Watchtower, May 1, 2007
Questions from Readers
When does the calling of Christians to a heavenly hope cease?
The Bible does not reveal a precise answer to that question. We do know that the anointing of Jesus’ disciples with a view to their heavenly inheritance began in 33 C.E. (Acts 2:1-4) We also know that after the death of the apostles, genuine anointed Christian “wheat” came to “grow together” with counterfeit Christians, “weeds.” (Matthew 13:24-30) Then, starting in the late 1800’s, anointed Christians were again prominently active. In 1919 “the harvest of the earth,” including the gathering of the final ones of the anointed began to be reaped. – Revelation 14: 15, 16.
From the late 1800’s until 1931, the main thrust of the preaching work was the gathering of the remaining members of the body of Christ. In 1931 the Bible Students took the Bible-based name Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in the November 15, 1933, issue of the Watchtower, the thought was expressed that this unique name was the “denarius” referred to in Jesus’ parable recorded at Matthew 20:1-16. The 12 hours mentioned in the parable were thought to correspond to the 12 years from 1919 to 1931. For many years after that, it was believed that the call to the heavenly Kingdom had ended in 1931 and that those called to be joint heirs with Christ in 1930 and 1931 were “the last” called. (Matthew 20:6-8) However, in 1966 an adjusted understanding of that parable was presented, and it became clear that it had nothing to do with the end of the calling of the anointed.
In 1935 the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-15 was understood to be made up of “other sheep,” Christians with an earthly hope, who would appear on the world scene in “the last days” and who as a group would survive Armageddon. (John 10:16; 2 Timothy 3:1; Revelation 21:3, 4) After that year, the thrust of the disciple-making work turned to the gathering of the great crowd. Hence, especially after 1966 it was believed that the heavenly calling ceased in 1935. This seemed to be confirmed when almost all who were baptized after 1935 felt that they had the earthly hope. Thereafter, any called to the heavenly hope were believed to be replacements for anointed Christians who had proved unfaithful.
Without a doubt, if one of the anointed unrepentantly falls away, Jehovah does call another individual to take his place. (Romans 11:17-22) However, the number of genuine anointed ones who have become unfaithful is likely not large. On the other hand, as time has gone by, some Christians baptized after 1935 have had witness borne to them that they have the heavenly hope. (Romans 8:16, 17) Thus, it appears that we cannot set a specific date for when the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope ends.
How should a person be viewed who has determined in his heart that he is now anointed and begins to partake of the emblems at the Memorial? He should not be judged. The matter is between him and Jehovah. (Romans 14:12) However, genuine anointed Christians do not demand special attention. They do not believe that their being of the anointed gives them special “insights,” beyond what even some of experienced members of the great crowd may have. They do not believe that they necessarily have more holy spirit than their companions of the other sheep have; nor do they expect special treatment or claim that their partaking of the emblems places them above the appointed elders in the congregation. They humbly remember that some anointed men in the first century did not qualify to serve as elders or ministerial servants. (1 Timothy 3:1-10, 12, 13; Titus 1:5-9; James 3:1) Some anointed Christians were spiritually weak. (1 Thessalonians 5:14) And sisters, although anointed, did not teach in the congregation. – 1 Timothy 2:11, 12.
Hence, anointed Christians along with their other sheep companions strive to stay spiritually strong, cultivating the fruitage of the spirit and working for the peace of the congregation. All Christians, whether anointed or of the other sheep, work hard at preaching the good news and making disciples under the direction of the Governing Body. Anointed Christians are content to do this for as long as it is God’s will that they remain on earth as Jehovah’s servants.Text copyright Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
Of course, this is a flip-flop. See the following quotations, with added emphasis;
*** w05 1/15 p. 15 par. 21 Christ—The Focus of Prophecy ***Only his faithful anointed disciples would discern his royal presence. In the next article, we will see how that insight would have a profound effect on them, culminating in the gathering of millions who would become Jesus’ earthly subjects
*** ip-2 chap. 15 p. 228 par. 23 The Barren Woman Rejoices ***23 Verse 13 of Isaiah chapter 54 provides the key—all will be “taught by Jehovah.” Jesus himself applied the words of this verse to his anointed followers. (John 6:45) The prophet Daniel foretold that during this “time of the end,” the anointed would be blessed with an abundance of true knowledge and spiritual insight. (Daniel 12:3, 4) Such insight has enabled them to spearhead the greatest educational campaign in history, spreading divine teaching in all the earth. (Matthew 24:14) At the same time, such insight has helped them to see the difference between true religion and false. Isaiah 54:12 mentions “boundaries of delightsome stones.” Since 1919, Jehovah has given the anointed an ever clearer understanding of the boundaries—the lines of spiritual demarcation—setting them apart from false religion and ungodly elements of the world. (Ezekiel 44:23; John 17:14; James 1:27) They are thus set apart as God’s own people.
*** w00 5/15 p. 11 par. 6 Pay Attention to God’s Prophetic Word for Our Day ***6 In this time of the end, many faithful Christians have ‘roved about’ in the pages of God’s Word, the Bible. The result? With Jehovah’s blessing on their efforts, true knowledge has become abundant. For instance, anointed Witnesses of Jehovah have been blessed with insight, enabling them to understand that Jesus Christ became heavenly King in the year 1914.
*** km 3/00 p. 8 par. 4 Studying Daniel’s Prophecy ***4 Prepare well for the study each week, and enjoy participating in it. Appreciate your privilege of associating with Jehovah’s visible organization and benefiting from the insight and understanding provided by his faithful anointed ones.
*** dp chap. 17 p. 292 par. 11 Identifying True Worshipers in the Time of the End ***: “The ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.” Who are “the ones having insight” today? Again, the evidence points to the same “holy ones of the Supreme One.” After all, who but the faithful anointed remnant had the insight to discern that Michael, the Great Prince, began standing as King in 1914?
*** dp chap. 18 p. 309 par. 7 Jehovah Promises Daniel a Wonderful Reward ***In our own day, the anointed have been blessed with spiritual insight, shining as beacons of truth in this bedarkened world.
*** w98 2/15 p. 19 par. 7 Glorious Freedom Soon for the Children of God ***Meanwhile, God granted his anointed servants, born-again Christians, noteworthy insight.
*** w87 7/1 p. 23 par. 10 Divine Blessings for “the Ones Having Insight” *** “The ones having insight” are clearly the faithful remaining members of the anointed Christian congregation, who are ‘filled with accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension.
*** w81 3/1 p. 26 Do You Appreciate the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”? ***This indicates that the congregation of Christ’s anointed disciples, those having insight, would be watching for the Master’s return and be found faithfully providing spiritual food at the proper time when he returned.
*** w70 11/15 p. 690 par. 22 The Need to Know What We Worship ***The anointed remnant of “people who are knowing their God” have been the ones that have prevailed, and this due to having insight.
*** w60 2/1 p. 90 par. 37 Part 31—“Your Will Be Done on Earth” ***They act with insight and keep walking in their integrity or blamelessness toward God. Realizing their being anointed with Jehovah’s spirit to preach, they do preach, that they may “impart understanding to many.”
Question - why have the Governing Body decided, as of 2007, that actually, no the anointed do not have any special insights?
(hat-tip Governing Body Letters)