Restoration of True Religion Today
1. Why do we know that the prophecy at Amos 9:11-15 began its fulfillment in the days of the apostles?
THE prophecy recorded at Amos 9:11-15 began to be fulfilled by the work of Christ Jesus and his apostles at the first presence. We know this is so because this prophecy was quoted by James at a special meeting held in Jerusalem at the time there was so much discussion concerning the circumcision of Gentiles who turned to the true religion. Peter first testified that “God made the choice among you that through my mouth people of the nations should hear the word of the good news and believe; . . . And he made no distinction at all between us and them, but purified their hearts by faith.” Barnabas and Paul related the many signs and wonders that God did through them among the nations. After they quit speaking James answered, saying, “Brothers, hear me. Symeon [Peter] has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the royal palace of David that has fallen down, and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things which he has known from of old.’”—Acts 15:7-18, NW.
2, 3. Explain why Jehovah’s purpose to build up the Royal Palace did not fail.
2 No great building program to erect a palace of stone was commenced at that time, but what did happen was that the promised restoration of the royal line of Judah became a fact, even though but a few at that time received the King and the nation as a whole was cast off because of unbelief. Jesus said: “Look! your house is abandoned to you. For I say to you, You will by no means see me from henceforth until you say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name!’” (Matt. 23:38, 39, NW) As a nation they never did so. However, Jehovah’s purpose did not fail, for he turned to the nations to call from them the required number for the Royal Palace. Though Jehovah had a perpetual breach with the natural house of Israel, yet the breach was healed toward those who make up the spiritual royal house by Jesus Christ, the great healer of the breach and restorer of true religion.
3 Jesus Christ was the “foundation stone” of Zion. He was the Kingdom Heir and the sanctuary’s “foundation cornerstone.” He said to the Jews: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “Therefore the Jews said: ‘This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was talking about the temple of his body.” (John 2:18-21, NW) It is also recorded: “Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, NW) The temple of the Jews was therefore abandoned as a sanctuary for the true worship of Jehovah. True worship could thereafter be offered only in and through Christ Jesus. Hence Christianity became the only true religion.
4. How did Jesus become the “Repairer of the breach” and “Restorer of the paths”?
4 Jesus Christ restored the “old paths” to his disciples, so they could exercise the same faith as Abraham and other faithful ones. Preparatory to this work, John the Baptist had ministered to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, to prepare a people for Jehovah and to prepare the way before him. This was an “Elijah” work, calling the people to repentance lest Jehovah smite the earth with a curse. As a nation they refused to repent and were smitten with a curse from which they never recovered. Only a small remnant remained loyal and faithful, but not in sufficient numbers to make up the heavenly Royal House, which was predestined to be composed of 144,000 members. But because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and Jehovah’s undeserved kindness the invitation went out to the nations of the world to take out of them a people to make up the Royal Palace. Satan’s scheme to prevent true religion’s being restored was defeated, and the break he attempted through his agents failed. At this time, then, Christ Jesus was “The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in,” because he repaired and restored true religion by maintaining integrity and holding faithfully to his Father’s purpose, and honoring and exalting the name of Jehovah, thereby furnishing the perfect example for those who would follow in his steps.
TRUE RELIGION RESTORED TODAY
5, 6. When only could the “wheat” and “weeds” be separated, and why? and how has this work been done in these last days?
5 Seventy years ago sincere worshipers of Jehovah were to be found scattered and bewildered in the numerous false religious systems of this world, for in those days there was no one organization to which they could assemble. Both “wheat” and “weeds” were growing together, and no one had been authorized to gather the “wheat.” Not until the Lord of the harvest gave the command could that be done. Corresponding to the events of the first advent, there is first an “Elijah” work performed, like the work of John the Baptist, to warn the people, trying to bring them to repentance. Such a work was prosecuted in a particular way from 1878 to 1918, though similar work still continues with greater intensity, and is known as the “Elisha” work, and this goes on until Armageddon, when Jehovah “smites the earth with a curse.”
