144,000 early view

by golden age 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • golden age
    golden age

    I was researching the topic of 144,000, does anyone have any scans from the 1935 convension when rutherford made the big change about the great crowd. Or any scans from watctower articles around that time that discuss this issue and what the new rules were to be.

    Also, does anyone know who rutherford said would live on paradise earth before 1935, because in the millions now living book written in 1925 he had talked about abraham and others living in beth sarim, additionally he did say in the millions book at that time that many people would be able to live on earth forever, who was he referring to if all were supposed to go to heaven..

  • M.J.

    Charles Russell taught early on that the "little flock" was a small group of "true" christians who were the bride of Christ. They'd be transferred to heaven as spirit creatures at the end of the " gentile times " in 1914, when all the earth's rulers are overthrown ( p 101 ), clearing the way for God's kingdom . However, all mankind on earth would not be destroyed, but serve in a 1000 year "probation" period with a goal of becoming perfect humans like Adam in the garden, with the help of the "bride class" and Christ. This class would become earth's divine new rulers, becoming "co-redeemers" and the "spirtual mother" for the whole world. They would have the ability to appear on earth as invisible spirits or by materializing into physical bodies.

    Russell got the details on this from a man named Nelson Barbour, who described this very plan in his books and magazines . Barbour had come out of a movement led by Baptist preacher William Miller , who calculated through passages in Daniel and Revelation that 1843 (later 1844) was the year of Christ's return. After his prediction failed , Miller admitted he was wrong about the whole date-setting thing and called it quits. Some of his followers , however, insisted that something invisible really did happen on that year. Many others including Barbour worked out countless revised end-time predictions, hand-in-hand with all these fancified eschatological explanations to go with them.

    Barbour identified 1874 as the year of Christ's return by "correcting" Miller's calculations and proclaimed this big news in his magazine . After 1874 passed with nothing happening, rather than admitting failure Barbour insisted his date was still valid, that Christ actually had returned, except that it was an "invisible presence" and no one could see him. His magazine nearly lost all its subscribers because hardly any of them could accept this story. But one reader--a young and wealthy CT Russell--was so impressed with Barbour's package of explanations (meshing well with his own ideas adopted from various prominent Adventists ), that he became Barbour's publishing partner. Russell adopted all of Barbour's chronology ( 1914 , 1874, 1799 , etc.) along with his specific views on the coming kingdom.

    After Russell and Barbour parted ways, Russell started molding these ideas in his new "Zion's Watch Tower" publications. He started linking the "little flock" with the 144,000 that was mentioned in Revelation. According to his new understanding, Russell's own followers were the surviving "remnant" of the 144,000, whose full number had been chosen in 1881. He determined that 1878 was the year when all the dead members of this group (going back to the apostles) were invisibly resurrected into heaven. As for the kingdom, he wrote that starting in 1914, the 144,000 in heaven would be aided in their rule over mankind by the Old Testament "ancient worthies" such as Abraham, Issac and Jacob, who were to be resurrected to earth already in a state of perfection--unlike the rest of mankind. They'd be put in charge on earth (p. 619, 625) and have the ability to receive orders directly from the 144,000 in heaven, in the same manner that perfect Adam communicated with Jehovah in the garden.

    Since Russell's death, details on all this have been revised:

    • 1918, rather than 1878, is now the year that the dead members of the 144,000 were resurrected to heaven
    • 1935, rather than 1881, is now the year that the full number of the 144,000 was chosen.
    • The Great Crowd will now be in charge of the new earth under direction of the 144,000 in heaven, and even some of the 144,000 will still be on earth to kick things off right after Armageddon. A big WT campaign had promoted the lingering idea that the "ancient worthies" would be resurrected to perform such duties in 1925, and a mansion was later built for them in San Diego , but this understanding was changed when the Great Crowd was identified.
    • Once the Great Crowd was identified in 1935, a harsher view of Armageddon was implemented. Not only will Church and Government institutions be destroyed, but no one outside of the organization could expect to be spared from destruction--not even their children (Riches, Rutherford, 1936, p. 98)...Past generations would still be resurrected, however, unless they had committed "willful rebellion against Jehovah". In contrast, Russell had taught that all aside from those who had commited the "unforgiveable sin" would live to get a chance at redemption in the new system.
    • 1914, rather than 1874, is now the year that Christ returned invisibly. 1914 is also the start of the last days, rather than 1799. One calculation in support of 1874 (as the start of the millenium) was that 6,000 years of human history ended in 1873. This has been changed to 1975 .
    • The end of the " Gentile Times " in 1914 now marks the beginning of the end of the present system, rather than the actual end of the present system as originally understood.
    • The 144,000 became the "Faithful Discreet Slave class" who are officially represented by an organization. The "spiritual mother" became the organization itself. In contrast, Russell had taught that there would be no true organization set up to redeem mankind until God fully sets up his kingdom.

