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.