My biggest question about JW is regarding the 144,000 from Revelations. How could John know exactly how many people were there?
Because God revealed it to him. That's what the word "revelation" means. God unveils sacred secrets that are otherwise unknowable. However, before Revelation was written both Jesus and Paul indicated that there was a set number who were to be chosen by God. At John 17:2 Jesus, in prayer to God, referred to "the whole number whom you have given him." That has reference to those whom Jesus shares his kingdom with. Furthermore, at Romans 11:25 Paul referred to a sacred secret, which had to do with God's creation of a kingdom made up of numerous kings and priests who would serve with Christ in heaven, and he used the expression in connection with spiritual Israle: "Until the full number of the people of the nations has come in." That indicates, again, that the "Israel" mentioned in Revelation is a spiritual nation with a finite, pre-determined, number of chosen ones. 144,000 is the full number.
How did he know that they were representing the 12 tribes of Israel?
Because it says so in the 7th chapter of Revelation. However, It is not talking about the literal nation of Israel. Jesus started a new nation that is referred to in many places in scritpure as "Israel."
How do you know if you are in the 144,000?
God let's you know. Jehovah is the Great Communicator. He has demonstrated numerous ways of communication; using dreams and visions and angels, and even speaking directly on a few occasions. In the case of those whom he choses to adopt as sons he speaks to them on a spiritual level primarily through his word.
What happens when all the spaces fill up, like people who are born 1,000 years from now...will they never have a chance?
When all the spaces are filled up and those who are called and chosen are also finally sealed with God's irreversible approval, then, Jehovah's angels let go of the symbolic 4 winds of destruction that they are holding in restraint, thereby effectively bringing an end to this world. Then, the new world begins whereby the 144,000 become the rulers of the new world.
And what about the people that were born before JW was invented? Were any of them chosen?
The apostles of Jesus were the first ones to become sons of God. The opportunity wasn't open to anyone who lived before the time of Christ. After the apostles died off corruption set in to the congregation and the calling apparently dwindled down to a trickle. However, during the last days Jehovah once again issues a call and selects some to fill out the number.
What happens to the JWs that aren't chosen? And the non-JWs? And what about this?
Jehovah's purpose has always been to restore the earth to a paradise. God's will and stated purpose is to bring the dead back to life on earth in paradise. The 144,000 will simply serve as a government, a kingdom, that will rule over mankind and assit in restoring human perfection in paradise.
Does this mean that all of the 144,000 chosen ones must be virgin males? That's the way it sounds to me. I'm sure I'm not the first person to site this, but I would just like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
The 144,000, as a group, are symbolized as a virgin bride of Christ. It simply means that they are not corrupted spiritually.
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