God’s Servants Are Different
IT IS no secret. From the dawn of man’s history, from the time of Adam’s son Abel on down through the ages, those who have worshiped and served the true and living God, whose name alone is Jehovah, have been a separate, unusual and distinctive people, different from all others on the face of the earth. Recorded history proves it. Well-known facts today vouch for it. All informed persons admit it.
The man Abel stands at the head of the long list of God’s faithful servants. “By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice of greater worth than Cain, through which faith he had witness borne to him that he was righteous.” (Heb. 11:4, NW) Because he was righteous and pure in his worship Abel was martyred. Martyr means “witness”, hence Abel was the first of Jehovah’s witnesses. Enoch, the father of Methuselah, was unlike others of his generation and he was not afraid to speak out and bear witness concerning Jehovah’s judgments against the ungodly sinners that made up the popular crowd of his day.—Gen. 5:22-24; Heb. 11:5, 6; Jude 14, 15.
Noah was another individual in that pre-flood world who was conspicuously different from others in that he “walked with God”. He not only had outstanding faith in Jehovah; he also backed up his faith with works. Obediently he worked as commanded on what seemed to the scoffers of his day to be nothing more than a fantastic and freakish undertaking by a crazy man. There he was, up on high ground, miles from the sea, building a colossal boat in which to take refuge from something no one until then had ever seen—rain! As Noah built he also preached repentance, urging his fellow creatures to seek God’s favor while there was yet opportunity. Strange thing, only seven others of that entire multitude believed him! But all the laughter and scorn, reproach and ridicule, and no doubt violent persecution from the tyrants and bullies (Nephilim and mighty men, Gen. 6:4, AS) failed to turn Noah aside from the divinely assigned work. We are very grateful, too, that Noah was different from the foolish, simple-minded and ignorant ones of his time, for had he been like them we would not be here today.—Gen. 6:5-22; Matt. 24:37-39; Heb. 11:7; 2 Pet. 2:5.
Like Abel of old, Jehovah’s modern-day witnesses, having similar faith, offer God an acceptable sacrifice, ‘the fruit of the lips,’ even though they are martyred by those pretending to be their brothers. (Heb. 13:15) Like Enoch, these modern witnesses fearlessly warn this impudent generation of Jehovah’s fierce anger against it. Jesus said that conditions today would be exactly as they were in Noah’s time, but before the accomplished end of this present evil world a similar message of warning would first be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth as a testimony and witness. It is therefore not surprising to find that Jehovah’s witnesses, like Noah, are hard at work preaching and building even though they are laughed at, ridiculed and viciously persecuted by the high and mighty bully rulers of the earth.—Matt. 24:3, 4, 14, 37-39; 2 Pet. 3:3-13.
DIFFERENT TOO FROM PRESENT WORLD
Like the servants of the Most High God before the flood so also were those thereafter—men and women altogether different from others in faith and integrity and devotion to righteousness. It must have seemed strange to the community-building Chaldeans that men like Abraham and Lot would abandon the security and prosperity afforded by their city Ur, and would go out into a wild and unknown country in obedience to God’s command. (Gen. 12:1-5) But they were “awaiting the city [the theocratic government] having real foundations and the builder and creator of which is God”. They saw these precious promises “afar off and hailed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land”. (Heb. 11:8-14, NW) How different was Lot from the sex-maddened, pleasure-crazed Sodomites! That righteous man “was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct”.—2 Pet. 2:6-8, NW.
In parallel, Jehovah’s servants today always strive to be clean, upright and decent people, and are disgusted with the abominable things they see about them in Christendom. They place their confidence and hope in Jehovah’s promised kingdom, for they see that the time when its rule will be extended to the earth is much nearer than it was in Abraham’s day. So, instead of going along with this pleasure-mad, sexy old world, supporting its schemes and ideas, and working for and building up its tower of Babel, the confusing United Nations structure, these people of God keep themselves separate from the world as “strangers and pilgrims” living on a temporary basis like the Rechabites. Jonadab was one of such. (Heb. 11:13; Jer. 35:5-19) They therefore give this world’s politics, commerce and organized religion no support.—Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Jas. 4:4; Rev. 18:2-5.
