QUESTION: An article in the January, 2016, Watchtower, on paragraph 14, states that the Bible does not say how many of the anointed will be left at the time that the tribulation begins. However, I have understood from previous podcasts and articles of yours that there will be 7000. I take it this means that the Bible does not state how many will be there when the great tribulation begins, but it does state how many will be there at the end of the tribulation and just prior to Armageddon. If that is so, will those extra ones that die before the end of the GT die a martyr’s death? Also, can you explain or point out to me your reasoning for coming up with the 7000? What scriptures talk about this?

There are many things that the leadership of the Watchtower does not understand or accept. The numbering of the 7,000 remaining ones is just one of many sacred secrets that Jehovah has seen fit to conceal from them. Of course, Jehovah does not actively close their minds. The reason they are in the dark on such matters as these is because of their having been deluded by their own 1914 dogma.

Organizations have a tendency to take on a life all their own, and not necessarily in a good way. And that has certainly been the case with the Watchtower organization.

As all of Jehovah’s Witnesses know the central teaching of the Watchtower is that the Lord’s day has begun. The Society has unabashedly declared that the sacred secret of God was brought to a glorious and magnificent conclusion in 1914. That is when the seals of the symbolic scroll of Revelation were all unsealed, purportedly. Virtually everything in Revelation has been fulfilled already except for the destruction of Babylon the Great and Armageddon, at least according to Bethel. Jehovah’s Witnesses have been convinced that the seven angels have blown their trumpets and the seven plagues have been poured out, or at least six. Does it even matter what those plagues may have been? I doubt if 1 out of 1,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses could even explain it.

Essentially, the Watchtower has rendered the awe-inspiring revelation of Christ into a non-event and Jehovah’s Witnesses have no recourse except to accept it.

But as regards the 7,000, the 11th chapter of Revelation reveals the number of the remaining ones who belong to the “city” who are killed along with the two witnesses. Here is what Revelation states: “In that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; and 7,000 persons were killed by the earthquake, and the rest became frightened and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

To situate this event in God’s timeline it is advisable to consider the entire chapter. In the opening verses of the 11th chapter we are informed that the events that unfold are during the 42-months when the nations are allowed to dominate the holy city and the temple. That period, also expressed as 1,260 days and time, times and half a time, commences after the beast arises from the abyss. In other words, after the system recovers from its crash.

Contrary to what Jehovah’s Witnesses have been compelled to believe, to-date there is nothing in modern history that we can point to as proof that the Anglo-American empire has suffered anything comparable to a mortal wound, much less a miraculous recovery —as if returning from the grave. 

 The sacred secret comes to its happy climax! Gloriously, magnificently, it is brought to a triumphant finish in 1914 when the Lord Jehovah enthrones his Christ as associate King. -Revelation, Grand Climax page 171 

At this moment in time, though, there has never been more concern over the potential collapse of the present political and economic system dominated by the Anglo-American duo. Many thinking people except Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to have at least some inkling that the United States and the European Union are nearing the point of an unavoidable existential crisis.

But before considering the ramifications of the impending crash, here is what the Grand Climax commentary stated in explanation of the verse quoted above and the meaning of the great figurative earthquake that is asserted to have rocked Christendom back in 1918-19.

There were truly great convulsions in the realm of religion. The ground seemed to move under the leaders of the established churches as this body of revivified Christians got to work. One tenth of their city, figuratively 7,000 persons, were so profoundly affected that they are spoken of as being killed.

But how were the 7,000 persons killed in the symbolic tremors? The Climax commentary continues:

In the first century, the apostle Paul said that these 7,000 pictured the remnant of the Jews who had responded to the good news about the Christ. These scriptures help us to understand that the “seven thousand” and the “tenth of the city” in Revelation 11:13 are those who respond to the restored two witnesses and abandon the sinful great city. They die, as it were, to Christendom. Their names are taken off her membership rolls. They no longer exist as far as she is concerned.

According to the Watchtower the 7,000 who were killed in the metaphoric quake were Bible Students who merely requested to have their names removed from their respective church rosters. Why this insignificant event should be considered by God as an earthshaking development that precipitates Armageddon is baffling. Surely tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses since then have also left the churches of Christendom and formally requested to have their names removed from membership rolls, but what rational person would dare claim that their exit has caused the churches to reel as if the very earth had shifted under their feet? 

To put a finer point on it, the tormenting preaching of the two witnesses is part of the second woe unleashed upon the world. And as soon as the 7,000 are killed the angel announces that the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel blows his trumpet. The result? God brings to ruin those who are ruining the earth. Now, how reasonable is it that the third woe that follows quickly still hasn’t taken place? It is not reasonable. Furthermore, it is preposterous to suppose that God will destroy the world because 7,000 Bible Students withdrew their church memberships 100-years ago!

The larger problem is that the leadership of the Watchtower does not understand the significance of the appearance of the two witnesses. They have no appreciation of the fact that Moses and Elijah were both symbolically taken by Jehovah —Moses, when he ascended Mount Pisgah and Jehovah showed him all the Land of Promise then God put him to sleep. And Elijah, who was swept up in the heavens in a fiery war chariot, never to be seen again —at least not in the Bible presentation of it. Their being taken by God can only be understood in the light of the vision of the transfiguration of Christ, in which Moses and Elijah both participated, and which Peter, James and John were observers.

