Gathering Men of All Nations into One Flock
This speech was delivered by the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society at the graduation of the 21st class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, Sunday afternoon, July 19, 1953, before the New World Society Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
“As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”—Ezek. 34:12, AS.
1. What heart yearning concerning the human family will be satisfied, and why right soon?
IT IS heart-cheering to think that men of all the many different nations will be gathered into one flock. All men are of one flesh, all are one human race, the welfare of one means the welfare of all; and, oh, how the sincere heart yearns for the time when all who live on earth will be united as one family, with justice and equality enjoyed by all and with love binding the members indivisibly one to another! That heart yearning of those who are sickened at the sight of mankind selfishly and violently divided against itself will be satisfied, and that right soon. No one desires a united human family more than does man’s Creator himself, and this he has purposed to bring into existence. In writing over his own name he has told us so, and he will never let his written Word become a mere scrap of paper, unfulfilled. His own name is at stake; the lasting good of men of all nations is at stake. These things are of high concern to the self-respecting Creator, for which reason he will gather all men of good will into the one peaceful fold. We are living at the chosen time for him to do it, and it is a wonderful time in which to be living and witness his doing it.
2. How have all men been like sheep, and what do they have need of?
2 All men are like sheep, from many standpoints. The way men perish without an understanding of their Creator and in such vast numbers, as victims of murderous slaughter, as victims of death in general, they could be sheep. The inspired psalmist correctly described their case, saying: “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol [the region of the dead]; death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home.” (Ps. 49:14, RS) Like sheep they have been prone to follow a leader en masse, but to their sorrow and destruction they have followed and entrusted themselves to wrong leaders. Ambitious men have assumed to be shepherds of humanity, just to take advantage of them and serve themselves, and then abandon them in danger and feed them to the slaughter. Mankind have gone astray and been subjected to all kinds of hardships without any comforter. They have been in need of a right shepherd, a genuine one with tender feeling for the sheep, one to whom they could be loyal and submissive with perfect safety to themselves.
3. Who, in particular, could be expected to care for poor human sheep, and why?
3 Who could be expected to care for these poor human sheep more than does the Creator himself? It would be a poor kind of creator that would not take an interest in his creations, especially creatures with feelings and dependent upon his guidance and provision and needing his protection from enemies. The true and living God is not a heartless, self-centered creator, with less pity and consideration than what a human shepherd has for his sheep. The very quality of tenderness and fondness that a lowly shepherd feels for such trusting, obedient, harmless creatures was implanted in the human heart from the time the Creator made the perfect man and commanded him to have dominion over all the lower animal creation. (Gen. 1:26-28) It is in mankind’s favor that God the Creator likens men to sheep, for that discloses the tender feeling that he has for his human creatures. If they are like sheep to him, then it must be that he views himself as their Shepherd. He also appreciates the responsibility that becomes his as their Shepherd when they are in perilous conditions. If they have strayed and lost their way and become the prey of vicious men or wild beast, then it becomes his part to go out, make a search and try to recover the poor sheep at any cost. Although it called for great condescension on his part, the loving Creator, faithful to his creatures, has not held back from doing this in discharge of his responsibility as mankind’s Shepherd. Promising to take this action at the time of our direst need, Jehovah God the Creator caused his prophet to declare this:
4. At Ezekiel 34:11-16, what action did Jehovah promise to take regarding the sheep?
4 “For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord Jehovah. I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.”—Ezek. 34:11-16, AS.
5. What does it show when the Lord Jehovah himself has to act as shepherd and go to the rescue of his sheep?
5 It must be a serious situation indeed when the Lord Jehovah himself has to perform the part of a shepherd and go in search and recovery of his sheep. With humanity in such a terrible plight as they are today, this appears to be the time of all times when the Lord Jehovah would feel compelled to fulfill his own prophecy and go to the rescue. And it is! And the activities of the divine Shepherd can clearly be seen in fulfillment of the prophecy. The sad predicament of the sheep bespeaks terrible neglect and foul action on the part of someone. Certainly it has been neglect and foul action, not on the part of the Lord Jehovah, but on the part of men who undertook to play the shepherd of God’s sheep for selfish reasons, telling Jehovah God to keep his hands off.
