Christian Channel of Communication
“This was to the end that now to the governments and the authorities in the heavenly places there might be made known through the congregation the greatly diversified wisdom of God.”—Eph. 3:10, NW.
1. Upon what does true Christianity rely?
TRUE Christianity as a revealed religion relies fully upon all the progressive revelations of Jehovah’s sacred pronouncements communicated to the earth from the time of Adam to that of the apostle John. Additionally we see how God has provided his Christian servants from Pentecost, A.D. 33, forward with a reliable channel of guidance for the understanding of these amazing revelations of his will and purposes. From the prophetic shadows to the actual realities we observe that this God-provided channel for Christians is the collective congregation of anointed ones who serve as a prophetlike organization under the leadership of its communicating head, Christ Jesus.—Eph. 5:23.
2. (a) How did Moses serve as a prophet? (b) What judicial line of communication was established?
2 After Abraham’s time Jehovah’s line of communication was in contact with Isaac, Jacob and Joseph as God’s earthly channels. Then the most prolific period of divine communication ever experienced up to that time was evident in the ministry of the great prophet Moses. For forty years an almost constant flow of communication was open between Jehovah and Moses that enabled him to be inspired to organize the congregation of Israel theocratically into a nation of Jehovah and lead it to the Promised Land for domicile. The God-designed government inaugurated at Mount Sinai was a righteous government of law. It was not a government of personal human rulers. An earthly sanctuary was built that provided a limited channel of judicial communication with God. The God-appointed high priest was the chief judicial minister of state. He was given the Urim and Thummim in connection with his high office to obtain a “yes” or “no” answer to grave national legal problems that required decision from the government’s highest judicial authority, its sovereign King, Jehovah.—Gen. 26:24; 28:13, 14; 41:39; Ex. 3:2-22; 28:30; Gal. 3:19.
3. (a) Why was another line of communication necessary for the nation of Israel? (b) How did this operate in connection with the “judges”?
3 While the law-covenant machinery kept the government functioning along with the limited judicial communication above described, yet from time to time it became necessary for Jehovah to convey special communication to the nation’s theocratically appointed rulers and also to render spiritual counsel to the people. This additional line of communication was maintained by Jehovah through specially chosen men and women beginning with Moses and then later including others located in various parts of the Promised Land. They were raised up for such communication service as the necessity arose. Whenever the people as a whole lost faith in Jehovah, becoming infected with paganized religious thinking and in consequence being subjugated by their nontheocratic neighbors, God raised up special servants of faith known as “judges.” He sent divine messages to these “judges” by means of angels and his holy spirit that fired them to action that they might stir the nation to return into paths of righteousness. Some of them became warriors to lead Israel’s forces in victoriously driving out pagan invaders. Joshua, Moses’ successor, was one of these and so were others such as Gideon, Deborah, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, to name a few.—Heb. 11:32.
4. What was the ‘line of prophets,’ and how did they serve as channels?
4 From King Saul’s time forward, when the nation desired to have human kings at the head of their governmental administration, Jehovah raised up devoted men known as “prophets” who served as his earthly channels of communication. Samuel was the last of the line of Israel’s “judges” and the first in the long line of “prophets” used by Jehovah for over a thousand years until John the Baptist to render guidance, reproof and calls to reform. The prophets became powerful preachers in channeling to the people the divine messages they received from Jehovah. Uncompromisingly they stood as Jehovah’s witnesses on God’s side of whatever issues were current in their day. They were ready to withstand the stream of public opinion and persecution rather than compromise in their devotion as prophets of Jehovah.—Heb. 11:33-38.
5, 6. (a) What happened to the divine message received by the prophets of old? (b) Who were the “sons of the prophets”? (c) How did Israel receive the prophets?
5 Most of the large number of divine communications received by the prophets have been recorded for us in various books of the Bible, several of which books actually bear the names of the prophets who wrote them. All these divine pronouncements of God’s originality are a rich recorded heritage. Their revelations become part of the true Christian religion to this day. Outstanding prophets such as Elijah and Elisha had disciples associated with them who became known as “sons of the prophets.” These associates like Noah’s three sons became fellow preachers along with the prophet channel himself to form a band of prophets or a prophet organization. These helpers to the prophet made it possible for him to channel throughout the nation in a short time the messages he received from God. It is interestingly noted that Jehovah’s holy spirit also operated upon these “sons of the prophets.”—1 Ki. 20:35; 2 Ki. 2:3, 15.
