Can some one please explain to me what that whole 144,000 thing was about?

by TimothyT 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TimothyT

    Hi everyone. I suppose its a little late to ask this and i never got it even as a JW, but:

    Can someone please explain what the whole 144,000 thing is about? Has God only saved a certain group of people? What about the rest? Does he use these few to communicate to the rest?

    I have never undertsood this teaching and id just like to know what you think its all about.

    Thanks. xxx

  • Sapphy

    I never got why there had to be so many. 144,000 to govern the 7 million or so great crowd after Armageddon, as well as the myriads of Angels?! - Basically all they have to do is what Jesus tells them to. Seems like there are going to have to be some layoffs in the Angel ranks, maybe they'll be sent to where the need is greater. So one anointed to represent every 50 great crowd? And, I would assume "The Kingdom" wouldnt be run on a democratic system anyway...

    Just freestyling here, but I suppose the ratio would go up when the resurected ones arrived but then you gotta figure in the "Princes in Men". All the ancient worthies would turn up expecting a government position, all the other sheep Elders would want power/payback, and heavens - the Nethanim mark 2 would want to call the shots. Meanwhile the Nethanim mark 1 would feel they have seniority, and the resurected Levite Priesthood would start throwing their weight about, but at least all the minor prophets would be around to denounce them.

    However I guess John the Baptist would expect to be global ruler (earthly). And can you imagine the ruckus when CT Russell and JF Rutherford turned up having been mistaken about their heavenly calling?

  • N.drew

    Was about? TimothyT you use the past tense, is that on purpose?

    I believe the number is real, but not literal.

  • TimothyT

    Sapphy... i really appreciate your approach to answering my question. You explained it exactly how they do! :) (I still dont understand anything, and thats not your fault) :) Some interesting points though. Why so many needed?

    Ndrew... im disfelowshipped and i was thinking before... what was it all about anyway? I never understood their fascination with this. Same goes for 1914??? Same goes for them feeling that only they are gonna be saved when the new testament is LADEN with scriptures which say that anyone who puts faith in Jesus will be saved. Just dont get it whatsoever!

    Should the bible be easy to understand??? I think so!

  • GLTirebiter

    In Rev. 7 there is not much language describing them, but it does say that they are from the tribes of Israel: 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes (though instead of "Dan" we read "Mannasseh"). When the caucasian leaders of a Biblical-literalist American religion claim to be among them, remember that the Book of Revelation clearly identifies the 144,000 as Middle-Eastern Jews!

    For those who accept a non-literal interpretation (allowing non-Jews to be among the sealed!), consider this explanation (paraphrased from Asimov's Guide to the Bible): In the language of the time, 1000 was the largest named number. Twelve carries the connotation of sacredness, as in the twelve tribes and twelve months in a year. So 1000 times twelve times twelve again represents an unimaginably large number, the largest number they could speak of, doubly increased by a number with sacred significance: the countless resurrected souls eternally praising the "Holy of Holies". 144,000 is not a limit to the number of those who can be saved, only a limitation of human language to express the countless number of the saved, using a poetic description fitting for the magesty of the scene depicted in this passage of Revelation.

  • N.drew

    I think the understading of the Bible has to do with ...and then... It's like higher education has introduction classed (101), before the more advanced classes are allowed. Because knowledge needs a base. See Jesus' illustration of firm ground or sand. If a person refuses to believe something taught in knowledge 101, (that needs to be believed for the next grade), they can never succeed to the next level.

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    of course 144,000 is a real number. every number is. 144,000 is in fact a natural, whole, (possibly) rational, real integer.

  • MrFreeze

    Weren't JW's taught at first that there wasn't really an earthly hope? That all JW's were supposed to go to heaven? In my opinion, it was their honest interpretation of that scripture. However, I can't ignore the fact that it was just another way of saying "If you aren't a JW, you aren't going to heaven."

  • MrFreeze

    Something else that I just thought of with regards to 12,000 out of each tribe. Couldn't you say to JW's, "Wouldn't they have to be a descendant of that tribe then?" If they say something along the lines of "They are a part of that tribe in a spiritual sense." Then couldn't we in turn respond by saying "Then why is the number 144,000 literal? If everything else around it in those verses is figurative and spiritual in nature, why is it the only thing that is literal is the number?"

