Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Who Are The 144,000 in Revelations?
The Jehovah's Witness organization teaches that not all members of their group can take communion. Only the 144,000 members called the "anointed class" have the right to take Communion and they are the only ones who go to heaven (Watchtower 2/15/85, page 13). In fact, the 144,000 "anointed class" within the Jehovah's Witnesses are the only ones who are "born again."
"This "little flock" of 144,000 Kingdom heirs, then, are those ones from among mankind who are "born again." Watchtower 11/15/54, p. 681. Watchtower CD.
The Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate the communion supper only once a year, (Watchtower CD, Watchtower 4/1/65, p. 199.) In their annual communion service, the congregations gather in their various kingdom halls. This is done on the 14th of Nissan, the Passover date on the Jewish calendar, which usually falls in March or April of each year in the Gregorian calendar. During the service, the cup is passed from Jehovah's Witness to Jehovah's Witness. None of them partake -- except the very few who are of the 144,000.
In John 6:53-54, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day," (NASB).
I am not here going to discuss the nature of the communion and compare Catholic and Protestant views of the elements; rather, the issue is that Jesus said to the Jews that they must take of the communion, which He later instituted in Matt. 26:26-28, and that if they did not partake, then they had no life in them, v. 6:53.
According to the Watchtower, the "life" spoken of in 6:53 is everlasting life.
"On that occasion Jesus was not speaking to those circumcised Israelites about "everlasting life" as human creatures on a Paradise earth under his millennial kingdom. Rather, he was speaking about the very same opportunity that he was setting before the apostle Peter and his fellow apostles by means of the "sayings of everlasting life." It was the opportunity to gain inherent life with the Christ in the heavens, "life in yourselves." (John 6:53) By reigning with him in heaven they could pass on to mankind the life-giving benefits of his sacrifice. Watchtower, 3/1/78, p. 10.
According to Jehovah's Witness theology, some Witnesses will be raised to "immortal life" and others to "everlasting life." Immortal life is only for the 144,000 that go to be with the Lord in heaven. They do not have resurrected bodies, but have "spirit bodies." Everlasting life is for those on Paradise earth and consists of a resurrected body that must be maintained through eating, sleeping, etc.
As we see in the quote above, according to the Watchtower, the life that Jesus was speaking of was "everlasting life"; that is, life in heaven for the 144,000. Therefore, the Witnesses teach that the communion supper is instituted only for the 144,000 Jews, not for all Witnesses.
Since Jesus bought the church with His blood (Acts 20:28), and His blood is the blood of the covenant for the church (1 Cor. 11:25), then communion is supposed to be for all Christians, not just 144,000 elite Jehovah's Witnesses.
What does the Bible say?
The Communion supper is for the body of Christ, for the believers. The bread and the wine represent the body and the blood of Christ that was sacrificed for the believer so the believer could have redemption of his sins. Therefore, Communion is only for those people who have trusted in Christ's sacrifice. Communion is not for those who are not covered by Christ's sacrifice. This is significant since the great majority of the Witnesses do not take communion.
Paul the apostle said that the bread is a sharing in the body of Christ, that there is only one body of Christ (the church) of which we all partake. Within the Christian Church, there is no limitation on the who takes the Lord's supper.
"Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?" (1 Cor. 10:16-18, NASB).
for"And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight," (Acts 20:7, NASB).
There is no mention of limiting communion to anyone except that they examine themselves and rightly discern that the elements represent Christ's sacrifice, not a mere meal to satisfy hunger.
"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly," (1 Cor. 11:28-29, NASB).
No place in the Bible is communion restricted to only the 144,000, as the Witnesses teach. This is a fabrication of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The fact that the Jehovah's Witnesses do not take communion is a demonstration that they are not in the body of Christ and do not have a covenant relationship with Christ. The Lord's Supper is meant for the body of believers in the true and living God who have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord's Supper is not for those who are outside the camp of Christ. Since the great majority of the Jehovah's Witnesses do not take communion, this is a testimony against them.