Jehovah's Witnesses: A simple mathematical question?

In Revelation there is the 144,000 who JWs say will go to Heaven, they say part of that number included were the Christians counted in the Book of Acts and Pauls Letters as the early Christians. The JW leaders already counted who they say are the modern members who will be part of the 144,000 who they feel will go to Heaven, but the numbers calculated are pretty well kept secret since no one else knows those real numbers.

Then we go to the greater flock which the leaders say will be on earth. In Revelation 7:9 it says there will be a great multitude which no man could number.

My Questions are...

There are 7.1 million JWs worldwide presently on this planet, and every year they keep calculating all the members. They have been counting all the worldwide members from generation to generation since the time of Russell. How can the greater flock be a great multitude which no man can number when the organization has already counted them all since the Bible Students were founded by Russell?

Is this a great multitude which no man has counted?

(Total number of JWs since Russell) minus (the modern JWs of the 144,000 who are not part of the early Christians). This equals to the total counted number of the greater flock.

After looking into all the calculations presented here, have your leaders already counted the greater flock? Every year it gets recounted again and again.

Tim F

I am a True Jehovah's Witness, a Witness of YHWH, the Holy Trinity who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Three are One. Beware the false witnesses who are in the Watchtower Organization!


Trying to Care...Man has already counted the greater flock, and it will be counted every year. You are looking at the verse in a different way as figurative, and then you are saying the complete opposite as literal with a "one man counting the whole flock scenario", which way is it?

Strange because even the Watchtower '98 1/1 p.6 has used a different set of tricks with almost the same negative results...

"So far, more than five million souls have been gathered in—“a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) No one can say how great that crowd will finally be, since no man is able to number it."

First they say they counted it and then they say the crowd will increase every year and therefore the final number could not be counted. It seems like they want to use a futuristic number which no man can guess, and say this is why no man is able to count them. This was not part of John's vision in the Bible.

Update 2:

Angelo...In the end we read that God will choose those that were taken from the Great Tribulation. Are you saying John was wrong when he said he saw this great crowd God has chosen which no man can count?

How is it today we can have a riot in the streets and the police were able to say how many hundreds of thousands have participated in this riot and how many others were mere bystanders?

Update 3:

The Israelites were able to count 1.3 million fighting men all over Israel, and they used the most primitive method of counting them all.

2 Samuel 24:9 (New International Version)

9 Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.

Update 4:

I don't agree the JW hypothesis that the number John said no man can count is a futuristic number which no man can guess to count. John did not say anything about a number which no man can "prophesy" to count, that is unbiblical.

Update 5:

grnlow...In Acts 2:34 it says David did not ascend to Heaven when he said that Psalm prophecy if you read the context...

Acts 2:32-36 (New International Version)

32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

" 'The Lord said to my Lord:

"Sit at my right hand

35until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet." '

36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

I would like to see you show biblical proof that Abel will be one of the 144,000 when he existed at the time when he never even heard of Jesus, while in Luke 16:19-21 Abraham is already there? Are you also saying Abraham will be one of the 144,000? Can you give any Scripture passages that say he is not?

Update 6:

*...not there in Heaven?

Update 7:

Oh, now I get it. Abel and Abraham are part of the great crowd, not the 144,000. How complicated things can get in one religion!

Update 8:

Star and Lifelong Student...You have not yet read grnlow's answer regarding Abel as one of the 144,000...

"The 144,000 have been accumulating since Jesus' death in 33CE. The "great crowd" though have been adding up since Abel! That is considerably longer than years 1879 or 33."

The Watchtower quote above already stated over 5 million souls were gathered for this great crowd in 1998. There are 7.1 million JWs worldwide now, so what does your logic suggests?

Update 9:

Oh, now I get it. Abel and Abraham are part of the great crowd, not the 144,000. How complicated things can get in one religion!

Update 10:

How is it that Abel and others before Jesus was to be saved into a great crowd by a Saviour that he never even heard about?

Isn't Abraham already in Heaven as the Bible already suggests in the Gospel of Luke? What about Elijah who was lifted up to Heaven in a whirlwind in 2 Kings?

Update 11:

I apologize for the double posts of "Oh, now I get it...". That was done only once yesterday, the other one placed in for three days ago is probably an internet glitch.

30 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    The math was never meant to add up, humanly speaking! Only God knows just how many people will - at the end of 'the great tribulation' - be saved as part of this international great crowd, or multitude. The problem for the JWs is a self-inflicted one, however. They now insist the great tribulation is future (they didn't use to, but that's another question). This means they must be expecting untold billions of people to be saved before Armageddon starts, though I've never seen that written in any of their literature. There is no other way for them to explain Rev. 7:9 & 14 because until the great crowd becomes so vast that the Watchtower Society cannot keep tabs on them, they do not have "a great crowd that no-one could number".

