Living Up to the Name
“Ye are my witnesses, an affirmation of Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that ye know and give credence to me, and understand that I am he, before me there was no God formed, and after me there is none.”—Isa. 43:10, Young.
1. Who bear God’s name, and what does the name mean?
JEHOVAH has had his witnesses in the earth from the time of the first martyr, Abel. After all these millenniums of time he still has his witnesses on the earth, and these will be eyewitnesses of the smashing victory he will gain over the enemy world at the coming battle of the universe, Armageddon! Till then they are obliged to live up to the honorable name they bear. Living up to it means divine protection and salvation for them to life everlasting. By them he has not left himself without living testimony in this world. They give to him the glory in harmony with his own affirmation: “I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.” (Isa. 42:8, Am. Stan. Ver.) He is a God of purpose. The meaning of his unique name is “he causes to be”, and so he creates all things according to his purpose. He is able to carry out his purpose, and his word never fails: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”—Isa. 55:11.
2. What are his four great attributes, and how are these expressed?
2 His attributes are power, wisdom, justice and love. The Scriptures say that all power belongs to Jehovah and that he is thus the source of all power in the universe. (Ps. 62:11) His wisdom is perfect; he does nothing wrong. Everything he says or does is right. The wise One, he is the source of wisdom. (Ps. 33:4; Prov. 2:6, 7) He is just and is the beginning of justice. His decisions are righteous and fair. (Deut. 32:4) His strong affirmation is: “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a saviour; there is none beside me.” (Isa. 45:21) Jehovah is a God of love. Of him it can be rightly said: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8, 16) By him love is expressed in perfect unselfishness and for the lasting benefit of all his creatures who serve him with unbreakable devotion. To have love his creatures must be unselfishly devoted to him and must strive to reflect all four of his attributes to all.
3. What did he create for man’s home and enlightenment?
3 Jehovah God created the heavens as well as this earth which is man’s permanent habitation. (Gen. 2:4) “Thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD [Jehovah]; and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:18) He pulled up out of the deep waters of the earth the towering mountains with their stately peaks jutting through the beautiful clouds like upraised arms, giving testimony to his majesty. Through his omnipotence he placed in the heavens the mighty sun and the beautiful moon to give light to the eyes of man by day and by night. They shoot their beams of light all over the earth.—Ps. 104:10-30; Gen. 1:14-19.
4. Besides natural light for man what did he purpose? To shine how?
4 God not only purposed light for the eyes of man, but also purposed light for the mind of man. The light for man’s mind is God’s Word, the Bible, of which he alone is the Author by his spirit active force. (Ps. 119:105) Through the Word of God man learns of him. His Word discloses his purpose. The divine purpose is that all mankind shall know about him, learn of his attributes and understand his law and purposes. For that reason he purposed to raise up a people for his name, in order that his light for the mind of man might shine in the earth. Since his holy name implies the giving of light, if his people in the earth reflect his light, they must live up to the name of Jehovah, the God of purpose toward man on the earth.
5. Why must his name be declared in all the earth? By what means?
5 God’s name, Jehovah, must be revered throughout all the earth. “For this cause have I allowed thee to remain, in order to show thee my power; and in order that they may proclaim my name throughout all the earth.” (Ex. 9:16, Leeser; see also An American Translation) He declared centuries ago that, in this time of the end where we now are, he would raise up a people who would be found living up to the name and who would proclaim that name throughout the world: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”—Ps. 83:18.
6. Who bear his name? What is their great responsibility?
6 Who is living up to the name? In this “time of the end” there is a people who bear that name. They are known throughout the earth today as “Jehovah’s witnesses”. The lofty privilege of bearing the grandest name in the universe is theirs. Coupled with the privilege is a tremendous responsibility. They must live up to the name.
7. What work in general do they do? In what manner?
7 Jehovah’s witnesses are a group of ministers and missionaries who perform their evangelistic work among the people in all parts of the earth. They manifest their love of God and their fellow men by declaring God’s purposes to all the people of the whole world in the same primitive manner as did Jesus Christ and his apostles. In the performance of this strange work they are associated with and act under the direction of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, a charitable corporation organized by law to preach the gospel of God’s kingdom throughout the earth. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”—Matt. 24:14.