6 The illustration of the “wheat” and “weeds” indicates that some servants wanted to separate before it was time. “They said to him: ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said: ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. . . . The harvest is a consummation of a system of things.’” The end of this old system of things has been manifest since 1914, and therefore not until after that time could the great separation work take place, dividing the “wheat” from the “weeds,” actually the “sons of the kingdom” from the “sons of the wicked one.” Jesus in this connection prophesied: “And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet-sound and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.”—Matt. 13:28-30, 39; 24:31, NW.
7. What outstanding truth has accompanied the restoration of true religion?
7 Though the truths of the Bible were being restored during that “Elijah” work of God’s people, the actual name Jehovah was not freely used in the assemblies and the field ministry of his servants. About thirty years ago the gathered people realized the great importance attaching to this holy name, and set about learning more about it. In 1926 The Watchtower for January 1 carried the leading article “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” and since that time the name has become more vital and meaningful to his children. Then in 1931, at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, the name was embraced by thousands of faithful Christians and they have since become known as “Jehovah’s witnesses.” Since that time this people has become world-renowned for belief in, integrity toward, suffering, loyalty and love for this name. In every trial they have honored Jehovah’s name until today hundreds of thousands of people are trusting in it, and at the same time it has become a fearful name to God’s enemies. The lifting high of this name has brought great reproach and suffering, but also has brought joy and pleasure in abundance. Jehovah honors those who honor Him.
8. How have the false religionists acted toward Jehovah’s name and true religion?
8 During the forty years preceding 1914, and the nearly forty years since, every effort has been made to cause false religionists to repent and turn to Jehovah. In insolence they say, “Who are you? Get away from us! We do not want you to preach to us and neither do we want to hear the name of Jehovah in our ears!” In their arrogance and profanity these stiff-necked so-called Christians despise both the name of Jehovah and those who are upholding that name. Yes, they have even gone so far as eradicating it from the record of the Holy Word. They do not want to see it or to allow others to know about it. Surely they are trying to blot the name out of existence forever. This is a terrible and a dishonoring attitude they have adopted, and it goes to prove whose servants they are. Certainly they are not true religionists, for in effect they are saying: “Desist from setting before us the Holy One of Israel.”—Isa. 30:11, Ro.
9. Must people today decide for Jehovah or for Satan, and why?
9 The time is close at hand for Jehovah to punish these Name-destroyers. Terrible destructions are near and immediate action is required of all those who hear the message of true religion and who are for Jehovah and against idolatry. False prophets tell the people these things will not come to pass, and not to be afraid of Armageddon. They say: “Peace, peace,” but there is no peace. Yes, they may speak smooth things, but all such lies and whitewashing will not alter the truth. The people must choose whom they will serve, Jehovah or Satan. Jehovah’s name has been exalted among his gathered people, and in his organization he is worshiped. The truths taught by Christ Jesus and the apostles have been restored. The promises made by Jehovah through his faithful servants who lived before Christ are believed in by these faithful ones today.
ROYAL PALACE REBUILT AND BLESSING TO OTHERS
10. Explain how an irreparable breach has come between Jehovah and professed Christians.
10 Those of Christendom profess to be the ones called to heavenly glory, but the vast majority are unfaithful and are a rebellious people. They have repudiated the word of God and are ashamed of his name Jehovah, and despise his Name-people. They are judged unworthy of any further recognition. For more than thirty years they have been cast off from any Jehovah-given favors. The breach with them is irreparable, and from among the millions of professing Christians just a few have been found faithful and have been ushered into the privileges of sacred service. Jehovah turns his favor to the others and thousands are invited to fill up the places until the completed number is brought together. Satan has tried to make a breach with even the “remaining ones,” by means of fear, persecution and working through insincere ones, but he has utterly failed; for though a small breach did come in 1917 to 1919 this was healed and by 1922 the break was completely repaired.
