144,000 a literal number

by Bonnie_Clyde 44 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Leolaia

    Yep, it is enlightening.

    In John, Jesus is the paschal lamb that is sacrificed on Passover. That is why the timing of the crucifixion is different in John compared to the synoptics so Jesus could be sacrificed at the right time -- thus John 19:14, 31 places the crucifixion on Preparation Day at about the time the lambs are slaughtered. The word used for lamb in John 1:29, 36, namely amnos, also reflects an exegetical tradition on the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:7-8 LXX (which has been merged with the paschal imagery), a tradition which is also independently attested (indeed, overtly quoted) in Acts 8:32-33 and 1 Peter 1:19 which is also sacrificial, if not paschal, in alluding to the "precious blood of a spotless and stainless lamb (amnos)" that has paid the ransom. Each usage of amnos is thus steeped in this symbolism, and the same applies to other early Christian writings, such as 1 Clement 16:7 ("like a lamb [amnos] before his shearer is dumb so he did not open his mouth") and Barnabas 5:2.

    The other word, arnios, instead has a strong pastoral sense. The sense in Greek is that arnios is more of a pet lamb that one cares for, protects, and loves -- not offers up in sacrifice. The sense of protecting lambs also implies their vulnerability in the face of danger. Thus the pastoral duty of Peter in John 21:15 involves caring for the lambs (disciples) of Jesus. A key text is that of Luke 10:3 wherein Jesus says "I send you out as lambs (arnas, plural) in the midst of wolves". Again, the disciples are the lambs and they face danger from "wolves". The usage of arnios in Revelation is also similar. In Revelation 7:17, the Lamb is "to be their shepherd; he will lead them to the springs of living water", and the disciples in 14:4 "follow the Lamb wherever he goes". There is also the image of the Lamb in the face of dangerous wild Beasts, who in 17:4 "make war against the Lamb." On the other hand, there is also an element of the Johannine concept relating "lambhood" to Jesus' death; thus in 5:6 the Lamb "looked as if he had been slain" (cf. v. 12), and 12:11 refers to the "blood of the Lamb". However, these two statements are not overtly paschal as the statements in 1 Peter, Barnabas, etc. and the conception of Jesus in John. I would say that the concept of arnios here draws on both pastoral and paschal imagery, while the pastoral sense is missing in the case of amnos.

  • Leolaia

    johnny....Thanks for posting the article. I agree that a reference to a reconstituted national Israel instead of "spiritual Israel" is quite possible, especially considering the theory that the original "core" of Revelation was a pre-Christian Jewish apocalypse related to the Apocalypse of Elijah and 2 Baruch. Such a theme does occur in Jewish apocalyptic literature; I remember a passage from the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs that refers to the Messiah gathering together the dispersed twelve tribes. However it may be a different matter whether the Christian editor and author of the present text of Revelation viewed the 144,000 as referring to fleshly Israel. Also the contention that there was no early concept of "spiritual Israel" is a hard sell -- especially for Revelation; the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride (the Church) at the end of the book, for instance, draws on OT symbolism about Yahweh and his wife Israel (cf. Isaiah, Hosea), and there are other examples in the NT and in the Apostolic Fathers.

    I got some stuff from critical commentaries on this issue that I'll post later to this forum when I have time....some rather good stuff...

  • Flash


    Nonetheless, I've no desire to continue to back you into a corner.
    Take care, and no doubt we'll meet on another thread

    Yes LT, you too, I will look forward to it!



    If so, then why is the word for "lamb" arnios in Revelation 7:10, 14:1 (and throughout the book), and amnos in John 1:29. It isn't even the same word .

    I tell you the truth Leolaia, I have never been convinced that all the word dissection done by the WTS and other religious groups is warranted or that their applications are correct. I've always been sceptical about the bible authors being 'that precise' about the words they're choosing. I believe people can get so lost in the details they lose sight of the Bigger Picture, the forrest for the trees as the saying goes, ( this is in not meant in anyway as a slam against you or LT ).

    See you around the Board!

  • Flash

    After having a discussion with LittleToe on another Thread concerning Rev 20:10 I have to concede that perhaps the 144,000 of Rev.14:1 is a symbolic representation of the Little Flock (Luke 12:32) and not literal.

    What is the true Christian Faith / Religion


  • Schizm
    Flash said: After having a discussion with LittleToe on another Thread concerning Rev 20:10 I have to concede that perhaps the 144,000 of Rev.14:1 is a symbolic representation of the Little Flock (Luke 12:32) and not literal.

    What is the true Christian Faith / Religion


    I visited that thread again and noted this comment of Flash's:

    OHHH come on guys . The Devil is literal .

    Heathen, we're not saying he is not a real person, we're debating just 'how singularly literal' he is in Rev 20:10. He is listed as being thrown in the Lake of Fire with the Wild Beast and the False Prophet which are both symbolic. Basicaly LT asked 'aren't the Demons getting torched too along with the Devil?' So the 'Devil' in Rev 20:10 would be signifing both Satan and his followers. -- Flash.

    Let's look at the text you are referring to, in context:

    1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 And he hurled him into the abyss and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.

    [Verses 4-6 are irrelevant.]

    7 Now as soon as the thousand years have been ended, Satan will be let loose out of his prison, 8 and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Ma┬┤gog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they advanced over the breadth of the earth and encircled the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down out of heaven and devoured them. 10 And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet [already were]; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    To be noted: In speaking of Satan "the Devil" being abyssed the account does not specifically mention that the demons also were abyssed. But did the account really need to do that? I don't think so! Since the demons are the Devil's followers, it's quite reasonable to assume that they too went into the abyss along with him. Likewise, when we read that the "Devil" was destroyed at the end of the 1000 years it's quite reasonable to assume that the demons went into the lake of fire along with their leader Satan.

    So, what I'm saying is that I don't think that Flash's deduction regarding the term "Devil" as used at Revelation 20:10 is sound. It's wrong to think that "Devil" there signifies "both Satan and his followers". Therefore, to argue that the 144,000 of Revelation 14:1 is symbolic on the basis of THAT misconceived idea is NOT logical.


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