1. Why did the young man have a measuring line? What was the angel told to tell him?
THE prophet Zechariah, an individual used by Jehovah, had a vision of a man with a measuring line. The account, according to the second chapter of Zechariah, tells us that this young man with a measuring line in his hand went out to measure Jerusalem and to see how broad and how long it was. Just as the angel who was talking to the young man was going away, another angel came forth to meet him and said, “‘Run, speak to that young man yonder, saying, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited like unwalled villages, because of the mass of men and beasts within her.” And I will be unto her,’ is the oracle of the LORD, ‘a wall of fire round about her, and I will be the splendor within her.’” (Zech. 2:4, 5, AT) This young man was certainly interested in Jerusalem or he would not have taken time to find out how broad or how long it was.
2. Whom does the young man picture? Why is the city unwalled?
2 Today we find in the earth a group of Christian men and women who, like this young man, are sincerely interested in the Jerusalem which is above and which is the mother of us all. (Gal. 4:26, NW) They are really interested in God’s organization and in its expansion. Walls are not its boundaries. No, it is an expanding city like an unwalled village. It would be hard to take accurate measurements, because of its constant growth due to incoming crowds. The class of faithful Christians prefigured by this young man was quite a small organization during the years from 1914 to 1918, for then there was only a remnant of God’s faithful people who were truly examining the prophecies and trying to ascertain their meaning in order to find out what their work would be in this great organization of Jerusalem. They wanted its measure and they wanted to know more about God’s work.
3. How did the interest of worldly religionists differ from that of the “young man” class?
3 The world had gone to war. Nation had risen against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There was sickness and sorrow and pain, scattered from one end of the earth to the other, as foretold in Matthew, chapter 24. The nations and peoples of the earth were extremely selfish and interested only in getting the things they wanted. They had no time for God nor were they endeavoring to measure up to God’s principles of truth and righteousness. Even the religionists of the great Protestant and Catholic organizations, the Jewish and pagan religious orders, were involved in the affairs of the world, afterward devoting their attention to the League of Nations and the problems of this old, dying system of things. Forgotten was the statement in the Word of God: “Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4, NW) No, the nations of the earth had no time to seek the kingdom of God as the only hope for mankind. This seeking was left to a remnant of God’s people, just a few faithful followers pictured by this young man in the vision of Zechariah. They were willing to use the measuring line in God’s organization.
4. How, following 1918, did expansion begin with the organization as with an unwalled city?
4 This city of Jerusalem was not to be like a walled city, having limited boundaries so no one could get in or out if the gates were closed; but it would be like an unwalled village without limits. It was to be a growing city because of the mass of men and of beasts that would come to inhabit it. It would continue to spread and reach out into new fields. This is just what is now happening to God’s organization. From 1918 onward this little remnant of God’s people persistently continued to proclaim the kingdom of God as at hand. The nations were not interested in that kingdom. They were opposed to it. But, on the other hand, thousands of persons of good will from all these nations hearkened to the message of God’s anointed and they came to God’s organization, Jerusalem, this expanding city, and sought advice and instruction within it. According to the Society’s own reports, back in the year 1918 there were only 3,868 persons who were proclaiming the message of the Kingdom to the peoples of the world, inviting them to seek refuge, comfort and consolation within Jerusalem. The Lord’s spirit was upon this little band of faithful servants as they steadily preached and reached out to the ends of the earth with this good news. It was not long until many people who were listening and studying with Jehovah’s witnesses in order to learn of Jehovah took their stand on his side. The city continued to grow.
5, 6. How did Isaiah 54:2, 3 go on fulfilling despite World War II? How did it become “one flock, one shepherd”?
5 As the nations of the world went into their second world war and brought about greater regimentation and totalitarian rule among the people, still this remnant with the people of good will kept right on preaching the Word. Today we see gathered into this unwalled city even greater numbers of those who Jehovah knows belong to him. Is it not now as it was stated by Isaiah the prophet centuries ago in Isa chapter 54, verses 2, 3, “Enlarge the site of your tent, and stretch without limit the curtains of your home; lengthen your cords, and make fast your pegs! For to right and to left shall you spread abroad, and your descendants shall take over the heritage of the nations, and shall people the desolate cities”? (AT) Jehovah’s witnesses see this expansion work going on. They live in the growing city.
6 With this great “mass of men” there is a multitude of cattle, and this may fitly represent the wealth of God’s organization. Christ Jesus said, ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; these also I must gather so that there will be one flock, one shepherd.’ Christ Jesus is the Good Shepherd of this great organization which he gathers together in its completion just before the battle of the great day of God Almighty, which is Armageddon.