8. When was the name publicly accepted by them, and how?
8 Prior to 1931 this distinctive name was not applied to the ministers who use as their legal and publishing servant the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, for it was then that they were first called Jehovah’s witnesses. In 1931, while assembled in an international convention in Columbus, Ohio, the ministers who work with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society acknowledged by a resolution the gift of the name “Jehovah’s witnesses”. They declared to the world their determination to be identified by this God-given name and by none other. “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; . . . I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour. . . . ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” (Isa. 43:10-12, Am. Stan. Ver.) The facts prove beyond dispute that the name has not been bestowed upon any other group.
9. Why are they entitled to use the name?
9 Jehovah’s witnesses give testimony about Jehovah’s purposes. One who gives testimony in court is designated a witness. Very soon a final judgment in the great issue of the supremacy of Jehovah God must be rendered in the greatest court in the universe, the court of Almighty God. Jehovah’s witnesses have been designated to give testimony concerning that great controversy which Jehovah has with the nations. Since they give testimony about Jehovah and his purposes, they are properly entitled to use the name.
10. To bear the name “Christian” what must a person be? Why?
10 One who witnesses to Jehovah’s supremacy is a Christian. Jehovah’s witnesses follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, which entitles them to call themselves Christians. The author of Christianity was a mighty witness on behalf of Jehovah’s supremacy. Before Pilate, he said: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37) In “the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass”, he further discloses: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, . . . These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 1:1, 5; 3:14) It is plain, therefore, that in order to bear the name of Christ and assume the name Christian one must first be a witness of Jehovah, as was Christ.
11. To prove true to the name, what word and wisdom do we preach?
11 One who lives up to the name does not preach his own word. He must preach and teach the words and law of Almighty God from the divine Record, the Bible. Nor does he preach the wisdom of the Lord Jesus, or of someone other than Jehovah God. Jesus declared that “the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me”. (John 14:24) It is clear that Jesus, the greatest witness, interpreted the name Christian to mean one who gives witness or testimony to the name, word and kingdom of Almighty God. To be a Christian, therefore, one must prove true to the name.
LIVING DOWN FALSE NICKNAMES
12. What have we been called, falsely so? How do we live such down?
12 Jehovah’s witnesses have been falsely called by other names. They have been referred to as Russellites. Some have called them Rutherfordites. Others have cast the appellation of Millennial Dawnites upon them. Similar unclaimed and uninvited names have been given to them by their enemies or by scoffers, as well as by the clergy of Christendom. All of such names are defamatory of Jehovah’s witnesses because they follow no man and are not to be identified by any one of these misnomers which find no support in the Bible. Such names detract from the real person glorified by them, who is Jehovah God, the Creator of all things. Jehovah God is the author of every doctrine or truth that is to be found in the Bible. He dictated the Bible itself, which is his Word. Jehovah’s witnesses cannot properly be called by the name of any doctrine or man. They can be identified only by the name of the only one they represent, who is Jehovah God, and by the work of witnessing they must do. They can and will live down the defamatory names given them by men, by living up to the name Jehovah’s witnesses.
13. What name have the religious clergy failed to live up to?
13 The clergy of Christendom and millions of their religious followers claim to be Christians. They are not living up to the name. By claiming to be Christians, they assume the obligation to witness to Jehovah’s name through Christ Jesus. They take the name Christian, but do they measure up to it? No! They decline to be witnesses of Jehovah. They show great disdain for the name. They have failed completely to give testimony concerning the Kingdom, the purposes or the name of Almighty God. Millions of people in the Catholic cult, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, Episcopal and hundreds of other sects claim to be Christians. But none of them lives up to the name by acting as witnesses for Jehovah or giving testimony in harmony with his Word and will.
14. How do the clergy separate themselves and assume superiority?
14 The clergy of the various sects and cults of organized religion in Christendom call themselves by high-sounding titles. They assume these grandiose titles so as to distinguish themselves from and place themselves above the common people. They insist on being called reverend, very reverend, father, his holiness, his eminence, etc., contrary to the scriptures which expressly forbid such practice. “Holy and reverend is his [Jehovah’s] name.” (Ps. 111:9) “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matt. 23:9) Practically all the clergy of Christendom wear a distinctive garb so as to be seen among men and assume a superior attitude. This attitude of segregation and superiority that sets them apart from the common people is condemned by God.—Matt. 23:5-8; Mark 12:38-40.
