THE 144,000, THE GREAT CROWD AND THE MILLENNIUM

THE 144,000, THE GREAT
CROWD AND THE MILLENNIUM

Ephesians 4:4 says there is one body, with one hope. The Bible doesn't say there are two hopes that belong to two classes of Christians.
Romans 3:22 and Galatians 2:6 say that God shows no partiality or distinction.


THE GREAT CROWD

Revelation 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:"
     Is this verse literal or figurative? It can't be both! Verses 6-8 lists specific Jewish tribes.

Revelation 7:9After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,"
     This verse mentions the "great crowd" (multitude) and as we read it, we need to ask ourselves if this is an earthly scene. Notice in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation under the Greek "enopion" (before the throne) which literally means "in sight of," is found in Bible dictionaries as "immediate physical and visual presence."

Revelation 7:11"And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,"
     Because this verse starts with the word "And," it continues to describe the same scene. There are also angels, elders, and the four creatures "before the throne." Is this on earth? No. They are all together in heaven worshipping God where the throne is located.

Revelation 7:14 "And I said to him, "Sir,[1] you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
     This still refers to the great crowd. When did the "great crowd" teaching start? 1935! People from the Watchtower organization have lived and died as part of that great crowd. But this verse says that the great crowd came out of the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21-31). We haven't had that yet. So how could they "come out of it?" Also, it says that they had their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb (past tense); not a future tense for some time after Armageddon.

Revelation 7:15"Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them."
     This says the great crowd will serve God day and night in His temple. Where is the temple? Revelation 14:17 says. "...another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven."
     The same Greek word "naos" is used for temple in this verse as in Revelation 11:1,2. The Kingdom Interlinear translates it both times as "divine habitation" under the Greek. Why the difference, then, in English? Evidently the Society does not want to admit that the great crowd worships in the heavenly sanctuary. Instead, they divide God's temple into two areas: The sanctuary is the inner temple closest to heaven. They say that the outer courtyard represents earthly worshippers. But Revelation 11:2 says emphatically that the outer courtyard would not be included in the "naos." "Naos" always refers to God's heavenly temple in every other place it appears in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 7:16"They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat;"
     So the destiny of the great crowd cannot be the earth.

Revelation 19:1"After these things I heard a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven."
     This is the most explicit verse in the Bible about the location of the great crowd.
Verse 4"And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!""
     The word "And" describes the same scene where the 24 elders and the four living creatures are right along side of them, and we know this is not on the earth.
     Some say the great crowd here are angels. However, why would the angels attribute salvation to God? The angels that sinned will not be saved. (II Peter 2:4) The faithful angels do not need salvation.


THE 144,000

Revelation 14:3"They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth."
     This verse places the 144,000 "before the throne." How many thrones are there?
Revelation 22:1"And he showed me a pure[1] river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb."
     The word "throne" is singular. There is only ONE throne.

Revelation 14:4 says they were "not defiled with women, for they are virgins." So the 144,000 are made up of male virgins; Israelites by birth. The Society includes women as part of the 144,000. That hardly fits the description here.
     Also in this verse, it said they were firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. That means there were more to come.

Revelation 7:1-3 The angels are ordered to withhold the Tribulation judgments until after the 144,000 Jews are sealed. They are all sealed at the same time at the same place BEFORE the judgments begin. Why seal them for protection if most of them are going to be secretly resurrected to heaven?

     God is not finished with the nation of Israel. During the time of the coming Tribulation, God will raise up 144,000 natural Jews to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all 12 tribes of Israel, so they may plainly see their Messiah and have their chance for salvation.


WHERE IS THE BELIEVER'S HOPE?

John 1:12 "But as many as receive Him to them He gave the right to become children of God...."      There are no numerical limits.

John 17:20-24 Was this promise of heaven meant only for the Apostles and a small number of associates with new believers after 1935 excluded from heaven? Not at all. In fact, Jesus prayed to the Father about His apostles and also about everyone in the future who would believe in Him through their word - that they should ALL end up with Him in heaven. Have you read the Apostles' words, as recorded in the Bible, and put faith in Christ through their word? Then Jesus' prayer applies to YOU! He wants you to end up with Him where He is, to behold His glory - regardless of whether you came to believe in Him before or after 1935.

Revelation 21:3 "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."
     Where will this happen? The witnesses would reply "Earth." So "the tabernacle of God" is on earth?
Revelation 13:6 "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."
Revelation 15:5 "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened..."

Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven..."
     Ask the Witnesses if verse 11 applies to them. They most likely will say "Yes." So according to verse 12, their reward is in heaven!

What did the Early Church believe about the destination of Christians?

     "Therefore let not the godly be grieved, if he be miserable in the times that now are: a blessed time awaiteth him. He shall live again in heaven with the fathers, and shall have rejoicing throughout a sorrowless eternity." - An Ancient Homily, ch. 19

     "...we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh, but as heavenly spirit)," Athenagoras - A Plea for the Christians, ch. XXXI

     The believer's hope is in HEAVEN!


