I'll add some more now since got some participation ;) I'm gonna go a little deeper now.....tie some things into the 144,000/elect.
Thanks for that angle Tammy, I'll keep it in consideration as I continue study........though I don't belive the early Christians believed it that way.
First, another big misconception is that ALL Christians of the 1st century were 'annointed'. I can't find ANY scripture that supports that either. There are actually 'two' heavenly hopes (for those of you studying and getting confused on predestination and being selected after the fact).
The apostle Paul, he was 'seeking out' and in a sense on the race to 'attain' a 'greater calling'. An open door, which one can seek out if they want.
Hebrews 11:35 shows that some early christians were looking for a 'better' resurrection. "35 Women received their dead by resurrection; but other [men] were tortured because they would not accept release by some ransom, in order that they might attain a better resurrection." - it does not say 'a' but it says 'attain a better'.
What would be a 'better' resurrection?
Paul and Timothy say this in Phillipians 3:9 'On account of him I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in union with him, having, not my own righteousness, which results from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that issues from God on the basis of faith, 10 so as to know him and the power of his resurrection and a sharing in his sufferings, submitting myself to a death like his, 11 [to see] if I may by any means attain to the earlier resurrection from the dead."
So Paul and Timothy were trying to 'attain an earlier' resurrection.
What IS the earlier resurrection?
1 Cor 15:21 - For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each one in his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence. 24 Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. 25 For he must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet. 26 As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing
So the order of the resurrection or being made alive is this......1. Christ(annointed) 2. Those who BELONG TO HIM during his presence BUT before he begins ruling as King 3. The end, when he hands over the Kingdom to GOd, as death is brought to nothing, and he hands over the kingdom at the end of the thousand years does he not?
Revelation 20:4,5 - 6. Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.
So Paul was TRYING TO ATTAIN to the first resurrection, the 'better' resurrection, in which he could rule as Kings and Priests for the 1,000 year reign.
There is a LOT more talking about this....but don't want to make this comment overloaded.
A question many may be thinking......why would JW's/GB teach or come up with something not even in the bible? Evidently( ;p ), they were teaching until about 1930 that EVERYONE who accepted them and the truth, WAS part of these annointed, they were all having a heavenly hope. When they realized that over 144,000 may be part of the numbers, they did read about the great crowd of other sheep, who get out of the great tribulation. Now since the bible teaches that those who are NOT serving as kings and priests come to light after the 1,000 years, can you imagine them saying and preaching that some of us will have life right away, and most of you will have to wait another 1,000 years?? Not that it matters when your dead, a day or a million years would seem like a blink of the eye.
- PS - this is not the full answer, there is a lot more to it. Check the scriptures and see if it agrees or disagrees. (again there are 2 heavenly hopes, so if someone posts or finds a contradiction, I'll post more)