Do their numbers add up?
“Only a little flock of 144,000 go to heaven and rule with Christ. … The 144,000 are born again as spiritual sons of God” (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Twentieth Century, electronic version).
May 31, 1935 at the Washington, D.C. Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses, it was announced anyone coming into the organization from that day on would compose an earthly class of Christians. And without question they accepted this change.
Looking back they revise this change as “In 1935 the Witnesses came to a clearer understanding regarding the heavenly kingdom class, who will reign with Christ, and their subjects on earth” (Mankind’s Search for God p.358 1990)
“Who are those 144,000? …they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000” (What Does the Bible Really Teach? p. 78-79)
Would one consider a martyr who refused to reject his Lord a faithful Christian? God does. Acts 22:20 refers to Stephen, of whom saw Jesus in a vision stood to welcome him
Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Certainly he would be considered part of the 144,000, and so would all the other martyr’s.
Watchtower has stated “by the latter years of the first century the second great persecution, under Emperor Domitian, flared up. It is said that in the year 95 alone some 40,000 suffered martyrdom (Watchtower Sept. 1, 1951 p.516)
Rev. 2:13: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” The fact that Foxes book of martyrs mentions hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the first few centuries does not intrude on the Watchtower way of counting. They ignore history and revise it. They have to for arrival of their exclusive numbering.
The Watchtower in its first report of partakers of the meal, are 36,372 (“Yearly Reports of International Preaching Activity” 1928 to 1958) a footnote which states: First record of partakers at Memorial kept for celebration on Wednesday, April 17, 1935 (Bulletin, March Extra, 1935, p.2)
Their other reports state in 1935 ...... they had in attendance 63,146 ... and of those 52,465 were participants” (Jehovah's Witnesses Proclaimers of God's Kingdom p.717)
This is 85 years ago. Lest say for the sake of math that the 144,000 were being chosen since the beginning of the church we use the lesser number of 36,372.
Since the partakers of the Memorial must be considered by the Watchtower as part of the 144,000, accepting this idea would mean that there would be less than 144,000 to be chosen from 33 C.E. down to this period of time. The result would be
The Bible also states, Acts 2:41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
Acts 4:4 speaks of the number of men believing came to be about 5,000. That is 8,000 believers in Jesus in the first few weeks of the church. This would have to be an accepted number as the apostles were then the head of the church.
When we subtract from the number of:
As Russell Warren points out these, too, would be of the 144,000 were the 144,000 were the only calling at that time.
This leaves Jehovah to select 99,000 plus extending over almost 1900 years.
Foxes Book of Martyrs lists 254,502 martyrs. When we subtract this number from the 99,628 left at the first Jehovah’s Witness memorial meal … well you can see they have a problem with the numbers.
We now have 148,874 more than the 144,000 number. However let’s say it was only half the martyrs that Foxes book records, we are still 75,000 over the number. Oops. That is a big mistake
Lets round off the numbers and say there were 100,000. It’s obvious anyone who can do basic math and reflect on accurate history will conclude that their numbering, not just their doctrine is way off. So how do they deal with it? They come up with the teaching of apostates.
“Selecting these future corulers over mankind would take time. Why? For one thing, that opportunity had to be extended to people of all nations. And, while many professed to lay hold of it, few truly proved to be faithful followers of God's Son. (Matthew 22:14) High standards had to be met” (True Peace and Security - How Can You Find It? p.65)
Does this mean only 144,000 people can be considered to have worshipped God correctly?
The society explains that those who have attained this special “anointed” status became unfaithful, lost his (or her) heavenly calling and forfeited the position. This is their distorted version of being saved and losing your salvation.
Later on they tried to fit the new 144,000 position to their crucial dates they held, “Although Jehovah had come to his temple in 1918 and had begun judgment of this anointed class, still others must be brought in, because some were found unworthy and they must be replaced. The evidences show that this continued until especially 1931, when there began a work of gathering those recognized as “other sheep” of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose p.139, 1959)
As recently as 1996 “We understand that this heavenly calling continued down through the centuries, though during the so-called Dark Ages, there may have been times when the number of anointed ones were very few. With the reestablishment of true Christianity near the end of the last century, more were called and chosen. But it seems that in the mid-1930's, the full number of the 144,000 was basically completed. Thus there began to appear a group of loyal Christians with the earthly hope. Jesus termed such “other sheep,” who unite in worship with the anointed as one approved flock” (Watchtower Aug. 15 1996 p.31)
So according to the Watchtower the other sheep (which according to Jesus are gentiles) did not appear until after 1930 and they are in their organization only (true Christianity). Of course they are willing to take a hit on this and admit they assumed it was complete in the mid 30’s and were wrong, to uphold the change that Rutherford introduced.
