Someone recently asked a good question:
If we assume [the 144,000 are Jews], Rev. 7 says they are sealed because they will be on earth during God’s wrath. According to Rev. 7, this sealing will happen right about the same time the rapture happens (the “great multitude”). Now these are the questions:
(1) Will these 144,000 sealed come from that remnant (the woman) from Rev. 12?
(2) If so, why do they need to be sealed for protection, if they were already given protection by God (the woman in the wilderness and her wings; Rev. 12:14)?
The question on the relationship between the woman and the 144,000 is a great question.
I understand these two groups as two distinct eschatological Jewish remnants for these three reasons.
(1) As indicated in the question, the “woman” begins to be protected at the midpoint, while, in the prewrath view, the “144,000” is protected at some point during the second half at about the same time as the rapture. (Incidentally, I don’t believe the 144,000, nor the woman, become believers at the time of protection, but only at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel, fulfilling Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy of national Israel becoming redeemed).
(2) Another key reason why I understand these as two separate groups is that the woman is geographically located in, or around, Israel, because they are protected to the wilderness (Rev 12:14–16).
With respect to the 144,000, the text strongly indicates that they are located worldwide, because the purpose for their sealing is linked to their protection from the worldwide judgments of God:
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Now I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, 144,000, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel” (Rev 7:1–4)
(3) In Rev 14:3, the 144,000 are said to be redeemed from the earth (gēs). “No one was able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”
The Greek term gēs is highly unlikely limited to the land of Israel. In the immediate context, gēs is clearly used with a worldwide meaning (see Rev 14:6–7, 15–16, 18–19).
In summary, these two remnant groups will make up, to use Paul’s expression, “all Israel”—restored national Israel when they recognize their messiah at the completion of Daniel’s seventieth week.