Jehovah's Witnesses and the 144,000 John writes, “Revelation 7:9-12 (NASB) “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’” Here we see, in addition to the 144,000 in heaven, a great multitude from every nation and all tribes. If the great multitude, which is so large in number no one can count, is in fact in heaven, then we have direct evidence the Watchtower doctrine is false. How do the Jehovah's Witnesses get around this problem? They point out in verse 9 it says the great multitude was, “…standing before the throne and before the Lamb clothed in white robes…” The Greek word for “before” enôpios means “in sight of; before.” The Jehovah's Witnesses say the great multitude is on earth, looking up to heaven, and are “in sight of” the throne and the Lamb. They say this supports their conclusion that only the 144,000 are in heaven and the multitudes are on the paradise earth. Here are three reasons why this is a false interpretation.
1. Where in Revelations 7 does the scene change from heaven to earth? The answer is nowhere! The entire scene described in Revelations 4 through chapter 7 is in heaven. Where do the Jehovah's Witnesses come up with this interpretation? They read their beliefs into the text. They have been taught only the 144,000 are in heaven so they have to make the scriptures agree with them, even then they don’t. This is a clear example of eisogesis; reading into the text something that isn’t there based on prior beliefs. Whereas, proper interpretation is called exegesis; getting out of Scripture the meanings of the words based on the context. Nowhere in Revelations 7 do we see the multitudes living on earth and looking towards heaven; the multitudes are clearly in heaven.
2. Revelations 7:14, 15 John writes, “I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.” What we see are the multitudes before the throne of God serving Him day and night in His temple. And where is this temple? Revelation 14:17 (NASB) “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.” John writes the temple is in heaven; therefore, the multitudes are serving God in heaven and not on earth as the Witnesses teach.
3. John writes in Revelation 19:1 (NASB) “After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.” Could John have been anymore clear about where the great multitude is? This verse, clearly stating the great multitude in heaven, closes the case on the false teaching of the Jehovah Witnesses.
Revelations 7:9-17 unambiguously teaches the 144,000 and the multitudes will be in heaven. The scene in Revelations 7 describe the multitudes before the throne of God in heaven, we see the multitudes serving God in His heavenly temple, and Revelations 19:1 says the multitudes are in heaven. Nowhere in Revelations 7 do we see the multitudes on earth. I will continue to explore and expose the false Watchtower beliefs concerning the 144,000. Next I will look at Revelations 14.