Who Are the Great Crowd of Revelation Chapter 7
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©December 1999|
| We have probably all been confronted by
Jehovah’s Witnesses at our door at one time or another. Can we trust what they are telling us? Is it possible they even
Let’s begin by reading Revelation 7:9-10.
- “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”
Who are these people who comprise the great multitude or great crowd? We see from the Scriptures just cited that they are out of every nation, and they have salvation.
According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, these are the persons who will survive the Battle of Armageddon and live on the earth, namely them only. They will receive their salvation by being members of their organization and faithfully selling their various publications. This, they believe, will entitle them to be an earthly member of this great multitude. A Watchtower magazine invited all to “Come to Jehovah’s Organization for Salvation”.
The actual location of the great multitude is of prime importance. Are they on earth, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, or are they in heaven?
Let’s look in Scripture for the location of this great crowd. Revelation 7:9 says that the great crowd are standing “BEFORE THE THRONE” and “BEFORE THE LAMB.” Is this an earthly location or a heavenly one? Well, we know the Lamb is in heaven, and Revelation chapter seven is a heavenly scene from verses nine through seventeen. The great crowd are before the throne of God and the Lamb. In exactly the same scene, verse 11 continues, “and” (please notice little words like “and,” as they indicate a continuation of the same description),
- “and all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces BEFORE THE THRONE and worshiped God.”
Now, either the angels, elders, and four living creatures, and the throne of God are on earth with the great crowd, OR, more reasonably, the great crowd is in HEAVEN, where the angels, elders, four living creatures, and the throne of God are located.
There is never any argument over the location of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation, chapters seven and fourteen. All cult groups readily admit that THEY are in heaven. This being the case, let’s look at a Bible description of the location of the 144,000. Revelation, chapter 14 verse 3, says the 144,000 are “BEFORE THE THRONE.” Remember the location of the great crowd just considered? They are also “BEFORE THE THRONE.”
Either the Bible is wrong, or the cult is wrong. The 144,000 and the great crowd are in EXACTLY THE SAME LOCATION. I prefer to believe the clear word of the Lord through His beloved Apostle John, rather than some self-appointed false prophet.
Reading on in Revelation chapter seven, to get the entire picture rather than isolating texts to put our own interpretation on them, we find both the great crowd and the 144,000 joining the angels, elders, and living creatures in a great scene of heavenly worship. Verse 12 records all of them saying,
- “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
The Bible continues to answer our questions regarding the identity of the great crowd. Verse 13 of Revelation 7 records,
- “And one of the elders answered saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?” And I said to him, “My lord, you know”. And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Let’s stop here and consider for a moment the context.
The great crowd are made up of persons who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They are blood-washed Christians, no doubt about that! In the cult groups the emphasis for salvation is on their particular organization, and not on Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s Witnesses claiming to be of the great crowd class cannot even use Jesus Christ as their mediator. They must go through the “remnant of the 144,000″ as Jesus, it is claimed, is a mediator only for this elite class! How sad.
Jehovah’s Witnesses making up this “earthly” great crowd class not only work hard, striving to achieve salvation by their works for their organization, but they are refused communion by their taskmasters. Once a year they pass the bread and wine in their meetings, called the “Lord’s Evening Meal.” but no one professing to be a member of the great crowd is allowed to partake of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as He commanded. (1 Cor. 10:23-26)
They are, in fact, refused the benefits of the shed blood of Christ. By this action, Jehovah’s Witnesses show that they are not members of the Body of Christ, His true Church. They are also disqualifying themselves as members of the great crowd of Revelation! How dangerous and tragic it is when we do not read Scripture for ourselves, but blindly accept the twisted interpretations of some leader!
Verse 15 of Revelation chapter 7 goes on to say of this blood-washed great crowd,
- “For this reason they are BEFORE THE THRONE of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them.”
Again the great crowd are “before the throne,” the same location exactly as the 144,000. Notice that the great crowd are serving God day and night in his temple, and that God spreads his TABERNACLE or TENT over them. Again we ask the question, WHERE is this happening? In heaven, or on earth? Where is the location of God’s TABERNACLE or tent? Watchtower headquarters would tell its people that the location is earth, but what does the Bible say?
Revelation, chapter 13, tells of the beast speaking. Verse 6 says,
- “And he [the beast] opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His TABERNACLE, that is, THOSE WHO DWELL IN HEAVEN”.
Yes, there is no mistaking the clear truth of Scripture, the tabernacle of God is in heaven, not on earth.
To summarize, if you want to be a part of the great crowd, then you must be a blood-washed Christian and you must be prepared to live in heaven before the throne of God and of the Lamb. There will be no great crowd on earth, for that is NOT the biblical location for the great crowd. We urge Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults to trust the word of God rather than an organization!
Revelation 7:16 continues with the promises for the great crowd in heaven with these comforting words,
- “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.”
The Watchtower organization makes these promises for their so-called earthly crowd, but the Bible makes these promises for the heavenly great crowd. Believe the Word of God and live.
Another important truth taught in this Scripture is the location of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. He is found in various locations throughout Revelation, sometimes at the right hand of God, but here it says that the Lamb is in the “center of the throne.” He could not be in the center of the throne unless He is truly God. Regardless of what the cults say, Jesus Christ is plainly called “God” in Scripture, and is the object of heavenly worship. If you refuse to worship Jesus while you are on earth, you can hardly expect to be part of the great crowd in heaven actively engaged in the worship of the Lamb in the center of the throne.
Notice also that verse 17 says that Jesus Christ, the Lamb, is the shepherd who will guide the great crowd to the waters of life. Who is guiding you? Is it some organization claiming to be the faithful and discreet slave? If so, it is not their place to be telling you how to get the waters of life. That is the job of the shepherd, Jesus Christ, who said of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. (John 14:6) Do you call the teachings of your organization “the truth”? If so, you are giving them a title that belongs only to Jesus Christ. Let’s look to Jesus Christ alone, be washed in His blood, be a member of His body, and be part of the great crowd in heaven.