There is so much I could comment on within this thread, the 144,000, the rapture, prophecy, etc, the thread has taken off in a number of directions, however, in keeping with the original post, I would like to offer my view on Israel in the NT. There is within Christendom a great expectation of prophetic fulfilment in connection with the nation of Israel. In fact, so much so, that I believe Satan has used this as a form of deception to hide where his real activities are taking place. I find myself concurring with papjim in that God gave the nation their opportunity, and they blew it. Jesus cleare dthe temple twice during His ministry, and was later challenged by the pharisees as to His authority to do so. When they refused to answer His question regards John the Baptists authority, He told them a parable. The parable focused on a vineyard being left to husbandman, who when refusing to submit the fruits to the landowner, ending up killing the landowners son. The pharisees were indignant that such a thing should happen, and pronounced their own doom. I am sure you are all familiar with this parable. The upshot of all this is that when Jesus cleared the temple of the moneylenders, He referred to the temple both times as being His Father's house. After this parable however Jesus pronounced upon the nation "your house is left unto you desolate". The nation as the chosen of God had failed to live up to the light and privileges given them, therefore Jesus said those privileges would be given to a nation that would give the fruits in season. The name "Israel" first appears in the Bible in Genesis 32:28. After a night of wrestling with the heavenly visitor Jacob prevails in his efforts and his name is changed from Jacob, the deceiver or supplanter, to Israel, meaning he will rule. Jacob has prevailed with God and overcome. At the time of this event, Jacob was reluctant to face Esau after 20 years of exile and was quite simply terrified of him. His former deception of his father and claim to be Esau was now playing on his conscience and he desired God's blessing and forgiveness before proceeding. So the 'Angel' asks Jacob his name, to which he truthfully replies 'my name is Jacob'. In this he was confessing his guilt, and God then knew he was a changed man, so gave him a new name that celebrated so to speak his victory over sin, self and his night of wrestling in prayer, the 'Angel' saying "for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Israel, as a name therefore represents spiritual victory over sin. In Exod 4:22,23 Moses is instructed on how he is to speak to Pharaoh in order that Israel's descendants may be freed from slavery. God says to Moses "and thou shalt say unto Pharaoh 'Thus saith the Lord,Israel is My son, my firstborn and I say unto thee let My son go to serve me..." This is the first time Israel is used in a corporate sense for the entire nation. Before it applied only to an individual, but here we see it being applied to his descendants. First to a victorious man, then to his people. Did corporate Israel live up to that name? What was God trying to accomplish in establishing Israel in the first place? Was it not that He would have a people to represent Him on the earth? Before God had His champions, but all failed. Sin interposed and no longer was any of God's chosen able to fulfil the true destiny that God intended for them. Adam failed over appetite. So did Noah. Abraham also, but God was determined to establish a people after His own heart and show the gentiles His law, His mercy and grace and power. Interesting that Adam, Noah, and Israel all failed on points of appetite. (Gen 9:20,21; Exodus 16:27-29.) It wasn't until Jesus came on the scene in person that the title "Israel" in it's truest spiritual sense and power could be rightly bestowed. And Matthew in particular showed this time and time again how Jesus was the fulfilment of the OT prophecies which may have originally applied to the nation, but now, according to Matthew's inspired writings, applied in fact to Jesus. Examples are Hosea 11:1 ; Isaiah 41:8,42:1-3 . Paul followed the same idea and reasoning by paralleling Coll 1:15 with Ex 4:22, Gal 3:16 with Isaiah 41:8 and elsewhere. Jesus Himself proclaimed Himself as the true vine, in fulfilment of Ps 80:8 which applied to the nation. So now the mantle and authority once bestowed upon the nation has been given to Jesus. Jesus is the essence of true Israel. He only has the right to bear the name for He only has prevailed with sin and overcome. Jesus walked over the same ground that Israel walked, but came through victorious. In His temptations in the wilderness, it was appetite that came under particular scrutiny. What Paul does in Romans and other writers in the NT however is extend that idea and show how the name Israel also now applies to Jesus' descendants, just as it did to Jacob's descendants. Peter also showed this when he compared the church to Exodus 19:6.(1 Peter 2:9). So as Paul says, immediately after saying that Jesus is the 'seed' of Abraham, Gentile converts in Galatia were now also Abraham's seed because they are Christ's. They are also heirs according to the promise. This is not 'replacement ' theology. It is merely a revelation of who true Israel always was and who Israel is now.True Israel was always exclusively those who "as princes had power with God and men and prevailed". It is those people, of whatever nation kindred tongue and people, who by faith in the mercy grace and power of God overcome sin and receive Christ's righteousness and forgiveness as a gift and are willing to share that gift with the lost. True Israel always was, and is today, exclusively those who "as princes had power with God and men and prevailed". It was always God's intention that corporate Israel as a nation live up to that name. But throughout history, only a remnant did so. The same applies today. Not all who say Lord Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but they who do the will of the Father. Being Israel has nothing to do with being a nation, or a church, but rather about being faithful and loyal to the God who created and redeemed us. So the prophecies, including that of the 144,000, has nothing any more to do with the nation, but spiritual Israel, the church. The prophecies that centred upon the nation were all conditional on obedience and faithfulness. God gave the nation 70 weeks, (Daniel 9); this 70 weeks (490 years) expired 3 and 1/2 years after Calvary. Jesus instructed His disciples to first take the gospel to the lost people of the house of Israel. This they did. The final rejection of God and His offer of salvation was realised when the leaders of the nation stopped their ears at the testimony of Steven. It was shortly after this the gospel was taken to the Gentiles. I believe the 144,00 is a symbolic number for the final remnant people of God, His church, who keep His commandments and have the faith of Jesus. They are set forth in Revelation as being those who refuse the mark of the beast, and are sealed by God.