11. Why cannot Satan and false religion ever again break down true religion?
11 The Lord Jesus Christ returned as the King of God’s new world, appearing in his glory. It is the time for the greatest building program the world has ever known, for the Royal House in the heavens is to be built up and the foundations are to be set for a reign of a thousand years. Never again will it be possible for false religion to take over, for the faithful slaves of Jehovah will be the ones to take care of the new world’s affairs. It is written: “Thou wilt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for it is time to have pity upon her, yea, the set time is come. . . . So the nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and all the kings of the earth thy glory: for Jehovah hath built up Zion; he hath appeared in his glory. He hath regarded the prayer of the destitute, and hath not despised their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come.” (Ps. 102:13-18, AS) Since 1918 the heavenly Zion has been built up and only a few remaining ones of that Royal House are now on earth. The great Builder, Christ Jesus, exercises his great power and raises from the grave those who have died in union with him and these are taken into their heavenly inheritance, being built up into the permanent Royal House of Jehovah.—John 6:53, 54.
12, 13. (a) Who are these people, and from where do they come? (b) Why is it reasonable to conclude that Jehovah does not call two classes at the same time?
12 The Royal House is the sanctuary for all nations. All other buildings are representing some false religion. Such treasure their literal buildings, traditions, rituals, forms of worship and antiquity, but at the same time hate the name of Jehovah and Jehovah’s people. Such will never gain salvation, but all lovers of Jehovah’s name will. Now that the Royal House has been rebuilt, it is very obvious that Jehovah is now assembling from all nations another class besides the “elect” remnant of the Royal House, namely, the other sheep of his Right Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He does not call humans to two classes at the same time, and then let them choose what they would like to do. No, Jehovah is not the author of confusion. The invitation to one class closes down and to another opens out.
13 There is nothing strange about it, for the same kind of dealings were had by Jehovah in the days of Christ Jesus, when Jesus commenced preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Then it was that John the Baptist said: “He that has the bride is the bridegroom. However, the friend of the bridegroom, when he stands and hears him, has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom. This, indeed, has been fulfilled as my joy. That one must go on increasing, but I must go on decreasing.”—John 3:29, 30, NW.
14. How does the scripture at Revelation 7:4-14 support this?
14 So it is in these last days: the general invitation to be of the Christ has concluded and another class appears, and this time a mighty crowd. It is written: “And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, . . . After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, . . . And he said to me: ‘These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Rev. 7:4-14, NW) Note the words “After these things, I saw,” which clearly mean that after the “elect” have been gathered together then another class appears.
15. “Standing before the throne” is what? and when was this class first publicly identified?
15 All this takes place because the Royal Palace has been built up and true religion has been restored, making it possible for the great crowd to worship. The invitation to be one of those “standing before the throne” is no casual matter. It is actually the greatest honor and privilege that could possibly come to any creature of earth today. Until the year 1935 Jehovah’s people did not know the identity of the “great multitude.” But in 1935 it was published world-wide that Jehovah was calling to this class; the gates were wide open. The event marking this vital revelation was at a convention of Jehovah’s people in Washington, D.C. Jehovah had something in store for these favored ones, for The Watchtower for May 1, 1935, stated: “It is hoped that many of the remnant and Jonadabs [other sheep] may find it convenient to attend this convention. Heretofore not many Jonadabs have had the privilege of attending a convention, and the convention at Washington may be a real comfort and benefit to them.” (Page 130) How little they realized, as the thousands made their way to Washington, that Jehovah was going to reveal this great truth of now taking out of the nations a people having an earthly hope! At this convention the chief message pertained to “the great multitude,” explaining in thorough detail the scriptures at Revelation 7:9, 13. The Watchtower in its issues for August 1 and 15, 1935, clearly identified this class. For the first time it was made clear that those many good-will persons associating with the anointed were not an undefined conglomeration of people, but were called for a purpose and with a clearly defined place in the visible organization.
16. What makes it possible for both these classes to worship and serve together harmoniously?
16 Since this identification each one in the theocratic organization has known whether he is one of the few “remaining ones” called to the heavenly Royal House or one of those called to the earthly position before the throne. True religion holds both classes in their proper place, both having the hope of life in God’s new world. Since 1935 one class has been decreasing in numbers on earth, while the other class has been increasing until today there are hundreds of thousands of the “great crowd” rejoicing in the hope of life on earth, while the others now number but some thousands. To Zion these increasing thousands flock home like doves returning to the dovecotes. “Thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be carried in the arms. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?”—Isa. 60:4, 8, AS.
