QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On October 31, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“Your commentary "We Want To Go With You Part 5" is one of the best piece of analysis I've come across on the site. That being said I was left a bit puzzled about your interpretation of Rev 7:1-4, though you do not support the society's interpretation. You go on to say "All 144000 are on earth at the start of the great tribulation, not just a remnant". [Then the author presents a possible interpretation of who he believes are part of the 144,000 and how many he thinks might be on earth at that time.]
To the author, thank you for visiting our site and sending your email. Had you provided a private email address, we may have been able to discuss the details of your interpretation with you personally. But since we can only respond publicly, we omitted your interpretation consistent with our policy of not publicly promoting the interpretation of Bible prophecy on this website. Nevertheless, please know that we do appreciate your thoughtful effort.
With respect to what we published in the above referenced article, please understand that we are not giving an interpretation of who the 144,000 are, nor are we saying that all 144,000 would be, or would not be, on earth at the beginning of a great tribulation. We are merely showing that the Watchtower’s 144,000 Doctrine is not consistent with what John actually wrote. Our conclusion is based solely on what is written in the prophecy and not on our interpretations or speculations, nor by comparing or contrasting it with other Bible characters, prophecies, parables or teachings. We consider the words of the prophecy for what they actually say. Nothing more. We hope you understand that distinction.
In our opinion, the identification of the 144,000 must await a further revelation and, as such, is far too speculative to base one’s faith on being, or not being, one of them. In fact, we have heard a few different interpretations of who they are and a couple of them sound quite plausible, but neither of them limits the number of Christians who might go to heaven. Nevertheless, we maintain our position that even those interpretations are too speculative to rest one’s faith on. It is much wiser to rest our faith on the things Jesus plainly and openly taught.
Accordingly, we can say for a certainty that there is nothing Jesus ever taught that gives any indication that he was only preparing places in heaven for a small number of his followers, or that only a small number of his followers should partake at the Memorial Supper, or that only a small number of his followers are his brothers, or that it was or is the Father’s purpose for his followers to live forever on earth. Those ideas are completely absent! So whoever one may think the 144,000 are, or however many one supposes will be on earth at any given point in time, we are certain the true interpretation will not conflict with what Jesus actually taught. And we are also certain that as long as we exercise faith in Jesus and his plain teachings, and do the will of God to the best of our ability, we will always be on the favorable side of events, no matter what the future holds and no matter who the 144,000 turn out to be.
On October 20, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“I found the article on "this generation" thought-provoking. Your reasoning on WHO Jesus referred to appeared sound and indisputable however, doesn't your reasoning amount to separation of scripture much like what is already in practice with the Witnesses? You know the consideration given to 'the faithful and discreet slave' as well as 'keep doing this in remembrance of me'. They have denied personal, individual application. Wouldn't your reasoning amount to the same thing? How does one apply 'this generation' during personal bible reading?”
To the author, thank you for visiting our site and sending your email.
In finding an answer to your question, please keep in mind that parts of the Bible are historical. In other words, they are a record of events that actually occurred. Historical records are different from parables. Parables have universal meaning at all times and for all generations. They are also different from actual teachings, counsel, suggestions and directives, all of which should be taken personally. But not so with historical records.
The portion you are referring to is a historical record of what occurred that evening on the Mount when Jesus explained to his disciples what was to befall Jerusalem. Recall that this account was recorded in about 41 C.E., before the destruction of Jerusalem, so it was very relevant and needed to be recorded for 1st century Christians.
That account has also been preserved down to our day as an historical record of the sayings and doings of Jesus of Nazareth. So when you are reading an historical record such as this one, you should look for any lesson in it that could apply in your life. But you should not assume that the historical record is a personal message or a prophecy of what will actually occur to you personally.
This is especially true with this account. Jesus was clear that he was referring to “this generation” represented by those disciples that were sitting before him. But every generation who reads this account can learn something from it, such as Jesus has foreknowledge of events and we can rely on his words, that who reject the clear message of Jesus will not have God’s favor or protection, whereas those who heed Jesus’ counsel can survive.