6. Who can easily be identified as the harmful shepherds, and to what has their misconduct exposed their flocks today?
6 It is not hard to identify these harmful shepherds. Everyone knows whom the people of Christendom have willingly followed or been obliged to follow as their leaders. The religious clergy are well known for claiming their congregations as their flocks, over which they are pastors. But in the Holy Scriptures the political princes are also spoken of as shepherds, the governmental guides and caretakers of the people. So the political rulers of the nations that claim to be Christian are also to be classed as shepherds. With such political shepherds the religious shepherds have co-operated. They have followed and supported the secular shepherds in their political schemes, even when these went to the extent of seizing dictatorial or totalitarian power; and they have blessed their armies of aggression, leading to the slaughter of millions of the sheep of their flocks. They have led their flocks into becoming with them an active part of this corrupt world. For the sake of the financial and other support of the political shepherds they have been willing to let their religious flocks lie in a backward state mentally and economically. Especially have they withheld from their flocks the spiritual food of God’s written Word, thus leaving them in a deplorable state of Bible illiterateness. All this has left their flocks exposed to the menace of a new would-be political shepherd, the ungodly communism that menaces Christendom itself. Showing up this result of the course of such religious shepherds is the statement made by the New York Times of May 21, 1953, under the editorial heading “Fascism versus Democracy”, that, despite the billions of dollars of American support poured into that once-Fascist land, “Italy has the largest Communist party in the world outside the Soviet bloc” and “would now have a Communist regime but for our help”.
7. Whose sheep also have such shepherds invaded and scattered, and when, and what has Christendom now failed to produce?
7 These religious and political shepherds have sheared and fleeced their own claimed flocks and fattened themselves at their expense and driven them in ways ending in death and destruction. Not only that, but they have been guilty of invading the true flock of the Lord Jehovah and scattering sheep of his. This occurred especially during what Jehovah calls the “cloudy and dark day”, the period of World War I, when the witnesses of Jehovah were swept by a wave of persecution throughout the world at the instigation of the religious shepherds of Christendom. With clear foresight Jehovah God prophetically said to the shepherds of Christendom: “With force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them.” (Ezek. 34:4-6, AS) To this day since that first world war Christendom has failed to produce a shepherd or an organization of shepherds able to gather men of all nations into one harmonious flock within one secure fold. The civilization that she brags of is threatened with extinction.
MANKIND’S ONE SHEPHERD-RULER RAISED UP
8. To whom, therefore, must the sheep look for rescue, and what has he done exactly as he promised?
8 There is no mistaking it. It has been left absolutely to the Creator, Jehovah God, to rescue the sheeplike ones of mankind. To him all the lost, strayed, sick, diseased, broken sheep who hunger and thirst after righteousness must look. If they do so, taking him at his word, they will not look in vain. “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep,” he has declared. He has acted as he has declared. How? By raising up one competent, proved shepherd to seek after all his sheep and gather them together in the unity of the family of God. This is the very thing he promised, saying: “Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Jehovah, have spoken it.”—Ezek. 34:22-24, AS.
9. Who is this Shepherd-Prince, and why not the literal David?
9 Who is the Shepherd-Prince whom Jehovah has now set up over his sheep to save them and feed them? It is the great Son of David, Jesus Christ. He is the Heir of the Kingdom covenant that Jehovah made with King David. This covenant guaranteed that he would raise up to King David a seed or descendant who would sit upon the throne forever and whose kingdom would have no end. (2 Sam. 7:12-17; Ps. 89:34-37; Luke 1:31-33; 22:28-30) Nineteen centuries ago when he rode in royal style into the city of Jerusalem, the multitude in his procession kept crying out: “Hosanna to the son of David.” That is to say, “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” (Matt. 21:15, NW) For thousands of years King David has been dead, but we do not need to wait for his resurrection from the dead for Jehovah to fulfill his promise. The name “David” means “Beloved”, and applies to Jehovah’s Messiah, his Christ or Anointed One. Jesus Christ is the one of whom Jehovah God said from heaven: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” He is therefore the Greater David, or Beloved One. Even King David of old spoke of him as his Lord or Superior, saying: “Jehovah said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet.’” (Matt. 22:43, 44, NW; Ps. 110:1, AS) After preaching to the lost sheep of the house of Israel Jesus died faithful to God without forfeiting his heirship to the covenant for the Kingdom. So God raised him from the dead and received him up into heaven and seated him at his own right hand in the throne of Jehovah, far above the one-time earthly throne of his forefather King David.
10. Whose sheep did David acknowledge himself to be, whose sheep was Jesus, and in what occupation did he follow that One?
10 As a lad his forefather David was a shepherd, unafraid to face a lion and a bear for the deliverance of his father’s sheep, or even to engage a giant in combat for the deliverance of Jehovah’s human sheep, the nation of Israel. In turn, David looked upon himself as a sheep of his God. He composed the twenty-third psalm Ps 23:1, which opens with the words: “Jehovah is my shepherd.” Likewise with Jesus Christ. He confessed Jehovah as his great Shepherd and himself as Jehovah’s sheep; and the Scriptures speak of Jesus as the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”. (John 1:29, 36, NW; Rev. 5:6, 12) Jesus acknowledged himself as being the one whom Jehovah God appointed to take care of his earthly sheep, even to laying down his life for them. In a beautiful illustration he said: “I am the right shepherd; the right shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep.” And that he followed the occupation of his heavenly Father as a shepherd, Jesus further said: “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. . . . and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father. I and the Father are one.”—John 10:11, 27-30, NW.
