Jehovah's Witnesses and the Great Crowd

by Meshech 25 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Meshech
    As Jesus Christ was preparing to go to His death, He encouraged His disciples with these words:

    "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3).

    After His death, the resurrected Jesus instructed his followers:

    "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20).

    In obedience to their risen Lord, those original Christians preached the gospel, or good news. The hope to all those Christian believers was to be with Jesus, in His "Father's house", and this hope was for "all the nations", that is, everyone, everywhere. Paul included this "hope of eternal life" as a primary doctrine of the gospel (Titus 1:2). Peter also writes of the Christian inheritance that was "reserved in heaven" (1 Peter 1:3,4). Those early Christians preached the gospel, or good news, that "our citizenship is in heaven" and declared to the world that they were "partakers of the heavenly calling" (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 3:1).

    Paul emphasises: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:4,5)

    The early Christian church was a united body, and this "one hope" was the “heavenly calling" (Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 3:1).

    But this unity was soon under attack. In Ephesus Paul urged the Christians to be diligent in preserving that unity (Ephesians 4:3). In Corinth false apostles were at work, out to draw Christians away from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15). There was a similar problem in Galatia. Note well Paul's warning:
    "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-9)

    Note that Paul repeats the very same warning twice, in verse 8 and then verse 9. Paul obviously feels very strongly about this issue.

    No man was authorized to change that original gospel or good news - not even "an angel from heaven"! The price to pay for preaching a "different" gospel was to be accursed by God.

    This one gospel, this one hope, has been the traditional teaching of the Christian church for almost 2,000 years. But in the twentieth century however, within living memory, we have witnessed the preaching of "a different gospel", another good news, one which was not preached by the apostles and the early Christians. This "other gospel" is preached by Jehovah's Witnesses and it proclaims that millions of Christians have a hope of everlasting life on earth, not in heaven.

    This doctrine of an earthly "hope" was first introduced by the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Joseph F. Rutherford, on Friday, 31st May 1935, to an audience of Jehovah's Witnesses in Washington, DC, America. It was then published in a two-part article entitled "The Great Multitude" in The Watchtower, 1st and 15th August of that same year. The information presented was a change to the previous teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. Their founding president, Charles T. Russell, had taught that the "great crowd" (or "great multitude") had a heavenly hope. That was the accepted teaching for over fifty years. When Rutherford became the president of the Watch Tower Society in early 1917, at first he continued to preach a heavenly hope for the "great crowd". This new doctrine, therefore, was not just "a different gospel" to the ear of a Christian; it was also different for all Jehovah's Witnesses.

    It is of interest that this doctrine of the "great crowd" was the cause of many leaving Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower headquarters in the spring of 1980. Following this event, the Society tried to repair the damage by publishing an article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, entitled, "The 'Great Crowd' Renders Sacred Service Where?"

    We will use that Watchtower article as the basis for our examination of this teaching of the Society.

    The scriptural basis for our discussion of the Great Crowd is Revelation 7:9-17. We will use the terminology of the Watchtower Society's own New World Translation (sometimes their Kingdom Interlinear Translation) to examine the biblical criteria describing the location of the Great Crowd and compare it with the Watchtower explanation.

    The passage in Revelation chapter seven tells us three things concerning the Great Crowd: first, they are before the throne of God (v 15); second, they render sacred service to God (v 15); and third, they do this in God's temple (v 15). Let us examine these expressions, in that order.

    Firstly, this description of the Great Crowd being "before the throne" is similar to that found in verse nine where the Great Crowd are "standing before the throne and before the Lamb". Where is this throne? The apostle John tells us that it is "God, who is seated on the throne" and that the throne is "in its position in heaven" (Revelation 4:2; 7:10; 19:4). We should remember, also, that John had responded, in his vision, to the invitation from the voice in heaven to "Come on up here" and he was then ushered through the "opened door in heaven" to behold forthcoming events (Revelation 4:1).

    The expression "before the throne" [Greek: enopion tou thronou] is unique to Revelation, where it occurs nine times. The Greek word "enopion" is formed from "en" which means "in" and "ops" which means "the eye". "Enopion" refers, therefore, to that which is before or opposite a person, towards which he turns his eyes, that which is in one's sight or hearing. Bible translators render "enopion" as "before", "in the sight of" and "in the presence of". The Great Crowd are described, consequently, as being "before the throne", "in sight of the throne" or "in the presence of the throne" by other translators.

