Questions From Readers
▪ Are the remnant of the Lord’s anointed on earth a part of Jehovah’s heavenly, wifely organization, “Jerusalem above”?
Anointed ones on earth can be spoken of as the visible part of God’s organization, his universal family of intelligent creatures.
As individuals who are “born again,” they become spiritual sons of Jehovah. (John 3:3, 5; Romans 8:15-17) Jehovah is their Father. Yet they have also a “mother,” for the apostle Paul wrote that “the Jerusalem above . . . is our mother.” This must be a reference to a heavenly organization of loyal spirits whom Jehovah views as a figurative “wife.” (Galatians 4:26) When anointed Christians receive their heavenly reward, they actually take their place in that heavenly organization.—Revelation 4:4; 14:1-5.
The anointed remnant on earth are not yet literally a part of “Jerusalem above.” But because of their unique position as spiritual sons with the prospect of heavenly life, and because they represent God’s heavenly “wife,” at times Jehovah includes them in a reflective way in directives, prophecies, promises, and words of comfort addressed to his wifely organization in heaven.
We can illustrate this with words involving ancient Israel. Through Isaiah, Jehovah described a woman in chains, in the dust, in need of waking up and shedding forth light. (Isaiah 51:9, 14; 52:1, 2; 60:1) Those conditions have not existed among Jehovah’s loyal spirit sons making up his heavenly “woman.” However, they did exist in the nation of Israel. When the Israelites were released from captivity to Babylon in 537 B.C.E., they awakened, stood up from the dust, and began to reflect Jehovah’s light. Rebuilt Jerusalem (standing for the nation) was like a wife who had been abandoned but who now had been reclaimed and was producing children, the Jews in the revived nation. (Isaiah 54:1-8; 60:1-22; 66:7-14) So the words in Isaiah about the situation of the “woman” (whose “husbandly owner” was Jehovah) took in the earthly nation representing her.
Now let us shift attention to the spiritual nation that God would accept once he (and his heavenly “woman”) ceased using fleshly Israel. (Galatians 6:16) After being “barren” for many centuries, “Jerusalem above” began to produce spiritual sons. Jesus was the first one produced, in 29 C.E., to be followed by 144,000 others, beginning with the apostles and extending down to our time. (Galatians 4:21-31) For a brief period in the early part of this century, the remnant of spiritual Israelites gave in to pressures and came, as it were, into captivity. Then, in 1919, they were brought out of Babylonish captivity as a newborn nation in a spiritual land. Thus, we can see that Isaiah’s prophetic words regarding ancient Jerusalem find a parallel in spiritual Israel on earth.
Consider, too, Revelation 12:1-17. At the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, God’s heavenly “woman” produced the Kingdom government as a “male child.” The debased Satan “grew wrathful at the woman.” But his attack was not directly against God’s wifely organization in heaven, to which he no longer had access. Rather, Satan waged war “with the remaining ones of her seed” representing her here on earth.
Thus, as it was in the past with earthly Israel, so it is with spiritual Israel. The situation in “Jerusalem above” is reflected among her children on earth. In a practical sense, the commands, correction, comfort, and promises directed to Jehovah’s heavenly woman, affect primarily those on the earth who represent her and who have the prospect of being part of God’s heavenly organization.
▪ Do those of the “great crowd” become part of Jehovah’s universal organization?
Now, prior to the “great tribulation,” all of Jehovah’s Witnesses happily serve God in unity. (Matthew 24:21) There is no division over the fact that a small number are spirit anointed and look forward to going to heaven, while the majority have the hope of eternal life in an earthly paradise. As Jesus indicated, both the “sheep” and the “other sheep” become united in “one flock.” (John 10:11, 16) Thus, Jehovah’s present organization of servants is made up of those from both groups, with both destinies.
Jehovah foresaw that his woman would enjoy such prosperity. He indicated that people from all nations, those not spiritual Israelites, would be gathered in great numbers. (Isaiah 60:1-22; 61:5-9) The book of Revelation describes “a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” These are ones with earthly hopes, not those of the spiritual nation of anointed ones who particularly represent Jehovah’s universal organization today. Still, the “great crowd” stand before the throne of God and the Lamb in robes made white by washing in the Lamb’s blood. What a fine standing they have even now!—Revelation 7:9-17.
These of the “great crowd” are also tested as to their integrity. Their continued faithfulness now and on through the Thousand Year Reign and the final test will result in Jehovah’s declaring them righteous as perfect humans, along with resurrected ones who become part of Jesus’ “other sheep.” Being thus “set free from enslavement to corruption,” they will enjoy “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) They then will be, as were originally Adam and Eve, the visible part of Jehovah’s universal organization. They will be the perfect, intelligent offspring of Jehovah and his wifely organization in heaven.