“We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.”—ZECH. 8:23.
SONG 53 Working Together in Unity
1. What did Jehovah say would happen in our time?
JEHOVAH foretold about our time: “Ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will take firm hold of the robe of a Jew, saying: ‘We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.’” (Zech. 8:23) The “Jew” here represents those whom God has anointed by holy spirit. They are also called “the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16) The “ten men” represent those who have the hope of living forever on earth. They know that Jehovah has blessed this group of anointed ones and feel that it is an honor to worship him along with them.
2. How do the “ten men” “go with” the anointed?
2 Even though it is not possible to know the name of each individual member of the anointed on earth today,* those who hope to live on earth can “go with” the anointed. How? The Bible says that the “ten men” would “take firm hold of the robe of a Jew, saying: ‘We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.’” The Bible verse mentions one Jew. But “you” and “you people” refer to more than one person. This means that this Jew is not just one person but represents the whole group of anointed ones. Those who are not anointed serve Jehovah along with the anointed. However, they do not view the anointed as their leaders, realizing that Jesus fills the role of Leader.—Matt. 23:10.
3. What questions will be answered in this article?
3 Since there are still anointed Christians among God’s people today, some may wonder: (1) How should anointed ones view themselves? (2) How should those who partake of the emblems at the Memorial be treated? (3) Should we be worried if the number of partakers increases? This article will answer those questions.
HOW SHOULD ANOINTED ONES VIEW THEMSELVES?
4. What warning found at 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 should anointed ones think seriously about, and why?
4 Anointed ones should think seriously about the warning found at 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. How might an anointed one partake “unworthily” at the Memorial? He would do so if he ate and drank the emblems but was not living up to Jehovah’s righteous standards. (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29) Anointed ones realize that they must stay faithful if they want to receive “the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 3:13-16.
5. How should anointed Christians feel about themselves?
5 Jehovah’s holy spirit helps his servants to be humble, not proud. (Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 3:10, 12) So anointed ones do not feel that they are better than others. They know that Jehovah does not necessarily give anointed ones more holy spirit than he gives his other servants. They do not feel that they have a deeper understanding of Bible truths than anyone else. And they would never tell someone else that he too has been anointed and should start partaking at the Memorial. Instead, they humbly acknowledge that only Jehovah invites people to go to heaven.
6. According to 1 Corinthians 4:7, 8, how should anointed Christians conduct themselves?
6 Although anointed ones feel that it is an honor to be invited to go to heaven, they do not expect others to treat them in a special way. (Phil. 2:2, 3) They also know that when Jehovah anointed them, he did not let everyone else know about it. So an anointed person is not surprised if some do not believe right away that he has been anointed. He realizes that the Bible tells us not to be quick to believe someone who says that God has given him a special responsibility. (Rev. 2:2) Not wanting to draw attention to himself, an anointed Christian would not tell those whom he meets for the first time that he is anointed. And he would certainly not boast about it to others.—Read 1 Corinthians 4:7, 8.
7. What will those who are anointed avoid doing, and why?
7 Anointed Christians do not feel that they should spend time only with other anointed ones, as if they were members of an exclusive club. They do not search out other anointed ones, hoping to discuss their anointing with them or to form private groups for Bible study. (Gal. 1:15-17) The congregation would not be united if anointed ones did those things. They would be working against the holy spirit, which helps God’s people to have peace and unity.—Rom. 16:17, 18.
HOW SHOULD THE ANOINTED BE TREATED?
8. Why do you need to be careful about the way you treat those who partake of the Memorial emblems? (See also footnote.)
8 How should we treat anointed brothers and sisters? It would be wrong to admire a person too much, even if he is an anointed brother of Christ. (Matt. 23:8-12) When the Bible speaks of the elders, it encourages us to “imitate their faith,” but it does not tell us that we can make any human our leader. (Heb. 13:7) It is true that the Bible says that some are “worthy of double honor.” But this is because they “preside in a fine way” and “work hard in speaking and teaching,” not because they are anointed. (1 Tim. 5:17) If we give anointed ones too much praise and attention, we could embarrass them.* Or even worse, we could cause them to become proud. (Rom. 12:3) None of us would want to do anything that might cause one of Christ’s anointed brothers to make such a serious mistake!—Luke 17:2.