According to the Watchtower teaching of the Memorial service, if you take communion and you are not part of their 144,000 then you are in sin. Or, they have to accept that those outside their organization are part of the 144,000. Why? Because the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not begin till the late 1800’s. However, there is another alternative. They are completely wrong… and here’s why. They say that the 144,000 were being selected before they had a Jehovah’s Witness organization which began in 1879. Those who have been taking communion since the beginning of the church number more than 144,000 throughout the world. In fact, none of the members of the Church ever considered themselves part of this group of Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel (even as Jews), that is until the Watchtower organization was formed and told them what this all meant.
Their own numbering does not add up
“the 1976 celebration of the Memorial of Jesus' death, in some 40,000
congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses around the earth, the attendance totaled
4,972,571, of whom only 10,187 professed to be of the anointed class.”
At the 1987 “Memorial” 8,808 partook of the emblems (Revelation, It's Grand Climax At Hand p. 125)
Referring to the 1991 “Memorial” 8,850 partook of the emblems
(Watchtower Mar. 1, 1992 p. 19).
The Jehovah’s Witnesses own numbering of the 144,000 fluctuates, but it is never seen to go down past a certain number and be brought to completion. Lets look at their participants of the Memorial meal who alone are in the new covenant from the new millenium the year 2,000.
There were 8,661 in 2000; 8,760 in 2002; 8,570 in 2004, 8,524 in 2005. In 2008 there was almost a 10% increase in the number of Partakers over 2007! 9,986 “Memorial Partakers” in 2008. 2009 there were 10,857. The number has gone up every year since 2005. Seems that a number of Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed their mind and WANT TO GO TO heaven, they want Jesus to be their mediator. But they are being lied to, they can’t, Not because the numbers do not add up but because their doctrine on this is completely wrong, not biblical, elitist and a travesty to those who desire eternal life. They keep them from having Jesus be their mediator by denying who Jesus is and what His crucifixion actually means.
Yet we are told, “…the number of genuine anointed disciples of Christ is dwindling, though some will evidently still be on earth when the great tribulation begins. Most of the remnant are quite elderly, and over the years the number of those who are truly anointed has been getting smaller” (Watchtower Jan. 15, 2000 p.13) [underline mine]
They continue to ignore their own numbers “ … the number of anointed ones on the earth has decreased over the decades… “ (Watchtower Feb. 15, 2009 pp.27-28)
Then why do we see the number of “Memorial Partakers” INCREASING?
“As time has gone by, some Christians baptized after 1935 have had witness borne to them that they have the heavenly hope. Thus … we cannot set a specific date for when the heavenly hope ends” (Watchtower 2007 May 1 p.31). Of course they can’t, especially when the numbers are increasing instead of decreasing. But 75 years ago they did. “Their being identified in 1935 as the great crowd of other sheep was an indication that the choosing of the 144,000 was then about complete” (Revelation, Its Grand Climax).
This organization fudges on numbers like they do doctrine. From the inception of the church to the 1935 Jehovah’s Witnesses. How many received the calling in the 1,900 years between 30 A.D to 1935 A.D.? They do not know because no one was counting.
With 99,628 left from the 8,000 in the early church and the 35,000 when they first counted in 1935, this leaves approximately 50 chosen anointed ones each year. That’s one person from one third of the nations throughout 1,900 years of the church.
Remember they (Jehovah’s Witnesses) did not officially have this doctrine to partake of the memorial meal until 1935. So then in reality none were chosen from anywhere, however their own teaching says they were chosen from the apostles time. In 1935 the Jehovah’s Witnesses had 36,372 from mostly America. Does this make sense? 50 a year from all other nations but almost 37,000 the first time it is officially introduced. If that many, mostly in America how is it not that many in other nations prior? Thus, we have only a few choices; the number is none, because they were not part of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Or they have to admit they are chosen elsewhere and they have no idea how many there were. If they don’t know the numbers how can they be sure of the numbers throughout history before then? That other countries kept the same or similar ratio. Then we have far more than the 144,000 number even up to the time period of 1935. So none of this makes sense.
Remember, they have recently gone on record saying “Who are those 144,000? …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000” (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, p. 78-79) [underline mine]
If they were not able to count throughout the 1,900 years and keep a record how do they know their numbers are right. How did Russell know they would complete the 144,000 back in 1881and that it was not completed beforehand? There are far more Questions than there are answers from the Watchtower.
What does the Bible teach us on the 144,000 in contradistinction to the Watchtower?