    *There was an apocalyptic prediction for just about every year from the mid 1800s through the early 1900s, individually promoted by these "expositors".

  • mathead


    " ...Past generations would still be resurrected, however, unless they had committed "willful rebellion against Jehoover".

    end quote

    Will monty python be spared?. In the movie "the HOLY GRAIL" A guy says to his wife "that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehoover"

    All seriouness aside , I was wondering too about when the great crowd was revealed. 1935 seems to be the year here. It is so strange. In the days of Russel everyone was of the annointed. Then gradually I quess some bible students who did not identify with the annointed still tagged along . This raised some curiousity amongst the membership. So did the revelation about the great crowd happen before the fact or after the fact. It seems that it is the style of the WTS to come up with new light revelations after the fact, So the big announcement of the great crowd in 1935 only accellerated what was more or less already apparent; an existing great crowd (or small crowd at first).

    Once the big announcement was made something happened that the WTS had not planned for. You guessed it - the falling away of the so called annointed class. That is what the WTS calls it "FALLEN AWAY" When in fact it seems that the so called annointed were not annointed anyway and so they simply became members of the great crowd. So as the 'falling away" happened the great crowd increased - of course not entirely due to the fallen aways, but due to new converts. From 1935 to 1968 the annointed remnant (we'll call them remnant from now on) dropped dramatically. The WTS had to do something and fast or else there would be no remnant left and hence no WTS. So starting in about 1968 the new light about the REPLACEMENTS was revealed. (Please correct me on the dates) Now it was cool to become a remnant once again. Today there is almost no loss in the number of remnant even though some 1300 of them die each year - very strange that the number of replacements almost equals the number of deaths each year!!

    Now just try to put all of that to numbers. I mean, try to do a math analysis on it. I'm still trying to put the puzzle together.

  • jwfacts

    Russell and Rutherford claimed that mankind in general would survive into the New System, whilst Watchtower Followers would be going to heaven. It was not until the 1930s that Rutherford brought in the idea of narrow salvation and that only JWs would survive. As far as I am concerned, that was when the Watchtower Society turned into a cult.

    Proclaimers 1993 chap. 12 p. 163 states that the Bible Students;

    ”Understood that people then living—mankind in general—had the opportunity to survive right into the time of restitution and that they would then be educated in Jehovah’s requirements for life. If obedient, they would gradually attain to human perfection. If rebellious, they would, in time, be destroyed forever.”

    I have a list of quotes from that time at http://jwfacts.com/index_files/millions.htm

  • M.J.

    I was not aware of the replacement doctrine making its debut in 1968. Thanks for the tip.

    Once the big announcement was made something happened that the WTS had not planned for. You guessed it - the falling away of the so called annointed class. That is what the WTS calls it "FALLEN AWAY" When in fact it seems that the so called annointed were not annointed anyway and so they simply became members of the great crowd.

    Remember that the 1935 memorial was in the spring. The GC was announced later in the year. The fact that the number of partakers dramatically dwindled in the years immediately following 1935, lends much credibility to what you're saying, that as much as half of the partakers in 1935 switched to the GC and thus were never "anointed" in the first place. Which makes it even more ridiculous that there are so many "anointed" left today.

  • jwfacts

    you said that Russell did not believe in the establishment of an organisation. Do you have any quotes for that, I would love to see them?

  • M.J.

    Oh yeah...

