Friday, April 7, 2017

144,000 Are Chosen By God, Not Men

While browsing through Flipboard, I came across an article from Lamb & Lion Ministries that made an incorrect assessment of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs regarding the 144,000. They stated: “The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that a group of their founders and pioneers constitute this group.” I truly don’t know how they came up with that conclusion. Nothing in our publications even remotely comes close to such a claim. Whatever privileges of service a person has, whatever “position” a person has, does not guarantee being part of the 144,000. As our literature makes repeatedly plain, the calling is not ours to decide but is God’s (through Christ). So yes, even I, who has never been a pioneer nor a founder, could be one of the 144,000. (I’m not, but I could be.) Conversely, I know a number of those who are “pioneers” who make it very plain that they are not part of the 144,000.

I have some other observations about L&L Ministries’ beliefs. They have a 10-point “Creedal Statement.” Two of the more interesting ones are:

(Point 2) We believe in a literal interpretation of the Creation story as recorded in Genesis 1-3.
My first reaction to this was, “I hope they are not saying they take literally that the earth was created in six 24-hour days. It is beliefs such as these that give the Bible such a bad impression to those in the various sciences." A more reasonable belief, one that agrees with both the Bible account and science, is that each creative “day” was, at very least, thousands of years long each. To further demonstrate that the word “day” can be taken to mean periods of various lengths, consider Genesis 2:4. Of the 22 translations shown in that link, 17 of them use a phrase similar to: "in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven." So, if Lamb & Lion Ministries want to take it literally, as they claim, now the 7-day creation period all took place in one day. 

In explanation, be assured the Bible writer (Moses) was not “messing with our minds” or having a delusional moment. In Genesis chapter one, he expounded on the progressive creative periods. In Genesis 2:4, he merely referred to the whole creative process as a day. It is similar to an adult referring to “back in my day,” in speaking of his youth. Surely he didn’t become an adult in all of one 24-hour day. To be clear, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not agree with a literal reading of Genesis chapter one. The period mentioned as “day” was greater than 24 hours.

(Point 9) We believe Jesus will return to reign over this earth from Jerusalem.
They did not provide the scriptural proofs for this so I will have to go with what I know. At Matthew 23:37,38 Jesus told “Jerusalem” (figurative of the seat of Jewish worship, hence the whole of Jewish worship) that their “house” (exclusive place in God’s purpose) was abandoned to them. Earlier, he had said that “the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matthew 21:43) Later, Peter would, in his first letter, write of that new “nation”: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9) This he wrote to Christians who were the “temporary residents scattered about in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” (1 Peter 1:1) So it wasn’t merely Jewish converts to Christianity. It involved non-Jews as well. Additionally, Paul also spoke of non-Jews being grafted into the olive tree – thus becoming part of a single plant. So Jews, as a nation, as a people, as a religion, as an ethnicity, no longer had the corner on the market of being part of the “Israel of God.” So for the L&L Ministries to claim that Jesus would rule from Jerusalem on earth, is without foundation. Jesus and “those called and chosen” are from the Jerusalem above (in heaven). The figurative language at Revelation 21:2,3 speaks of the “New Jerusalem” coming down out of heaven to picture God extending his rulership over the earth (e.g. the phrase ‘God will spread out his tent over mankind.’). Such an administration doesn’t literally need to be literally “on” earth in order to be effective, but it is “over” the earth both in scope and jurisdiction. It is the conclusion of Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus and his “chosen” ones will rule from heaven.

1 comment:

  1. Just one other point about the biblical definition of "day" and six-day creationists -- God said that Adam die in the "day" of him eating that fruit. Adam lived for well-over 900 years.

    Even the most die-hard YEC can't explain that away!