11. On becoming King did Jesus Christ cease to be shepherd, and what shows whether?
11 Even as the king of the nation of Israel David was spoken of as the shepherd of his people. Jehovah said to David: “You shall shepherd my people Israel, and you shall be a leader over Israel.” Israel’s judges who preceded King David were called shepherds, Jehovah speaking of them as the “judges of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel”. (2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7, AT; AS) This is true also of Jesus Christ. When his Father Jehovah God makes him King of the new world Jesus does not cease from being caretaker of sheep, lowly though that occupation may seem. He becomes the governmental shepherd of all his subjects, for they are the ones for whom he surrendered his human soul, laid down his human life. Him we hail today; for him we cry “Hosanna!” because he is the One, and only One, whom Jehovah God has raised up to be the Shepherd of the flock of humanity! In 1914, at the end of the “appointed times of the nations”, the Supreme Sovereign of the universe enthroned him in the high heavens to be the reigning King of the new world; and by this act he made him the royal Shepherd of all who will gain everlasting life in the righteous new world. At the birth of his kingdom from the womb of God’s theocratic organization the prophecy was carried out: “And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is destined to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” (Rev. 12:5, NW) In the defense of his sheep he will wield the iron scepter against the worldly nations, dashing them to pieces as though they were fragile vessels of a potter.
12. Why at his coronation on Mount Zion was Jesus Christ appointed to be a Shepherd-Prince?
12 We must appreciate why the Most High God has appointed Jesus Christ to be a Shepherd-Prince. Since his being coronated on the heavenly Mount Zion there has been a great scattering of his sheep on earth as a result of World War I and its terrible aftermath. Men have called this postwar period the Age of the Displaced Person, but it has been rather the Age of the Scattered Sheep. What a dire need has arisen, therefore, for the gathering of the sheep out of all the nations into which they have been scattered and leading them together into one peaceful flock! Hence Jehovah’s own determination, “As a shepherd . . . , so will I seek out my sheep.” Hence, too, this decision of his to act, “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David.” Consequently, vast shepherding activities were due to follow among men of all nations.
13. In view of David’s and Israel’s experience, why should we not feel frustrated because Jehovah and Jesus do not visibly appear and act as shepherds?
13 Nobody needs to bring himself now to a feeling of frustration by saying, “But Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are spirit, are invisible, and have remained so. They have not visibly appeared to go seeking and gathering the displaced and scattered sheep of humanity. So where is there anything to show that they have come and searched and recovered the lost sheep?” Remember that the psalmist David adoringly said, “Jehovah is my shepherd,” although the great, loving God had never visibly appeared in the costume and with the rod and staff of a tender of sheep. Notwithstanding, David had experienced all the tender care of a gentle sheep at the divine hands, and he describes it in his beautiful psalm. Remember, too, that Jehovah was the Shepherd of the ancient nation of Israel. Says the psalmist Asaph: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock.” Another Israelite psalmist writes: “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Pss. 80:1; 95:7, AS) Despite his remaining unseen, Jehovah God led his national flock of Israel up out of Egypt, through the terrifying wilderness and into their fold in Palestine, where he faithfully tended to them as his sheep as long as they showed the sheeplike traits of submissiveness, trust and loyalty to him. What was possible and what historically was true back there in Israel’s day can be possible and is historically true since the “cloudy and dark day” of World War I. Today, as we look at it, it is marvelous in our eyes.
14. What would Jehovah’s searching for his sheep and raising up his Greater David really mean, then, and what would this mean for the political and religious shepherds of Christendom?
14 Jehovah’s own going in search of his sheep and his raising up his Greater David as prince to tend them means, not Jehovah’s coming out of the invisible, but his qualifying of faithful servants here on earth and his sending these forth as his pastoral representatives to all nations to do the hunting, gathering, guiding and feeding of his sheep, under divine supervision. He says: “And ye my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (Ezek. 34:31, AS) Now, just whom would the Lord Jehovah send out in this world-wide pastoral work? Would it be the religious and political shepherds of Christendom, seeing that Christendom is the modern counterpart of ancient Israel? No; for in view of their misconduct in office he is against them. “As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely forasmuch as my sheep became a prey, and my sheep became food to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my sheep; therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.” (Ezek. 34:7-10, AS) The time is here for a change! The indignant Owner of the sheep has decided for the dismissal of all those in Christendom who have claimed to be the religious and political shepherds of his sheep “by the grace of God”, but who have led the mass of mankind into the mess it is in today. His swift action in this regard was foreshadowed when his prophet said: “I cut off the three shepherds in one month.” (Zech. 11:8, AS) He will require his sheep at their hands.