And never discount the value of your personal experience of Jesus by means of the Spirit of Truth. We can honor those men of earlier days, but we must remember that we, too, must be living examples of the Christ in our families, communities and our lives. The Spirit of Truth is working with all who confess union with Christ in these days. Look at the past experiences for encouragement and enlightenment, but live in this 21st century as a new creation ever growing, learning, seeking, and knocking for truth and light. The Father is with this generation just has He has been with other generations in the past. And there is always more to know, to do and to experience, especially for those who are seeking the prize of the upward call.
We hope this answers your questions, but if not, please do not hesitate to write us again. And if you do, please let us know if you have accepted the free gift of holy spirit as a child of God.
On October 14, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“Dear Brothers, Thank you for your response to my recent letter regarding the resurrection. Please help me to understand your views on the scripture in Revelation chapter 21:3,4...in relation to "the tent of God is with Mankind". Are we not to understand that this means that there is a purpose for people to live on the earth in a world without suffering and even death? Thank you very much for your attention to this letter. Your brother.”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are happy to respond to your emails, but, as you may know, we refrain from commenting on prophecies and prophetic fulfillment because we believe it can serve as too much of a distraction from the purpose and message of Jesus’ actual ministry. The focus on end times has lead many religious people down a path of disappointment and loss of faith. And it has been the demise of many well-intentioned religious associations. In fact, we believe that the Watchtower organization is on that path to self-destruction if it does not return to the plain and open teachings of Jesus. However, in this instance, since your question concerns a fundamental teaching on this site, namely that the so-called ‘earthly hope’ is a fallacy, we will make a few comments.
We note that the prophecy that “the tent of God will be with mankind” does not mean that the hope for man is to live forever on earth. It simply means that when the time comes for God to engulf the entire planet with his glory, the earth will be filled with righteous, God-oriented people, and these conditions will continue forever. However, the individual man or woman will still attain to the purpose God has for his children that was established “before the founding of the world,” that they be adopted as His sons into heaven, as recorded at Ephesians 1:3-5. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates God’s original purpose has changed or will change.
As for death being done away with, it might be helpful to know that death and resurrection is just one way of terrestrial escape. Recall that Paul spoke about some being transformed in the twinkling of an eye. (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) So it is quite possible that, in a world populated with righteous people, when each one’s time on earth is complete, they, too, will twinkle away instead of experiencing the sleep of death.
As to when the prophecy at Revelations 21:3-4 will have its fulfillment, we believe it will be fulfilled long in the future when man has matured and has reached a physical and spiritual apex. We reach this conclusion because righteousness does not come automatically. It takes time and effort, and the world as we know it is quite a long way away from that point. However, when the teachings of Jesus will have permeated the entire earth and the majority of the people are seeking the heavenly kingdom, then we will see the end of the sorrowful conditions and the beginning of the fulfillment of these divine promises.
Of course, we understand why millions of people are hoping for its fulfillment in their lifetime. Every generation since John recorded his prophecy had this hopeful expectation. It seems the fear of one’s own mortality creates a great sense of urgency and a compulsion to see the ‘signs’ of its fulfillment in every day events that must naturally occur as mankind progresses and matures. But as Jesus said, wars, famine, earthquakes, tribulation and things like these are just the ‘beginning’ (not the ending) of pangs of distress, and they will not end until Jesus’ message is preached throughout the entire inhabited earth. (Matthew 24:7-14) The relief we all hope for will come by the ‘word of God’ not by destruction.
Nevertheless, 21st century Christians are determined to make this prophecy come true in their lifetimes. And it is this need that fuels the growth of end times religions and the gross abuse of the faith and hopes of otherwise intelligent and Godly people. Hopefully, as the erroneous prophetic interpretations fail, Christians will settle down and return to the plain and open teachings of Jesus as the means to bring relief to our world. We are doing what we can to promote that outcome.Please see our article “Bringing Heaven Down-Turning Back Destruction.”
Having said all of this, to those who continue to be convinced that the end of the world is just around the corner, consider this: If the whole world were to crash before the end of this year and everything as we know were to be torn down, what can you do to protect yourself? What steps can you take to assure your salvation? Where can you hide for safety? There is only one thing you can do. Exercise faith in Jesus. No other knowledge or activity or person or organization will be able to protect you or save you. That being the case, why not focus your attention on learning as much as you can about Jesus and his ministry. Learn what Jesus wants you to do with your time, AND DO THOSE THINGS.
If more Christians can display that mental attitude, we can hasten the spiritual and material apex of our world so that these divine prophecies can have their fulfillment.