6 Finally the apostasy, the unfaithfulness of Israel, grew to the point where they totally rejected Jehovah’s repeated merciful counsel and divine warning, so that Jehovah permitted the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to put an end to the dynasty of Davidic kings and to destroy Jerusalem. “And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place [temple at Jerusalem]: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” What a long record the apostate congregation of Israel has had of utterly closing her ears to Jehovah’s channel of heavenly communications!—2 Chron. 36:15, 16, AS.
THE GREAT PROPHET
7. When was the most possible direct communication for man with God? Why?
7 In God’s due time earth’s inhabitants became favored with the most possible direct contact in the line of communication with the Living God and still survived. Humans can never expect personally to see the Communicative God, who is a consuming fire, and live. But just think, for three and one-half years men were able publicly to see and hear the second-greatest authority in the universe, “the Word,” God’s highest officer or spokesman! This meant that the Word, who had personal access to the Living God’s presence and who had heard Jehovah individually communicate living waters of truth out of his own mouth, was sent to earth to become the lowly man Jesus. The Word then became flesh to dwell among men as Jehovah’s greatest prophet or channel of communication to convey priceless words of wisdom directly to honest men.—Ex. 33:20; Deut. 4:24; John 1:14.
8. Why was it necessary for God to send his great prophet to communicate with Israel? Who became that great prophet?
8 Fifteen hundred years before, at Mount Horeb (Sinai), the Israelites, after hearing God’s majestic words spoken to them amidst a fearsome spectacle of fire, requested a change of divine communication. God said at that time that they had spoken well and accordingly promised he would send instead the great prophet, now Jesus: “In response to all that you asked of Jehovah your God in Horeb on the day of the congregation, saying, ‘Do not let me hear again the voice of Jehovah my God and this great fire do not let me see any more, that I may not die.’ At that Jehovah said to me [Moses], ‘They have done well in speaking what they did. A prophet I shall raise up for them from the midst of their brothers, like you, and I shall indeed put my words in his mouth and he will certainly speak to them all that I shall command him. And it must occur that the man who will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I shall myself require an account from him.’” Peter reminded the Jews of his day of this grave fact.—Deut. 18:16-19; Acts 3:23, NW.
9. What superiority of communication did the early Christians have over their Hebrew forerunners?
9 As to the superiority of communication that has come to the Christian witnesses of Jehovah over that to their faithful forerunners, the Hebrew witnesses of the true religion, Paul speaks out: “God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power, and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the majesty in lofty places. So he has become better than the angels to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.”—Heb. 1:1-4, NW.
10. How was Jehovah reflected in Jesus?
10 Jesus, in his prehuman existence having been the great personal companion of Jehovah, was able to reflect the amazing personality of the Living God, reproduce words and phrases of words just as originally emanating from the mouth of God and in fact display in conversation here on earth the exalted type of thinking produced by the very mind of the Creator. Our experience today is the same where, in being intimate with an outstanding friend for many years, we get to know his personality very well, are able to repeat words and phrases in his same manner and can convey to others the type of thinking of this striking individual. Jesus confirms this view in his answer to Philip’s request: “Master, show us the Father.” Jesus said to him: “Have I been with you men so long a time, and yet, Philip, you have not come to know me? He that has seen me has seen the Father also. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me?”—John 14:8-10; 1 Cor. 2:16, NW.
PREPARATION OF PROPHETICAL ORGANIZATION
11. How did Jesus show his followers would serve as a group of prophets, and what line of communication was thereby indicated?
11 Like the prophets Noah, Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist, Jesus, the Prophet, gathered disciples around him and trained them to become preachers. However, unlike these others he was preparing these disciples to become a nucleus around which a continuous prophetical organization, a channel of communication, would be established. At the conclusion of Jesus’ training speech he mentioned that his disciples would be recognized as prophets, bringing a prophet’s reward to those who are desirous of learning about Christ Jesus, the King of the new world. This following scripture also reveals the line of communication running back through the individuals making up the prophet group, then through Jesus and finally to Jehovah God himself. “He that receives you receives me also, and he that receives me receives him also that sent me forth. He that receives a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet’s reward, and he that receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will get a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water to drink because he is a disciple, I tell you truly, he will by no means lose his reward.” Jesus also said: “A prophet is not unhonored except in his native territory and in his own house.” This, too, Jesus’ followers have experienced as members of his Christian prophetlike organization.—Matt. 10:40-42; 13:57, NW.