    Just my thought.

  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough

    This might help:

    A) The revolving door of ever-changing doctrine[Home]

    Every now and then the Jehovah's Witnesses make significant changes to their doctrine that reach to the very core of their belief system. As such, it can be a real challenge to pinpoint exactly what they believe from one year to the next. The changes they make are to be expected given the weakenesses in their dogma and the need to accommodate mountains of theological criticism. Invariably these changes bump up against other tenets of Society doctrine resulting in an ever-growing tangled mass of contradictions. Due to the nature of these shifting sands one should take their asserted beliefs with a grain of salt.

    B) The New Testament was written primarily for the 144,000 who alone go to heaven to ultimately rule over all remaining JWs and the resurrected on earth [Home]

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people go to heaven (Reasoning from the Scriptures (Reasoning) [New York, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985], 166). These are the bride of Christ, God’s children, the elect, and often referred to as the “anointed” of Christ (Insight on the Scriptures (Insight), 2 vols. [New York, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988], 786). The New Testament Greek Scriptures (New Testament) were written primarily for these brothers of Christ. They are specially chosen because they live especially good lives while on earth (Insight, 786-788). Once resurrected to heaven, a process which began in 1918 and will soon be concluded (the first resurrection) (Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand (Revelation Climax), [New York, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 19__] 103, 277) they will become a kingdom of priests and kings who will rule with Christ for one thousand years over humans on earth (Insight, 170, 524, 525).

    C) The Great Crowd on earth will engage in perfecting resurrected flesh-and-blood humans to a sinless condition [Home]

    This reign will involve their judging resurrected humans during the thousand year reign, and after the thousand year reign when resurrected mankind will undergo a final decisive test before being destroyed forever, or having their names written permanently in God’s book, or scroll, of life (Insight, 251, 788). Whereas the 144,000 are resurrected to heaven as spirit creatures, all other billions of humans worthy of the resurrection during the thousand year reign will be resurrected as corrupt flesh and blood humans with the possibility of immortality on earth (Reasoning, 333-336; Insight, 251). During the thousand year reign the Great Crowd will engage in “perfecting” resurrected humans to a sinless condition enjoyed by Adam and Eve before the fall (Reasoning, 337, 338).

    D) The Great Crowd must pass a final test to gain eternal life[Home]

    The Great Crowd (or large multitude) is a term found at Revelation 7:9. The Great Crowd are those Jehovah’s Witnesses who survive the Great Tribulation. They do not die, do not need to be resurrected and are declared righteous through faith (Insight, 788) although it appears as though they also must pass a final, decisive test to gain eternal life (Insight., 251). Most Jehovah’s Witnesses today consider themselves to be members of the Great Crowd and according to their interpretation of Revelation 7:9-17 they will always be earthly, not heavenly, subjects of the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God). As to those Jehovah’s Witnesses who are not of the 144,000 and do not survive the Great Tribulation, it is believed they will be resurrected in God’s due time (Insight, 788).

    E) The New Covenant applies only to God, Christ and the 144,000; it shall expire shortly. Only the 144,000 have their sins forgiven from Calvary to the 1,000 year reign[Home]

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that when Jesus Christ died and rose to heaven to sit on God’s throne he began to reign only as king over his congregation of 144,000 followers who at the time were still earthly subjects of this spiritual kingdom (Insight, 524). This rule began with Christ’s blood sacrifice which was initiated pursuant to the much-anticipated New Covenant which replaced the old Mosaic Law covenant (Law covenant). This New Covenant, to which only God, Christ and the 144,000 are parties, will expire shortly after the last of the 144,000 are resurrected to heaven (Insight, 524). The only people who have their sins forgiven through Christ's blood sacrifice from the time of Adam until the beginning of the thousand year reign are the 144,000 (Insight, 736).