17. Explain why these thousands come to God’s organization.
17 The prophet speaks of ships bringing them. “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” (Isa. 60:9, AS) Jehovah is the goal and all the returning ones are placing themselves at the service of Jehovah, from whom they expect every good thing. The prophecy indicates a fleet coming in bringing the sons from faraway places. How far away? Well, from the “ends of the earth.” Certainly a long way from the professing Christians, who are indulging in God-dishonoring worship. It is the time for these hundreds of thousands to come, and they are coming. Today people are not called by the good news of reconciliation to be of the heavenly city, but are called to an earthly inheritance. This is made possible because of the restoration of true religion and the rebuilding of the Royal Palace.
WHY SO FAVORED?
18. Does the fact that this earthly class are being gathered now lessen the importance of their work?
18 True religion shall be restored completely and forever. The name of Jehovah is of primary importance, for it constitutes the very core of true religion, and his works are bound up in his name. He purposes to have his name known in all parts of the earth and has created this people now for just such a work. Jehovah purposes to have people on earth after Armageddon, settled in different parts of the world. This nation now being gathered forms the nucleus of the post-Armageddon society. They will be the vanguard of the earthly subjects of the Kingdom marching up on the way of righteousness during the 1,000 years. Those of this great crowd who are so favored should keep in mind that though this gathering together of the other sheep is the last act on the timetable of scheduled events before Armageddon, it is by no means a last-minute thought. Last acts are very often of greatest importance, often constituting a grand finale. Such favored ones must completely forsake false religion and cling to the true in order to maintain their favored position in God’s organization.
19. How do we know from physical facts that Jehovah must have a great work for this earthly class to do?
19 Another reason for calling this people out is that he has a great work now for them to do before Armageddon. Actually there is a work for them to do that could not possibly be performed by the anointed remnant alone, though it must be that Jehovah directs their activities through the faithful anointed. Yet the fact remains that the world-wide work is largely being accomplished by the “great crowd,” which today number approximately 500,000, whereas the anointed company has decreased to about 20,000. Therefore Jehovah has called this great crowd into his service because he requires them to do the work he had purposed for them in conjunction with the anointed. Jehovah expressed his purpose thousands of years ago to have this mighty work done in the earth today, and he brings forth the people to do it.
20. State another reason for Jehovah’s now showing his favor to those who are to be blessed on earth.
20 Another reason for Jehovah’s favor to this “great crowd” is that they are righteously inclined and detest the abominations of false religion. They are not in harmony with profanity, scorners, despisers of that which is good. They are vexed with the wickedness of this world. Jehovah hears “the groaning of the prisoners.” Like Lot of old, they are “greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct—for that righteous man by what he saw and heard while dwelling among them from day to day was tormenting his righteous soul by reason of their lawless deeds—Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.” (2 Pet. 2:7-9, NW) Jehovah does deliver these, but they must adhere strictly to true religion and never depart from it. “For, ‘he that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is injurious and his lips from speaking deceitfully, but let him turn away from what is injurious and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For Jehovah’s eyes are upon the righteous.’”—1 Pet. 3:10-12, NW.
21. What is the stated reward for kindness shown to “the King’s brothers”?
21 Still another reason for Jehovah’s favor to these blessed ones is that they were good to the brothers of his Son, Christ Jesus. It is written: “‘For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat, I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. . . . ’ Then the king [Jesus] will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.’” (Matt. 25:34-36, NW) It is Jehovah’s purpose to call these favored ones in these last days because they have a special work to do now and are also being prepared for service ahead during the 1,000-year reign.
22, 23. Explain how the widow of Zarephath foreshadowed this class.
