The earthly great crowd was NOT introduced because the 144,000 was full!

by jwfacts 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jwfacts

    There have been numerous threads devoted to showing that the Great Crowd will be in heaven, and rightfully so. However, it is often stated that because there were too many JWs Rutherford introduced the idea of the Great Crowd. This is not so.

    There were only about 30,000 JWs at the time. Also, the 144,000 was originally said to be sealed in 1878, so the less spiritual incoming JWs were relegated to heaven, but as the GC and not the rulers. This meant that any number of JWs could go to heaven as the GC. The "Millions Now Living will never die" preached from 1918 were all the worldly people that were to survive Armageddon into paradise.

    So why did Rutherford move the GC down to earth? It would appear that this was to support his narrow salvation concept. The only way to grow the religion rapidly was to say that you had to be part of that religion to survive Armageddon. By saying there were only two surviving classes, JWs going to heaven and a Great Crowd of JWs staying on earth, there was no where left for worldly people to go except to eternal destruction.

    The ploy certainly worked. Between 1935 and 1975 the Watchtower Society was one of the fastest growing religions on earth. One has to hand it to the genius of Rutherford. Are there any on the Governing Body equally gifted, as it is time for massive change to the religion if it is to grow throughout the next century.

  • IronClaw
    There were only about 30,000 JWs at the time. Also, the 144,000 was originally said to be sealed in 1878, so the less spiritual incoming JWs were relegated to heaven, but as the GC and not the rulers. This meant that any number of JWs could go to heaven as the GC. The "Millions Now Living will never die" preached from 1918 were all the worldly people that were to survive Armageddon into paradise

    This is interesting. What books or mags was this originally printed in? I would love to have the sources for my files.

  • jwfacts

    1878 being the time of the resurrection

    Zion’s Watch Tower 1906 July p.230 "Harvest Gathering and Siftings.”

    “..that date (1878) marked the time for the beginning of the establishment of the Kingdom of God, by the glorification of all who already slept in Christ, and that the "change" which Paul mentions ( I Cor. 15:51 ) is to occur in the moment of dying, .."

    New Creation (1899) 1915 ed. p.95

    “To our understanding the general call to this joint heirship with our Redeemer as members of the New Creation of God, ceased in 1881.”

    The Watch Tower 1927 15 January pp.19–20 “The Great Multitude,”

    all the facts and the scriptures bearing upon the matter under consideration show that those who form the great multitude constitute a spirit class, born on the spirit plane.”

  • Leolaia

    I agree....the macabre genocidal conception of Armageddon that replaced the original more hopeful belief went hand-in-hand with the new "great crowd" belief. This can be most easily seen in the way the Society has co-opted the old "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" line and applied it to the "great crowd".

  • IronClaw

    Thanks JW.

    I was always under the impression that the "Millions now living" speech was in reference to the dubs surviving the great tribulation and Armageddon into the paradise.


  • jwfacts

    Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1920) pp.89-98.

    “As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925. At that time the earthly phase of the kingdom shall be recognized.... Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old,…

    The church systems would have the people believe that only those who become church members can be saved. The Bible never taught any such doctrine. ... Jesus died not only for those who will constitute the members of the church, but for all. St. John plainly stated: "He is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world".—l John 2:2.

    It would be impossible for the human race, therefore, to accept the gift of life everlasting before it is offered. It will be offered only in God's due time and the divine plan shows that his due time is after the seed of promise is developed, after the kingdom is setup; and then each one in his order will be brought to a knowledge of the fact that a plan of redemption exists and that the way is open for him to accept the terms of it and live. The remainder of mankind could not keep it. They hear, however, in due time after the establishment of the kingdom. Then it shall come to pass that every one who will keep the saying of the Lord shall never see death. …

    Based upon the argument heretofore set forth, then, that the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on the earth will be still on the earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die.”

    Proclaimers pp.160, 161

    “They could see, however, that not all who professed to have made a “consecration” (or, ‘to have given themselves fully to the Lord,’ as they understood it to mean) thereafter continued to pursue a life of willing self-sacrifice, making the Lord’s service their first concern in life. … They believed that if these who were said to be of the great multitude were faithful at that time, they would be resurrected to heavenly life—not to rule as kings but to take a position before the throne.… Many seemingly consecrated Christians were taking the easy road, failing to manifest true zeal for the Lord’s cause and shunning self-sacrifice.“

    This slowly changed until the GC was identified in its current earthly form in 1935.

    Riches (1936) pp.324, 325 (Rutherford)

    “Thus the great multitude is definitely identified, not as a spirit-begotten class whose hopes are for a place in heaven, but a class trusting in the Lord, and who hope for everlasting life on earth..."

    I do not have quotes for the statistics, but have read of figures ranging between 28,000 and 45,000. has recent quotes that only jws being saved, though I do not have the very first time was that this was stated.

    As Leolaia says, current Watchtower publications make it seem that the 'millions' always referred to the Great Crowd, which it certainly did not.

  • greendawn

    Good point Russell had a more humane view of Armageddon to him it was basically the end of world governments to be followed by a separation work, sheep and goats. Obviously children didn't deserve extermination as they do in Rutherford's scheme.

    Hopefully today there are no GB members equal to the task of salvaging this cult.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas
    There were only about 30,000 JWs at the time.

    That's not quite accurate, is it?

    The number of memorial partakers was more than 52,000 in 1935.

    Participation dropped during the following years after speculations and expectations for that timefailed to manifest. the Second World War provided the fear-rich emotional environment that the cult needed to resume growth, and the introduction of the nuclear age helped still more.

  • greendawn

    I can recall that when Rutherford died in 1942 there were 100 000 JWs (they increased to a million by 1960 due to Knorr's succesful expansion policies) so it's likely there were more than 30 000 in 1935.

  • Narkissos

    In addition to pressuring sympathisers ("Jonadabs" or whatever) into the organisation, thereby re-creating the "either in or lost" message which Russell had tried to overcome, this had the advantage of securing internal authority in the hands of the existing leadership (i.e. Rutherford). Whatever their numbers, the newcomers had no potential democratic "weight" because they were not "anointed" etc. They were just good enough to obey and serve.

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