Doctrines, Religion

The Body of Christ

DAILY TEXT FROM THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY

Just as the body is one but has many members, and all the members of that body, although being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.—1 Cor. 12:12.

Jehovah created mankind to be interdependent. The human race exhibits a wide variety of looks, personalities, and skills. Additionally, he endowed the first humans with godly qualities that would enable them to cooperate with each other and to depend on each other. (Gen. 1:27; 2:18) Nevertheless, the world of mankind in general is now alienated from God and has never, as a whole, been able to act in unity. (1 John 5:19) Therefore, considering that the first-century Christian congregation was composed of people as diverse as Ephesian slaves, prominent Greek women, educated Jewish men, and former idol worshippers, their unity must have seemed miraculous. (Acts 13:1; 17:4; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Tim. 6:1) True worship enables people to cooperate as harmoniously as the members of our own body.—1 Cor. 12:13w10 9/15 2:2, 3

When I read today’s daily text I wondered how many members of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide realize that the Watchtower defines the members of the congregation they refer to as limited to only the anointed.

The Watchtower teaches that Christ is the head of the congregation—but that this congregation is only comprised of 144,000 people who are anointed to go to heaven. While the bible teaches there is a special ruling class of anointed in heaven who rule the Kingdom with Christ, no where does it teach these are the only anointed or only ones in heaven. Actually Revelation tells us that the Great Crowd that no man is able to number is in heaven rendering rendering him sacred service day and night in the temple at Revelation 7:9-17.

The Watchtower elaborates on the Great Crowd in heaven.

“The Greek word (na·os’) translated “temple” in John’s vision of the great crowd is more specific. In the context of the Jerusalem temple, it usually refers to the Holy of Holies, the temple building, or the temple precincts. It is sometimes rendered “sanctuary.”—Matthew 27:5, 51; Luke 1:9, 21; John 2:20.

Members of the great crowd exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. They are spiritually clean, having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Hence, they are declared righteous with a view to becoming friends of God and of surviving the great tribulation. (James 2:23, 25) In many ways, they are like proselytes in Israel who submitted to the Law covenant and worshiped along with the Israelites.

Of course, those proselytes did not serve in the inner courtyard, where the priests performed their duties. And members of the great crowd are not in the inner courtyard of Jehovah’s great spiritual temple, which courtyard represents the condition of perfect, righteous human sonship of the members of Jehovah’s “holy priesthood” while they are on earth. (1 Peter 2:5) But as the heavenly elder said to John, the great crowd really is in the temple, not outside the temple area in a kind of spiritual Court of the Gentiles. What a privilege that is! And how it highlights the need for each one to maintain spiritual and moral purity at all times!” — w02 5/1 pp. 30-31

The Watchtower tells us, “Those with an earthly hope discern that they themselves are not anointed members of the body of Christ, nor are they in the new covenant that Jehovah made with those who will rule with Jesus Christ. Since “the cup” represents the new covenant, only those in the new covenant partake of the emblems. Those looking forward to everlasting life in human perfection on earth under the Kingdom are neither baptized into Jesus’ death nor called to rule with him in heaven. Were they to partake of the emblems, it would signify something that is not true with respect to them. Thus, they do not partake, though they do attend the Memorial as respectful observers. They are thankful for all that Jehovah has done for them by means of his Son, including the extending of forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s shed blood.

The final sealing of the relatively small number of Christians called to reign with Christ in heaven is nearing completion. Until the end of their life of sacrifice on earth, the anointed are spiritually strengthened by partaking of the Memorial emblems. They feel a bond of unity with their brothers and sisters as members of Christ’s body. Their partaking of the emblematic bread and wine reminds them of their responsibility to remain faithful until death.—2 Peter 1:10, 11.”

The Insight on the Scriptures book talks about this symbolic body of Christ.

Symbolic Usage. Jesus Christ is spoken of as the Head of “the congregation, which is his body.” (Eph 1:22, 23; Col 1:18) This Christian body of people has no divisions racially, nationally, or otherwise, Jews and people of all nations being represented in it. (Ga 3:28; Eph 2:16; 4:4) All are baptized by holy spirit into Christ and into his death. They are, therefore, all baptized into one body. (1Co 12:13) Thus all the body follows the head, dying his kind of death and receiving his kind of resurrection.—Ro 6:3-5; see BAPTISM (Baptism Into Christ Jesus, Into His Death).

The apostle Paul uses the functioning of the human body to illustrate the operation of the Christian congregation, likening the members living on earth at any particular time to a body, with Christ as the invisible Head. (Ro 12:4, 5; 1Co 12) He emphasizes the importance of the place each member occupies, the interdependency, the mutual love and care, and the accomplishment of work. God has set each one in his position in the body, and through the various operations of the holy spirit the body performs what is necessary. The Head, Jesus Christ, as liaison member, supplies the members of the body the things they need through the “joints and ligaments,” the means and arrangements for supplying spiritual nourishment as well as communication and coordination, so that “the body” is spiritually well fed and each part is informed of the task to perform.—Col 2:19; Eph 4:16.

One who is an anointed member of the Christian congregation, the body of Christ, … the temple organization, … One who is a member of the body of Christ, as well as other dedicated persons who are associated with these spiritually begotten body members…”

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