    Elsewhere in Revelation the seven lamps, the glassy sea, the golden altar, the seven spirits, the twenty-four elders, the angels, the four living creatures and the 144,000 are all said to be "before the throne" (see Revelation 1:4; 4:5,6,10; 7:11; 8:3; 14:3). The Watchtower Society also says of all these that they are in heaven, before Jehovah's throne. For example:

    "Those seven symbolic lamps suggest that, in the fulfilment of John's vision, God is throning in his heavenly temple... the 'glassy sea like crystal' suggests purity, cleanness, on the part of those who approach God" (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p 14).

    "[The golden altar is where] their prayers through Christ needed to be acceptable just like sweet incense to God in his heavenly temple" (Ibid, p 211).

    "The 'seven spirits of God' are later pictured as eyes ... possessed by ... the Lord Jesus Christ, when he approaches God's throne and takes the scroll ..." (Ibid, p 155).

    The twenty-four elders: "The entire body of anointed Christians who, proving faithful till death, receive the promised reward of a heavenly resurrection and thrones near that of Jehovah" (Aid To Bible Understanding, p 1251).

    "In the vision the presence of the four living creatures together with the seven lamps of fire and the glassy sea like crystal before God's throne strongly suggests that the apostle John is seeing Jehovah God enthroned in his heavenly temple" (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p 20, emphasis added).

    "Where are these 144,000 ... standing with the Lamb ... around the throne of Jehovah God in heaven" (Babylon the Great has Fallen, p 461).

    In summary, the phrase "before the throne" is a unique description used only by the apostle John, only in Revelation, and for all occasions except one Jehovah's Witnesses are convinced that it means being in heaven, before Jehovah's throne.

    The one exception is of the Great Crowd being "before the throne" (Revelation 7:9,15) where, according to the Watchtower Society, the Great Crowd are said NOT to be in heaven, before Jehovah's throne.

    The question must be asked, in view of the foregoing: When the apostle John saw the "great crowd... standing before the throne", where did he see them? Did John see them in heaven, before Jehovah's throne or, as Jehovah's Witnesses teach, did John see them on earth?

    Which answer is consistent and harmonious with John's use of the unique expression "before the throne" in Revelation? Indeed, which answer is consistent with the Watchtower Society's own interpretation of the phrase elsewhere in their publications?

    The article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, entitled, "The 'Great Crowd' Renders Sacred Service Where?" does not go into any of the above detail. The only claim presented to prove that the Great Crowd are on earth is quite abrupt and emotional. Paragraph 4 states:

    "As regards those who today consider themselves part of the 'great crowd' that is now being formed, do they expect to go to heaven and become spirit creatures like angels? Do they even want to go to heaven? They will tell you, no!" (pp 14-15).

    Such a biased assertion falls far short of sound scriptural exegesis.

    What the article does not tell you is that if a Jehovah's Witness who considers himself to be of the Great Crowd was to declare a hope of going to heaven, and share this with others, he would be brought before a judicial committee and risk being disfellowshipped.

    So much for the Watchtower explanation as to why "before the throne" means eternity on earth for the Great Crowd.

    Elsewhere the Society reason: "Since they are standing before the throne of God and before the Lamb Jesus Christ, are they up in heaven? No! They are on earth and they will stay on earth .... In this age of radar and television we can appreciate how the Almighty God and his Lamb, Jesus Christ, can have before them this 'great crowd', even though here on earth" (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p 195).

    We will leave you to decide if such an argument is reasonable and, more to the point, if such a conclusion is in harmony with the New Testament teaching that there is only "one hope" reserved in heaven for Christian believers in Jesus Christ.

    We now turn our attention to the second clue to the location of the Great Crowd contained in Revelation 7:15 which describes them as "rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple".

    The phrase "sacred service" is a translation of the Greek word "latreuo", which is the verb form of the noun "latreia". To understand what the apostle John saw the Great Crowd doing, we need to grasp what John understood by those words.

