Friday, 5 September 2008

The Other Sheep

Are there really two distinct groups, having different futures, as the Watchtower Society would have us believe? They call them the 144,000 or anointed, who are in heaven and the other sheep or great crowd who will be forever on earth.

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and
they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.” -
John 10:16
Who is Jesus saying the other sheep are in comparison to - the little flock? John 9:40 shows that Jesus is talking to the Pharisees - who then are the ‘other sheep’? The context clearly shows that the other sheep are the Gentiles. Not only that but that these two groups will become one flock with one shepherd. The teaching of the two separate groups that the Society put forward is not in line with this Scripture. See also Ephesians 2:12-14.

WHERE ARE THE OTHER SHEEP?

This is a vital question for every Jehovah’s Witness and we will answer it by quoting from three of their own publications.

“In order to live through the destruction of that ‘ancient world,’ Noah built
the ark as told by Jehovah God... Accordingly, Noah pictured Jesus Christ, and
his wife pictured the ‘Bride’ of Christ, or, more particularly, the remnant of
that collective “Bride” that still finds itself on earth. The three sons of Noah
and their wives picture those baptized worshipers of Jehovah God who now
associate with the remnant of the ‘bride’ class and who expect to become the
earthly children of the Eternal Father, Jesus Christ, under his millennial
kingdom.” - The Watchtower, 1 November 1974, p.666.

The Society claim that Noah, his wife and children are a picture for us. Noah pictures Jesus Christ, his wife the 144,000 and their children the ‘other sheep.’ But both the 144,000 and the ‘other sheep’ are in the same ark, being saved by the same means and ending up in the same place. There is no two-tier salvation.

“So in this strict Biblical sense Jesus is the ‘mediator’ only for anointed
Christians. The new covenant will terminate with the glorification of the
remnant who are today in the covenant mediated by Christ. The ‘great crowd’ of
‘other sheep’ that is forming today is not in that new covenant. However, by
their associating with the ‘little flock’ of those yet in that covenant they
come under benefits that flow from the new covenant.” - The Watchtower, 1 April
1979, p.31.
“Evidently the new covenant is nearing the end of its operation for the purpose
of producing 144,000 spiritual Israelites who meet God’s approval for being
associated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly kingdom, the ideal government for
mankind. When the last of these approved spiritual Israelites cease to be ‘man’
because of earthly death and a resurrection to a share in the heavenly kingdom,
then the mediatorship of Jesus Christ will cease also. Their inherited sinful
condition in the flesh, which called for a mediator to act between them and the
God of holiness, will be left behind. Like the holy angels of heaven, these
glorified spiritual Israelites will need no mediator between them and Jehovah
God... Today, according to authentic records, there is a ‘great crowd’ of
dedicated, baptized Christians who actively collaborate with the small remnant
of spiritual Israelites... They recognize that they are not spiritual Israelites
in the new covenant mediated by Jesus Christ, nor part of the ‘chosen race, a
royal priesthood, a holy nation’... To keep in relationship with ‘our Saviour,
God,’ the ‘great crowd’ needs to remain united with the remnant of spiritual
Israelites.” - The Watchtower, 15 November 1979, pp.26&27.

The first thing we notice is that the ‘other sheep’ are not in the new covenant. Which covenant are they in then? There are only two and the old has passed away. If they are not in the new covenant then they have no covenant relationship with God at all.

Second, the new covenant and the mediator work of Jesus Christ will cease when the final one of the 144,000 goes to heaven. The Society is increasingly preparing for the fact that the last one of the ‘remnant’ may well die from this life before Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth. If that is the case, how will any of those left know their sins forgiven, as there will be no mediator?

Third, whereas Jesus is not the mediator of the ‘other sheep’ the 144,000 are! This shows how far the WB&TS have attributed the work of Jesus to the 144,000. They become as important if not more important than Jesus to the Jehovah’s Witness alive on earth today.

“Hebrews states that in this spiritual temple the Most Holy is ‘heaven itself,’
the area where the person of God is. (Heb 9:24) Since only the Most Holy is
‘heaven itself,’ then the Holy and the priestly courtyard, as well as their
features, must pertain to things on earth, those things having to do with Jesus
Christ during his ministry on earth and his followers who are ‘partakers of the
heavenly calling.’ ... Consistently, the Holy represents their condition as
spirit-begotten sons of God, with heavenly life in view, and they will attain to
that heavenly reward when their fleshly bodies are laid aside in death...
Revelation 7:9-15 reveals ‘a great crowd’ of other worshipers of Jehovah sharing
in pure worship at the spiritual temple. Those making up this ‘great crowd’ are
not described in terms that identify them as underpriests. So they must be
understood to be standing in what was represented by the courtyard of the
Gentiles, a special feature of the temple as rebuilt by Herod.” - Insight on the
Scriptures
, Vol. 2, p.1081.

As with the symbolism of Noah’s Ark, we find everything messed up in an effort to prove a point. Those of the 144,000 who have died are said to be in the ‘Most Holy’ the place where God is. Those of the 144,000 who are still on earth are said to be in the ‘holy place,’ the area outside the ‘Most Holy.’ Both descriptions are of areas within the Tabernacle. This structure is used for the lessons brought out in Hebrews chapter 9.

The problem this raises for the Society is where do they put the ‘other sheep’. They try to get round it by placing them in courtyard of the Gentiles. The only problem is that this area was never in the Tabernacle only in the temple that Herod rebuilt. Again, the Watchwer shows us that their belief of the ‘great crowd’ is unscriptural. According to the Watchtower’s interpretation of Hebrews 9, the ‘great crowd’ does not exist anywhere just as we saw that they did not fit into either of the covenants.

From the Society's own teachings we see that they do not adhere to Biblical principles but man made concepts that are not according to Scripture.

ARE THE GREAT CROWD ON EARTH?

The Society say 'yes', but let us look at what Scripture has to say.

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could
count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before
the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were
in their hands.” - Revelation 7:9
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou to take the book and break
its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be
a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” -
Revelation 5:9,10.

The great crowd are described in Revelation 7:9 as being ‘before the throne’ [Greek: enopinou tou thronou]. The Watchtower says that this means ‘in sight of the throne’ and so they are on earth. Investigation will show this not to betrue.

The Greek phrase "enopinou tou thronou" comes 9 times in Scripture and all are in the book of Revelation, 1:4; 4:5, 6, 10; 7:11; 8:3; 14:3. These Scriptures tell us that the following are ‘before the throne’ - 7 lampstands : golden altar : 7 spirits of God : 24 elders : 4 living creatures : 144,000 : the great crowd.

The Society agree that the first six on the list are all literally before the throne in heaven. [See Then is Finished the Mystery of God pp.14,20,155,211; Aid to Bible Understanding p.1251; Babylon the Great has Fallen p.461.] It is not good biblical exegesis to say that the two other references that refer to the great crowd are not the same as the others and mean literally before the throne in heaven.

Add to this Revelation 5:9,10, which talks about the same people as in Revelation 7:9. Those in chapter 5 are designated as a heavenly people. Those in chapter 7 must be. Those in chapter 5 are seen to priests, those in chapter 7 are also shown to be priests [see v.15]. There is no question from Scripture that the great crowd or ‘other sheep’ are in heaven. Why does the Society say otherwise?

How different, it appears then, is the Biblical picture to the one the Watchtower Society paints.

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