Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

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Bobcat
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Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#1 Post by Bobcat » 6 years ago

What follows were posts from another site setting out research and references that present scriptural links tying the great crowd of Rev 7:9-17 to the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant:

********************

The WT Society's position/belief is that Jesus and the 144,000 are "Abraham's Seed" and that 'the nations bless themselves by means of that seed.' That is to say, the nations do not become part of that seed, nor are they included in the New Covenant (and thus, the "Jerusalem above" is not their "mother"), rather, they get blessings by associating with that seed of Abraham. (Gal 4:26)

In this WT view, the "great crowd" of Rev 7:9-17 are not counted as part of Abraham's seed, and thus, they are not parties to the Abrahamic Covenant and also not parties to the New Covenant. Rather, the "great crowd" are like well-wishers at a marriage. They benefit from these covenants, but only indirectly, just like well-wishers at a marriage gain happiness from being at the marriage and reception, but are still only outsiders to the marriage covenant that takes place.


How Faith in Christ Is Involved

The Bible writer Paul saw things a bit differently. According to him, Jesus is the 'seed of Abraham.' Galatians 3:16 (NWT) says:
"...Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: "And to seeds," as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: "And to your seed," who is Christ."

From there, Paul reasoned:
". . .YOU [the Gentile Galatian Christians] are all, in fact, sons of God [as part of being in the New Covenant] through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. 29 Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham's seed, heirs with reference to a promise. (Galatians 3:26-29 NWT)

Thus, Paul's reasoning was that 'the nations bless themselves' by putting faith in Jesus, the seed of Abraham. And then they become part of Abraham's seed thru their faith in Christ. In this case, "faith" in the seed (Jesus) replaces being naturally born to him. (Gal 3:6-9)

From this understanding, there are some very interesting links between Paul's argument in Galatians chapter 3 and what Revelation chapter 7 says about the great crowd:


"Which No Man Could Number ... Out of Every Nation"

First, the "great crowd" is described numerically and by origin:
". . . which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues. . ." (Revelation 7:9)

This description provides two links to the promises made to Abraham: (1) Gen 13:16 and Gen 15:5 both promise that Abraham's seed would become an innumerable multitude. And (2) the multinational character of the "great crowd" fits the description of the promise in Genesis 22:18 of 'all nations blessing themselves.'


'Washing Their Robes in the Blood of the Lamb'

Going back to Galatians, Paul argues:
. . .Christ purchased us, releasing us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hung upon a stake.” 14 This was so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the nations by means of Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.(Galatians 3:13, 14 rNWT)
If WT theology about the great crowd not being part of the Abrahamic Covenant were true, Paul's words above could not be true. Gal 3:13, 14, written to gentile Galatians, makes a connection between the promise to Abraham that "the blessing of Abraham would come to the nations" and the Galatians having "receive[d] the promised spirit through [their] faith." And as a result of their faith Paul says in Gal 3:29 that they have become "Abraham's seed."

In Rev 7:14, the great crowd's 'washing of their robes in the blood of the Lamb' fits Paul's description in Galatians of what is necessary in becoming part of Abraham's seed: The need to have faith in Christ. (Gal 3:14)

In WT theology, 'the nations that bless themselves by means of Abraham's seed' are not parties to the Abrahamic or the New Covenants. But Paul's inspired argument in Galatians 3:6-9, 29 makes a direct link between the 'nations being blessed by Abraham's seed' and the Gentile Galatians becoming part of that seed via their faith in Christ Jesus. WT theology directly contradicts what Paul said. So, who is right? Paul or the WT?


"They Will Hunger No More"

Another link between the great crowd and the Abrahamic and New Covenants is the description in Revelation 7:16 about what will happen to the great crowd:
"they will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat . . ."

This statement in Rev 7:16 is drawn from Isaiah 49:10. In the immediate context of that verse in Isaiah (Isa 49:8-10) God's "Servant" is said to be given as "a covenant for the people." The people are then described as "repossessing . . . the desolated hereditary possessions," and 'not suffering from hunger, thirst, etc, as is quoted in Revelation 7:16. All this speaks of a "people" who are part of a covenant, "repossessing . . . hereditary possessions," not merely bystanders hoping to benefit by hanging around others in the covenant. (See other renderings of Isa 49:8 here.)