    If only they had stuck to the traditional Christian view that the great tribulation began in the lead-up to Jerusalem's destruction in 70 A.D., they would have given themselves wriggle-room.

    However, another part of the Bible provides the truth mathematical answer that JWs refuse to consider. It's in Galatians 4:21-31 which quotes from Isaiah 54:1: "Be glad, O barren woman... Because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband." (vs 27) This passage takes the situation of Sarah and Hagar and applies it figuratively to show that Christians are the children of promise, Abraham's seed, through Sarah. They are in the New Covenant. Those who remain under law are children of the slave woman, Hagar. They remain in the Law Covenant and will never share the inheritance of the free woman's son. This refers to the nation of Israel who rejected Christ.

    So, spiritual Israel (Spirit-anointed Christians) are to number far more than the nation of Israel. But the Society says Abraham's seed is limited to 144,000 people (Jews and non-Jews) plus Chrst Jesus. So they have 'counted' this innumerable seed and limited it to 144,001! Yet the fact that Sarah's seed numbers more than Hagar's seed is ignored - in fact, it's denied!

  • 1 decade ago

    The simple fact that not all who claim to be Jehovah's Witnesses are Jehovah's Witnesses - some may be living double lives - and the fact that some have fallen away from the truth means that the numbers Jehovah's Witnesses produce have no meaning for Revelation 7:9.

    Besides, Revelation 7:9 speaks of the Great Crowd, not the Other Sheep. The Great Crowd are those that "come out of the Great Tribulaton," which has not happened yet. Whereas the 144,000 is a set number, the Great Crowd is not, and "no man" living is able to predict the exact number, whatever it will be.

  • Mara
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Jehovah's wittness do count the number of baptised followers however that does not mean that all of them will make it through tribulation.

    You can be a elder that pioneers 24/7 but only Jehovah God knows what is in your heart and what you do behiind close doors. So you are right and the bible is right on that point that " a great crowd that no man can number' will pass through to salvation.

    But Jehovahs wittnesses do not count and number their members to go against that bible scripture. They have to have a running total of members and newly interested ones because did you know that The Watchtower society is the LARGEST NON PROFIT distrbutor thelogoical material? They have branches all over the world the tunr out bible based material 24/7 and give away for free billions of copies magazines ,tracts and bibles.

    In some lands you have to have a certain number of followers to be reconized by that goverment as a actual religion. If they dont have a number to give to those goverments they cant gather for their meetings in their kingdom halls or have assemblies each year. So counting the members is very important.

    As far as how many are going to heaven of the 'little flock' well only those people know who they are so its between them and Jehovah .

  • 1 decade ago

    Strictly speaking there is no "great crowd" as of yet. It forms during the tribulation and every member of the so-called great crowd comes out of the tribulation into Jehovah's new world.

    Scripture: Matthew 8:11-12

    The "table" of Abraham is a reference to the kingdom of God. That's because the covenant that Jehovah originally made with Abraham is what ultimately produces the messianic kingdom.

    Jesus revealed that the opportunity to go to heaven did not open up until John the Baptist introduced Christ to the world. Matthew 11:11 reads:

    "Truly I say to you people, among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. For all the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John."

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, keep in mind that the scripture you are refering to at Revelation 7:9 also says something VERY important in verse 14 where it mentions these are the ones that 'come out of the Great Tribulation'. The Great Tribulation has not occured yet, and it is not known exactly how many from this group will 'come out' or survive it. We do know that the ones who 'come out' will be of this group - the Great Crowd. Every year this number is growing, he have just recently reached the 7 Million plus mark worldwide. However this does not mean that EXACTLY 7 Million plus Jehovah's Witnesses will survive the Great Tribulation, we will each be judged on an individual basis. But the survivors will come from this group just as Revelation 7:14 shows.

    But since you have such an interest in 'simple math' here is a question for you - When has 1+1+1 equaled: 1?? If the members of the Trinity have ALWAYS been Co-equal and Co-eternal, Why does Phillipians 2:9 say that Jesus received a SUPERIOR position? And this was AFTER his death and resurrection. Would that not imply that now the Trinity has one member that is 'higher', since they were at one point all Co-equal?? Co-equal yet one is given a 'superior' position?? Hmmm??

  • 1 decade ago

    Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter three that flesh and blood can not inherit God's Kingdom , but that a person had to be "born again" by spirit. Jesus himself was the first one born again at the time of his baptism and then there were the ones born again , the 120 who were present at a meeting in Pentecost of 33 C.E. Before this time others had God's spirit such as his prophets and those who were inspired to write part of the Bible, but they were not adopted as spiritual sons of God by being Baptized with his spirit. So what hope did they have?

    (Psalm 37:10-11) 10 And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. 11 But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.