    In his letter to the Romans, Paul informs us that God's people, the Israelites, had been entrusted with the sacred service [latreia] (Romans 9:4). The letter to the Hebrews tells us that priests entered into the tabernacle to perform the sacred services [latreia] (Hebrews 9:1-6). Christians are advised that the earthly sacred service was only a representation, or a shadow, of the heavenly reality to come (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1).

    The risen Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, has already sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and serves in His capacity as High Priest in the heavenly fulfilment of that earthly shadow (Hebrews 4:14; 8:1-2).

    The apostle John would have been aware of the meaning of the Greek words "latreuo" and "latreia". He would fully understand the spiritual truths found in the letter to the Hebrews, and so when he records that he saw the Great Crowd rendering sacred service in God's temple, what reasonable conclusion can we come to? Did John see the Great Crowd in heaven or, as the Witnesses teach, did he see them on earth?

    The article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980 goes into great detail about this sacred service and concludes:

    "The 'great crowd' find themselves in the earthly courtyards of Jehovah's spiritual 'temple' and are seeking to render 'sacred service' fearlessly to the God of Abraham" (p 23).

    The Watchtower article further explains that their "sacred service" includes obedience to God under persecution, preaching from door to door and making disciples. From this interpretation we can see that the Witnesses believe that Revelation 7:15 is a current event, happening now, and not a future occurrence. In fact, the article states that the Great Crowd have been rendering sacred service on earth since 1935. This final point leads us to a Watchtower contradiction. First we read:

    "John sees here, not the gathering of the 'great crowd' in progress, but the completed picture, the fully gathered though un-numbered 'great crowd'" (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p 195).

    However, the 15th August 1980 Watchtower article states:

    "Ever since this 'great crowd' began to be gathered in 1935" (p 21).

    Which interpretation is correct, and which is in error?

    Or, in view of the letter to Hebrews, are both interpretations in error?

    All will become crystal clear as we examine the third clue contained in Revelation 7:15.

    "That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple" (Revelation 7:15)

    We have been discussing the passage in Revelation chapter seven which tells us three things concerning the Great Crowd.

    First: the Great Crowd are before the throne of God Second: the Great Crowd render sacred service to God

    We now come to the third description, namely that the Great Crowd are located in God's "temple".

    With this particular detail, the apostle John demolishes all false teaching about the location of the Great Crowd. A true understanding of this fact was a key factor that led to vast numbers of Jehovah's Witnesses leaving the Watchtower Society, including many at their Brooklyn headquarters in the spring of 1980.

    Some Bible translations of this verse read that the Great Crowd are in God's "sanctuary", whilst others read that they are in God's "temple". Is this significant? Indeed it is. Very much so. Why? Because the Watchtower Society base their whole argument on the meaning of the Greek words translated "sanctuary" or "temple" in the New Testament. For this reason we must establish exactly what is meant by these words.

    Firstly then, what would a Jew understand the "sanctuary" to be?

    When the Israelites originally constructed the tabernacle, instructions were given concerning its transportation, and an interesting distinction is drawn between that which constitutes "the sanctuary" and that which constitutes "the tabernacle".

    Numbers chapter four gives us a list of items which constitute "the sanctuary", as carried by the sons of Kohath, and from this list we discover that "the sanctuary" was not so much the edifice or structure but, rather, that particular area set apart to hold the items sanctified to God.

    By contrast, Numbers chapter ten shows that the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari transported "the tabernacle", the actual structure consisting of such items as the tent cloths, entrance screen, the hangings of the courtyard, and so on.

    From this information in Numbers we clearly see that the "sanctuary" was that part of the tabernacle set apart for priestly sacred service.

    The tabernacle continued to contain God's "sanctuary" until the reign of King David. David didn't feel right living in a grandiose house of cedars while the ark of the covenant, representing God's presence, remained in a tent or tabernacle. Thus David drew up plans for his son, Solomon, to build a house as a sanctuary (1 Chronicles 28:10).

    The sanctuary, therefore, became the central point of a whole temple complex, the actual sanctuary building containing the ark of the covenant being known as "the house of Jehovah" (2 Chronicles 3:1-3; 5:14; 7:2; 26:18-19).

    The New Testament continues to show this distinction by the different Greek words used to describe the sanctuary and the general temple complex as a whole. There are, in fact, three separate Greek words used in the New Testament to describe the temple.

