Where oh where is the Great Crowd? Who are they?
A case in point, Jesus’ own description of a “great crowd”.
Revelation 7:9 - "look! a great crowd ... standing before the throne"
Revelation 19:1 - "After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven"
In the above vision the resurrected and glorified Christ shared with the bible writer John two rather specific and unambiguous terms for locating this great crowed:
1. in heaven and 2. before the throne.
(This great crowd, in varying bible translation, is rendered as “great company” or “great multitude.”)
Let’s trace the results of some rather particular personal studies as to the identity and location of the great crowd through the writings and interpretations of
"Does the Great Company receive life direct from God on the spirit plane? Answer -- Yes, they receive life direct in that they have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and when they are begotten they are just the same way as the little flock, because we are called in the one hope of our calling. They do not make their calling and election sure, but not being worthy of second death, they therefore receive life on the spirit plane." What Pastor Russell Said p.297
"… 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." Watchtower 1927 15 Jan pp.19-20 "The Great Multitude,"
In ancient Israel the temple of worship was laid out as a shadow or map of the heavenly reality. There was an outer courtyard and two inner compartments.
(The outer courtyard (hieron ) and the two inner compartments (naos) respectively in Greek .)
Watchtower 1960 Aug 15 p.493:
"The fact is that this temple was not just one building but a series of structures of which the temple sanctuary was the center. In the original tongue this is made quite clear, the Scripture writers distinguishing between the two by the use of the words hieronand naos. Hieron referred to the entire temple grounds, whereas naos applied to the temple structure itself, the successor of the tabernacle in the wilderness. Thus John tells that Jesus found all this traffic in the hieron."
What could be clearer than that?
The great crowd were standing in the inner or naos heavenly portion of the temple and not outside in the outer or hieron earthly exterior.
We identify the great crowd’s location by looking up the Greek words and applying the meaning. What could possibly muddy our understanding?
A handy tool for looking up Greek words is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Strong's Concordance 3485 naos
Original Word: naos
(naós) refers to the sanctuary (the Jewish Temple proper), i.e. with just its two inner compartments (rooms). Strong's Concordance 2411 hieron Original Word: hieron
Definition: a temple, either the whole building, or specifically the outer courts, open to worshippers.
Simple, clear, precise and no confusion—hooray!
But, wait! What if somebody wanted to remove the great crowd from heaven and place them on earth instead?
Why? Well, let’s say they wanted to distort the actual location and interpretation concerning the great crowd just to be different! How could this be passed off as a genuine teaching and not a counterfeit corruption?
Obviously, the meaning of the key descriptive words of location would need to be rendered in an ambiguous way.
Watchtower 1980 Aug 15 pp.14-16 The "Great Crowd" Renders Sacred Service Where?
"Jesus answered, 'Destroy this sanctuary [ na.os' ], and in three days I will raise it up'. The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary [ na.os' ]: are you going to raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the sanctuary [ na.os' ] that was his body." (John 2:19-21, The Jerusalem Bible ) By "sanctuary," what did those Jews mean?
“Herod's temple as a whole was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. … Very plainly the temple, sanctuary, or naos , does not mean just the inner sanctuary, but the entire temple area with all its structures.”
No need. Simple enough. Jesus made reference to the temple of his body using naos. When the bible describes the Jerusalem temple it employs the word heiron.
(See Matthew 24:1,2, Mark 13:1-3 and Luke 21:5,6.)
The confusion created is deliberate. An invented doctrine is being protected through counterfeiting bible words! The “reasoning” used to justify the sudden deliberate ambiguity is specious and deceptive.
22 years later after receiving an avalanche of protest letters by discerning readers of the Watchtower a critical mass had been reached and in need of formal response lest the reputation of the Society itself
be further damaged.
“…But as the heavenly elder said to John, the great crowd really is in the temple, not outside the temple area in a kind of spiritual Court of the Gentiles . What a privilege that is! And how it highlights the need for each one to maintain spiritual and moral purity at all times!"Watchtower 2002 May 1 pp.30-31
Caught red-handed, eh?
You might well think such a public statement would end any attempt by the Society to warp the meaning of the location of the great crowd, right? Well, don’t be too surprised! Here it comes…
"Two groups of people have been joined together — the small group of anointed ones and the great crowd of other sheep. (Read Zechariah 8:23.) Although the other sheep do not symbolically serve in the inner courtyard of the spiritual temple, they do serve in the outer courtyard of that temple." Watchtower 2010 Mar 15 p.26
A complete reversal in broad daylight has taken place 8 years later.
Why all this effort to move groups of people around from earth to heaven and from heaven to earth?
Why create a jury-rigged doctrine in the first place?
The answer to this lies in the history of Judge Rutherford’s handling of the Bible Students he inherited from among Pastor Russell’s devotees. Rutherford changed the name of the independent groups of self ruled congregations in order to unify them into one federalized group under himself. Jehovah’s Witnesses was invented in 1931 as the new identity.
How could Rutherford grow this group other than to describe it as the exclusive repository of true teaching? If Jehovah’s Witnesses taught the same belief system the bible student’s groups taught—who would need to join Rutherford’s gang? Nobody, that’s who.
Logically and methodically, Rutherford made radical changes. The new Jehovah’s Witness teachings would be so contrary to any existing group there would be no mistaking one for the other.
The key feature for Adventists was the Armageddon end times chronology. Rutherford linked survival
for this imminent event with joining Rutherford’s group alone. Only anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses were elect (chosen) and anointed for heaven. But, as the numbers grew and grew the danger of overbooking the flight to heaven and the number 144,000 suddenly looked embarrassingly disconfirming!
Rutherford slammed the door on heaven in 1935 but only for a specially contrived reason: a secondary status of Great Crowd was invented and earthly paradise was the alternate reward for faithful service.
This rescued Jehovah’s Witnesses concept of heaven from overcrowding.
Rutherford had to sell this kooky doctrine and make it look biblical!
The next subterfuge was to graft two different descriptions into one unified description; “other sheep” and “great crowd” were transformed into a non-biblical “Great Crowd of Other Sheep.”
Challenge any Jehovah’s Witness to read for you a scripture containing that phrase and then stand back and watch them try!
Matthew 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
In conclusion we discover the Watchtower’s feckless and dishonest creation of distorted doctrine to be self-serving and unscrupulous manipulation.
The GB undercuts the intelligence of its members by sending them out into the world with tainted “food” that sicken people starved for truth.
Day after day and week after week hundreds and thousands of letters, e-mails and phone calls reach the Society headquarters will honest inquiries. Members want to know why they heard or read or discovered something the Watchtower had been telling them was Truth actually was a distortion of fact.
The response they receive is worthless, of course. The progressive understanding of Jehovah’s true religion means you have to be loyal and trust everything will be adjusted in Jehovah’s on good time.
Next time you hear a Jehovah's Witness brag about how they go door to door--stop and ask them :
"Do your realize what you are distributing isn't food at the proper time? It has no nourishment of fact or you wouldn't have to keep changing it."
It has no merit of "time" because all your dates turn out to be wrong."
Pity they don’t simply posses MORE LIGHT instead of NEW light.
If something is “true” why would it need change?