12. What scripture shows that Jesus’ followers would serve as a collective channel?
12 Just as no individual since Jesus’ day has been singled out in the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, so no single individual has comprised God’s special prophet since Jesus, the Great Prophet. For this reason Jesus made plans for an anointed congregation of disciples to become the collective channel in the earth making known God’s communications. Looking ahead to the operation of this channel Jesus said: “Truly I say to you men, Whatever things you may bind on earth will have been bound in heaven and whatever things you may loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” Note that the things to be restrained or freed here on earth must first be bound or loosed in heaven with instructions communicated to the organized group on earth. This power is organizational in scope and applies to no one man, as claimed by the Catholic Church in saying that this authority is vested in the one man, the pope.—Matt. 18:18, NW.
PROPHETICAL ORGANIZATION ESTABLISHED
13. When was the Christian congregation established as a channel of communication, and how was this manifested?
13 On Pentecost day A.D. 33 the first 120 members of Christ’s congregation became anointed with the holy spirit amidst a spectacular noise from heaven just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and tongues of fire became visible upon the entire number assembled. That same day Peter in a public speech identified this event as fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy distinctly marking this group as an organization empowered to prophesy. “These people are, in fact, not drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day. On the contrary, this is what was said through the prophet Joel, ‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour some of my spirit out upon every kind of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams; and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”’” What a spirit-vitalized channel was started A.D. 33 to represent Jehovah on earth!—Acts 2:15-18, NW; Joel 2:28, 29.
14. Describe the activity and growth of this early Christian prophetlike channel.
14 After the preaching by the 120 on this first day where they explained many of the visions and dreams in Bible prophecy and with Peter’s final talk, three thousand became associated with this newly organized Christian congregation. All became preachers. They filled Jerusalem with their teachings from the prophecies. This channel-like organization soon grew to five thousand fellow preachers, all baptized with holy spirit. The apostles and other older ones at Jerusalem became a governing body through which progressive understanding was released as to Bible prophecies then being fulfilled. Even though many of them had been preachers along with Christ Jesus years before, yet they did not have full understanding of all things. For instance, the apostles thought that Jesus had come to restore the literal kingdom of Israel. But after Pentecost they learned progressive details of the many secrets concerning the kingdom as being heavenly.—Acts 1:6; 2:41; 4:4, 31.
15, 16. Give illustrations to show that this was a progressive channel bringing forth understandings of new truths.
15 As further examples of progressive understanding, it was Peter of the governing body who explained the fulfillment of Joel 2:28, 29, as already mentioned. Peter, too, revealed that Jesus was the Chief Agent of life and that salvation is possible only through his name. (Acts 3:15–4:12) A few days later Peter and John together revealed that Christians ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 4:19) About a year later Stephen revealed by inspiration that he saw Jesus as “the Son of man standing at God’s right hand,” giving concrete evidence of Jesus’ having returned to his heavenly position of service. (Acts 7:56, NW) Still later, Philip, one of the older ones, baptized the Ethiopian eunuch after he had explained to him the meaning of the prophecy at Isaiah 53:7, 8. (Acts 8:29-33) In the year 36 Peter received another revelation from heaven concerning the Gentiles, that the time had come to open the door for them to come in and become equal anointed members of Christ’s body or congregation.—Acts 10 and 11.
16 For some years many Christian ministers had been preaching that it was necessary for Gentile Christians to be circumcised. But finally, A.D. 49, at a convention of Jehovah’s witnesses in Jerusalem, several older ones of the governing body showed from Biblical argument and by divine revelation that Gentiles need not be circumcised. James, the fleshly half brother of Jesus and the congregation servant of the Jerusalem congregation, concurred in this decision by explaining the fulfillment of the prophecy at Amos 9:11, 12 (LXX). (Acts 15:6-22, NW) Again many were preaching that Gentiles on becoming Christians should further subject themselves to the law of Moses. By the year 56 the apostle Paul, also of the governing body, was used to clear up from the Hebrew Scriptures that the coming in of the Gentiles was according to Bible prophecies and that such Gentiles were not under the law of Moses but under God’s undeserved kindness. He argued correctly that God had nailed the law covenant to the torture stake of Jesus. (Rom. 6:14; 15:7-13; Col. 2:13, 14) In the year 96 the apostle John was used to reveal, among many other things, that the exact number of the anointed ones to live and reign with Christ Jesus in heaven would be 144,000.—Rev. 7:4; 14:1.
