Is the great crowd in heaven or on earth?

//Is the great crowd in heaven or on earth?

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the great crowd will live on earth when Revelation 19:1 clearly says the great crowd is in heaven?

It is problematic when a single verse is used as the proof of a particular teaching. Yes, obviously, Revelation 19:1 states that John “heard what seemed to be a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.” The question is, is that the same great crowd that John had seen earlier in his series of visions, a great crowd who come out of the tribulation?

The answer is no. There are two groups whom the apostles described as a great crowd. The great crowd praising Jehovah in heaven are angels —not humans. First, though, take note that John only heard what seemed to be the voice of a great crowd. While clearly those praising God for the marriage of the Lamb to his bride are heavenly observers, their voices are only likened to the roar of a great crowd, something humans might be familiar with. And no, they are not people who have gone to heaven either. How do we know?

The chosen ones who are taken to heaven are said to experience the first resurrection. The 20th chapter of Revelation explains that the second death has no power over those who are made alive in the first resurrection. What does that mean? It means they will be instantaneously immortal and cannot by any means ever be corrupted or destroyed. After they are resurrected they will no longer even need Christ to intervene on their behalf as a mediator and high priest. They will have life in themselves, as does Jehovah.

That, however, is not the case with the great crowd who will come out of the tribulation. Regarding that great crowd the scripture says: “That is why they are before the throne of God, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down on them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”

Notice in the verse above that even after the great crowd survives the global holocaust known as the great tribulation, the Lamb ministers to them —“guiding them to springs of waters of life.” In other words, they will not have life in themselves, as will those who experience the first resurrection. They must be led further. That is because even though they will survive the end of the world they will still be imperfect humans in need of Christ’s provisions for life. 

Furthermore, the passage above states that the One on the throne will spread his protective tent over them and wipe every tear from their eyes. That symbolism is presented again in the 21st chapter of Revelation, which states: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

Only the most truth-averse and determined deceivers will reject the plainly stated fact that those over whom God spreads his tent are on earth. That is where mankind lives —on earth. And those whom God comforts are said to “be his people” —not angels. Indeed, those who survive the great tribulation will have experienced deep trauma —living through the worst war this world will have suffered. Their eyes will witness unspeakable horrors. That is why they will be in need to have the tears wiped from their eyes. 

But doesn’t the passage in the seventh chapter of Revelation say that the great crowd are standing before the throne? Yes, it does, but that is a fairly common expression to denote that individuals have received a favorable judgment, not that they are literally standing before God’s throne in heaven like the angels. For example, Jesus exhorted Christians to make every effort to be faithful so that they may succeed in standing before the Son of man. Again, their standing before Christ is not in the heavenly realm.

As regards the separation of the sheep and the goats Jesus used a similar analogy, saying: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Are we to imagine that all the peoples of the world will be raptured to heaven in order to be gathered before the throne of Christ for judgment? Only the most unenlightened mind would would imagine that to be so.

The apostle John warned us that there are many deceivers in the world. How true that is. There are con men aplenty who pretend to know something about the truth.

Ironically, those who refuse the accurate knowledge of the truth, who perversely insist on claiming the salvation God offers on their terms, who allow themselves to be deceived regarding the nature of the great crowd, inevitably disqualify themselves from being among the throng of Christians who are destined to be the first people on earth who have ever lived who will never die.

2017-10-29T09:22:45+00:00 October 29th, 2017|Mailbag|45 Comments
  • Simpletruth

    Great article! Thank you for all you do…

  • Isaac of Coimbatore

    It is so simple to understand. Thank you Robert I am going to discuss in my family study this Tuesday.

  • Nigel

    “For this is what Jehovah says,
    The Creator of the heavens, the true God,
    The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it,
    Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited:
    ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.'” Isa 45:18

  • trudy
  • Burt Reynolds

    The blessing I find of being here with you guys is that in just a few paragraphs, the truth comes pouring out of a split rock like water did for the Israelites. Ask, and you will receive. Knock, and the door will be opened. Is there anything more simple? and yet the watchtower turn it into an unendurable tangled ball of barbed wire. Madness.

