144,000 sealed and the Revelation of Christ

//144,000 sealed and the Revelation of Christ

QUESTION: How is the number 144,000 inclusive of (if literal) ALL who will go to heaven? A unique feature of the 144,000 sealed ones is indicated at Rev. 6:11 where it says they wait under the altar until “the number was filled of their fellow slaves and their brother WHO WERE ABOUT TO BE KILLED AS THEY HAD BEEN.” Rev. 7:4 gives us the specific number of these sealed ones. Does this not indicate that they all die? However, 1 Cor. 15: 51 reveals that not all will “fall asleep in death”, and 1Thess. 4:17 says “the LIVING who are surviving will, TOGETHER with them, (“them” defined in vs. 16) be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” How do you reconcile this scripturally?

ANSWER: This is a very deep subject and it is not something that is easy to understand or explain. But I will try to make it simple.

First, the 144,000 who will ultimately rule with Christ in heaven are chosen from among mankind over a period of approximately 2,000 years.  Jesus said that ‘many are called but few are chosen.’

Some times you hear Jehovah’s Witnesses say that so-and-so is one of the 144,000, or something like that. But this is not really a proper thing to say since even though a person may be anointed – that is to say they have been called, invited – that does not necessarily mean that they will ultimately be approved — chosen.

Obviously, though, upon an anointed person’s death Jehovah will have either approved or disapproved them for entry into the heavenly kingdom.

Thus, if they have gained Jehovah’s approval they are sealed at some point prior to their death. Paul spoke of this. For example, when writing to the Philippians Paul said the following: “My aim is to know him and the power of his resurrection and to share in his sufferings, submitting myself to a death like his, to see if at all possible I may attain to the earlier resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already received it or am already made perfect, but I am pressing on to see if I may also lay hold on that for which Christ Jesus selected me. Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having taken hold of it; but one thing is certain: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.”

To the Philippians Paul indicated that he had not yet received God’s ultimate seal of approval. He was pressing towards it as his goal. 

However, some years later when he wrote to Timothy from Rome, where he was in prison, the apostle stated: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my releasing is imminent. I have fought the fine fight, I have run the race to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation.”

In his saying “from this time forward” implies that Paul had received some indication from God that he had been sealed and had the assurance of receiving the reward of the upward call that he had been pursuing.

When, though, would Paul receive the reward? “In that day” — meaning, in the day of the Lord — that is to say, during the presence of Christ. That is when “the earlier resurrection from the dead” begins about which Paul wrote in the cited passage in Philippians, what Revelation calls “the first resurrection.”

Paul and all those other faithful Christians back then who were anointed and were faithful until the end all were sealed. But their sealing did not result in their actually receiving the reward then. Christ’s Kingdom must come to power first. Until then they are sleeping in death, just like everyone else who has lived and died. But that is why the 7th chapter of Revelation speaks of those who have been sealed as if the sealing takes place then, because that is when the first resurrection starts, during the parousia of Christ. 

But were all of those first century Christians slaughtered with the axe? No. But a representative number were killed. We know the apostle James was. So was Paul. Apparently the apostle Peter was killed too. Many were killed by Nero. So, like in the case of the murdered Abel, when God said to Cain, ‘your brother’s blood calls out to me from the ground,’ those martyred Christians from the first century call out to the throne of God for vengeance, for justice.

It is as if they are told to wait for the rest of the 144,000 to be killed. But, will it be a mere representative number, as in the first century? No. During the conclusion the Devil will go off to wage war against the remaining ones of the 144,000. He will be allowed to go so far as to conquer and kill all of the holy ones— all 7,000 of them. In this way the Devil’s world will be called to make an account before God for all the spilled blood of Christians and the shed blood of Christ himself.

(There are a number of articles on this site that discuss this in more detail. Will Christianity Survive the End of the World? The Revelation of Christ and the Two Witnesses and the chapter on Revelation)

As for what Paul said about ‘we the living’ who survive to the presence not sleeping in death, the apostle was not saying that they will not die. The point he was making was that those who do die during the presence of Christ will not sleep in death as did their predecessors who died before the presence of Christ begins. Paul explained that those who die during the parousia are instantaneously changed, in the twinkling of an eye. Worded differently, the contrast is between sleeping and not sleeping.