EARLY UNCLEAR VIEWS NO DETRACTION
17, 18. (a) Why does this not demonstrate that God’s channel was weakened with error? (b) Were these earlier unclear views any detraction to preaching according to the channeled flow of new truth?
17 Does all this, then, demonstrate that God’s channel on earth since Jesus’ day was weakened and adulterated with error? No! To the contrary, it demonstrates there was no flood of water of choking volume at any one moment of time but rather a calm, steady flow of new waters of truth through a set channel. The many men and women brought into this prophetical organization of the anointed congregation had preconceived unclear views as to Jehovah’s purposes. It would take time gradually to change over their thinking. God knew that as mere men they could not mentally grasp, understand or retain a flood of new truths at one time, which figuratively might throw them off balance and drown them.
18 Jehovah in his mercy and loving consideration for his weaker servants arranged for a gradual flow of the waters of new truth to them in an orderly channeled way. Gradually their minds would be adjusted and become filled with a progression of new things. This, in turn, would enable them to preach these new things to other righteously disposed ones in a gradual, orderly, channel-like flow. For instance, the expression of unclear views as to whether sabbath laws of Moses and circumcision still were applicable to Christians in no wise detracted from the early flow of new points of truth or from the preaching of Jesus Christ by the early congregation. But in God’s due time, A.D. 49, the development of true religion reached the point where Jehovah’s legal position on circumcision and the Mosaic law could be wisely announced. From then on this new position, made emphatically clear, was preached uniformly as right doctrine by true Christian ministers.
19. How was the progressiveness of God’s channel foretold?
19 In fact, the progression of revealed Bible truths channeled in the line of communication through the anointed Christians brought startling information even to angels. “This was to the end that now to the governments and the authorities in the heavenly places there might be made known through the congregation the greatly diversified wisdom of God.” The state of progressiveness for the earthly channel was indicated by Jesus when he said: “Most truly I say to you, He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do, and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father.” In the year 55, after a rich flow of many new progressive divine communications as to Jehovah’s purposes, Paul still indicates a future greater unfolding of new things. “For at present we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face to face. At present I know partially, but then I shall know accurately even as I am accurately known.”—Eph. 3:10; John 14:12; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:12, NW.
TWELVE REQUIREMENTS FOR CHRISTIAN CHANNEL TODAY
20-32. Discuss each of the twelve specifications for the Christian channel today, and which group gives the evidence of meeting such requirements?
20 What of Jehovah’s Christian channel of communication today? Which of the hundreds of sects and denominations of those who claim to be Christian is Jehovah’s spokesman today in the earth as his divinely appointed and organized channel of communication? The Bible indicates many specifications, all of which have to exist together to mark, beyond a shadow of doubt, the one divinely authorized channel. Following is a list of requirements to be met by such a true congregation of Christ to fit her as God’s channel today.
21 First, the congregation of Christ of the twentieth century must know what the name of its God is as revealed by Jesus to his early disciples and must become witnesses of this majestic name even as were the prophets of old, Jesus and the first-century Christians. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and their companions today have a rich understanding of the divine name JEHOVAH and accordingly are endeavoring to live up to this name as His witnesses.—Isa. 43:12; John 17:6, 11, 26; Acts 15:14.
22 Second, the congregation of Christ started by Jesus as the channel is made up of all anointed ones who are spirit-begotten with a hope of ruling with Christ in heaven and whose number is set at 144,000. Which group of Christians in the earth today gives evidence of being the remnant of this nineteen-hundred-years-old richly matured congregation of Christ in its works and beliefs? Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses.—1 John 2:27; Rev. 14:1.
23 Third, the congregation of Christ must be marked distinctly by being persecuted among the nations for her integrity to Biblical principles and for her uncompromising virgin purity to Christ Jesus as the King of the new world. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and their companions have such a distinguishing mark by being persecuted the world over.—Matt. 24:9.
24 Fourth, the congregation of Christ must accept all the progressive revelations of the one true religion as contained in the Hebrew Scriptures channeled through all the prophets of old down to John the Baptist and in the Greek Scriptures channeled through Christ Jesus and his disciples. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and their companions, the “other sheep,” do.—2 Pet. 3:15, 16; Rev. 22:18, 19; John 10:16.
