Worldwide, there are now well over 7,900,000 Witnesses, with millions more associating with them, especially during the annual observance of the Memorial. We do not boast in numbers, for it is ‘God who keeps making things grow.’ Nevertheless, it is evident that the great crowd is growing and becoming greater with each passing year. There has been remarkable growth in the number of God’s servants because Jehovah himself is backing his Witnesses. At one time, the anointed remnant were like “the little one,” but their number grew as other spiritual Israelites were brought into God’s organization. Because of Jehovah’s blessing over the years, the increase continues with the gathering of the great crowd.
When does the great crowd come into existence? Was it in 1935 when J.F. Rutherford first identified the “great multitude,” as it is worded in the King James Version, as being those with an earthly hope? No. How could it have been, when the scriptural definition of the great crowd are those who come out of the great tribulation? After all, most of those who originally identified themselves as being part of the great crowd have nearly all passed away.
To illustrate the point, if a person 20 years of age was in attendance at the Washington D.C. convention in 1935 and they stood up when Rutherford invited all those with an earthly hope to rise from their seats, they would now be 101 years old!
That is not to say that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the hope of living upon the earth under the reign of the Kingdom, only that the great crowd have the distinction of coming out of the great tribulation.
So, when does the great crowd come into existence? During the great tribulation. That is when the chosen ones will be gathered, after the tribulation is cut short. Here is what Christ said: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.”
The gathering of the chosen ones will not be accomplished by any sort of preaching or teaching work. In fact, the Watchtower will have no part in that ingathering. As Jesus said, the angels will do the gathering. But that involves the harvest of the chosen ones, the sons of the Kingdom. What about the so-called other sheep? Well, does not the Watchtower now even point to a future separation of the sheep and the goats? That event will mark the formation of the great crowd. And, again, the Watchtower will not be involved. Jesus will oversee the division of the sheep and the goats. And the goats are those who will beat themselves in grief as they behold the power of the Kingdom overtaking them.
The 60th chapter of Isaiah, from which the day’s verse was lifted, perfectly harmonizes with what Christ foretold. Consider the opening verses: “Arise, O woman, shed light, for your light has come. The glory of Jehovah shines on you. For look! darkness will cover the earth and thick gloom the nations; but on you Jehovah will shine, and on you his glory will be seen. Nations will go to your light and kings to your shining splendor. Raise your eyes and look all around you! They have all been assembled; they are coming to you. From far away your sons keep coming, and your daughters being supported on the hip.”
Now, how many episodes of apocalyptic gloom are we to expect? The reason that question is relevant is because the darkness and gloom that envelopes the nations that Isaiah’s prophecy foretells is interpreted by the Watchtower to have already begun in 1914. However, the darkness and fear Christ foretold is connected to the tribulation. Yet, both prophecies foretell a great ingathering —obviously the same gathering.
This is just one of many, many inconsistencies that derive from the Watchtower’s insistence that the Kingdom began ruling in 1914.
But since the great tribulation has not come upon the world it is evident that the prophecy of Isaiah has not been fulfilled. The “nations” are people of all nations, as Revelation describes the great crowd as being composed of persons out of all nations, tribes and tongues. And the kings are the 144,000, most of whom will become such via the resurrection and the remaining ones alive during the parousia who will be accepted into the city of God even while in the flesh —making them kings of the heavenly Kingdom. Jehovah’s glory will be seen upon them, even as Christ foretold that then the chosen ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of God. Jehovah’s organization will then become complete and the new world will begin.