SERVANTS OPPOSED BY STATE
Jeremiah was ordained as Jehovah’s prophet and was sent to deliver an unpopular message to a rebellious people. What was he to do? Refuse to speak because some took offense? Go slow, compromise, or quit and join the rest as a “regular fellow”? To do so would have meant his own destruction together with all the others. Jeremiah was God’s faithful servant. He had a vital message of warning from God and whosoever heeded it would escape destruction. It was for the people’s own good, and it had to be declared even though kings, princes, priests and people in general objected, and that Jeremiah did.—Jer. 1:4-19, AS.
As a consequence, Jeremiah ran into the worst sort of religious intolerance and bigotry and persecution. The clergy and politicians were stung by God’s fiery denunciations and so they roused the rabble into mobs that sought to kill God’s prophet. He was arrested and haled into court, falsely accused of being a morale-weakener, against the war effort, a seditionist, and hence worthy of death. However, this prophet of the Lord was no seditionist or anarchist, and so even though cast into prison and thrown into the muck of a dungeon, yet he continued to sound the warning. (Jer. 23:1-40; 25:34-36; 26:1-24; 32:2-6, 26-44; 38:1-6) Again and again, in reading this account one is forcibly impressed with the great similarity between the work done by Jeremiah and the treatment he received and work accomplished by Jehovah’s witnesses today under similar conditions.
Further reasons why Jehovah’s witnesses keep on warning Christendom, though she refuses to heed, are found in the Lord’s commandments to Ezekiel, Jeremiah’s contemporary, who witnessed to the captives in Babylon. Ezekiel was up against a hardheaded, stiff-necked, stonyhearted bunch of rebels, but the Lord told him if he did not continue to warn them their blood would be upon him. Ezekiel obeyed. So do Jehovah’s witnesses.—Ezek. 2:3-7; 3:4-11, 16-21; 33:1-20.
Then there was the case of Daniel. Because he was honest and loyal to his position of trust as prime minister over the vast Medo-Persian empire, Daniel’s enemies sought to do away with him through framing mischief by law. When Daniel continued to worship Jehovah in violation of the wicked law, he was seized and falsely charged with sedition, and was tossed in a den as food for the lions. Happily for him, however, that he did worship the only true and living God, for He only is able to deliver His servants out of a lions’ den. (Dan. 6:1-28) On another occasion, when Jehovah’s faithful servants Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down in salute to Nebuchadnezzar’s gilded image in violation of Jehovah’s supreme law, they were pitched into a roaring furnace, only to be delivered alive and unharmed by the Lord’s angel. Incidentally, those who tossed God’s servants into the fire were themselves consumed. (Dan. 3:1-30) Let the superpatriots today who click their heels together and goose-step around, and who try to force God’s faithful servants to participate in their banner-waving idolatry, take warning from this!
This same issue again came up during the reign of Ahasuerus when a wicked man by the name of Haman tried to destroy all those that served and worshiped Jehovah. However, God turned the tables, and Haman’s lifeless body dangled from the 75-foot gallows he had built for God’s servant Mordecai.—See the book of Esther.
THE MOST NOBLE EXAMPLE
Christ Jesus, the greatest Teacher and Preacher ever to walk this earth, tossed aside the orthodox methods of the scribes and Pharisees and tramped from house to house, village to village, over and over the territory, proclaiming that Jehovah’s kingdom is the world’s only hope. He cut across conventional lines and traditional customs, practices, theories and taboos of the times. “Never has another man spoken like this.” (John 7:46, NW) An open market place, a mountain side or a seashore was just as suitable for him as the temple, provided there were people there to listen. Sometimes he gave instruction in the Scriptures at mealtime in a private home.
Telling the truth was Jesus’ business even though it exposed the lies of tradition. He had no part in politics, for his kingdom is not of this world, yet he paid his taxes and urged others to likewise pay back to Caesar what belonged to the state, not forgetting, of course, to give Jehovah God what rightfully is due Him. And for following such a righteous course Jesus was hounded and persecuted and finally killed on a torture stake to satisfy the lustful passions of the clergy whom he denounced as a pack of hypocrites.—John 18:37; Matt. 17:24-27; 22:15-21; 15:1-9; 23:1-39; John 19:6, 15.
In all of this Christ left a brilliant example for Jehovah’s Christian witnesses since then to follow, and praise be to God they have done so! And although persecuted for righteousness’ sake they endure all things out of love of God and fellow men.