The Bible says they were sealed by tribes, at the same time:
Rev. 7:2-3: “Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
In other words hold judgment until this is completed. Does history show this happened? NO! The seventh seal, which then leads to the seven trumpets is not opened until they are sealed (Rev. 8:1-2).
The Bibles qualifications for being part of the 144,000 (Revelation Chapter 7, 3-8)
The Watchtower Society teaches that the number 144,000 of Rev 7:4 are to be taken literally but after this it is all figurative, they mold it to their own made up doctrine. Are the numbers and the descriptions “figurative” as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim? If the number 12,000 is used to count the persons taken from each tribe Rev. 7: 4- 8 and then multiplied by the 12 tribes becoming the number 144,000 would not the math have to be figurative!
They are all Jews – Jews by birthright, they do not become “spiritual Israel.” Rev. 7:4 “And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed”
The term children of Israel is consistently used of the people of Israel distinguished from Gentiles, so the 144,000 cannot be Gentiles, not one of them. Gen. 32 onward this term is consistently used of those with Jewish descent.
Exodus 1:1-5: “Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; each man and his household came with Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already).”
The 144,000 are all identified by tribe, divided by the exact number of 12,000 from each- Rev. 7:5-8 v.5 “of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed”
In fact, in Rev 21:10-12 John sees the “great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” he describes her in v.12 as with a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” One would have to change much of the bible to conform to the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpret these verses (Exod.24:4; Mt.19:28). James 1:1 James writes, “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad,” it wasn’t gentiles that left the land and were scattered.
So when we read Rev 7:4: “And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:” and then names 12,000 from each tribe there is no way to change its meaning from the way the Bible has used it for thousands of years. These are Jews not just in Israel or America but from all over the world to communicate to people in every language in each country completing Mt.24:14.
There is also another blatant error by the watchtowers interpretation that is often missed, Rev. 7:7-9: “after these things” are those who come out of the tribulation from the result of their evangelizing. The great multitude are gentiles from all the nations, while the 144,000 are strictly Jews.
Who does the Bible describe as the 144,000?
They are all chaste men who are saved on earth, none of them are married. Rev. 14:4: “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” So they cannot be women.
NWT Revelation 14:1, 4, “I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand… These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins.”
Since the word men and women are consistent throughout the Bible, neither can this term be changed. However, the Jehovah’s Witnesses 144,000 are made up of both men and women, married and single. How does this fit with the Scripture?
Rev. 14:5: “And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God. for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
No deceit meaning no lies, not falsehoods and without fault means they are blameless, they have done nothing to be disgraced by. Can this be honestly said of all the 144,000 in the Jehovah’s Witness organization or the Watchtower? Remember the Watchtower teaches there are those who fall away from being one of the 144,000
The 144,000 are the only ones with the Father's name written on their foreheads-
Rev. 14:1: “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads”(much like the priests had Holiness to the LORD Exodus 28:36-37)
They are all seen together with Jesus on Mount Zion, on Earth in a vision of the millennium when Jesus returns to end the Great Tribulation (Rev.14:. They are sealed (a seal protects, like in a document keeps it from being opened; Gr. sphragizo- to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp, it also included a) for security: from Satan since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret). In other words the sealing protects them from death to do their service in evangelizing; as God holds off the judgment on the earth and the sea until they are sealed (protected from the judgments). The 144,000 are seen with Jesus on Mt. Zion, this shows that they were successful and survived, accomplishing the Lords service. So none are lost, and they cannot die.
No one on earth today that meets these qualifications for the 144,000 found in Revelation 7 and 14, for the simple reason God has not begun to seal them.
The doctrine of sealing 144,000 since the beginning of the church is pure fantasy.
Where does the Bible say that the 144,000 will be located, who are they and when does it happen?
If the Jehovah’s Witness position is that the 144,000 began in “the days of the apostles,” then we have a contradiction with the Bible. Obviously these cannot all be from America.
In fact if they are being sealed since the time of the apostles very few could have come from America until the last 400 years ago.
The Bible teaches they are “sealed” on earth during the “great tribulation,” at the 7th seal when God’s wrath is to come. Have the 6 seals have already been opened? Can a Jehovah’s Witness prove the seals were opened for almost 2,000 years, that we have been and are now in the tribulation?
“…hide us from…the One seated on the throne and from the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come… And I saw another angel …having a seal of [the] living God; and he cried …saying: ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel” (NWT Revelation 6:16-17; 7:2-4)
This brings up numerous other questions for the Watchtower that has no answers- Rev.7 tells us they are 12,000 from each tribe of the Jews sealed for service. Their mission is to preach the gospel to all nations as the fulfillment of Mt.24:14. (we know this because These are the ones who follow the Lamb) the next thing we see is a great multitude being saved out of the great tribulation.