Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that 144,000 individuals have, what they call, a heavenly calling. What that means is that a specific number of persons are anointed by God as kings and will go to Heaven to rule with Christ Jesus over a paradise earth. They arrived at the number of just 144000 persons going to heaven due to a literal interpretation of And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000,Revelation 7:4a, and a subsequent, yet conveniently figurative interpretation of sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel: Out of the tribe of Judah 12,000 sealed; out of the tribe of Reuben 12,000; out of the tribe of Gad 12,000; out of the tribe of Asher 12,000; out of the tribe of Naphtali 12,000; out of the tribe of Manasseh 12,000; out of the tribe of Simeon 12,000; out of the tribe of Levi 12,000; out of the tribe of Issachar 12,000; out of the tribe of Zebulun 12,000; out of the tribe of Joseph 12,000; out of the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.Revelation 7:4b-8.
What of all other persons who are not of the 144,000? Do they just die? No. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that all other humans have the possibility of making up the “Great Crowd as described through both a literal and figurative interpretation of After this I saw, and look! a Great Crowd, that no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands.Revelation 7:9. They interpret “the Great Crowd” as literally being a massive crowd of people who survive Armageddon. However they figuratively interpret the crowd’s “standing before the throne and before the lamb” because they do not believe that this crowd is up in heaven. Instead, they believe that this Great Crowd is in front of God’s throne in a figurative sense since they have survived Armageddon into a paradise earth ruled by God’s heavenly kingdom.
Let us ignore Jehovah’s Witnesses’ subjective interpretation of these verses because it’s clearly evident that their traversing between literal and figurative interpretation of the same verses is ludicrous. Instead, let’s focus on a more important question:
How does one of Jehovah’s Witnesses know if they are one of the 144,000 anointed who have a heavenly calling?
Before we answer this question, it must be noted that Jehovah’s Witnesses originally believed that all the anointed were chosen by God and “sealed” no later than 1935. How they arrived at the year 1935 could be that Joseph F Rutherford, the second president of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, thought he had a direct line to God. Maybe he thought that God told him in a dream that the 144,000 were sealed in 1935.
However, it turns out that 1935 was simply a year made up by a bunch of men who were deluded. Why? Because they no longer believe that the number of 144,000 anointed was sealed in 1935. After all, Geoffrey Jackson, one of the members of the Governing Body, one who considers himself to be of the anointed, was born in 1955. Mark Sanderson, the youngest member of the governing body was born in 1965. Neither were even a thought in their parent’s minds in 1935! Therefore, this teaching has been amended so that Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer view 1935 as being the year that God sealed the 144,000. Instead, 1935 is the year that Joseph F Rutherford identified the “Great Crowd”. This is known as a convenient truth: direct readers to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ truth that Joseph F Rutherford identified the Great Crowd in 1935 and forget to mention that it was also the year that the 144,000 were sealed. See The Watchtower September 15, page 29, paragraph 7. Compare with Revelation, It’s Grand Climax at Hand! Chapter 20, p.125, paragraph 18.
To find the answer to the question of how one is to determine if they are one of the 144,000 anointed, we need to refer to the January 2016 Study Edition of the Watchtower. There on pages 20 & 21, paragraph 15, under the heading Have you been called? it states:
15 Perhaps you are wondering if you have received this wonderful invitation. If you think that you might have, ponder some important questions.
The paragraph then asks the following six questions:
- Do you feel that you have more than average zeal in the ministry?
- Are you a keen student of God’s Word who loves to delve into “the deep things of God”? (1 Cor. 2:10)
- Have you seen Jehovah’s special blessing on your ministry?
- Do you have a burning desire to do Jehovah’s will?
- Do you have a deep inner feeling of responsibility to help others spiritually?
- Have you seen proof that Jehovah has personally intervened in your life?
You might think that if your answer to these 6 questions is YES, that you would then know that you are of the anointed. Think again:
If you answer these questions with a resounding yes, does this mean that you now have the heavenly calling? No, it does not. Why not? Because these are not unique feelings experienced only by those who have the heavenly calling. Jehovah’s spirit works with equal force in those who have the hope of living forever on earth. In fact, if you are wondering whether you have received the heavenly calling, that would in itself indicate that you have not received it. Those called by Jehovah do not wonder whether they have been invited or not! They know!
The answer is simple. If you are of the anointed, you don’t have to fill out any questionnaire; You don’t need to ask anyone else if you are or are not; You may or may not be an exceptional preacher; You may or may not be the studious type; You may or may not have a burning desire to do Jehovah’s Will; You may or may not have a deep inner feeling of responsibility to help others spiritually; You may or may not have seen evidence that Jehovah intervened in your life. Because, if you are one of the 144,000 anointed ones, you’ll just know.
The 144,000 who were sealed in 1935 are no longer as sealed as they once were. God obviously removed the seal. Why? It’s for a number of reasons:
- The 144,000 who were sealed in 1935 have all passed away. Jehovah’s witnesses long believed that the end of the world would come before all their precious anointed 144,000 died.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that to be a member of their governing body one has to be anointed. The eldest member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses was born in 1935. The remaining members were all born after that year. The youngest member,
Geoffrey W. Jackson was born in 1955Mark Sanderson, was born April 2, 1965.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer believe that the 144,000 anointed make up the Faithful & Discreet slave. This reference is now used exclusively for their Governing Body. Read Legally Establishing Watchtower Assets to find out why.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses now believe that members of the 144,000 anointed will be alive when Armageddon comes and that they will be raptured up to heaven. Download July 15 2015 Watchtower Study Edition. See pages 18 & 19, Paragraph 15. They like to point out in this article that they do not like the term “rapture” but that’s only because it aligns them closer to main-stream Christianity.
The belief that the 144,000 anointed ones was sealed in 1935 still rings true in the hearts of many Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, many Jehovah’s Witnesses are likely to look with suspicion on any member who suddenly starts to partake of the emblems, unleavened bread and wine representing Jesus Christ’s body & blood respectively, during their annual memorial celebration. Of course, and ironically, even the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are suspicious of such ones. Here is what they write in the January 2016 Study Edition of the Watchtower pages 25 & 26, paragraph 13, under the heading What about the number of those partaking at the memorial?:
“Jehovah knows those who belong to him.” (2 Tim. 2:19) Those taking the count at the Memorial cannot judge who truly have the heavenly hope. The number of partakers includes those who mistakenly think that they are anointed. Some who at one point started to partake of the emblems later stopped. Others may have mental or emotional problems that lead them to believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven. Therefore, the number of partakers does not accurately indicate the number of anointed ones left on earth.
If the Governing Body are suspicious of their 144,000 anointed, you can be sure that most, if not all Jehovah’s Witnesses, will be suspicious of their beloved anointed who are going to rule them from heaven when they get to heaven. This begs a serious question:
If Jehovah’s Witnesses are becoming ever-more suspicious of the remnant of their 144,000 anointed, does that pave the way for a paradise where the earthly class will view some of their heavenly class with suspicion for all eternity?