Q: The society leads us to believe that the Greek Scriptures are written for the anointed only, and the great crowd are allowed to peer into these writings as mere spectators. After coming to appreciate this is not the case as the great crowd and anointed make up Gods temple I would like your thoughts on Romans 1:6-7 - "among which nations you also have been called to belong to Jesus Christ— 7 to all those who are in Rome as God’s beloved ones, called to be holy ones: May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (New NWT)


I would read this to be addressing the anointed or as some translations put it the saints. Please now consider the same verses from the New Living Translation - "And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people."


This rendering has a more open invitation to all of Gods people in its address don't you think, this translation address could easily apply to both the anointed and great crowd. So is this address by Paul to all of Gods temple as implied by the NLT or is the address to the anointed, the foundation of the temple only?


A:  That is a very good question. Was Paul saying that he understood "all those who are in Rome" to have the heavenly hope, as the Society says, since they teach that in the First Century everyone was of the "anointed"? Or was Paul simply addressing all of God's people in Rome as being holy, as the New Living Translation suggests? Does being holy refer solely to the 144,000 who will rule with Jesus in his kingdom, or to all of God's people? The apostle Peter answers: "As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but, in accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all [your] conduct, because it is written: 'You must be holy, because I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:14-16, NWT

Peter was quoting from Leviticus 19:1-2, where it says: "And Jehovah spoke further to Moses, saying: 'Speak to the entire assembly of the sons of Israel, and you must say to them, ‘You should prove yourselves holy, because I Jehovah your God am holy.'" (NWT)
Jehovah required holiness from the entire nation of Israel, not just the high priest who wore the sign of holiness on his turban. Jehovah further explained: “Sons you are of Jehovah your God. You must not make cuttings upon yourselves or impose baldness on your foreheads for a dead person. For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God, and Jehovah has chosen you to become his people, a special property, out of all the peoples who are on the surface of the ground." (Exodus 29:6; Deut. 14:2, 21; 28:9-10) Jehovah was addressing the entire nation when he said that they are a "holy people to Jehovah" their God.

That all Israelites, every individual, was holy to Jehovah is acknowledged in a 2006 Watchtower study article, which said: "In the 11th century B.C.E., King Solomon indicated that Jehovah had made Israel a separated nation. In prayer to Jehovah, he stated: “You yourself separated them as your inheritance out of all the peoples of the earth.” (1 Kings 8:53) Individual Israelites also had a special relationship with Jehovah. Earlier, Moses had told them: “Sons you are of Jehovah your God... For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God.” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2)"―w06 7/1 p. 22 par. 5 They Were Born Into God’s Chosen Nation.

Since Pentecost 33 C.E.,―when the new covenant came into force―Jehovah's people no longer worship God in a physical temple, such as existed in Jerusalem under the old covenant. That is because Jehovah's people themselves are now his temple. (Our Kingdom Halls have not replaced the temple in Jerusalem.) When a Samaritan woman, who was drawing water from a well and of whom Jesus had requested a drink, said to Jesus that "our forefathers worshiped in this mountain; but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where persons ought to worship", Jesus answered her: "Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you people worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:20-24)

Jesus pointed out that it no longer counts where we worship Jehovah, but how we worship―with spirit and truth. The apostle Paul wrote much needed counsel to the Corinthian congregation because of the many problems that existed within the congregation; when he reminded the brothers that they needed to prove themselves holy, telling them: "Do you not know that you people are God’s temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] you people are." (1 Cor. 3:16-17) Yes, Paul was saying that every individual member of the congregation belonged to God's temple. They had God's spirit dwell in them, which was at the same time teaching them, "even the deep things of God." As such they were all holy. (1 Cor. 2:10)

This may raise the obvious question: If all of God's people are holy, who then are the "holy ones" ("saints" according to some Translations) which the Bible speaks of? There is a distinction between being holy and the "holy ones," as Paul explains in his letter to the Ephesians. He writes: "Certainly, therefore, you are no longer strangers and alien residents, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and are members of the household of God." (Eph. 2:19) How is it that a person is said to be holy and yet is at the same time a fellow citizen of the "holy ones"? Paul goes on to explain: "You have been built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit." (Eph. 2:20-22)

God's holy temple consists of a foundation; a foundation cornerstone; and of course everyone who is build upon that foundation. The apostles Paul and Peter identify the cornerstone as Jesus Christ himself. (1 Peter 1:19-20; 2:4-8; Isa. 28:16) A cornerstone by itself does not make a foundation, as Paul shows by listing the twelve apostles and prophets as being included as members of the foundation along with Jesus. It is these members, as "living stones" of the foundation, that are the "holy ones," for they are the ones who will rule together with Jesus in his kingdom. (Rev. 20:6)

God had foreordained the number of them "before the founding of the world" in connection with foreknowning his promised Seed, Christ Jesus. (Gen. 3:15; Eph. 1:4, 11-12) These are the ones the apostle John saw in the Revelation he received from God, namely, 144,000 standing with the Lamb upon symbolic Mount Zion―Mount Zion being the location where God's earthly temple once stood. "These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb." (Rev. 14:1-4) Whereas Jehovah himself chooses the individual members of the foundation of his holy temple for their respective places (thus they are called "chosen ones"), anyone can become a member of God's temple and be "harmoniously joined together" with the holy ones by being built upon them as the foundation. That is what Paul meant when he said that all of God's people are "fellow citizens of the holy ones." (Matt. 20:20-23)

Although many become offended at the idea that we must accept not only Jesus but also his "brothers," the 144,000 (Christ's bride), the fact of the matter is that no one can worship God apart from what he himself has put in place. (Matt. 25:31-46; 7:21-23; Rev. 19:6-9) When the Israelites began to offer their sacrifices away from the temple and on the high places, Jehovah rejected their worship. Even wise King Solomon eventually succumbed to building high places for his foreign wives to worship their false gods. This apostasy against Jehovah resulted in the kingship being ripped away from Solomon in the days of his son, and the establishment of the ten tribe kingdom. (Lev. 17:8-9; 1 Kings 11:7- 8, 30-35) We cannot worship Jehovah apart from his temple which includes the foundation upon which he has built his temple.

God's temple is holy, which is made up of the foundation of Jesus and the 144,000; as well as everyone who is built upon that foundation, "all those who [are] rightly disposed for everlasting life." (Acts 13:48) Thus, "the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit." Jehovah knows his people who are built upon the "solid foundation" of his temple. (2 Tim. 2:19) Although all God's people are holy, when the Bible speaks of the "holy ones" it is referring to the holy members of the foundation, the ones who will receive the kingdom along with the "son of man." (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 21-22, 27; Matt. 11:11)

If the foundation is holy, then the entire temple is also holy. (Compare Romans 11:16) The "great crowd" that comes out of the "great tribulation" is holy for they have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb." They are built upon the holy foundation. That is why they are rendering sacred service to God within his temple; and he spreads his protective tent over them." (Rev. 7:9, 13-15; Psalms 15:1-5)