15. How have they rejected Christ and the Kingdom?
15 While claiming to follow Christ Jesus, the clergy and their followers have rejected him and the testimony which he gave to the supremacy of Jehovah, the Almighty. Also, they have rejected the kingdom of Almighty God as the only hope for mankind and have hailed the substitute, “the abomination of desolation,” as man’s savior. (Matt. 24:15) They scoff at the Bible doctrine that Almighty God will bring about a new world of righteousness on the earth.
16. How are they guilty of false impersonation?
16 False impersonation is a fraud. To impersonate certain officials of a government or assume to represent a government of this world without being authorized to do so is a crime. A person, not a member, but wearing the uniform of the armed forces of a nation may be prosecuted and imprisoned. The law of the land makes it a felony, punishable by heavy fine and long prison term. The clergy of Christendom have falsely assumed the name Christian. Therefore they are guilty of impersonating the first witness of Jehovah, the Lord Christ Jesus, in violation of the law of Almighty God.
17. Doctrinally how have they flouted God’s law and commands?
17 These self-styled Christians have committed a much higher crime than violating the law of “Caesar”. They have flouted the commandments of Almighty God and violated his supreme Law. They have adopted pagan rites and traditions into their religious organizations and advanced false doctrines as the truth. They fall into that class of persons prophesied by Isaiah and described by Christ Jesus: “This people honor me with their lips, yet their hearts are far away from me.” (Matt. 15:8, 9, An Amer. Trans.; see also Colossians 2:8) There is a multitude of such unscriptural doctrines. Mention of only a few of them here will demonstrate the false impersonation of the clergy and a failure on their part to live up to the name.
CLERGY PROVED FALSE IN DOCTRINE
18. How do they err as to Christ’s presence and earth’s destiny?
18 The clergy of Christendom and their supporters deny the second presence of Christ. They say that he has not taken his Kingdom power. The clergy fail to live up to the name by teaching that the earth will be destroyed by fire. This is contrary to God’s Word that “the earth abideth for ever” and that God created it as the place of eternal habitation for those of mankind who are meek and teachable and who obey God.—Eccl. 1:4; Ps. 37:11, 29; Matt. 5:5.
19. How do they err as to the soul and punishment after death?
19 Furthermore, they teach the people that when man dies he goes to an eternal torment of hell if wicked. The Bible plainly teaches that hell is the grave where all who die remain in silence unless and until God resurrects them. (Eccl. 3:19, 20; 9:5, 10; Job 14:13-15) The clergy, moreover, fail to live up to the name unlawfully assumed by them by falsely telling the people that man has a soul distinct and separable from the body, whereas the Bible plainly teaches that man is a soul. Man is a living, sentient creature and, like all other animals, ceases to exist when he dies. (Ezek. 18:4, 20; Eccl. 3:19) Roman Catholic clergy instruct the people that man goes to “purgatory” upon death and remains in that transitory state until, by the payment of an adequate sum of money made to the priests by the relatives or friends, he is prayed out of “purgatory” into heaven. If the relatives cannot afford to pay, the poor man finally is left to suffer his full term there. The word “purgatory” does not appear in the Bible; nor is a description of such place found therein.
20. How do they fall short on the principal doctrine of the Bible?
20 Christendom’s clergy fail to live up to the name by refusing to tell the people about God’s kingdom and the new world of righteousness here on the earth as the hope of men, which is the principal and main theme of the Bible. They hide from the people a knowledge of that new world which shall vindicate the name of Jehovah and provide a means of life everlasting for the people of good-will toward God. Being blind to this paramount truth, they lead their blind followers to believe that man will not live upon this earth but that the earth will be destroyed and man will end up either in heaven or in hell.—Matt. 15:14.
21. What does prophecy say will happen to their lies?
21 What a contrast there is between the clear, refreshing waters of truth about God’s kingdom and new world of righteousness as the only hope for mankind, as given by Jehovah’s witnesses, and the dry, deathly doctrines of Christendom’s clergy! (Rev. 22:17; Isa. 55:1; Rev. 7:17) The truth blows away the false testimony like chaff before the wind. The truth presented by Jehovah’s witnesses is like hail that riddles the thin, brittle roof over the refuge of lies. “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” (Isa. 28:17) Like flooding waters the truth washes out the hiding-place of the lying witnesses, the clergy.
22, 23. At what have they balked, showing themselves not God’s sons?
