Identifying the Present-Day Beneficiaries
1. According to Revelation, chapter seven, who particularly benefit from the ministry of the remnant, and what shows whether they are in the new covenant?
TODAY, in the year 1966, the ministry of the remnant of “ministers of a new covenant” is known among all nations. However, the people who particularly benefit from their ministry are what the last book of the Bible calls “a great crowd, which no man was [then] able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb [Jesus Christ].” The apostle John saw the vision of this “great crowd” after he beheld the sealing of the 144,000 members of the twelve tribes of spiritual Israel. (Rev. 7:4-9) Hence this “great crowd” are not in the new covenant, yet they receive early benefits from it because of their associating at present with the remnant of spiritual Israel who are “ministers of a new covenant.”
2, 3. (a) When did Zion’s Watch Tower first call attention to this “great crowd”? (b) Of what was this “great multitude” thought to be composed, and what was their destiny?
2 Who is this “great crowd”? This was long a mystery. In the very first year that the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower was published the attention of readers was called to this “great multitude.” (Rev. 7:9, AV) But it was thought to be a spiritual class of Christians with a heavenly destiny. The 144,000 faithful disciples become the heavenly Bride of Christ, whereas the “great multitude” was thought to be made secondary to this Bride class in heaven like bridesmaids or “companions” of the Bride class.—Ps. 45:14, 15.
3 For instance, the fourth issue of The Watch Tower, that of October 1879, said in its article “The Day of the Lord”:
It is then, while the “little flock,” the “Bride,” the “overcoming church,” is thus enthroned with Jesus, and while she is inflicting the judgments written, and while the other class of Christians in the church, the carnal-minded ones, left in the world are “washing their robes,” that the Lamb feeds them with truth, and leads them (some quickly, others more slowly) unto living fountains of water, bringing, finally, as many as will be led, to the heavenly condition, beyond all tears, pain and sorrow, receiving them into his eternal home; and so we see them (Rev. vii. 14) “clothed in white robes and palms in their hands:” and we are told: “These are they that came out of” . . . “the great tribulation, and have washed their robes,” etc.; “Therefore are they before the throne and serve God in his temple.”—Paragraph seven.
Paragraph nine applies Psalm 45:13 to them as being “companions” of the heavenly Bride of Christ.
4. Out of what was this great company to come, and what kind of bodies was to be given to them?
4 The next article of the same issue, entitled “Reconciliation of the World,” speaks of this great company and says, in paragraph twenty-four: “The ‘little flock,’ or bride company, and the company who come out of the great tribulation (Rev. vii 14,) will ever be given spiritual bodies.”
5. (a) What was the expectation as to whether the “great multitude” would survive the battle of Armageddon? (b) What misdirection did this viewpoint give the remnant of the 144,000?
5 This early view prevented the real “great multitude” or “great crowd” from receiving the due attention until God’s own time. It caused the remnant of the 144,000 “ministers of a new covenant” to look for a great company of spirit-begotten Christians to come out of Babylon the Great during the final “great tribulation” upon the whole world, washing their robes of identification clean and shedding their own blood in martyrdom. They were expected not to survive the battle of Armageddon on earth, but to die before its finish. From such a viewpoint the remnant kept looking for the wrong thing.
6. Why were the remnant not surprised when the tribulation started in 1914?
6 In the year 1914 a tribulation greater than any that had yet come since the Flood came. This did not surprise the remnant, for they knew that the Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” would end about October 1 of the year 1914.
7. (a) During World War I, whom did the remnant not see emerge? (b) What hope did the speech in Los Angeles in 1918 hold out, but whom did it not identify?
