The Great Crowd


Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  • The “other sheep” of John 10:16 are to be equated with the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-10 [1]
  • Members of the great crowd are not to be ‘born again’ [2]
  • About 99.7% of Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of the great crowd [3]
  • The “earthly hope” is the only valid hope for the majority of true Christians alive on earth today [4]

What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Some believe this group to be comprised of all gentile Christians throughout all ages; others, that it is identical to the 144,000; yet others think that Revelation 7 describes an unnumbered crowd of martyrs gathered in the Great Tribulation ahead.

Additional info here

Q1. Who are the “other sheep” of John 10:16?

Answer: Gentiles, see ‘Scripture Explainer’ – John 10:16

 John 10:16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

John 11:51-52 He prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Eph 2:13-14,16 But now in Christ Jesus you [Gentiles, Eph 2:11] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility … and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Q2. What does it mean that they stand before the throne of God?

Answer: The angels and the 144,000 also stand before God’s throne in heaven

Rev 7:9,15 A great multitude…standing before the throne…they are before the throne of God

Rev 7:11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God

Rev 14:1,3 144,000 who … were singing a new song before the throne

Rev 19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God

Q3. In the book of Revelation, where is God’s temple (naos)?

Answer: In Revelation every mention of ‘temple’ is naos (ναός) the inner sanctuary, which is to be distinguished from hieron (ἱερόν) the whole temple area.

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Luke 1:9 According to the custom of the priesthood, he [Zechariah] was chosen by lot to enter the temple (naos) [‘divine habitation’, Kingdom Interlinear] of the Lord and burn incense.

Rev 7:9,15 A great multitude…serve Him day and night in his temple (naos)

Rev 11:1-2 “Rise and measure the temple (naos) of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations.”

Rev 11:19 Then God’s temple (naos) [‘temple sanctuary’ NWT] in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple.

Rev 15:5-6 The sanctuary (naos) of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the sanctuary (naos) came the seven angels

(Also, Rev 3:12; 15:5-8; 16:1; Heb 8:1-2)

Q4. What is the eventuality of those who have washed their robes?

Answer: They enter heaven

Rev 6:11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

Rev 7:9,14 A great multitude that no one could number … clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city [New Jerusalem, Rev 21:2]

Q5. Must members of the great multitude be born again?

Answer: All ‘robe-washed’ believers have been born again.

John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God. [A believer in Jesus must be part of the “everyone” who has been born of God and hence a son of God having eternal life! 1 John 5:11-13]

Q6. Will the great multitude pass through the great tribulation directly into the new earth without ever having been in heaven?

Answer: There are indications that they will spend some time in heaven before possibly serving on earth.

According to Revelation chapter 7, the great multitude:

  • Rev 7:9 – no one can number
  • Rev 7:9 – is from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues
  • Rev 7:9 – are standing before the throne and before the Lamb
  • Rev 7:9 – are clothed in white robes
  • Rev 7:9 – have palm branches in their hands
  • Rev 7:10 – cry out: “Salvation belongs to our God … and to the Lamb”
  • Rev 7:14 – these are the ones who coming out of the great tribulation
  • Rev 7:15 – serve God day and night in his temple
  • Rev 7:15 – God will shelter them with his presence
  • Rev 7:16 – shall no more hunger, thirst, nor have sun or heat beat down on them
  • Rev 7:17 – shall have the Lamb as their shepherd
  • Rev 7:17 – will be guided to springs of living water
  • Rev 7:17 – God shall wipe every tear from their eyes


  • The “other sheep” of John 10:16 are not to be equated with the “great crowd” of Rev 7:9. The “other sheep” of John 10:16 are gentile Christians
  • Members of the great crowd must be born again
  • There are indications that they will spend some time in heaven before possibly serving on earth (Rev 5:9-10)


  1. Watchtower 1995 April 15th p 31; Watchtower 2001 May 15th p 14-15
  2. Holy Spirit pp 121-137; Reasoning pp 76-80
  3. Reasoning pp 76-80
  4. Watchtower 2007 Dec 15th pp 11-15

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