    • trudy

      Yes ,I put a post about mind control ..how it is done ..Interesting .It is deep what they planted all done for a reason ..there own glory and not for Jehovah making everyone worthless .

  • trudy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxdsF_BjZu8
    Jehovah wittiness under the microscope for child abuse Ireland .There are links under the you tube clip.

  • trudy

    My Jehovah witness friend is now on the cuff of not going into the Kingdom halls ,because I have exposed all the goings on and he said from the experience he received ..He said there is no love there ,they are not my friends he said. Also today I sent the new sign Sun worship from Warwick to a jw study , she was blown away by it ..I am now exposing this on YouTube also in comments ..So to open eyes of ones.. I was looking at reviews of Warwick …so many are adoring the museum and the buildings ..Its making a like sleep walking gas that comes over them ..as if Jehovah is in the building .He does not dwell there .I am pretty sure he is feeling cross ..and saving up his breath for his big day …I realise that now I had mind control over me now and it was really strange how I let them control me… ..I have to pinch my self ..I feel a lot more calm now I know the truth about the truth . It takes time to sink in ..I would like to say the shunning thing ….is a load of rubbish ..and only the elders have the power to speak to DF as if they are like some sort of god .. how did I ever buy into this ..It is one of the unnatural things ,I have ever required to do, by people I did not even know asking me to bulling!! and not forgiving 7 ,77 times .just do as I say no as I so ..so to speak. Simple Simon say!!!

    • Burt Reynolds

      There is a dividing line between the people within the congregation. There is a dividing line between the bible and what the watchtower preach above the simple message. And there is a dividing line between those who are honest in thier love for the Father and those who seek to gain for themselves. Whether in or out of the watchtower, we need to know the difference so that we can gain a balance.

      • Island Breeze

        So true brother Burt! I’ve reached my harmonious balance, took awhile……..

    • Richard Long

      Trudy, if ever a sister needed a good laugh as healing herbs, it is you right now. How about a parody of a “good elder” doing his thing? Please remember they’re not all like this. Enjoy!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvPleh5Br60

      • trudy

        That’s elder is DF now ..

        • Richard Long

          Exactly. Expert witness for the prosecution.

      • Burt Reynolds

        There is always so much truth in satire!

    • I am trying to figure out the connection of any of this to the article I posted.

      • Richard Long

        I think she’s just flailing, Robert. Do I need to remind you what a mess I was?

        • trudy

          This is years of mess including the 1975 child and my mother burning everything because of the teaching of the end .It is really hard to tell what is true and what is not .who the walking dead are .It only been in the few mths I woke up but I will say there is going to be a massive load on the way out of there ..I am sending people here .I wonder if anyone is going to take them to court for the mind control lies..

      • trudy

        I take the hint .I read your write ups and tell many as possible ..but I find , I don’t know where to talk about the waking up of others as it will save there life ..in the end.

  • The Raven

    On your tweet about the Sackler family and Oxycontin :
    Mortimer Sackler
    Jointly with his brothers he endowed the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University. In 1995, Sackler was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to education.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortimer_Sackler
    Raymond Sackler also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Sackler

  • trudy

    This is a simple little write up about mind control as I was looking for something of 1 – 2 hours or more of constant talking ..how it is done ..and how the victim cannot small or tell and con artist is in control of the mind.,, ,,This is torcher the shunning another mind control stopping the mothers milk and then the person dies so to speak .So vile ,it has become a cult ,I think there was WT magazine on about the mother love for a child and if the mother stops giving attention the baby can die .
    https://hwarmstrong.com/brainwashing-mind-control.htm