15. Whom would Jehovah send forth to represent him in this pastoral work, and what was first necessary in their case?
15 Whom, then, would the Lord Jehovah send forth visibly to represent him in his pastoral work? Who would these most likely be? Who could these be other than those whose God is Jehovah, those not ashamed to bear his name and speak in his name—Jehovah’s own faithful witnesses? And how appropriate this is, for his own “one shepherd”, Jesus Christ himself, declared himself to be “the faithful and true witness”! (Rev. 3:14) This Shepherd-King would therefore use as his representatives men of his own class—witnesses! However, at the close of World War I the remnant of Jehovah’s witnesses were themselves like a flock that had been scattered. The enemies of God’s kingdom had duplicated the action taken by Judas and the religious and political shepherds of Jesus’ day and had rejected Jehovah’s Shepherd-King. This they did by rejecting the Kingdom message and by persecuting his followers, the message-bearers. They had thus given final fulfillment to the prophecy: “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Zech. 13:7; Matt. 26:31) Hence the scattered remnant had to be gathered first if they were to share in the pastoral work of Jehovah under his Shepherd-King. From 1919 on the loving Creator proceeded to reassemble his sheep, for the political and religious shepherds of this world made no effort to do so. He caused his sheep to hear the voice of the One he had raised up and put in charge of his flock. The voice was the message of the Shepherd-King, the Greater David. It assured them that God’s kingdom had been established in his hands and that “this good news of the kingdom” must be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the complete end came upon this world.
16. (a) Why were they not gathered to a condition of idleness? (b) What name did they embrace, and why may the enemies not cavil at them for bearing it?
16 The sheep of his royal “little flock” knew this unique, inimitable voice of the Greater David and responded. From the ends of the earth to which they had been scattered they flocked together in their thousands into a unity of organization under his care. There they would be safe against the approaching end of the world and would be sure of life-sustaining spiritual food. But these sheeplike followers of the Lamb of God have not been idle. Throughout the years there had to be a great deal of action on their part, for it was necessary for them to copy their Leader and go out searching for the strayed and scattered sheep and serve them the needed spiritual food and guide their steps to the fold of divine care and protection. As an acknowledgment that Jehovah God had regathered them and as a confession that they were his flock, the remnant of the “little flock” embraced the name distinguishing them as the witnesses of Jehovah. That was in 1931, but to this day they have lived up to the name. It is beside the point for the enemies to cavil at them and ask who made them His witnesses. Rather, let the enemies point out where they have failed to do what the name calls for—bear witness to Jehovah.
17. In 1931 God broadened the vision of his regathered remnant to see what?
17 The gathering of all of God’s sheep alive on the earth was not fully accomplished by 1931. The divine Caretaker, who had made himself responsible for bringing together and feeding his own, broadened the vision and understanding of his regathered remnant, yes, in that very year of 1931. He opened their eyes to see that there was a great shepherding work for them yet to do. Multitudes of persons of good will had to be marked in their foreheads by the truth for life everlasting. The remnant had to go out and hunt for these people that cried and sighed because of all the abominable things committed in Christendom. They must mark them in the seat of intelligence, that they might identify themselves as belonging to Jehovah God and as being subject to his King Jesus Christ. (Ezek. 9:1-4) This has proved to be a tremendous work.
18. (a) For whom else did She Right Shepherd die, and for what action does this call before the world’s end? (b) How is it that the unity of one flock can be created?
18 Jesus the Right Shepherd died for more than the “little flock” of those inheriting the heavenly kingdom with him. He died also for those who will attain to perfect human life in the earthly paradise of the new world. These he must begin to gather now before the end of this old world and the start of the new. In view of the oncoming world destruction they must be marked for preservation. It was these that Jesus meant when he said: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this [Kingdom] fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16, NW) That mention of “one shepherd” fits in with Jehovah’s prophecy for our day: “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David.” It identifies Jesus the royal Son of David as being the one Jehovah spoke of as “my servant David”, the “one shepherd”. (Ezek. 34:23) It is only because there is the one shepherd that the unity of one flock can be created, earth-wide unity, regardless of the great variety of nations from which the members of the flock are gathered. In glaring contradistinction to this hopelessly and destructively divided old world the Almighty Jehovah has successfully accomplished this unification of his one flock under his “one shepherd”, his reigning King. There is no attractive, unifying force in the universe like the one living and true God and his one Shepherd-King. “And I, Jehovah, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Jehovah, have spoken it.” (Ezek. 34:24, AS) What unifying power there is in that declaration!
