Have You Received “the Spirit of the Truth”?
“The Father . . . will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth.”—JOHN 14:16, 17.
1. What important information did Jesus give his disciples during his final hours with them in the upper room?
“LORD, where are you going?” That was one of the questions that Jesus’ apostles put to him during the final hours he spent with them in an upper room in Jerusalem. (John 13:36) As the meeting progressed, Jesus informed them that now he was due to leave them to return to his Father. (John 14:28; 16:28) He would no longer be with them bodily to instruct them and answer their questions. He reassured them, however, saying: “I will request the Father and he will give you another helper [or, comforter] to be with you forever.”—John 14:16, footnote.
2. What did Jesus promise to send to the disciples after his going away?
2 Jesus identified that helper and explained how it would assist his disciples. He told them: “These things, however, I did not tell you at first, because I was with you. But now I am going to him that sent me . . . It is for your benefit I am going away. For if I do not go away, the helper will by no means come to you; but if I do go my way, I will send him to you. . . . When that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth.”—John 16:4, 5, 7, 13.
3. (a) When was “the spirit of the truth” sent to the early Christians? (b) What was one important way in which the spirit was a “helper” for them?
3 This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost 33 C.E., as the apostle Peter attested: “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear.” (Acts 2:32, 33) As we shall see later, the holy spirit poured out at Pentecost accomplished many things for the early Christians. But Jesus promised that “the spirit of the truth” would ‘bring back to their minds all the things he had told them.’ (John 14:26) It would enable them to remember Jesus’ ministry and teachings, even his very words, and put these into writing. This would be especially helpful to the aged apostle John at the end of the first century C.E. when he set about writing his Gospel. That account includes the precious counsel Jesus gave when he instituted the Memorial of his death.—John, chapters 13-17.
4. How did “the spirit of the truth” help the early anointed Christians?
4 Jesus also promised those early disciples that the spirit would ‘teach them all things’ and ‘guide them into all the truth.’ The spirit would help them to understand the deeper things of the Scriptures and preserve their unity of thought, understanding, and purpose. (1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 4:3) The holy spirit thus empowered those early Christians to act as a collective “faithful and discreet slave” to supply individual anointed Christians with spiritual “food at the proper time.”—Matthew 24:45.
The Spirit Bears Witness
5. (a) What new perspective did Jesus open up to his disciples on the night of Nisan 14, 33 C.E.? (b) What role would the holy spirit play in fulfilling Jesus’ promise?
5 On the night of Nisan 14, 33 C.E., Jesus intimated to his disciples that they would later be received by him and dwell with him and his Father in heaven. He told them: “In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 13:36; 14:2, 3) They would reign with him in his Kingdom. (Luke 22:28-30) For them to have this heavenly hope, they would be “born from the spirit” as spiritual sons of God and be anointed to serve as kings and priests with Christ in heaven.—John 3:5-8; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:3, 4; Revelation 20:6.
6. (a) When did the heavenly calling begin, and how many receive this calling? (b) Those called were baptized into what?
6 This “heavenly calling” began at Pentecost 33 C.E. and, in the main, appears to have ended in the mid-1930’s. (Hebrews 3:1) The number of those sealed by the holy spirit to be part of spiritual Israel is 144,000, “bought from among mankind.” (Revelation 7:4; 14:1-4) These were baptized into the spiritual body of Christ, into his congregation, and into his death. (Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 27; Ephesians 1:22, 23) After their water baptism and anointing with holy spirit, they entered into a sacrificial course, a life of integrity until their death.—Romans 6:4, 5.
7. Why do only anointed Christians rightly partake of the emblems at the Memorial?
7 As spiritual Israelites, these anointed Christians were in the new covenant made between Jehovah and “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16; Jeremiah 31:31-34) The new covenant was validated by Christ’s shed blood. Jesus mentioned this when he instituted the Memorial of his death. Luke records: “He took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: ‘This means my body which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.’ Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: ‘This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.’” (Luke 22:19, 20) The remnant, or remaining members of the 144,000 still on earth, are the ones who rightly partake of the emblematic bread and wine at the Memorial of Christ’s death.
8. How do the anointed know that they have received the heavenly calling?
8 How do the anointed know that they have received the heavenly calling? They receive unmistakably the witness of the holy spirit. The apostle Paul wrote to such ones: “All who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. . . . The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:14-17) This witness of the spirit is so powerful that those who have the slightest doubt about having received the heavenly calling can reasonably conclude that they have not, and they will therefore refrain from partaking of the emblems at the Memorial.
The Spirit and the Other Sheep
9. What two distinct groups are mentioned in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation?
9 Having in mind the limited number of Christians called to make up spiritual Israel, Jesus referred to them as the “little flock.” They are admitted into the “fold” of the new covenant, in contrast with the numberless “other sheep,” whom Jesus said he must also gather. (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Those of the other sheep gathered in the time of the end will make up the “great crowd” destined to survive “the great tribulation,” with the prospect of living forever on a paradise earth. Interestingly, the vision John received at the end of the first century C.E. distinguishes between this great crowd and the 144,000 members of spiritual Israel. (Revelation 7:4, 9, 14) Do the other sheep also receive the holy spirit, and if so, how does it affect their lives?
10. How are the other sheep baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit”?
10 The holy spirit does indeed play an important part in the lives of the other sheep. They symbolize their dedication to Jehovah by being baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) They recognize Jehovah’s sovereignty, submit to Christ as their King and Redeemer, and yield to the action of God’s spirit, or active force, in their lives. Day by day, they make room in their lives for “the fruitage of the spirit,” namely “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.
11, 12. (a) How are the anointed sanctified in a very special way? (b) In what way are the other sheep sanctified and made holy?
