How do JWs know that millions who were martyred as Christians before the 20th century did not have the heavenly hope?

by Vanderhoven7 20 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Vanderhoven7


    Well no doubt numbers of those martyred before the twentieth century will differ.

    Here is one estimate.

    "By 200, the faith had permeated most regions of the Roman Empire, though Christians were mostly in the larger urban areas (Gaul, Lyons, Carthage, Rome). By 325, an estimated 7 million were Christians with as many as 2 million killed for the faith." › mitchell › a...

    Anceint Christian Martyrdom

    Interestingly, Watchtower has has admitted to hundreds of thousands martyred for faith in Christ in the first three centuries CE... but has determined that they were really only professed Christians.

    1935 was the year light flashed from heaven and revealed to Rutherford that the other sheep class was forming. And according to Watchtower, some of the earliest Christian other sheep will be around when the tribulation begins.

  • Vanderhoven7

    "For 19 centuries there was only the one calling, the heavenly one, with Jehovah being very selective as to who would serve with his Son to make up the Kingdom government." (The Watchtower, February 15, 1982 p. 30)

    Here is an astute questioner and the WT response

    w52 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.

    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 this response arrogant as well as insulting to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for staying true to their Christian beliefs? The WTS pulls the same stunt today by claiming they alone are true Christians and those non-JWs dying for their faith in Christ in other lands are simply professed but not real Christians. They know who belongs to Christ and who doesn't.

  • LongHairGal


    This rejection of theirs of early Christians was one of the teachings I never accepted in the JW religion. I kept this to myself. I let it go in one ear and out the other - just like modern day people’s claims of being ‘anointed’.

    Likewise, I never believed any modern day convention was a fulfillment of bible prophecy. I thought the JWs were just flattering themselves. I was raised Catholic and learned all about the Christian martyrs and saints. How could anybody presume to say they were ‘not true Christians’ but just ‘professed to be’?

    This claim reminds me of something I witnessed once in class: a boy had asked the nun a question. He asked: “what if somebody thinks they are sorry but they are not?” The sister then said: “If he THINKS he is sorry, then he is.” In the same fashion, I believe those people back then who professed to be Christians probably were - not just because they thought so - but because the society around them obviously thought they were. They were even executed for it.

    Anybody who wants to go ahead and try to judge and disregard what happened centuries ago just sounds presumptuous to me.

  • Vanderhoven7

    @ LongHairGal

    Glad you were not taken in by the organization's narcissistic mythology.

    Somehow the Watchtower has decided, based solely on a symbolic number in Revelation, that they know that millions who perished because of their faith in Christ prior to the 20th century could not have been Christians.

  • Balaamsass2

    3000 visibly were anointed at Penticost right after Jesus's death. Easily 144,000 were "anointed" soon after and before the last apostles died. IMO. A huge historical blunder most JWs never think about.

  • ThomasMore

    Vanderhoven - your bullet points are exactly what WTC teaches. The question is as you put it so simply is: "How do Jehovah's Witnesses know that millions who died for their faith in Christ prior to 1914 were professed but not real Christians?"

    The answer is: "They had to be non-Christians or our teachings would be wrong."

    You also wrote: "They know who belongs to Christ and who doesn't."

    This is by their use of the "HEART-O-METER", a unique device that they alone possess.

    Feel free to call me if you have any other questions.

  • TD

    AFAIK, the JW's have never retracted / revoked / recanted the idea that the heavenly hope was the only hope clear up until the "bright flash of light" in 1935.

    When / if they do, the earthly hope will become an "overlapping hope" kinda like the overlapping generation.

    (First hoping the end comes in your generation and not that of your great, great grandchildren and second, hoping to be found worthy of survival if it does)

  • Longlivetherenegades

    This topic just match the below from watchtower

    The name Jehovah’s witnesses applies specifically to God's anointed ones who have been taken out of the world and made witnesses for Jehovah, and these alone bear the new name..... Watchtower August 15,1934 pg 249

    They use to claim Abel was the first Jehovah’s witness that existed so how come the new name only apply to anointed ones alone?

    It all shows how this religious organization had been led over the years by arrogant men who believe they have been made GOD(Guardians of Our Doctrines) over the lives of many

  • eyeslice

    Seems strange that two white American men who have spent most of their adult lives in the cosy confines of Bethel can get the heavenly call followed by being made GB members when a frail female slave girl, tortured and brutally put to death, isn't counted worthy of heaven.

    From Wikipedia (

    She was bound to a stake and wild beasts were set on her. According to legend, they did not, however, touch her. After enduring this for a number of days, in an effort to persuade her to recant, she was led into the arena to see the sufferings of her companions. Finally, as the last of the martyrs, she was scourged, placed on a red-hot grate, enclosed in a net and thrown before a wild steer who tossed her into the air with his horns. In the end, she was killed with a dagger
  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    i'm slightly curious if any other religions teach this 2 class system--with 144,000 going to heaven--and all other followers missing that bus.

Share this