Following The Crowd By Philip North

An ever so sad thing, true it is nonetheless, that while many people claim to practice what is call “Individuality” when it comes to a number of things pertaining to a secular nature, far too many more follow what a large majority practice in matters of religion. I often think of how a vast amount of people in this country, together with various other parts of the world, are members of the Catholic church. A lot of that body’s membership defends this religion by saying that the word “Catholic” means “universal.” As a matter of fact, that is right! However, there are many other things “universal” which are cited in the Word of God as sinful—-especially when it comes to immorality. As an example, because untold numbers of people “shack up” instead of marrying, such does not make this “universal” practice right in the eyes of God. Hebrews 13:4 declares, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Therefore, (just to make up a specific number here as to illustrate a point) if 600 billion people happen to make up the world, and 500 billion of them live together and cohabitate out of wedlock, that still makes this manner of living sinful! Jehovah God says clearly in the first part of Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” What was sin at the very beginning of the Creation is still sin today, and will remain that way until the end of time.
     If there was only one scripture to teach mankind that following the crowd can often be the wrong thing to do, that verse is contained in Exodus 23:2: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.” For sure, it is a popular practice to go along with the majority in many things, be they right or wrong. That is why accountable-minded individuals of all ages should take heed to I Corinthians 15:33, which reads, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 
     Howbeit, let us note one thing here in all fairness: In matters of purely individual judgment, it would often be right to consider the crowd. King Solomon says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). So, instead of following just any crowd, we must exercise, as stated at the beginning of this article, “Individuality,” thus, checking things out for one’s own personal benefit. What is good for some is not good for others. Likewise, what is beneficial for some is not so for others. Therefore, what helps some does not help others. Hence, in one sense of the word, we all belong in various types of groups, depending on various situations, and so, many things pertaining to everyday life are matters of personal opinions, along with individual desires and one’s own tastes.
     Be that as it is, the doctrinal belief of “might makes right” has always been a vicious one, and so, is often the only excuse (not a real reason) given for a lot of positions taken in disputes and debates. This kind of thinking smacks of dictatorship and other forms of unfair rule and domination. So, please consider soberly the following truth: In matters pertaining to right and wrong, the majority has most always been on the side of wrong ! How is such a thing a fact? Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). To simply define “strait” in these 2 verses, the word is the exact opposite of “straight.” You see, what is the easiest to join and participate in is often taken by much of mankind. Therefore, while the majority may often rule, such does not make the majority right! True indeed is the adage, “The easiest way is not always the best way.” Satan, however, would have all of us to think otherwise. 
     Now look again at the second half of Exodus 23:2. The text says, “neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.” “Wrest” means to “twist; pervert.” So along with not joining a majority of people to participate in wrongdoing, one should not seek to gather a mass of individuals to do wrong. So, no matter how many people are rounded up, if the Bible says that particular “cause” for organizing them is sinful, it is still sinful!  Along with shunning “evil communications” that was said in the second paragraph of this article, some kind of harvest is reaped when seeds are sown, whatever those seeds be. Galatians 6:7-8 teaches us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” 
     Some members of humanity get a real thrill and roller coaster ride in “stirring a stink!” To them, it is a real “high” to often twist, distort, and highly exaggerate to others, and thus prejudice them, as to what someone else has said and/or done. They really love to feel the high flow of “adrenaline” in their participation of rioting, looting, and character assassination. Others will join in just about any group to agitate, cause trouble, destroy, and get attention. Not only is this sinful to take part in such a group, it is also sinful to form one.
     In reading God’s Word, where do you ever find any instance where a majority was in the right, especially when it comes to being right in religion, thus, being in full and correct obedience to the Lord? Genesis 6:5 says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This was how the majority lived in what consisted of the populated world at that time. Now contrast Genesis 6:5 with I Peter 3:19-20 where it says of Christ, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water.” God gave sinful mankind back then 120 years to repent (Genesis 6:3). Now who was saved? The vast majority? No! It was the smallest minority! Why? These “eight souls,” composed of merely one family, listened to God. As to the vehement majority, Genesis 7:21-23 sadly informs us, “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of foul, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land,  died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, the creeping things, and the fowl of heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”
     Another example is the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection. Every Jew who then lived on the face of this earth, physically able to travel, attended this yearly event. Acts 2:5-11 shows all those nationalities of Jews present, even some who (by race) were not Jews, along with the shocking reaction from various of these great throngs of people to see the apostles, under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, speaking all their individual languages: “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, and Pontus, and Asia, Phyrgia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers at Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear then speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
     This reading would tell us that the quantity of people there at this time in Jerusalem had to be in the tens of thousand, or maybe even one hundred thousand, or more! However, after the Apostle Peter preached his sermon, take note of how many actually listened to his words spoken directly from Heaven. Verse 41 of that same chapter declares, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” While it was a glorious and happy day to baptize as many as “three thousand souls,” this was, again, just like Noah and his family, a small minority who obeyed the truth of God. 
     In citing just one more example of how many, many people went the way of wrong, I challenge the reader to read about the rebellion of Korah in all of Numbers 16. Note the great and mass punishment that God exercised here. No again, this writer says: God did not respect what a large “majority” wanted to do. In this case, great rebellion resulted in great physical and spiritual rubble! Let us learn from this foolish argument of what a vast “majority” may wish to do. 
     But then, somebody will argue, “Well, the entire city of Ninevah repented after Jonah preached to them, did they not?” Yes, that is true. This is recorded in Jonah 3:10: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” However, Ninevah returned to their ungodly living, and in the entire book of Nahum, the minor prophet tells of God’s wrath against that city, along with the foretelling of its destruction. Otherwise, this would be one exception to the rule of the majority not doing what is right. 
     Yes, do not  “follow a multitude to do evil,” nor “speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.” However, remember that God’s own Son also said, “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Majority or minority, those obeying the good Lord, and doing so all the way, will be the only ones who inherit eternal life. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2:10). 

Comments are closed.