    One of these words, "oikos" or "oikia", simply denotes a house or a dwelling and is used to describe the house of God (e.g. Matthew 12:4). Its meaning is not disputed, so we will concentrate on the other two words which are subject to much controversy and contention when it comes to their translation by the Watchtower Society.

    The correct translation of the other two Greek words, namely "naos" and "hieron", is vital to understanding the location of the Great Crowd in Revelation.

    The Greek word "naos" occurs forty-six times in the New Testament, and a careful study of every occurrence illustrates how the word should be translated.

    For example, when Jesus died we read that "the curtain of the sanctuary [naos] was rent in two" (Mark 15:38). Clearly, Mark uses the word "naos" to define the inner sanctuary building.

    Luke is also precise in his use of "naos". Zechariah, the priest, entered into the inner sanctuary [naos] to offer incense on the altar as part of his sacred service. The fact that Luke limits the word "naos" to the inner sanctuary is evident from his comment that the people were "praying outside at the hour of offering incense". Note well that, although these people were inside the temple complex to pray, Luke clearly says they were outside the "naos", whereas Zechariah the priest was inside the "naos" (Luke 1:8-22).

    That the "naos" was the inner sanctuary of the temple complex is also confirmed by the Jewish historian of the first century called Flavius Josephus. Josephus was an actual eye witness of the temple in Jerusalem and he corroborates the precise meaning of the word "naos". He provides a detailed description of the temple complex and, after describing the outer cloisters of the first court (the Court of the Gentiles), he makes the following observation about approaching the second inner court:

    "There was a partition made of stone all round, whose height was three cubits: its construction was very elegant; upon it stood pillars, at equal distances from one another, declaring the law of purity, some in Greek, and some in Romans letters, that 'no foreigner should go within that sanctuary'; for that second temple was called 'the Sanctuary' [ho naos], and was ascended to by fourteen steps from the first court" (The Wars of the Jews, Bk V, ch V, 2).

    We are now ready to approach further reasoning in the article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, entitled, "The 'Great Crowd' Renders Sacred Service Where?" which attempts to prove that the Great Crowd are to receive an earthly "hope".

    The Watchtower article states:

    "The question revolves around that original Greek word that is variously translated as 'tent', 'temple' and 'sanctuary'. For example, in the Bible account of where Jesus Christ drove the money changers and merchantmen out of Herod's temple, the original Greek word used is 'naos'." (p 15)

    That statement is untrue.

    It is totally false to say that the Bible uses the Greek word "naos" in any Biblical account of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple.

    One active Jehovah's Witness elder is reported to have described that statement as "either an example of intellectual dishonesty or of intellectual ignorance" (Ray Franz, Crisis of Conscience, p 306).

    The falsehood is repeated:

    "It was from the courts of the outer temple (naos) that Jesus drove the money changers" (p 15, summary box).

    If we examine the four Gospel accounts of this incident (see Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45; John 2:14-15 in an Interlinear) we find that the actual Greek word used on every occasion is "hieron". In trying to prove that the Greek word "naos" includes the outer courtyards of the temple, the Watchtower has stooped to telling lies!

    When Jesus, in John 2:19-21, was challenged by what authority He dove out the money changers and merchantmen, He replied, "Destroy this sanctuary [naos], and in three days I will raise it up" Jesus, however, was not referring to Herod's temple but "the sanctuary [naos] that was his body".

    The Jews, misunderstanding Jesus, challenged Him on His claim that He could rebuild the "naos" in three days. They exclaimed that it had taken forty-six years to build this "naos". From this statement, the Watchtower article tries to prove that "naos" included the outer courtyards of the temple, by saying:

    "By 'sanctuary', what did those Jews mean? Certainly not the inner sanctuary that contained the vestibule, the Holy and the Most Holy compartments. They meant the temple structure as a whole, including its courtyards, in one of which the money changers and merchantmen were doing business" (p 15).

    These are bold statements to make but, you will notice, no scriptures are produced to support this false claim! Instead, the Watchtower attempts to build on their previous lie by means of authoritative and dogmatic bluster.

    We need to establish that the inner sanctuary did take forty-six years to build, because the Watchtower Society will argue that it took only eighteen months, thus leading to the assumption that when the Jews said it took forty-six years to build the "naos" then they must have meant the whole temple complex.