7 World War I dragged on for years, and the remnant were persecuted as never before, but they saw no “great multitude” come en masse out of the many religious systems of Christendom. Then, as World War I neared its climax, on Sunday, February 24, 1918, the then president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society delivered in Los Angeles, California, the talk “The World Has Ended—Millions Now Living May Never Die.” It held out a hope of never dying off the earth but of surviving the “great tribulation” that had begun on the earth, clear through the battle of Armageddon and into the new order of things under God’s heavenly kingdom by Christ. This talk did not identify the earthly survivors of Armageddon as being the “great multitude” of Revelation 7:9 (AV). It considered them just as people in general who are devoted to righteousness, even though they were not dedicated to God or were not spirit-begotten.
8. In 1923, what parable was explained in the Los Angeles convention, and to whom did the last paragraph of the resolution adopted appeal, and to do what?
8 Five years later, in the same city of Los Angeles, on Sunday, August 26, 1923, the same speaker addressed an audience of more than 30,000 on the subject “All Nations Marching to Armageddon, But Millions Now Living Will Never Die.” This speech was the climax to an eight-day convention of Jehovah’s people. On the previous afternoon he spoke to the convention on Jesus’ parable of the “Sheep and Goats” as given in Matthew 25:31-46. In this talk he identified the “sheep” class as being the earthly class that will survive Armageddon into God’s new order under the heavenly kingdom. At the close of the talk he read and moved adoption of a Resolution of seventeen paragraphs, the last of which appealed to the sheeplike people, “that they individually and collectively declare themselves on the side of the Lord and in sympathy with his cause, and be ready to receive the blessings of God’s kingdom which he has prepared for them from the foundation of the world.” However, no specific effort was made to gather such “sheep.”
9. Bible Students then thought that the new covenant applied to whom, and what did Comfort for the Jews say in that regard?
9 At that time Bible Students thought that the new covenant as foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-34 did not apply to the 144,000 spiritual Israelites but was to be made with the natural Jews after the battle of Armageddon. Lectures were given to large public audiences on “Jews Returning to Palestine,” and in October of 1925 the book Comfort for the Jews was published. Under the subheading “The New Covenant,” pages 97-103 discussed this covenant and reserved it for the natural Jews regathered to Palestine. The third paragraph from the end of the book said: “The day of jubilee is come; the good news must be given to the people of Israel and then to all the peoples of the earth.—See Psalm 89:15.”
10, 11. (a) The material of that book was later embodied in what larger book, and in what year was this released? (b) According to this book, how were the Jews to be specially favored, and what was to happen to Palestine and Jerusalem?
10 Later the material of Comfort for the Jews was embodied in a large clothbound book entitled “Life,” and on July 15, 1929, this book was released to us, to circulate mainly among the Jews.
11 On page 331, under the subheading “All Nations,” it said:
Not only will the Jews be favored with restitution under the terms of the new covenant, but that favor will be extended to all the peoples and nations of the earth. God’s unchangeable promise is, ‘In thy seed shall all the peoples and nations of the earth be blessed.’ That seed is The Christ. (Gal. 3:16, 27-29) This is another reason why the “remnant” of the Christians now on earth have the keenest interest in restitution.
Farther along in the last chapter, pages 340, 341 said:
God promised the land of Palestine to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . . They must be resurrected in order that the promise of God may hold good. . . . Jesus declared that these men should be in the kingdom as representatives thereof on earth.—Matt. 8:11, 12. The Scriptures warrant the conclusion that Jerusalem will be the city of first importance on the earth. Long ago God chose to put his name there. When he has restored his faithful men of old, who at all times were loyal and true to him, and has brought them into the land of Palestine, it would be the most reasonable thing that Jerusalem would be made the earthly seat of the government.
12. Under whom were the “sheep” of Jesus’ parable on the sheep and the goats expected to line up, and what was the attitude toward gathering these “sheep”?
12 Thus, in the year 1929, more attention and interest were being paid to the natural, circumcised Jews than to the “sheep” of Jesus’ parable on the sheep and the goats. These “sheep” were made secondary to the Jews, and after Armageddon they were to line up under the Jews. No special effort was made to gather them at that time into the “one flock” of the “Fine Shepherd,” Jesus Christ.
