Living According to Superior Knowledge
1. Why must we fear God, and why must we honor Jesus Christ?
IF WE imitate Jesus Christ we shall never go wrong. He feared God and taught others the fear of God according to the truth. We must have this correct fear of God if we aim at getting the information that leads to life that really is life. Proverbs 1:7 (AS) tells us: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.” Such fear of the only true God is the beginning, that is, the chief part or the first thing in knowledge. Because the wise, brainy, powerful people of this world do not have that fear of Jehovah, all the knowledge they accumulate and hand out does not save the world or result in life. By the Holy Bible we are taught the fear of God. And it is wise that we fear him, for he is the Source of all life. For us not to fear him but to reject him means cutting ourselves off from the great Fountainhead of life. This would spell absolute annihilation for us. God’s own Word tells us also to honor Jesus Christ because of the key part that he performs in the life-giving arrangements of God. So we gladly accept the Son of God. For us to reject him means we are cutting ourselves off from the central connection with God, the one channel of life from God; and this would likewise spell utter destruction for us. How grand and beneficial it is, then, to take in knowledge of both the Father and the Son!
2. (a) To continue in this fear and knowledge what must we do? (b) How do we gain faith and hope, and are these all that is needed?
2 Our doing this can never stop. We must advance to perfection. We have gained real enlightenment only by going to the Book of truthful information, that is, the Bible, God’s gift to us. What knowledge we have already gained has been by studying that Book. But to continue in the fear and knowledge of God and of his Son Jesus Christ we need to keep on studying that Book, and to do so with all the faithful helps which the heavenly Father provides through his Theocratic organization. From what we have learned out of the Holy Scriptures we have faith in God and Christ and are able by this to please God. This faith, Hebrews 11:1 (NW) tells us: “is the assured expectation of things hoped for.” And so we have hope, a wonderful hope of a perfect new world, with a new heavens and a new earth, in which we may enjoy the promised everlasting life in unspeakable happiness. But faith and hope are not all that is necessary. They are quite proper in themselves. It is written: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12) We do not know what heaven is to be like for the 144,000 Christian overcomers of this world, but we could write a book and paint a vivid picture of the paradise that is to be renewed on earth and we could set this hope before people of good will now seeking life in it. But powerful as this hope might be as a stimulant, it is not all that is necessary to keep a person faithful.
3. What quality is most essential for right living now? Why?
3 Long ago miraculous gifts passed out of the life of the Christian congregation, but the things that now remain are not only faith and hope but also love: “these three, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:8-13, NW) The new world for which we hope is at the door, but we are still living in the degraded old world, and, besides faith and hope, love is most essential for right living amid these debasing conditions. We need love now while surrounded with this selfish world, for without love we are nothing in God’s sight. We are in most perilous times, and living now is a great problem. We must keep on studying God’s Word in order to learn how to live right and how to show love that is godlike. The new world is still a hope, but this old world is a present reality. We must yet face it, and this creates difficulties for us. We have to meet these without compromising God’s cause. So we must know how to meet them, and this calls for knowledge right now. Hence the need for us to study the Bible further on what it has to say with regard to our relations with this existence, for if we do not handle these aright, we shall not be found worthy of life in the future world.
4. What problem must we meet living under present governments?
4 The “appointed times of the Gentiles” expired in 1914, but the Gentile governments still continue as going concerns, wrathful against God’s established kingdom. “Caesar” still holds the reins of earthly government, and totalitarian governments are more powerful than ever. We need to know from the Bible that the “superior authorities” to whom Christian souls must be subject are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, if we want to escape divine wrath. We need to be taught how our first duties are to God, obeying Him as Ruler in preference to men, and then giving to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar.—Rom. 13:1-4 and Matt. 22:21, NW.
