“I Am With You”
“Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.”—DAN. 12:4.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
In modern times, how has “the true knowledge” become known?
How have those embracing the truth become “many”?
In what ways has accurate knowledge been made “abundant”?
IMAGINE yourself in Paradise. Each morning, you awake feeling rested and eager to begin your day. You have no aches or pains. Any infirmities you once had are gone. All your senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste—function perfectly. Your energy is abundant, your work is enjoyable, your friends are many, and all your worries are gone. Such will be the blessings you can enjoy under God’s Kingdom. Christ Jesus, the appointed King, will bless his subjects and educate them in the knowledge of Jehovah.
2 Jehovah will be with his loyal servants as they engage in that future global educational work. God and his Son have been with faithful ones for centuries. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus assured his loyal disciples that he would be with them. (Read Matthew 28:19, 20.) To strengthen our faith in this assurance, let us examine just one sentence of a divinely inspired prophecy that was penned in ancient Babylon more than 2,500 years ago. Concerning “the time of the end” in which we now live, the prophet Daniel wrote: “Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.” (Dan. 12:4) Viewed metaphorically and in harmony with the facts of our day, the Hebrew verb here translated “rove about” conveys the idea of a careful examination. What marvelous blessings such roving about would result in! Those carefully studying the Scriptures would be blessed with the true, or accurate, knowledge of God’s Word. The prophecy also states that many would embrace “the true knowledge.” Moreover, such knowledge would be abundant. It would be widely distributed and readily available. As we examine how this prophecy has been fulfilled, we will see that Jesus is with his disciples today and that Jehovah is fully capable of carrying out all that he has promised.
“THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE” BECOMES KNOWN
3 Following the death of the apostles, foretold apostasy from genuine Christianity developed and spread like fire. (Acts 20:28-30; 2 Thess. 2:1-3) For centuries thereafter, “the true knowledge” was far from abundant not only among those who knew nothing of the Bible but also among professed Christians. Though claiming to believe in the Scriptures, the leaders of Christendom taught religious lies—“teachings of demons” that dishonored God. (1 Tim. 4:1) People in general were kept in spiritual ignorance. Apostate doctrines included the false teaching that God is a Trinity, that the soul does not die, and that some souls are tormented eternally in hellfire.
4 However, in the 1870’s—about four decades before “the last days” began—a small group of sincere Christians in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., met together to study the Bible diligently and to search for “the true knowledge.” (2 Tim. 3:1) They called themselves Bible Students. These were not “the wise and intellectual ones” from whom Jesus said that knowledge was to be hidden. (Matt. 11:25) They were humble people who sincerely desired to do God’s will. Carefully and prayerfully, they read, discussed, and meditated on the Scriptures. They also compared Bible passages and examined the writings of others who had made a similar search. Gradually, these Bible Students came to discern truths that had been obscured for centuries.
5 Though the Bible Students were excited about the things they were learning, they did not allow their newfound knowledge to puff them up with pride; nor did they take credit for proclaiming something new. (1 Cor. 8:1) Instead, they published a series of tracts called The Old Theology. The objective was to acquaint readers with Scriptural truths that had been recorded in the Bible. The first of such tracts offered “further reading matter to assist in Bible study, with a view to getting rid of all false traditions of men and to the full recovery of the old theology of our Lord and the apostles.”—The Old Theology, No. 1, April 1889, p. 32.
6 What marvelous truths have been uncovered since that small beginning over 100 years ago!* These truths are not dull, academic matters to be debated by theologians. They are thrilling, liberating truths that give meaning to our lives and fill us with joy and hope. They help us to come to know Jehovah—his loving personality and his purposes. They also clarify Jesus’ role, explain why he lived and died, and point out what he is doing now. These precious truths reveal why God permits evil, why we die, how we should pray, and how we can be truly happy.
7 We can now grasp the meaning of prophecies that remained a “secret” for ages but are now being fulfilled in this time of the end. (Dan. 12:9) These include those found throughout the Scriptures, especially in the Gospels and the book of Revelation. Jehovah has even helped us understand events that we could not see with our eyes—the enthronement of Jesus, the war in heaven, and the hurling of Satan down to the earth. (Rev. 12:7-12) God has also given us insight into the meaning of what we can see—wars, earthquakes, pestilences, food shortages, as well as godless people who contribute to these “critical times hard to deal with.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5; Luke 21:10, 11.
8 It is easy for us to relate to what Jesus told his disciples: “Happy are the eyes that behold the things you are beholding. For I say to you, Many prophets and kings desired to see the things you are beholding but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them.” (Luke 10:23, 24) We give credit to Jehovah God for enabling us to see and hear such things. And how grateful we are that “the helper,” God’s holy spirit, has been sent to guide Jesus’ followers “into all the truth”! (Read John 16:7, 13.) May we always treasure “the true knowledge” and unselfishly share it with others!
“MANY” EMBRACE “THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE”
9 In April 1881, less than two years after the first issue of the Watch Tower was published, this magazine put out a call for 1,000 preachers. The article read: “To those so situated that they can give one-half or more of their time exclusively to the work of the Lord, we have a plan to suggest . . . , viz: That you go forth into large or small cities, according to your ability, as Colporteurs or Evangelists, seek to find in every place the earnest Christians, many of whom you will find possessed of a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; to these seek to make known the riches of Our Father’s grace, and the beauties of His word.”
