Watchtower's 144,000 logic Questioned

by Vanderhoven7 4 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Vanderhoven7

    The Watchtower September 1, 1951, in a wonderful article entitled “Hated For His Name”(pp518,519) describes the persecution and martyrdom of steadfast Christians in the first 3 centuries AD.

    By the year (A.D.) 64 Christianity was prominent throughout much of the Roman Empire, including the capital city Rome itself. Their individual characteristics, form of worship and steadfast refusal to compromise thereon had madethe Christians sure targets of hostility and ridicule. That year, the tenth in the reign of Emperor Nero, Rome was swept by a conflagration so great it is yet the object of poetry and legend....Diocletian assumed the crown A.D. 284.

    At first he seemed friendly to the Christians, but in the year 303 he gave in to persuasion and opened the tenth persecution, probably the most ferocious of all. Suffocation by smoke, forcible drinking of melted lead, mass drownings and bumings, breaking on the rack of men and women alike ran the empire with blood. In a single month 17,000 were slain. In the province of Egypt alone, 144,000 such professed Christians died by violence in the course of this persecution, in addition to another 700,000 who died as a result of fatigues encountered in banishment or under enforced public works”.

    So What's the problem?

    The problem is that the religion of Jehovah Witnesses has set a limit of 144,000 faithful Christians that could have possibly existed in the 19 centuries prior to 1914.

    In response to the above article a rather astute Witness asked a pointed question

    WT 1952 1/15 p. 62 Questions From Readers

    "According to the article “Hated for His Name” in the September 1, 1951, Watchtower, hundreds of thousands of Christians died in the “ten persecutions” starting in Nero’s time, 144,000 dying in Egypt alone during one of the persecutions. How can this be harmonized with the Scriptural limitation of 144,000 placed on the number being in Christ’s body, and which position was the only one open to Christians during those centuries?—J.A., Dominican Republic."

    Now note the WT following response.

    "The article did not class with any finality the individuals that died during these persecutions, but spoke of the results in a general way. Note that a key qualification was made in the case referred to in the question: “In the province of Egypt alone, 144,000 such professed Christians died by violence in the course of this persecution, in addition to another 700,000 who died as a result of fatigues encountered in banishment or under enforced public works.” The victims are identified as “professed Christians”, not Christians in fact. Many of those persons might have been caught in the wave of persecution, but may never have actually preached the truth or followed in Jesus’ footsteps, being only professed Christians. They knew the world they lived in was rotten and they were listening to the message of the Christians and willing to die for it even though not in line for the high calling in Christ Jesus. Many professed Christians today might be willing to die for their faith, but still not be Jesus’ footstep followers and meeting the Scriptural requirements for such."

    Isn't that insulting to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for staying true to their Christian beliefs? I mean how does the WTS know these were not real Christians? They know because of a questionable numerical theory developed without scholarship from a passage in a symbolic book. Talk about Judgmentalism.

  • sir82

    how does the WTS know these were not real Christians?

    Lack of knowledge has never stopped the WTS from publishing anything. They are quite happy to make $#!+ up if it supports their agenda.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    The WTS is able to make such bald assertions because people in general remain ignorant of the reality of the complex situation during the Church's early centuries. I do not know where they got those figures but their simplistic description belies the realities. As an example, during that period professed Christians were killed by other Christians, including beheadings, because of their doctrinal differences. Not unlike the current internal ructions within the Islamic sects.

    In some instances, Christians begged the courts to sentence them to death, as they wished to share in Jesus' death.

    Good books on the complex politics at play include: "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years", by Philip Jenkins, and

    "A New History of Early Christianity" by Charles Freeman (see Chapter 20: "Victims or volunteers: Christian Martyrs").


  • waton

    The problem with wt-think is that they equate "salvation now" with the 1444 000. The rest will have earned salvation only after the 1000 years. and wt-think equates heavenly calling with partaking.

    Wt is proud. Even the writing apostles for them do not count as the "feeding slave".

    They think a tour in the Atlanta pen is more than dying on the cross.

    pride comes before the fall.

  • Vidqun

    According to my reading of the passage, they've got it all wrong. This is a future occurrence. See if you can follow the reasoning:

    While the high and mighty of the earth and their attendants run to their underground cities to hide, leaving the ordinary folk to fend for themselves, the remainder of the 144000 are being sealed. These are taken from the twelve figurative tribes of Israel, i.e., “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:15, 16; Rev. 7:4-8). God’s angel will be sealing them during the prelude to the Tribulation, 12000 from each tribe (Rev. 6:12-7:4). These follow in the footsteps of their Master, Christ (Hebr. 12:2). They would be sealed for their protection (Rev. 7:3, 4; 9:4).The transition between aforementioned chapters of Revelation is introduced by the Greek phrase Καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο (Rev. 7:1 Tischendorf’s New Testament, 8th edition), “and after this,” “this” referring to the kings of the earth and their followers, finding refuge in their underground shelters.

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