22 In spite of the fact that the error of their doctrines has been plainly established in the Great Court, the clergy refuse to discontinue the teaching of such false doctrines. “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness.” (Ps. 82:5) “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.” (John 3:19) They have balked like a stubborn mule and defied all efforts by Jehovah to bring them into line with his purposes.
23 The clergy and their followers have rebelliously declined to be disciplined. (Eph. 2:2) “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Sam. 15:23) While claiming to be sons of God, they have, by their course of action, shown that they are not sons. “If you have none of that discipline which all sons undergo, you are illegitimate children, and not true sons.”—Heb. 12:5-8, An Amer. Trans.
24. So what grand opportunity have they lost?
24 The actions and doctrines of the clergy of Christendom find no support in the Bible. They have not given and do not give testimony concerning the kingdom of God. On the contrary, they have lied and uttered false words concerning the purposes of God. Although they have had an opportunity to carry the vital message to the people, they have lost all opportunity of having and proclaiming the truth. Their course of action proves to the world that they do not live up to the name. “Therefore say I [Christ Jesus] unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”—Matt. 21:43.
TRUE BEARERS OF THE APPELLATION
25. How have Jehovah’s witnesses caught up the privilege?
25 The privilege of preaching the message of the Kingdom has been joyously caught up by Jehovah’s witnesses. Particularly since 1918 they have been running to and fro in the Scriptures and their knowledge has been greatly increased. Now, as “the wise” among the people, they instruct many by a great campaign of education of the people in God’s purposes. (Dan. 11:33; 12:4) Such facts prove that they, exclusively, are living up to the name.
26. What associated groups now bear the name, worthily?
26 Jehovah now has anointed witnesses who are true and legitimate sons of God, begotten by his spirit, and spiritual brothers of the anointed King Christ Jesus. Associated with them, and also bearing the name, are a “great multitude” of “other sheep” who are to become earthly children of the King. (Rev. 7:9; John 10:16) Together they bear the name Jehovah’s witnesses. They are Christians in fact as well as in name. By giving testimony concerning the truth of God’s purposes, they live up to the name, witnesses of Jehovah. By so doing they have distinguished themselves from the false impersonators, the religious clergy and their followers.
27. What proves them to be truly what they are called?
27 Jehovah’s witnesses not only bear the clear, truthful doctrines of the Bible about God’s kingdom, but they have lived up to the name by opposing the false doctrines of the clergy. Never have they been found to bear the name of Jehovah falsely or to have assumed that name in vain. Unlike the clergy, they have never been false impersonators. They have borne “kingdom fruit”, proving where their heart is. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) The people of good-will and all the world at large can see who are the true witnesses of Jehovah. They have practiced what they preached. By living their faith, they have shown to the world a mountain of evidence in indisputable proof that they are living up to the name. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”—Jas. 2:17, 18.
28. What example as to preaching did the early Christians set us?
28 The primitive followers of Jesus, the apostles and disciples, set the example for Jehovah’s witnesses today of living up to the name. They did not follow the course pursued by the clergy of that day, who made the people sit at their feet to receive instruction. The meek and lowly apostles and early Christians went to the people with the gospel message. They did not put the common people to the trouble of coming to them to get the truth. They took God’s word which had been given to them by the Master and personally carried it to the people in their homes, visiting from house to house and going back for instructive revisits. (Acts 20:20; 5:42) This was the example set by Jesus, who also went from door to door and city to city publicly preaching and teaching. (Matt. 10:7, 11-14; Mark 1:38; Luke 8:1) True Christians do not emulate the clergy of today, who do not preach by calling from door to door. They emulate Christ.
29. Whom do we copy in preaching, but with what modern aids?
29 “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21) Jehovah’s witnesses preach as did the primitive followers of Jesus. They have a far grander privilege than the early disciples, because they are now advertising in this “time of the end” the complete fulfillment of all that has been written in the Bible. They accept the responsibility imposed by God and the Lord Jesus Christ to declare now the gospel of God’s kingdom over all the earth. They have answered the great challenge of preaching this gospel in all the world as a witness to all nations (Matt. 24:14) by employing modern inventions, such as radio, the printing press and modern transportation, to supplement their primitive method. They have caused the message to be put into the form of printed Bibles, books, booklets, journals, newspapers, handbills and other literature which has been distributed throughout the earth by the millions, yes, by the billions of copies. This sharing of the truth with others they do without financial reward. It is only by this wise course, as sons of God, that they can have a part in the vindication of Jehovah’s name and live up to the name as his witnesses, making glad his heart. “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.”—Prov. 27:11.
