Saturday, August 20

The eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous, and his ears listen to their supplication.1 Pet. 3:12.

The righteous include “a great crowd” who “come out of the great tribulation.” These survivors are not just “a crowd.” They are “a great crowd”—a very large number of people. Do you see yourself among them as a survivor of “the great tribulation”? Where do those making up the great crowd come from? They are being brought together because of what Jesus foretold as part of the sign of his presence. He said: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” In these last days, this is the chief work of God’s organization. Because of the global preaching and teaching activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses, millions of people have learned to worship God “with spirit and truth.”

COMMENTARY

In 1935 J.F. Rutherford spoke on the topic of the “Great Multitude” at a national convention of the newly-named Jehovah’s Witnesses. He asked those in attendance who did not entertain the heavenly calling to please stand up. He thus introduced the “great multitude,” as the traditional King James Version phrased it, as those who will survive the great tribulation.

But, alas, in all likelihood all of those “Jonadabs,” as they were called then, have died off, thus rendering it impossible for them to come out of the great tribulation. I suppose it is feasible that if someone had been born, say around 1916, making them 19-20 years old in 1935, they could still be alive now at 100 years of age. But surely that entire World War One generation has for the most part passed away.

The point is, the great crowd are identified by one characteristic. They come out of the great tribulation. Obviously, no one has come out of the tribulation alive for the simple reason that the world’s greatest time of trouble has not occurred.

So, while Rutherford may have correctly interpreted the great multitude as being composed of sanctified believers who will live on earth after the battle of Armageddon, those 800-plus souls whom Rutherford identified as the original members of the great multitude were not really, for the reason already stated.

The question really is, when is the great crowd? When does it form? The answer is, the great crowd is gathered during the great tribulation – not before. That truth is expressed in the prophecy of Haggai, which states: “For this is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘Yet once more—in a little while—and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. and I will shake all the nations, and the precious things of all the nations will come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ says Jehovah of armies.”

It is apparent that the outworking of the prophecy of Haggai 2:6 has been going on since Jehovah God the Almighty took over his universal sovereignty in that war-marked year of 1914 C.E. But the prophecy goes on to tell us what will result from the rocking of all the nations, besides the total removal of the man-made system of things on earth. — Paradise Restored 1972

 The Watchtower teaches that God began shaking the nations in 1914. Supposedly God has been rocking the nations over the course of the past century! However, the fact of the matter is since the last great spasm or war known as WWII ended the world has enjoyed a remarkable period of relative peace and stability. Indeed, consider that after the war ended there were only about a quarter of a million active Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world. That number doubled in the span of five years. Can that be attributed to the nations being rocked by war? Of course not. Just the opposite. From 1950 to the present the organization has grown because of the peace and stability in the world, not because God has been violently shaking the nations.

Jesus spoke of the heavens being shaken and the sea being violently driven. Here is what he said: “Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.”

For many decades the Watchtower taught that the nations had been in anguish not knowing the way out ever since 1914. The February 15, 1988 Watchtower, however, was the last time the organization applied Jesus’ words to the past. Starting with the April 1, 1990, edition the Watchtower unceremoniously shifted to a future fulfillment. But what that means is that these things have not started to occur yet, hence there is no tangible evidence that our deliverance is getting near.

Since Christ connected deliverance, or salvation, with the nations being in anguish and men becoming faint with fright, while the powers of the heavens are shaken, it is apparent that the shaking Jehovah spoke of in Haggai coincides with the great tumult Christ foretold, which the Watchtower now even admits has not begun yet.

Paul indicated as much too. Quoting the prophecy of Haggai the inspired apostle wrote at Hebrews 12:26-27: “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised: ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ Now the expression ‘yet once more’ indicates the removal of the things that are shaken, things that have been made, in order that the things not shaken may remain.’”

The time Jehovah’s voice shook the earth was when he spoke to Moses on the mountain. Paul indicated that the earth is due another shaking when Jehovah speaks, a shaking that will result in the utter annihilation of the present system, including the Watchtower. What will remain? The next verse says: “Therefore, seeing that we are to receive a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to receive undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably offer God sacred service with godly fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.”

The Kingdom is the only institution that will remain. Therefore, those who come out of the tribulation are brought, not into any sort of visible organization, but into the Kingdom.

Indeed, even the Watchtower with all of their irrational attachment to 1914, unwittingly acknowledges that the great crowd have not been gathered yet, that is because about 20 years ago the Governing Body revised their teaching regarding the separation of the sheep and the goats —placing it in the future. That is when the King will say to the sheep: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”

Appropriately, the seventh chapter of Revelation depicts the great crowd as standing before the throne. While some unreasoning persons imagine that to be a reference to their being in heaven, the illustration of the sheep and the goats takes place when the Son of man arrives in his glory and sits down upon his throne. Obviously, though, the goats that are sent to the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his angels are not in heaven. Hence, standing before the throne means that they are judged here upon the earth.

And since the sheep who are blessed with entry into the Kingdom are blessed due to their having supported Christ’s brothers during their tribulation, it is evident that the great crowd are formed as a result of being drawn into the unshakable Kingdom during the great shaking yet to come.

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