    The only place in the Hebrew scriptures where humans are spoken of as going to heaven is in chapter seven of Daniel. They are "the holy ones of the Supreme One" who will rule over the earth with "someone like a son of man" who received this right to rule from "the ancient of days". This is the Kingdom depicted at Daniel chapter 2 which will destroy all others and rule the entire earth.

    Jesus spoke of the subjects of that kingdom as living on the earth at Matthew 5:5. John said that no one could number this group because that number was not predetermined by God, unlike the 144,000 which is a predetermined number, so certainly at the point in time when John wrote those words that number could not be stated because it depends on the choice that each person makes today, and up until the end of this system there is still time for more people to choose.

    (Revelation 22:17) 17 And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: “Come!” And let anyone hearing say: “Come!” And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.

  • 1 decade ago

    Tim F; Where did you read that 7.1 million represent

    the number of the great crowd?

    What Jehovah's Witness ( of the Watchtower

    organization as YOU say)said that Abel and Abraham are of the anointed 144,000? You make a statement and then ask a question based on the statement, as if someone else made the statement. ??????????

    Maria: What is it that we don't know? What Tim F. said we

    believe? Can you clarify your points?


    You, as a self-proclaimed non-believer are

    deciding who is and who is not a true Christian?

    If Jehovah's Witnesses were inclined to lie about how many

    we are, it would make more sense to really inflate the numbers.

    (You know, like the religions that baptize babies and count

    everybody as part of the religion regardless of whether they"ve been to church in years.)

    Sasi:: Where are you getting your information from?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We believe that there are only 144,000 "saints" or Christians who are "born again". These ones are to rule with Christ in his heavenly kingdom. We do not believe all citizens of God's kingdom can be rulers. We believe some citizens are chosen by God to rule. 144,000 citizens to be exact. The rest of citizens remain on earth.

    A great crowd no man was able to number. There are over 7 million JWs worldwide is that number accurate? By no means. In many lands JWs are band and the exact number of witnesses is unknown. Also there are witnesses who are leading double lives who God will not count among the saved ones. Therefore no man can really tell the number. There are also ones who may not walk with JWs but also are not a part of Christendom's corruption. These too will be counted among the great crowd.

    How to Recognize False Christian Religions

  • grnlow
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Oh You of little mathematical ability! Must we dumb it down so you can count? Very well.

    Yes, the bean counters have been counting active JWs for about 100 years now. This is not the entire story however.

    The 144,000 have been accumulating since Jesus' death in 33CE. The "great crowd" though have been adding up since Abel! That is considerably longer than years 1879 or 33.

    Have you not read the Bible at Matthew 11:11 or Acts 2:34 where it states neither John the Baptist nor King David went to heaven? So not everyone has gone to heaven forever as you might believe.

    Now unless I am very mistaken, that makes for a great deal more people than recorded as active by the WTBTS.

  • 1 decade ago

    The vision John related was:

    Revelation 7:9,10 "After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands.  And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation [we owe] to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

    It was explained to John who these people are:

    Revelation 7:14 “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation..."

    The Watchtower Society does not presume to be able to number this "great crowd," nor can it accurately number all the active Jehovah's Witnesses in the world at any given moment. The number of 7.1 million is a fluid number at all times. Every day some people die, some new ones are baptized, some become inactive, others become once again active.

    One thing is clear, and that is that Jehovah is the one who chooses those who will and won't survive.

    Only Jehovah knows the exact number who will make up the Great Crowd, because only Jehovah God can read the heart.

    Source(s): The Holy Bible
  • 1 decade ago

    Hmm, not sure I understand the question: Are you asking, how can Revelation refer to a multitude "which no man can number" if we count 7million witnesses (a number that a man can number)? Is that it?

    In any case I would point out:

    ** the number 7 million is the number of active witnesses (not including children ect) that are alive today. An examination of the book of revelation reveals that the "great crowd" are the tribulation survivors ie it does not include those that will be ressurected AFTER the tribulation (see Revelation 7 v 14).

    ** Revelation is simply saying no man (no human) can say how many people will walk through the great tribulation - God alone will judge, just because there are 7 million active witnesses whose to say if all of them will survive? Whose to say how many unbaptised witnesses or bible studies or interested persons God will judge as being worthy of life? In other words, until we count the day AFTER the tribulation no human can tell you exactly how many people will survive.

    Bottom line, no human on earth at present is in a position to say exactly how man people will finally be part of that "great crowd" the number isn't predetermined (like the 144,000) .

    We never have and never will "calculate the number of the great flock" as you put it, all we do is state a fact, there are 7 million active witnesses that HOPE to be part of that number. What the final number will be, only Jehovah God knows.

    If YOU use this information to make some unscriptural "calculation" don't try and attribute that to us!

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