Are There Really 2 Classes of Christians?
Chris: Hi, John.
John: Hi, Chris.
Chris: John, last week we talked about the fact that the Watchtower makes gaining eternal life so much harder for the other sheep than it does for the anointed. The great crowd of Jehovah’s Witnesses has to persevere through this life, the 1000 year millennium and then pass an unknown final test before being assured of everlasting life. In contrast, the Watchtower teaches that the 144,000 only have to endure to the end of this earthly life and at the first resurrection they are, quote, “instantaneously resurrected into the heavenly estate”. Do you remember?
John: Yes, I do.
Chris: Why do you think that there is a special part of God’s family who have privileges over the other sheep?
John: Well, Chris, Jesus Christ made a covenant with a certain group of people while He was on the earth. They have the unique privilege of being joint heirs with Christ in the heavens. Revelation chapter 14 tells us that heaven is granted to only 144,000 individuals. In that sense, they are unique.
Chris: Do you know that the bible teaches that heaven is open to everyone, it’s not reserved for a special anointed class?
John: No, the bible doesn’t teach that. That is a teaching of Christendom. Everyone thinks that good people go to heaven, but that’s not so, Chris.
Chris: In John 3:3, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you. Unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God”. Are you born again, John?
John: No, the Watchtower magazine, April 1, 1988, says on page 18, “a careful study of God’s Word and Christ’s teachings shows that only a limited number share the privilege of being born again. The Great Crowd of true Christianity today do not need to be born again, since their hope of everlasting life is earthly, not heavenly”. So you see, being born again only applies to the anointed.
Chris: I see. Can you read 1 John 5:1, please?
John: Sure. “Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God....”
Chris: That’s good. John, how many who believe that Jesus is the Christ have been born from God?
John: It says everyone. But that can’t really be everyone, Chris. Those who have accepted Jehovah’s requirements and were baptized before the year 1935 are part of the anointed class, those who came into Jehovah’s organization after that year have an earthly hope only.
Chris: I’d like to look at another scripture. It’s in John’s Gospel, chapter 17. Jesus said in verse 20, “I do not pray for those alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word”. Who are the ones whom Jesus was praying for here, John?
John: Let’s see. Well since Jesus was praying for those who would believe through the apostles teaching, that must be for all future believers.
Chris: I agree. Jesus continued praying for all future believers and, in verse 24, listen to what He said, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which you have given Me....” John, according to this prayer of Jesus, where will all future believers spend eternity?
John: Well....Jesus said, with him.
Chris: That’s right, John. So you see again, heaven is open to all who believe, not a limited number of people. John, you said that the Watchtower teaches that the heavenly hope was closed in 1935, but do you know that this was not the Watchtower’s original teaching? They used to teach that the high calling ceased in October, 1881?
John: I never heard that, Chris.
Chris: When the Watchtower started in the late 1800's, they taught that all true Christians went to heaven including the great crowd. The great crowd was originally a secondary heavenly class. They didn’t become an earthly class until 1935 when Rutherford changed Charles Russell’s teaching. John, can you show me any reference to the year 1935 in the bible?
John: Well, no. It was a special revelation of divine truth that flashed up before Judge Rutherford. The Watchtower, February 1, 1982, says on page 28, “the heavenly hope was held out, highlighted and stressed until the year 1935. Then as “light flashed up” to reveal clearly the identity of the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9, the emphasis began to be placed on the earthly hope”.
Chris: John, Ephesians 4:4 says that we were called to one hope, not two. Don’t you think we should just believe the bible? Let’s review. You told me that only the 144,000 are born again, yet 1 John 5:1 says that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born again. In John chapter 17, Jesus prayed that all future believers would be with Him to behold His glory, not a select few. You also said that the heavenly hope was closed in 1935, yet the early Jehovah’s Witnesses were taught that the heavenly class was closed in 1881. John, listen to what Jesus said about those who shut up heaven to people. "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." Matthew 23:13.top of page