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The Great Crowd


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We can not nullify scripture. Each and every thing Revelation tells us about the Great Crowd,  is how the chosen priests  are described in other scriptures.  We must accept the Bible's own interpretation of who the Great Crowd is.

Let us consider only one  of the many descriptions of them....

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"and they render sacred service day and night in his temple".

The "Temple" in Revelation is not the physical "shadow" of the reality to come (

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). The "temple" in Revelation symbolizes the anointed 144000 priests, among whom God dwells (
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If you read  

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("day and night" 
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you will see that the Bible says that the only ones permitted to "render sacred service...in the Temple" are God’s priests (

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They are the only ones allowed to do this (

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 tells us that these include those who were not his people (physical Gentiles), but these have now been "shown mercy" and made priests....
physical "Gentiles" made into spiritual Jews and  Holy priests (
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by means of spiritual circumcision of the heart (
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These who serve in God's temple, cannot be spiritual Gentiles (uncircumcised in heart by spirit) who never received the circumcision of the heart (

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). Only anointed, spiritual "Jews" and priests receive this circumcision by spirit (
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) and may enter the temple to render acceptable sacred service (
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Those born in the flesh as Gentilesbut who receive a circumcised heart by spiritbecome spiritual Jews. (

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The Great Crowd can be included in God's priestly group who stand for truth (symbolic meaning of 144000) when that number is regarded as not so much literal and numerical, but as those who testify to truth. There can be a group of Testifiers to Truth ("144000"), later joined by more who Testify to Truth. Although the group increases, the label of that number's meaning, remains the same.

Yet a distinction is made in 

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, between the 144000, and those who appear "afterward" (
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We are told in Rev. ch.20, that the 144000 reign with Christ during the Thousand years (
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). (which began when Jesus ascended into heaven)   It is after the "Thousand Years", that Satan is released, and the Great Tribulation ensues (
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) (Satan's "short time" of release 
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During the "Thousand Years", Satan is restrained. Those who rule with Christ during that time, are not overcome by Satan's Beasts and their slave mark (
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). After Satan's release, he empowers the false prophet and it's Beast, with powerful deception (
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) (
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Initially, the Great Crowd are overcome (
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 <
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). Of these, a remnant of those who face the Great Tribulation, will be saved (
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). These survivors, are the Great Crowd.

Therefore, the experience of the Great Crowd, differs from the previous faithful priests.
The previous 144000 had never accepted the slave mark of the Beasts (
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) who are unleashed during the Great Tribulation (
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are overcome (
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). These are required to repent of their soiled identity, and be given white robes (
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Not all, repent (

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The previous group of 144000 were in the Lamb's book of life during Christ's "Thousand Year" reign ("first resurrection"). The "second death"--
    (being overcome by death again, after having received redemption from Adamic sin and "first" death
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--"has no hold" on those previous "144000" (
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Yet for a time, the "sting" of the agents of death (
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), gains a hold on the remnant (
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) during Satan's release and Great Tribulation.

When the Chosen who are living after the Thousand Years, are overcome by the released Satan and the resources of his abyss; they are overcome once again by death, having lost their slave mark of God (
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), (being slave-marked by the laws of the Beast -
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(
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Yet there will be those who repent, are saved, and are added to those who receive life (

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) "after the thousand years have ended".


This is why the "144000" and the "Great Crowd" are depicted by scripture, as two different groups.
Yet in the end, the survivors of the Great Tribulation, battle for Truth (

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), alongside Christ at Armageddon (
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), and are united with the previous "144000", in the Lamb's scroll of life (
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pearl doxsey 4womaninthewilderness

 

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    • By Witness
      The letters below are an exchange between an elder and a past member of the organization, an anointed priest under Christ’s headship. The elder’s first sentence echoes the belief that only the Wt will lead people into “truth”, and “who” are doing the leading.  As one member here recently said to an ex-JW, “ but you haven't suggested an alternate location/theology whereby Christians can come together and build up their faith on a regular basis.”
      Please consider the reply to the elder.
       