Additionally, it should be noted that Paul quotes the opening portion of Isa 49:8 at 2 Cor 6:2, applying it to spirit anointed Christians in Corinth. (Compare 2Co 1:21-22) The fact that the Isaiah passage in Isa 49:8-10 has application to both the "great crowd" of Revelation 7 as well as to 1st century Christians shows that they all share the same promises and covenants.

These things indicate that the "great crowd" are part of Abraham's seed, and part of the New Covenant. And thus, their "mother" is the "Jerusalem above," just as described by Paul in Galatians 4:24-26, and not some earthly organization that tries to hold them in slavery as nothing more than "friends of God". (Isa 45:14)

And all this connects the great crowd to what Paul said in Galatians 3:14 (NWT): "The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham might come to be by means of Jesus Christ for the nations, that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith." Thus, the great crowd are also included among 'spirit anointed' Christians and would also be expected (by Jesus) to be partakers at the Lord's Evening Meal, just as he commanded them to do. (Mt 26:26-28)


Where Does This Leave the WT?

What Paul says to the Galatians, and its application to the great crowd is all pretty straight forward. So, given the WT's contrary doctrinal stance, where does that leave them? If Peter's making of class distinctions between Jewish and Gentile Christians resulted in him 'standing condemned' (Gal 2:11-14), what does the WT's unscriptural class distinctions do for them? Indeed, given the fact that 'liars and those liking a lie' (Rev 22:15) are outside of the "Jerusalem above," where does that leave WT leaders who promulgate their false teachings about the "great crowd"? Can they rightly be counted as Christ's "brothers" when they themselves slight Christ's brothers of the "great crowd? (Mt 25:40, 45)

Discussion continued in next post . . .


Bobcat

Bobcat
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#2 Post by Bobcat » 6 years ago

This is additional material related to the Abrahamic promise, the new covenant, "the Jerusalem above" and the "great crowd which no man was able to number":

The Commentary on the NT Use of the OT (G. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, p.1108) says:
The phrase "a great multitude which no one was able to number" evokes the promise to Abraham and Jacob that God would multiply their descendants "which shall not be numbered for multitude" (see esp. Gen 16:10; 32:12; also Gen 13:16; 15:5; 22:17; 26:34; Hos 1:10; Jub 13:20; 14:4-5; Heb 11:12 [seeing the link are D'Aragon 1968: 478; Mounce 1977: 171; Sweet 1979: 150; Hughes 1990: 95; Bauckham 1993a: 223; Ulfgard 1989: 94; cf. Prigent 1981: 123]). As throughout Revelation, this promise to Israel is applied to the church from all nations.

Incidentally, Paul foresaw the beginning of the fulfillment of Isa 54:1 in the growing Christian congregation (which at the time did not outnumber those Jews still holding to the Law Covenant):
. . .For it is written: “Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break into joyful shouting, you woman who does not have birth pains; for the children of the desolate woman (whom Paul links with the new covenant and "the Jerusalem above") are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.”(Galatians 4:27 NWT)

It is only if one includes others besides the 144,000 that this promise actually comes true. WT theology does not allow for this.

Another point of note is that the WT understands "like the stars of heaven and like the grains of sand" (in the promise to Abraham about the multitude of his seed) to be "an unknown number." (See e.g. w08 1/15 p. 21 par. 6) In contrast to simply an 'unknown number,' Moses understood this promise to refer to a very large number (cmp. Deut 28:62; also Deut 4:27). To Moses, their becoming "few" in number would be an indication that they had lost God's favor.

They (the great crowd) "wear white robes" (Rev 7:14, 16)
"White robes" signify the purification of the end-time tribulation in Dan 11-12, where the saints ["holy ones" NWT] are "made white" through the fire of persecution; a similar meaning fits well here. Compare Rev 6:11; 7:14 with Dan 11:35; 12:1, 10 (note the Heb. laban ["make white"] in Dan 11:35; 12:10)" (Beale & Carson, p.1096.)