    Josephus records that the original temple, built by Solomon, was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:19). A new temple was built that lasted until the time of King Herod the Great. He decided to rebuild the temple, making it larger and higher (see The Antiquities of the Jews, XV, XI, 1).

    Work began about 20 BC. The old building was pulled down, new foundations laid and the new temple erected (see ibid, XV, XI, 3). The inner temple sanctuary was built by the priests in eighteen months, and Herod encompassed the entire temple complex with large cloisters and outer enclosures which took eight years to build (see ibid, XV, XI, 5, 6).

    We, of course, are now faced with a question. If it took only eighteen months to build the inner sanctuary [naos] and only eight years to build the other courts and buildings [hieron], how could the Jews say to Jesus that the building work had taken forty-six years?

    There are three reasons:

    Firstly, Herod's temple was constantly being improved after its basic completion, and it was continually damaged through the struggles with the Romans. Also, defective foundations resulted in a partial collapse of the inner sanctuary building.

    Secondly, not only did work continue for forty-six years but, at the time the Jews made the comment to Jesus, Josephus records that there was still work to be completed on the inner sanctuary [naos]. Indeed, when Jerusalem was besieged and the temple destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, the work still wasn't finished.

    Thirdly, Josephus gives accounts of many Jewish revolts resulting in Roman reprisals. On one occasion, 10,000 Jews went on the rampage in Jerusalem. They split into three groups, one of which took to the temple. In consequence, the Romans set fire to the cloisters and destroyed them utterly (Ibid, XVII, X).

    For these three reasons, namely general improvements, structural damage, and repeated war destruction, it is recorded that the original work-force of 10,000 was later increased to 18,000. It is only in AD 63, or thereabouts, that Josephus can say:

    "And now it was that the temple [hieron] was finished" (Ibid, XX, IX, 7).

    However, a footnote adds:

    "Of this finishing, not of the Naos or holy house, but of the hieron, or courts about it, called in general the temple".

    Without doubt, when Jesus talked about pulling down the sanctuary [naos] and rebuilding it in three days, He would have been touching on a very sore point. The Jews would have been painfully aware of the ongoing problems of a defective sanctuary building which, even after forty-six years, had not yet been finished.

    The Watchtower Society do not publish all these facts and, as a consequence, are open to the accusation of being deceptive in suggesting that John 2:20 implies that the "naos" includes the outer courtyards. The Society's drawings and graphic descriptions of the temple are based on the very works of Josephus we have quoted and they must, therefore, be fully aware of the true situation.

    With this clear evidence to the contrary, both from the Bible and recognized authorities, why is the Watchtower Society so determined to prove that the "naos" is not the inner Sanctuary of God, even stooping to the use of deception and lies?

    The article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, contains further deception as we will see.

    We continue to examine the deception found in the article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, entitled, "The 'Great Crowd' Renders Sacred Service Where?", which attempts to prove that the Great Crowd are to receive an earthly "hope".

    In the previous post, it was pointed out that The Watchtower falsely stated that the Bible used the Greek word "naos" in the account of Jesus driving the merchants from the temple.

    How different from The Watchtower of August 15, 1960 which, in an article entitled "The Temple of the Apostles' Time", when describing the presence of the moneychangers and all the animals which were being sold in the temple, says:

    "What kind of building could this be that had room for all this traffic? 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 hieron and 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."

    That particular Watchtower had it right. In 1960, the Watchtower Society had Jesus correctly driving the moneychangers out of the "hieron", but by 1980 the Society was telling lies about Jesus driving the moneychangers out of the "naos".

    Again in paragraph five of the 1980 article they once more employ dishonesty. The Society starts by quoting Isaiah 66:6 from the New English Bible:

    "That roar from the city, that uproar in the temple, is the sound of the Lord dealing retribution to his foes." (p 15)

    They point out that the Greek Septuagint translation of this verse uses "naos" for temple, and then add this comment:

    "Very plainly the temple, sanctuary, or 'naos', does not mean just the inner sanctuary, but the entire temple with all its structures." (p 15)

    No evidence is given. No reasoning is used. But the Watchtower Society is implying that the uproar is from those suffering retribution at the hand of God. The implication is that God's foes would not be causing uproar in the inner sanctuary, therefore "naos" must refer to the entire temple complex.