  • into the light

    There are some verses in bible that make things confusing to me in regards to resurrection and also the Kings that will rule with Christ. My comment might be a bit convoluted as I’m having a million thoughts right now and am having trouble articulating it.
    For example in Matthew 22:30 it says about those resurrected that “they are as angels in heaven”. Please bear in mind that the Pharisees and Sadducees who asked the question had no concept of spiritual class. Revelation 20:4, 5 Also speaks about resurrection that is different than is generally understood. It says the rest of the dead (second resurrection) is not until 1000 years has passed. It also says towards the end of chapter 20 that dead are resurrected after Satan is destroyed. Chapters 20 to 22 are confusing to me, and to make things even more so, it is said that the book of Revelation is not to be sealed. Pls help 🤕

    • Burt Reynolds

      Revelation is SO confusing. I profess no knowledge of it over wiping every tear from our eyes. Can being resurrected after 1000 years apply to man reaching a state of perfection and thus being ‘resurrected to perfection’? I.e., a spiritual resurrection.

      • into the light

        It could be. But Revelation 20:11-13 makes it a bit confusing, since it implies that grave and sea held the dead until after Satan was thrown into the lake of fire. I wish there was a platform for us to study the scripture and share our thoughts about it in a simpler way than disqus.

    • Craig Knight

      Hi ITL! I had problems with this verse also – For example in Matthew 22:30 it says about those resurrected that “they are as angels in heaven”. My Son and I figured this one out discussing it. Jesus was speaking over the heads of the Sadducee’s because Jesus knew they were just trouble makers so He spoke over their heads like He did many times. He was speaking of the future resurrection of the anointed ones here in Matthew. That concept of earthly resurrection that WT teaches that those resurrected will not be able to marry. 30 for in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but they are as angels in heaven. Jesus was referring to the anointed here not those raised to earthly life. When vs 30 says as the angels that’s because the anointed are as the angels but not like them exactly in that they are immortal beings which is a higher position than the angels. I was so relieved when RK concurred with this. Makes much more sense than WT’s picture of those resurrected to earth being lonely forever. Just another stupid WT teaching. God’s plan was for man to have a mate for all eternity not being raised to some lonely existence. So those raised in the earthly resurrection will be able to find new mates as is God’s purpose all along!

      Your other question about Revelation 20:4, 5
      4 And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls* of those executed* for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand.+ And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ+ for 1,000 years. 5 (The rest of the dead+ did not come to life until the 1,000 years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Those on earth won’t come to life in the sense that it takes a thousand years to be perfected. At the end of the 1000 year reign those earthly ones will be considered having life in the perfect sense. Then Christ turns the kingdom back over to God,

      • Burt Reynolds

        Thanks Craig, that makes a lot of sense. I am sure that there is much more that is kept hidden from us too. I wondered how that scripture was true. I was thinking of the pain resurrected ones would go through being alone. I wish the watchtower had not thought it necessary to talk about things they had no idea about and put such worry and confusion on people. It’s been a punishing life!

        • Craig Knight

          Yeah no kidding Burt. I lost my Dad and my younger Brother. They were both approachable elders. I also lost my Brother in law only about 8 months ago. I told my sister who is a loyal JW that they were all going to be lonely in the new system without wives. She acted all offended. The WTC has caused so much misery in the minds of so many good people. Punishing is a very good description of what many of us have suffered.

      • The Raven

        You and I talked about this a few weeks ago. I was led to belive they were speaking about the resurrected ones and thought how sad. It wasn’t until I read an article here that I understood what Christ meant by it.
        https://e-watchman.com/last-watchtower-comes-around-sort/

        • Craig Knight

          Hi! Raven how you doin? I was wondering where you were. Yes I found these gems here and you helped me understand the length of the tribulation and how that will allow those who die during the first 3 1/2 year period to have an opportunity to be resurrected. I always thought the teaching of WT that said the resurrected ones would not marry was retarded. So glad to have things make sense.

          • The Raven

            I’m doing fine, and you? That was a really good talk we had and I agree that teaching was terrible. I believed it for a long time and both my brother and I being widowers made that even more of a despairing thought. So glad I understand it now. Who would want to spend a thousand years alone? Their error on that teaching is almost as bad as those who Christ was speaking to at the time.

