A dilemma regarding the 144,000

by Five Gospels 15 Replies latest jw friends

  • Five Gospels
    Five Gospels

    Some of the recent posts regarding the "anointed" got me thinking about some of the characters that I have met, or have known about, professing membership among this elite class of people.

    One particular character I know of, even today espousing some, shall we say, interesting viewpoints on matters, had an even more interesting past. It seems that some years ago (c. 1970's) a typically subdued but otherwise ordinary Christian meeting was being closed with a prayer at a small Kingdom Hall in the North Eastern USA when it was suddenly disrupted by this individual (even then professing to be anointed) assaulting his wife at the rear of the Hall! He was pretty much disfellowshiped on the spot for his indiscretion. Some time later, however, he was reinstated and today is very much active (giving public talks etc.).

    This whole idea of the anointed "falling away" and some even coming back leads to an interesting dilemma:

    The number (144,000) of anointed Christians was supposedly "sealed," was it not? The explanation given for "new membership" among the anointed class is essentially that new "job openings" (my own metaphor) appear when anointed Christians fall away spiritually. So, the case of brother Wife-Beater presents a problem with one of two solutions:

    1. Jehovah knew that this person would repent and return to the fold and thus his slot was left open in the interim.

    2. Jehovah did not know whether this person would repent and thus immediately filled this slot by bringing a new member into the fold.

    But there are problems with both of these scenarios.

    The first contradicts the JW notion of free will. For if Jehovah knows in advance who will return, then the converse is also true, i.e. He knows in advance who will not return. However, if He knows who will not return then how can any meaning be found in the scriptures that say: "Jehovah does not desire anybody to be destroyed but He desires all to repent." If one's life course can be determined, then why would Jehovah desire something for all which can be known to be the providence of only some? For those inclined to respond that "God can choose, or choose not, to determine in advance the course of a person's life" (the infamous "radio station" analogy from the Reasoning book) then why would He not use this ability on the ones He first invites into the fold to save Himself the trouble of having to call another when one falls away permanently?

    The second scenario is problematic because we have to consider what happens when such "prodigal sons" are welcomed back into the fold. Are there really 144,000 + n anointed (where n is the number of anointed whom fell away and then returned)? Do the new members get demoted back to the ranks of the "earthly" class when [formerly] anointed persons are reinstated? Or perhaps the [formerly] anointed are welcomed back into the organization but no longer have the "heavenly hope" -- they just don't know it yet!

    Perhaps some among the "we are spotless, unblemished, our robes have been made white," "yet we like to chat with dissidents," "and by the way, we are among the 144,000" class can shed some light on this matter.

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Five Gospels

  • Dawn

    By the way...aren't the 144,000 supposed to be virgins?

    Guess that's why it's taken so long for Armageddon to come - finding 144,000 virgins has got to be a pretty tough job!!

  • lotus

    Hello, I am a loyal WT Anointed class, but one with an open mind, that is why I'm talking to you. We all have a free will, anointed or not. God reads the heart condition first, and invites one into learning about the truth, then we struggle with imperfection.
    But truthfully, for the earthly class, they are given white robes, becasue they have practiced righteousness, but NOT reached perfection. They get 1,000 years to do so. An anointed only gets one lifetime, they wont be PERFECT, but have to reach a level in which God will know they will be LOYAL. If they commit a serious sin, in which they no longer want to serve Jah, or are lead away this is what happens.
    Fot it is impossible as regards those who have once for all been enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift, and who have become partakers of holy spirit...but have fallen away, to revive them again for repentance, " HEB 6:4,5,6 Thats when they become and promote apostate beliefs. Thanks

  • Siddhashunyata

    True story. Back in the 70's I knew a sweet elderly sister that was present at the convention(1930's) when the WTBS announced that the Great Multitude was an Earthly Class . From that convention until her dying day she held a burning resentment because , as she put it, a brother had talked her out of being of the Heavenly Class. She felt she could have been of the "Annointed" if only she hadn"t been persuaded otherwise. To a psychologist the case is simple , to Jehovah"s Witnesses the case is an enigma. All "authority" rests on this concept of "Annointing". You will never understand yourself if you believe this about yourself or anyone else. "Salvation" cannot come through authority, real or imagined. It comes by "leaving self behind". Not easy because the self , itself, is making the inquiry. Thus , the truth destroys the very thing seeking salvation. In this way there is transformation. Because the process is so personal and intimate one can understand why "works" have no merit in themselves. Their value lies in how they impact the destruction of the inquiring self. But if that self is seeking to live eternally , if it seeks to gain a firmer, more secure "footing" through every form of religous devotion or "tidy" concept, if that is the extent of its inquiry then it will find comfort only under authority or by exercising authority over others. This is where the self goes if it is not destroyed and accepts delusion over truth. That is why the religous systems are characterized by authority and self-rightousness and that is why the membership cannot allow these institutions to be destroyed. These institutions are the last stop for all the "selves" seeking salvation without the death of the self. A very lucrative business.