    The deception used here is staggering.

    Young's Literal Translation of the Bible brings out the real meaning of the original Hebrew used in Isaiah 66:6:

    "A voice of noise is from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of Jehovah, giving recompense to His enemies."

    The roar is not from God's foes but the roar is the very voice of Jehovah God! And where would God's roaring voice come from in the temple? From an outer courtyard? Certainly not! The voice of Jehovah would roar from His inner sanctuary, from the "naos"!

    Again we see the desperate tactics of the Watchtower Society to try and twist the true meaning of the Word of God.

    In paragraph six the Society introduces the account of when Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin. Several witnesses testified that Jesus had said He would destroy the temple [naos] and in three days build another not made with hands (Mark 14:58). Then the Society makes the point that the entire temple was destroyed in AD 70, not just the inner sanctuary. The implication being that Jesus foretold the destruction of the "naos" and the fulfilment included the destruction of the outer courtyards.

    This again is trickery!

    The testimony given in Mark 14:58 is actually that of those bearing "false witness" (v 57). Even so, the prophecy of Jesus was NOT about the destruction of the temple but about His own death and resurrection! Check it out for yourself at John 2:19-21

    On the other hand, when we look at the prophecies of Jesus regarding the actual destruction of the temple (see Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6; 19:44), the Bible does not use the word "naos", but uses "hieron" instead.

    It is quite remarkable that the Society takes the word of false witnesses to deceptively seek to prove that Jesus used the word "naos" to describe the entire temple complex, when He did no such thing.

    Finally, in paragraph seven, the Watchtower Society quote Matthew 27:5:

    "Judas threw the money into the sanctuary (naos) and left them; then he went off and hanged himself." (p 16)

    They summarize this incident as follows:

    "It was in the outer temple [naos] that Judas threw back the 30 pieces of silver. (p 15)

    Again, the pattern is the same. No evidence is given. No reasoning is used. All they do is point out that some translations use the word "temple" instead of "sanctuary", therefore "naos" must mean the temple with all its courts.

    But is it reasonable to conclude that Judas would throw the silver coins into the outer court? Just think about it for a moment. Remember, Judas received the money from the chief priests of the temple, as the price to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:15).

    And where would Judas go looking to find the chief priest? The exclusive domain of the priests in the temple was the inner sanctuary, the "naos".

    When Judas felt remorse and attempted to return the money, the chief priests would not take it from him and, therefore, Judas "threw the money into the sanctuary [naos]" (Matthew 27:3-5). We must remember that Judas was trying to return the money to its source and, when frustrated by the priests' refusal, it would be only natural for Judas to throw it into the exclusive domain of the priests, into the "naos".

    Why the Watchtower Society should find this unreasonable and decide instead that Judas had to throw the money into some outer area of the temple, where anyone, Jew or Gentile, could pick it up, is confusing and not supported by Scripture.

    The Watchtower Society, feeling they have provided proof that the "naos" included the outer courts, concludes with these words:

    "Thus the 'great crowd' may be said to be in the 'temple' or 'naos', of God and yet not be in heaven." (p 16)

    With this statement, the Society double their error. It is bad enough to suggest that the Great Crowd are not in the inner sanctuary, without twisting the Word of God further. Without any scriptural support whatsoever, they teach that the "naos" in which the Great Crowd serve is on earth.

    Does this agree with what John says in Revelation? Emphatically not!

    John specifically states that the sanctuary [naos] of God is in heaven (see Revelation 11:19; 14:17). Throughout Revelation it is clear that the sanctuary [naos] is a heavenly one; there is not a hint that the "naos", or any part of it, is on earth.

    Regarding the use of the Greek word "naos" in Revelation, even the Society's Bible encyclopaedia says:

    "God's dwelling place in the heavens is a sanctuary, or a holy place. It is in this heavenly sanctuary that the apostle John, in vision, saw the ark of the covenant." (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol 2, p 860)

    Yes, it is in this heavenly sanctuary that John saw the Great Crowd!

