Jehovah witnesses teaches that the 144,000 mentioned in the book of Revelation are the only ones who are born again, should participate in the Lord’s supper, and will inherit heaven.
I. Only the 144,000 are "born again":
Many believe that one needs to be born again to receive eternal salvation. Note, though, what Jesus himself said about the purpose of the new birth. He stated: “Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Thus, one needs to be born again in order to enter into God’s Kingdom, not in order to receive salvation. ‘But,’ some may say, ‘are not these two expressions—entering the Kingdom and receiving salvation—referring to the same reward?’ No, they are not. To understand the difference, let us consider first the meaning of the expression “kingdom of God.”
A kingdom is a form of government. So, then, the expression “kingdom of God” means “government of God.” The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ, the “son of man,” is the King of God’s Kingdom and that Christ has fellow rulers. (Daniel 7:1, 13, 14; Matthew 26:63, 64) Furthermore, a vision given to the apostle John disclosed that Christ’s fellow rulers are individuals chosen “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” and will “rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:6) God’s Word further reveals that those who will rule as kings form a “little flock” of 144,000 individuals “who have been bought from the earth.”—Luke 12:32; Revelation 14:1, 3.
Where is the seat of God’s Kingdom? “The kingdom of God” is also called “the kingdom of the heavens,” which shows that Jesus and his fellow kings rule from heaven. (Luke 8:10; Matthew 13:11) Thus, God’s Kingdom is a heavenly government made up of Jesus Christ and a group of fellow rulers chosen from among mankind.
What, then, did Jesus mean when he stated that one must be born again to “enter into the kingdom of God”? He meant that one needs to be born again in order to become a ruler with Christ in heaven. Simply put, the purpose of the new birth is to prepare a limited group of humans for heavenly rulership.
The claim that only the 144,000 are the only "born again," is ludicrous. The Bible never distinct between the terms salvation, kingdom of God, and being born again. Let us look at the word "kingdom of the God" in the Bible: The kingdom of God refers to the things that glorify God (Matt 6:33) (see footnote 1). or the spiritual reformation that only God can do Matt. 12:28, 21:43, Mark 12:34, Luke 11;20...etc It referred the manifestation of the Glory of Christ Mark 9:1, 14:25. God's reigning over people (more in a spiritual rather than physical way) as in Rom14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20 see also Luke 4:43, 8:10, 9:2; 9:60, Acts 8:12; 19:8 28:23...etc. and to be in the presence of God Mark 9:47, 15:43, Luke 7:28; 1 Cor. 15:50. It refers to Christ himself Luke 17:21. It is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God Matt 19:24. It is open to the most sinful matt 21:31, to all who repent Mark 1:15 , to the children Mark 10:14, to the poor Luke 6:20, to all people except the evil doers Luke 13:20-29. All the disciples in Lystra, iconium, and Anticoh will enter the kingdom of God with tribulation Acts 14:21-22 all the believers in Thessalonica are worthy of the kingdom of God 2 Thes. 1:5 all those who are born again will enter the Kingdom of God John 3:3 all those who are washed of their sins will inherit the kingdom of God 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:21So we never see in the Bible that the "kingdom of God" refers to the "Government of God" and there is no where in the bible that we see being born again or entering the "kingdom of God" as an exclusive privilege to any group of people or any specific number like the 144000. We see the kingdom open to all who repent and to all disciples.
Now to understand what does it mean to be born again and entering the kingdom of God in John 3, let us turn to another passage that has a parallel wording and a similar meaning that is 1 Cor. 6:9-11. We see two similarities: a. In John 3:3 we see that being born again is required to enter the kingdom of God. In 1 Cor. 6:9-10 we see that repentance and regeneration of the heart required to enter the kingdom of God. b. In John 3:5 we see that being born again is done by water and the Spirit. In 1 Cor. 6:11 we see that the heart change can only happen by the washing of the Spirit.
it is clear then that being "born again" is a reference to the change of heart that is available to all and not to the 144000.
Daniel 7:1, 13, 14 and Matt 26:63 refers to the Son of Man, that is The Lord Jesus, having an everlasting kingdom. Nothing in these scriptures talks about the 144000 or those who rule with Christ.
In Rev. 5:9, 10 we see that those who will reign with Christ are the four creatures and the 24 elders not the 144000. and in Rev. 20:6 we see that those who went through the tribulation and refused the mark of the beast will reign with Christ. Now these 2 groups can not be synonymous neither one of them would even refer to the 144000. cause in Rev. 5 the 4 creatures and the elders are in heaven while in Rev. 20 those who refused the mark of the beast are on earth.
To say that the "little flock" in Luke 12:32 refers to the 144000 is ignorance. The context is that a person asked Jesus to ask his brother to divide the inheritance luke 12:13. Jesus replied with the parable of the rich who was fool cause he wasn't rich toward God v 14-21. Then, still speaking about the attitude toward money and material stuff, Jesus said to HIS DISCIPLES v22: that they should not worry about what to eat cause God feeds the birds v22-25 and not to worry about what to wear cause God cloths the lilies v26-29. The world worry about the materialistic things v30 but they should be concerned 1st for the kingdom of God v31. then he said "fear not, little flock, for it is the father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom"
this is Jesus command to His disciples everywhere and at all time to seek the kingdom of God 1st. the parallel passage in Matt 6:25-34 even omits the "little flock." there is absolutely no reason to understand Jesus teaching in passage to be exclusive to any particular group of his followers.