13. To whom did the book Light of the year 1930 apply Revelation 7:9-17, and so how much attention was being given to the “other sheep”?
13 In 1930, the book Light, in two volumes, gave a verse-for-verse commentary on the book of Revelation, but it still applied the “great multitude” of Revelation 7:9-17 (AV) to a spirit-begotten class of professed Christians who, after a martyr’s death at Armageddon, would each “get life as a spirit creature,” but secondary to the Bride of Christ. (Volume 1, pages 91-97) Due to this there was no concentrated attention being given to the earthly “sheep” class, the “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd.—John 10:16; The Watch Tower, October 15, 1923, page 310, paragraph 33.
14. (a) In 1931 the book Vindication ruled out the “great multitude” as being the ones marked in their foreheads, because of what understanding? (b) Whom did this book identify as being the marked ones?
14 In 1931 the first volume of the book Vindication was published. In dealing with chapter nine of Eze Ezekiel’s prophecy it said concerning the people who were to be marked in their foreheads and spared from execution: “The ones marked could not refer to the ‘great multitude’, or ‘tribulation’ class, because . . . they will not be spared in the great time of trouble, but, on the contrary, they are appointed to die. . . . They will not be carried through the time of trouble. They will be forced into the time of trouble to take their stand on the side of the Lord, but must die in order to live as spirit creatures.” Then the book Vindication goes on to identify the ones marked as being the earthly “other sheep,” the “sheep” of Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and Goats, which “sheep” will survive the battle of Armageddon into God’s new order.
15. What did page 111 of Vindication say regarding the purpose of the testimony work, and so what work regarding the “other sheep” was not encouraged?
15 In speaking of the marking work, page 111 of Vindication said that “this work of giving the testimony is not for the purpose of converting the people of the world and bringing them into some organization, but it is to make known the fact that those who desire to flee from the wicked organization of Christendom may do so and declare themselves on the Lord’s side, and thus be in line to be brought through the time of trouble, when the slaughtering begins.” Thus no real gathering and organizing of these marked ones, the “other sheep,” was encouraged, even in the year 1931, when the remnant of the 144,000 spiritual Israelites embraced the name “Jehovah’s witnesses.”
16. (a) Thus by whom was the attention of the remnant being diverted? (b) In 1932, what did volumes two and three of Vindication reveal regarding the Bible’s promises concerning restoration?
16 Very plainly, the natural, circumcised Jews and the supposed “great multitude” of second-rate spirit-begotten Christians were diverting the attention of the spiritual remnant.a However, in the year 1932 volumes two and three of the book Vindication were published, dealing with the remaining twenty-four Eze chapters 24-48 of Ezekiel’s prophecy. By means of these books Jehovah revealed to his people that the prophecies about restoration did not apply to the earthly, natural, circumcised Jews or Israelites, but applied to the faithful remnant of spiritual Israel since the year 1919 C.E.—See Volume Two, from page 253 on to the end.
17. How did this explanation affect the Jews, but what expectations did Vindication leave regarding the “great multitude”?
17 This explanation took the spotlight off the Jews, but it still left the matter of the new covenant to be settled and it also left expectations of the emergence of a spirit-begotten “great multitude” of professed Christians who needed to be helped out of Babylon the Great, particularly Christendom. Volume Three of Vindication said that this secondary spiritual class was pictured in Ezekiel’s prophetic temple, which is described in his prophecy, Eze chapters 40-48 forty to forty-eight.—See pages 240, 265-269.
18. What increased understanding came in 1934 by way of the Watchtower magazine concerning the new covenant?
18 Two years later, in 1934, increased understanding came. In the issue of April 15, 1934, of The Watchtower (page 117, paragraph 10) it declared that the new covenant will not be made with the natural, circumcised Jews in Palestine after Armageddon, but that the new covenant is in force now, with the spiritual Israelites. It said: “The new covenant was made . . . with and for the benefit of spiritual Israel. . . . Natural Israelites having broken the terms of the law covenant made in Egypt, it would be entirely inconsistent for God to make with that same people a new covenant, which new covenant is higher and more exalting than the old law covenant. This of itself would preclude the conclusion that the new covenant is made with the natural descendants of Abraham.” (See also the book Jehovah, pages 171-173, edition of 1934.) Such correction of understanding brought great joy to the remnant.
