B Stett

(Investigator 80, 2001 September)


The Mordecai class are Jehovah's Witnesses who joined the sect before 1919 and stayed active after that date. The Esther class are JWs who joined from 1919 to 1935.

Judge Rutherford, the second president of JWs, taught that many Old Testament stories were prophetic "pictures" and had 20th century parallels.

The good guys in the Old Testament always represented JWs or some sub-category among them. The bad guys represented such groups as the clergy, Christendom, ex JWs, governments, etc.


One "picture" – elaborated in Rutherford's book Preservation (1932) – is the story of Mordecai and Esther.

In the Bible Esther was a Jewish girl who married Ahasuerus the King of Persia. Mordecai was her cousin. Haman was the King's chief minister who got the King to sign a decree allowing the enemies of the Jews to exterminate them. Haman did not know that Esther – the King's wife – was a Jew too. The King then issued another decree permitting the Jews to defend themselves and exterminate those who tried to exterminate them.


In Rutherford's 20th-century parallel the Persian King pictured either Jesus or Satan in different parts of the story and Haman pictured the Christian clergy. (Preservation p. 17) And:

Esther, therefore, seems to picture the faithful ones who responded to the call for the kingdom after the coming of the Lord to Jehovah's temple in 1918. (Ibid p. 22)

Mordecai in the service of the king fitly pictures that class of faithful servants and followers of Christ who are now in the service of Jehovah…and who were performing service in the closing years of the Elijah work of the church, particularly from 1914 to 1919…

Mordecai pictures the faithful followers of Christ in service during the Elijah period of the church's work at the second coming of the Lord in 1914 and who continued faithful thereafter in the Elisha work [commencing 1919] of the church. (Ibid p. 45)  

Both classes together – the Mordecai and Esther classes – constitute the "remnant".

Who is the "remnant"?

In JW theology only 144,000 go to heaven. These were chosen through the centuries starting in Jesus' time. In the 20th century the last 50,000 of the 144,000 were chosen – all of them JWs. These are the "remaining ones" or "remnant".

In 1935 Rutherford introduced yet another class – the "great multitude" or "great crowd". These are JWs who get eternal life on Earth. The "harvest" of the remnant ended in 1935, except to replace a few unfaithful ones. Then began the gathering of the "great crowd":

…it was not until May 31, 1935, at Washington (D.C.) convention, that the "great multitude", as such, was identified and made known to the anointed class. (Salvation 1939 p. 107)

As discussed in the book Life Everlasting – in Freedom of the Sons of God, pages 147 to 151, evidence indicates that by 1934 God's attention turned to developing the "great crowd" of persons who will survive the coming "great tribulation" to enter into an earthly New Order and that by that time the number of those called to the heavenly kingdom had reached its full number 144,000. (Rev. 7:9-14; 14:1-3) Hence, it would be expected that thenceforth only as a result of an anointed one's proving unfaithful would there be occasion for another person to be called as a replacement. (The Watchtower 1975 February 15 p. 108)

Remember the way to heaven, by joining the "remnant", virtually shut in 1935. This is interesting because some of the "remnant" – we'll see shortly – would live on Earth long enough to survive Armageddon.


Now back to the "picture". The Jewish slaughter of their enemies supposedly pictured Armageddon – the destruction of all people other than JWs. The remnant of the 144,000 on Earth won't share in this slaughter but the ones in heaven will:

Christ and those of his risen body members, and all of his holy angels, will do the actual slaughter work of the enemy at Armageddon. The remnant will not do that, because their weapons are not carnal. (Preservation p. 158)


After the Jews slaughtered their enemies in the Persian Empire they – including Mordecai and Esther – celebrated a festival. Similarly with the remnant – the Mordecai and Esther classes:

The feast of jubilation of the Jews seems to foreshadow that some of the remnant will be on earth even after Armageddon, and that they will greatly rejoice because of the complete vindication of Jehovah's name. (Ibid p. 164)

Following Armageddon all the earth shall be subdued under Christ…
It is stated that Mordecai was next to the king and went about seeking the wealth of his people and speaking peace to all his seed.–10:3
May not this mean that after Armageddon God will have some of his faithful remnant or servant class on the earth, and assign to them some honorable work for the good of the people… (Ibid p. 166)

Of course the remnant on Earth after Armageddon could mean the Esther class – 1919-1935. Rutherford is vague on this. But for the parallel to hold we'd expect people from both classes of remnant to survive Armageddon – because both Mordecai and Esther were around after the slaughter of the Jews' enemies. JW writers after Rutherford agree with our expectation:

When that time [Armageddon] comes, the Greater Ahasuerus will literally make an end of all his enemies and will exult the Mordecai and Esther classes to the position reserved for them in the Messianic kingdom. (The Watchtower 1971 March 15 p. 185)

In 1969 the "remnant" numbered 10,368 of whom we're informed:

This included quite a number of the remnant who experienced the "beginning of pangs of distress" during World War I. A number of these should survive longer to see and go through the war of Armageddon, in harmony with Jesus' words, at Matthew 24:33-35. (The Watchtower 1970 January 15 p. 52)

Frederick W Franz (1893-1992), the fourth president of JWs, was baptized in 1913 – hence of the Mordecai class. When Franz died, aged 99, he was among the last of the Mordecai class – and Armageddon had not come.


Once every year JWs hold the "Memorial" of Christ's death. The remnant take of the bread and wine and are called "partakers". The majority of people who attend – JWs of the "great crowd" and the public – look on as observers or "non partakers".

The following table shows how the remnant has decreased:

Partakers Attendance
Partakers Attendance
52,465 63,146
10,526 3,226,000
36,732 69,300
9,564 5,727,000
27,620 96,600
8,869 9,950,000
22,723 511,200
8,661 14,872,000
13,911 1,520,000

52,465 in 1935 down to 8,661 in 2000 AD.

Remember, the door to heaven closed in 1935 except to replace a small number of unfaithful ones.

If we assume the average age of JWs in 1935 was 30, then the average age of the remnant would now – 66 years later – be about 96. The proportion of people who reach 96 is under 1%. Hence the 52,465 partakers of 1935 should be down to about 500 – even if a few unfaithful were replaced.

Therefore, even if we accept the JW interpretation that Mordecai and Esther pictured JWs selected by 1935 to go to heaven, it follows that most of the current claimants for heaven are frauds.

The prediction that the Mordecai class of 1919 would live until Armageddon was false. Get the truth about JWs on this website:


Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: