wife.” And since the “Lamb’s wife” is also termed “the holy city, New Jerusalem,” it follows that this name also applies only to the 144,000 body members. This is borne out by the description of it in Revelation chapter 21.—1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12; Rev. 21:2, 9, 10.
Another Scriptural expression that refers to the 144,000 members of Christ’s body is “little flock.” Said Jesus: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” Since Jesus does not include himself, saying, ‘The Father has approved of giving us the kingdom,’ the expression “little flock” here applies only to the 144,000 members of his body who are heirs of the Kingdom with him. To these “sheep” and others Jesus is the Fine Shepherd.—Luke 12:32; John 10:11, 16.
Jesus used yet another distinctive term to refer to his anointed body members, namely, “faithful and discreet slave.” This is a designation that applies to the composite body of the anointed on earth at any time since Pentecost A.D. 33, when Christ’s followers, especially his apostles, were entrusted with his interests on earth. Since Christ is the one that takes an accounting with this “slave,” it clearly does not include him. At this accounting, after his entering into Kingdom power, Christ Jesus further blessed those making up the “faithful and discreet slave” at that time, giving them additional Kingdom privileges and responsibilities.—Matt. 24:45-47.
We come now to a consideration of those terms or titles that apply or are used to refer to Jesus Christ apart from his body members. Among those that might be mentioned as found in the Christian Greek Scriptures are “the Amen,” “Faithful and True,” “the Faithful Witness,” “King of kings and Lord of lords,” “the Lamb of God,” “Leader,” “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah,” “Lord,” “Potentate,” “Savior,” and “the Word.” Clearly, the designations here referred to apply, not to Jesus’ body members, but to Jesus himself, even as do his more commonly used names, “Jesus,” “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus.”—Rev. 3:14; 19:11; 1:5; 19:16; John 1:29; Matt. 23:10; Rev. 5:5; 1 Pet. 3:15;1 Tim. 6:15; Luke 2:11; John 1:1; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 7:25; 8:1.
But what about the expressions “the Christ” and “Christ”? Does the use of the article with “Christ” designate something different from when no article is used? Might it be that, whereas the term “Christ” refers to Jesus Christ alone, the term “the Christ” could also include the 144,000 members of his body? Do the Scriptures support this thought or distinction?
No, they do not. Certainly Christ’s body members are not included in the words of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then again, the 144,000 are said to rule “as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” How could they be said to be reigning with the Christ if they were a part of the Christ? Yes, there are many scriptures that distinguish between “the Christ” and the members of his body.—Matt. 16:16; Rev. 20:4.
In fact, the expression “the Christ” of itself at no time includes the members of Christ’s body. So the title “Christ,” with or without the definite article, refers to Jesus Christ, the article serving to draw attention to or to emphasize his office as the Messiah. Christ is the Head and Bridegroom of the 144,000, his body or bride. That is why these ones are said to be “in union with Christ,” to “belong to Christ,” and to be “Christ’s body.”—Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:23; 12:27.
The fact that Christians are said to be “in union with Christ” does not mean that they can be spoken of as “the Christ,” anymore than the term “Lord” can be applied to them because children are told, “Be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord.”—Eph. 6:1.
How, then, are we to understand 1 Corinthians 12:12? This reads: “Just as the body is one but has many members, and all the members of that body, although being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.” Does not the term “the Christ” in this instance include the body members? No, apparently not, for what Paul is here discussing is the body of Christ separate and distinct from its Head. That is why he sums up his argument in 1Co 12 verse 27, saying: “Now you are Christ’s body, and members individually.” At 1Co 12 verse 12 Paul is evidently using an elliptical way of speaking in connection with the Christ, a form of speech not uncommon in the Scriptures. So we could paraphrase Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 12:12 this way: ‘Just as the body, though being a single entity, has many members, so it is with the body of Christ, that is, those associated with or belonging to Jesus Christ.’
In other words, the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures do not make a distinction between “the Christ” and Jesus Christ. Illustrating this point is Ephesians 2:13, which says: “But now in union with Christ Jesus you who were once far off have come to be near by the blood of the Christ.” Compare also Ephesians 1:10, 12, 20.
In view of the foregoing, how is Hebrews 11:26 to be understood? This tells us that Moses “esteemed the reproach of the Christ as riches greater than the treasures of Egypt.” To whom or what does “the Christ” refer in this instance? It does not seem that the “riches” Moses had in mind was in his being a type of “the Christ” to come, because he did not know that he was such. Rather, it appears to refer to the privilege he himself had of being God’s anointed one (Greek: christós) to serve as mediator and deliverer. This meant more to Moses than all the treasures of Egypt.
From this discussion we can see that a variety of terms are applied to Jesus Christ and his body members. Some apply exclusively to Jesus. Others, such as “new heavens,” always take in the composite number of the 144,001, Christ Jesus and his body. Still other names describe just the 144,000, though usually illustrating some relationship to their Head, Christ Jesus, such as “body of Christ,” “the bride,” “little flock,” and “New Jerusalem.” But, as we have noted, there are some designations that at times have a broad or inclusive sense, taking in the 144,000 as a body and sometimes including Christ, while at other times these same designations have a more limited or restricted sense. A good example of this is the word “congregation.” So it is important to consider the context so as to have clearly in mind the thought of the writer. Names are descriptive. When correctly understood and applied, they bring out the full value of things or persons, and are essential to an accurate knowledge of the Word of God.
Demonism at Ephesus
One of the earliest inscriptions found at Ephesus was a form of divination by omens from birds inscribed on a block of marble. “If the bird is flying from right to left, then whether it rises or settles out of sight, it is unlucky,” and so on.—The Bible Was Right, by Hugh J. Schonfield, chapter 37, “The Home of Magic.” See Acts 19:18, 19, where it reports that Ephesus was known for its “magical arts.”