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Are Only 144,000 Going to Heaven?

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By Virgil - Posted on 29 March 2009

by William Bell

At our potluck for our church group last
night we had some interesting discussions
with our teenagers about money and
responsibility. Are Only 144,000 Going to Heaven?, was a question asked that was as much out of place
in that conversation as it is in this paragraph.Click to read the entire article

chrisliv's picture


The article is pretty good.

But I don't take the 144,000 to be literal Jews, or of proportionate numbers from each 12 literal Jewish tribes.

First off, the tribes in the list are out of sequence, and not ALL 12 are listed.

No, the list in Revelation is saying something different than the list and naming sequence in Genesis. Althouh, I can see how some Preterists would see that kind of interpretation fitting nicely into a rigid Preterist hermeneutic, since it neatly packages OT Jews or quasi-Christian Jews, pre-Parousia, into a concurrent and genetic status, apart from believing Gentile Christians.

I think many Preterists, like me, will realize that the genetic and covenantal divide was abolished before 70 AD, yet the destruction of the last vestiges (Jerusalem/Temple) were needed to fulfill the final curse of the OT being utterly broken.

I personally interpret John's "hearing" the 144,000 number and then immediately "seeing" an "innumerable" multi-ethnic group as being one and the same group, i.e., The Body of Christ as a new composition of spiritual Tribes without genetic pedigrees.

I'm not arguing for this position as a hard doctrine from Revelation, since hard doctrine is almost impossible to glean from prophetic imagery or parables.

So, I hope nobody takes my input, criticism, or opinion too personally.

I mean, if the 144,000 were really quasi-Christian 1st Century Jews, or OT Jewish saints, who all died 2000 years ago, or more, it makes them a fairly insignificant historical footnote.

But it is almost a give away, to take the simple, carnal, or literal interpretation for the 144,000 to be first century Jews.

From what I understand, Revelation was written in very sloppy Greek, as if John was writing it as a cosmic opera while in a hypnotic trance. And, of course, that's how it reads. So, you almost have to take John's altered perception to follow it. I'm not saying to drop some literal acid, but maybe some spiritual acid is needed. I might even go so far as to suggest that when Revelation briefly mentions homosexuals, it may be complaining about something far worse to God than fleshly perversion, which that generation of Jews was guilty of. Of course, I'm speculating.

Or, there's the Watchtower Organization, who says the 144,000 is a literal number (but not necessarily Jews) of "annointed witnesses" who, alone, get to go to Heaven, and the rest of the lessor-witnesses get to spend an eternity on a Paradise Earth sitting around without too much to do, except enjoy the Theocratic Utopia.

I'm getting bored just thinking about it.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Virgil's picture

I get the feeling that William was talking about the Jehovah Witnesses' assertion that only 144,000 chosen people will end up "in heaven."

chrisliv's picture


The JWs consider the 144K as a special class of non-Jewish followers, which logically makes all others chopped liver, so to speak.

The Dispensationalists aren't much better, as they see the 144K as a special class of Jewish converts in the Last Days.

In either case, the implied message is that anyone without Jewish DNA, or who was born in the wrong time in history, or who were not as valiant as the 144K are all doomed to a lower status than others.

That somewhat throws justification by Faith out the window, and makes God seem schizophrenic, too.

Revelation is tough enough for adults, so it is undoubtedly tougher to interpret for young teenagers, especially with Watchtower nonsense being peddled around neighborhoods.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Virgil's picture

Yes, you are correct - either way, your physical body (DNA, lineage, or whatever you want to call it) assures you a special place in heaven. Where is Jesus in this picture?

mazuur's picture


Faith is there. Were not the remnant "believers"?



mazuur's picture


I agree with the dispy's that the 144K were Jews during the "last days" (the remnant of Romans 11:5). But I don't see how you can say others were "not as valiant as the 144K are all doomed to a lower status than others."

That is like saying because the Jews (or Abraham for that matter) were God's chosen people, all others were just lost. God was working to save all (both Jew and Gentile). But the Jews were special in the sense that God used them to bring salvation (Jn 4:22) unto the "world" (both Jew and Gentile).



chrisliv's picture


I'm not saying that.

I'm saying that the Dipsy's are saying that the 144K are supposedly Jews that are somehow more valiant and more esteemed by God in their conversion process and efforts in the so-called Last Days of Earth as we know it.

I think that is ridiculous.

I think you are mistaken, too, about considering or calling Jews of the past (or today) to have been intrinsically "special" People.

Of course, the Jews of the past were temporarily "chosen" People, but they were never "special" People, as the bible certainly demonstrates.

The question then becomes, why did God "choose" Abraham from a moon-worshipping society, since his Faith was not that great to begin with, as the Bible demonstrates.

It just demonstrates that God had to start with somebody, and that he works with imperfect and un-special people.

That's a God I can believe in!

It seems obvious to me, especially with some of my behaviorist background, that God dealt with a small group of people at their baseline level of behavior in order to begin to shape their behavior and use it as a model for a historical and prophetic context, only in order to initiate and demonstrate something far greater to Humanity than the OT Blessing vs Curse paradigm, i.e., real renewal and humanities partaking in divine nature to some degree.

I mean, without some historical backdrop that had been documented amongst somebody, a Divine actor appearing from out of a vacuum within Humanity itself wouldn't have had much impact, I don't think.

So, God and His methods make sense to me.

And the NT certainly clarifies that the "The Seed" and the Blessing of Abraham had nothing at all to do with Jewish DNA.

Interestingly, Apostle Peter had trouble understanding that fact, even 10 years after The Resurrection, as he would not go into the house of a Gentile God was working with, that is, until God knocked Peter out and gave him a three-fold trance to drive the point home. (See Acts 10:6-28)

I think God had a little fun with Peter, at a bit of Peter's expense, on that one.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

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