  • Liberty

    Hi Lotus,

    I am confused by this because I don't understand why Jehovah would waste His time "reading hearts" to determin who will be invited to Heaven if such a reading is so inaccurate that in the very near future many of these will become part of the "Evil Slave Class" when they turn apostate. The "heart reading" seems pointless to me if it is constantly changing. Why would a being who has attained the stature of Creator of All Things use such an ineffecient method for finding Christ's co-rulers? Why doesn't He just wait till they are dead and judge them then after He knows the goodness of their whole heart from a lifetime? Since the Anointed among the JWs don't really do any ruling here on Earth, unless they are on the Governing Body, they really don't serve a real need in this life anyway so why risk chosing them early? It's stuff like this that really makes me think the whole thing is a sham. It's too illogical, too complex, too much like confused humans made it up rather than being a Divine Plan of the Almighty God. None of this makes any sense. Can you try to explain this to me?

  • singsongboi

    five gospels....

    the THEORY is, that it's not the quality, but the timing of the call..

    from the first century to whatever date, all who became christians, and lived in faithfullness had the heavenly hope -- like it or not, they would go to heaven..

    in THEORY, a member of the present 'earthly class' could be more spiritual, more zealous etc... than some previous member of the anointed class.

    however, in the event, that a 'called' member of the 144,000 dies unfaithful...then it's logical that god could 'call' a replacement -- whoever he may choose to call!!!

    well! that's the theory...now let's see what evidence we can find in the bible for that..eh!!!!!!

  • Moxy

    yes, this is a dilemma. but you dont seem to be familiar with the *actual* WT teaching on free will. they teach that god *can* foreknow anything he wishes to, but *chooses* not to. and his choosing not to is equivalent to free will. in order to make the theology work in wacky places like the DF'ed anointed you mention and other places, one has to invoke jehovahs ability to selectively foreknow certain things.


  • Justin

    Moxy is correct about the JW idea of free will, that there are things which Jehovah chooses not to know.

    In the JW teaching, those with the heavenly hope are both declared righteous and spirit-begotten. If someone is declared righteous, they have righteousness imputed to them or credited to their account. They may be disfellowshipped, but only Jehovah can remove that righteous standing which he has given them. If they repent before he does so, they are received back as anointed ones. This is the way I understood it as a JW.

    Why doesn't he wait until their death to determine who is chosen and who is not? Because there is something about the spirit-begotten condition that enables them to develop toward the goal which He has in mind for them. They cannot develop as "new creatures" unless they already are such in some sense while still in the flesh. The new life must begin here and now, and if they fail, then they become like an aborted fetus. The "sealing" of the 144,000 is not when they are first chosen, but when God decides that they have been fully tested and tried (whether at or before death is not clear). So while the number is supposedly full at the present time, all the individuals that will finally make up that number have not been sealed.

    I am only saying that the system seems logical within itself. Of course, with anything, one can always ask why God does something in one way and not in another.

    What is putting a strain on the belief system now is the fact that, with the passage of time, it seems that so many have proven unfaithful and have needed to be replaced. Every "replacement" increases the strain. It keeps the anointed class on earth for the final showdown, but at the same time makes it appear that such ones have been called to a hope which is practically unattainable.

  • Amazing

    Jehovah was suppose to wait until the Anointed person either dies faithful or unfaithful. If unfaithful at death, then the slot is filled with the new hire. This does pose a dilema in that maybe some Anointed are still DF'd, but not dead when Armageddon arrives. I always assumed as a JW that these would be immediately judge, and depending on this last second judgment, their seat would be taken or retained. In retrospect, it is all rather silly legalism.

  • Dawn


    But truthfully, for the earthly class, they are given white robes, becasue they have practiced righteousness, but NOT reached perfection. They get 1,000 years to do so. An anointed only gets one lifetime, they wont be PERFECT, but have to reach a level in which God will know they will be LOYAL.
    Could you point me to the biblical basis for this??

    It seems to me that all have "fallen short of the glory of God"

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