Living Now as a New World Society
The following was delivered by the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society before the New World Society Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Yankee Stadium, New York city, N.Y., Monday afternoon, July 20, 1953.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king for ever and ever.”—Rev. 11:15, NW.
1. Why is this still the same old world since 1914, but what has emerged, arresting the world’s attention?
WHEN the big guns of World War I thunderously began belching fire and smoke in the summer of 1914 a new-world society was due to be born. In the nearly forty years since then things have undergone a remarkable transformation. The map of the globe has changed, many governments have changed their political complexion, and vast bodies of people have been uprooted and displaced or come under unwanted overlords of oppression. Nothing is stable any longer, everything seems in a state of flux, humanity is swept on in an irresistible current of affairs. Mankind does not know where it is going, but it is on its way and it hopes desperately that it will move into a renovated world of better living, a new world of man’s making. But despite all the political, social, cultural, economic, scientific and religious changes since 1914, this is still the same old world. Only the face of it has changed, as any scratch beneath the surface will disclose. Its spirit is still an old-world spirit, its selfish divisions are still there with gaps threatening to widen; its self-reliant, self-determining aims are still there; and, most ominously of all, the unseen, superhuman forces behind the operation of this world are still there and feverishly active. Yet, in spite of all the factors for perpetuating the old world, a new-world society has emerged and grown until now it arrests the attention of the old world. From an unexpected and most unlikely quarter this has come, and the old world watches with an unfriendly eye to see what will become of it.
2, 3. Who only can be credited with producing this New World society, and why?
2 How, then, did this New World society come into being? Political slogans that were used during World War I, such as “Make the world safe for democracy!” and the proposals that were made by rulers, businessmen and clergymen for the postwar era, never could have produced this New World society. Being such as it is today, only God’s power and wisdom can be credited with producing it according to his marvelous purpose. Only he could inspire in his obedient worshipers the vision of his promised new world and give them an understanding of its requirements; and this he has done by means of his written Word, the Holy Bible.
3 For decades before World War I God had been preparing a people to become this altogether different society of our day. To them he uncovered the teachings of his Word from which the religious clergy had strayed and from which their congregations had turned away in order to have their ears tickled with worldly wisdom, traditions and philosophies. He roused them to the realization that the time for the oft-prayed-for Kingdom to be fully established was getting close. Long in advance he even disclosed to them by his Word that the time for the Kingdom to assume power in heaven and in earth was A.D. 1914, for then the time he had allotted for the uninterrupted domination of the earth by the Gentile nations since Jerusalem’s first destruction in 607 B.C. would run out. It was highly urgent for his informed people to get ready for the exercise of the universal power of God’s kingdom by his glorified Son Jesus Christ. They earnestly endeavored to do this, and, just as they had been taught to expect, the tribulation upon the Devil’s world organization broke out in the year 1914.
4. Why did the enemies once think nothing was to be expected of Jehovah’s worshipers in the postwar period?
4 Four years later, when a sudden armistice brought World War I to a halt, these devoted worshipers and servants of the Most High God lay stunned in quite a desolate condition. Not only had international war disrupted their connections with their brothers throughout the earth, but they had undergone years of violent persecutions at the hands of the inflamed people egged on by the intolerant religious clergy. Bible literature of theirs, even their copies of the Bible itself, was under ban, many members of theirs were held in prisons and military establishments, and key officials of their legal corporation were lying in the penitentiary under heavy sentence and denied all appeal for fair and proper court treatment. They were in great odium, an object of hatred by all nations. Their enemies thought they had written out finis! for them. Little or nothing of consequence was to be expected of them in the postwar period, so the enemies thought.
5, 6. How were the remnant drawn together after World War I, and how did they come to be reorganized?
5 But where there is life there is hope. The little remnant of faithful survivors of those world war experiences still clung to their God, “whose name alone is Jehovah.” (Ps. 83:18) They still had faith in his Word and did not forget or forsake it. The fury of the enemy had not broken the bonds that bound them to their brothers and, notwithstanding all their enemies could do, those bonds would draw them together again. They saw now the meaning of their persecutions during the world war, yes, the meaning of that war itself and its concomitants, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and distress of nations. These things were proof that the time of this world’s end was upon us and that God’s kingdom of his Christ was now a fact. This gave basis for the startling message that a good-sized multitude, “millions,” they estimated, of people now living would never die. The postwar period offered an opportunity to serve Jehovah God further, and as long as they had breath they were determined to praise him before all nations.