“OTHER SHEEP” AND BAPTISM
19. In the issue of August 15, 1934, of The Watchtower, what encouragement was given to the “other sheep” regarding dedication, baptism and Bible studies?
19 Real encouragement, too, was given to the “other sheep” in the Watchtower issue of August 15, 1934. In ancient times those earthly “other sheep” were pictured by the non-Israelite man named Jonadab the son of Rechab and the friend of King Jehu of Israel. So the article entitled “His Kindness” spoke of the “other sheep” as Jonadabs or the Jonadab class. In paragraphs 34, 35 it said:
Should a Jonadab consecrate himself to the Lord and be baptized? Answer: Most assuredly it is proper for a Jonadab to consecrate himself to do the will of God. No one will ever get life without doing that. Water immersion is merely a symbol of having made a consecration to do God’s will, and that would not be out of order. . . . The time is now here for the instruction of the Jonadab or “millions” class, which mean one and the same thing.
And then the Watchtower article went on to tell how members of the anointed remnant should conduct meetings with the Jonadab class, saying: “Such studies are now essential and particularly for the benefit of those of the Jonadab company, that they may learn what is the will of God concerning them.”
20. According to the book Jehovah, issued on November 15, 1934, with whom was the new covenant made as being embraced under the expression “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”?
20 However, three months later in that same year, or on November 15, 1934, the book Jehovah came off the Society’s printing presses in Brooklyn, New York, and on page 182 it still expressed belief in a secondary spiritual class, yet expected to come out of Babylon the Great and take a stand on Jehovah’s side. Accordingly, though the book pointed out that the new covenant did not apply to the natural, circumcised Jews, pages 181, 182 said:
The spiritual house of Israel embraces all who, trusting in the blood of Christ Jesus as the redemption for man, have made a covenant to do the will of God and have been begotten of God, and this necessarily includes all spirit-begotten ones, particularly the “little flock.” . . . This prophecy is concerning a new covenant to be made with the house of spiritual Israel, meaning that it embraces all of spiritual Israel, including all the spirit-begotten ones, and with the house of Judah, thus identifying the Kingdom company, which company is to be associated with Christ Jesus, who is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”. (Rev. 5:5)—See also page 185, paragraph two.
21. Thus before the attention of the spiritual remnant, what class was taking a place of greater importance than the “earthly sheep” late in 1934?
21 Thus this secondary class of spirit-begotten spiritual Israelites was still diverting the attention of the remnant late in 1934 and was taking a place of greater importance than the Jonadabs or earthly “other sheep” class, who were to be marked in their foreheads. (Ezek. 9:4) So these marked ones were not specifically invited to attend the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Nisan 14, 1935.b
DISCERNING THE GREAT CROWD
22. In the issue of April 1, 1935, of The Watchtower, what general assembly was announced, and who were specifically invited to it?
22 However, great joy was now near for the Jonadab company or “other sheep.” A five-day general convention of Jehovah’s witnesses was announced. Beginning with the April 1, 1935, issue of The Watchtower the announcements thereof said: “Again The Watchtower reminds its readers that a convention of Jehovah’s witnesses and Jonadabsc will be held at Washington, D.C., beginning May 30 and ending June 3, 1935. It is hoped that many of the remnant and the Jonadabs may find it convenient to attend the convention. Heretofore not many Jonadabs have had the privilege of attending a convention, and the convention at Washington may be a real comfort and benefit to them.” (Page 98) “This is a service convention, and it is expected that all the remnant and the Jonadabs will participate in the service.”—Page 110.