OTHER REDEEMED SAINTS IN HEAVEN

1. Revelation 5:8-10 The 24 elders are seated on thrones. (Rev. 4:4) "before the throne." They were men, because the Greek word "presbuteros" (elders) is never used of angels. Furthermore, their crowns and thrones are the rewards of redeemed men. These elders are NOT the 144,000. They are sitting on THEIR thrones. And they (the 144,000) sang as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders."(Rev. 14:3) How can they be the same group when the 144,000 sing in the presence of the elders and the beasts? How can they sing to themselves?
     There is no mention in Scripture of the 144,000 sitting on any kind of throne. However, like the four beasts, the elders, and the great crowd, they are all in the same place at the same time. (Rev. 7:9-11)
     If the number 24 (elders) is a symbolic number, why couldn't the number 144,000 be a symbolic number also?

2. Revelation 6:9-11 The Witnesses say this refers to the 144,000 who were waiting for the resurrection to take place in 1918 when they were given white robes. The Apostle John saw these souls as being separated from their dead bodies which were still on the earth and heard them crying for vengeance. They were told to wait until their fellow servants were also killed as they were. Then together they would be resurrected. They were seen as being in heaven under the altar. There isn't any way that this can be twisted to mean the 144,000 or the 24 elders. Therefore, they must be another group of tribulation saints.

3. Revelation 11:11,12 The two witnesses were taken into heaven bodily. Most Jehovah's Witnesses will say these two witnesses, dead and publicly exposed, were the Society during the difficult years of 1918-1922 when its leaders were jailed for un-American activities during WWI. I wonder how the Society was taken bodily into heaven and the whole world witnessed it?

4. Revelation 20:4 The tribulation saints who were beheaded for their witness for Jesus, sit on thrones reigning with Christ for 1,000 years. This group can't be the 144,000 who were protected and sealed against the tribulation. (Rev. 7:1-6) and seen by John in heaven BEFORE Babylon fell. (Rev. 14:1-8)
     According to the Society, the Tribulation is that period between 1918 and 1975. This group that John saw in heaven was martyred during that time for refusing to worship the Antichrist or receiving his mark.
     Antichrist, the Witnesses say, is not a man, but the "clergy class." The Bible says that the Antichrist is a man who doesn't regard the God of his fathers, nor the regard of women, or any other god. (Daniel 11:37) The clergy of Christendom DO regard the God of their fathers, and they DO regard women, and they DO regard God.

5. Hebrews 11:5 Enoch is in HEAVEN! He was transferred so as not to see death. Pointing to verse 13 doesn't help. Verse 13 refers to Abraham and his sons not receiving the promise of their city. Where was Enoch transferred? And if he didn't see death, then where is he? He isn't on earth so he must be in heaven!

6. Hebrews 11:13-16; 12:22; Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:28
     Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in HEAVEN! They were pilgrims on the earth desiring a better; that is an heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. "for He has prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:6) Hebrews 12:22 says the Christian saints were also looking for a heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, the same city Abraham sought. If Jesus means what he says in John 3:3,5, these ancient worthies must be born again before they could either see or enter the Kingdom of God.
     The Jehovah's Witnesses say that the Jewish patriarchs should be understood figuratively: Abraham = Jehovah God; Isaac = His son; Jacob = the patriarch who was renamed "Israel." So Jacob refers to "spiritual Israel." (WT 3-15-62 p.191 and WT 9-1-78 p. 28)

Problems with this theory:
Matthew 8:11 If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the only ones to inherit heaven, then who are the "many from eastern parts and western parts?"
Luke 13:28,29 Jesus again speaks of people from "eastern parts and western and from north and south. However, Jesus adds another group when He says, "When you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God..."

7. Luke 16:16 Jesus said the law was preached until John the Baptist; then the kingdom was preached. "and EVERYONE forces into it." (not just 144,000)

     Jehovah's Witnesses claim that the vast majority of the 144,000 were chosen by God during 2 very short time periods. The first one was from 30 AD to 100 AD, and the second was from 1870 to 1935. Those chosen from 30-100 AD would be from the nations where the early Christians preached the gospel, namely the countries under the control of the Roman Empire. These would be the countries spread around the Mediterranean Sea and across Northern Africa. Those chosen during 1870-1935 would have to be from countries where Charles Russell's and J. Rutherford's little band of followers were able to preach - not many countries; probably not more than two dozen. What is the point of all this? Revelation 5:9,10. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that those who will rule over the earth are chosen not only from every nation, but also every tribe and tongue. Please realize that neither the early Christian church nor the early Witnesses were able to preach to every tribe and every tongue. So those chosen to rule as Kings cannot be limited to the paltry number of 144,000 as the Society teaches.
     Also, Russell's view that only 144,000 are in the bride of Christ cannot be supported by historical records. Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Martyr's Mirror testify that were at least 250,000 Christians martyred for their faith in the early church. How can the 20th century Watchtower write most of these people off as being insincere or misled. This is simply an arbitrary assumption.


DO YOU WANT TO BE AROUND FOR THIS?

     If your hope is to live forever on a Paradise earth, you should know about a coming event foretold in Scripture.