      From the elder:
      My dear Rachel
      The "who" today would be the faithful slave as mentioned in Matthew 24:45. These Brothers have taught us the truth about Jehovah, Jesus the Trinity, Hell Fire, the Soul and I could go on and on. Again I say you offer no alternative. Not only spiritual truths, but that faithful slave spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year in relief aid to people in need. As for you and your "group" Jesus well described you in Matthew 25:26 as "wicked and sluggish". You offer no words of comfort, you offer no words of hope, only criticism of those whos sole mission is to help others strengthen their faith.
      Take the time to examine the history of God's people on earth. Jehovah has always brought them together as an organization. He has done the same today with the only organization that fulfills the commission at Matthew 24:14 to PREACH the GOOD NEWS of GOD'S KINGDOM in all the INHABITED EARTH. Name 1 other church, religion or group that is doing that? NOT ONE. I am praying for the scales to fall off of your eyes and for you to ask Jehovah for guidance and faith.
      A.
      -----My email response----
      It is nice to hear from you again, A. I am very familiar with the interpretation of Matthew 24:14 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania corporation. Admittedly, I used to defend Watchtower as the only religion that is fulfilling preaching the good news, and boasted in them being the “channel” used by God, this “mountain-like” organization. The equating of Watchtower to God is subtle, but now, obvious. The perception that if one “leaves” Watchtower, one has “left Jehovah,” and is encouraged to “return to Jehovah.”
      You had initially asked what alternative to worship I was offering…you said, “where” else will one go! Perhaps you expected I might offer another organized religion as a replacement. However, bringing attention to John 6:68, Simon Peter did not ask Jesus where to go, but rhetorically asked Jesus, “to whom would we go?” You have the words of eternal life.” In your last email, you claimed that the “who” spoken of in John 6:68 is referring to the “faithful slave,” the eight leaders of the Watchtower religious organization that teach “the truth.” Jesus is “truth” (John 14:6).
      Let’s first consider the ancient nation of Israel, and the covenant between them and God. According to the pattern Moses was shown, only priests were permitted to minister in the temple sanctuary (Ex.25:9,40; 26:30). The nation of Israel however, time and again, became wayward, and engaged in idolatry setting up and worshiping images (1 Kings 11:4,5; 2 Kings 17:7-18; Isa.59:1,2; Jer.3:7-10), and at times, ignoring the priesthood arrangement whereby not consecrated individuals engaged in priestly duties, something also strictly forbidden (2 Chron.23:6; 26:16; 1 Sam.6:1-23).
       Of course, the old covenant was made obsolete, replaced by the new covenant with Jesus as high priest (Luke 22:20; Heb.8:1,13; 2 Cor.3:6). But why is the old covenant relevant? Because the old covenant was a “copy and shadow” of the better promise, the kingdom of heaven eternal priesthood that comprises the kingdom of heaven made certain through the blood of Christ, the final redemption (Acts 13:32; Heb.8:5,6, 10-12; 9:15; Gal.3:13).
      This is important to remember when we talk about the gospel of the kingdom/good news spoken in Matthew 24:14 because the “good news” is not novel. Throughout the Old Testament, the “good news” was delivered as a prophetic message to the nation of Israel by prophets chosen and sent by God. When we examine the pattern of “good news,” we find that it is a message of judgment by God on Israel because they broke their covenant, but also of peace through God’s promise of restoration of a repentant remnant, returning to their cities and land and rebuilding of the temple (Nahum 1:15; Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7; 61:1; Zech.13:8,9; Isa.44:28; Jer.31).
      The good news prophetically foretold the future fulfillment of God’s promise to “make a new covenant with the house of Israel” where God will put His “law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts,” forgiving “their iniquities” and remembering “their sins no more” (Jer.31:31-34; Heb.8:6-13). Now, notice the same message of good news proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles.
      “Before the arrival of Jesus,” John the Baptist “preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24), “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:1-4; Luke 3:3), instructing the Israelites to believe in Jesus (Matt.3:1-17; Acts 19:4). Afterward, Jesus preached the good news/gospel of the kingdom “first to Jerusalem,” proclaiming peace, and announcing salvation through repentance – the better promise, the “kingdom of heaven,” was “at hand”/”near” (Luke 24:47; Eph.2:17; Mark 1:14; Matt.4:17; Luke 16:16; 8:1; John 16:33).
      It was first to the House of Israel, the Jewish people who were under the old covenant that Jesus, “the Lamb of God,” was sent, to take away “the sins of the world” (John 1:29; Mark 1:38; Acts 13:23). The “world” that hated Jesus and hated his disciples was not the entire world/system, but the Jewish system led by Jewish religious leaders (John 17:15,16; John 15:18-19; 18:36). If the Jews repented and received God’s Son, they would receive grace, be freed from the transgression of the law, and receive the “better promise,” of which they were in line to receive as natural heirs (John 3:16,17; Acts 2:38,39; Eph.2:8,9).
      God’s promises to Abraham’s descendants spoke of an inheritance of land with boundaries/territories they would inhabit (Gen.15:18-21; Josh.13 through 21). Notice the Israelites were prophesied to “be a land,” (Mal.3:12), a “land that will be his bride” (Isa.62:4). Whose bride? Jesus’, as he is head of his bride congregation, “new Jerusalem” (Rev.21:2,9; 19:7-9; John 3:29).
      With repentance and faith in Christ, “the lost sheep of Israel,” would inherit the better promise, the kingdom of heaven, not a literal land with a rebuilding of a literal temple/Jerusalem (Matt.24:14; 25:1; 10:5-7; Heb.7:22; 8:6; 11:13-16; 12:24; Gal.3:18). But, even Jerusalem’s temple priests refused to accept the spiritual promise. They were physical, desiring to hold onto their positions of prominence in the physical temple, boasting in their Jewish lineage, being Abraham’s descendants, natural heirs (John 8:33,39; Matt.3:9). They rejected the better promise, and so Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matt.21:43).
      Nation? What nation? Well, notice after Jesus’ death, the apostles continued to proclaim the message of good news to the Israelites (Rom.10:16; Acts 13:46; 14:7,15,21; 28:23,31; 1 Cor.9:16,18; Heb.4:2; Gal.1:8,11), a message they continued to reject (Rom.10:16; Acts 13:46; 14:7,15,21; 28:23,31; 1 Cor.9:16,18; Heb.4:2; Gal.1:8,11; Rom.10:1-4).