6 God read the hearts of his loyal people in their affliction. He it was who had preserved them through the fiery trials, amid World War I. He had a purpose in doing so. Accordingly, by his strange providence, he loosed them from captivity to their foes. By the power of his spirit he freed them from the shackling effect of fear of men and of man’s organizations. He reorganized them and set his work before them, making known to them that this was the predestined time when “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” and that this gospel was the all-important good news that God’s kingdom had been set up.—Matt. 24:14.
7. How did this New World society of today come into being, and why will it not be stamped out?
7 Today we can see that God’s purpose has been carried out. By all the means of passing out information this good news of Jehovah’s kingdom has been preached. Literature by the hundreds of millions of pieces in many languages has been distributed publicly and from house to house. To these printed sermons have been added the voices of these Kingdom announcers in personal testimonies and by Bible instruction in the homes and in public lectures before visible audiences and over the radio. Hundreds of millions have heard the message of this divine government of the new world, many of these hearing it over and over again during the course of the years. Thousands of readers and listeners have recognized this to be God’s life-giving message for this day. They have responded to it with joy and have dedicated their lives to him through Jesus Christ and have joined in holding aloft this bright signal of the Kingdom, until today there are Kingdom announcers organized and reporting activity on all continents and in the many islands of the sea. All together, these now hundreds of thousands form a society no part of this old world. The nations of this world will never be able to stamp out this society. It will grow and live forever, for it is the “planting of Jehovah” and he will not uproot it. (Isa. 61:3, AS; Matt. 15:13, NW) Amid the fire of persecution he has welded his people together into this New World society by his Holy Word and by his spirit and by the work that he has commissioned them to do.
PROBLEMS OF SOCIETY LIFE NOW
8. Why is this rightly called a “society”, and why will it continue on after Armageddon?
8 Is this rightly called a “society”? Yes, for it is a group of people, Christian people, organized and working together in a common work, meeting together regularly and worshiping the one true God, and striving to live according to a common standard, God’s standard. This society is not incorporated under any political state and its code of laws. No such state can charter such a society as this is. Its members spread beyond the bounds of any one nation or empire and its power of control. A man-made charter could not hold such a society together and keep it running. It is of God’s creation by means of his truth and his spirit. True, it has co-operated till now with the legal corporation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, as its administrative, publishing and legal servant. But it will not cease when the Watch Tower Society loses its charter, either when the Watch Tower Society is dissolved by a hostile government the way the branch office in Eastern Germany was dissolved first by the Nazis and now recently by the Communist government, or when the chartering government passes away at the battle of Armageddon. A Watch Tower Tract Society existed and spread God’s message before ever Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was incorporated in 1884 under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. After the battle of Armageddon obliterates this old world the New World society will continue on, for it will be approved and authorized by the only government then in power, the divine government. It will form the base, the nucleus, around which the population of the “new earth” will grow and fill all this planet.—2 Pet. 3:13.
9. Why are we as members of this society bound to have our problems now during this transition period?
9 As members of the New World society we are bound to have our problems now. We are not yet out of this old world. The “appointed times of the nations” ended in 1914, but this did not end the old world; it merely began the world’s “time of the end”. After that date Satan the Devil and his demons were cast out of heaven, but this did not destroy his world; it merely tied down to the earth the activity of the invisible spirit forces behind this world. The old world is still with us. Its interests conflict with those of the incoming new world. So this causes difficulties for us in this transition period.
10. How can we avoid becoming “condemned with the world” and, instead, ‘condemn the world’?
10 Just now we are surrounded by a world full of squabbles, racial and religious hatreds, national traditions, prides and rivalries, and numberless other divisive things. The members of the New World society are drawn from all nations and tribes, but such trouble-breeding things may not be carried into the society. They will not be carried over Armageddon. They must and will end there. So it does not bode us any good to hang on to such things or meddle in them now. We must abandon those worldly forms of selfishness, those jealousies, envies, egotistic ambitions, religious sectarian wars, persecutions of one another, and other manifestations of the spirit of the Devil, “the god of this system of things.” We do not care to bear any responsibility before God for the ruling systems and destructive conflicts of this old world. We do not want to share with the human race in its community responsibility for these things that are opposed to God and at war with his kingdom. Were we not to keep ourselves clean from its politics and its controversies, then we should “become condemned with the world”. It is our privilege to copy the example of Noah before the Flood, who, “after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household, and through this faith he condemned the world.”—1 Cor. 11:32 and Heb. 11:7, NW.
