I was reading Ray Stedman's book called God's Final Word and found his description of the 144,000 to be identical to mine, save only for the time of the event. Stedman was a futurist so he thought that the "Pentecost" of Revelation 7 was still future. But other than that, he and I agree on the essential nature of the "seal of God" and the identity of the 144,000 as literal members of the 12 tribes of Israel:
Actually, Stedman is quite obviously wrong about any "twisting" being required to understand the 144,000 as the "Church" since the Bible explicitly states that the Church is the "Seed of Abraham, and heirs according to promise." Indeed, Stedman must agree that the 144,000 are a part of the Church since he said they are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and that's the definition of the Church. The only issue then to decide is if God used the obviously symbolic number 144,000 with the intent that we would recognize it as a symbol of the whole body of believers. I beleive this is a possible "overtone" but the primary application seems to be as a representation of the first Christian body which was entirely Jewish.Ray Stedman: There is no mystery about what it means when this special group is "sealed" by God. Today, all believers are sealed by God in a special way. That is why Paul tells us, "Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."5 The presence of the Holy Spirit in us as Christians is the unmistakable mark of God's ownership upon our lives. As Paul declares in Romans, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."6
The same Holy Spirit who has sealed us as God's children will also seal this chosen group that is described in Revelation 7. These are thus Spirit-filled, Spirit-led people. The seal is placed upon their foreheads, which indicates that the Spirit rules over their minds, their thoughts, and their will. They are governed by the mind of Christ. ...
I once heard a Bible teacher laboriously twist and torture this passage in an attempt to prove that the 144,000 sealed servants listed in this passage are in fact the church. But I can see no way around it. I believe that when God says "Israel" He means Israel! This text does not talk about the church; there are other passages in Revelation which talk about the church, and they do so with considerable clarity. But in this passage, God is describing the Jews.
Of course, the advantage of the preterist view that sees this event as fulfilled at Pentecost is that the Biblical statement that Jews [the NT designation of any natural descendent of Abraham regardless of tribal affiliation] from "every nation under heaven" were "gathered together" at Pentecost, 3000 of which were saved that day. It seems impossible that this could happen now or in the future because it is extremely unlikely that there are any living members of the ten lost tribes since they have had about 100 generations to dilute themselves amongst the Gentiles, which makes them 0.999999999999999999999% genetically (not to mention culturally and religiously) Gentile, and this seems equivalent to anihilation. So if the sealing of the Jews in Revelation was ever literally fulfilled, it seems like it must have been fulfilled at Pentecost in the first century.