Ironically, this is what the masses of churchgoers believe, as well as virtually all religious people – that we have an inherent immortal soul that survives the death of the body. Of course, that’s not true. But for those who have been born again and sealed during the presence, there is no death. True, from the human perspective, from the vantage point of an earthly observer, they would see a corpse. But the person who formally inhabited that body will have been changed into an immortal spirit. That’s what Paul meant when he spoke of not sleeping in death, but of being changed.

Once all of the living sealed ones have been changed then the marriage of the Lamb will take place. In that way all of the 144,000 will be joined together, as if in the clouds – united with Christ, who himself is spoken of as coming on the clouds of heaven.

When all the holy ones are joined with Christ then the battle of Armageddon will commence and all of those who are on the side of Satan and his beast and who persecuted and killed the brothers of Christ, or who approved of their killing, will be destroyed and the curtain will come down on Satan and his world. And a new world will begin.

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2016-12-08T15:11:11+00:00 September 18th, 2015|Mailbag|24 Comments
  • James

    Well said, your explanation makes a lot of sense.

  • Jonah Peter Paul

    Definitely learned a lot. So the proper term for the claiming to be anointed are the invited, not chosen. Makes sense. That is what my father in law always say. No one is sure until they receive their final seal, which probably no one would know about cause Jehovah would decide upon their deaths. We do learn new things from your work every time. There is indeed still a big room for improvement on our part.

    • invited would sound correct to me i hear many say i am anointed and use the term loosely and that did not sit right with me because to be invited and perhaps sealed i would think is of a personal nature between a person and jehova’h and if indeed chosen that nature would manifest at the Appropriate time. to my knowledge i can only see one person that i can tell from his knowledge and work that is anointed and that is MR Robert King. unlike many i have chatted with or know of MR King does not boast of the Invitation before him but rather he takes jehovahs blessings of truth right to the heart of the watchtower and to many peoples. many say to me yes i am anointed but all to often there works or lack of tell me a different story.

    • nvited would sound correct to me i hear many say i am anointed and use the term loosely and that did not sit right with me because to be invited and perhaps sealed i would think is of a personal nature between a person and jehova’h and if indeed chosen that nature would manifest at the Appropriate time. to my knowledge i can only see one person that i can tell from his knowledge and work that is anointed and that is MR Robert King. unlike many i have chatted with or know of MR King does not boast of the Invitation before him but rather he takes jehovahs blessings of truth right to the heart of the watchtower and to many peoples. many say to me yes i am anointed but all to often there works or lack of or there dispositions and puffed like prides tell me a different story. im not saying there aren’t other anointed persons out there im just saying i have met many that claim to be anointed that seem to fall short of this grand Invitation.

    • nvited would sound correct to me i hear many say i am anointed and use the term loosely and that did not sit right with me because to be invited and perhaps sealed i would think is of a personal nature between a person and jehova’h and if indeed chosen that nature would manifest at the Appropriate time. to my knowledge i can only see one person that i can tell from his knowledge and work that is of the anointed class and that is MR Robert King. unlike many i have chatted with or know of MR King does not boast of the Invitation before him but rather he takes jehovahs blessings of truth right to the heart of the watchtower and to many peoples. many say to me yes i am anointed but all to often there works or lack of or there dispositions and puffed like prides tell me a different story. im not saying there aren’t other anointed persons out there im just saying i have met many that claim to be anointed that seem to fall short of this grand Invitation.

      • Cathii D’Anthonii

        Wow, Leonard, very profound your thinking .Jehovah being of complete order…Paul said not to take emblems unworthily..I wonder if ones that are chosen and not sealed will still be ressurected..right now everything the wt prints needs to be questioned..Also, I have met a few of the chosen ones, and they all have a peace about them.most now are dead , but they all really had a unique thirst for the Bible…Also the watchtower appears to suffer from anemia, what happened?

        • many are called but ultimately it is jehova’h who will decide if ones faith is worthy of his sealing,

          1 Corinthians 1:26
          For you see his calling of you, brothers, that there are not many wise in a fleshly way, not many powerful, not many of noble birth,

          1 Timothy 6:12
          Fight the fine fight of the faith; get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you offered the fine public declaration in front of many witnesses.