11, 12. How are we in the same position in this world as Jesus was when on earth, and why must we be thus?
11 As Christians we are in the same position as Jesus our Leader was when on earth. (John 17:14, 16; 15:19) We are in this world, but we are no part of it and are no friends of it. We are the friends of God’s new world; we uphold its divine government set up in the heavens. On account of this the world may hold us for its enemies, but there is no other way for us to be God’s friends. We love the new world and are looking forward to it, for that means that the love of the heavenly Father is in us. It has to be this way, because we are commanded, at 1 John 2:15-17 (NW): “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”
12 In this world wars and fights, cravings for sensual pleasures, murdering and coveting go on. The disciple James denounced all Christians who turned back to such things as having unlawful intercourse with the world: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:1-4, NW) There was no friendship between the apostle Paul and this world. The world viewed him as an accursed criminal condemned to a torture death on a stake; but the apostle in turn viewed the world as likewise accursed and condemned. Hence he said: “Never may it occur that I should boast, except in the torture stake of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been impaled to me and I to the world.”—Gal. 6:14, NW.
13. (a) What world must we love, and why? (b) Why does this not mean we are haters of mankind and of everybody?
13 How wonderful it will be to survive the battle of Armageddon and live in a world that we may love, a world that we can be friends with, that we can be in and be a part of without making ourselves the enemies of God! That is the world that Jehovah God loved so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believed in him should not perish but should have everlasting life. (John 3:16) We must love the world that God loved so much. Then our love will never come to grief, for that righteous new world will never pass away. Our not loving or being friends of this old world does not mean we are haters of mankind, haters of everybody; no more than were the disciples John, James and Paul, who expressed themselves as they did in their writings. If we were haters of everybody, then we would retire from contact with the people, like religious monks and nuns, and we would not go tramping from door to door, bringing the people God’s warning by word of mouth and printed page and beseeching them, “Become reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20, NW) The greatest commandment ever given is that we must love God first, that is, with all our mind, heart, strength and soul; and, in expressing that love for God, we must obey his second great commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves. This we try to do by leaving our cozy homes and calling on our fellow men at their own homes and sharing with them the God-given message, that they may be saved to the new world the same as we ourselves.
14. Why may we not look back at this world, and with whose example in mind?
14 But as for becoming the friends of this world in its desires, its aims, its ambitions, its politics, its systems, its religions and philosophies, we may never do that without becoming religious hypocrites, hated by God. We have answered his call to come out of this world; and now for us to look back at it as if we had deprived ourselves of something worth-while would make us God’s enemies and doom us to destruction. Said Jesus: “Remember Lot’s wife.” Why? Because, while fleeing from Sodom as fiery destruction rained down from heaven upon it, she looked back disobediently, slowed down in her flight and got encased with suffocating salt, to become a pillar of warning to all turncoats, renegades.—Luke 17:32, 33.
15. Though divided against itself, yet against what is the world united, and why?
15 Today we are living amid an international community that is split into two great blocs, a Communist republican bloc and a democratic bloc. Divided politically, economically and socially from each other, yet there are proofs to show that both blocs are unitedly against the New World society. Why? Because it does not follow the pattern of either bloc. The New World society is theocratic, as the righteous new world will be. It recognizes God as the rightful ruler, the supreme sovereign of heaven and earth. It abides by that fact in its organization and operations and holds fast to his Word, the Holy Bible, as furnishing us the supreme law. In the year 1914 his “appointed times of the nations” ran out and he brought to birth the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ. Hence now we must say, in the language of Isaiah’s prophecy for our day: “Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king; he will save us.”—Isa. 33:22, AS.
UNDER THE KINGDOM NOW
16. Under what ruling factors must we live now, and how must we conduct ourselves under such?
16 It is a real kingdom that we are living under now. Of course, the kingdoms and republics of this world are living under it too, but they are not operating as its representatives or as political expressions of it nor as its loyal subjects. They are rather its foes, refusing to acknowledge its existence and sovereignty and so raging against it. Consequently they are destined to destruction by the iron rod of Jehovah’s anointed King, Jesus Christ. Meantime, as long as the King lets these earthly political powers remain and chooses to rule in the midst of his enemies, the New World society must live under such visible ruling factors. It must live peaceably and engage in no subversiveness of any kind. All man-made laws of righteousness we are exhorted by God’s Word to obey. But where a conflict arises between God’s law and that of human dictators and human legislatures, then we must show we recognize Jehovah’s sovereignty over earth and heaven and we must follow the theocratic example set forth by the apostle Peter, who declared before the Supreme Court of Jerusalem: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29, NW.