    F) Pre-incarnate Christ was just a created angel, not eternal, and while on earth nothing more than a man, a human. Jesus returned to earth in 1914 (the parousia)[Home]

    The real kingdom of God, a much larger, expansive and lengthier kingdom, began in 1914 (the 1914 kingdom) when Christ supposedly sat on the throne to begin his rule over mankind (Insight, 169). Jesus, being a mere angel (Reasoning, 218) created hundreds of millions of years ago, only receives a subsidiary share of this kingdom of God (Insight, 169). 1914 A.D. is arguably the most important date in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief system because it is the year that Jesus returned, or arrived (Great Man, ch. 133, 2; Reasoning, 344), to earth. This was the invisible Second Coming of Christ, or “parousia.” It also heralded the beginning of the first of three judgment days.

    G) The Jehovah's Witnesses were taught they're separating the sheep from the goats in their door-to-door ministry [Home]
    We are currently in the first judgment day period. Under the guidance of the remaining earthly anointed 144,000, the Great Crowd of Jehovah’s Witnesses were taught that they were separating the earth’s sheep and goats through their door-to-door ministry (The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived) (Great Man) [New York, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1991] chapter 111, 12-15). This fundamental doctrine, however, changed in 1995. The separation of sheep and goats has been postponed, for now, until a time after the Great Tribulation begins (The Watchtower, Oct. 15, 1995, pg. 23). The sheep join God’s one and only earthly organization, thus becoming members of the Great Crowd (if they survive the Great Tribulation) and earn the opportunity to live life everlasting; all the goats, those who do not heed their invitation, will be destroyed forever during the Great Tribulation and Armageddon with no prospect of resurrection (Ibid.).

    H. Only the Great Crowd survives Armageddon. The Great Crowd will restore the earth to a paradise and educate resurrected sinners to a state of perfection subject to even more laws and regulations; those to be re-educated include the patriarchs, Moses, etc.[Home]

    The only humans who survive the Great Tribulation and Armageddon, where all the enemies of God are destroyed, are members of the Great Crowd of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Ibid.); no one else. Then begins the thousand year reign of Christ and the 144,000 over the earth’s Great Crowd and the righteous and unrighteous - at least those who merit the resurrection during the thousand years (Reasoning, 339-340). This general resurrection during the millennium is the second resurrection according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the tasks of the Great Crowd during this peaceful thousand year reign is to restore post-apocalyptic earth to a paradise-like condition. The Great Crowd also assists in educating the 20 billion resurrected dead to the will of God, to get to know Jesus, and to live in accordance with new laws and regulations revealed through the Law Scrolls of God opened at Revelation 20:12 (Insight, 788). The purpose of educating the resurrected is to lift them to a state of perfection on par with Adam and Eve’s sinless state of perfection they enjoyed before rebelling against Jehovah God (Ibid.).

    I) The Great Crowd and resurrected humans are not judged for any sins committed in this life, but only for sins committed during the 1,000 year reign, and after[Home]

    The second judgment day period occurs during the thousand year reign. “Perfected” humans, now only corruptible rather than corrupt when resurrected, are tested and judged based not on their deeds and works in their previous lives (the one we experience today) but on their deeds during the thousand year reign (Ibid.). They believe this because all men are allegedly acquitted of sin in this life and pay for their sins with the wages of death (Insight, 788; Reasoning, 338). Therefore, the only deeds or sins for which they can be put on judgment for are those committed during the thousand year reign, and their conduct during the final test after the thousand years.

    J. Salvation can be gained only by passing a final test[Home]

    The final test of their fidelity begins after the thousand year reign, the third judgment day, when those remaining perfected humans are confronted with the unleashing of Satan from the abyss and all which that entails. If they pass the test successfully they will have their names permanently written in the scroll, or book, of life. If they fail they are cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death, that is, eternal destruction (Insight, 251).

    Thereafter, the services of Christ, the angel, are no longer required. He is no longer needed as a helper in terms of a propitiatory sacrifice, nor as a legal intermediary between God and man. Accordingly, he is dispensed with in this regard (Insight, 170).

    The Jehovah's Witnesses believe with all sincerity that they "have the truth" and "are in the truth." However given the very significant repudiation of past doctrines that have formed the essential core of their beliefs for over one hundred years it is doubtful they can make that claim. If their "truth" is not the "truth" by their own admission, then their theories were false.

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