Who are the 144,000?

jw144000

Who are those 144,000? …they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. …Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000.” —What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 2005, p. 78-79

If people from the 144,000 lived as far back as “the days of the apostles”, how could they be “sealed” on earth during the “great tribulation” of God’s wrath that is yet to come upon the earth?

“…hide us from…the One seated on the throne and from the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come… And I saw another angel …having a seal of [the] living God; and he cried …saying: ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.”—Revelation 6:16-17; 7:2-4, NWT

If women are to be included in this group of 144,000, why does the Bible call them Jewish men who have never been married?

“I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand… These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins.” —Revelation 14:1, 4, NWT

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