They hold "palm branches in their hands"
"The reference to palm branches is an allusion to the Festival of Tabernacles (cf., e.g. Lev 23:40, 43; Neh 8:15; see Ulfgard 1989:89-92, 95). In the OT this was an annual occasion for the nation to rejoice and to thank God for the fruitfulness of their crops. The feast was also to commemorate Israel's dwelling in tents under divine protection during their pilgrimage in the wilderness after the redemption from Egypt" (Beale & Carson, p.1108)

Thus, the 'holding of palm branches' by the "great crowd" speaks of people in a covenant with God and alludes to a people who make up "the Israel of God" (Gal 6:16).


Bobcat


Notes:

1. The verb tenses used in Rev 7:14 may subtly indicate that the great crowd 'washes their robes in the blood of the Lamb' prior to the "great tribulation." The verse says they "come out" (present tense) of the great tribulation and that they "washed their robes" (aorist tense) in the blood of the Lamb.


2. This post has a number of links to other aspects of the great crowd.


3. See this post for a discussion of the great crowd in relation to Gal 4:24-31.


4. For a brief general discussion of how the Covenant with Abraham relates to the Law Covenant and the New Covenant see this thread.

Bobcat
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#3 Post by Bobcat » 6 years ago

In answer to the WT's application of the prophecies of Zechariah 8:23 ('10 men taking hold of the skirt of a Jew') and Isaiah 45:14 ('unpaid laborers of Egypt slaving for Jews') in which the WT holds these ones to be fulfilled in the "great crowd" of Revelation, see the research presented in this thread.

Another point of note in connection with the 144,000 and the great crowd: The great crowd is described as being "out of" (Greek preposition ek) "every nation, tribe, people, and tongue." This would naturally be understood as meaning that the "great crowd" is a subset of those groups. The 'nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues' form a larger group(s) from which the "great crowd" is drawn.

Similarly, the 144,000 are described as being sealed "out of" or "from" (Greek ek; same preposition used with the great crowd) "all the tribes of the people of Israel." (Rev 7:4) And each subset of 12,000 is said to be "from" or "out of" (Greek ek) each of the individual tribes of Israel. (Rev 7:5-8) The logical conclusion would be that "all the tribes of the people of Israel" (whether natural or spiritual) is a much larger group than the 144,000 that are "out of" it. (Rev 7:4 NET)

For further discussion of the 144,000, see here. And regarding the great crowd serving in the naos (the temple sanctuary; Rev 7:15) see here.

To see how the 144,000 and the great crowd fit into a chiastic or symmetrical layout of the whole of Revelation see here.


Bobcat

Bobcat
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#4 Post by Bobcat » 6 years ago

Someone on another forum asked:
Just curious to know which scripture that let an average person know that they were of the anointed and what did it mean to you?
My reply was:
The question itself, that you pose, has WT indoctrination written all over it. It seems to accept, as a premise, the idea that there are Christians, and then there are "anointed Christians." Of course, it might only seem that way. You might have a particular angle from which you are asking the question. So first, my apologies if I misunderstand what you are asking about.

But here is what I am finding out:

The Bible only presents Christians as being anointed. In fact, the only verses that directly speak of "anointing" in connection with Christians are: 2Cor 1:21; 1Jn 2:20, 27 (x2). These are the only four verses that mention "anointing" in connection with disciples of Jesus. In all four, the context assumes that all faithful Christians have this anointing. All four speak of this anointing in relation to learning or having knowledge. None of them speak of ruling in heaven or having authority over other believers. Ruling with Jesus in heaven and exercising some authority over other believers is mentioned in the NT. But never in connection with, or as a consequence of, anointing.

There are other terms that relate to "anointing" such as:

Born again, Born from above, Born of water and spirit, Born of God, Born of the Spirit, [there may be others].

"Holy ones" (Greek hagios) is related in the sense that it carries the idea of ones separated for God. And "anointing" (of people and objects) was done to seperate it (or them) for God's service. Thus, "holy ones" is a proper description of anointed Christians.

There are other NT terms that are related, but a little more indirectly:

New creation, new(ness [of] life, adoption as sons, children of God, [others - I'm still researching].

My point in all this is this:

With all these terms, throughout the entire NT, they are used with the assumption that these describe all Christians. These terms are part of what it means to be Christian.

