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This article is merely descriptive and not prescriptive. IDRC does not advocate the view presented here, which is just a part of a series of Eschatological Studies of other religions and sects.

 

1 – The two peoples of God

The first step to understand the eschatology of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) is understand the duality of the concept of God’s people. They claim that God has two peoples: the 144,000 chosen (Rev 7.1-8) and the great multitude (Rev. 7.9-17). According to JWs, each of these people will have a different role and a destiny in God’s plan for the future.

 

2 – The function of the two peoples of God in God’s Plan

The 144,000 are people who God has chosen throughout history to be co-rulers of the future Kingdom of God. The other group, represented by the large crowd, will be the participants of this Kingdom, in the renewed Earth. In other words, the first group will be rulers of the Kingdom of God and the other group will be the subjects of the Kingdom.

 

 

3 – Resurrection and Destiny of the two peoples

The book of Revelation, in the chapter 20, speaks of two resurrections. For JWs, the first resurrection is for 144,000, which has already occurred in 1914. The second is for the other group and will occur in the Second Coming of Christ, for the establishment of the Millennium. These people will rise and will take possession of the earth during the Millennium, along with the few survivors of the Tribulation. During this period, the Earth will be ruled by Christ and the 144,000 chosen. A point to note is that the 144,000 will be ruling the Earth with Christ from heaven, that is, their dwelling will be in heaven and not on earth, while the dwelling of the other group (the large crowd) will be on Earth. Therefore, those who participated in the first resurrection (the 144,000) will receive a spiritual body because to dwell in heaven, while the others will receive a physical and healthy body to dwell the earth.

4 – The Future of the wicked

For JWs, the wicked will not participate in any resurrection, so their death represents a total annihilation.

 

5 – The Millennium (Period of trial and judgment of resurrected humanity)

JWs see the millennium as a period of test and judgment for humanity that will inhabit the Earth. During this period, people are being analyzed through his works and only those who pass the test will receive eternal life. This means they will not be judged by their previous life (before the resurrection), but by their deeds and attitudes during the Millennium. Therefore, JWs call the Millennium “Judgment Day.”

Unlike the Seventh-day Adventists, JWs believe that the earth will be inhabited during the Millennium, and that Satan will be bound in a literal abyss and no more will deceive the nations until his release at the end of the Millennium.

 

5 – The Importante of the yer 1914

Charles T. Russell, founder of JWs, prophesied the literal return of Jesus for various dates (1878, 1881 and 1910), in which nothing happened. Correcting his calculations, Russell prophesied the return of Jesus for the year 1914, in which there would be peace on earth, for He would establish his Kingdom. Jesus did not return according to his prediction, and instead of peace, the world experienced the World War I.

[1] Russell, however, said that his date was correct, however, he was mistaken about the nature of the Coming of Jesus, that it would be a spiritual manifestation instead a physical one (John 14:19). He also said that, since 1914, the world is living the last days (2 Tim 3.1) on the way to Armageddon.[2] In some publications, the JWs said that the “generation” that saw the return of Jesus in 1914 would not die before Armageddon coming (Mt 24.34).[3]  Later, realizing the failure of interpretation, they has been abandoned this view.

How Russell concluded that Jesus would return in 1914? He came to this conclusion through an interpretation of Daniel 4:32. According to Russell, the seven days of passage represent seven years, and each day of the seven years (2520) represents a year, so he concluded that the text speaks of a period of 2,520 years. For the start the counting, Russell set the date of 606 B.C., during the Babylonian Captivity.

 

6 – What JWs say about the Tribulation?

Regarding the Tribulation, Charles T. Russell, in the book “Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption“, wrote that this period had begun in 1874, i.e., a the period of 40 years before the year 1914.[4] Currently, Jehovah’s Witnesses have corrected this view, saying that what began in 1914 was only the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24.8). [5] They also teach that the Tribulation will begin when the United Nations attack the Christendom (holy in the eyes of nominal Christians) and the rest of Babylon the Great.” [6] Actually, they consider the Tribulation as an indefinite period, that God will shorten because of the chosen. It will culminate in Armageddon, the climax of the tribulation, which will be a war between God and the wicked in order to establish his kingdom on earth.

 

tjw

 


 

Notes:

[1] TJs: Mais de 100 anos de falsas profecias. <http://www.cacp.org.br/mais-de-100-anos-de-falsas-profecias/> (08/20/2015)

[2] Jehovah’s Witenesses Beliefs. <http://www.conservapedia.com/Jehovah’s_Witnesses_Beliefs#Eschatological> (08/20/2015)

[3] TJs decidem que o Fim pode demorar <http://www.cacp.org.br/tjs-decidem-que-o-fim-pode-demorar/> (08/02/2015)

[4] Esequias Soares. Testemunhas de Jeovás. Pg 240

[5] Site oficial das TJ: http://www.jw.org/pt/publicacoes/revistas/w20130715/jesus-profecia-ultimos-dias/

[6] Site oficial das TJ: http://www.jw.org/pt/publicacoes/revistas/w20130715/jesus-profecia-ultimos-dias/

 

 


 

Author: Leonardo Costa