      Regarding his preaching to the Israelites, Paul said he had preached to “all the earth, and to the ends of the world” (Rom.10:18). Did he mean that he preached the good news throughout the whole globe? No, he meant that the gospel had been thoroughly preached to all the “earth”/a dwelling/occupied land, the natural heirs to the kingdom of God, the Israelites, within their “world”/religious system (Rom.10:16-21; Heb.3:6). The kingdom of God, now, no longer comprised of only the tribes of natural Hebrew-speaking Jewish people, but to “every nation, from all tribes and peoples and language,” extending to God-fearing Gentiles who upon accepting the gospel and repenting, would receive God’s mercy (Acts 13:46; Rev.7:9; Acts 10:35; 13:26,46-48; Rom.1:5; Gal.2:2,8).
      God told Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen.22:18). Now, individuals from all nations would be called to become “fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus” (Eph.3:6; Acts 13:32-42, 46; Rom.10:16-19; 1 Pet.2:10; Rev.5:9,10). Paul said that this was the mystery of the good news revealed to him, that “the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Eph.3:3,6).
      The “glorious riches of this mystery” is not a physical temple, but “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col.1:26,27). “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:29). Paul said this mystery had been “kept secret since the world began” (Rom.16:25). Since the actual “world” began? Remember, this reference refers to a religious system, and Paul, just as Jesus, was referring to the present Jewish system (Eph.3:6; Gen.17:7).
      This promised kingdom of heaven was likened, by Jesus, to a seed, “a mustard seed that a man planted” in his field (Matt.13:31; Luke 13:19)…seeds that when planted, grow in either good soil, rocky or shallow soil, or among thorns (Matt.13:3-8). Who is the farmer? Jesus said he “is the true vine” and his “Father is the gardener” (John 15:1). As a Farmer, God cultivates the “earth” planting “seeds,” but not all seeds grow to be “healthy trees,” trees that bear healthful fruit, some become “diseased trees” bearing bad fruit (Matt.7:17-20). Seeds that grow into good trees do not bear bad fruit, “nor does a bad tree bear good fruit” (Luke 6:43). How will you recognize whether a “tree,” one “of the earth”/heir to the kingdom, is producing “fine fruit”? Jesus said “by their fruit,” you will recognize them (Matt.7:20). Now, fruit is likened to “lips,” so we discern that a “diseased tree”/false teacher/false prophet will be recognized by their sayings/teachings/failed predictions (Matt.7:16-20; John 15:1-17; Heb.13:1; Deut.18:20-22). Matthew 7:16 quoted from the Amplified Bible says it concisely: “By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus]…”.
      “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains” (James 5:7). God is patiently waiting to see whether His children, those of the earth, will remain attached to His son, “the vine,” and “bear much fruit,” truthful teachings that last, not rot and expire (John 15:1-8,16).
      Now we must ask ourselves, were the prophecies, the promise of inheritance, that God’s people would receive a multi-billion dollar religious organization/compound to live on? Jesus had “no place to lay his head,” (Matt. 8:20), and the apostle Paul rented a house (Acts 28:30). Jesus could have easily directed a physical temple/religious structure be set up to restore pure worship, but did he? No, The temple Jesus spoke about was “temple of his body,” a “spiritual house, a holy priesthood,” “God’s building” constructed of “living stones” (John 2:21; 1 Cor.3:9; 1 Pet.2:5).
      The gospel of God is a priestly service, one that is carried out by those sanctified by the Holy Spirit to “minister” in “the priestly service of the gospel of God” (John 15:16; Rom.15:16). Who chooses such ones to perform the priestly service? God Himself selects those who are “built together to become a dwelling place which God lives by his Spirit,” the people He formed to proclaim His praises and to give testimony (Isa.43:10,21; Rev.12:10,11; Eph.2:22; 1 Pet.2:9).
      Not all will be able to understand what Jesus is saying, not even all who are spiritual heirs (Matt.16:4). Why? They do “not accept the things of the Spirit of God” and “cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor.2:14). “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?” (Luke 12:56) Without spiritual discernment, one will be as a “natural man,” and will falsely apply physical interpretations to the spiritual signs given by Jesus (Luke 17:20-24; 11:29; Matt.12:39; 2 Cor.4:18).
      You asked me to name one group that has preached the good news worldwide. Who has convinced you that God backslid on His “better promise” of a new covenant, established since Christ’s death, and demanded that his spiritual temple be a physical organization? That would be exactly the pattern of backsliding ancient Israel engaged in, a form of idolatry (Jer.3:11-22)! “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands…” (Acts 7:48). “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24). “What agreement can exist between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (2 Cor.6:16).
      There are members of the body that together, uphold Jesus’ truthful teachings and do preach the good news worldwide...not connected to a physical organized religion (John 15:16). Remember, the prophetic message of peace was proclaimed announcing good news that a remnant of ancient Israel would repent of their rebelliousness and idolatry and restore their covenant with God (2 Chron.29:6; 36:14; Ezra 9:7; Neh.1:6; Ezek.11:14-20). “These things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whims the end of ages has come” (1 Cor.10:11,12). Despite this warning, in the last days, God’s household/spiritual Israel (Rom.2:28; 9:6; Phil.3:3) will “harden their hearts” and be “deceived by sin” (Heb.3:12-19). The spiritual priesthood is replaced, silenced, and trampled by those not consecrated to perform spiritual sacrifices (Matt.24:15,16; 2 Thess.2:1-4). Yet, a final remnant of spiritual Israel will repent, leave their idolatrous ways, and through the sacrifice of the “Lamb of God,” restore the “body of Christ” (Rev.2:5; 12:11). This is the good news!
      If you want to follow a group of eight anointed that have become rebellious and created a physical organization, replacing the eternal priesthood with non-spirit anointed Gentiles, destroying His temple, stay, it is your choice! But be warned, if you stay, you WILL share in her sins (Rev.18:4; Ezek.44:6-9; Zech.4:6,7; Heb.8:5; 1 Cor.3:17).
      “Repent, for the Kingdom of heavens is near” (Matt.4:17).
       