10 That call showed that the Bible Students recognized that an essential work of true Christians is to preach the good news. But the call for 1,000 full-time preachers was optimistic, since only a few hundred attended the meetings of the Bible Students at that time. After reading a tract or a magazine, however, many people recognized the ring of truth and readily responded to the call. For example, after reading an issue of the Watch Tower and a booklet published by the Bible Students, in 1882 a reader from London, England, wrote: “Please instruct me how and what to preach so as to accomplish the blessed work God wishes done.”
11 By 1885, about 300 Bible Students were sharing in the colporteur service. Those full-time ministers had the same objective as we do today—that of making disciples of Jesus Christ. However, their methods differed from ours. Today, we typically study the Bible with one person at a time, providing individual instruction. We then invite the Bible student to associate with a congregation already established. In the early days, the colporteurs placed books and then gathered interested ones together to study the Scriptures as a group. Instead of studying with individuals, they established “classes,” or congregations.
12 In 1907, for instance, one group of colporteurs canvassed a certain city to find those who already had copies of Millennial Dawn (also called Studies in the Scriptures). The Watch Tower reported: “These [interested ones] were gathered to a little meeting in one of their homes. The Colporteur talked over with them the Divine Plan of the Ages for a whole Sunday, and on the following Sunday he urged that they have regular meetings.” In 1911, the brothers modified the procedure. Fifty-eight special traveling ministers gave public lectures throughout the United States and Canada. These brothers obtained the names and addresses of interested people who attended the lectures and organized them to meet together in private homes to form new “classes.” By 1914, there were 1,200 congregations of Bible Students worldwide.
13 Today, there are about 109,400 congregations throughout the world, and some 895,800 brothers and sisters serve as pioneers. Nearly eight million people now accept “the true knowledge,” applying it in their lives. (Read Isaiah 60:22.)* This is particularly impressive, since Jesus foretold that his disciples would be “objects of hatred by all people” because of his name. He added that his followers would be persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed. (Luke 21:12-17) Despite the opposition of Satan, his demons, and opposers among mankind, Jehovah’s people have enjoyed phenomenal success in carrying out their commission to make disciples. Today, they are preaching in “all the inhabited earth,” from tropical jungles to frigid tundra, in mountains, in deserts, in cities, and in the most remote countryside. (Matt. 24:14) This could never have been accomplished without divine backing.
“THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE” BECOMES “ABUNDANT”
14 “The true knowledge” has become abundant through the many who are proclaiming the good news. It has also become abundant through the printed word. In July 1879, the Bible Students published the first issue of this magazine, which bore the title Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. That issue, printed by a commercial firm, had a printing of 6,000 copies in English only. Twenty-seven-year-old Charles Taze Russell was chosen to be the editor, with five other mature Bible Students serving as regular contributors. The Watchtower is now published in 195 languages. It is the most widely circulated magazine on earth, with a circulation of 42,182,000 copies each issue. In second place is its companion magazine Awake! with a circulation of 41,042,000 in 84 languages. Additionally, about 100 million books and Bibles are printed each year.
15 This mammoth work is financed by means of voluntary donations. (Read Matthew 10:8.) That alone is staggering to those in the printing industry who understand the cost of presses, paper, ink, and other materials. A brother who is involved in global purchasing said: “Business people who visit our printeries are amazed that such a technologically advanced, high-production facility can be financed by voluntary donations. They are equally impressed that our Bethel workforce is so young and happy.”
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD WILL FILL THE EARTH
16 “The true knowledge” has become abundant for a good purpose. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4) Jehovah wants people to come to know the truth so that they can worship him properly and receive his blessing. By making “the true knowledge” known, Jehovah has gathered a faithful remnant of anointed Christians. Out of “all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” he is also gathering “a great crowd,” who have the hope of living forever on earth.—Rev. 7:9.
17 The expansion of true worship over the past 130 years points to the overwhelming conclusion that God and his appointed King, Jesus Christ, have been with Jehovah’s servants on earth—directing, protecting, organizing, and educating them. Their growth also underscores the certainty that Jehovah’s promises for the future will be fulfilled. “The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isa. 11:9) What blessings mankind will then experience!
You will benefit from viewing the DVD presentations Jehovah’s Witnesses—Faith in Action, Part 1: Out of Darkness and Jehovah’s Witnesses—Faith in Action, Part 2: Let the Light Shine.
1, 2. (a) How do we know that Jesus is with his subjects now and will be with them in the future? (b) According to Daniel 12:4, what would result from a careful study of the Scriptures?
3. What became of “the true knowledge” following the death of the apostles?
4. How did a group of Christians in the 1870’s begin to search for “the true knowledge”?
5. What was the objective of the series of tracts called The Old Theology?
6, 7. (a) What truths have we been helped to understand since the 1870’s? (b) What truths have you particularly appreciated learning?
8. To whom do we give credit for the things we have come to see and hear?
9. What call went out in the April 1881 issue of this magazine?
10. How did people respond to the call for full-time preachers?
11, 12. (a) What objective do we have in common with the colporteurs? (b) How did the colporteurs establish “classes,” or congregations?
13. What impresses you about the scope of “the true knowledge” today?
14. How has “the true knowledge” become widely known through the printed word?
15. How is our printing operation financed?
16. What is the purpose of making “the true knowledge” known?
17. To what does the expansion of true worship point?
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Early Bible Students were humble people who sincerely desired to do God’s will
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Jehovah values your efforts in spreading “the true knowledge” of God