30. Besides the older ones, who also preach, and why?
30 The covenant obligations of Jehovah’s witnesses, requiring them to live up to the name of Jehovah, are carried out by both old and young alike. All who hear must say “Come”! (Rev. 22:17) Today, in every part of the earth, are to be found young and old alike preaching and teaching the glad tidings of God’s kingdom. True to the admonition of Ecclesiastes 12:1, the young ministers of Jehovah God remember their Creator in the days of their youth. In order to escape the destruction which is the destiny of the unfaithful religionists at Armageddon, they offer acceptable sacrifices of praise now. They do not wait until they are old and decrepit to praise Jehovah by preaching and teaching. They serve while they have vigor. They put forth all their energies in their youth, laying up a great treasure of good works. (1 Tim. 6:12, 19) The preaching work is not reserved to the few, as the clergy claim preaching as their prerogative. The preaching work of Jehovah’s witnesses is open to all, young and old, from every nationality and walk of life, who are willing to enter into a covenant with God and who want to volunteer to live up to the name by declaring his work, kingdom and name in this time of the end.
31. To gain required knowledge and strengthen us, what do we do?
31 To gain the knowledge required for preaching, Jehovah’s witnesses forsake not the assembling of themselves together. Realizing they are living in the last days, they strengthen themselves for the work of maintaining the name of Jehovah. “Let us not neglect meeting together as some do, but let us encourage one another, all the more as you can see that the great Day is coming nearer.” (Heb. 10:25, An Amer. Trans.) Having freely received the gift of knowledge as to Jehovah’s purposes, they are obligated to freely give it to others.—Matt. 10:8.
32. Living up to the name calls for what? How is this done now?
32 Living up to the name requires preaching. “Though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16) Besides preaching verbally Jehovah’s witnesses distribute magazines containing God’s Word of truth on the streets and, incidental to their preaching to the people in their homes, offer them Bibles and explanatory literature. Such literature is an additional channel of the flowing stream of education that leads to life. Revisits by the minister are required to maintain a constant flow of the truth. This continual helpfulness, exercised in a wise and tactful manner (Matt. 10:16), produces good results, proving that Jehovah’s witnesses are living up to the name. The persons of good-will also become active as preachers of the Word.—Rev. 22:17.
33, 34. To be true to name, why must perseverance be shown? How?
33 Living up to the name does not mean just praising Jehovah God on occasions. It is not confined to fair-weather serving of Jehovah. Regular, dependable preaching is required, with much patience. “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) Living up to the name by perseverance requires that Jehovah’s witnesses continue to stand on the street corners with the magazines regardless of the stony faces, cold looks and rebukes of passers-by, or bad weather. It means they will continue their witnessing regardless of the lack of interest shown. It means that territory will be combed over regularly, even though door after door may be slammed in the face.
34 The apostle Paul had in mind the perseverance required to live up to the name when he wrote that Christians must have the patience of a farmer. (1 Cor. 3:6) There he wrote: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” As a farmer must wait on the power of God to bring up the seed and make it grow, so must Jehovah’s witnesses plant, cultivate, water, watch over and care for their territory of witnessing. They must also fight the religious tares and weeds which the clergy throw in among the crop of people of goodwill in the territory. Showing the perseverance of a farmer in diligent attention to his crops, Jehovah’s witnesses live up to the name.
35. When will they preach, and in what manner?
35 Much more than just preaching is required to live up to the name. It is possible, as the apostle stated, to preach to others and yet become a castaway. (1 Cor. 9:27) Christians must live their faith in their daily lives, being alert at all times to praise and honor God’s name, both in season and out of season. (2 Tim. 4:2) This means that by living up to the name Jehovah’s witnesses will take every opportunity to explain to people the hope that is within them. (1 Pet. 3:15) They will not remain silent when it is proper to speak. They will not, of course, indiscriminately intrude the Kingdom message upon others. They will not be rude. But they will not wait for a direct question for occasion to answer the hope within them or tell others about the Kingdom promises. They will be friendly, taking advantage of the opportunity to inform the listener on what the Bible reveals concerning the new world of righteousness.