17. Why is it reasonable for us to give first place to God’s government and laws and render to Caesar only what belongs to him?
17 This is a reasonable position. Granted that we do live under the immediate government of this world’s political systems, yet we must ask, Under what do these same political systems live? Although they try to be on top of the earth, are they not just the same under heaven and hence under heaven’s government? They most certainly are! Heaven’s rule now means God’s rule by means of his enthroned Son, Jesus Christ. So in view of this determining fact we recognize the higher sovereignty of Jehovah God and give first place to his government and laws. To human ruling factors we merely pay back or render what debt we owe them for the limited services and benefits we enjoy from them. That is all that is due to them. The universal war of Armageddon is ahead of this generation, and those worldly ruling factors are not going to protect us or our property during that war. They are not going to get us through and past Armageddon and into the new world, for they themselves will not get through but will be dashed to pieces.—Ps. 2:1-9.
18. When will our debts to Caesar cease, and what debts will the political governments pay to God, and why?
18 It is to Jehovah God that we have to render and pay back what belongs to God, if we are to survive the war of Armageddon or if, dying before then, we are to be resurrected to life in his new, post-Armageddon world. Then we shall owe absolutely nothing to “Caesar”, for the political rulerships of this world will then have gone out of business. Their debts that they owe to Jehovah God for persecuting his faithful people they will pay for with their existence. (Matt. 22:21) It was all right, it was a Fatherly duty, for Jehovah God to express his anger with his own people for their shortcomings and chastise them during the period of World War I. But it was not the right thing for the political systems as the sword of the religious systems to oppress, persecute and try to destroy Jehovah’s people maliciously, and then not stop there but try to keep this up since the close of World War I. “Thus says the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts: ‘I am very greatly concerned about Jerusalem and Mount Zion, and I am exceedingly angry at the easy-going nations; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster.’”—Zech. 1:14, 15, AT.
19, 20. Why is the Kingdom, although heavenly, more real to us than the United Nations with its capital and buildings?
19 The Kingdom established in the invisible heavens in 1914 may be unreal to worldly politicians, but it is real to us, in fact more real than the United Nations. The United Nations now has a capital with secretariat and assembly buildings there on the west bank of the East River, in New York city, and how, then, you ask, could the Kingdom be more real without such visible, tangible things? In reply we say, There is no need of official buildings of brick, stone, concrete and steel made by man’s hands in order to prove the existence of a government. The universal government of Jehovah can function without material buildings on this earth. In the paradise of Eden the perfect human couple, Adam and Eve, had no man-made buildings by the banks of Eden’s river to symbolize Jehovah’s theocratic government over them, and they were not burdened with taxes to maintain such buildings. Much later the holy city of Jerusalem had a material temple dedicated to Jehovah God and marked by his name; but since Christ the true Christians who worship God with spirit and truth have not had to build such an earthly temple to practice his pure worship or to symbolize its existence.
20 The actuality of a government is shown by its having subjects that submit to its power. Our recognizing a government and our submitting to it are displayed by our loyal obedience to it. The Kingdom’s reality and power are vividly impressed upon us, not by material buildings, official uniforms, flags, emblems and insignia, but by the visible signs in the earth. God’s Word, the Bible, foretold these would appear as evidences of the Kingdom’s establishment and operation, such as World War I, beginning in 1914, followed by unending distress of the peoples and perplexity of the nations, not knowing which way to turn in order to find a way out of the unparalleled crisis. Most impressive of all, the Kingdom’s work as foretold in divine prophecy is being carried out irresistibly before the end comes at Armageddon.—Matt. 24:3-14.
21. How do we follow Abraham’s course of walking by faith, and how do we endure the present consequences, like Moses?
21 In the face of these real things, why should not the Kingdom be real to us? We walk by faith as the ancient patriarch Abraham did. He did not trust in the material buildings of the city of Ur of the Chaldeans for a permanent government. Under Jehovah’s guidance he left Ur for the Promised Land. “By faith he resided temporarily in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations and the builder and creator of which is God.” We today are in a better position than Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: “In faith all these died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and hailed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land. . . . But now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.” (Heb. 11:8-10, 13, 14, 16, NW) Like those faithful patriarchs, we of the New World society confess ourselves to be strangers and temporary residents in this old world. We have no business to meddle in its politics and gory brawls, all the more so now that we see that the Kingdom, the city having real foundations and built and created by God, has been put in power and is ruling. Although we suffer international hatred for this course of nonintermeddling, yet we endure it with God’s strength. With the vision of the Kingdom before us we do as faithful Moses did: “He continued steadfast as seeing the one that is invisible.”—Heb. 11:27, NW.
