Some time ago (perhaps 2 years now) I talked with a circuit overseer after the meeting, and asked him one of my favorite questions. “If the 144,000 anointed are in the New Covenant, what covenant are the “great crowd” believers in?” His answer: “I have never thought about that.” He was stumped, and even asked the local elders if they knew the answer to the question.
Fast forward to this last Tuesday, when I asked the same question of a different visiting circuit overseer. This time the CO was very clear on the subject. “They are not in any covenant,” he adamantly declared. He then explained that the great crowd “benefits” from the anointed being in the new covenant, and proceeded to give the party line illustration of working for a boss who enters into various contracts, and his employees benefit from those “covenants.” I then used my New World Translation app to show him (and another listening JW) Ephesians 2, which contrasts those within the New Covenant and those without. I also talked about the description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31, expressing my excitement about it, and my concern about the Watchtower’s teaching that some would be excluded from it. All the while the CO remained firm, giving no indication of any doubt or questioning of the Watchtower doctrine on the subject.
I have several observations about the whole interaction.
First, regarding the tone of the conversation: We were both friendly throughout, and left as friends. Really! Me, an evangelical Christian, and thus part of “Babylon the Great, the Satanic system of world religions,” and him, part of “Jehovah’s only approved organization on earth.” As far as he knew, I was merely an “interested Bible student,” that is, a seeker of truth on his way to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, and not a “hostile opposer.” How did that happen? Two things: (1) My efforts to keep things on a friendly level rather than arguing, and (2) The Holy Spirit’s protection of His ministry through me, in spite of my efforts and/or failings.
Secondly, in the natural realm (on the surface of things), it would appear that both he and I were making our points, with neither of us having any effect on the other. However, here’s what I see happening in the spiritual realm. As a circuit overseer, he MUST maintain a stainless steel demeanor, especially in the presence of the congregants. Only Jehovah knows what was going on in his heart and mind. He may have been experiencing an inner turmoil at the Truth of God’s word, struggling with all his might to maintain his composure. Or he may have been hardening his heart further against the Truth in his loyalty to the Watchtower. But there had to be some kind of activity going on, because God’s Word does not return empty, but accomplishes its work. Always.
Thirdly, another congregant was listening in, pretty intently. I could not read him either, other than to note his piqued interest. I have to believe that God’s Word and Spirit was at work on him too.
All of this to affirm that the conversation two years ago with circuit overseer #1 was fascinating, exciting, and fun. And the same can be said of the conversation on Tuesday night with overseer #2. Even though the two conversations, and the two CO’s, were vastly different from one another. And God was at work by his Holy Spirit both times.