            • Craig Knight

              I always had a gut feeling that the teaching was wrong. WT seems to just write things without thinking about it until they end up with egg on their faces. WT painted that picture of being alone which caused needless sadness. WT isn’t just off on prophecy but a lot of other concepts as well. I didn’t know you lost your wife. Sorry to hear that but we have a goal that helps us focus on the future resurrection. Can’t even fathom how great that’s going to be.

      • into the light

        Thanks for explanation, Craig. It makes sense he could’ve been talking over their heads since they were really like pests, those Pharisees. I wasn’t aware of the WT teaching about them being alone 🤔. Could it have also been that Jesus was referring to our state after the earth is filled? I don’t see a need for “one flesh” once the command to fill the Earth is fulfilled…

        As for Revelation 20 verses, it’s confusing because it says in verses 12 and 13 that the sea and grave gave up their dead, meaning that it held them there until that point in time. Also what does verse 11 mean? I guess Revelation needs constant re-reading until it starts making sense.

        • Craig Knight

          ITL: Thanks for explanation, Craig. It makes sense he could’ve been talking over their heads since they were really like pests, those Pharisees. I wasn’t aware of the WT teaching about them being alone.

          CK: Well just by the fact that WT teaches that Matthew 22 means those earthly ressurected ones would not be able to marry. This teaching is in direct conflict to God’s command for men to have wives and raise offspring. Once the earth is filled then it makes sense that conceiving children will be stopped. But to be alone for eternity sounds more like cruelty to me. Once you’ve been married for a long time you don’t have sex anyway! That was a joke by the way. Ha ha!

          ITL; Could it have also been that Jesus was referring to our state after the earth is filled? I don’t see a need for “one flesh” once the command to fill the Earth is fulfilled…

          CK; God knew man would not be happy without a mate so that is his purpose.

          ITL; As for Revelation 20 verses, it’s confusing because it says in verses 12 and 13 that the sea and grave gave up their dead, meaning that it held them there until that point in time. Also what does verse 11 mean? I guess Revelation needs constant re-reading until it starts making sense.

          CK; Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. The Bible anwers itself = Daniel 2:35
          “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. It’s interesting that in both Daniel and Revelation the term not found appears.

          So vs 11 Talks about the old system being done away with and there was no place was found for them in the kingdom. Then the resurrection begins on the earth. This must be the 2nd reserrection because the first resurrection happens at the real parousia of Christ. When the aointed are all raised up to partake in Armageddon with Christ. The resurrection of those on earth happens soon after armageddon and at the end of the 1,000 years those with the earthly hope will have passed the final test when Satan is released and after that they will have eternal life not before. So in that sense they come to life in the perfect sense when they will be able to communicate directly with Jehovah.

          • into the light

            Thanks. I figured the verse 11 was talking about the governments of this system. They are also sometimes compare to mountains and hills. But the next verses are But the next verses are somewhat starting to make sense as I read them repeatedly.
            The cross reference for vs.12 used in NWT points to John 5:28, 29 where it says that righteous are resurrected for life and unrighteous for judgment. Does this mean that some are already judged as righteous?

            • Craig Knight

              Does this mean that some are already judged as righteous? Good question! I would assume that there are those sleeping in death like Job, Abraham, Joseph etc, who Jehovah consider’s righteous and in Jehovah’s mercy perhaps many billions who died(the unrighteous) will mercifully be raised up and taught the truth. They are judged on what they do once they understand God’s will. I’m pretty sure I have that right. 🙂

            • into the light

              It makes sense to me that those you mentioned would be judged as righteous, too. After all, they have proven their loyalty and faith to Jehovah and they were rewarded for it. It’s just the idea of them having the resurrection of life before the others. Isn’t the whole idea of previous comments that we don’t get life until after 1000 years, when death is destroyed? Maybe I’m missing something somewhere 🤔

            • Craig Knight

              I think maybe you are confusing righteous with perfection? Many righteous ones will survive as the great crowd because their robes are made white in the blood of the lamb but reaching perfection will take 1000 years. The anointed are the only ones raised to perfection and immortality.

