Is this a big hole in the "great crowd&quo...

by yesidid 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • yesidid

    There seems to be a gaping hole [another one] in the WTS teaching on the two classes. Could someone correct me if I am wrong. They teach there are only two classes, the 144,000 who are going to heaven and the great crowd who will live on earth. *** Rbi8 Revelation 7:14 *** says of the great crowd These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation.

    Now the latest light, I believe is that the great tribulation is yet future

    So what about the billions who are not included in the 144,00 but have died before the great tribulation?

    This would include my parents and every witness, not claiming to be of the anointed, who has died. They did not, and will not, go through the great tribulation. Yet they and all "non-anointed" Witnesses living now are referred to as the great crowd. How can we say one is of the great crowd until after the great tribulation? And if one is not of the anointed or of the great crowd, could you please give me the proper name of the third class.

    This is a question I would like to ask a loyal intelligent, well-read Witness friend. So could anyone help me with what I may expect as a reply.

    Edited by - yesidid on 3 January 2003 5:12:39

    Edited by - yesidid on 3 January 2003 5:13:58

    Edited by - yesidid on 3 January 2003 5:16:8

  • Earnest

    They would be the "other sheep" of which the "great crowd" are a subset.

  • onacruse

    This was a matter of some discussion for a period of time right after the "new light" came out about the great tribulation not having started, and then been temporarily suspended, in WW1 (as was taught until 1970). I believe the new terminology we all finally settled on was "prospective members of the great crowd," but in general usage just referred to ourselves as "the great crowd." I also remember a discussion about this in the WT some years ago, but don't have a quote handy.

    Reminds me of a comment Rutherford made when WW2 was beginning, and the general dub sentiment was that the "second part" of the GT was beginning. He said "Well, it looks like the great crowd isn't going to be so great after all."

    At any rate, it serves the WTS well to promote the idea of there being even now a "great crowd," as yet another subliminal reinforcement of the "impending" arrival of the GT.


  • Earnest

    They would be the "other sheep" of which the "great crowd" are a subset.

    The distinction between these two classes was made in a w95 4/15 Questions From Readers below:

    Technically speaking, is there a difference between the Biblical terms

    "other sheep" and "great crowd"?

    Yes, though we should not be unduly sensitive about word usage or be upset if someone uses the terms interchangeably.

    Most Christians are familiar with the passages where we find these terms. John 10:16 is one. There Jesus said: "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd." The other expression, "great crowd," appears at Revelation 7:9. We read: "After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands."

    Let us consider John 10:16 first. Who are the sheep? Well, it would be good to fix in mind that all of Jesus loyal followers are referred to as sheep. At Luke 12:32, he called those of his disciples who would be going to heaven the "little flock." A flock of what? Of sheep. The "sheep" of the "little flock" will be part of the Kingdom in heaven. However, there are others, those with a different hope, whom Jesus also views as sheep.

    We can see this in John chapter 10. After speaking about sheep such as his apostles whom he would call to life in heaven, Jesus added in

    verse 16: "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring." Jehovahs Witnesses have long recognized that in this verse Jesus was speaking of people having the prospect of life on earth. 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.

    We also know that since the general call of the heavenly class ended, millions have become true Christians. These too are rightly termed "other sheep," since they are not part of the "little flock." Rather, the other sheep today look forward to living right on into an earthly paradise.

    Now, what can be said about the identity of the "great crowd" mentioned at Revelation 7:9? Well, look at

    verse 13 and the question, "Who are they and where did they come from?" We find the answer at Revelation 7:14: "These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation." So the "great crowd" is composed of those who come out of, or survive, the great tribulation. As verse 17 says, they will be guided to fountains of waters of life on earth.

    Understandably, though, for these to survive the approaching great tribulation, they must earlier have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, becoming true worshipers. Hence, though Revelation 7:9 is describing this crowd after the tribulation, we may apply the term "great crowd" to all with earthly hopes who are rendering Jehovah sacred service now, just before the great tribulation breaks out with the nations attack on false religion.

    In summary, we might remember "other sheep" as the broader term, encompassing all of Gods servants having the hope of living forever on earth. It includes the more limited category of sheeplike ones today who are being gathered as a "great crowd" with the hope of living right through the impending great tribulation. Most of those loyal Christians alive today are of the "other sheep," and they are part of the "great crowd" as well.

    It is worth repeating that, fine as it is to be clear on these specifics, there is no need for any Christian to be overly word conscious - what might be called word critical. Paul warned about some who were "puffed up with pride" and involved in "debates about words." (1 Timothy 6:4) If we personally recognize certain distinctions between terms, fine. Yet, we need not, either outwardly or inwardly, be critical of another who may not use Biblical terms quite as precisely.

    Although JWs do speak of themselves as being part of the "great crowd", on the Publishers Record Card one is either "Anointed" or "OS".


    Edited by - Earnest on 3 January 2003 9:48:32

  • Analysis


    To add a little fuel to the fire read Revelation Chapter 20.

    I agree that the Great Crowd is a subset of the other sheep. But to me the reading of Revelation clearly indicates that the resurrection of the dead to earth is after the 1000 years and after the Devil was let loose.

    Think about that future time period when the Devil is let loose. If these people had lived a 1,000 years and saw all their loved ones resurrected, why would they rebel against God again?

    Now consider this scenario;

    Christ invisibly removes the bad influences in the Earth (he locks the Devil up). In the first 100 years all the living political rulers die off and with Christs influences the proper rulers are placed into power. The spending on crime and war is redirected for the good of mankind. This enables Modern Medicine to make advances to such a point that death is a very rare event. Then man turns the Earth into a vast park.

    The Devil is let loose to try to corrupt mankind. Some would follow.

    I bring this up just to show that the Bible prophecy can when you consider it turn in very different ways then man currently puts their faith in.

  • onacruse

    Earnest, thanks for that quote. That was one that I remembered.

    we may apply the term "great crowd" to all with earthly hopes who are rendering Jehovah sacred service now, just before the great tribulation breaks out

    Merely using the term "great crowd" feeds the fires of (false) anticipation. Like the sucker leads in ads that say "You are a winner!" or "You are pre-approved!"

    The fine print and reality get ya every time.

    Just imagine how deflating it would be for most JWs if they were told "No, you are NOT part of the great crowd, because the end has not happened yet. And, quite frankly, we don't know when the end IS coming, so you shouldn't even call yourselves 'prospective members' of the great crowd. You are ONLY sheep, no more special or privileged than anyone else."


  • yesidid

    Thanks for your replies. Yes you are right they do appear to have a backstop for that one. They are a sub-set.

    I'll try again

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