Zephaniah 1:2,3,18
     Zephaniah's prophecy contains a judgment by God on the earth, sky and sea, followed by a judgment on Judah and then on the Gentiles in later chapters. The events depicted in this chapter will happen at the END of the Millennium.
Verse 2: "I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
Verse 3: "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD."

(** The Hebrew word for "man" is "adama," which means ALL the descendants of Adam.)

Verse 18: "Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land."

II Peter 3:10-12
10: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
11: "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,"
12: "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."

     The Apostle Peter very graphically described Zephaniah's scene in these verses. This present earth cannot continue as it is, because when Adam and Eve sinned, a curse was placed on all creation also. Everything as we know it is on a downward spiral toward destruction, so God has to create New Heavens and a New Earth.

Even the Early Christian Church held this view:

     "But ye know that the day of judgment cometh even now {as a burning oven, and the powers of the heavens shall melt,} and all the earth as lead melting on the fire, and then shall appear the secret andopen works of men." - An Ancient Homily, ch. 16

     "[One of you says] that the world is indestructible, but I say that it is to be destroyed; that aconflagration will take place at various times, but I say that it will come to pass once for all;" Tatian, Address to the Greeks, ch. XXV


THE MILLENIUM

     The Society teaches that the millennial kingdom will be governed by the Watchtower Society. If this is correct, why is the Society not training leaders for this job? Since the organization is not involved in current politics, where will your members get their training in how to run a government?

     If the teaching is true that only 144,000 persons will go to heaven, I would like to know how there could possibly be any openings left when Charles Russell came upon the scene in 1880? The book of Acts mentions at least 60,000 people saved , and that was only the beginning of the growth of Christianity. Estimates have it that there were at least 250,000 Jews in the early church, not counting the thousands of Gentiles. Also there were over 250,000 martyrs who would surely be included in the 144,000. (In the Watchtower book "The Finished Mystery," (1917), Charles Russell said that there were 861,000 martyrs.) It seems obvious that these openings would all have been filled in the apostolic age or shortly thereafter.

     If what the Watchtower said (during Rutherford's era) about the 144,000 being closed in 1935 is correct, how did they get this information? May I point out again that these are chosen by God, so He would be the only one to know exactly who they are and when the number would be full. Since it is an exact number, the time could not vary even by a few days. Did God speak directly to Joseph Rutherford? How did this information come down to man?

     I see a serious problem that must be solved about the 144,000 if the Watchtower teaching is really true. The Watchtower claims that the 144,000 are the "worthy ones' appointed of God. In order for one to be considered for such a high calling, then it would seem only logical that they would have to prove themselves by their "fruit." However, just about everything practiced by the Jehovah's Witnesses before 1935 is now considered pagan. For example:

1. They voted and took part in government.
2. Were allowed to participate in war.
3. Could observe Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays.
4. Were permitted to smoke.
5. Were not against blood transfusions.
6. Did not use the proper name for God.
7. Did not have a proper organization.
8. Believed that Jesus died on a cross.
9. Were permitted to worship Jesus.
10. Believed all Jehovah's Witnesses would go to heaven.
11. Believed that the "higher powers" mentioned in Romans 13:1 referred to God and Christ.
12. Believed that Christ's invisible return occurred in 1874.

     I just can't comprehend why God would chose people with such pagan beliefs and practices to live and reign with Him! If "new light" continues to get brighter, then why doesn't God wait until the very end and chose those with the purest doctrines and practices to reign with Him?

     The Society claims that the verses that speak of "eternal life" are said to apply to only the 144,000 "heavenly class." And they obtained this life without going from door to door but simply because they became Jehovah's Witnesses before 1935. While the "other sheep", the earthly class, can receive eternal life only after the end of the Millennium,, and only if they "endure to the end!" Why do the elite gain eternal life so easily, yet the flunkies have to work so hard for their salvation?

     What will the 144,000 do after the 1,000 year reign of Christ? The Watchtower Society plays down heaven. They ask the question, "What will you do in heaven?", implying that there will be nothing to do and it will not be an interesting place. The Society also teaches that after the 1,000 year reign of Christ, the kingdom is given to the Father. In other words, Christ is demoted from being ruler because there is nothing more for him to do. Since the 144,000 reign only with Christ, then they also will have nothing to do. How do the Jehovah's Witnesses solve this problem?


WHO WILL REIGN ON PARADISE EARTH?

     "The same person (Papias), moreover, has set down other things as coming to him from unwritten tradition, amongst these some strange parables and instructions of the Saviour, and some other things of a more fabulous nature. Amongst these he says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth." Papias, Part VI

     "In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace until the moon be taken away. And He (Christ) shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers unto the ends of the earth...and all the kings of the earth shall worship Him, and all the nations shall serve Him:" Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 34

     "...that there shall be a future possession for all the saints in this same land. And hence all men everywhere, whether bond or free, who believe in Christ, and recognise the truth in His own words and those of His prophets, know that they shall be with Him in that land, and inherit everlasting and incorruptible good." Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 139

Hallelujah! Jesus will reign ON EARTH during the Millennium!





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