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Old 06-25-2007, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
3,490 posts, read 235,310 times
Reputation: 466
Another thing I have always wondered about the JW's: why do you all seem so legalistic? You know, you must follow certain commands and biblical laws, don't celebrate birthdays or holidays, ect...doesn't the law "work wrath?" Do you believe if other Christians don't follow these laws that they won't be one of the chosen, or even worse, aren't really saved?

 
Old 06-25-2007, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Anywhere but here!
2,798 posts, read 6,703,084 times
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Who Are the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14?
January 21, 2003
by Wayne Jackson

The “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that only 144, 000 people will gain heaven. They base their doctrine upon passages that are found in the book of Revelation (chapters 7 & 14). Who are the 144, 000 mentioned in these texts? Is the number literal or figurative? Study this article.

“Who are the 144,000 people mentioned in the book of Revelation, chapters 7 and 14?”

The book of Revelation is a highly symbolic treatise (cf. 1:1). Because of this fact, many false religionists have attempted to exploit the message of the narrative to their own theological ends. The Apocalypse has become a happy hunting ground for some religious cultists who seek biblical support for their peculiar doctrines.

Twice in this book, mention is made of a group consisting of 144,000. In chapter 7:1ff John heard of 144,000 (12,000 each from twelve different Israelite tribes) servants of God who had been sealed on their foreheads. They were thus obviously redeemed people. Also, the apostle saw a “great multitude, which no man can number” out of every nation. These too were redeemed individuals who had been made white in the Lamb’s blood (v. 14). They had victoriously triumphed over tribulation, and they served God continuously in his temple. Some feel that these two groups are really the same people—just from different angles.

Again, in Revelation 14:1ff, John saw the Lamb on Mount Zion. With him were 144,000, sealed with the Father’s name upon their foreheads. This great multitude had been “purchased out of the earth,” and they were said to be the “firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb.”

The “Jehovah’s Witnesses” have almost no concept of the distinction between the literal and the figurative language in the Bible. And so, they literalize the number 144,000 in these two contexts, and ridiculously argue that only 144,000 people will gain heaven. A Watchtower publication states: ”. . . the final number of the heavenly church will be 144,000, according to God’s decree” (Let God Be True, p. 113). The balance of saved humanity, they contend, will live on God’s glorified earth. It should be noted that the term “thousand” is used 19 times in the book of Revelation, but not once is it employed literally in this document.
Revelation 7

There are some minor differences of opinion among reputable Bible scholars as to the identity of the 144,000 in Revelation 7. John T. Hinds argued that the number referred to those who were saved from the physical nation of Israel (Commentary on Revelation, Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1937, p. 112). Others, like J.W. Roberts, felt that this company is spiritual Israel, i.e., the church (The Revelation to John, Austin, TX: Sweet, 1974, p. 71). Some think this group represents the martyrs who have given their lives for the cause of Christ.

Be that as it may, it is generally acknowledged that “[t]he number is obviously symbolic. 12 (the number of the tribes) is both squared and multiplied by 1,000—a twofold way of emphasizing completeness” (Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977, p. 168).

We must emphasize the following two points:

First, one simply cannot take a symbolic section of scripture and interpret it in such a fashion as to make it contradict other clear, literal portions of the Bible.

Second, any doctrine which logically implies an absurdity is false and must be rejected. The Watchtower theory regarding the 144,000 violates both of these principles.

Consider the following.


1. If one argues that the 144,000 represents a literal number, he should similarly contend that the group of which that number consists is also literal, i.e., literal Israelites. That would mean, according to the Watchtower scheme of interpretation, that no one would be in heaven who was not of the actual tribes listed. This would exclude Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who were never of the tribes of Israel. And yet, that conflicts with Jesus’ affirmation that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be in the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 8:11).
2. If only a literal 144,000 Israelites will enter heaven, then not one Gentile has the hope of the kingdom of heaven. However, the Lord was plainly alluding to Gentiles when he stated that “many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 8:11).
3. If the tribes of Revelation 7 are to be literally pressed, not a person from either Ephraim or Dan will enter heaven, for they are excluded from the list. This would mean that Old Testament heroes like Joshua (from Ephraim) and Samson (from Dan) will not be in heaven. The fact is, mention of the “tribe of Joseph” (7:8), which was not a tribe at all in a literal sense, is evidence of the symbolism of this context.
4. Logically, the Watchtower people must exclude the “great multitude, which no man could number” (7:9) from heaven. This group, they allege, represents the “earthly class.” That is not so. This multitude was described as “standing before the throne” (7:9), which is in heaven (1:4; 4:2-10). Furthermore, these saints “before the throne” were serving God in “his temple” (7:15). Elsewhere John comments that “the temple of God . . .is in heaven” (11:19).

Revelation 14

The 144,000 are mentioned again in Revelation 14:1ff. Once more, however, the numeral is clustered with several other prominent symbols.

First, there is the “Lamb,” a figure representing Christ (cf. Jn. 1:29; Rev. 5:6).

Second, there is Mount Zion, a symbol of divine government (cf. Isa. 2:2-4).

Third, there is the numeral 144,000, suggestive of the heavenly complement of God’s people—no one will be missing who is supposed to be there.

Fourth, the saints are depicted as “virgins,” which descriptive emphasizes their purity (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2).

Again, though, it must be stressed that if one contends for a literal 144,000, if consistent, he should argue also that a literal Lamb was literally standing on literal Mount Zion with a group of literal men who had never been intimate with literal women, hence, were literal virgins!