NOW THE TIME TO OBEY
22, 23. (a) Since 1914 with what do creatures and organizations in heaven and on earth have to reckon? (b) What example of the Israelites before they had a visible king may we not follow now?
22 Whether inside or outside the New World society, let everyone know one thing: The fact that Jehovah’s kingdom has been set up with his Anointed King in the throne puts us under a special responsibility. According to our faith we shall show seriousness about meeting it. A new power has come into force in the universe. It is the long-promised theocratic government, the capital organization of the universe that is dedicated to vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty. All creatures, all organizations, in heaven and on earth have to reckon now with this new entity, the Kingdom. We cannot now afford to be like the Israelites of old. For hundreds of years after they had crossed the Jordan and settled in the land of Palestine their invisible Ruler, their King, was Jehovah. They did not have any visible king of the royal line of David, but God raised up judges for them to govern and deliver them from their enemies. (1 Sam. 8:7; 12:12) There was considerable self-interpreting and flouting of the theocratic law of their national covenant with Jehovah. The description of that time says: “In those days there was no king in Israel. As for everybody, what was right in his own eyes he was accustomed to do.”—Judg. 17:6; 21:25, NW.
23 As long as this was done within the framework of their Law covenant with God, this was not out of order. It showed the degree of their freedom of action. But to ignore God and lean to one’s own understanding and do what was right in one’s own eyes was wrong, untheocratic, even before there was a visible king in Israel. Moses in his farewell speech to the Israelites on the other side of the Jordan warned against this, saying: “You must not do the same as all that we are doing here today, each one whatever is right in his own eyes, because you have not yet come into the resting place and the inheritance that Jehovah your God is giving you.” (Deut. 12:8, 9, NW) The setting up of a visible kingdom over the Israelites meant newer arrangements for them, with more specific instructions given to them and more demands made upon them. It meant a tightening up of the national organization, their feeling the ruler’s power and authority more.
24. How was the situation among Christians similar before 1914, and now whom do we have over us?
24 Before the Kingdom was set up in the hands of the glorified Son of David, Jesus Christ, the situation among the faithful people of Jehovah God was very much like that among the Israelites before getting their Davidic kingdom: Christians were accustomed to do what was right in their own eyes. Thinking that the democratic system of government and living as exemplified in the Western democracies of the world was the best way for congregations to be organized and operate, they tried to interweave democracy with the instructions of the Holy Scriptures. This resulted in a widespread variety of private Scripture interpretations and personal predictions of the future, and a great deal of local rule, party spirit, strife and rivalries for official positions. But now since 1914, and particularly since the regathering of Jehovah’s people after World War I, this way of things according to what is right in the eyes of a person or of a congregation will not be followed by anyone loyal to Jehovah’s kingdom. It is no longer as in the days of Israel’s judges. There is now a King over us! This King “by the grace of God” is higher than all the kings of the earth. Said Jehovah God: “I also will make him my first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth.” (Ps. 89:27, AS; RS; AT; Mo; Da) He is not a mere figurehead, a mere national symbol, with a prime minister as the real ruler and a Congress or Parliament as the lawmaker for him and a Judiciary to tell him what is legal and constitutional or not. He is King of kings and Lord of lords by Jehovah’s decree. He is an absolute monarch under his God Jehovah. For the sake of our lives we must respect that fact!
25. Why is it now different with the remnant of faithful Christians from when the Jewish remnant returned from Babylon?
25 Jehovah’s theocracy, his universal sovereignty, now functions through royalty, the royal rule of his Son, Jesus Christ. The “appointed times of the nations”, the Gentile times, have ended, and the political nations of this old world are now in the swiftly passing “time of the end”. Since the close of World War I in 1918 a remnant of faithful Christians has returned to Jehovah’s worship at his spiritual temple. Now, though, it is different from when the remnant of Jewish worshipers returned from Babylon in the days of Zerubbabel by the permission and decree of the Persian emperor Cyrus. At that time the “appointed times of the nations” had barely begun and had finished 70 out of 2,520 years to go, and the reborn nation of Israel was dependent upon the Persian world power. But now Jehovah has raised up a Greater Cyrus, just as he prophesied, and this King has delivered God’s people from this Babylonish world. (Isa. 44:28 to 45:13) We are indebted to the heavenly Kingdom and are dependent upon the Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ, who now rules amidst his enemies, the Gentile powers whose “appointed times” expired in 1914.