23. At that Washington convention, what revelation was made concerning the “great multitude” of Revelation 7:9-17 (AV)?
23 That Washington, D.C., convention indeed proved to be of benefit to the Jonadabs. On the second afternoon of this convention (May 31), the then president of the Watch Tower Society addressed the visible audience at the Washington Auditorium and also invisible audiences over radio stations WBBR and WHPA on the subject “The Great Multitude” as foretold in Revelation 7:9-17 (AV). In this speech he pointed out that the long-discussed secondary spiritual class did not exist and that the picture of the “great multitude” applied to no such class. Rather, the “great multitude” was made up of the modern-day Jonadabs, and these had to show the same degree of faithfulness to Jehovah God as the spiritual remnant.
24. How was the joy at such a revelation spread around the globe, and what did the 1936 Yearbook report about this?
24 The unspeakable joy that the Jonadabs at Washington, D.C., experienced that afternoon was spread to all this class around the globe by the publishing of this revelation in the article “The Great Multitude,” in two parts, in the Watchtower issues of August 1 and 15, 1935. Later the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 1936 (page 63) said: “This revelation stirred the brethren and stimulated them to renewed activities, and everywhere throughout the earth come the reports exhibiting joy in the fact that the remnant now have the privilege of carrying the message to the great multitude, and these together working to the honor of the Lord’s name.”
25. (a) How were the service privileges of the Jonadab class enlarged in May of 1937? (b) How providential did this arrangement prove to be for the future, as can be seen today?
25 In the congregations of Jehovah’s people larger privileges of service were opened to the members of the Jonadab class or “great multitude” when the Watchtower issue of May 1, 1937, page 130, announced concerning the companies or congregations:
When there are none in the company capable of filling tie places of company servants or service committees and there are Jonadabs who have the ability and zeal, let the Jonadabs be placed on the service committee and give them opportunity to serve.
How providential this arrangement was for the future can now be seen, twenty-nine years later, when the remnant of the “ministers of a new covenant” have dwindled to about 11,500 and it has become necessary for the “other sheep” to provide the overseers and ministerial servants of most of the more than 24,000 congregations world wide.
26. (a) Thereafter, what event were the Jonadabs specifically invited to attend each year? (b) What climax of joy for the Jonadab class came in 1958 with regard to service possibilities?
26 At the celebration of the Lord’s Supper following the above announcement concerning “Company Servant,” the Jonadabs were specifically invited to attend as companions of the remnant on April 15, 1938. (The Watchtower, February 15, 1938, page 50) But a grand climax of joy for the Jonadab class or “other sheep” came in 1950. On Saturday night, August 5, 1950, at the international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses in Yankee Stadium, New York City, it was revealed from the Scriptures that competent men among the “other sheep” now being gathered may be appointed as “princes in all the earth” after the battle of Armageddon along with those referred to in Psalm 45:16.—The Watchtower, October 1, 1950, pages 364, 365; November 1, 1950, pages 414-417.
27. Where, at last, was the Fine Shepherd now bringing the “other sheep”?
27 Thus at last the dedicated, baptized members of the “great multitude,” the “other sheep,” were finding their proper place in association with the anointed remnant of “ministers of a new covenant.” The Fine Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, began bringing in his “other sheep” into the “one fold” where the remnant of the “little flock” were already gathered, that there might be even now “one flock” under “one shepherd.”—John 10:16; Luke 12:32.
THE SPREADING BENEFITS
28. How many congregations of Jehovah’s people were there in the midwar year of 1942, with how many reporting preaching work, but how many congregations and publishers have there been in this past service year?
28 The raging of World War II during 1939-1945 did not break up the union of the anointed remnant and the earthly “other sheep.” So the number of these “sheep” who do good to Christ’s spiritual brothers has kept on growing into indeed a “great crowd” at the present time. In the midwar year of 1942 there were 5,232 congregations of Jehovah’s dedicated people reporting activities in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” in all the inhabited earth, 160,000 of the remnant and “other sheep” taking part in publishing this message of salvation. (1943 Yearbook, pages 221, 222) During this past service year of 1965 there were 24,158 congregations in more than 190 lands, and a monthly average of 1,034,268 publishers from among the remnant and the “other sheep.”