If a consistent literal scheme of interpretation is pursued, here is the situation that would obtain:


1. Only men will be in heaven, hence, Hannah, Mary, Dorcus, and women of like faith are without that hope.
2. Only unmarried men who are virgins will gain heaven. This would exclude Abraham, Moses, Peter, and a host of other biblical worthies.

These conclusions are utterly ludicrous and thus without any merit whatever.

The 144,000 of Revelation 14 likely signifies the entire body of the redeemed. They were “purchased” from among men. The only purchase price ultimately available for human salvation is that of the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood was effective for the obedient who lived before the cross (Gal. 4:5; Heb. 9:15-17), and for those who have submitted to God’s will since that historic event (1 Pet. 1:18,19; Acts 20:28).

Finally, the Bible makes it clear that no one will dwell on a “glorified earth,” for there will be no earth subsequent to the Second Coming of Christ (see Mt. 24:35; 2 Pet. 3:10ff; Rev. 21:1). For further study, see our Question & Answer column for December 17, 2002 (“Does the ESV Translation Support Watchtower Doctrine?”).
 
Old 06-25-2007, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
3,490 posts, read 235,310 times
Reputation: 466
Quote:
Originally Posted by blue62 View Post
Which resurrection are we discussing here, because JW's believe in two resurrections. I used to have some of their books about the resurrections and how happy and joyous the occasion will be to to reunited with our babies and children and parents that we are grieving so terribly bad for. Beautifully illustrated books. (mind control 101). In one of the resurrections ALL sinners will have a second chance to learn from the JW point of view. I don't mean to be sacrelig here, but I just can't imagine me waiting for Saddaam, Hitler,Jeffrey Dohmer or a child murderer to be given a second chance
Jesus still died for Hitler's sins, as well as Saddamm's, and Jeffrey Dahmer's. God is bigger than we are!
 
Old 06-25-2007, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Hot, Humid Texas
485 posts, read 1,137,053 times
Reputation: 240
Your right Jeff, he did die for everyone's sins, but according to God's word, these men must repent of their sins, accept Jesus as the son of God and be baptized. I don't think they can just believe and be saved. And, I'll sat again that I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, but I agree with Alice that a christian can fall away and lose that salvation. If this happens they must return again and ask for forgiveness from God. I believe that "narrow is the gate" scripture, but I don't agree with the set number of people obtaining salvation.
 
Old 06-25-2007, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
3,490 posts, read 235,310 times
Reputation: 466
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinhood View Post
Your right Jeff, he did die for everyone's sins, but according to God's word, these men must repent of their sins, accept Jesus as the son of God and be baptized. I don't think they can just believe and be saved. And, I'll sat again that I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, but I agree with Alice that a christian can fall away and lose that salvation. If this happens they must return again and ask for forgiveness from God. I believe that "narrow is the gate" scripture, but I don't agree with the set number of people obtaining salvation.
Wow. No time to properly respond to this! Gotta go! Dang it!

Let's just say I think God is truly in control and that He has guided His creation along to where it is now, and that perfect victory means just that! Most of His creation burning in hell forever or being completely destroyed do not add up to perfect victory. Gotta go, want to clarify! Darn it!
 
Old 06-25-2007, 04:05 PM
 
12,382 posts, read 14,700,667 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffncandace View Post
Jesus still died for Hitler's sins, as well as Saddamm's, and Jeffrey Dahmer's. God is bigger than we are!
Yes, of course I agree that Jesus died for everyones sins, but he didn't die so that after we die we can come back for a second chance. I believe that all of the aforesaid people will be resurrected for judgement only.
 
Old 06-25-2007, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Simpsonville SC
49 posts, read 178,162 times
Reputation: 45
kawg..If no one is going to be on this earth then what is the bible talking about when it says that the righteous will possess the earth and reside forever upon it?
 
Old 06-25-2007, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Simpsonville SC
49 posts, read 178,162 times
Reputation: 45
robinhood....We dont believe that there is a set number. We only believe that 144,000 go to heaven and the Great Crowd it talks about will reside forever upon the earth. So there is NOT a set limit that will get "salvation". That would be crazy to believe that! So I agree with you.
 
Old 06-25-2007, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Simpsonville SC
49 posts, read 178,162 times
Reputation: 45
kawg...Also you quote Matthew 24:35 stating there will be NO EARTH. The verse states Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will by no means pass away. So do you mean that there will be NO HEAVEN and NO EARTH?
 
Old 06-26-2007, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Pleasant Shade Tn
2,215 posts, read 3,663,280 times
Reputation: 520
Kawgpz550,

I read mr Wayne Jackson's comments. Who is he, by the way? Do you know him? He spends alot of time relating what we believe and the basis for it and very little time refuting it. Also, his comments completely neglect to mention the single most important fact about this number 144,000 from Revelation. In the verse in Rev 14 that immediately follows this number, a 'great crowd which no man is able to number' is mentioned that will also be saved. Why would John have mentioned such a specific number and them immediately follow it with a number that is not able to be counted? We believe that is because the number is to be taken literally and is one of the ONLY instances in Revelation where this is the case. Also, the fact that the 144,000 are supposed to 'rule' with Christ as kings and priests shows that they will HAVE to , logically, have something to rule over. Those who survive on to the earth will be that 'something'.

Of course, one must also consider the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses believe they are blessed with God's Holy Spirit and therefore have a deeper understanding on some matters than others do. That is blunt and difficult for many to accept but there it is.

Last edited by alicenevada; 06-26-2007 at 07:14 AM..
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