Equipping the New World Organization
“If therefore a man keeps himself clear of these latter, he himself will be for specially honourable use, consecrated, fit for the Master’s service, and fully equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 2:21, Weymouth.
1, 2. How old is Jehovah’s line of witnesses and why so? In what way are we interested in Jehovah’s witnesses today and why?
“JEHOVAH’S witnesses” was the name adopted at the international assembly of consecrated Christians at Columbus, Ohio, U. S. A., July 26, 1931, and was taken up by congregations of like Christians all over the earth thereafter. Because of this, many people might look upon them as just another religious sect and as of very modern rise. But not so. When humankind was quite young, Jehovah God had one witness reported to be in the earth. That was Abel, who looked forward to the new world ruled by the Seed of God’s woman. (Gen. 3:15) A tool of the great Serpent, Cain, killed Abel, an eventuality which has befallen many of Jehovah’s witnesses ever since, even the Seed Jesus Christ.
2 Reckoned from Abel, Jehovah’s visible organization of his witnesses is now almost six thousand years old, hence older than any and every thing in Christendom. Jesus Christ, “the faithful and true witness” (Rev. 3:14), formed and organized his body of spirit-anointed followers almost two thousand years ago. They made up a Christian or spiritual Israel of God, under a new covenant with him by a Mediator greater than Moses, Jesus Christ, and all of them being Jews inwardly whose circumcision was a cleansing of their hearts from the uncleanness of this world. That was long ago, and we can read about it for ourselves in the Bible. What we are concerned about now is those named “Jehovah’s witnesses” in this day. Since they are no part of the sects of Christendom and are not appointed, chosen or recognized by such religious bodies, how did this modern-day group of witnesses get formed?
3, 4. (a) By whom are they chosen? (b) What requirement must they meet to be fit for service as His witnesses?
3 If these Christians had been chosen by the worldly religious systems of Christendom, they would not now be witnesses of the Most High. Jehovah calls his witnesses “my servant whom I have chosen”, and Jesus told his disciples something similar, saying: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (Isa. 43:10; John 15:16) Suppose, now, that sincere persons, following the instructions of the Bible, dedicate themselves unconditionally to Jehovah God to do his will in imitation of Jesus Christ. If Jehovah chooses to accept them and makes them his witnesses, then no religious system can upset God’s choice or accomplish anything by denying it and fighting against it. The unscriptural religious ceremonies of Christendom’s clergy cannot put anybody into God’s visible organization. As to his requirements for us to be used as his instrument or vessel in his organization, note the text that heads this article: “If therefore a man keeps himself clear of these latter, he himself will be for specially honourable use, consecrated, fit for the Master’s service, and fully equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 2:21, Weymouth’s translation.
4 To be fit for serving Jehovah the great Master and to be equipped by him for good work of every kind, the apostle Paul says, a man must get clear and keep himself clear of certain ones whom he speaks of as “these latter”. Paul likens men to vessels or articles in a great house and says: “Now in a great house there are not only articles of gold and silver, but also others of wood and of earthenware; and some are for specially honourable, and others for common use.” (2 Tim. 2:20, Weymouth) It is by separating from these latter ones of common use lacking honor that a person proves he is consecrated or set apart for God’s sacred use. That way he is fit for Jehovah’s service, worthy of being equipped for good works as Jehovah’s witness. In chapter 9 of Romans the apostle likens a certain ruler to a vessel for a use to which no honor was attached, namely, haughty Pharaoh of Egypt, who said to Jehovah’s witness, Moses: “Who is Jehovah, to whose voice I am to hearken to let Israel go? I do not know Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go.” (Ex. 5:2, Darby) For his dishonorable service Pharaoh was destroyed with his army after Egypt had suffered ten ruinous plagues from Jehovah God. He proved a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction. The Israelites who followed Jehovah’s great witness Moses were rescued from Egypt and the faithful ones were at length brought into the Promised Land of milk and honey.—Ex. 14:1 to 15:22.
5, 6. (a) Today who are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction? (b) Who are the vessels of mercy fit for his use? What is the proof?
5 It is the same way now with the spiritual Israelites, who are in this world but are no part of it. The unseen Pharaoh and “god of this world”, Satan the Devil, is a vessel upon whom God’s wrath now rests and who will eventually be destroyed. But the faithful Christians of spiritual Israel are likened to “vessels of mercy”, whom God had aforetime “prepared unto glory”. (Rom. 9:17-24) These have cleared themselves from wicked creatures who are vessels for a common or dishonorable service and who are doomed to eventual destruction as opposers of the true God Jehovah.
6 The modern-day Egypt, Satan’s world, is full of vessels on whom divine wrath rests. (Rev. 11:8) They are destined to an early destruction at the oncoming battle of Armageddon. That includes Christendom’s religious leaders and sects that err from Bible truth, like Hymenaeus and Philetus whom the apostle Paul names. Today’s witnesses of Jehovah are a consecrated people because of dedicating themselves to the holy service of God to carry out his will and commandments. Rather than further yield themselves slavishly to service of this doomed modern Egypt, those whom Jehovah has made his witnesses have devoted themselves to His use, considering it an honor to be used by him in any capacity. Only by such separateness are they fit for the great Master’s service, and he shows his acceptance of them by equipping them for works that are good in his sight. All, there is the proof that they are his witnesses who compose his visible organization, namely, his blessing of them and making actual use of them in carrying out his work in the earth. Christendom’s religious systems may deny that these are witnesses of Jehovah and may nickname them with all sorts of opprobrious names and speak and work against them. Yet if they have the evidence that they are the honored vessels of God’s visible organization, the reproach and opposition of worldly religious systems does not matter. They stand unmoved on a solid foundation: “Yet God’s solid foundation stands unmoved, bearing this inscription, ‘The LORD [that is, Jehovah] knows those who really belong to him’. And this also, ‘Let every one who names the Name of the LORD [that is, Jehovah] renounce all wickedness’.”—2 Tim. 2:19, Weymouth; Num. 16:5; Isa. 26:13.
7. What instrumentalities have Jehovah’s witnesses used for over seventy years? How are they equipped today, in evidence of what?
7 From the time the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY was founded and The Watchtower was first published, Jehovah’s witnesses have used these instrumentalities in his service, but under continual assault by Christendom. And yet after these more than seventy years, there are now more, many times more, Christians who have confessed the name. And now in this year 1950 the God whom we serve has equipped us more mightily than ever before for still larger accomplishments as his honored vessels. This we shall here briefly describe, for it is evidence that the Universal Sovereign has not failed to have his witnesses in the earth in these perilous last days of the old world. It is also evidence that we are at the gates of the upright New World which his witnesses represent.