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:
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.". . .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)
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 . . .