When did the "other sheep" class begin to form?

by Vanderhoven7 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • Ding

    I still haven't figured out the WT classification of OT believers like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.

    Aren't they "other sheep"?

    The WTS wouldn't have held Beth Sarim in trust for these men if they thought they would be going to heaven instead...

  • Listener

    Good point Ding. You would think with all the publications they have written these sorts of questions would be clearly identified but what happens is they have new light here and there and everything becomes confused.

  • Ding
    You would think with all the publications they have written these sorts of questions would be clearly identified but what happens is they have new light here and there and everything becomes confused.

    Moshe is still trying to get them to clarify exactly who the "faithful and discreet slave" is / are.

    Might as well throw this question into the mix as well.

  • TD
    Aren't they "other sheep"?

    Yes. They've been pretty clear on that:

    Many faithful ones in pre-Christian times, such as Abraham, Sarah, Noah, and Malachi, had such prospects. So we can rightly include them as part of the “other sheep” of John 10:16. During the Millennium, such faithful pre-Christian witnesses will be resurrected and will then learn of and accept Christ Jesus, becoming “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd. (The Watchtower April 15, 1995 p. 31)

  • Ding

    Leolaia quoted this:

    It is thus appreciated that the Fine Shepherd Jesus Christ did not proceed to bring in the “other sheep” of John 10:16 in the first century when the circumcised Samaritans began to be converted to Christianity. Nor did he do so when the Roman centurion, the uncircumcised Gentile Cornelius, was converted about 36 C.E. Well, then, when did the Fine Shepherd set out to bring together his other sheep? Many centuries later, yes, in this 20th century, according to the facts of the case.—Acts 8:4-17; 10:9-48.

    So which is it -- the "other sheep" class began with people in Genesis or it began in 1935 CE?

    Or are there two different "other sheep" classes?

    If so, why?

  • Leolaia

    I know that the original Russellite idea was that potential Christians still found elsewhere in Christendom and in secularism who would be gathered together during the Harvest constituted the "other sheep"; they were not yet in the Lord's fold but they would join him and become "one flock" (cf. Watchtower, 1 August 1900, pp. 231-232). There was no notion that the "other sheep" had an earthly destiny; by definition they have a heavenly spiritual destiny like the rest of the "little flock". The idea that the other sheep = earthly destiny was a later Rutherfordian idea. Just when he changed it, I'm not exactly sure. In the resurrection, Jews and particularly the "Ancient Worthies" according to Russell had an earthly destiny as part of the Abrahamic covenant; the Ancient Worthies are not co-heirs with Jesus and partakers in the divine nature but would be the "earthly representatives" of the Kingdom (cf. Watchtower, 15 February 1913, pp. 61-62; 15 August 1913, pp. 243-244). Also on earth of course would be the millions of ordinary people who survive Armageddon; Armageddon was not yet conceived as the wholesale slaughter that it became later on. When Rutherford adopted this newer conception of Armageddon, and got rid of the notion that the Jews were promised the coming paradise earth, and came to view the resurrection as rather limited, he decided that the earthly citizens of new world would be the "great crowd" of Jonadabs who were flocking to his movement, who would bear children and fill the earth much like Noah's children repopulated the earth after the Flood.

    BTW it was suggested above that the new class of "other sheep" was devised because the number of the anointed was in danger of surpassing 144,000. This was not the case. The opposite was happening -- the number of consecrated Christians in Rutherford's movement sharply declined after the failure of 1925 and on account of Rutherford's drastic changes to Bible Student teachings and practice. So Rutherford came up with a "Bible-based" explanation for the decreases: the anointed still attached to God's organization would be a "remnant" that would decrease until Armageddon comes; the majority would leave. But then things changed during the Great Depression. Suddenly new people were flocking to the movement in large numbers. So in 1931, Rutherford invented a new class to siphon these people off into, the "Jonadabs", who are associated with the remnant and keep association with them for salvation. This stopped the "remnant" from increasing, although of course, as we all know, some people still identified themselves as anointed as time went on. But for the most part, the vast majority of new converts identified themselves as "other sheep" with an earthly destiny.

    It seems that after 1935, the "Ancient Worthies" kind of became de facto members of the "other sheep". I'm not to clear on this exactly because I think the Society has been ambiguous on this. Perhaps the idea is that they are not gathered into the "other sheep" class until the time of their resurrection; they are after all non-existent until then. The 1995 quote in fact states that they do not "become" other sheep until after they are resurrected in the Millennium.

  • factfinder

    Ding- that is a good question!