26. Since 1914 does God’s Son have merely a spiritual kingdom over his followers, and so why may we not act independently?
26 So now it must be different with us Christians than before 1914, than before our release from modern Babylon. Before then and from the apostolic days it was true of us Christians that “the Father . . . delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transplanted us into the kingdom of the Son of his love”. (Col. 1:12, 13, NW) But now that Son of God’s love has more than a spiritual kingdom over his own followers. He has been enthroned to rule now in the midst of his enemies in heaven and earth and to dash the nations to pieces at Armageddon and take over the literal control of the whole earth. He has been given the right to the earth and its domination. He enforces theocracy, he applies God’s rule, Jehovah’s sovereignty, toward this earth. He is a swift punisher of what is untheocratic. So watch out for him at Armageddon. We dare not act independently of him in religious matters. We may not do what we please. We must be theocratic in thought, deed, worship and organization, putting God’s rule before people’s rule. We may not be isolationists, individualists, squirming under the obligations and restrictions of organization, objecting to being organized, with God on top and us below.
27. What does the Kingdom mean now for God’s people on earth, and why may we not be separatists now?
27 If we have faith in the Kingdom, if we are lovingly loyal to God’s anointed King, we shall be glad to obey his instructions and arrangements through his visible theocratic organization. The Kingdom means tighter organization for God’s people on earth. This is vitally necessary if we are to stand up against the combined forces of the enemy and overcome this world. No one can go it alone, and the King will not go it alone with such an individualist. He goes with his flock, his organized subjects. If we refuse organization instructions, if we forsake the gathering of ourselves together to avoid organization and its obligations, where could we go after Armageddon? Will there be separatists after Armageddon who will each make himself his own society and live as a hermit in a spacious earth, avoiding human contact and preferring animal society? For anyone to forsake the organized congregation of those who are destined to survive Armageddon means for that one never to get past Armageddon into the New World and its theocratic system. Like Noah’s family, we must now get into the ark all together!
28. What should we do about internal difficulties among ourselves now, and why?
28 For us to be knit closely together now in organization while we are imperfect and have our selfish likes, dislikes and tendencies may result in a bit of rubbing and difficulty for a time. But if we try to show the mental attitude and spirit of Christ and put up with our brothers in love, we shall be able to straighten out our difficulties and hold together in one supreme common cause. We did not come out of the old world and its squabbles just to plunge ourselves into squabbles of our own making among ourselves. So we must learn to surmount our internal difficulties and straighten them out now. Better that than to have to contend with such things among us after Armageddon. Said Paul: “Be angry, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with you in a provoked state, neither allow place for the Devil.” (Eph. 4:26, 27, NW) We might well say now: Let not Armageddon come down like a thief with you in an angered mood, in a provoked state against your brother. The thing to do is to seek peace and harmony with your brother now. The New World society’s Book, the Bible, instructs you how to do so.—Matt. 18:15-17.
THE SOCIETY’S COMMON LANGUAGE
29. Will the survivors have nationalistic divisions after Armageddon, and what about their language?
29 Right after the battle of Armageddon will the survivors be living under nationalistic governments with divided loyalties, rival claims, proud traditions and ancient hatreds and suspicions? No, not after the King wields his scepter against the raging nations. The survivors will be those who have now come out of this world and who have risen above those selfish things cultivated by the “god of this system of things”. For the time being there will be language groups. Nevertheless, they will all be one theocratic family—even as they are now “one flock, one shepherd”. (John 10:16, NW) There will be no nations, but all will be citizens of the new world, under one King. It will be the same as it is now with Christ’s body, “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all things and in all.” (Col. 3:11, NW) Already Jehovah God has turned to his people of all national extractions a “pure language”, and it will be the one language all will speak from the very start of the new world, namely, the theocratic Kingdom truth.