19. How did the remnant’s organization become a pastoral one, and what disclosure in 1935 did they hail with joy?
19 As soon as the regathered remnant of God’s royal “little flock” saw in his Word that the work of his “one shepherd” was to gather his “other sheep” and that he must begin now before the old world ended in disaster, they enthusiastically set themselves to join him in his pastoral work. In this way their entire theocratic organization became a pastoral organization. With joy, shouting and clapping of hands they hailed the disclosure in 1935 from God’s Word that a “great crowd”, a numberless drove of these “other sheep”, was to be assembled out of “all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” before this world’s final tribulation; and that these, also, must actively serve Jehovah God day and night at his spiritual temple.—Rev. 7:9-15, NW.
20. Whom have they since welcomed into the flock, and how have these copied the “one shepherd”?
20 Ever since then they have rejoiced at how God has rewarded their pastoral work. Each year they have greeted and welcomed the influx of multitudes of “other sheep” into the flock at God’s temple. These “other sheep” have imbibed the spirit of the little remnant; they have come to realize their obligation to copy the “one shepherd” and take part with him in searching for still other strayed, lost and scattered sheep. So they have gone forth and loyally worked side by side with the remnant under the leadership of the heavenly Pastor, the Greater David. Not even the ruthless rule of Fascist and Nazi and Communist and religious-totalitarian dictators, no, not even the outbreak of the second global war, halted the spread of their pastoral activities earth-wide.
21. How did the Shepherd-King encourage his sheep to go on the offensive, and so what school was conceived in 1942?
21 The Shepherd-King Jesus Christ was not one to let dictatorial regimentation of the people and total mobilization of the warring nations discourage his sheep away from the gathering work. He continued on the offensive. He encouraged them to plan and organize for larger work. In 1942, through God’s Holy Bible, he revealed that World War II would not merge into the world-smashing battle of Armageddon but would be followed by a peace, a postwar period. Such peace—would it last? To that question the answer that Jehovah’s witnesses gave from the Bible was to quote God’s own flat No! However, for as long as the peace before Armageddon would last, there would be a vast amount of work, urgent work, to be done all over the earth, and this in lands where search for the “other sheep” had not yet penetrated. With such Bible-inspired confidence in a postwar pastoral work, and with the determination to prepare for it at once and to go on the offensive immediately, the missionary-training school, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, was conceived in the year 1942.
22. When did the school graduate its first class of missionaries, and in what did the divine providing of funds for the school result ten years later?
22 In February of 1943, during the very throes of World War II, the first class of students, all of them already ordained witnesses of Jehovah, began their studies and training for a term of five intensely packed months. Early in the following summer, just ten years ago, the School of Gilead sent forth its first graduates, eighty-four in number. How long this free missionary school would keep open its doors, how long it would hold classes, graduating two highly trained missionary groups each year, was not known back there in that war-torn year. But the great Overseer of the sheep, by his “one shepherd”, has provided the funds till now, and today at Yankee Stadium, New York city, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead has the profound joy of graduating its twenty-first class of missionaries, drawn from twenty-eight different lands. At the same time, present in the vast body of onlooking conventioners, are the prospective students of the twenty-second class. At the same time, too, other hundreds of thousands of Jehovah’s witnesses all over the earth, with their hearts, minds and prayers directed here, applaud this happy event.
23, 24. How, in view of the forward part of this school in the pastoral work, is the name “Gilead” fittingly associated with it?
23 Not without deep meaning is the Bible name “Gilead” linked with this missionary school. Gilead was the land just to the east of the Jordan River and lay between the Arnon River on the south and the Yarmuk River on the north. Today it is occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan. It is a land rugged with hills and mountains, somewhat like the location of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in the highland section east of Lake Cayuga, upper New York state. One particular feature attracted Israelite settlers to Gilead fifteen centuries before Christ, and that was its highland grazing grounds. The twelve tribes of Israel had reached the fortieth year of their long-protracted journey out of Egypt. Provoked into a fight by the pagan inhabitants of these highlands, the Israelites, under Moses, fought and conquered and took possession of the land of Gilead. Of the twelve tribes of Israel the tribes of Reuben and Gad had a great deal of livestock. When they saw the well-watered tablelands of Gilead they saw it was suitable for grazing and they chose to settle in Gilead rather than cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
24 To this Moses agreed, provided that the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh sent over a contingent of soldiers to help the other Israelites until they had taken possession of the land of milk and honey. To this they replied: “We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones: but we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place.” (Num. 32:1-17, AS) So in time the stone flock pens of the two and a half tribes dotted the highlands and became a marked feature of Gilead. How fitting, then, that the Watchtower Bible School, which through its graduate missionaries is taking such a forward part in the pastoral work of Jehovah’s “one shepherd”, should have the name “Gilead” prominently associated with it!
