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THE 144,000 ANOINTED CLASS and OTHER SHEEP

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THE 144,000 ANOINTED CLASS and OTHER SHEEP

Watchtower Teaching:

They claim that only 144,000 JWs go to heaven, as the ‘Anointed class’.(Rev. 7:4 & 14:1-3).

They claim that all other JWs are part of God’s ‘other sheep’, and will live forever on a paradise earth.

They claim that only the 144,000 are born again as sons of God to share in the heavenly Kingdom. 

These will have a spiritual existence in heaven, not a physical resurrection, as they claim that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom’.

JWs teach that only a few enter this spiritual Kingdom as a ‘little flock’ of believers (Luke
12:32).

JWs claim that this 144,000 began with the apostles and was filled in 1935.

The WT claims that the 144,000 will rule from heaven over the great crowd on earthly paradise (Rev 7:9), where the earth will remain forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 104:5).

The great crowd (Revelation 7:9) is the same as the ‘other sheep’ of John 10:16, who hope to survive Armageddon and enjoy Christ’s rule on a perfect earth.

Salvation for both classes is by works of witnessing or distributing WT literature door to door.

Consider these verses the WT uses and the correct Bible replies:

1. Luke 12:32 - The ‘Little Flock’ as the 144,000 ‘Anointed class’

Watchtower teaching: ‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give
you the Kingdom.’ JWs claim that only this group go to heaven . WT teaches that Old
Testament saints such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and prophets are not part of this ‘little
flock’, but are part of the ‘other sheep’ of John 10:16, the ‘great crowd’ of Revelation 7:9.

Bible Teaching:

1) The WT interpretation of Luke 12:32 violates the context. Luke 12:22-34 shows Jesus
speaking to His disciples on earth in the first century, not to another 144,000 anointed
class that might develop from 30 AD to 1935. JWs are reading something into the
passage that is not there.

2) Elsewhere Jesus referred to His disciples as sheep in His flock:
(a) Matthew 10:16 - ‘I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves’
(b) Matthew 26:31 - ‘I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.’ (Spoken to the disciples before His crucifixion.)
Jesus called His disciples a ‘little flock’ because they were a small, defenceless group that could be easily preyed upon. They need not to worry because Christ would protect them.

Ask: In Luke 12:22, who is Jesus speaking to? (His 12 disciples)

Ask: Where in Luke 12:32 does it say that the little flock is the 144,000 of Rev 7:14?

Ask: How do you know that the 144,000 was completed in 1935?

3) Jesus never once restricted the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven to 144,000 people.

Ask: Can you think of any verse in the Bible where Jesus limits the citizenship of heaven
to 144,000?

4) I John 5:1 ‘Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.’. The words
‘whosoever believeth’ are open ended, including everybody who believes, not just
144,000.

Ask: Doesn’t the ‘whosoever’ in I John 5:1 include everyone and not just 144,000?

5) The Watchtower teaching that Old Testament saints are not part of the heavenly class is wrong, as seen from Hebrews 11:13-16 where Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham all sought a heavenly country (v.16), not an earthly one.

6) Matthew 8:11 shows Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sitting down in the Kingdom of heaven.
Ask: Who is right here, the Bible or the Watchtower?


Revelation 7:4 and 14:1-3 - Are the 144,000 in the ‘anointed class’?

Watchtower Teaching: The WT claims that the 144,000 are a literal number of people, but that  12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of Israel are not literally national Israel.

We ask,‘Why would 144,000 be literal, but the 12,000 in each tribe be figurative?’

WT reply:
a) There never was a tribe of Joseph in the OT, even though it is mentioned in Rev. 7:4-8;
b) The tribes of Ephraim and Dan are not included in Revelation 7;
c) The Levites, not reckoned as an OT tribe, are mentioned as a tribe in Revelation 7.

Bible Teaching:

1) Ask: Why does the WT switch interpretation in Revelation 7:4 from literal (144,000 as a precise number of people) to figurative in the last part of the verse where they say the 12,000 do not represent precise numbers of people from each of Israel’s 12 tribes?

2) Women are excluded from this group of 144,000 in Revelation 14:4 ‘These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.’ Masculine pronouns used show that this group are all men.