  • trevor

    “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated than 1914.” Watchtower - January 1922 Page 22

    The booklet “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” written in 1920 stated under the heading “Earthly Rulers:”

    “As we heretofore stated, the great jubilee is due to begin in 1925. At that time the earthly phase of the Kingdom shall be recognised. The Apostle Paul in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews names a long list of faithful men who died before the crucifixion of the Lord and before the bringing of the selection of the church. These can never be a part of the heavenly class; they had no heavenly hopes; but God has in store something good for them. They are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the princes or rulers of the earth according to his promise (Psalm 45:16; Isaiah 32:1; Matthew 8: 11) therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews chapter eleven, the condition of human perfection.” Page 88 89

    The Society had decided that the Bible’s faithful men of old including Abraham would not go to heaven. They had reserved this hope for themselves. Not only were they going to heaven but also they were to be Kings and Priests with Jesus. Members around the world spread the word and eagerly looked forward to Armageddon and the return of the faithful men of old. As late as 1924 the Society maintained the anticipation and repeated their prophecy:

    “We should therefore expect shortly after 1925 to see the awakening of Able, Enoch, David, Abraham, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John the Baptist, and others mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.” The Way To Paradise - Page 224

    (Opening the Door to Jehovah's Witnesses - by Trevor Willis)

  • stapler99

    Interesting. I always thought that the majority of humanity after the death of Christ were thought to be part of the other sheep. If that is not the case, it is implied that the majority will not get a resurrection at all, as there are many more than 144,000 people who lived in the period up to 1935.

    I expect that this is not their doctrine at all and there is some fine distinction like the other sheep existed, but were not being gathered. This would be the excuse for not having the two-class doctrine until 1935.

  • MrMonroe

    @Stapler99, the WTS seems a trifle confused about who the great crowd are.

    Consider that when the phrase occurs at Rev 7:9, the "great crowd" (or "huge number" in the Jerusalem Bible) are described as those who come out of the great tribulation.

    WT 3/15/09: "The resurrected ones will be judged, not on the basis of sin inherited from Adam, but by what they themselves choose to do ... With upbuilding new information available and a life filled with good things, they will no longer be distressed by the bad things of the past. Those past experiences can be put out of their minds. The same will be true of the “great crowd,” who survive Armageddon. (So two separate groups then.)

    WT 1/15/08: "Of course, while the resurrected ones will have much to learn from us, we will have many questions to ask them. They can fill us in on events that are mentioned in the Bible but not described in detail ... Faithful servants of Jehovah who have died—including those of the great crowd who die during the time of the end—will come forth to “a better resurrection.”(So the great crowd now includes those who died before Armageddon).

    WT 1/1/07: "The apostle John saw this modern-day ingathering in vision. First he heard the announcing of the sealing of the final ones of the 144,000. Then he saw “a great crowd, which no man was able to number,” standing before Jehovah and Jesus, with “palm branches in their hands.” These “come out of the great tribulation” into the new world ... The antitypical Festival of Booths will reach its climax after the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ when they along with faithful resurrected ones are granted everlasting life. (Er ... so now "faithful resurrected ones" aren't part of the great crowd.)

    WT 5/1/05: "Likewise, for us to receive Kingdom blessings, we must be alive in God’s new world, either as members of the great crowd of Armageddon survivors or as those resurrected from the dead." (Oh, it's one or the other).

    WT 2/15/03: "In time, Jehovah’s organization began to focus attention on others in addition to Christ’s anointed followers. A notable development along these lines took place in the mid-1930’s. Before then, God’s people viewed the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9 as a secondary spiritual class that would be associated with the 144,000 resurrected anointed ones in heaven—like bridesmaids or companions of the bride of Christ. But on May 31, 1935, in a discourse given at a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., it was Scripturally explained that the “great crowd” (“great multitude,” King James Version) refers to the “other sheep” who live during the time of the end." (So ... if you're alive during the time of the end -- which began in 1914 -- you're one of the great crowd, even if you die before Armageddon.)

    WT 10/15/96: "Without doubt, the resurrection of the dead is a time of boundless happiness for those resurrected to life in heaven. But the happiness does not end there, for also promised is a resurrection to life right here on earth. Those resurrected will join an unlimited number who survive the end of the present wicked system. After viewing the small number who qualify for a heavenly resurrection, the apostle John was given a vision of “a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” What a happy time that will be when millions, possibly billions, come back to life here on earth!" (Uh, just a minute. So the great crowd actually includes the resurrected ones now?)

    They're just not sure.

    And don't you just love that phrase in the 84 WT cited by Leolaia: "When did the Fine Shepherd set out to bring together his other sheep? Many centuries later, yes, in this 20th century, according to the facts of the case." Facts. Facts?

Share this