciled+ by means of that one’s fleshly body through [his] death,+ in order to present YOU holy and unblemished+ and open to no accusation+ before him, 23 provided, of course, thatYOU continue in the faith,+ established on the foundation+ and steadfast+ and not being shifted away from the hope of that good news which YOU heard,+ and which was preached+ in all creation+ that is under heaven. Of this [good news] I Paul became a minister.+

24 I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for YOU,+ and I, in my turn, am filling up what is lacking of the tribulations+ of the Christ in my flesh on behalf of his body, which is the congregation.+ 25 I became a minister+ of this [congregation] in accordance with the stewardship+ from God which was given me in YOURinterest to preach the word of God fully, 26 the sacred secret+ that was hidden from the past systems of things+ and from the past generations. But now it has been made manifest+ to his holy ones, 27 to whom God has been pleased to make known what are the glorious riches+ of this sacred secret+ among the nations. It is Christ+ in union with YOU, the hope of [his] glory.+ 28 He is the one we are publicizing,+admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom,+ that we may present every man complete*+ in union with Christ.

Colossians 2:8-12    

8 Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry+ YOU off as his prey through the philosophy+and empty deception+ according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary+ things of the world and not according to Christ; 9 because it is in him that all the fullness+ of the divine+ quality+ dwells bodily.10 And so YOU are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority.+ 11 By relationship+ with him YOU were also circumcised+ with a circumcision performed without hands by the stripping off the body of the flesh,+ by the circumcision that belongs to the Christ, 12 for YOUwere buried with him in [his]* baptism,+ and by relationship with him YOU were also raised+ up together through [YOUR] faith+ in the operation+ of God, who raised him up from the dead.+

Colossians 2:19    

19 whereas he is not holding fast to the head,+ to the one from whom all the body, being supplied and harmoniously joined together+ by means of its joints and ligaments, goes on growing with the growth that God gives.+

Colossians 3:15    

15 Also, let the peace+ of the Christ control in YOUR hearts,+ for YOU were, in fact, called to it in onebody.+ And show yourselves thankful.

 

Slaves of God

The nation of Israel was God’s wife (Isa 54:6)—they would be God’s holy nation, a kingdom of priests. Peter later confirms in speaking to the “alien residents of dispersion”, meaning the Jews, that they are the chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, and adds that they are as free people, but as slaves of God. (1 Peter 2:9,16) Likewise, Revelation tells us that the slaves of God are sealed from out of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Moreover, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Although the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea,+ it is the remnant that will be saved.”+ (Romans 9:27)

And YOU yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’+ These are the words that you are to say to the sons of Israel.” — Exodus 19:6

However, now, because YOU were set free from sin but became slaves to God,+ YOU are having YOUR fruit+ in the way of holiness, and the end everlasting life.+ 23 For the wages sin pays is death,+ but the gift+ God gives is everlasting life+ by Christ Jesus our Lord.+Can it be that YOU do not know, brothers, (for I am speaking to those who know law,) that the Law is master over a man as long as he lives?+ — Romans 6:22-7:1

9 But YOU are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,+ a people for special possession,+ that YOU should declare abroad the excellencies”+ of the one that called YOU out of darkness into his wonderful light.+ 16 Be as free people,+ and yet holding YOUR freedom, not as a blind for badness,+ but as slaves of God.+ — 1 Peter 2:9,16

3 saying: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed+ the slaves of our God in their foreheads.”+ 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand,+ sealed out of every tribe+ of the sons of Israel:+— Revelation 7:3,4

 

Holy Spirit

44 While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word.+45 And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.+ — Acts 10:44, 45

 

 

Slaves of Christ

As for the Gentiles, they were likewise spoken of slaves, but while the remnant of Israel was spoken of as slaves of God, the Gentiles were referred to as slaves of Christ. The slaves of Christ are also spoken of as being given—or sealed by—holy spirit, as a token of their inheritance while they waited for their adoption as son’s after the redemption of God’s chosen nation who are his special possession. (Ephesians 1:13, 14Romans 8:23, 24)

22 For anyone in [the] Lord that was called when a slave is the Lord’s freedman;+ likewise he that was called when a freeman+ is a slave+ of Christ. — 1 Corinthians 7:22