  • Brian

    Yes, invited indeed and I can’t quite work out why the 7000 number is bantered about (well I know why), so there are 7000 JW’s that are invited but still not chosen obviously. I can’t see how people can tell whether others are invited or not but they seen to make the distinction and pressure people to not ask to be invited, they need to be careful that the do not “lock up the heavens from among men when they themselves do not enter”. Paul still had worries right up until the end of his life, he was worried that he may have done something that would excluded him from being chosen. The apostles may have, probably were given an indication right at the end of their lives that they were chosen to be son’s, but not just son’s but the foundations for the Kingdom, maybe others aren’t privileged to this?
    Pretty much what Robert has said here is my understanding and has been for some time.
    Thank you Robert for the obviously tireless work that you put into conveying God’s word.

  • Basavaraj Of North Karnataka

    This is a super and new understanding on my part. But the WTS will never agree

    • the watchtower can disagree all they like any one can disagree for that matter but it is our heavenly father Jehovah His Word and Will Be Done Let His Name Be Sanctified and The Truth Be Known To All.

      Revelation 14:1
      14 Then I saw, and look! the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.

      Isaiah 29:23
      23 For when he sees his children, Who are the work of my hands, in his midst, They will sanctify my name; Yes, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, And they will stand in awe of the God of Israel.

  • John

    Why can not WT society’s new understanding be true about “rapture”, despite the fact that they don’t like to use that word? But ironically they brought it up anyway in a recent WT study.

    • The rapture is what evangelicals are stuck with because they have no knowledge of the truth.

  • Besorongola Rainisoa

    True, this is a very deep subject, for example how do you explain hebrew11:16 and hebrew12:22-24

    • Hebrews 11:16 states that God has prepared a city for them, for the faithful ones before Christ. What is that city? The Kingdom, symbolized as New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven to the earth – meaning that the heavenly Kingdom will rule the earth.

      • Besorongola Rainisoa

        If the “faithfull ones before Christ” will rule the earth, how do explain Mathew11:11?

        • e.v.g

          That is a tricky question probably you need to be fool to become wise (Just kidding)

          • Besorongola Rainisoa

            I should rather improve my English…

        • I did not say that the faithful ones before Christ will rule in the Kingdom. The City is already prepared for them when they are resurrected. They will get to enjoy being ruled over by a righteous government.

  • MMW

    Nobody will be utterly deceived. The
    revolt against JEHOVAH and Christ will
    be the same as it is now. The Scriptures don’t
    portray Nations to be confused, unaware, or as some kind of innocent
    victims. Rather the Revelation shows
    that during that time they will willfully with awareness keep oppose to God’s
    Kingdom. They will not won’t to cease
    their own kingdom which is the satanic’s one because they will hate to SUBMIT
    themselves under GOD’s rules.

  • what a very interesting subject. after reading scripture and conversing on the matter i was left with a lingering question. if you read this scripture Ephesians 1:1-23 4 as he chose us to be in union with him* before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished+ before him in love.

    it clearly states they were chosen before the founding of the world and so jehovah must have chosen the number 144000.00 for a reason jehovah does not do anything or say anything with out reason and so this number 144000.000 makes me think could this be the number of angels that rebelled with satan against god? and if so jehovah chose to make up the lost 144000.00 from mankind? of course this is just my speculation i am not saying that i am correct however i can not help but to dwell on this scripture and ponder this thought. i do not asume or sapose this to be true of course but it is an interesting honest question.

  • what a very interesting subject. after reading scripture and conversing on the matter i was left with a lingering question. if you read this scripture Ephesians 1:1-23 4 as he chose us to be in union with him* before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished+ before him in love.

    it clearly states they were chosen before the founding of the world and so jehova’h must have chosen the number 144,000 for a reason im sure jehovah did not just say ok i think i will go with 144,000 out of no where i mean jehova’h does not do or say anything with out reason and so this number 144,000 makes me think could this be the number of angels that rebelled with satan against god? and if so did jehova’h choose to make up the lost number 144,000 from mankind? of course this is just my speculation i am not saying that i am correct however i can not help but to dwell on this scripture and ponder this thought. i do not asume or sapose this to be true of course but read the scripture. it is an interesting honest question.

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