    • By Witness
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. I’ve listened to this video a few times.   He makes good points, and although I am not sure what the organization’s intent is, I must agree with the maker of the video, that a change, a new teaching/”new light” appears to be afoot. 
      Will the doctrine of the “144,000” become an unlimited number to accommodate the massive “Gentile” elder body?  I say this, because the 2017 March Watchtower study magazine speaks highly of the elder body, stressing to give honor where it is “due”.  The captivating drawing depicts the symbolic “24 elders” of Revelation 4:10,11 laying their crowns before the throne of God. The article does not mention the “144,000” sealed anointed as those depicted in the picture; thus, through default – through subliminal suggestion -  who is thought to be the “24 elders” depicted deceitfully by this article?  I believe it is the “man of lawlessness” that sits in/rules and “tramples” God’s Temple/sanctuary priesthood– the “Gentile” elder body.  Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2 Thess 2:3,4; Rev 11:1,2; 13:1,2,4-8   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       “And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.  Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.”  Dan 8:10-12
      The “stars” who are trampled are the anointed ones. Dan 12:3; Phil 2:15; Rev 1:20 
      The elders are indeed, an "army".  
      "What army does Micah’s prophecy say that Jehovah would use against this cruel enemy, called “the Assyrian”? A very unusual one. The Bible says that this army is made up of “seven shepherds” and “eight dukes,” or princes. (Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Who are they? They are the congregation elders. (Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Today, Jehovah is using many faithful elders to shepherd and to strengthen his people for the future attack of “the Assyrian.   ws13 11/15 p. 20
      This possible new teaching would be the ultimate ‘shattering’ of God’s saints within the organization.  Dan 12:7 
       