21 But he who guarantees that YOU and we belong to Christ and he who has anointed+ us is God. 22 He has also put his seal+ upon us and has given us the token+ of what is to come,* that is, the spirit,+ in our hearts. — 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22

 

Ephesians By means of Christ, the Law was abolished and the basis was laid for Jews and Gentiles to become one body, members of the household of God, a temple for God to inhabit by spirit (2:11–3:7)

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

  • 13 But YOU also hoped in him after YOU heard the word of truth,+ the good news about YOUR salvation.+ By means of him also, after YOU believed,* YOU were sealed+ with the promised holy spirit,+ 14 which* is a token+ in advance* of our inheritance,+ for the purpose of releasing by a ransom+ [God’s] own*possession,+ to his glorious praise. — Ephesians 1:13, 14
  • 30 Also, do not be grieving* God’s holy spirit,+ with which YOU have been sealed+ for a day of releasing by ransom.+ — Ephesians 4:30
  • 5 YOU slaves, be obedient to those who are [YOUR] masters in a fleshly sense,+ with fear and trembling+ in the sincerity of YOUR hearts, as to the Christ, 6 not by way of eye-service as men pleasers,+ but as Christ’s slaves, doing the will of God whole-souled.+ 7 Be slaves with good inclinations, as to Jehovah,*+ and not to men, 8 for YOU know that each one, whatever good he may do, will receive this back from Jehovah,*+whether he be slave or freeman.+ 9 Also, YOU masters, keep doing the same things to them, letting up on the threatening,+ for YOU know that the Master* of both them and YOU+ is in the heavens, and there is no partiality+ with him. — Ephesians 6:5-9

23 Not only that, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruits,+ namely, the spirit, yes, we ourselves groan+ within ourselves, while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons,*+ the release from our bodies by ransom24 For we were saved in [this] hope;+ but hope that is seen is not hope, for when a man sees a thing, does he hope for it? — Romans 8:23, 24

 

Revelation—The 144,000 & Great Crowd

The Worship God book states, “At Revelation 7:9, the great crowd is not seen as being in heaven. Their “standing before the throne” of God does not require them to be in heaven. They are simply in the sight of God. (Psalm 11:4) The fact that the great crowd, “which no man was able to number,” is not a heavenly class is shown by comparing its unspecified number with what is written at Revelation 7:4-8 and Revelation 14:1-4. There the number taken from the earth to heaven is revealed to be 144,000.”

 

Before the Throne

The twenty-four elders are spoken of as before the throne.

And round about the throne [there are] twenty-four thrones, and upon these thrones+ [I saw] seated twenty-four+ elders+ dressed in white outer garments,+ and upon their heads golden crowns.+ 5 And out of the throne there are proceeding lightnings+ and voices and thunders;+ and [there are] seven lamps+ of fire burning before the throne, and these mean the seven spirits+ of God. 6 And before the throne there is, as it were, a glassy sea+ like crystal. … 10 the twenty-four elders*+ fall down before the One seated upon the throne and worship+ the One that lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne— Revelation 4:4-11

 

The great crowd is spoke of as before the throne, as the angels, elders and four living creatures worship God before the throne.

After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd,+ which no man was able to number, out of all nations+ and tribes and peoples+ and tongues,+ standing before the throne+ and before the Lamb, … And all the angels+ were standing around the throne and the elders+ and the four living creatures,+and they fell upon their faces before the throne and worshiped God — Revelation 7:9-12

The altar is before the throne, where an angel offers incense, and from the altar before the throne he hurls fire to the earth.

And another angel arrived and stood at the altar,+ having a golden incense vessel; and a large quantity of incense+ was given him to offer it with the prayers of all the holy ones upon the golden altar that was before the throne4 And the smoke of the incense ascended from the hand of the angel with the prayers+ of the holy ones before God. 5 But right away the angel took the incense vessel, and he filled it with some of the fire+ of the altar and hurled it to the earth.+ — Revelation 8:3-6

 

The 144,000 are before the throne.