9. How can we show that we respect anointed Christians?
9 How can we show that we respect those who are anointed by Jehovah? We would not ask them how they became anointed. This is a personal matter, which we do not have the right to know about. (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:11) And we should not assume that their husband or wife, their parents, or other family members are also anointed. A person does not inherit his heavenly hope from his family. He receives it from God. (1 Thess. 2:12) We should also avoid asking questions that could hurt others. For example, we would not ask the wife of an anointed brother how she feels about the prospect of living forever on earth without her husband. After all, we can be absolutely sure that in the new world, Jehovah will “satisfy the desire of every living thing.”—Ps. 145:16.
10. How do we protect ourselves if we avoid “admiring personalities”?
10 If we do not treat anointed ones as more important than others, we also protect ourselves. How? The Bible tells us that some anointed ones might not remain faithful. (Matt. 25:10-12; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21) But if we avoid “admiring personalities,” we will never follow others, even those who are anointed or well-known or those who have served Jehovah for a long time. (Jude 16, ftn.) Then, if they become unfaithful or leave the congregation, we will not lose our faith in Jehovah or stop serving him.
DO WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE NUMBER OF THOSE PARTAKING?
11. What has been happening to the number of those who partake at the Memorial?
11 For many years, the number of those partaking at the Memorial kept going down. But in recent years, that number has been going up every year. Do we need to worry about this? No. Let us consider some key factors to keep in mind.
12. Why should we not worry about the number of those who partake of the emblems at the Memorial?
12 “Jehovah knows those who belong to him.” (2 Tim. 2:19) Unlike Jehovah, the brothers who count the number of those partaking at the Memorial do not know who truly is anointed. So the number includes those who think that they are anointed but are not. For example, some who used to partake later stopped. Others may have mental or emotional problems that make them believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven. Clearly, we do not know exactly how many anointed ones are left on earth.
13. Does the Bible say how many anointed ones will be on earth when the great tribulation starts?
13 There will be anointed ones in many parts of the earth when Jesus comes to take them to heaven. (Matt. 24:31) The Bible does say that during the last days, there will be a small number of anointed ones left on earth. (Rev. 12:17) But it does not say how many of them will be left when the great tribulation begins.
14 Jehovah decides when he will choose anointed ones. (Rom. 8:28-30) Jehovah began choosing anointed ones after Jesus was resurrected. It seems that in the first century, all true Christians were anointed. In the centuries that followed, most of those who claimed that they were Christians did not really follow Christ. Even so, during those years, Jehovah anointed the few who were true Christians. They were like the wheat that Jesus said would grow among the weeds. (Matt. 13:24-30) During the last days, Jehovah has continued to choose people who will be part of the 144,000.* So if God decides to choose some of these just before the end, surely we should not question his wisdom. (Read Romans 9:11, 16.)* We must be careful not to react like the workers whom Jesus described in one of his illustrations. They complained about the way their master treated those who started working in the last hour.—Matt. 20:8-15.
15. Are all the anointed part of “the faithful and discreet slave,” mentioned at Matthew 24:45-47? Explain.
15 Not all who have the hope of living in heaven are part of “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45-47) Just as in the first century, Jehovah and Jesus today are using a few brothers to feed, or teach, many. Only a few anointed Christians in the first century were used to write the Christian Greek Scriptures. Today, only a few anointed Christians have the responsibility to give God’s people “food at the proper time.”
16. What have you learned from this article?
16 What has this article taught us? Jehovah has decided to give everlasting life on earth to the vast majority of his people and life in heaven to those few who will rule with Jesus. Jehovah rewards all his servants—the “Jew” as well as the “ten men”—and he requires them to obey the same laws and remain faithful. All must stay humble. All must serve him together and be united. And all must work to keep the peace in the congregation. As we get closer to the end, let us all keep serving Jehovah and following Christ as “one flock.”—John 10:16.
This year, the Memorial of Christ’s death will be observed on Tuesday, April 7. How should we view those who partake of the emblems that evening? Should we be concerned if the number of partakers continues to increase? We will find the answers to these questions in this article, which is based on one that appeared in the January 2016 Watchtower.
See the box “Love ‘Does Not Behave Indecently’” in The Watchtower, January 2016.
Although Acts 2:33 shows that holy spirit is poured out through Jesus, it is Jehovah who invites each person.
For more information, see “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower, May 1, 2007.
SONG 29 Walking in Integrity
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Imagine if a headquarters representative and his wife were mobbed by picture takers at a convention. How disrespectful!