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The 144,000 and the Great Multitude

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10:16)

When Jesus came into the world, His mission was to preach salvation to the Jews. Unfortunately John 1:11 states: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

Though the Jews rejected Him, there would be another group offered salvation. According to John 10:16, Jesus called them other sheep, not of this fold. Romans 9:22-24 confirms that it was the Gentiles, non-Jews, to whom our Lord and Savior would make Himself known:

“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

The Old Testament foretells that God would reveal His plan of salvation to the entire world, not only to the Jews. In Isaiah 52:10 the prophet writes, “The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”

Regarding salvation, the Scriptures are clear that the prophesied Messiah would reveal Himself to Jews and Gentiles alike. To further support Romans 9:22-24, Isaiah 49:6 instructs that the Gentiles are the Messiah’s other sheep:

“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

Contrary to the Bible, the Society teaches that when Jesus mentioned “other sheep,” He illustrated that there were two classes of people with separate and distinct eternal destinations. According to the organization’s theology, there are 144,000 individuals that will immediately enter into heaven upon their physical death. This group is referred to as the anointed class, those who are born-again.

The Watchtower’s theology includes another group, referred to as the great multitude, who cling to a hope of everlasting life on paradise earth. According to the Society, those of the earthly class are not born-again, and will have everlasting life on paradise earth as long as they have fallen within Jehovah’s will. The organization instructs that falling within Jehovah’s will is based solely upon performance and good works. The Witnesses are taught that those who cling to this earthly hope will enter into an intermediate state of soul sleep upon their death. As long as their works were good enough during their lifetime, Jehovah will raise them at the last day and, as a result, they will live forever on paradise earth.

Contrary to the organization’s theology, Jesus never mentioned two distinct hopes of salvation. Additionally, according to Ephesians 4:4, Paul testifies that there is one hope, not two: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.”

When asked to support their position using the Scriptures, Jehovah’s Witnesses immediately refer to Revelation 7:2-8, which states:

Believe it or not, the Witnesses are taught that the 144,000, those with the seal of God in their foreheads (vs. 3-4), are the anointed class of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However when reading this passage, it appears quite obvious that the subjects are literal and physical Jews, children of Israel who are descendents of Jacob (1Chronicles 2:1-2). Note: Jacob’s son Joseph had sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 46:20, Genesis 48:1).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses think that Jacob’s descendents have fallen out of favor with God and are no longer His chosen people. They believe that they have replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people. They support this fallacy by claiming that Jacob’s descendents have lost their ability to identify what tribe they are from because their birth records are no longer verifiable due to their lack of credibility and/or destruction. Though this may be true, God knows who they are and is perfectly able to identify the tribe and lineage of each and every Jew in the world today.

Finally, since Jehovah’s Witnesses think that only the 144,000 members of the anointed class can enter into the kingdom of heaven, they have obviously ignored Matthew 8:11 where Jesus said:

“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”

There is no record of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The 144,000 – Alive and male virgins

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." – Revelation 7:3

As we have seen, Jehovah’s Witnesses think that the 144,000 with the seal of God in their foreheads are in heaven, not on paradise earth. However, the Bible teaches otherwise. Revelation 9:1-4 declares that those with God’s seal in their foreheads will be unharmed by the locusts when they ascend from the bottomless pit:

"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (2) And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. (3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (4) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads."

Since the locusts will not be able to hurt those with the seal of God in their foreheads, this begs a question to the Society: How can those with the seal of God in their foreheads possibly be hurt if they are dead and in heaven according to your theology?

The book of Revelation continues to explain that there will come a time when those with the seal of God in their foreheads, the saints, will be overcome and killed. According to Revelation 12:7-9, this will occur immediately after the Devil and his angels are cast out of heaven:

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Revelation 13:1, 6-7 confirm that the Devil, described as a beast with seven heads and ten horns, will speak blasphemy against God, make war with the saints and overcome them:

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy… (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

Revelation 14:1-4 provides a profile of the prophesied saints who will be killed. According to this passage, they are male virgins not defiled with women:

"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (2) And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. (3) And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (4) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."

In summary, regarding the 144,000, the doctrine of the Watchtower Society is dramatically different from the teachings in the Bible for the following reasons: The Bible teaches that they will be alive at the precise moment they are sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads (Revelation 7:2-3). They are not members of any anointed class but are literal and physical Jews, descendents of Jacob (Revelation 7:4-8). They are alive because the locusts that ascend from the bottomless pit are not empowered to hurt them (Revelation 9:1-4). How could they possibly be hurt if they are dead and in heaven according to the Watchtower’s theology? Finally, those with the seal of God in their foreheads are male virgins not defiled with women (Revelation 14:1-4). This would obviously disqualify any female member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as married men who claim the distinction of being part of this anointed class.