For many years prior to my recent research, I simply accepted the WT teachings that there were non-anointed Christians and anointed ones. But so far, and I'm not through researching the subject, but so far, I can't find any actual evidence in the NT that the WT is correct. Indeed, Romans 8:1-17 would indicate that there are only two kinds of persons: Those who are led by God's Spirit, which is in them, and who are "sons of God," and everyone else who do not and who live by or according to the flesh, and who are as good as dead. (Rom 8:6) So, if there is such a thing as a non-anointed Christian, the burden of proof would fall on the WT to prove it. Going by Rom 8:1-17, the term "non-anointed Christian" would appear to be a contradiction in terms.

But what I see the WT doing is this: They are assuming in their writings that everyone is a non-anointed Christian (just the opposite of the NT), unless he has been especially selected. And it is this assumption that leads to questions which wonder how or why someone has gotten the idea that they are "anointed." I also notice in WT writings that they almost always relate being anointed with others (so-called 'non-anointed Christians') having to follow, or being obedient to, their directions. So that the WT's teaching on this subject appears to be more related to their intention of securing their authority over others rather than trying to follow the NT model. (Compare Jn 11:47-50)

So, to get back to your question, the real question should be: What would make a Christian think they are NOT anointed? Because everything in the NT indicates otherwise. And someone not having the Spirit is spoken of as not being counted among God's people (Rom 8:9) So that there are not anointed and non-anointed Christians. There are Christians (who are anointed), and there is everybody else.

But these are questions that the WT does not want JWs to start asking.

This thread has a fuller breakdown of the Greek terms used in the NT related to anointing.


Bobcat

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menrov
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#5 Post by menrov » 6 years ago

Hi Bobcat, geat explanation and reasoning. Need to digest th details but in essence I do understand and agree.

As a side point or better, as a consequence of the WT doctrine, some 8 million JW's have actually built up a faith in something that is different from what they believe it is. I mean, they believe that through their acts and service, they have a relationship, alheit more a friendship type of relationship with the supreme God, who they call Father but where the doctrine teaches them that the supreme God is not their Father. They pray to the Father but because of the doctrine, they have no relationship with Jesus as Jesus, according to the doctrine did not die for the great crowd. In essence, the WT doctrine regarding the great crowd actually means that JW's are not serving God, nor Jesus but they are serving the brothers of Christ on earth. So, you could say that the head of those that form the great crowd are the brothers of Christ.

Fortunately that our Judge can read hearts and mind so HIs judgment will be righteous anyway!

SinkingPeter
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#7 Post by SinkingPeter » 6 years ago

Isn't Galatians 4:21-31 about fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel? That had been my take on it, not non-anointed Christians trying to fit in with anointed Christians. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a hard time believing that there are even non-anointed Christians mentioned in the NT which leads me to believe that the writers had no idea of such a concept.

QCook
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#9 Post by QCook » 6 years ago

J-A-T,
Please don’t dump more nonsense on this thread that reek of your self-importance and condescension, like your waste of space on other threads.

Bobcat’s diligent research doesn’t deserve this.

The majority here are probably with me in a vote to kick you off this forum.

Q

jesusjeffrey
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Re: Great Crowd, Abrahamic Covenant, and New Covenant

#10 Post by jesusjeffrey » 6 years ago

QCook wrote:
52 years ago
J-A-T,
Please don’t dump more nonsense on this thread that reek of your self-importance and condescension, like your waste of space on other threads.

Bobcat’s diligent research doesn’t deserve this.

The majority here are probably with me in a vote to kick you off this forum.

Q
Thanks J-A-T for an alternate view on this issue. I for one like free speech.
Slapping each other on the back leaves me cold and can be seen as a bit disingenuous to the less linguistically blessed.

I also agree with MeletiVivlons observation:
“As Jehovah's Witnesses, we have had our fill of the opinions of men who think they know more than the rest.”

How was that evidenced? By shutting up dissenting voices. Excommunication!

I like this forum. And I don’t think MeletiVivon, Bobcat, or any of the moderators feel that they
“ know more than the rest.”

If this site is to be a relevant alternative for unhappy JW’s than it must offer better.
Of course the tone must be keep civil and the moderators are doing a good job I think in that regard.

Please don’t kick me off I like it here. JJ

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