Resurrection! Part 4: Heavenly

Identity Crisis

Those resurrected to heavenly life (the 144,000 “anointed ones”) share the same identity problem as those who are expecting an earthly resurrection. Since, in Watchtower theology, nothing survives death, Jehovah is only left with his memory of the individual’s “memories and personality,” which he must recreate in a new body. In this case it’s a spirit body, but it’s the same issue as when it’s a physical body: the original person is lost in the process.

It is not you who will enjoy either a paradise earth or a life in the heavenly realm; it will be an identity thief. (Please see our first article in this series: Resurrection! (Earthly).)

William Blake‘s The Day of Judgment (1808)

Dying to go to Heaven

A problem unique to the heavenly resurrection is that all 144,000 of the anointed have to be dead before Armageddon begins, so that they can all participate, from heaven, in the slaughter of non Jehovah’s Witnesses (Please see: Vindication Vol. 3, pp. 13 ,92, 96-97; Revelation: It’s Grand Climax at Hand [WBTS, 1988 ed.] p. 53, and Armageddon–A Happy Beginning).

In fact, the Watchtower has given the decrease in the number of the anointed still on earth (known as “the remnant”) as one of the signs of the “last days”.

But, instead of dying out, in recent years more people are partaking of the “emblems” at the annual “memorial service” (a ritual that only the anointed are allowed to participate in).

Thanks to Paul Grundy of jwfacts for this chart.

It’s hard to reconcile the Watchtower’s warning about Armageddon being due “any day now,” with the fact that there are still thousands of the anointed who have to die before that event can take place. Even more so when we consider that the number of “anointed ones” has grown 2-1/2 times between 2006 and 2020! Maybe that’s why the Watchtower has stated that some of these thousands are not really anointed, but only think that they are, due to a mental problem!

So, if your “heavenly hope” goes against the neatly laid out plans of the Watchtower’s eschatology, you must be nuts!

A non-uplifting “Rapture”

Having dispensed, in such an off-handed manner, with their members’ personal religious experiences, the Watchtower tackles the dying-off problem in a similarly roughshod manner. The remnant, we are told, will all die “in an instant” at the start of the “attack of Gog of Magog” (i.e., when the nations attack the Watchtower organization during the “Great Tribulation.”) Then Jehovah will create new spirit bodies and put his memories of their “memories and personality” into them, so that these new creatures will all be ready and eager to participate in the slaughter of Armageddon. This is the Watchtower’s watered-down version of the “rapture,” though they don’t like to use that name [because there is nothing: no soul–much less a physical body–that transfers to heaven]. (See Watchtower, July 2015, pp 18-19, parg. 14-15.)

This event is actually past due. Russell and Rutherford expected that all the “faithful” would be gathered to heaven in the year 1910 (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3 (1891 ed.) p. 364). The photo below (from the Sept. 1910 Watchtower, page 282) shows them posing on a fitting spot in April of that year: the Mount of Olives (where they believe Jesus ascended into heaven). This seems to suggest that they were expecting to be carried bodily up into heaven. But, just like the Watchtower of today, Russell was not a believer in a physical “rapture” into heaven; he thought the faithful had to die first in order to be “instantly with the Lord.” (Studies in the Scriptures Vol III: Thy Kingdom Come (1898 ed.) p. 240)

Russell, Rutherford, et al., in Palestine, 1910: waiting for entrance to heaven.

So, I wonder how long they waited before they dejectedly returned to America; depressed that they were still alive on Earth: their hopes dashed. At least they didn’t take matters into their own hands and kill themselves — as some cults have done en masse in more recent times.

Another Job to do

After these new spirit-beings have assisted with the killing of billions of men, women, children, and babies, their work will still be far from over. They then must assist Jesus with ruling over the earth for a thousand years. This will include judging and zapping anyone who disobeys them.

According to Watchtower belief, Jesus created the entire universe all by himself. Yet, he needs 144,000 helpers to rule over one planet. “Helpers” with clear minds, who possess a remarkable sense of justice; having the personality and memories of such people as Stephen Lett, Sam Herd, and Tony Morris! Joining them, of course, will be new spirit-beings with the personalities and memories of other current and former members of the Governing Body, whose record shows that they could never quite get God’s message right the first time [or often the second or third time].


On an amusing side-note: have you ever noticed that the Watchtower always depicts the 144,000 as gray-bearded old men? [Some examples: the cover of the Jan, 2021 Watchtower, a 2006 Watchtower article, and Who Goes to Heaven?] This is in spite of the fact that there have been many females among the “anointed.” Are we to understand that the personalities and memories of anointed women are placed into male spirit-bodies in heaven? And why does the Watchtower frown so hard upon men having beards in this “Old Order” if even the females will evidently sprout beards in the New Order (at least on the heavenly side of things)?

Don’t Miss: Part 5: Jesus’ Resurrection!