And I saw, and, look! the Lamb+ standing upon the Mount Zion,+ and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand+ having his name and the name of his Father+ written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound out of heaven as the sound of many waters+ and as the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was as of singers who accompany themselves on the harp+ playing on their harps. 3 And they are singing+ as if a new song+ before the throne and before the four living creatures+ and the elders;+ and no one was able to master* that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand,+ who have been bought+ from the earth. — Revelation 14:1-5

 

The dead are to be judged standing before the throne.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small,+ standing before the throne, and scrolls* were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life.+ And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.+ — Revelation 20:11-15

God can see us on earth, even from far above in his holy temple in heaven. However, the bible tells us that the twenty-four elders, the angels, the four living creatures, the altar, the great crowd, the 144,000 and the judging of the dead are all before the throne of God.

Jehovah is in his holy temple.+
Jehovah—in the heavens is his throne.+
His own eyes behold, his own beaming eyes examine+ the sons of men. — Psalm 11:4

 

The twenty-four elders sing a song praising the Lamb because he bought persons for God out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

“You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood+ you bought+ persons for God+ out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,10 and you made them to be a kingdom+ and priests+ to our God,+ and they are to rule as kings+ overthe earth.” — Revelation 5:6-10

 

The 144,000 are bought from the earth—they were human—as first fruits without blemish. They were not of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, but of the twelve tribes of Israel.

…the hundred and forty-four thousand,+ who have been bought+ from the earth. 4 These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women;+ in fact, they are virgins.+ These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes.+ These were bought+ from among mankind as firstfruits+ to God and to the Lamb, 5 and no falsehood was found in their mouths;+ they are without blemish.+ — Revelation 14:3-5

 

The great crowd, together with the 144,000, comprise persons bought for God+ out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. The 144,000 are distinct of Israel, while the great crowd is not.

After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd,+ which no man was able to number, out of all nations+ and tribes and peoples+ and tongues,+ standing before the throne+ and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes;+ and there were palm branches+ in their hands. 10 And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation [we owe] to our God,+ who is seated on the throne,+ and to the Lamb.”+

11 And all the angels+ were standing around the throne and the elders+ and the four living creatures,+and they fell upon their faces before the throne and worshiped God,+ 12 saying: “Amen! The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power+ and the strength [be] to our God forever and ever. Amen.”+

13 And in response one of the elders+ said to me: “These who are dressed in the white robes,+ who are they and where did they come from?” 14 So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one that knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation,+ and they have washed their robes and made them white+ in the blood+ of the Lamb. 15 That is why they are before+ the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service+ day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne+ will spread his tent+ over them. — Revelation 7:9-17

 

Invited to the Marriage Meal

A great crowd in heaven sings of salvation, and they rejoice because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife is prepared in fine linen representing the righteous acts of the holy ones. Indeed, John says happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage. — These are the true sayings of God.

After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.+ They said: “Praise Jah, YOU people!+ The salvation+ and the glory and the power belong to our God,+ 2 because his judgments are true and righteous.+ For he has executed judgment upon the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged the blood of his slaves at her hand.”+ 3 And right away for the second time they said: “Praise Jah, YOU people!+ And the smoke from her goes on ascending forever and ever.”+

4 And the twenty-four elders+ and the four living creatures+ fell down and worshiped God seated+ upon the throne, and said: “Amen! Praise Jah,+ YOU people!”

5 Also, a voice issued forth from the throne and said: “Be praising our God, all YOU his slaves,+ who fear him, the small ones and the great.”+

6 And I heard what was as a voice of a great crowd and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of heavy thunders. They said: “Praise Jah,+ YOU people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty,+ has begun to rule as king.+ 7 Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory,+ because the marriage+ of the Lamb has arrived+ and his wife has prepared herself.+ 8 Yes, it has been granted to her to be arrayed in bright, clean, fine linen, for the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the holy ones.”+

9 And he tells me: “Write: Happy are those invited+ to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.”+ Also, he tells me: “These are the true sayings of God.”+ — Revelation 19:1-9

The great crowd sings of the marriage, and the wife—no longer the bride-to-be—clearly they are attendees, and the bride become wife is those of the remnant out of the tribes of Israel now become New Jerusalem.