Sunday, November 14
Look! a great crowd. —Rev. 7:9.
The apostle John received an exciting prophetic vision. In it, angels are told to hold back the destructive winds of the great tribulation until the final sealing of a group of slaves. (Rev. 7:1-3) That group is made up of 144,000 who will rule with Jesus in heaven. (Luke 12:32; Rev. 7:4) Then John mentions another group, so vast that he exclaims: “Look!” —an expression that may indicate his surprise at seeing something unexpected. What does John see? “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.” (Rev. 7:9-14) Imagine how happy John must have been to learn about myriads of people practicing true worship in the future! That vision no doubt strengthened John’s faith. How much more should it strengthen our faith, since we live in the time of the fulfillment of the vision! We have seen the gathering of millions whose hope is to survive the great tribulation and live forever on earth. w19.09 26 ¶2-3
It is a wonderful prospect, not only surviving the end of the world but never dying. Those who are left behind after the faithless and wicked are eliminated will be the only people who will ultimately live forever who were not resurrected from the dead.
We appreciate that the Father of mankind never intended for any of His intelligent creations to die. Those created in God’s image—both angels and humans—were meant to live as long as God lives, which is eternally.
And yet the reality is that everyone dies—humans anyway. Everyone just accepts it as a natural part of life. Some people even love death. But death is not always going to be king over mankind. As the firstborn from the dead Jesus is eventually going to abolish death and the conquest of death will begin before this death-dealing world even ends. How so?
During the actual parousia, the dead in union with Christ will arise. That is what is called the first resurrection. But Paul revealed a sacred secret. Those who are alive and found to be in union with Jesus when he returns will not die. Not really. They will be instantly changed. They will not sleep in death. Yes, their mortal bodies will become corpses but the conscious person, call it their soul, will live in a different form. In the twinkling of an eye, they will be transformed into immortal spirits in the exact mold of Jesus himself. The sting of death will be rendered harmless.
Ironically, while the Watchtower has championed the truth about the 144,000 and great crowd that will emerge from the tribulation and become the nucleus of what will be a new world, it has also placed an enormous stumbling block in the pathway to life. The core teaching of the Watchtower regarding Christ having begun ruling in 1914 will inevitably be shown to be false. Reality will crush the prevailing delusions when it becomes undeniable that the horsemen of the Apocalypse have been unsealed.
Related to the wall of falsehoods the Watchtower has erected is the statement made in the daily text claiming that the angels are holding back the four winds of the tribulation and the sealing will occur before the great tribulation. A rather obscure bit of prophecy in Isaiah brings it into focus. Isaiah 26:16-19 states: “O Jehovah, during distress they turned to you; they poured out their prayer in a whisper when you disciplined them. Just as a pregnant woman about to give birth has labor pains and cries out in pain, so we have been because of you, O Jehovah. We became pregnant, we had labor pains, but it is as if we have given birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the land, and no one is born to inhabit the land. “Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, you residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of the morning, and the earth will let those powerless in death come to life.”
Of course, in their arrogance, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witness cannot even imagine a scenario that would merit Jehovah’s discipline coming upon the practicers of “pure worship.”© In reality, it has never been more deserved. Barring Christ’s sheep from entering a Kingdom Hall because they have not allowed themselves to be injected with a substance that may kill or permanently injure them is surely an offense that warrants the harshest discipline—even death.
Would God allow the Governing Body and all their Helpers and all the Bethel family to take a vaccine that might harm them, David Splane asks? Absolutely, He would. Let them even drink wormwood!
But the point is, that discipline comes first. That is what the tribulation will accomplish. Then the dead will arise. The “dead will live” and Jehovah’s corpses will rise from the dust is in reference to the first resurrection. God calls them “my corpses” because He owns certain persons who were purchased by the blood of Christ. But “you residents in the dust” also applies to those who are physically alive but who will have had the spirit crushed out of them by God’s heavy hand of punishment. The dew of the morning is a reference to their being made alive by the spirit when Christ reveals himself to them.
The prophecy in Isaiah then goes on to say: “Go, my people, enter your inner rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until the wrath has passed by. For look! Jehovah is coming from his place to call the inhabitants of the land to account for their error, and the land will expose her bloodshed and will no longer cover over her slain. In that day Jehovah, with his harsh and great and strong sword, will turn his attention to Leviathan, the gliding serpent, to Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and he will kill the monster that is in the sea.”
After the sealing has been accomplished the angels let go of the four winds of destruction. The monster in the sea represents Satan. He will not literally be killed at that point, but the monstrous system he controls will be crushed out of existence and the Devil and his angels will be locked away for 1,000 years.
What a day that will be!