3) Heaven awaits all who believe in Christ, not just the 144,000. Check these verses:

1. Philippians 3:20 ‘For our conversation is in heaven; . . .’

2. Colossians 3:1 ‘Seek those things which are above.’

3. Hebrews 3:1 ‘Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.’

4. Hebrews 12:22 ‘But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem . . .’

5. II Corinthians 5:1 ‘We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (physical death),we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’

6. Colossians 1:5 ‘For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.’

7. Hebrews 11:16 ‘But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly . . .’

8. Hebrews 10:34 ‘Knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.’

9. I Peter 1:4 ‘To an inheritance . . . reserved in heaven for you.’

10. Revelation 19:1 ‘I heard a great voice of much people in heaven.’

11. Matthew 6:20 ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.’

12. John 12:26 ‘. . . where I am (heaven), there shall also my servant be.’

13. John 14:3 ‘I go and prepare a place for you...that where I am (heaven), there ye may be also.’

Key: Making a difference between those with an earthly and heavenly destiny has no warrant in the Bible anywhere.

1. God has chosen the poor of this world who are rich in faith to inherit the kingdom, not just the 144,000. ‘Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him.’ (James 2:5). There is no distinction made here between 2 classes, only the poor of this world,(more than 144,000).

2. All who believe in Christ receive God’s righteousness. ‘The righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.’ (Romans 3:22)

3. John 10:16 ‘there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ - not two folds, one on earth and one in heaven, but ONE FLOCK (NWT).

Ask: How do you reconcile WT teaching of two flocks (WT: one earthly and one heavenly) with John 10:16 which says that all believers will be together in one flock (NWT)?

Question 1: ‘Are the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7:14 literal or figurative?

Nowhere else in the Bible are references to the 12 tribes of Israel figurative. They are always a literal, ethnic group.

Ask: Can you see that the WT interpretation of Revelation 7:4 goes against common usage of literal ‘tribe’ and literal ‘Israel’?

Question 2: Why are the OT tribes of Dan and Ephraim omitted in Revelation 7?

The OT has 20 varying lists of tribes of Israel.

a) Dan’s tribe was omitted because they were guilty of idolatry, and were largely wiped out. (Judges 18:1,30). Dan became one of two centres of idolatry in the Northern Kingdom (I Kings 12:29).

b) Ephraim is omitted from Revelation 7, while Joseph and Manasseh are included. Why? Ephraim was also involved in idolatry and pagan worship (Judges 17; Hosea 4:17).

Ask:

1) What is the Watchtower’s position on idolatry?

2) If the tribes of Dan and Ephraim were guilty of idolatry, do you think that these tribes should be listed in Revelation 7 as God’s servants? (No).

3) So you agree that there is a good reason for omitting Ephraim and Dan in Revelation 7?

4) Can you see that the Watchtower’s figurative interpretation of the 12 tribes is wrong, because it is based on the rightful omission of Dan and Ephraim?

Question 3: Why was the tribe of Levi included in the Revelation 7 list?

In the Old Testament, the tribe of Levi were not part of the 12 tribes because of their priestly separation under the Mosaic Law. Now that their tribe’s priestly functions have ceased with the first coming of Christ, our Great High Priest, there is no further need for their services as priests. Hence there is no reason for keeping them separate from the other tribes any longer.

They will be properly included in the tribal listing in Revelation 7 and 14.

Therefore the WT’s view of the 144,000 as a specially anointed class is twisting of scripture.

Note: JWs insist that the 12,000 from each tribe of Israel are figurative or symbolic.

Question: How is it that the sum of 12 symbolic numbers equals a literal 144,000? How can 12 times a symbolic 12,000 equal a literal 144,000? The total should also be symbolic, according to their reasoning, to be consistent. 

Their interpretation again gives a contradiction.

3. John 10:16 - The ‘Other Sheep’
'hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.’

Watchtower Teaching: JWs believe in two classes of people: the 144,000 heavenly class, and the ‘other sheep’, great crowd class who will receive eternal life and live forever on an earthly paradise.

Bible Teaching: The ‘other sheep’ in John 10:16 refers to Gentile believers, as opposed to Jews who are the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24).

The one flock and one shepherd of John 10:16 agrees with Galatians 3:28 with ‘neither Jew nor Greek . . . ye are all one in Christ Jesus.’

All believers will dwell together as ‘one flock’ under ‘one shepherd’.