    • The Raven

      Craig’s explanation is excellent and here’s some of Robert’s articles as well:
      On 1,000 years:
      https://e-watchman.com/first-resurrection-last-day/
      https://e-watchman.com/will-dead-come-life/

      on “as angels” in heaven
      https://e-watchman.com/last-watchtower-comes-around-sort/

      Kings on the earth:

      Kelly translates, “reign over the earth” (Greek, “epi tees gees”), which is justified by the Greek (Septuagint, Jud 9:8; Mt 2:22). The elders, though ruling over the earth, shall not necessarily (according to this passage) remain on the earth. But English Version is justified by Re 3:10. “The elders were meek, but the flock of the meek independently is much larger” [Bengel].

      Since the kings are immortal spirits it would stand to reason they would rule over the earth and I am applying a bit more reasoning by stating that their means to communicate with us may not rule out manifestations of their presence on the earth as well as the angel’s ministering to us since they have interacted with man in the past. It may explain why some view the translation through their beliefs regarding the reign of Christ and His brothers. Some see it as strictly a heavenly dimension others as a presence among God’s people in some capacity.

      • into the light

        Hey thanks, I’ll read the articles when I get some distraction free time. As for the kings, I’ve been thinking that they might be “on Earth” in the same way Jesus was on Earth for 40 days after he was resurrected. I need to do more reading. I wish I could do the bible study full time as my appetite for these things has been crazy lately.

        • The Raven

          Sure thing. Take your time. 😊

  • Cathii D’Anthonii

    Its more than wonderful to know that I Jehovah wants us to survive on the earth..

  • Cathii D’Anthonii

    Thank you bro.King.

  • JTK

    thats quite a point about the GC having come through the GT in need of comfort due to the atrocities witnessed by them during the time of GT
    i had only associated wiping tears from their eyes only with the trauma of the daily effects of this system.
    that opens it up to how traumatic the GT is going to be on all of mankind
    i will also say the GC are gathered from all the nations and are not numbered or quantified except that they wash their robes white in the blood of the lamb,

  • Craig Knight

    Those of the Great Crowd are in the outer courtyard of Revelation. WT has it right on this subject right up until the MOL.

    REVELATION 11:2 THE OUTER COURTYARD
    But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. Is the outer courtyard a symbol of all people on earth?
    The inspired letter to the Hebrews states that in this spiritual temple the Most Holy is “heaven itself,” the area where the person of God is. (Heb 9:24) Since only the Most Holy is “heaven itself,” then the Holy and the priestly courtyard, as well as their features, must pertain to things on earth, those things having to do with Jesus Christ during his ministry on earth and his followers who are “partakers of the heavenly calling.”—Heb 3:1.

    Revelation 7:9-15 reveals “a great crowd” of other worshipers of Jehovah sharing in pure worship at the spiritual temple. Those making up this “great crowd” are not described in terms that identify them as underpriests. The ones who make up this “great crowd” are said to have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Because of their faith in the sacrifice of Christ, they are credited with a righteous standing that makes possible their preservation through “the great tribulation,” so they are said to “come out of” it as survivors.

    At Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-4, reference is made to a ‘lifting up’ of “the mountain of the house of Jehovah” in “the final part of the days,” and it is foretold that there would be a gathering of people of “all the nations” to that “house of Jehovah.” Since there has been no physical temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem since 70 C.E., this must refer, not to some physical structure, but to an elevating of true worship in the lives of Jehovah’s people during “the final part of the days” and a great gathering of people of all nations to share in worship at Jehovah’s great spiritual temple.

    WT hasn’t a clue who the MOL really is yet!

    An Impostor. The apostle Paul, in warning of the apostasy to come, spoke of “the man of lawlessness” as setting himself up “so that he sits down in the temple of The God, publicly showing himself to be a god.” (2Th 2:3, 4) This “man of lawlessness” is an apostate, a false teacher, so he actually seats himself only in what he falsely claims to be that temple.—See MAN OF LAWLESSNESS.

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