JW logic goes as follow: the kingdom of God is the government of God. the kingdom of God is only reserved to the 144000. That means 144000 will be the only rulers with Christ. and since the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are the same. then it must be that only the 144000 rule from heaven over every other believer.
the one thing that stands in the way of that logic is the Bible. these is not even 1 single scripture that teaches even a small part of that theory. on the contrary, we have seen that the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven is spiritual and open to all who repent.
II. Only the 144,000 should partake in the Lord's supper:
Should those now doing good to the remnant of the 144,000 brothers of Christ partake of the Lord’s Evening Meal? (Matthew 25:31-40; Revelation 14:1) No. God has reserved that privilege for individuals he has anointed with holy spirit to be “joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:14-18; 1 John 2:20) What, then, is the position of those who hope to live forever in a global paradise under Kingdom rule? (Luke 23:43; Revelation 21:3, 4) Since they are not Jesus’ joint heirs with a heavenly hope, they attend the Memorial as respectful observers.—Romans 6:3-5. True Christians in the first century were anointed by holy spirit. Many of them were able to use one or more of the miraculous gifts of the spirit, such as speaking in tongues. Therefore, it would not have been difficult for such individuals to know that they were spirit-anointed and should partake of the Memorial emblems. However, in our time, this can be determined on the basis of such inspired words as these: “All who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: ‘Abba, Father!’”—Romans 8:14, 15.
There is NO scripture that teaches on indicates that only the 144,000 should partake in the Lord’s super. We never see in the New Testament that there 2 levels of salvations of 2 groups of saved. We never read in the Bible that some of the blessings pretending to salvation are exclusive to a certain group of people who have “the heavenly hope.” Only those who are biased and not true to the text of the scripture can believe such a doctrine.
Matt 25:31-40: talks about those who will inherit eternal life (sheep) vs those who will inherit eternal torment. No teaching here about 2 classes of the saved.
Rom. 8:14ff: says that “all those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” This can never be a reference to the 144000 or any specific group. This is for all believers for all times because in John 1:12 the Bible says “for as many as believed in Him, He gave them the power to be children of God” being a child of God, led by the Holy Spirit is a privilege for All who believe. Being “an heir of God” is to all those who are “Sons of God” who are “as many as believed in the Son of God” in all times and all places.
1 John 2:18ff: John is writing to the church and comparing the true followers of Christ with those who are anti-Christ. V18-19 John says that the antichrists left the church cause they were never really a part of it. In comparison to that v20 John says about the true followers of Christ “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge” no reference here to a special groups of Christians who have a “special anointing” compared to the rest of the Christians.
Luke 23:43: Jesus is telling the thief that that day he will be with Him in paradise. If that means that that fast majority of the believers will end up in paradise earth, then Jesus himself will end up there and not in heaven.
Rev. 21:3,4: we see that God and man will dwell in Jerusalem forever. Once again no distinction between the vast majority of man who will live on earth compared to the special 144000 who will dwell in heaven. The New Jerusalem is the place for ALL man with God v3. The distinction is unbiblical.
Rom. 6:3-5: talks about all believers in all times and places, no special instructions to a certain “class” of Christians. In v2 Paul says “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” that is to say that all those who claim to be followers of Christ are not to live or accommodate sin. Because in baptism, by being buried in water and then being raised again, is a symbol that we have died to sin and rose with Christ v3-5. No classes. No distinctions; just a simple plea for a life of holiness to all Christians.
Now let us look at the biblical teaching regarding communion and the breaking of the bread:
1 Cor. 11:27-32 “ Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
So what is the “unworthy manner?” is it that the participant is not one of the 144000? Certainly, not the text is clear. The unworthy manner is accommodating sin. That is why in the next verse v28 Paul said “let the person examine himself” then “eat and drink.” Does that mean that the person needs to examine himself if her is one of the 144000? Certainly not, cause after the examination this person is still invited to the Lord’s table. So we see that repentance not being called to a fictional 1st class Christian is the determining factor either to participate in the Lord’s supper or not.
Note that if JW theology about the 144000 is correct, then one must say the whole NT is not really applicable except to the 144000. After all;
All the believers in Rome were counted in the 144000 since they had the Spirit of adoption Rom 8. So are all the believers in Corinth since they all could partake in the Lord’s supper 1 Cor 11. So are all the believers in Ephesus since they are the pride 1:20-23. All the believers in Philipi since their citizenship are in heaven 3:20. All the believers in Thessalonica since they are worthy of the kingdom of God 2 thess 1:5. All the believers that Peter wrote his epistles to cause they are the “royal priesthood” 1 pet 2:9…etc. so I would advise any JW who believe in the 1st class 144000 not to read the New Testament. Why waste your time??? It is written and applicable only for the “little flock” that you don’t belong to.