25. In view of what Israelite judge from the land of Gilead is the name significant for the missionary school, and why?
25 Gilead, too, was the land of one of Israel’s prominent judges, Jephthah the son of Gilead. In behalf of victory over aggressor Ammonites, Jephthah vowed to sacrifice to Jehovah whatever came out first from his home to meet him on his victorious return. His only child, his unmarried daughter, proved to be the one first to meet him there with dances in celebration of Jehovah’s victory. She did not rebel at being the one to be thus sacrificed to her father’s God, who had vindicated himself over the foes of his people. But before being dedicated to a life of virginity as God’s sacred property not touchable by a man, she and her girl companions went up and down upon the mountains of Gilead bewailing the loss of married life that she must undergo. At the end of two months of this she came home, and Jephthah in faithfulness to his vow dedicated her to the exclusive, virgin-pure service and disposition of the God who had blessed him with victory. In this prophetic, true-life drama of vindication his dedicated, virgin daughter pictured the great crowd of “other sheep” who have been gathered already in hundreds of thousands, especially since the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead was founded. With great joy this modern daughter class hail the victory of the Greater Jephthah, their “Everlasting Father”. They yield their lives of service to Jehovah God and keep themselves in virgin purity from contamination from this world. They do not violate the vow of the Greater Jephthah, the “one shepherd”, who has presented them to the temple service of the Most High God.—Judg. 11:1-40.
26. For what medicinal product was Gilead famous, and how is this in lovely agreement with the purpose served by the school?
26 Another thing: The land of Gilead was noted for its medicinal balm drawn from its plentiful bushes. (Gen. 37:25; Jer. 8:22; 46:11) Far and wide this balm was carried, and it became symbolic of God’s means of spiritual healing. In lovely agreement with his product of Gilead and its healing properties, the missionary graduates of the Watchtower Bible School have carried the curative balm of Jehovah’s message of comfort and of reconciliation to all nations and have applied it for the spiritual healing and recovery of multitudes facing spiritual death.
27, 28. (a) What does the name “Gilead” mean, and does it refer to quantity, size or greatness? (b) What is the historical background of the name?
27 As for the name itself, “Gilead” means, according to the derivation that the Bible gives it, “heap of witness,” or, “witness heap.” This does not refer to the quantity, size or greatness of the testimony that Jehovah’s witnesses have given in all the earth. In obedience to God’s orders, the ancient patriarch Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, left Syria and the service of his father-in-law Laban, without previous notice. He and all his household and vast flocks and herds were pursued and overtaken by Laban. Before they parted again, Laban proposed that they enter a covenant or contract. So Jacob raised a pillar and had his servants pile up a heap of stones, and there on or by the stone heap he and Laban and their companions ate a friendly sacrificial meal. The Record then says of the stone heap:
28 “And Laban called it [in Aramaic] Jégar-sahadútha, and Jacob called it [in Hebrew] Gáleed. And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Gáleed,—and Mizpah; for he said, Let Jehovah watch between me and thee, when we shall be hidden one from another: . . . see, God is witness between me and thee! And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee: let this heap be witness, and the pillar a witness, that neither I pass this heap to go to thee, nor thou pass this heap and this pillar to come to me, for harm.”—Gen. 31:47-52, Da.
29, 30. In view of its background what does “Gilead” really signify, and how is the name appropriate for the Shepherd’s one flock?
29 Both the Aramaic name Jégar-sahadútha and the Hebrew name Gáleed mean “heap of witness”. The name Gilead is popularly drawn, by the change of a couple of vowel sounds, from Gáleed, and its true meaning is therefore taken to be “heap of witness”. The name “Mizpah” means “the watchtower”. Just as Mizpah and Gáleed or Gilead were thus closely linked, so the names Watchtower and Gilead (or, “heap of witness”) are tied together in this Bible School of Jehovah’s witnesses for advanced training of missionaries. In the light of what gave rise to these names, Gilead means the heap that bears testimony to the making of a covenant or solemn agreement to keep peace within the family relationship and never to prove disloyal to it or to harm the members of it. Jehovah is the all-seeing One who watches to see that the binding contract is kept.