There will not be one flock of believers in heaven, and one flock of believers on earth.

Ask: How do you reconcile WT teaching of two classes, ,when the Bible clearly states that God’s people are one in Christ, and are part of ‘one flock’ under‘one shepherd’?

4. Revelation 7:9 - The ‘Great Crowd’ as the ‘Other Sheep

‘After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude (‘great crowd’ in NWT), which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb . . .’ (Revelation 7:9)

Watchtower Teaching: JWs teach that in 1935 God stopped calling people to a heavenly hope with Christ. They say that in 1935 he began gathering a secondary class of believers, outside the body of Christ, who would live forever on earth in the flesh, as the great crowd of Revelation 7:9-17.

This is one of the WT’s major doctrines, because it is the basis for convincing JWs that:

1) They cannot become members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27)
2) They cannot be born again (John 3:3)
3) They cannot go to heaven (II Timothy 4:18)
4) They cannot be baptized by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13)
5) They are not entitled to share in the communion loaf and cup (I Corinthians 10:16-17)
6) They are not in Christ’s New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24)
7) They cannot be fully justified by faith in Christ (Romans 3:26)

Hence the WT uses this ‘1935 Doctrine’ to rob its followers of the NT relationship with God.

Ask: Where does the Bible teach that entrance to the Christian congregation would be closed in 1935, with a secondary great crowd being gathered after that? Nowhere!

They can find no Biblical support for the 1935 date.

They refer to Rutherford’s ‘flash of light’ on 31 May 1935 at the Washington JW Convention.

Note: The verses JWs cite actually locate the great crowd as ‘before the throne and before the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:9), ‘before the throne of God’ (7:15), and ‘in his temple’ (7:15), all heavenly locations, rather than on the earth as the WT teaches. 

This is similar to the wording of the only other mention of the ‘great crowd’ in Revelation 19:1 ‘I heard . . . a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven’ (NWT).

Ask: Where is this great crowd? In heaven! Emphasize that the WT has taught them wrongly. Jesus in John 17:20-24 prayed that all His present and future disciples would ‘be with me where I am’ in heaven regardless of whether they were saved before or after 1935.

Consider the following conversation with a JW:

Q1: You: I’ve heard that you believe that you are part of a great crowd who will receive everlasting life on earth, instead of going to heaven. Is that true? Can you show me the Great Crowd in the Bible?
JW:Yes, it is in Revelation 7:9,‘look! a great crowd...before the throne and before the Lamb’
Q2: You: But Revelation 7:15 places the great crowd before the throne of God in heaven, doesn’t it? ‘...they render him sacred service day and night in his temple’.(NWT).
JW: Well, the throne of God is in heaven, but the great crowd is on the earth. All creation stands before the throne of God.
Q3: You:Would you read Rev 19:1 in your Bible to see where it locates the great crowd?
JW: It says, ‘After these things I heard a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.’
Q4: You: A great crowd where?
JW: The great crowd is on earth.
Q5: You: Is that what the verse says? Read it again.
JW: It says heaven, but the great crowd is on earth.
Q6: You: How can you say that the great crowd is on earth, when your Bible plainly says ‘a great crowd in heaven’?

Conclusion:

Ask: Where in the Bible does it say that the great crowd is exempt from heaven?
Ask: Where does it say that the great crowd is relegated to live on earth?
Ask: Since the great crowd serves God in His temple (7:15), where is God’s temple located?

Answer: Revelation 11:19 and 14:17 say ‘the temple which is in heaven

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That is half-baked reasoning.  That can only satisfy people with partial knowledge of God and the Bible.  Won't spend any more time on this.

Where did God put Adam and Eve before his purpose was temporarily suspended when Adam and Eve sinned?

In the earth - Garden of Eden

If all of God's servants go to heaven, what would happen to God's original purpose for the earth? 

 Genesis 1: 28; Matthew 5:5. Isaiah 55:11   Earth - a paradise - will come true in God's allotted time.

Psalm 37:10,11.  Meek, mild-tempered ones will inherit the earth

Matt 11:11,12  Heavenly  hope opened up after the days of John the Baptist.

Ps 45:16  Jesus' earthly forefathers will be princes in all the earth. (Abel, Abraham, Jocob, Joseph, David, etc)

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