In this episode, we’ll be discussing the 144,000 and heaven. On page 85 of the Jehovah’s Witness book titled “What can the Bible teach us?”, it says the 144,000 are faithful Christians whom God has chosen to rule as kings over the earth. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that there will only be 144,000 people who go to heaven. These 144,000 are known as the “little flock”. The little flock will rule over the “other sheep”. Is this really what the Bible says? Why do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe this?
There are many things that need to be investigated in the Jehovah’s Witness’ teachings. 1. Who and what is the little flock? 2. Who and what is the other sheep? 3. Who and what is the 144,000. 4. Who and what is the great multitude? 5. What is paradise Earth? 6. Who goes to heaven?
Who and what is the 144,000 that the Jehovah’s Witnesses talk about? 144,000 comes from the last book in the Bible, Revelation 7:4 and 14:3. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe 144,000 is a select group of people who will rule the earth from heaven with Jesus. The book of Revelation says that the 144,000 come from the 12 tribes of Israel, 12,000 from each tribe but the Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that these 12 tribes are not literal tribes and the reason they are not literal tribes is because a tribe of Joseph is mentioned in Revelation but it’s never actually listed in the Old Testament as well as the Levites, they were not actually a tribe in the Old Testament. Another reason is that the tribes of Ephraim and Dan from the Old Testament are not mentioned in Revelation. However, Christians respond to this by saying obviously the two tribes of Dan and Ephraime from the Old Testament were replaced in the New Testament by the tribes of Joseph and Levi because Dan and Ephraim from the Old Testament were engaged and guilty of idolatry. Some serious problems with the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings of the 144,000 are as follows:
First, the 144,000 in the book of Revelation are all men. It says the 144,000 are ones who have never been defiled with women, who are virgins but the Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that the 144,000 are men and women.
Second, they switched their interpretation from a metaphorical interpretation to a literal interpretation in the very same verse. They say that the first half of the verse was literally 144,000 but then they switch and say the second half of the birth verse is only metaphorically the 12 tribes of Israel.
Third, nowhere in the bible does it say or even indicate that the kingdom of heaven is limited to 144,000.
What about the afterlife? Who gets to go to heaven? Jehovah’s Witnesses have two separate destinations for those who will partake in the afterlife. One place is paradise earth, the other is the kingdom of heaven. Who gets to go to the Kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of God? Jesus taught a lot about the kingdom and Jesus never once restricted the kingdom to 144,000. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that only the anointed class of 144,000 are born of God or born again so they get to go to heaven. But if you look in your Bible at 1 John 5:1, it says “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? If you do, then you have been born of God.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that the Old Testament people do not go to heaven but if you look in your Bible at 2 Kings 2:11 it says “Elisha went to heaven.” Also Matthew 8:11 says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the kingdom of heaven. Other examples as well like Hebrews 11. The Bible is clear that all who love God will inherit the kingdom (James 2:5, 2 Peter 1:11) Peter writes that the entrance into the eternal kingdom will be abundantly supplied and to all those who have faith in Jesus.