THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD AND THE HOLY NATION
A Typical Representation
One of the most cherished teachings among us is that there are two “hopes” for mankind – an earthly hope and a heavenly hope: (1) the heavenly hope for a limited number of mankind who will rule with Christ in heaven as kings and priests; (2) the earthly hope for the remainder of obedient mankind who will live on earth forever and be subjects of the heavenly kingdom.
This teaching, which is unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses, has been a subject of much controversy within and without the organization. Commentaries have been written attacking this so-called “two class” doctrine and painting it as an unreasonable contrivance of man. The real test, however, is whether or not it is scriptural. And an even better question is: If it is scriptural, is it possible that it has been misunderstood?
So, for the sake of those interested, we here attempt a scriptural consideration of the question: Does the Bible identify two classes of mankind, and if so, why? The answer to this question is important as we consider the responsibilities of anointed Christians throughout the world. We will begin at the very beginning with Adam and Eve and trace the development of Jehovah’s purpose through history, as set forth in the Bible.
The Apostle Paul laid the foundation for understanding the significance of scriptural teachings and Biblical arrangements. After highlighting some experiences of the nation of Israel, he wrote:
“Now, these things when on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the system of things have arrived.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:11
“For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instructions, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.”
— Romans 15:4
We are here told that the recorded history of the nation of Israel serves as an example for us today to warn us, to instruct us, and to comfort us. We are further told that Jehovah’s arrangements for worship as set out in the Mosaic Law served as a “typical representation and shadow of the heavenly things,” as a divine pattern, and as “a shadow of the good things to come.” (Hebrews 8:4-5; 9:23; 10:1)
It is important to note that we are not advocating adherence to the Mosaic Law. That requirement is lifted from all those accepting Christ’s ransom sacrifice.
“But now we have been discharged from the Law, because we have died to that by which we are being held fast, that we might be slaves in a new sense by the spirit, and not in the old sense by the written code.”
– Romans 7:6
Our being “discharged from the Law” means that we are no longer condemned by our failure to live up to it.
“Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by
becoming a curse instead of us.”
– Galatians 3:13
Nevertheless, the Law itself is “fine.” (Romans 7:7, 12, 16; 1 Timothy 1:8) It is as Jesus said:
“Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came not to destroy, but to fulfill; for truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place.”
– Matthew 5:17-18
So even though we are freed from the condemnation of sin and death (Romans 8:2), the Law, which includes the shadows, patterns, and typical representations, must continue to be worked out until they also are perfected and complete; and until they will have accomplished the purpose for which they were intended – namely, “to gather all things together again in the Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10)
With these thoughts in mind, let us trace the typical representation from its beginning to its fulfillment in order to fully understand the Father’s purpose for a Royal Priesthood in Letter No. 2.