One core JW teaching is the idea that only 144,000 go to heaven, which is wrong. Here is the first of many reasons why that teaching can't be sustained by Scripture. Any other reasons you can think of?
1) That the 144,000 is not an exact number is made manifest by Jesus’ statement that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will also be in heaven:
11 But I tell YOU that many from eastern parts and western parts will come and recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens; … (Matt. 8:11 NWT).
Central to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs is the doctrine that the “Kingdom is in heaven, not earth” (NWT at 1653) and that neither the patriarchs, ancient prophets or anyone before the time of Christ goes to heaven. Yet somehow, in an effort to dislodge the patriarchs from heaven and disavow the words of Christ they theorize that this banquet in the kingdom of heaven is actually on earth.
Paul also stated that the patriarchs and other men of old sought a heavenly reward, not earthly, and that this heavenly destination was achieved on the basis of their faith.
13 In faith all these died, although they did not get the [fulfillment of the] promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land. 14 For those who say such things give evidence that they are earnestly seeking a place of their own. 15 And yet, if they had indeed kept remembering that [place] from which they had gone forth, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they are reaching out for a better [place], that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them. (Heb. 11:13-16 NWT).
None-the-less, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, incorrectly, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will not go, and never wanted to go, to heaven. This is understandable because to concede otherwise would completely erode their 144,000 theory.
Who are the “righteous” that are to be resurrected? These will include faithful servants of God who lived before Jesus Christ came to earth. Many of these persons are mentioned by name in Hebrews chapter 11. They did not hope to go to heaven, but hoped to live again on earth (Live Forever, 1989, Resurrection - for Whom? And Where? 172, 20).
If they had kept remembering and longing for the place they had left, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they were reaching out for a better place - ultimately life on paradise earth under God’s heavenly kingdom. - Hebrews 11:15,16. (W94 5/15 30, Coping With Homesickness in God’s Service).
And there is no question about the spiritual strength of those men and women of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11. None of those were “born again.” All of them looked forward to “a better resurrection [to life under God’s kingdom] right here on this earth. - Hebrews 11:35. (W82 2/1c 29 “Born Again” - Man’s Part and God’s Part).
It is difficult to believe that millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, perhaps unwittingly, believe this without blinking an eye and completely ignore the clear words of Scripture; but they do. Never-the-less, because at a minimum Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will go to heaven, the 144,000 is symbolic and numbers at least 144,003. The final number cannot be ascertained, but is countless in the sense that it will be in the millions.