III. Only the 144,000 will inherit heaven:
Jehovah Witnesses teach:
At Rev 14:1,3 the bible is conclusive in predicting that the final number of the heavenly congregation is 144,000, according to God's decree. Because His true congregation was pictured by the 12 tribes of Israel under Moses, the heavenly congregation is likened to the 12 tribes of 12,000 member each, under the greater Mosses, Jesus Christ. The congregation, then is restricted to this select, predestinated number; and in heaven it is made the capital part or ruling body of Jehovah's universal organization. it is referred to in the scripture as the "body" of Christ and the "bride" of the lamb (Rev. 7:4-8; 19:7; 21:9; Eph. 1:20-23) All other creatures receiving life at God's hand through the kingdom will not be part of the "congregation of God," but will live on this earth under the rulership of Christ in Heaven and His congregation in heaven.(see footnote 2)
Revelation limits the number of those who will enter the kingdom to 144,000 who will stand of heavenly mount Zion...There are only a few that find entrance into this kingdom-only a "little flock" when compared to the earth's population (Rev. 14:1,3; 7:4-8; Matt 7:13; Luke 12:32)...only those who are "called, and chosen and faithful" from among men will reign with "the lord of Lords and the king of kings" Rev. 17:14. Since "flesh and blood can't inherit the kingdom of God", these must become the spiritual sons of God (1 cor. 15:50, John 3:3-13; 1:12,13; Jam 1:18) these are the ones who receive the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15-17) such heirs are brought into a covenant for the kingdom (luke 22:28-30) in the capacity of priests and kings of God they reign and 1000 years with Christ. This "royal priesthood" as Peter called them will inherit the kingdom because they bring forth its fruits. All together they constitute the royal family of God the Father (Rev. 20:4, 6; 5:10; 1 Pet 2:9; Matt 21:43-45)...the king Jesus who raised as an invisible spirit creature went to prepare a heavenly place for his associate heirs, "Christ's body," for those will also be invisible spirit creatures whose "citizenship exists in the heavens" (1 Pet 3:18; john 14:19; 14:2; phil. 3:20).(see footnote 3)
The subject of their rule will be myriads of the angelic hosts in the invisible realm who will serve as faithful messengers of the King. On earth the children of the King Christ Jesus, including the forefathers will be"princes in all the earth" psalm 45:16. A few of such princely representatives are mentioned on Heb. 11. Then, too, the "great crowd" of his "other sheep," described in Rev 7:9-17 who will continue to "serve Him day and night" and many of them will also be "princes." surviving the universal war of Armageddon, they will multiply and fill the earth and their children will become obedient subjects of Christ. Finally; the "unrighteous" ones that are to be resurrected then to prove their integrity must submit to Christ (acts 24:15). Those who are proven rebellious after the 1000 years and when Satan is loose will be annihilated (Rev. 20:7-15) (see footnote 4)
Well; 1st of all. Let us see who are these 144000?
This number of congregation was mentioned twice in the book of Revelation and that is it; Rev 7:1-12 and Rev 14:1-5. Let us read these 2 passages:
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:……9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
“Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
Notice the Following:
In Rev. 7:1-14; The Scriptures plainly teaches the opposite of what JW teach. We see in Rev. 7 that the 144000 were on earth and there was a great multitude in heaven. In v 1 we see angels at the 4 corners of the EARTH crying in v 3 don’t struck the earth till we seal the servants of God numbered at 144000. While in v 9 we see that there was a “great multitude that no one can number from every tongue and nation” where????? BEFORE THE THRONE. Where is this throne????? It is in HEAVEN.
We see almost the same thing in Rev 14. The 144000 on mount Zion, which will be on planet earth. While there is singing before the throne.
Now how can you read that and remotely conclude that the 144000 will end up in heaven and the great multitudes on earth?????
We don’t find one single scripture that teaches that the 144000 gonna end up in heaven and everybody else on earth. When the Bible describe the eternal status, after everything is said and done, we don’t see a small group in heaven ruling with God and a mass multitude living on earth. Let us take a look at Rev 21 and 22.
Rev 21:1-3 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God…”
Rev 2:22-24 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
Rev 22:1-5 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
So this how the Bible describe the eternal status; one place, the new Jerusalem, when God and man will dwell. No classes of man, no groups of multiplications of 12000 ruling over the great multitudes. But we see all humanity divided into 2 groups; those whose names in written in the lamb’s book of life Rev 21:27 who will dwell with God himself for eternity in the New Jerusalem and those whose “name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:15
A picture far different than JW theology.
(1) If the JW teaching is biblical and the kingdom of God is excluded to only the 144000, why would Jesus command the multitudes, without distinction, to seek the kingdom of God???
(2)"Let God be True" 2nd edition 1946, Watchtower Bible and track society, Brooklyn, NY page 130
(3) Ibid; 136-138
(4) Ibid, 138-139