7. Who will yet be found and ‘marked in the forehead’, and why?
7 Today, in 1951, we find the remnant of God’s people working alongside the great crowd who have been marked in their foreheads by the anointed class. The prophet Ezekiel (9:1-11) gave us a picture of the man with the writer’s inkhorn who went through the city and marked in the forehead those who were sighing and crying because of the abominations that existed in their city or organization. Certainly there are thousands, and it may yet run into the millions, of people who are sighing and crying because of the terrible conditions that exist in Christendom and throughout the whole world and who are seeking consolation, truth and comfort. These will be found; there is no doubt of that, because, as Paul said, “Jehovah knows those who belong to him.”
8. Why do those coming into the organization not fear because it is without material walls?
8 Jehovah God’s Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus, is doing the gathering work today, and he has assigned to his people in the earth the work of preaching the good news of the incoming new world. This good news attracts the meek to God’s Word, and that draws them closer to Jehovah. Having come to this unwalled village, trusting in God and having confidence in his Word, they are not afraid of what might happen to them. They are sure of protection. Was not God able to protect the congregation of Israel from being engulfed in the landslide that covered up the unfaithful opposition? Was not God able to preserve Noah and his family through the flood? So, then, is Jehovah God not able to preserve those who have come into this unwalled village? He certainly is! For according to the vision of Zechariah, “I will be . . . a wall of fire round about her, and I will be the splendor within her.” So, then, those who have come to the Lord’s organization, Jerusalem, recognize Jehovah as their God and Jerusalem as his organization and feel safe because God is their protector. They need not depend on the walls or bulwarks that nations of this world set up to protect themselves, because “Jehovah knows those who belong to him”.
9. Who is the glory in the midst of the organization, and why?
9 The glory of this entire organization, the Jerusalem which is above, his woman, is Jehovah himself, for he said, “I will be the glory in the midst of her.” In these last days of the old world, it is Jehovah God who has built up this organization and brought about Theocracy’s increase. Its growth and splendor are not due to any man or earthly organization. It is he who through his Son is gathering together the “other sheep” by the hundreds of thousands, making a great city. Jehovah gives it his blessing and protection. These people in the great city are not idle, but they continue to spread out and preach the message of God’s kingdom unto the ends of the earth so that all shall know that Jehovah is the Supreme One of the universe and that the vindication of his name and word is near at hand.
FLIGHT FROM GREAT BABYLON
10, 11. What call to his people in Babylon has gone forth? How has this been heeded, and by whom?
10 The call goes forth in the sixth verse of this prophecy of Zechariah, “Ho, ho! flee from the land of the north.” This is an oracle of the Lord or a direct command from him. “For as the four winds of the heavens have I spread you abroad . . . Ho! Zion, deliver thyself,—thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. . . . For his own honour hath he sent me unto the nations that are spoiling you,—Surely he that toucheth you toucheth the pupil of mine eye.”—Zech. 2:6-8, AT, Ro.
11 It is due to God’s mercy and loving-kindness that he has gathered together the remnant from the nation of the north, which is Babylon. He elsewhere stated, ‘Come out of her my people, and be not partakers of her plagues, and do not be contaminated with her sins.’ (Rev. 18:4) He has seen to it that the remnant of his people, Zion, escape from this wicked Devil-ruled world to a place of safety in his city, along with his “other sheep” who are now coming out. The rulers of the world have tried to regiment all peoples of the nations and make them keep in line with their selfish dictates. However, God commands that they shall escape from Babylon and become a free people—if not in body, then in conscience; and they do! They come out from under its oppression and servitude and sinful way of life. No longer are they slaves to that wicked organization. They will render to Caesar the things that are his, but not what belongs to God! Their eyes are opened to a new world and a New World society. “For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.”—Gal. 5:1, NW.
12. How are they satisfied not with just freedom for themselves?
12 Those who have already been freed from the oppression of Babylon, even though in some cases they are still in jails, work camps or concentration camps, are not satisfied just to hold this freedom to themselves. At every opportunity they will talk to strangers, even though physically still captive in Babylon. They will help strangers to see clearly the way of life by directing them away from this old system and into a new which leads to life eternal. Paul said, at Hebrews 13:1: “Let your brotherly love continue. Do not forget kindness to strangers.”—NW.
13. How does it affect Jehovah for persecutors to touch his people? But why does he permit it?
13 Those who renounce unrighteousness and take their stand wholly on Jehovah’s side, he will look after as his very own because “Jehovah knows those who belong to him”. If anyone touches these that he has chosen and blessed, it is like touching the pupil of his eye. Jehovah’s organization, the free Jerusalem, is our mother and is the closest thing to the Lord. He has created it and made it for his praise. It will be just too bad for the individuals or the nations that fight against God or his witnesses. These belong to him and in due time he will execute judgment against opposers. This does not mean that Jehovah will not allow individuals or part of his organization to suffer hurt. He will; in order that the individuals involved therein may prove their integrity and faithfulness. However, he will take cognizance of the offenders, and at the same time advises us, “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says Jehovah.’”—Rom. 12:18, 19, NW.