The re-appearance of Moses and Elijah in the book of Revelation surely signifies the actual participation of the holy ones in what was originally foreshadowed by the Transfiguration; namely, the presence of Christ and the transformation of the chosen ones, reminiscent of Moses, whose face shone as the sun after his face-to-face encounter with Jehovah on Mount Sinai. Did not Jesus foretell that the chosen ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father?

Now, as regards the 7,000. Keep in mind, as already mentioned, that only Peter, James and John were privileged to witness the transfiguration spectacle. And in fact, when coming down from the mountain Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Lord was raised up. 

 So severe was this plague on Christendom that after the two witnesses had prophesied for 42 months in sackcloth, Christendom used her worldly influence to have them ‘killed.’ – Grand Climax, p. 167

One more thing that we need to consider. When the three aforementioned apostles saw the vision and heard the voice of God declare that Jesus was his Son they became terrified and fell to the ground. However, Jesus then came near to them and touched them and reassured them and encouraged them to have no fear. This is the exact same experience the apostle John had some 60-years later when he had the revelation vision, in which Christ shone as the sun in his transformed glory and then touched the crumpled apostle and strengthened him to stand.

So, to tie it all together, the two witnesses are representative of the chosen ones who will see Christ —just as John, James and Peter were representative witnesses of the entire body of disciples in the transfiguration. However, the 7,000 are the total number of individuals who are symbolized by the two witnesses.

Interestingly, in the days before Elijah was symbolically taken to heaven in the fiery chariot Jehovah revealed to him that he had 7,000 who had not bent their knee to baal or kissed his image. Similarly, in Revelation those who are sealed with the holy spirit are said to have refused the mark of the beast, and as a consequence they are killed by the beast. And again, contrary to the Watchtower’s baseless assertion, it is simply out of the question that people began receiving the mark of the beast in 1922. 

To be sure, the 7,000 are not merely symbolically killed. The opening of the 5th seal of the Apocalypse reveals the souls of all the anointed sons of God who have been martyred and they ask God how long they must wait for justice. They are told rest a little longer “until the number was filled of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they had been.” 

It is evident that those who are about to be killed will be killed by the beast in the post-crash world for their refusal to worship the beast. 

The number to be filled who are about to be killed is 7,000. (See article: Will Christianity Survive the End of this World?)

11th HOUR WORKERS

I would like to call the reader’s attention to a statement in the 15th paragraph of the article in consideration. It states the following:

During the last days, Jehovah has continued to select those who will make up the 144,000.

[2] If he chooses to wait until late into that period to select some for that privilege, who are we to question his wisdom? [3] We must be careful not to react like the disgruntled workers who complained about the way their master dealt with the 11th-hour workers.—Read Matthew 20:8-15.

For decades the Watchtower taught that the calling and choosing ended in 1935. More recently that notion has faded away. But the Watchtower has still promoted an atmosphere that has not been welcoming for any newcomers to the heavenly calling. As a response to the situation that newly anointed persons have had to face and will yet in the future, I published an article more than ten years ago entitled Many First Will Be Last And The Last First, which was a consideration of Jesus’ parable of the 11th-hour workers.

Prior to this 2016 article the Watchtower had consistently taught that the 11th hour workers were those who were anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses, whereas the disgruntled workers who worked all day represented the clergy. The absurdity of that interpretation of Jesus’ illustration ought to be apparent by reason of the fact that both groups receive the same reward. 

 Is that first-century fulfillment the only fulfillment of Jesus’ illustration? No, the clergy of Christendom in this 20th century have, by reason of their positions and responsibilities, been “first” to be hired for work in God’s symbolic vineyard. They considered dedicated preachers associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to be “the last” ones to have any valid assignment in God’s service. – Greatest Man chap 97 

Now, though, the Watchtower is implying that it is indeed fellow anointed ones who are comparable to the disgruntled vineyard workers who resent the latecomers receiving the same “payment” as they. Of course, the article does not spell it out and only timidly applies the principle in a very vague way. Nevertheless, it is a significant departure from their previous application of the parable and should be viewed as a tacit admission that e-watchman was right.

What does this have to do with the 7,000? In many ways the old guard of the anointed have had the first place. They have had the honors, which they also back-handedly admit in this very same article in which they are compelled to exhort Jehovah’s Witnesses not to view anointed persons as celebrities. (It must be assumed that this is in reference to the Governing Body and other older ones since the newly anointed are often treated with disdain.)

That being true, the Governing Body and the inner circle of the Watchtower Society do not really have anything new to contribute to the truth. They are like the outstanding men of whom Paul wrote in Galatians, who were pillars in the congregation, but who had nothing new to impart to the household of faith.

For a fact, all of the Watchtower’s recent flashes of new light have been published first on this site. That would include the fact that the appointment of the faithful slave over all the master’s belongings has not occurred yet. The 10 virgins have not parted ways in the night. The iron and the clay represent the Anglo-American world power and not some “politically divided world,” among other things.

Although Bethel considers the source of this information to be a apostate, the truth is, many newly anointed persons consider e-watchman to be a reliable source.

Surely this phenomenon is a preview of the ultimate fulfillment during the parousia of what Jesus foretold when he said: “In this way, the last ones will be first, and the first ones last.” 

Related article: The Revelation of Christ and the Two Witnesses

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