5. What problem does sex present? And children?
5 Another problem is to know the places men and women occupy in the Theocratic organization of Jehovah God. It is true that in the Christian congregation “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in union with Christ Jesus”. (Gal. 3:28, NW) But we are still male and female in the flesh; we can still marry and produce children, we can still be moved by passion and be tempted to commit sexual abuses. So woman’s position in the congregation and in the home needs to be adjusted according to God’s will for the safety and happiness of all concerned, that the Theocratic rule may be carried out and no reproach be brought upon God’s name and his organization. Children are still being brought into this world. We love them and we long to see them succeed in the most important thing. But how to bring them up under present conditions of increasing parental and child delinquency poses a serious problem. We need to know how to bring them up “in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah”, that we may educate and train them for everlasting life with us in the blessed new world. (Eph. 6:4, NW) How glad we are that we have God as our Teacher by Jesus Christ and have the Holy Bible for our book of instructions!
6. What problem of destiny now presents itself?
6 We are living at a time when God by his Right Shepherd not only is gathering the remnant of his ‘little flock’ and is almost through, but in view of the new world near at hand, is now also gathering a numberless flock of “other sheep” whose destiny will be, not immortal life in heaven with the “little flock”, but complete human life on earth in the restored paradise. We have to determine our destiny and act accordingly. Has God called us to heaven to reign with Christ or to the paradise earth? To determine this is a problem with many, and to solve it each one must study God’s Word further and be convinced in his own mind.
7. What faith must we ascertain? What must we do about it? Why?
7 We are living at the climax of this wicked world and at the culmination of Christendom’s existence. Pagan philosophies and doctrines of demons and man-made religious traditions masquerade under the guise of Christian doctrine and practice. Evil-minded men slyly watch for an opening and try to creep into our Christian companies for immoral purposes and to abuse God’s undeserved kindness and corrupt the faith and manners of those whom they can victimize. We are living, indeed, in among seductive conditions, and lest we stray there is every need for us to do as it is written: “Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16) We need to go back direct to the inspired Scriptures themselves, examining them daily against what is taught us by men, and by this course get back to the “faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones”. And having rediscovered what it is, then we must “put up a hard fight” for it, to hold it and to practice it, as Jude 3 says (NW).
8. On the moral problems what is it our duty according to the faith?
8 In harmony with the original faith it becomes our duty toward God to resist those impure-minded persons who try to sneak in and lure unsuspecting Christians into sexual abuses by wrongly claiming God’s mercy for willful sins. It is part of our fight for the faith to hold high the Bible principles concerning human marriage and the pure relations between men and women in the congregation. Stick by these. Let the evil-designing sneaks and all worldly persons know what high moral principles the true knowledge of God and Christ stands for. Let the world know the position of morality that Jehovah’s Theocratic organization takes, that they may know that it is a pure organization. Keep the organization that way, as far as in you lies, that the organization into which you invite the Shepherd’s “other sheep” may be a clean, purifying organization. True love is pure. The fear of Jehovah is clean. Love and godly fear will help you meet the moral problems which are still with us while we are in this old world.—1 Cor. 13:5, 6, NW; Ps. 19:9, AS.
MANIFESTING IT TO OTHERS
9. Why must we keep taking in knowledge? What does Christendom exemplify?
9 Thus for our own selves to gain everlasting life we must continue taking in knowledge of the only true God and of Jesus Christ, whom He sent forth. Mankind are not yet in paradise. Satan and his demons are not yet bound nor his wicked seed destroyed from the earth. On the contrary, he has been cast out of heaven and is now restrained to the earth and is bringing great woes upon the people and creating many problems for God’s righteous people. So be on guard. Proverbs 11:9 (AS) assures us: “Through knowledge shall the righteous be delivered.” Conversely, through lack of knowledge those who profess to be God’s people are destroyed. In Christendom we see exemplified what this lack produces, in harmony with what the apostle said, at Romans 1:24-31: “Therefore God in keeping with the desires of their hearts gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them, even those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the One who created, . . . And just as they did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting, filled as they were with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, injuriousness, being full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malicious disposition, being whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, self-assuming, inventors of injurious things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, false to agreements, having no natural affection, merciless.”—NW.