14. How did he show foreknowledge of how we would be treated? Despite this what gathering work goes on?
14 Jehovah is watching what is going on throughout his entire organization. He knows how his people will be treated. “Moreover, you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be objects of hatred by all persons because of my name. And yet not a hair of your heads will by any means perish.” (Luke 21:16-18, NW) Even so, a greater witness than ever in vindication of Jehovah’s name will be given. We are in the last days of this old world and we must expect these things. Now is the time to gather together a great crowd for his name’s sake, and this crowd is being gathered together from the ends of the earth with haste. So a sharp call and a loud one goes out unto the ends of the earth to all the inhabiters of Babylon who are sighing and crying to flee from her and escape from her oppressive acts now and her complete destruction later. If you love the Lord, then seek his protection and come to his city, the unwalled village, for Jehovah is a wall of fire round about it. Those in it he loves, and to touch one of his faithful servants is like touching the pupil of his eye.
15. What will he do shortly to the nations? So what are we commanded to do?
15 The time is not very far distant when Jehovah God will plunder the nations and destroy them. When Jesus was asked what the sign of the end of this world would be, he gave his apostles many things that they could watch for, and these we see in fulfillment today. It will not be a long time, therefore, until Armageddon. Those who have come to know the Lord can do as commanded: “‘Shout with joy, and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For lo, I am coming to dwell in the midst of you,’ is the oracle of the LORD. Many nations will attach themselves to the LORD on that day; and they will become his people, and he will dwell in the midst of you; and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah.” (Zech. 2:10-12, AT) Do you believe it? Will you tell others what you know? Will you show patience and endurance while telling them?
16. In what direction will we help individuals to make up their minds? Why, and how?
16 It is a hard thing for an individual to make up his mind as to what he wants to do: stay with this old, dying world with its wealth, pleasures and present popularity, or, as he puts it, “take a chance” on the new world. Will you who know God and who are acquainted with his Word show your faith by good works? When one studies and knows the Word of God and believes that Word, it is not a matter of taking a chance. It is a matter of being sure what the outcome will be. If you are sure, you will try to convince others who are ready to pull away from Babylon. If one flees from the old world and from the nations that are spoiling him, just what will the outcome be? Primarily it means the individual will be in line to receive everlasting life. He will have the opportunity of worshiping the Most High God, his Creator, for eternity. But in order to receive the blessings of this life he must accept the Son Christ Jesus; for the scripture says whosoever believes on Him will be able to get everlasting life. Are you, as a Christian, going to help him learn these things? It will not be easy; it will take patience and time on the part of both.
17, 18. What is the attitude of the world in which we live? Yet for what must we take a stand, and in imitation of whom?
17 All of us must remember we are living in an old world, the world that is opposed to the establishment of God’s kingdom. It has been opposed to the Kingdom for centuries. Even when the King Christ Jesus was upon the earth and did his wonderful preaching, the nations of the world saw to it that he was put to death and destroyed by being staked. He died as a condemned sinner, as a seditionist, a man against the Roman rule of Caesar and a man hated by the very religious Jews who were seeking the Messiah. He was one who went through great persecution. It was not easy for the King Christ Jesus to live in this old world. He knew they were out to kill him, and they finally did, but that did not scare him. He had his work to do and he did it to become the greatest witness of all time in favor of the name and word of Almighty God.
18 The faithful followers of Christ Jesus must take a similar course. There are no two ways about it. They must be for Jehovah’s kingdom. They no longer want to be spoiled by the nations and come under their subjection; so they flee this old world of Babylon with its devilish rule and place themselves under the rulership of the King of heaven, Christ Jesus, who they know now rules in the heavens. He was placed upon his throne by Jehovah God and made ruler in 1914.
A GREAT CROWD ANNOUNCING THE KINGDOM
19. In fulfillment of Revelation 19:6 what is a great crowd now saying, and why?
19 What a marvelous thing has happened! Today we find a great crowd of people who have listened to the message of the Kingdom and who are saying, “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.” (Rev. 19:6, NW) Yes, the time has come for the vindication of Jehovah’s name, and those who have fled from the Babylonish organization recognize that Jehovah has become king by placing his Son upon the throne to rule in the midst of his enemies. This is a day in which to rejoice.
20, 21. What was the effect of the miracles done by the apostles and their fellows? How were they even misunderstood and resented?
20 In the early days of the church Jehovah God through his holy spirit or active force gave power to the apostles to perform miracles, and this attracted many people to the message and to what the apostles were saying. However, these special or miraculous gifts came to an end with the death of the apostles, and we do not see them in operation at the present time.