30. What essential requirement is now laid upon us even as it was laid upon the Israelites delivered from Babylon?
30 To continue in the New World society one essential requirement is that we must speak the truth. Satan the Devil is the “father of the lie”, and lying is one characteristic of the system of things of which he is god. (John 8:44, NW) One of our great struggles is to get rid of the lies we have inherited by having been part of his old world, particularly the religious lies. After the ancient Israelites were delivered from mighty Babylon, the command that Jehovah God sent to them through his prophet Zechariah for their prosperity was this: “These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth with his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates; and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith Jehovah.” By this faithfulness to truth in speaking with their neighbor, and in holding court and rendering decisions without partiality in the city gates, and in swearing to no false oath for the purpose of hurting a neighbor against whom we devise evil, the city of Jerusalem was to become called “The city of truth”. (Zech. 8:16, 17, 3, AS) The apostle Paul saw this was a requirement for the Christians of his day. After telling them not to keep walking as the worldly nations do in the unprofitableness of their minds but to put on a new personality, he told them how to do this and said: “Wherefore, now that you have put away falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another.”—Eph. 4:25, NW.
31. What does ‘speaking the truth’ mean for us today, and by our doing so the organization will get to be known as what?
31 This same requirement applies to the New World society today, whose members have been delivered from a false, hypocritical old world. We, too, must insist on speaking the truth. That means we must rid ourselves of the old-world lies and the practice of falsehood for any selfish reason. It means we must get free from the lies of false religion, which blaspheme God’s name and distort his purpose and way of salvation, and which lead mankind into destruction at Armageddon. “The truth will set you free,” said Jesus, and that truth we find in God’s Word. It is this truth that we must speak to one another in the New World society to build one another up on our most holy faith. (Jude 20) It is the truth that we should publish abroad outside the New World society, that others who are hungry for truth and righteousness may enter the society and be filled and set free. This is especially necessary where small communities in certain lands have become members of the New World society one hundred per cent. They dare not insulate themselves to enjoy the truth and peace all to themselves, sidestepping the hardships of the witness work. To avoid growing selfish they must get out and preach to those yet in the bondage of error and also support the spreading of the truth by others. By such persistent speaking of the theocratic truth to our neighbors far and near, the New World society will indeed get known as an organization of truth.
32, 33. (a) How has Jehovah restored judges and counselors to us as at the first? (b) What covenant did Jehovah conclude with the Israelites in Moab, and what did Moses then urge them to do?
32 Prophesying of the glorious days of restoration of Jehovah’s people to the theocratic way of organization and activity, Isaiah uttered this promise of Jehovah: “I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” (Isa. 1:26, RS) Having now enthroned his King as our Judge and “Wonderful Counselor”, Jehovah God has restored things as at the time when Jesus Christ was visibly present on earth in the flesh, and now we enjoy the counsels of God’s unfolding Word as never before. It is incumbent upon us to prove ourselves a faithful society, a loyal representative of God’s heavenly Jerusalem, the “faithful city” above. We stand now in a position like that of the Israelites on the desert plains of Moab shortly before crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Moses, knowing he was to die within a month’s time, assembled the Israelites and gave them a repetition of the Law covenant that Jehovah had made with them at Mount Horeb in Arabia, together with changes that were to go into force under the new conditions in the Promised Land.
33 At the close of Moses’ repeating the theocratic law there in Moab we read: “These are the words of the covenant that Jehovah commanded Moses to conclude with the sons of Israel in the land of Moab aside from the covenant that he had concluded with them in Horeb.” (Deut. 29:1, NW) This used to be called a “covenant of faithfulness”; but it was in fact a covenant of the repeated law with revisions of the Horeb covenant to adjust it to the arrangements that would go into effect in the Promised Land. Hence the Bible book that contains this repetition of the law is called Deuteronomy. It corroborated and reinforced the law covenant that had been given to the nation of Israel at Horeb or Mount Sinai. It was after this that Moses urged the Israelites to be faithful to this covenant, taking heaven and earth as witnesses against them that he had set before them life and death, blessing and cursing: they should therefore choose life by faithfully keeping the covenant, that they might keep on living in divine favor and blessing.
34. How are we having Jehovah’s theocratic law and requirements restated to us now, and why is it now under the present conditions that we must choose the course of life?