    Note the difference between this, God's test, on the simple first principles of the gospel, and the wrong course of men who attempt to enforce upon all an entire system of faith (and that when they are the merest babes in Chist), so fettering them, then, that their growth is hindered. To ask babes in Chist to assent to thirty of forty articles of faith arranged by fellow-men, and to agree to take those as the infallible truth, and to promise never to believe either more or less than they contain, is like selecting in an orchard one gnarled and crooked tree, as a standard, and requiring all the other trees to be padded out oto make them look as thick and as gnarled as the sample, and to be bound with iron bands that they might never grow larger or straighter....The endeavor to compel all men to think alike on all subjects, culminated in the great apostasy and the development of the great papal system, and thereby the gospel, the one faith that Paul and the other apostles set forth, was lost - buried under the mass of uninspired decrees of popes and councils. The unity of the early church, based upon the simple gospel and bound only by love, gave place to the bondage of the church of Rome - a slavery of God's children, from the degradation of which multitudes are still weak and suffering. The Reformation movement of the sixteenth century came as an effort to regain liberty of conscience; but, deluded by the idea of an elaborate creed, insisted upon for so many centuries, the reformers and their followers formed other systems of bondage very similar to that of Papacy, though slight modifications gave liberty to fuller ideas on some subjects. And so it has been ever since: each new reform movement has made the failure of attempting to make a creed just large enough for its prime movers." --WT, Sep. 1893, p. 1572

    ...we have pointed out continually the tendency of Christian people toward union, showing, too, that such a union is predicted in scripture; but that its results, while designed to be good, will really be bad; and this because it will be a mechanical union instead of a heart unity.--WT, Mar 1893, p. 1504

    Beware of "organization." It is wholly un-necessary. The Bible will be the only rules you need. Do not seek to bind other consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God's word today, and so continue to growing in grace and knowledge day by day." (Zion's Watch Tower, 1895, p. 216.)

    "In view of these facts and also of the nature of the harvest work, and the addition. In fact that each one so gathered is expected to enter into the harvest work as a reaper, and will do so to the extent of his ability and opportunity, it is plain that the forming of a visible organization of such gathered out ones would be out of harmony with the spirit of the divine plan; and, it done, would seem to indicate on the part of the Church a desire to conform to the now popular idea of organization or confederacy. (See Isa. 8:12.) ... While, therefore, we do not esteem a visible organization of the gathered ones to be a part of the Lord's plan in the harvest work, as though we expected as an organization to abide here for another age, we do esteem it to be his will that those that love the Lord should speak often one to another of their common hopes and joys, or trials and perplexities, communing together concerning the precious things of his Word, and so help one another, and not forget the assembling of themselves together as the manner of some is; and so much the more as they see the day approaching. -- Mal. 3: 16; Heb. 10:25." (Zion's Watch Tower, 1894, p. 384.)

    "There is no organization today clothed with such divine authority to imperiously command mankind. There is no organization doing this today; though we are well aware that many of them in theory claim that they ought to be permitted to do so; and many more would like to do so. This was the fatal mistake into which the Church began to fall in the second century; and the effort to realize this false conception culminated in the boastful, imperious counterfeiting of the coming Kingdom in Papacy, which for centuries sought to dominate the world, by claimed "divine authority". This idea more or less pervaded and poisoned the ideas of all the Protestant "clergy" as well; who copying Papacy's false ideas of the Church, claim also that the Church of Christ is now organized, though they now make less boastful claims to "divine authority" to teach and rule mankind in general, that the Papacy does." (Zion's Watch Tower, 1893, page 266.)

    "Q. Could not an earnest, aggressive organization (or sect), built upon Scriptural lines, be the best means of spreading and publish the real good tidings...

    A. We believe that a visible organization and the adopting of some particular name would tend to increase the numbers and make us appear more respectable in the estimation of the world. The natural man can see that a visibly organized body, with a definite purpose, is a thing of more or less power [...] But the natural man cannot understand how a company of people, with no organization which they can see, is ever going to accomplish anything." (Zion's Watch Tower, 1883, page 6.)

  • sir82
    Today there is almost no loss in the number of remnant even though some 1300 of them die each year

    Just curious, what is your source for this information?

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