It is taught that by some that only 144,000 people will receive eternal
life in heaven with Jesus Christ as co-rulers over the earth. Witnesses
believe that in the war of Armageddon, which they believe to be imminent,
the wicked will be destroyed. The survivors of this event, along with
individuals deemed worthy of resurrection, will form a new society and
have the possibility of living forever in an earthly paradise. I got this
off wikipedia. is it true? Aren’t all of us worthy in His sight? and if we
are worthy then shouldn’t all believers get resurrected?


It is true that some teach that Revelation 7:1-8 imply that only 144,000
will be in heaven, specifically the Jehovah’s Witness group. This
teaching is a shallow distortion of this passage. Even a rather simple
reading of the text denies this interpretation. If one takes Revelation
7:4-8 literally, as the JWs have, then the conclusion is that 144,000 male
virgin Jews are the only ones in heaven. You cannot have it both ways.
Either this number and description are symbolic or they are literal. No
one, including the JWs take this passage literally. Besides, all one has
to do is continue down to the next verse. Revelation 7:9 says, “After
this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could
count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the
throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were
holding palm branches in their hands.” Here we see the same “144,000”
saved people in heaven described as a great multitude that no one could
count. They are not all virgin male Jews. They are from every nation and
language. The standard symbolism of Jewish apocalyptic literature helps
us to interpret Revelation seven. In apocalyptic Hebrew literature, the
number twelve is the number of God’s people (twelve tribes, twelve
apostles, etc.) and the number one thousand represents a great multitude.
Therefore 12x12x1000 means a great multitude of God’s people, which is
exactly what Revelation 7:9 says. Therefore, we would do well to
completely dismiss this unfortunate teaching about 144,000 saved people.

Not surprisingly, the Jehovah’s Witness group also has distorted teaching
about end times and Armageddon. Originally, JWs and Charles Russel taught
that 144,000 in heaven represented all the saved. Then when their own
group passed that number they created the idea of two heavens; one
spiritual in heaven (the 144,000) and one physical on the earth, in an
earthly paradise. This teaching of two different heavens is not
biblical. If you want me to discuss this further, please ask another
question. The Bible describes a single “New heaven and earth” in which we
will reign with God forever. This is described clearly in Revelation
chapter 21. You would do well to continue doing what it seems you are
doing, which is to be very skeptical of Jehovah Witness teaching and
simply read the Bible (with helps form other sources as well, but
principally using the Bible) and let it speak for itself.

John Oakes, PhD

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