       
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       
       
    • By Jack Ryan
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    • By Jack Ryan
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      12 The foreordination of the 144,000 does not mean that certain individuals were predestined to serve God faithfully in this way. Indeed, the admonition in the Christian Greek Scriptures was written primarily to guide and strengthen anointed ones to maintain integrity and keep themselves worthy of their heavenly calling. (Philippians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 11; 2 Peter 1:10, 11) Jehovah knows in advance that 144,000 individuals will qualify to serve his purpose. Who they prove to be depends on how those invited individually choose to live their life, a decision that each one of them must make personally.—Matthew 24:13.
    • By HollyW
      I understand your answer perfectly, John, and it confirms what I posted, that according to the WTS there were less than 144,000 Christians in nearly 1900 years.  As the reader J.A. from the Dominican Republic pointed out when he wrote to the Society about it, being one of the 144,000 was the only position open to Christians during all that time.
      [wt 1/15/1952 QFR] Questions From Readers

      ● According to the article “Hated for His Name” in the September 1, 1951, Watchtower, hundreds of thousands of Christians died in the “ten persecutions” starting in Nero’s time, 144,000 dying in Egypt alone during one of the persecutions. How can this be harmonized with the Scriptural limitation of 144,000 placed on the number being in Christ’s body, and which position was the only one open to Christians during those centuries?—J.A., Dominican Republic.
       
      And the Society's reply shows that the vast majority of those they mentioned in their article who were martyred for their faith as Christians were not real Christians at all, but only "professed Christians".  It's kind of ironic that they would be thought to be examples for JWs today who face similar persecutions.
    • By The Librarian
      See also:

      Jehovah's Witnesses believe that exactly 144,000 faithful Christian men and women from Pentecost of 33 CE until the present day will be resurrected to heaven as immortal spirit beings to spend eternity with Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  and Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . They believe that these people are "anointed" by God to become part of the spiritual "Israel of God". They believe the 144,000 (which they consider to be synonymous with the "little flock" of Luke 12:32) will serve with Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  as king-priests for a thousand years, while all other people accepted by Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  (the "other sheep" of John 10:16, composed of "the great crowd" of Revelation 7:9,14 and the resurrected "righteous and the unrighteous" ones of Acts 24:15), will be given an opportunity to live forever in a restored paradise on earth. According to the Witnesses, the first of the 144,000 were resurrected in 1918 (April) and others who die thereafter are immediately resurrected to heaven.


      Individual Witnesses indicate their claim of being "anointed" by partaking of the bread and wine at the annual Memorial of Christ's death. In 2014, 14,121 Witnesses worldwide claimed to be of the anointed "remnant" of the 144,000.The members of the Governing Body who exercise teaching authority over Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide claim to be among the anointed 144,000, and also consider themselves as a group to be the faithful and discreet slave of Matthew 24:45 and Luke 12:42.

      Jesus Christ is their "Mediator"







      Did the first million or so professed "Anointed Christians" really just end up in Gehenna? 


      See also:

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
         
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      Relations between different numbers and their symbolic meaning regarding to the number 144000 - PDF
       
    • By Jesus.defender
      How do you prove from the Bible that 1935 was the year for the selection to heaven stopped due to being filled? What is the difference between a Catholic appealing to "what the organization tells him" about December 25 being the date of Jesus' birthday and a Jw' appealing to "what the organization tells him" about the date 1935? Is it not hypocritical when you chide the "poor deluded Catholic" that his faith cannot find a Bible passage to support it, when the same goes for you and 1935?
       




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    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
      Bonne journée Michel
      1LE BATEAU.pdf
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

      · 0 replies
    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
      · 0 replies
    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
      · 3 replies
    • Deborah T. Calloway  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you so much for the meeting work book. I really appreciate your hard work 
      · 0 replies
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