In Revelation chapter twelve the spiritual battle of the ages involving Satan, the great spiritual “The Great Congregation”. In Psalm 22 the title of this message is first written in the book of Psalms. It appears four times in the Psalms and as should be expected it refers to a great multitude gathered to hear God’s Word. However, the appearance in Psalm 22:25holds prophetic implications as it looks forward to the day when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ appears on Mt. Zion.
In that day He will be accompanied by The 144 Thousand Servants of Our God, The Sons of Israel who will be calledout to serve their God during the most trying and troublesome time during the end of this age of grace and the Day of the LORD when God will intervene taking control of His planet earth with mighty, unmistakable judgments from heaven.
These judgments have been prophesied by numerous O.T. and N.T. prophets alike. Every historical N.T. book except the Gospel of John including the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ refers to the sign which precedes the Day of the LORD. God will darken the sun, the moon will be turned to blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven in that day!
It is during this time of judgment that the LORD will appear on Mt. Zion with The Great Congregation at the end o fthe 70th Week of Daniel during the celebration which occurs after His appearance to redeem all Israel which is referred to in Isaiah 59:19, 20; and Romans 11:25-27 when He redeems those Jews who repent and turn unto God! It is at this point in time that the Seventh Angel sounds and “The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
God’s Word records the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb and with Him are The 144 Thousand(Revelation 14:1-5). This passage appears in response to the record of the Antichrist and his false prophet’s actions which occur in Revelation 13. Although the power of the Antichrist will be somewhat limited during the Day of the LORD he will continue his attacks against those saints who remain on earth after the Rapture during the Day of the LORD.
The Two Witnesses, The 144 Thousand and those who will be saved during this time of devastating judgment will be the focus of his unrelenting warfare against the saints. Even though the church saints will be home in heaven, and the faithful Jews in the land of Israel will be protected by fleeing into the wilderness (Matthew 24:16ff; Revelation 12:6, 14),these remaining Jews, the 144 Thousand and the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-17) will continue on earth (Revelation9:4, 17:14) to perform their most necessary ministry during this devastating time of cataclysmic judgment.
The 144 Thousand young Hebrew men called out from the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:1-8) make up the earthly part of “The Great Congregation” which is the subject of the message at hand. However, the heavenly harpers before the throne spoken of in Revelation 14:2, 3 far outnumber the 144,000 who are singing from Mt. Zion on earth.
The heavenly congregation is truly a very large gathering, indeed, for they are likely the saints of the ages, “the great multitude” of Revelation 7:9 “Which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues”.“These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14). The raptured and resurrected saints of the ages make up this great host of heavenly harpers in Revelation 14:2, 3. Therefore, this great multitude in heaven plus the144 Thousand on earth become “The Great Congregation” spoken of in the multiple Messianic passages of the Psalms.
In Psalm 22:30, 31 the 144 Thousand are described: “A seed shall serve Him; it shall accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He has done this.” Unlike the many generations of Israelites who constantly and consistently rebelled against the Lord, the latest of which is this present generation of Jews who reject their Messiah as have all those since He suffered and died to pay the penalty for their sins when He gave His life for the sin of entire human race 2,000 years ago on the Cross of Calvary!
However, there is a generation coming who will be the “seed” who are a part of “the rest of her [the woman’s] seed”(Revelation 12:17) and will “declare His righteousness”, they, “the generation to come” (Psalm 102:18a), will preach and present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a “people that shall be created”(Psalm 102:18b) those who will be saved during the Day of the Lord and then at the end of the 70 th Week of Daniel when the “Redeemer comes to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20)the “nation will be born at once” (Isaiah 66:8) who then will live on earth to be part of the great gathering (Micah 5:3)who will populate the promised land during the Millennium (Revelation 20:4-6) when the Lord Jesus Christ will rule and“sit on His father David’s throne” (Luke 1:32) in Jerusalem!
The next occurrence of “The Great Congregation” in the book of Psalms is in Psalm 35:18 “I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise Thee among much people.” This Psalm has a number of similarities to Psalm 22which is the well recognized “Psalm of the Cross” as it vividly portrays the suffering of the Lord Jesus on the Cross.
In addition to (Psalm 35:18) which is similar to (Psalm 22:22, 25) which mention this same congregation, Psalm35:15- 17 also has Messianic tones reflected in text: “But in Mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together; yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against Me, and I knew it not; they did tear Me, and ceased not:with hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon Me with their teeth. Lord, how long wilt Thou look on? Rescue My soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.”
Lewis de Grenada who commented along with Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his condensed version of the ‘Treasury of David’ said that portions of these verses definitely apply to the Lord’s suffering on the Cross of Calvary which underscores the Messianic character of this short passage including “The Great Congregation” in (v.18).
And, although we cannot be dogmatic as to who “The Great Congregation” is, there will be a great gathering of Jews during the end-times at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel as recorded in Micah 5:3 “Therefore He will give them up [the Jews] until the time that she which travails [Israel at the end of the 70 th Week] has brought forth: then the remnant[144 Thousand & the Woman of Revelation 12] of His brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.”
And, there will be a great gathering of God’s people as mentioned above in Revelation 14:1-5 both in heaven and on earth which could well be what is referred to in these “Great Congregation” passages. There is one more passage in the Psalms that is Messianic mentioning The Great Congregation: “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation, lo, I have not refrained My lips, O LORD, Thou know. I have not hid Thy righteousness within My heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy Truth from The Great Congregation.” (Psalm 40:9-11).
This is a recognized Messianic passage believed by many scholars to cover (v.6-10) which is partially quoted in the book of Hebrews 10:5-9 focusing upon the Lord Jesus’ first coming to do the will of God by offering Himself as a sacrifice once for all to pay for the sins of mankind for God had no pleasure in the offering of animal sacrifices of the Law. So, the Lord Jesus, by His sacrifice on the Cross, accomplished the will of God for His earthly human life which gave His Father the opportunity/ability to be “Just and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).