34 Today, since our deliverance from modern Babylon in 1919 and before our entering the new world after Armageddon, we are having Jehovah’s theocratic law and requirements restated to us as never before in Christian history. The whole Bible is being opened up. This is the work of Jehovah’s Greater Moses, Jesus Christ. We are being drilled in the requirements of the New World society, that we may know how to choose the course of life and keep living in God’s favor and blessing now; it may be we shall even be preserved through Armageddon into the new world at its start. The decision is ours to make now, in the light of the revealed theocratic law. It is now we have to meet these theocratic requirements, now in this “time of the end”, and not just after Armageddon. After that war there will be no heathen neighbors to surround us as they did the Israelites after Moses died and they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. No, in the new world there will be no pagans and false religious neighbors surviving Armageddon to beset us and tempt us to worship their false gods and offer their children to us in marriage provided we offer ours to them and thereby make leagues and alliances to our endangerment. It is now that we have to contend with such things. That is why the Greater Moses has restated and amplified God’s laws and requirements to us.
35. To what will our being steadfast now under adversity conduce, and to what course does the Greater Moses urge us?
35 Now it is that we must decide to keep integrity and be faithful to theocracy in order to prove worthy of the coming world of the one true God. If we are steadfast now under adversity in this hostile old world, it will conduce to our being faithful then amid the unbroken spiritual and material prosperity without the temptations of the Devil and his depraved, selfish world. The present is the favorable time for us as members of the New World society to make our final choice between the two courses that the Greater Moses sets before us. His urgent advice is: “Choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him, for he is your life and the length of your days.”—Deut. 30:19, 20, NW.
THE TIME OF MOURNING PAST
36. Why may we not sorrow with the world? Instead, what is it now the occasion for us to do?
36 By keeping our eyes always to the front toward the new world that brightens upon our horizon, it will help us to hold to our decision to gain life in the new world that we represent as a society. Today the dying world mourns for its sufferings, its losses, its disappointments, but it is not saddened in a godly way that makes for repentance to salvation. There is nothing in the world that we have left behind and from which Almighty God has rescued us over which to mourn. We cannot afford to take the world’s mental attitude and estimate of things. To share with the world in its selfish sadness is not healthful for us: “the sadness of the world produces death.” (2 Cor. 7:9, 10, NW) As individuals we have been sinners in the past. We made our mistakes and transgressed God’s law or even opposed him and persecuted his people. Why, even the remnant of his heirs of the heavenly Kingdom erred in times gone by and were guilty of wrongdoing, shortcomings and failures during World War I, and Jehovah was angry with them and let them suffer Babylonish captivity to this world. But why mourn any more over the dead past? God has now delivered his remnant and with them also a “great crowd” of lovers of truth and righteousness and he has formed them into a New World society. Sorrow that led to repentance, and repentance that led to this deliverance, are now things of the past. Now it is the occasion for us, not to sorrow further and be saddened overmuch to our discouragement, but to rejoice at the present salvation we enjoy by Jehovah’s mercy.
37. Why is Jehovah God joyful at the present time, and why should we be joyful with him?
37 Sorrow and sadness and mourning are weakening, but joy is strengthening. Jehovah our God is most joyful at this time. His kingdom by his beloved Son Jesus Christ has begun; his long-tolerated enemies, Satan and the demons, have been cast out of heaven and down to the earth; he has liberated his people from slavery to this world and made them a society of Kingdom announcers; and now the great war for vindicating his universal sovereignty once for all time draws closer, with the victory certain. It is for us to get out of any sorrowful, introverted contemplation of ourselves and think of what God has done, is doing, will do, to his unfading glory and the blessing of his faithful people. Why should we sorrow with God’s enemy, this world? Why should Jehovah’s people be sorrowful when he is glad, overflowing with righteous joy? His Son is here as a joyful Bridegroom, and the “marriage of the Lamb” nears its completion. (Rev. 19:7) Jehovah is gathering all things in heaven and in earth together into one under his sovereignty. We are in the antitype of the ancient theocratic festival of ingathering, the feast of the harvest of the year’s labors, the most joyful festival of all the year. Away, then, with useless mourning and grief over the past. This is the time to rejoice with Jehovah as his friends and lovers, for, in the language of Nehemiah, “the joy of Jehovah is your strength.”—Neh. 8:10, AS.
38. How have we obtained everlasting joy and gladness, and why does present suffering make no difference?
38 The New World society should continue to be the most joyful and optimistic people on the face of the earth. Everlasting joy is upon our heads in the knowledge that the kingdom of Jehovah’s vindication is here for all time and we are its announcers. By coming into the New World society we have obtained gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing have fled away, despite the hatred and persecution that we must suffer internationally for a little while. We count it an honor to suffer for his sake.—Isa. 35:10.