    In another book, the Society defines this heavenly "naos" in these words:

    "The temple sanctuary of God that was opened to John's view is the exclusive holy area of the heaven of the heavens where Jehovah sits enthroned." (Then is Finished the Mystery of God, p 296)

    Yes, it is in this holy area of the heaven that John saw the Great Crowd!

    Let us return to the article in The Watchtower of 15th August 1980, entitled, "The 'Great Crowd' Renders Sacred Service Where?"

    In defiance of Scripture and in contradiction of their own definition of the heavenly "naos", the Watchtower article publishes a diagram (p 17) depicting the Great Crowd in the outer Court of the Gentiles, otherwise known as the Courtyard of the Nations.

    Putting the Great Crowd in the Court of the Gentiles causes two major irreconcilable problems.

    Firstly, the Court of the Gentiles was unique to King Herod the Great's temple (c 20 BC - AD 70). There had been no such "Court of the Gentiles" in the tabernacle or in Solomon's temple. It is unthinkable that the Revelation to John, of God's heavenly temple, should include the concept of a "Court of the Gentiles" introduced by pagan King Herod.

    Secondly, there is only one "courtyard" mentioned in Revelation and the context clearly says that this "courtyard" is "outside the sanctuary [naos]" (Revelation 11:2). It is therefore impossible for the Great Crowd to be in the courtyard when, as we have seen, they are inside the sanctuary [naos] itself (Revelation 7:15).

    Jehovah's Witnesses speak of the 144,000 (Rev 7:4; 14:1) as "spiritual Israel". According to Witness teaching, the 144,000 are an exclusive group of Christians who, alone, have a heavenly hope. By contrast, according to Witness teaching, the Great Crowd is a secondary group of millions of Christians who have an earthly hope. If the heavenly group are called "spiritual Israel", what do the Witnesses call the earthly group?

    In various publications, the Watchtower Society refer to them as a "mixed company", "a group of aliens", "foreigners" and "non-Israelites" who associated themselves with the literal Israel to obtain benefits. The Society teach that these foreigners are a picture, or shadow, of the Great Crowd. By depicting the Great Crowd in the Courtyard of the Nations or the Court of the Gentiles, the Watchtower Society are, in effect, calling the Great Crowd an alien group of spiritual Gentiles!

    Literal Israel looked down on the Gentiles as second class citizens, inferior beings who had to be kept at a distance from themselves and, indeed, from God. A barrier was erected in the temple to prevent these "aliens", these foreign Gentiles, from getting anywhere near the holy inner sanctuary.

    Speaking of this barrier, the apostle Paul explains that the Gentiles used to be kept separate from God and excluded from the promises:

    "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier, of the dividing wall ... that in Himself He might make the two into one new man... so then you (Gentiles) are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple [naos] in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:11-22)

    Paul's letters in the New Testament are full of his efforts to prevent "false apostles" re-erecting the barrier that Christ had destroyed. However, in their doctrine of the Great Crowd, Jehovah's Witnesses are seen to be re-erecting the barrier between "spiritual Israel" and "spiritual Gentiles". This is in defiance of the gospel that Paul preached:

    "That through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3:6).

    What promise was that? The promise that Jesus gave to his followers:

    "There are many rooms in my Father's house; otherwise, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:23)

    In Revelation, Jesus gave John a vision of His Father's house, His heavenly sanctuary. In order to confirm the gospel that was being preached, Jesus showed John:

    "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 ... before the throne of God and are rendering divine service unto him day and night in his sanctuary [naos]." (Revelation 7:9-17).

    Christians today, must stand firm in this "one hope" for all those who believe in Christ and be ready to defend the good news against "false apostles" who attempt to distort the gospel.

    "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-9)


    The Foreword to the Watchtower Society's "New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures", 1950 edition, states: "In order to bring out the richness and variety of the language of the inspired writers, we have avoided the rendering of two or more Greek words by the same English word, for this hides the distinction in shade of meaning between the several words thus rendered."

    Unfortunately, as seen below, this statement is not true when the New World Translation translates the two Greek words "naos" and "hieron". By translating both the Greek words "naos" and "hieron" as "temple" the Watchtower has blurred the distinction in shade of meaning between the inner sanctuary and the entire temple complex.

