AMBASSADORS SUBSTITUTING FOR CHRIST
February 18, 2012
LETTER NO. 1 - THE ASSIGNMENT AS AMBASSADORS
An ambassador has been defined as:
“a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative;”
“a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment;” and
“a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government to another.”
Each of these definitions carry three common ideas: (1) that the ambassador is of high rank; (2) that he is sent to a foreign sovereign as a representative of his own sovereign government; and (3) that he becomes a resident in that foreign nation, often temporary. That aptly describes the anointed sons of the Father.
As we have established in a prior series of articles, “The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation,” the anointed sons are a Holy Nation of priests charged with the task of reconciling all mankind to God – some within the Holy Nation being not only priests, but also kings.
“[Y]ou yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
– 1 Peter 2:5, 9
This surely meets the definition of “high ranking!”
Next, as established in the prior series of articles, “Observing the Oneness of the Faith,” we see that mankind is invited to become members of the Body of Christ. When they acknowledge and become aware of their sonship, and undergo the One Baptism, they are received as citizens of the heavenly kingdom.
“As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.”
– Philippians 3:20-21
Finally, the spiritual ambassador becomes a resident in a foreign nation – a temporary resident – for the purpose of ‘declaring the excellencies’ of his home nation, the heavenly kingdom. Notice the Apostle Peter’s words:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the temporary residents scattered about in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to the ones chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, with sanctification by the spirit, for the purpose of their being obedient and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ.”
– 1 Peter 1:1-2
“Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires, which are the very ones that carry on a conflict against the soul.”
– 1 Peter 2:11
Yes, the sons of the kingdom are high ranking citizens of the heavenly kingdom who exist on the earth as temporary residents in ‘foreign nations,’ charged with the duty to declare the excellencies of the kingdom of the heavens to all the nations, so that they all can become reconciled to God. Ambassadors indeed!
There are many nations upon the earth – some based on geography, some based on philosophy, some based on religious ideology, etc. Anointed Witnesses of Jehovah might consider themselves temporary residents of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Our first appointment of service would be within that ‘nation,’ much as the apostles limited their initial preaching and teaching tours to the “house of Israel.”
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: ‘Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter into a Samaritan city; but, instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”’”
– Matthew 10:5-7
Later, the apostles were instructed to preach to the gentiles; the Apostle Paul even became designated as the “apostle to the nations.” (Romans 11:13)
Jehovah’s Witnesses as a whole are preaching to the nations. But, as we showed in our earlier series of articles (“The Seven Letters to the Seven Congregations"), we must now focus on the ‘lost sheep of spiritual Israel’ – those who have been sent away or pushed away because of a misunderstanding of the timetable for calling anointed sons, and also those who sit quietly in the congregations unwittingly behaving as slaves, when, in fact, they are true sons, heirs to the kingdom of the heavens.
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand. Likewise we also, when we were babes, continued enslaved by the elementary things belonging to the world. But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. “Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and its cries out: ‘Abba, Father!’ So, then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, also an heir through God.”
– Galatians 4:1-7
And how sad that these sons were revealed, not in the 20th century, but “when God sent forth his Son” – back in the first century C.E.! Yes, all this time, so many of us have behaved as slaves! The time to be servants and slaves is sufficient. Brothers, it is now time to come home.
And notice the message Jesus gave:
“Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”
– Luke 4:18-19
It is a message of hope, healing and encouragement. Yes, we are ambassadors ‘substituting for Christ’ – carrying his message. And we must carry that message in the manner and in the likeness of the Christ – the way he did it, following the example he left behind.
Let’s be clear about who we are substituting for, in Letter No. 2.