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goodnewsfl.org
13 December 2013
APOLOGETCS
course, is limited to members of
their
religion.
Jehovah’s
Witnesses interpret this to be
“spiritual Israel,” since the list of
tribes in Revelation 7 is not the
original twelve. The rest of the
“faithful” are referred to as the
“great crowd” of Revelation who,
according
to
Jehovah’s
Witnesses, will not be in
Heaven, but live on paradise
earth.
But what does the Bible
have to say about this? First, the
144,000 cannot be a literal
number and a figurative group
in the same context. Revelation
14 says that they are also virgins,
which again causes a problem
for Jehovah’s Witnesses because
they interpret the number to be
literal but the virginal status
figurative. So why the different
tribes in Revelation 7? A study of
the
Bible
reveals
several
different listings of tribes
(Genesis 49, Deuteronomy 33,
Ezekiel 48, 1 Chronicles 4-7 and
Revelation 7). The fact that this
listing is different does not
discard a literal interpretation
for Israel.
And where is the “great
crowd”? Revelation 7:9 tells us
that they are standing before the
throne. The Bible also tells us
that the 24 elders and four living
creatures are standing before the
throne (Revelation 5:8) and that
the 144,000 are standing before
the throne (Revelation 14:3). We
know that these groups are in
Heaven, so we can conclude that
the “great crowd” will be also.
Revelation 7:15 also tells us that
they are in the temple, and it is
also clear in Revelation that the
temple is in heaven (See
Revelation 11:19; 14:17).
Salvation by works
Jehovah’s Witnesses also
believe that works are attached
to salvation. While they will
tell you that they believe we are
saved by God’s grace, this is
clearly not evident in their
teaching. The Watchtower
magazine, May 1, 1979, page
20, states: “So, taking a
comprehensive view of our
sacrifices, we must admit that
at meetings, when sharing the
‘good news’ with others, and in
attitude, word and action, yes,
in all areas of life, we should be
prepared to give our very best.
We should not be halfhearted
about such vital matters. What
is at stake is Jehovah’s approval
and our being granted life.”
The Bible is clear that we
are saved by grace alone and
not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9)!
Any good works in our lives
are simply a result of the
transforming power of the
Holy Spirit and of God’s
sanctifying grace ( James 2:15-
16; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans
12:2).
There are many other
differences between Jehovah’s
Witness
doctrines
and
teachings and true, biblical
Christianity. Study and prepare
yourself so that the next time
your doorbell rings on a
Saturday morning, you are
prepared to engage your
visitors with the real and
accurate truth found in the
Word of God.
Michael Rust is a pastor at
Calvary Chapel Fort
Lauderdale’s regional campus in
Boca Raton. He can be reached
at michaelru@calvaryftl.org.
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