First we will see what Bible says on this topic and then we will end with Spirit of Prophecy quotes supporting it.
The book of Revelation chapter 6 ends with a serious question. The question is verse 17 “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Who will be able to stand the wrath of God as described in the previous verses 14-16 ” And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: ” Psa_76:7, Psa_130:3-4; Joe_2:11; Mal_3:2
The describing of hurting of the earth is further continued in Rev 7. It tells the hurting won’t start until the 144000 is sealed.
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Once the 144000 is sealed the wrath of God is poured upon the earth.
Who are these 144000 and why God seals them before pouring of the wrath of God?
Rev 14 tells us the characteristics of these 144000.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. Rev 14:1,3-5
i) The 144000 had a unique experience which no other human had and they sing this experience as a song which no other man could learn. For only they had this experience.
ii) They are faultless before the throne of God i.e., they are without sin
iii) They perfectly reproduce the character of Jesus.
iv) Once 144000 is sealed the wrath of God falls on this earth
v) Only 144000 is able to stand the wrath of God.
The sealing of 144000 starts the wrath the God; The beginning of wrath of God on wicked man also signifies the end of probation for mankind.
Rev 15 tells that Jesus ends his intercessory ministry in the sanctuary which signifies the end of probabtion for mankind.
” And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” Rev 15:7,8
Also Rev 22 tells of a period of time when no human could repent of his sins anymore
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev 22:11
Why God raises this 144000?
After satan overcame man God promised that the seed of the woman (The Church) will bruise Satans head.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen 3:15
Christ lived a sinless life and died as the penalty for the sins of human race. Paul says that God will bruise satans head under the feet of the saints in future.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly Rom 16:20
God will bruise Satans head by preparing a people for Him (14400) who will live a sinless life under all circumstances and there by overcome Satan just like Christ overcame Him.
Spirit of Prophecy quotes on 144000 and close of probation:
Great Controversy, pages 648/ 649, “Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire, –so resplendent is it with the glory of Elohim, –are gathered the company that have “gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.”[1 REV. 15:2]…. And they sing “a new song” before the throne…. it is the song of their experience,–an experience such as NO OTHER COMPANY have EVER HAD…. they have stood WITHOUT AN INTERCESSOR through the FINAL OUTPOURING of Elohim’s judgements….They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great heat.”
The seal of the living God will be placed upon those only who bear a likeness to Christ incharacter.–7BC 970 (1895).
Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.–EW 71 (1851).
Just before we entered it [the time of trouble], we all received the seal of the living God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence and sword, nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion.–7BC 968 (1846).
I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, “It is done.”–EW 279 (1858).
So once the 144000 is numbered and sealed the probation closes.
Is the number 144000 symbolic or literal
In EW p279 Ellen White writes that the 144000 is numbered.
Also we see in EW p15 ““Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The LIVING SAINTS, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.””
Rev 7 says that 144000 from Israel and people confuse this with the nation of Israel. In Bible the seed of Abraham is the people of promise and not of genetics.
“For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh [literal Israel], these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise [to Abraham as fulfilled in Jesus] are counted for the seed…. not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles… As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people [these]… shall they be called the children of the living Elohim.” – Rom. 9:6, 23-26.
John the Baptist says God can raise seed of Abraham from the stones.
Israel means overcomer. God will raise the 14400 among the overcomers.
“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven.”– Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.