11 The other sheep must also allow God’s Word and his holy spirit to purify, or sanctify, them. The anointed are already sanctified in a very special way, being declared righteous and holy as Christ’s bride. (John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:23-27) The prophet Daniel speaks of them as “the holy ones of the Supreme One,” who receive the Kingdom under the “son of man,” Christ Jesus. (Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, 27) Earlier, through Moses and Aaron, Jehovah declared to the nation of Israel: “I am Jehovah your God; and you must sanctify yourselves and you must prove yourselves holy, because I am holy.”—Leviticus 11:44.
12 The word “sanctification” basically means “the act or process of making holy, separating, or setting apart for the service or use of Jehovah God; the state of being holy, sanctified, or purified.” As early as 1938, The Watchtower stated that the Jonadabs, or other sheep, “must learn that consecration [dedication] and sanctification are required of each one who shall become a part of the great multitude and live on earth.” In the vision of the great crowd, recorded in the book of Revelation, they are spoken of as having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” and as rendering Jehovah “sacred service day and night in his temple.” (Revelation 7:9, 14, 15) With the help of the holy spirit, the other sheep do their utmost to measure up to Jehovah’s requirements of holiness.—2 Corinthians 7:1.
Doing Good to Christ’s Brothers
13, 14. (a) According to Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, upon what does the salvation of the sheep depend? (b) In this time of the end, how have the other sheep done good to Christ’s brothers?
13 Jesus highlighted the close bond between the other sheep and the little flock in his parable of the sheep and the goats, included in his prophecy on “the conclusion of the system of things.” In that parable, Christ clearly showed that the salvation of the other sheep is closely linked to their conduct toward the anointed, whom he called “my brothers.” He stated: “The king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. . . . Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”—Matthew 24:3; 25:31-34, 40.
14 The expression “to the extent that you did it” refers to acts of loving support given to Christ’s spirit-begotten brothers, whom Satan’s world has treated as strangers, even throwing some of them into prison. They have been in need of food, adequate clothing, and health care. (Matthew 25:35, 36, footnote) In this time of the end, since 1914, many of the anointed have found themselves in such situations. The modern history of Jehovah’s Witnesses attests that they have been succored by their loyal companions, the other sheep, as these were moved by the spirit.
15, 16. (a) In what activity have the other sheep particularly helped Christ’s anointed brothers on earth? (b) How have the anointed expressed their appreciation to the other sheep?
15 Christ’s anointed brothers on earth in this time of the end have particularly received the active support of the other sheep in carrying out the God-given commission to ‘preach this good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.’ (Matthew 24:14; John 14:12) While the number of anointed ones on earth has been diminishing over the years, that of the other sheep has expanded to include literally millions. Thousands of these have served as full-time evangelizers—pioneers and missionaries—spreading the Kingdom good news to “the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Others share in the witness work as much as they can and joyfully support this important work financially.
16 How Christ’s anointed brothers appreciate this loyal support by their other sheep companions! Their feelings were well expressed in the book Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace,” provided by the slave class in 1986. It says: “Since World War II, the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy for ‘the conclusion of the system of things’ is largely due to the role that the ‘great crowd’ of ‘other sheep’ carry out. . . . Profuse thanks, therefore, to the international, multilingual ‘great crowd’ for the overwhelming part that they have played in the fulfilling of [Jesus’] prophecy at Matthew 24:14!”
‘Not Made Perfect Apart From Us’
17. In what way will faithful ones of old who will be resurrected on earth “not be made perfect apart from” the anointed?
17 Speaking as one of the anointed and referring to faithful men and women who lived before Christ, the apostle Paul wrote: “All these, although they had witness borne to them through their faith, did not get the fulfillment of the promise, as God foresaw something better for us [the anointed], in order that they might not be made perfect apart from us.” (Hebrews 11:35, 39, 40) During the Millennium, Christ and his 144,000 anointed brothers in heaven will act as kings and priests and dispense the benefits of Christ’s ransom sacrifice on earth. The other sheep will thus “be made perfect” in body and mind.—Revelation 22:1, 2.
18. (a) What should the Biblical facts help the other sheep to appreciate? (b) In what hope do the other sheep await “the revealing of the sons of God”?
18 All of this should impress upon the minds of the other sheep why the Christian Greek Scriptures focus so much attention on Christ and his anointed brothers and their central role in the outworking of Jehovah’s purposes. The other sheep therefore consider it a privilege to support in every way possible the anointed slave class while awaiting “the revealing of the sons of God” at Armageddon and during the Millennium. They can look forward to being “set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Romans 8:19-21.
United in the Spirit at the Memorial
19. What has “the spirit of the truth” done for the anointed and their companions, and how will they be especially united on the evening of March 28?
19 In his closing prayer on the night of Nisan 14, 33 C.E., Jesus said: “I make request . . . in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.” (John 17:20, 21) Out of love, God sent his Son to give his life for the salvation of the anointed ones and the world of obedient mankind. (1 John 2:2) “The spirit of the truth” has united Christ’s brothers and their companions. On the evening of March 28, after sundown, both classes will meet together to commemorate Christ’s death and remember all that Jehovah has done for them through the sacrifice of his dear Son, Christ Jesus. May their presence on that important occasion strengthen their unity and renew their determination to keep on doing the will of God, thus giving evidence that they rejoice to be among those whom Jehovah loves.
By Way of Review
• When was “the spirit of the truth” sent to the early Christians, and how did it prove to be a “helper”?
• How do the anointed know that they have received the heavenly calling?
• In what ways does God’s spirit operate on the other sheep?
• How have the other sheep done good to Christ’s brothers, and why will they “not be made perfect apart from” the anointed?
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“The spirit of the truth” was poured out on the disciples at Pentecost 33 C.E.
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The other sheep have done good to Christ’s brothers by supporting them in fulfilling the divine commission to preach