29. What did this mean as regards the increase of “other sheep,” and how many memorialized the Lord’s death during that service year?
29 That meant indeed that the number of “other sheep” already gathered into the “one flock” had increased to a “great crowd,” for by then the number of the remnant of “ministers of a new covenant” had decreased to 11,550. These partook of the emblematic bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper on April 16, 1965, when a worldwide total of 1,933,089 persons memorialized the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant.
30. As regards knowledge, what was to be one of the benefits of the new covenant, and with whom is this knowledge being shared?
30 Beyond all question, then, the benefits of the new covenant are already spreading throughout the world of mankind. According to the terms of this new covenant, the anointed remnant who are in God’s new covenant were to know Jehovah “from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them.” This knowledge of the Most High God the remnant now have and they are sharing it with the increasing “great crowd” from all parts of the world.
31. What benefit of God’s mercy did the new covenant promise, and through whom does this come to the remnant?
31 Furthermore, in the new covenant, Jehovah said that he would forgive the error and remember the sin of the remnant of spiritual Israelites no more. (Jer. 31:34) They have such forgiveness of sin through the perfect sacrifice, that of the self-sacrificing Mediator of the new covenant, Jesus Christ, the “Lamb of God.”
32. Who else today enjoy such forgiveness, and how do the Scriptures classify such dedicated, baptized ones?
32 Today the “great crowd” who have dedicated themselves and symbolized their dedication by water baptism also enjoy forgiveness of their sins through the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ They thus enjoy peace with Jehovah God and become numbered among his “men of good will.” (Luke 2:14) Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and Goats calls them “the righteous ones.” Revelation 7:9, 14 pictures them as “dressed in white robes,” which robes they have washed and made white “in the blood of the Lamb.” God now recognizes them, and so “they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple,” and he wipes out every tear from their eyes.—Rev. 7:15-17.
33. (a) How many today on earth are receiving benefits from the new covenant, and through whose ministry? (b) What promise awaits fulfillment when these finish their earthly ministry?
33 As the anointed remnant of the “ministers of a new covenant” keep on ministering, assisted by the “other sheep,” the “great crowd” of those receiving the benefits of their ministry on earth increases. Thus even though God’s new covenant does not apply to all the world of mankind, its benefits are spreading more and more world wide, bringing life-giving knowledge of Jehovah God and of his reigning King Jesus Christ to the sheeplike people for their eternal salvation. (John 17:3) In God’s due time the remnant will finish their earthly ministry. According to the promise of Jesus Christ they will be united to him in heaven.—Luke 22:28-30.
34. How will those ministers then serve, and who on earth will get the benefits from God’s accomplished purpose of the new covenant?
34 Then the “kingdom of priests” that God’s new covenant successfully produces will be complete. They will do kingly and priestly service With the great King-Priest, Jesus Christ, foreshadowed by Melchizedek. Then during the thousand years of Christ’s reign all the world of mankind, living and dead, will, as never before, get the benefits resulting from God’s having triumphantly accomplished the loving purpose of his new covenant.—Rev. 20:4-6; 21:3, 4.
a Note what Vindication, Volume One, page 212, has to say about the confirming or inaugurating of the new covenant with the natural Israelites, when “God’s ancient prophets and witnesses will stand as earthly sponsors for the Jews.” (Edition of 1931) See also Volume Three, pages 255-257, of the 1932 edition, concerning the inauguration of the new covenant as being future and for all mankind.
b See The Watchtower, as of February 1, 1935, page 47, paragraphs one and two.
c At that time the Jonadabs or “other sheep” were not considered to be “Jehovah’s witnesses.”—See The Watchtower, August 15, 1934, page 249, paragraph 31.
[Picture on page 120]
The GOLDEN AGE July 17, 1935