The “Prince of Peace” Turns to Those Outside the New Covenant
1. Why cannot the Jews of today deny that the Mosaic covenant made with their forefathers was to come to an end?
NATURAL Jews today, those who are the fleshly descendants of the patriarch Abraham, cannot deny that the old Mosaic Law covenant was to be superseded by a new and better covenant. They cannot expunge from their manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures the words of God at Jeremiah 31:31: “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant.’”
2. How was the question of who would be the Mediator of the new covenant finally disclosed?
2 Who the mediator of that new covenant would be was not foretold by Jeremiah. But on the night of Nisan 14, 33 C.E., when Jesus Christ handed the cup with the Passover wine to his disciples, he showed that he was to be that Mediator. (Luke 22:20) At Hebrews 7:22 we are told that he is the “pledge,” surety, or guarantee, of such a new and “better covenant.”
3. What other office toward God does Jesus Christ hold, and was it by line of descent?
3 By his sacrifice in behalf of the new covenant, Jesus became Jehovah’s High Priest. He did not become such by natural descent from Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. He was sworn into the office of High Priest by the oath of the Most High God, Jehovah, the Priest-Maker. The words of Psalm 110:4 apply to Jesus: “Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): ‘You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek!’”—Hebrews 7:20, 21.
4. (a) With what sort of “Israel” did Jehovah make the promised new covenant, and why? (b) Those taken into the new covenant become the sons of what parents?
4 With the exception of a small remnant, the nation of natural Israel rejected Jesus Christ as the Mediator of the new covenant. Thus “the house of Israel” with which God made the foretold new covenant proved to be a spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) That spiritual Israel was brought to birth on the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E. Being spiritual, it could take into its citizenship believing non-Jews, or Gentiles. (Acts 15:14) Peter addressed it as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9) This “holy nation” is composed of the spiritual sons of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah, the Maker and Fulfiller of the Abrahamic covenant. Hence, they are at the same time the “sons” of Jehovah’s wifelike heavenly organization, prefigured by Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Unavoidably, the new covenant of the Greater Abraham takes into account that heavenly organization as the mother of the promised “seed,” prefigured by Isaac.
“Other Sheep” Included in One Flock
5. What did the new covenant require down here on earth?
5 That new covenant needed active ministers down here on earth, and the members of the anointed remnant have served as the adequately qualified “ministers of a new covenant” that has replaced the old Mosaic Law covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:6) They are not clerical ministers inside the hundreds of religious sects of Christendom, the outstanding part of modern-day Babylon the Great. They have heeded the commanding call of Revelation 18:4 and have come out of that world empire of false religion.
6. (a) The number of the ministers of the new covenant is limited to how many? (b) How do we know that the Fine Shepherd would turn his attention to those outside the new covenant?
6 The number of the ministers of that new covenant was to be limited to 144,000. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5) So the time was bound to come when the Fine Shepherd would turn his attention beyond the ministers of the new covenant. Jehovah’s Prime Minister foresaw this and referred to this when he said, at John 10:16, that he had “other sheep,” which were not of the “little flock” of 144,000.—Luke 12:32.
7. (a) Why are members of the “other sheep” class not ministers of the new covenant? (b) How has the remnant of those in the new covenant already become a blessing to the families and nations of the earth?
7 While the “other sheep” would not be of the “little flock,” they would be ministers of God, too, but not ministers of the new covenant. And the fact that those “other sheep” would become “one flock” with the remnant of those “ministers of a new covenant” would indicate something grand. What? This: Before being glorified in the heavenly Kingdom, the remnant would personally associate with the “other sheep” on earth. In this way the remnant of the spiritual seed of Abraham would begin to be a blessing to all the families and nations before “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon and before the start of the Millennium.—Galatians 3:29; Revelation 16:14, 16.
8. When did the Fine Shepherd turn his attention to those outside the new covenant, and what preliminary step have these “other sheep” taken?
8 This has actually proved to be the case, particularly since 1935. Since then, millions of those “other sheep” have associated with the tens of thousands of congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the globe and have dedicated themselves to the Supreme Shepherd, Jehovah God. They have thus been admitted into the “one flock” of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
9. Did the widening out of the attention of the Mediator of the new covenant mean that the ministry of the new covenant had ended on earth?
9 Did the fact that the Mediator of the new covenant was, from then on, widening out his attention to include also the “other sheep” mean that the ministry of the new covenant ended in 1935? No, for there is a remnant of ministers of the new covenant yet on earth, and they still have to finish that ministry.
10. Who today are benefiting from the ministry of the new covenant as rendered by the eight writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures?
10 Today, both the remnant of the “little flock” and the increasing “great crowd” of the Fine Shepherd’s “other sheep” are benefiting from the ministry of others who went before them, such as the apostle Paul. In carrying out his ministry of the new covenant faithfully until his death in Rome some time before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 C.E., Paul was inspired to write 14 of the 27 books of the Christian Greek Scriptures. How thankful the anointed remnant and the “great crowd” of the “other sheep” can be that faithful men of the first century, such as the apostle Paul and the seven other writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures, carried out their ministry of the new covenant to the finish of their earthly lives! And in our time, millions of the “other sheep” are already benefiting from the ministry of the new covenant, as rendered by the anointed remnant under the Mediator, Jesus Christ. The “Prince of Peace” has now turned his attention to these dear “other sheep,” whose numbers have grown rapidly.
11. (a) How long has the new covenant been in effect, and what does this indicate? (b) The remnant of the ministers of the new covenant serve in what capacity today?
11 However, time must now be running out! The new covenant has already been in effect for more than 1,950 years, over 400 years longer than the Mosaic Law covenant that it replaced, and the number of ministers of the new covenant is diminishing as members pass off the earthly scene in death. But today’s remnant of those ministers continue to serve as “the faithful and discreet slave” whom the Master, Jesus Christ, has appointed “over all his belongings.”—Matthew 24:45-47.
Extending the Invitation: “Come!”
12. According to Revelation 22:17, what invitation is the “bride” class extending, and to whom?
12 How loving is the service rendered by those ministers of the new covenant! For instance, in Revelation 22:17 we read: “The spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” The “bride” class, along with Jehovah’s active force, or spirit, is extending that invitation to those who are outside the new covenant. The invitation is extended, not to those now dead in the memorial tombs who are to be blessed with a resurrection from the dead, but to people now living, who are in danger of destruction at Armageddon but who have hearing ears.
13. (a) Has the invitation extended by the “bride” class been in vain? Explain. (b) What are those who have already accepted the invitation doing in obedience to Revelation 22:17? (c) What must be the case with regard to the time left for extending the invitation?
13 Not in vain has this loving invitation been extended worldwide especially since 1935. Over three million have already responded to the gracious invitation to come and drink. As those who have appreciatively heard, they are obediently saying to still many other millions athirst for endless life on a paradise earth, “Come!” But the time for extending this gracious invitation to the “other sheep” is limited. After more than a half century of being extended, the time remaining for it should now be very short, as God’s war at Armageddon looms ominously over “this generation” of mankind.—Matthew 24:34.
14. For what should we be giving Jehovah thanks and praise?
14 So, now, thanks to Jehovah that he has provided the capable Mediator who is successfully accomplishing the purpose of the new covenant in producing a people, 144,000 strong, for His name! Praise, too, to Jehovah that his Mediator as a Fine Shepherd is already bringing increasing millions of “other sheep” into the “one flock,” where they have already entered into the early benefits flowing to mankind from the new covenant!
[Picture on page 111]
Millions of “other sheep” have come into Jehovah’s visible organization in these last days