10. Contrary to ignorant Christendom, what must Jehovah’s witnesses now do under the provisions of the new covenant?
10 Hence not merely heathendom, but Christendom has magnificently demonstrated what the want of knowledge of Jehovah God will do to the hurt and disgrace of the people. Now it is the turn of you who are Jehovah’s witnesses to demonstrate what the true knowledge of God will do for a people, an organization of people on a world-wide scale. You who are Jehovah’s witnesses are living at the culmination of God’s new covenant through Christ, when it is being crowned with success by taking out the final members to complete the “people for his name”. Besides the forgiveness of sins through the Mediator of that covenant, one of its blessed provisions is this: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah.” (Jer. 31:31-34, AS; Acts 15:14) Jehovah’s witnesses, indeed, now know him from the least to the greatest of them; but Christendom, by her willful ignorance of Jehovah God, proves she is not in the new covenant and that she is not the “people for his name” which he has been taking out of all nations during the past nineteen centuries.
11. How must we show what knowledge does for us, especially now?
11 One of the ways by which we must manifest to all the world what the knowledge of God does for the people is by acting as his witnesses to mankind both in word and in action. We must speak and act in harmony with the will of God. What is that? It is written: “This is right and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all kinds of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—this is what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times.” (1 Tim. 2:3-6, NW) Now is the time of all times to be bearing witness, NOW, when God by his Right Shepherd is gathering under his Theocratic organization a “great crowd” of persons of good will “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues”, “all kinds of men.” By the witness we are giving in all nations this “great crowd” know where their salvation comes from. What a joy it is to us now to hear them in their hundreds of thousands crying with a loud voice before the divine throne: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9, 10, NW) Let the numbers of this great crowd increase by our intensifying the witness in all nations as never before.
12. For what purpose has God given us knowledge? Why do we have a grand opportunity for this now?
12 Jehovah God has given us knowledge under his new covenant for the express purpose of our being his witnesses. He reminds us: “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may KNOW and believe me, and understand that I am he: . . . I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; and there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” (Isa. 43:10-12, AS) And what an opportunity for witnessing we now have! We have the Book of books, the Holy Bible; and now, too, we have the 1950 New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. To aid us to gain knowledge of God from his Book, we have the supplementary Bible literature published by a proved instrument of God and Christ, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
13. Who is opposed to spreading this knowledge? To what must we rise?
13 The great enemy of life, Satan the Devil, is opposed to the spreading of the life-giving knowledge, even though in Eden he pretended to want to increase mankind’s knowledge by seducing Eve into disobediently eating of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Evil, yes! But he has never favored mankind’s gaining a knowledge of good. He is the “god of this system of things”, and all along he has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through”. But by the irresistible power of God the light has broken through the devilish opposition and has reached us, and He “has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ”. (2 Cor. 4:4-6, NW) Let us, in turn, rise and shine, reflecting the light on to others. If the people are being destroyed for lack of knowledge, let it not be because of any negligence and failure on our part. If a great crowd of good will is now being led to salvation, let it be by God’s use of us through his Shepherd.
“THEY SHALL KNOW”
14, 15. (a) Why will Christendom be made to know Jehovah, and how? (b) What will Jehovah do to Gog and his forces? How affecting the nations?
14 Christendom will go on refusing to accept the knowledge of Jehovah God at the mouths and hands of his witnesses. But the awesome hour draws near when she will be made to know that these have been God’s witnesses, his “prophet among them”, and that He is Jehovah and that since 1914 his King, Jesus Christ, rules in the kingdom for the new world. But being MADE to know Jehovah at that time will be no blessing to her or the rest of this world. It will mean her own destruction amid a world destruction! Because of Christendom’s willful lack of knowledge, she is opposing Jehovah’s kingdom by his Christ. She is lining herself up with all the forces of Gog of Magog for the final assault upon the visible Theocratic organization of Jehovah’s people on earth. The propaganda inspired by the demons is hurrying all her rulers blindly, madly, on to the warfront of Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14-16) Shortly, at a thieflike hour, the Supreme Warrior for truth and righteousness will make himself known to all his opposers in a language that they will understand, the language of cosmic forces that will speak destruction to them. There was never anything like it before except the great deluge of Noah’s day. Meaning Gog and all his forces, Jehovah says:
15 “And I will call for a sword against him unto all my mountains, saith the Lord Jehovah: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And with pestilence and with blood will I enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon him, and upon his hordes, and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. And I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely in the isles; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. . . . neither will I suffer my holy name to be profaned any more: and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it cometh, and it shall be done, saith the Lord Jehovah; this is the day whereof I have spoken.”—Ezek. 38:21-23 and Eze 39:6-8, AS.
