Questions From Readers
● The book You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, on page 359, discusses the earthly rebels at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ that Revelation 20:8 says “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea,” and makes this statement: “They are as indefinite in number as the ‘sand of the sea,’ though they might not be over 144,000.” Why is the number 144,000 brought in here?—E. C., Australia.
To say the rebels will be as many as the sands of the seashore suggests that they will number into billions. This is not what is meant. They are as the sands of the seashore in the sense that they are not numberable by man, just as the grains of sand on a beach cannot be numbered by man. The number is indefinite. To prove that the number is not literally the same as the sands on a seashore, reference is made to the figure 144,000. God said to Abraham: “I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore.” This promised seed is shown to be Christ and those who will be heirs of the heavenly kingdom with him: “If you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” The heavenly kingdom heirs with Christ are shown to be 144,000 in number: “And I saw, and look! the Lamb standing upon the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name . . . the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been purchased from the earth.” So here is a Bible example where a number referred to as being “like the grains of sand that are on the seashore” is not many millions or billions, but only 144,000.—Gen. 22:17; Gal. 3:16, 29; Rev. 14:1, 3, NW.
The number is not literally the same as the number of grains of sand on the seashore, but is the same in the sense that both are indefinite, unnumbered by man. The number of rebels at the end of the thousand-year reign are as the sand of the seashore in indefiniteness. It does not mean millions will side with Satan then. The number might be limited to thousands, and to prove this we are reminded that in another case the Bible used the expression “the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” when only thousands were involved, 144,000 in that case. So in this case of Revelation 20:8 about the rebels at the end of the thousand years, they are to be as the sand of the sea, and yet might very well be limited to thousands in number.