21 You will remember the account in Acts 14 where the apostles Paul and Barnabas were preaching the good news and they had performed a miracle. After seeing the marvels done by these men, the people wanted to make them gods; for they thought that the gods of heaven had come down to the earth and had become men. “However, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they ripped their outer garments and leaped out into the crowd, crying out and saying: ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are human creatures having the same infirmities as you do, and are declaring the good news to you, for you to turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.” (Acts 14:14, 15, NW) Paul and Barnabas did not take credit for doing this miracle themselves. They knew it was done by the power of God, so they gave all the honor to him. They told those surrounding them that the one who backed them up in doing this miracle was the Creator of heaven and earth, and as for themselves they were just mere ordinary human creatures. Their whole purpose in preaching and performing the miracle was to turn the people toward the only true God and for nothing else. They wanted to show the people that their heathen gods in the temples where the Gentiles offered sacrifices were not living gods worthy of worship. It was the truth from God’s Word that they were contrasting with false religion. Even though sincere and honest and trying to do the people good, they were greatly persecuted and hounded by them at other places on their travels because of miracles they performed and especially because of the message they preached. Nevertheless, the truth found a sure foothold in those early days.
22. What about such miracles today? What do we undergo from the nations, and yet what are we showing endurance to do?
22 So it is today with the ministers of the gospel. The good news is still being preached, and while they do not have the power to perform miracles, they do have from God the power and the commission to preach this gospel unto the ends of the world. The Lord’s people have been delivered from the Babylonish organization and from the nations that spoiled them. Because they fled from these organizations they are tormented by Babylonians. Oh, yes, they are still in the world, but they are no longer a part of it. They have come to the unwalled city under Jehovah’s protection and they know that “Jehovah knows those who belong to him”. The faithful followers of Christ Jesus, regardless of oppression, will pursue righteousness and godly devotion. They will stand up against all the opposition that is brought to bear against them, because they know that even as Christ and the apostles were persecuted and were permitted to go through many trials and tribulations; so even today they must do likewise, and it is only by endurance that they will be able to gain the victory. It is the aim of Jehovah’s witnesses to help the people; therefore they cannot give up.
23. With what qualities must we endure in preaching work? Why?
23 When Paul wrote to Timothy, he pointed out that we must have faith, love and endurance and must continue in our preaching work with mildness of temper. We are not to get angry and rant and rave as the peoples of the nations of this old world do. We are not to act as their chief representatives do in the conferences of the United Nations. The loud, abusive talk at election time is typical of their lack of love for one another. Christians cannot share in that kind of speech. It is unbecoming. Rather, with a steady, faithful love and devotion they must show their endurance with a mild temper. This kind of disposition they will be able to use when talking to the people in the world, and they will be able to persuade all kinds of people to listen to the message that they have. They may not be proud or haughty, nor do they feel that they are better than anyone else. In order to contend for the victory in this contest of faith, they must preach the Word in a manner pleasing to God and in a manner that will attract the people who are seeking after truth and righteousness. Is it not the desire of God to see all kinds of men saved? and do not Jehovah’s witnesses feel that way about it, too?
24. How are we making a right confession world-wide, and with what results since 1945?
24 Paul said, “Contend for victory in the right contest of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you declared the right confession publicly before many witnesses.” (1 Tim. 6:12, NW) So then, in order for a Christian to contend for the victory in the right contest of the faith, he must make a public confession and tell all kinds of people what he believes. Jehovah’s witnesses world-wide are doing just that, and the results in the past six years show the great blessing of Jehovah. Below is set out the number of Kingdom publishers or ministers who have been proclaiming the message of the Kingdom every month throughout the years mentioned. The last figure shows the increase in number of publishers over the previous year.
Publishers 1945, 127,478; increase over 1944, 16,973.
Publishers 1946, 158,034; increase over 1945, 30,556.
Publishers 1947, 181,071; increase over 1946, 23,037.
Publishers 1948, 230,532; increase over 1947, 49,461.
Publishers 1949, 279,421; increase over 1948, 48,889.
Publishers 1950, 328,572; increase over 1949, 49,151.
25. So what increase in ministers has there been yearly? How are they contending for victory?
25 It is noted that during the last three years there has been an increase of approximately 49,000 ministers preaching the Word every year. In other words, 49,000 persons have been coming out of the old world each year, taking a definite stand for God’s kingdom and making proclamation of this stand publicly before many witnesses. In this way they are contending for the victory. While they have had many trials and difficulties, “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and he who touches one of these witnesses touches the pupil of his eye. Jehovah loves their faithfulness, and he gives the increase! Are you having a share in it?