22 A shining example is provided for us in the record of the poor widow of Zarephath, in the district of Zidon. Elijah had been dwelling in the wilderness and was then directed to Zidon. This was the home town of the wicked Jezebel and was a district infested with demon religion. Yet here was where Jehovah led his steps. The widow and her son were on their last meal and when Elijah came he asked for water. She left her occupation and attended to him. She explained to this stranger how this was her last meal, and yet Elijah made his request that she bake for him and give him his first. He said, “Fear not; go and do as thou hast said; . . . For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that Jehovah sendeth rain upon the earth.” (1 Ki. 17:8-16, AS) The widow believed and had strong confidence in the word of Elijah. What a rich treasure she was in that God-dishonoring, non-Israelitish city!
23 Jehovah sent him to this widow. “Behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee.” (1 Ki. 17:9, AS) She gave him water, for he was thirsty, gave him food because he was hungry, even though her last; but how greatly she was blessed! She had increase of oil and meal, and it multiplied in its use. Also her son was restored from the dead. For just one meal, she gained all this and came into recognition of the Most High God. So with the Lord’s other sheep. Their kindnesses to the brothers of the Lord Jesus, though small, are known. “He that receives a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet’s reward, . . . And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water to drink because he is a disciple, I tell you truly, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:41, 42, NW) What great blessing flows to those who are lovers of Jehovah’s people! True religion is the source of such love.
ENLARGING THE DWELLING
24, 25. How is the New World society now being enlarged and increased in fruitage?
24 The bounds of the New World society have to be extended. Everything must be strengthened and conformed to Jehovah’s righteous requirements. The organization must be able to bear the weight and pressure resulting from increased numbers. It must be fortified against possible errors and corruption by those who have just left false religion. Those coming in cannot bring with them false teachings, wrong ideas and actions. No, these must be left outside like a discarded, filthy, smelly garment. They are provided with clean garments of identification. No one must hinder these returning captives. Do not be opposed to widening the provisions for their reception and putting them to work. Let these sons from afar be accommodated. There are many more yet to come, and they are going to be in God’s service for a long time—at least a thousand years. So the restored remnant now welcome them to the only “quiet habitation.” “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tent that shall not be removed, the stakes whereof shall never be plucked up, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there Jehovah will be with us in majesty.” (Isa. 33:20, 21, AS) It will be a tent of perpetuity, never removed by enemy power. Cities will be built up and the desert is to bloom. The cities are the congregations of the righteous, established to the praise of Jehovah. The desert places are those barren conditions requiring the preaching of the truth to water them, so that growth may be had. Much water is required, and the barren places are getting it, and behold the marvelous increase! Think of some countries where missionaries and others have been working during the past decade which at one time were devoid of true religion, and now see the flourishing cities (congregations), deserts blooming like the rose, vines producing fruits of righteousness, trees planted and growing upright.
25 True religion has been restored, and its great work of fruitfulness is going on. Strangers cannot lose their way. “But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; and on his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water.” (Ps. 1:2, 3, AS) “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.” (Prov. 11:30, AS) “They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” (Isa. 61:4, AS) What a wonderful work is being performed by the anointed remnant and the “great crowd” today, and this is only the beginning of the reconstruction program, for the New World building work is to go on for a thousand years!
26. Who share today in the work of the great ‘Repairer of the breach and Restorer of the paths,’ and how?
26 The Lord Jesus has used his faithful anointed ones to heal the great breach and, through many years of fighting and suffering, to restore the pure true religion, which magnifies his Father’s holy name. The highway is now free and clear to travel on, for all those escaping Babylon the Great. Therefore, “thou shalt be called The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” It is the knowledge of Jehovah and of our Lord Jesus Christ that produces true religion, and it praises and magnifies them, causing complete, willing, joyful obedience to the doing of God’s will in faith. Those so doing will have hope, and hope of life will bind us tightly to Jehovah and his Son. Therefore share in true religion and help all others to do the same, for their everlasting good, and for the honor of the name of Jehovah.
If, now, I am declaring the good news, it is no reason for me to boast, for necessity is laid upon me. Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news!—1 Cor. 9:16, NW.