16. Who will act as God’s executional officer? How will he reward the obedient ones and those willfully ignorant?
16 Christ Jesus the King will act as Jehovah’s executional officer amid that world destruction, and the fact that he is now present in his kingdom and owns the earth as his domain will be forcibly revealed to all his opposers. Their destruction will bring welcome relief to all of us who choose to know and obey God. As it is written: “It is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you, but, to you who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings due punishment upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified.” (2 Thess. 1:6-10, NW) What an INGLORIOUS end for their disobedient failure to take in now the knowledge of the only true God and of Jesus Christ, whom he has now sent forth as King!
17. What do we expect for ourselves at Armageddon? So what must we do now respecting knowledge?
17 However, that is not the way WE want to learn to know Jehovah God and his Christ. We want to know them in a way that means everlasting life, not destruction. God has given us his holy spirit, and he has baptized his faithful remnant of Kingdom heirs with his spirit and enlightened them with the deep things revealed by that spirit in God’s Word. But Christendom will shortly be baptized with fire, the fire of destruction at Armageddon. (Matt. 3:11, 12) We do not await destruction at the battle of Armageddon, but confidently expect to survive through that fiery time into the new world. Nevertheless, to realize such preservation at the end of this world, just as Noah and his ark companions enjoyed preservation at the watery end of the former world, we must live according to knowledge. The knowledge which God has revealed to us by his spirit in these last days sets up high principles of living. We must live up to those principles. We must hold fast to this knowledge by living according to it and by giving it out to others. We must increase in knowledge in harmony with the predicted increase of knowledge, to make us strong to bear all the pressures of these perilous times. “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth might.” (Prov. 24:5, AS) So let us wisely continue taking in knowledge from on high.
18. Do we know the time for Armageddon? How, then, must we live?
18 We may not know now the day or the hour when the battle of Armageddon will break out and the wicked heavens and earth of the Devil’s world will be dissolved to make way for the new heavens and earth of the precious new world. We do not need to know, but every day we can live in the consciousness that it is near. We can live lives that harmonize with our steadfast hope of soon entering the glorious new things which Jehovah God will create. No more living for the old world for us!
19. What sort of persons does Peter say we ought to be?
19 The apostle Peter looked forward to this new world, and he tried to live worthy’ of entering it. And especially for the benefit of us living at this world climax he wrote telling us how he tried to live and how we ought to live. After describing the world-wide flood of Noah’s time and then the thieflike arrival of Jehovah’s destructive day upon the Devil’s heavens and earth, Peter wrote: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved and the elements being intensely hot will melt. But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell. Hence, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace. Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.”—2 Pet. 3:11-15, NW.
20. What does living that way mean for us at the world’s end? So what will we do?
20 As we are expecting to enter the new world in which righteousness is to dwell, then let us live in righteousness. We know the Lord God’s day is coming for the destruction of all those who are spotted and blemished with this world and not at peace with God. He will approve only those whom he finds spotless, unblemished and in peace. These he will preserve through the world’s end. And if we daily do our utmost to be found finally, at that last day of this world, in a spotless, unblemished and peaceful condition, what else could this mean but that we will win his approval and protection and will survive the fiery end into the bright new world with its glories? What a wonderful possibility! What an opportunity of all opportunities! By the undeserved kindness from on high, we will avail ourselves of it by faithfully taking in the knowledge of the true God and of Jesus Christ, for “this means everlasting life”.—John 17:3, NW.
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