30 When we keep the flock of the “one shepherd” in mind, how appropriate the name Gilead is! It denotes the obligation to unbreakable unity and solidarity on the part of the members of the one flock whom the “one shepherd” has now assembled. Just as Jacob and Laban swore by God to keep the peace of the family relationship for mutual benefit, so by their vow of dedication to God the members of the one flock have sworn to keep peace within their ranks and never to seek the hurt of any member of the flock. They are committed to this peaceful, helpful way of getting along together under their “one shepherd”. This prevents the sheep of the flock from being scattered by the operation of any selfish spirit inside the flock. The peaceful, harmonious relationship of this “one flock” throughout the earth is a witness, a testimonial, that they are the faithful flock of their Shepherd-King. Jehovah God himself is witness to it and therefore blesses them with prosperity.
31, 32. Despite the above meaning of “Gilead”, what proves that the School of Gilead has had an outstanding part in the witness delivered and in the pastoral work?
31 The foregoing is the basic meaning of the name “Gilead” as applied to the missionary school. Still, an astounding witness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son has been given since the first class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead graduated ten years ago. The stream of missionary graduates that has poured forth from that school each year has had a large and outstanding part in the unequaled witness delivered and in the vast ingathering of the strayed and scattered sheep into the one flock.
32 Ten years ago the service year of 1943 closed with an average of 109,794 sheep reported as in the flock and taking an active part monthly in the pastoral work. They devoted a total of 28,726,524 hours to field activity for the year, under the 21 branches of the Watch Tower Society functioning then despite the raging global conflict. As this service year of 1953 wends toward its close the number of branches is over three times that many and the number of sheep in the flock is a half million who are reporting activity in the pastoral work, and that in many lands never heard from before. Many here in this mighty audience at Yankee Stadium this afternoon are here because of the functioning of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and the assigning of its graduates to their lands. Even some of this now graduating twenty-first class are prepared to receive their diploma of merit because of the activity of previous graduates of the school. This is undeniable evidence that the faithful Creator has blessed the school and that it is a part of his providence. What it has effected in the world-wide witness to God’s kingdom is an inerasable proof that Jehovah has kept his prophetic promise and that he has raised up his Servant, the Greater David, his one Shepherd-King, and has faithfully used him in the gathering of the scattered sheep.
ENEMY CHAGRIN AT THE PASTORAL WORK
33. How, in general, do the political and religious shepherds of Christendom show displeasure at the success of the gathering of Jehovah’s flock?
33 Not unexpectedly, the political and religious shepherds of Christendom are displeased at the success of the assembling of Jehovah’s flock. They claim the field as theirs; they claim all the sheep as theirs for selfish exploitation. They resent it that the “one shepherd” enters their field and calls his sheep out from under their power and brings them into his “one flock”. By banning the Kingdom message and its bearers from what they call their own pastures they try to prevent the sick, wounded, needy sheep from hearing the Shepherd’s voice. To turn the ears of the sheep away from the true Shepherd’s voice, they misrepresent the pastoral work of Jehovah’s witnesses and try to create difficulties for it with the governments of this world.
34-36. What instance of this misrepresentation is there on record for Africa?
34 An instance of this is in connection with Africa, where the gathering of sheep out of nations, tribes, colors and languages has had phenomenal success. In the Cape Town Parliament the statement was made by a member of that House that the Watch Tower movement was responsible for the Mau Mau atrocities in Kenya, East Africa. The source of his information was admitted to be what appeared in a London (England) magazine The Twentieth Century of January, 1953, under the title “Background to Mau Mau”.
35 Says the article: “Movements that combine ‘politics’ and ‘religion’ are no new thing in Africa, where the distinction in any case is unknown in the tribe. . . . At any rate, so much have the cults increased that a high Catholic dignitary declared recently in private conversation, and not entirely by way of a joke, that the eventual heir of all the ages in Africa will be the Watch Tower. This latter phenomenon, perhaps the most widely spread politico-religious movement at the present time, is linked, as are so many, with a source in America, in this case Judge Rutherford, the New York founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose English disciples are to be seen any week-end selling leaflets from cloth knapsacks on the drab side-walks of any English provincial town. They too, like the Africans, want to feel relevant, to kick against Authority and the great ones of this world. . . . These movements are all either derived from Protestantism or spread among déracinés [uprooted ones]. There seem to be fewer movements of this nature in the Catholic world, perhaps because of the superior symbolism of Catholicism, its less active education, and its superior psychology, which does not run so often head on against the main stumbling block of Protestant Africa, the plurality of wives.”
36 As of February 24, 1953, the newspaper Cape Argus said under the heading “WATCH TOWER” this: “It had come to light that the basis of the trouble in Kenya could be traced to the Watch Tower movement from America. The organization had distributed its literature extensively in Kenya and in Rhodesia. The authorities were at present investigating the matter.”
