A Great Multitude

Key Verse: “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
—Revelation 7:15

Selected Scripture:
Revelation 7:9-17

AS WE STUDY THE VERSES of our lesson taken from the Book of Revelation, we understand that they relate to a group of believers who, though perhaps with measureable difficulty, are considered overcomers and will be granted a heavenly reward. The Great Multitude, also sometimes referred to as The Great Company, is a class of Christians who, individually speaking, have lived throughout the Gospel Age, although the Scriptures may infer that a larger portion of these belong to the ending period of the age. (Rev. 7:13,14) Because of their lack of complete faithfulness, they are granted a lesser reward than the hundred and forty-four thousand, who “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” (Rev. 14:1-4) They fall short also of becoming kings and priests with Christ Jesus, who is the Head, Captain, and “King of Kings” of this anointed class which will reign over the earth in God’s promised kingdom.—Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 19:16; 20:4,6

The one calling that has gone out during the present Gospel Age is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. “If any man will come after me,” Jesus said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) An acceptable response to this call requires full faith in the shed blood of Jesus’ sacrifice, as well as an unreserved consecration, or dedication, to do God’s will and to follow in the sacrificial footsteps of the Master. Hence, there is no call to be of the Great Multitude. The consecrated are all called in the “one hope” of their calling, and all begotten of the “one Spirit,” through the “one faith” found in the Word of Truth. They are “one body,” under “one Lord,” “one God and Father,” and baptized into “one baptism.” (Eph. 4:4-6) The division of reward to those who have been part of this one called-out class is the result of some having a lukewarm attitude, lacking zeal, or severely neglecting the carrying out of the required life of service and sacrifice for the Lord, in comparison to those who zealously and diligently seek to do all these things daily.

While those of the Great Multitude class do not deny their relationship with God, they do not sufficiently walk in Jesus’ footsteps, perhaps by compromising with the world and its spirit, or by habitually giving in to the fallen tendencies of the flesh. Therefore, they fail to obtain the glorious prize of this Gospel Age, namely, “glory and honour and immortality,” and of being “joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 2:7; 8:17) By contrast, the “more than conquerors,” the “little flock,” to whom it the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom, rejoice in tribulation, esteeming it an honor to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.—Rom. 8:37; Luke 12:32; II Tim 2:12

Although they do not gain the position of being members of the body of Christ, the Great Multitude will be granted a rich blessing. They will not sit with Christ in his throne, but will be “before the throne,” and serve God “day and night in his temple.” (Rev. 3:21; 7:15) God’s great mercy has made provision for the Great Multitude class in his plan. Nevertheless, as Christians, let us strive to be of the “little flock,” and accounted worthy to share the divine nature as members of the Bride of Christ.—Rev. 19:7; 21:2