The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- The 144,000 mentioned in Rev 7 and 14 is a literal number.
- It is not merely 144,000 at the Second Coming, being those still alive and lived through the Time of Trouble (as opposed to those who have long since died), but rather only this small literal number since 1844.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- The SDARM Reformists themselves admit aspects of the 144,000 are not literal – when it suits them that is. For example, Reformists admit the number might only represent adult males, not women and children. Similarly, the admit the description of these 144,000 in Rev 14:4 as virgin men from the 12 tribes of Israel does not literally mean celibate-Jewish males – but rather has a symbolic and spiritual meaning of undefiled Christians.
- Ellen White explicitly said we are not to preoccupy ourselves with the question of whether the 144,000 is a literal number of not. It is not to be an essential doctrine or test of fellowship.
- The real underlying reason for the SDARM position is to justify their extremely poor take-up of Jesus’ Great Commission to spread the Gospel. For example, in 150 years the mainstream SDA Church has grown to 22 million; in 100 years, the SDARM has only grown to some 30,000. Growth does matter as a test of fruits, as acknowledged in Acts 5:38-39.
The book of Revelation mentions a group of 144,000 in two places. The first place is Rev 7:1-4:
- Various Adventist pioneers, such as Uriah Smith, believed it was a literal number.
- The 144,000 must be a definite number, otherwise it makes no sense that the Bible refers elsewhere in Rev 7:9-17 to a ‘great multitude’ that could not be counted.