The Great Multitude

As previously mentioned, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that a great multitude will be raised at the last day and live forever on paradise earth. Once again, their position contradicts the Bible. Specific details regarding the great multitude, also known as the great crowd, can be found in the book of Revelation. Revelation 7:9 states:

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."

There are two key elements in this verse that provide an understanding whether the great multitude are in heaven or on earth: First, they will be before the throne of God and before the Lamb; secondly and most importantly, they will be wearing white robes. According to Revelation 7:13-14, the apostle John discovers where this great multitude came from. It states:

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? (14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

This passage teaches that the great multitude came out of great tribulation. The reason why they are wearing white robes is they have washed them and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This is a figurative expression that their sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. According to John 1:29, Jesus is called the Lamb of God.

In Revelation 6:9-11, the previous chapter, the apostle John describes where and when this great multitude are given white robes. According to the apostle, those given white robes are no longer living because the passage states that they were “slain for the word of God” and killed. Therefore, it is inconceivable that those wearing white robes are alive and on earth. Therefore, contrary to the teachings of the Society, this great multitude must be in heaven. Revelation 6:9-11 states:

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."

According to this passage, those given white robes, the great multitude, ask the Lord how long it would take for Him to avenge their blood on those living on the earth? (Revelation 6:10). In Revelation 6:11 they are instructed that, “they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." The brethren that the great multitude refer to in Revelation 6:11 are the 144,000, those who have not yet been slain. According to Revelation 7:3, these are those who are still alive, on the earth, and sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads.

As we have seen, there will come a time when the beast, that great serpent called the Devil, is set loose and will overcome all the saints (Revelation 12:7-9, Revelation 13:1-7). Then ALL God’s saints will be slain, including those with His seal in their foreheads. They will join their fellowservants, the great multitude described in Revelation 6:9-11 and in Revelation 7:9-17. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will begin a short time later.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

After the saints are killed, Revelation chapters 16 through 18 describe God’s judgments against the kingdoms of the earth. The seven vials of God’s wrath are described as follows:

Shortly after God’s wrath is poured out on the kingdoms of the earth, the marriage supper of the Lamb will begin. This will precede the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that in Revelation 19:1-2 and Revelation 19:6-8, it is a great multitude of people who are in heaven wearing white robes. This is considerably more than the 144,000 taught by the Watchtower organization.

Shortly after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, our Lord will return. This time, instead of coming into Jerusalem lowly and riding on a donkey as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 and fulfilled in Matthew 21:5-9, He will come with the clouds of heaven as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS as prophesied in Daniel 7:13-14 and Zechariah 14:3-4. Revelation 19:11-16 describes His magnificent return when He judges the kingdoms of the earth and sets up His everlasting kingdom. The applicable Scriptures follow:

The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, He will come with all the saints. Where the bridegroom goes, His bride follows. Since the saints will wear white robes, Daniel 7:13 foretells the Son of man coming with the “clouds of heaven.” Clouds are white, and white robes are white. Therefore, the clouds of heaven are a reference to the saints. Zechariah 14:5 supports that all the saints will return with the LORD Jesus Christ. Revelation 19:14 provides a final testimony that the saints described as “the armies which were in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” will return with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. The applicable Scriptures follow:


The Society’s teachings regarding the 144,000 and great multitude contradict the Bible. The Scriptures refute the Society’s claims that only 144,000 go to heaven upon their death and that a great multitude will occupy paradise earth. Actually, the Book of Revelation teaches that the Watchtower organization has it all backwards.

According to the Bible the great multitude are in heaven. They are those who had been slain and are given white robes, Revelation 6:9-11. Furthermore, according to Revelation 7:9-14, they are wearing white robes and before the throne of God.

Regarding the 144,000, they are physical and literal Jews (Revelation 7:3-8). They are not Jehovah’s Witnesses! They are also described as male virgins since they are not defiled with women (Revelation 14:1-4). Furthermore, they are clearly alive when they are sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads because Revelation 9:1-4 states that the locusts are not empowered to hurt them.

There will come the day when the 144,000 will be killed (Revelation 13:7). When this happens, they will join the great multitude in heaven and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will begin (Revelation 19:1-9). When the marriage supper concludes, Jesus Christ will return with ALL the saints, the great multitude as well as the 144,000 (Daniel 7:13, Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19:14). According to Daniel 7:13, the saints are called “the clouds of heaven,” since they are wearing white robes. Revelation 19:14 refers to them as “the armies which were in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”