Hello Nigel. Thank you for asking. There are a few reasons I believe what I do, so I will set them out in this response so you can then let me know what you believe:

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels (representing God’s providences) standing on the four corners of the earth (symbolic of the entire earth, as the earth is round and has no corners), holding the four winds of the earth (symbolic of the strife and destruction to be let loose in God’s providential timing), that the wind (symbolic of destruction) should not blow on the earth (symbolic of the desolate areas), nor on the sea (symbolic of the populated areas), nor on any tree (symbolic of symbolic of people).

Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east (symbolic of a message growing in strength like the sun rising), having the seal of the living God (symbolic of God’s people being conformed into the image of God, being obedient to all His commandments–including the Sabbath): and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees (symbolic of the destruction mentioned above), till we have sealed (symbolic of conformity to God’s will in all points) the servants of our God in their foreheads (symbolic of the where choices are made–in the frontal lobe).
Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number (Literal?) of them which were sealed (symbolic of God’s fitness for heaven, which cannot be seen on their foreheads): and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes (symbolic of the leaders of God’s people in OT history) of the children of Israel (symbolic of the Israel of God, not referring only to the bloodline Israelites, though they can certainly be included).

Now consider a quote used from Early Writings by many people who say that EGW meant that it was literal and ask yourself the question, “Which part of this is NOT symbolizing some greater truth.”:

“I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, “Alleluia!” Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. 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. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai. {EW 14-15}

Also, if it is literal, why is the tribe of Dan missing?

Please let me know what you think. And if there are other quotes you’d like to have me read, please send them along. Thank you!

Pastor Daniel Mesa.