Jehovah's Witnesses believe1 that 144 000 of their number are different to the rest in that they will go to heaven, whereas the rest (presumably several million) will live on paradise Earth.

I'm wondering how near to complete they believe that they are now, eg 25%, 50%, 99%? And do they keep records on the 144 000 so that they can answer this exactly?

1 References: TRiG's answer and Wikipedia.


3 Answers 3


Anointing of the 144,000 began at Pentecost, 33c.e., and continues down through our day.

The scriptures show the angels are holding back the final judgement against wicked humankind until 144,000 individuals from earth are sealed. (Rev 7:1-4).

Being Anointed is not the same as being sealed.

Anointing is the invitation.

Sealing is the stamp of approval from God that the individual proved faithful to his calling.

Those who have been anointed through history have had God bear witness that they are invited to join Jesus to rule as kings & priests over the earth. God does the final sealing if someone anointed proves faithful to their calling. Since only God knows who has been faithful it is impossible to determine what percentage has been filled.

(That being said, Jehovah's witnesses are convinced we are living deep in the last days. It would only make sense the number is very close to being filled)

Regarding your question about records kept, every year at the Memorial observance of Christs death (Nisan 14), Jehovah's witnesses in every country around the world gather together to reflect on Jesus sacrifice and obey his command to "keep doing this in remembrance of me". Bread and wine is passed, But only those anointed actually partake. Attendants globally record the number of those who partake, and those numbers are published annually in the yearbook of Jehovah's witnesses.

(FYI, in 2016, 20,085,142 attendented the Memorial observance globally, while only 18,013 partook).

For further information on this subject please follow the links below:




Jehovah's Witnesses believe1 that 144 000 of their number are different to the rest in that they will go to heaven, whereas the rest (presumably several million) will live on paradise Earth.

I'm wondering how near to complete they believe that they are now, eg 25%, 50%, 99%? And do they keep records on the 144 000 so that they can answer this exactly?

The easy answer, devoid of speculative and distracting outlines:

No, they have no idea on percentages, and often revise their understandings on this and related things.

Its important to remember the roots of JWs. The main intent is to restore pure worship, and labor greatly to unravel scriptural mysteries.

The 144,000 number comes directly after the 666 number, showing a contrast. 666 is associated with a name, 144,000 is associated with a name.

A name in the scriptures is tied with a person's activities / reputation. (Ecclesiastes 7:1, Revelation 3:1, Revelation 14:1)

By the fact that 666 (or 616?) is openly acknowledged to be a calculable mystery, it would not be surprising if the same were true of 144,000 in comparison, both being numerical results of related allegorical puzzles found in the scriptures.

The identities associated with the 144,000, and knowing it's completeness, is not something entrusted to men, but God:

Proverbs 21:2

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts. (Amplified Bible)

Compare this to the parable of the faithful steward and the wise/foolish virgins, as well as the related slaves/talents parables. There is a lot going on here numerically. JW's have at least been smart enough to see relationships here. I wonder who will be entrusted to know the final summation of it all? ( Genesis 41:15-16, compare Matthew 7:8 )

  • 2
    While I've never heard of 144,000 being described by JWs as a name, they do certainly use it to reference that group of people. JWs also use the terms "bride class," "anointed," and "little flock" to refer to the 144,000. JWs do believe, however, that it is a literal number, which describes the exact number of people who will rule over the earth with Jesus from heaven. This is in contrast to the "great crowd, which no man was able to number" described at Rev. 7:9.
    – user32540
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 2:35
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    JWs believe that many of the 144k are Christians that became believers long before JWs came into existence as a religion
    – 007
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 13:36

An interesting topic "144,000". Actually the only reasonable answer to identify this group or class, coincides with what Jesus said about having "a little flock" and "other sheep" that will become as on fold, is given by JW's. No other "religion" tries to touch this question without relying on a doctrine or philosophy of theology. (Same-same as double talk) But using only the Bible as the source of explanation any serious student of the scriptures can not dismiss these "co-rulers" mentioned in Dan. and Rev.

But did anyone ever think to ask why the huge "organized religions" like Catholics, all Protestant and Evangelical denominations do not offer an answer. I was able to eliminate 95% of so called "Christian" organizations by checking off which ones forsook the command of Jesus found in the ten commandments to not kill and to even love your enemies. Now don't say if no one fought back then the world would be ruled by evil people when in both world wars, Christians were the aggressors supported by the same Christian clergy of those who fought against them. (I can not understand why no one wants to discuss this .. oh well) So by identifying those who outright deny the teachings of Jesus and oppose those who question them, it was easier to focus on the "Christians" who do strive to listen and obey the truth in God's word.

So I continue to wonder why there are so many "Christian" religious minded people, faulting those who are trying to pay as much attention to the Bible whether they are right or wrong on many of the harder to understand teachings of the Bible while not saying one thing in opposition to those who openly and willfully denounce the simplest teachings and commands of God to follow their own words and teaching for their own profit and well being. Please.. I am not knocking anyone... only looking at the truth we call history.

Back to JW's and the 144,000: The answer is simple - 144,000 humans who were and are bought from earth with the blood of the ransom sacrifice will reign as co-rulers with Jesus in heaven over the entire earth made up of all those "exercising faith in him" that were not destroyed but given everlasting life - where - on earth because that is "God's will being done on earth."

The answer is simple because it says it all right there in the Bible. Think about the scriptures that are easy to understand like "only those doing the will of God remain forever' or "Everlasting life means knowing you the only true God and the one you sent forth Jesus Christ" or "friends with the world are enemies of God" or "our father in the heavens we keep your name holy (or hallowed)" or "only if they would listen to me and keep living". Sound simple? I think so but why don't all the people who want to argue over meat and bones fail to understand bread and water.

So yes the question about the 144,000 is answered from the Bible. Did JW's know everything from the beginning of the 1800's? Did the apostles understand everything in the 1st century? We all know the answer is no. So why make it seem like JW's are different. Even Dan said the words are not to be understood until the time of the end. So the question I would ask is.. If this is the time of the end - to what people on earth will the understanding be given to - outright wrongdoers or those trying to understand and obey? Those teaching traditional non-biblical doctrines handed down through centuries by a corrupt clergy raised to the elevation of royalty - or those studying the scriptures with a heartfelt desire to please God and do His will?

The choice is simple - it's the choosing that's hard.

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    Thanks for answering this question and bringing some JW knowledge to bear on a question that calls for it. However having read this I have to say it does a lot of rambling and some preaching and only a little answering the question. Can you edit to remove the bits that aren't related to the question and clarify the points that are most relevant to the question? Thank for understanding.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 21:46
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    Welcome to the site! This doesn't really have much to do with your answer, but I find that sharing the following tends to help new visitors avoid mistaking the purpose of this site. I do hope to see more from you! When you get a chance, please see How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 5:05

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