37. In a recent special issue of a popular magazine on Africa, how did it join in speaking prejudicially against Jehovah’s witnesses?
37 Later, in the same endeavor to uphold the delinquent pastors of Christendom and to discredit the pastoral work of Jehovah’s “one shepherd”, came the special issue of the magazine Life, of May 4, 1953, with its lengthy article on “Africa”. On page 126 under “Half-convinced converts” the writer said this: “Even the Christianity we have given them seems superficial. I have found that except for those trained by the Catholics, the missions seem not to have produced satisfactory or trustworthy converts. This is at least the consensus among those who have employed mission boys. I can offer no explanation except perhaps that the native is quick to see that the white man seldom practices what he preaches. And it is scarcely enough to teach a boy to sing hymns and read the Bible, and the girls to cover their comely nakedness with Mother Hubbards, and to expect that the Christian virtues of charity and honesty will be immediately inculcated.” Then on page 178 in its editorial on “Americans and Africa” this same issue of Life inserts this comment: “Of U. S. missions in Africa, not the least influential are Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose gospel, so far from encouraging ‘civilization,’ abets the Africans’ worst daydreams.”
38. Why are modern civilization and Christianity not one and the same thing, and what Christianity do Jehovah’s witnesses encourage and work for in African believers?
38 If by the word “civilization” that editorial means progress of the people in the arts, science and statecraft of this decadent old world, then Jehovah’s witnesses are far from encouraging it. The crucial point that should be argued, the really relevant question to ask and answer is, Are they encouraging Christianity? It is not their fault that civilization today is pagan even in its religion, and that civilization and true Christianity are not one and the same. The Christianity that the witnesses of the Most High God encourage and work for in the African believers is one that acquaints them with the one, living and true God and his provision for salvation by the sacrifice and the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ; a Christianity that frees them from their pagan and demonistic superstitions and practices, that teaches them to live by Christ’s code of one wife to a husband, to bring up their children in the fear, worship and service of God, to be honest and dependable workers for their employers, to read and understand God’s Holy Book, to live in peace, unity and brotherly love although from different colors, tongues and tribes, and to become preaching witnesses of Jehovah and thus have a part in the highly important pastoral work of Jehovah’s Shepherd-King Jesus before this doomed, old-world civilization ends at Armageddon.
39. What can be said to the charge that Jehovah’s witnesses are a politico-religious movement, and what does the Africans’ taking to the gospel that the witnesses bring demonstrate?
39 Jehovah’s witnesses are no politico-religious movement; they do not combine politics and religion. They wash their hands absolutely clean of this world’s politics, known for what it is. They conform to the disciple James’ definition of the “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father”, namely, to keep oneself unspotted from the world. The gospel that they preach and that the Life editorial said “abets the Africans’ worst daydreams” is the gospel that Jesus Christ predicted would be preached in this postwar period. It is “this good news of the kingdom”, the very same gospel that they are preaching on all other continents of the earth and that Jesus said must be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and this includes Africa too. (Matt. 24:14, NW) If the Africans take to this gospel by the tens of thousands, then it satisfyingly demonstrates that they have the same degree of intelligence, the same noble desires and legitimate hope, the same capability for good will toward God and the same God-given power to recognize the Right Shepherd’s voice and respond to it as all his “other sheep” on all other continents. It is in this way that they will lay firm hold on eternal life in God’s righteous new world and will enjoy it after this atomic-age civilization will have perished forever.
40. In harmony with their diploma, for what lofty mission will the missionary school’s graduates show themselves qualified, and with whom will they co-operate everywhere?
40 On the diploma of each graduate of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead this statement appears: “He is therefore graduated as specially qualified to engage in educational work, promoting good will and working in behalf of permanent peace and the law of perfect order and righteousness among all peoples.” The members of the present graduating class will go forth to show their qualification for this lofty mission the same as have the previous twenty classes, in the many lands to which they are assigned to go and preach the Kingdom good news. They will co-operate with all other witnesses of Jehovah throughout the field, the world.
41. Whether of the remnant or of the “other sheep”, what are Jehovah’s witnesses today, and what will they continue doing despite everything?
41 Whether some are of the remnant of the heavenly Kingdom heirs or are of the majority, the “great crowd” of other sheep with the earthly paradise as their destiny, Jehovah’s witnesses are one united flock under his “one shepherd”. Fearless of all the howling false shepherds of Christendom, and in defiance of all the malicious slurs and slanders, all the antagonism from the political and religious shepherds of this world, all the persecution and oppression, they will follow their King-Shepherd in his pastoral work until all of his sheep of this generation have been found and gathered out of all nations into the one flock, there safely to abide and attain endless life in Jehovah’s new world.
[Picture on page 472]