25 Fifth, the congregation of Christ must realize it went through a scattering period leading to a “Babylonish” spiritual captivity, from which there must have been a regathering of “his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses who have been regathered since 1919 from all nations, languages and former religious associations realize this.—Matt. 24:31, NW; Rev. 18:4.
26 Sixth, the congregation of Christ must keep spiritually awake for the return of her Lord Jesus Christ and, when he comes invisibly with attention to this earth’s affairs, she must accept him and receive the joy and delight of the King’s presence as Ruler. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses have been spiritually awake to realize this great event of Christ’s enthronement in heaven in 1914.—Matt. 24:3, 42-44; 25:1-23.
27 Seventh, the congregation of Christ after the return of her Lord must, as the “house of God,” receive her judgment when Jehovah’s messenger comes to the temple for judgment, and this prior to the rest of the world. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses experienced this judgment cleansing when the “messenger” came to his temple in 1918.—1 Pet. 4:17; Mal. 3:1-3.
28 Eighth, the congregation of Christ, when cleansed, must have received the commendation of her Lord by being designated the “faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time.” Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses have realized this office since 1919, since when they have made a supreme effort to channel forth clean spiritual food to all those in association with them as Christ’s “domestics.”—Matt. 24:45-47, NW.
29 Ninth, the congregation of Christ must receive in the last days the special commission that “this good news of the kingdom” must be “preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses together with their companions have published information concerning the establishment of Christ’s kingdom in 1914, which publication has now reached into 160 lands of earth.—Matt. 24:14, NW.
30 Tenth, the congregation of Christ must today follow its first-century pattern by receiving progressive understandings of Bible prophecies which unfold further majestic purposes of the Living God and which new light of truth must be published impartially the world over by God’s prophetlike organization. Only the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and their companions “do not treat prophesyings with contempt” but publish their fulfillments as they become clear, in their Bible publications.—1 Thess. 5:20; Rev. 11:3, 4, NW.
31 Eleventh, the congregation of Christ must realize a change in her work from that of gathering the “little flock” for heavenly privileges to that of gathering out the “other sheep” to become prospective Kingdom subjects to live happily forever on a paradise earth that is destined to continue unendingly in fulfillment of the great Abrahamic promise. Only the anointed remnant have experienced this since the years 1932 and 1935.—Gen. 22:18; Luke 12:32; John 10:16; Matt. 25:31-33.
32 Twelfth, the congregation of Christ must realize the certain time when Jehovah ‘plants the new heavens and lays the foundation of the new earth’ as part of his permanent New World system of things. Only Jehovah’s witnesses realize this and have come to know that since 1919 a New World society is developing to expand to fill the whole earth in righteousness.—Isa. 51:16; 65:17; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1.
KEEP IN CLOSE TOUCH WITH CHANNEL
33, 34. (a) What is the legal servant used by the anointed remnant today? (b) What is an official mouthpiece of the “faithful and discreet slave” class? (c) Who should keep in close touch with God’s channel today, and why?
33 The evidences, therefore, are overwhelming that the anointed Christian remnant among Jehovah’s witnesses today comprise the collective channel of communication. An abundance of additional detailed facts is being published in the series of articles in The Watchtower on the history of Jehovah’s witnesses. There are about 17,000 of these anointed ones still left in the earth, with a governing body of them residing at Bethel in Brooklyn, New York. Along with them there are over 560,000 “other sheep” companion associates. This small “faithful and discreet slave” class of anointed ones, as they are designated, have a legal servant known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, organized in 1884, which they use to represent them.
34 An official mouthpiece for this “slave” class is the Watchtower magazine, now in its seventy-sixth year of publication. This magazine makes no claim of inspiration but is guided by the inspired principles and prophecies recorded in the sacred Bible due for progressive fulfillment today. By means of this singular channel of reliable spiritual guidance all sincere, honest persons who love righteousness are being directed toward the “perfect day” in the post-Armageddon new world. You are invited to advance along with the anointed remnant from one God-directed progressive spiritual position to another in fulfillment of the promise: “The path of the righteous is as the dawning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”—Prov. 4:18, AS.
See that you do not implore him not to speak. For if they did not escape who implored him not to give divine warning upon earth, much more shall we not if we turn away from him who speaks from the heavens. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, saying: “Yet once more I will set not only the earth but also the heaven in commotion.”—Heb. 12:25, 26, NW.