    The following is a list of the forty-six places where the Greek word "naos" occurs in the New Testament, together with the English equivalent as rendered by the New World Translation:

    Matthew 23:16 temple
    Matthew 23:16 temple
    Matthew 23:17 temple
    Matthew 23:21 temple
    Matthew 23:35 sanctuary
    Matthew 26:61 temple
    Matthew 27:5 temple
    Matthew 27:40 temple
    Matthew 27:51 sanctuary
    Mark 14:58 temple
    Mark 15:29 temple
    Mark 15:38 sanctuary
    Luke 1:9 sanctuary
    Luke 1:21 sanctuary
    Luke 1:22 sanctuary
    Luke 23:45 sanctuary
    John 2:19 temple
    John 2:20 temple
    John 2:21 temple
    Acts 7:48 houses
    Acts 17:24 temples
    Acts 19:24 shrines
    1 Corinthians 3:16 temple
    1 Corinthians 3:17 temple
    1 Corinthians 3:17 temple
    1 Corinthians 6:19 temple
    2 Corinthians 6:16 temple
    2 Corinthians 6:16 temple
    Ephesians 2:21 temple
    2 Thessalonians 2:4 temple
    Revelation 3:12 temple
    Revelation 7:15 temple
    Revelation 11:1 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 11:2 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 11:19 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 11:19 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 14:15 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 14:17 temple (sanctuary)
    Revelation 15:5 sanctuary
    Revelation 15:6 sanctuary
    Revelation 15:8 sanctuary
    Revelation 15:8 sanctuary
    Revelation 16:1 sanctuary
    Revelation 16:17 sanctuary
    Revelation 21:22 temple
    Revelation 21:22 temple

    The following is a list of the seventy-one places where the Greek word "hieron" occurs in the New Testament, always rendered into English as "temple" by the New World Translation:

    Matthew 4:5; 12:5,6; 21:12(x2),14,15,23; 24:1(x2); 26:55. Mark 11:11,15(x2),16,27; 12:35; 13:1,3; 14:49 Luke 2:27,37,46; 4:9; 18:10; 19:45,47:20:1; 21:5,37,38:22:52,53; 24:53. John 2:14,15; 5:14; 7:14,28; 8:2,20,59; 10:23; 11:56; 18:20 Acts 2:46; 3:1,2(x2);,3,8,10; 4:1;20,21,24,25,42; 19:27; 21:26,27,28,29,30; 22:17; 24:6,12,18; 25:8; 26:21. 1 Corinthians 9:13
  • blondie

    So are you planning a book in the future? You realize that this is a discussion made of mostly ex-jws who no longer support the WTS doctrines, right? Can you give us a summary of your goal with this information? Thanks.

  • nowwhat?

    Yes the watchtower preaches a corrupt gospel. Although I still consider myself a Christian. This is not the forum for that. Go to or beroean pickets


    1) God's Mansion sounds like Valhalla.

    2) You should send that to the Governing Body. I’m sure they will repent.


  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog

    Amen, epic breakdown!

    It's ironic, JWs will say 'the word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible', but neither is the phrase 'earthly hope'. As a matter of fact it's explicitly contradicted as you've shown, as well as many other scriptures there weren't room for. The burden of proof is really on them to prove an invented doctrine, and all this research into Greek words shouldn't even be necessary as the scripture's meanings are self evident in this regard, but it just goes to show how weak their foundation is.

  • Rattigan350

    "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3).

    When Jesus said that he was talking to his apostles and disciples. He was stating that he will die and go to heaven as a spirit and then prepare a place for them there by casting Satan out of Heaven. But he was not referring to all believers. Just those ones with him.

  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    "In My Father's house are many mansions" So imagine God with a humongous house. Inside of that, is a hundred mansions. Kind of odd isn't it?

  • waton

    The wt Great Crowd is tied to the Great Tribulation, which has not happened yet. (ask the elders "has it?") so,

    No GT no GC.

    we used to publicly teach that the Great Tribulation started in 1914, now Splane said (implied by his numbing numbers) it might nor start until the 2075.

    No GT no GC. Elders will be really old by then.

  • Meshech

    My goal is to give ex-jws the information they need, from the pages of Watchtower literature, to prove that the Watchtower Society is deceptive and unreliable.

  • Meshech

    Interesing experience.

Share this