The Purpose of Your Witnessing
1, 2. What pertinent questions are sometimes asked Jehovah’s witnesses, and from whom may honest inquirers obtain correct answers?
ARE you one of Jehovah’s witnesses? If so, why do you go from house to house offering Bible literature to the people? Why do you stand on street corners with the magazines? Or why do you conduct so many Bible studies in the homes of the people? Do you go from house to house for a selfish reason, for instance, to make a lot of money, or gain a prominent position in the local congregation? Do you stand on street corners because you like to make a spectacle of yourself, or because you have a so-called “persecution complex” that feeds on unkind things people say when passing by? Really, what are you trying to accomplish? What are the motives, the aims and purposes, the hopes and ambitions, that give Jehovah’s witnesses all their fiery zeal, persistence and sustained determination over the years, through two world wars, inside and outside totalitarian countries, against every form of opposition and distraction? And another question, Who is back of this work?
2 These are pertinent questions people the world over are asking and arguing about among themselves. But if honest inquirers really desire correct answers then they should address their questions to Jehovah’s witnesses, for they know why they engage in this witness work. They know why they go from house to house in spite of many hardships, why they stand on street corners in all kinds of weather, and why they conduct home Bible studies at great personal expense and inconvenience. Furthermore, they know from where come their power and strength and resources. And more important, not only do they know what is back of this work, they know definitely who is back of it!
3. Who is the responsible one back of this witness work?
3 Jehovah God is the one backing up his witnesses in the earth today. And who is Jehovah? There is only one Jehovah. He is the self-existing One, the high and lofty Creator of the universe. He is the faithful covenant-keeping God of Abel and Abraham, of Noah and Lot, of Job and Moses and all the other patriarchs of antiquity. He is the One whom Jesus Christ called “My Father,” the Life-giver whom disciples of Christ were taught to address as “Our Father.” Today, as true and faithful Christians, Jehovah’s witnesses likewise worship and serve this same magnificent and eternal God. In turn, Jehovah assumes full responsibility for his witnesses and their important work, thus proving himself to be the same as he proved to be in the past, a God of purpose, a God of wonderful and unchangeable purposes.
4. What great truth have the directors of world affairs overlooked, and how do their boastful claims prove it?
4 That is right, Jehovah’s purposes are unchangeable, and nothing that puny men of this twentieth century do can alter, cancel out, or reverse Jehovah’s will and determination in the least. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth” but “the word spoken by Jehovah endures forever.” “I will work,” He declares. “And who can hinder it?” he asks. (Isa. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:24, 25, NW; Isa. 43:13, AS) This, however, is something not appreciated by the directors of world affairs. These men, the philosophers and psychiatrists, the writers and analysts, the empire builders and political architects, the giants of finance, the judges, educators, religious leaders, military strategists and the scientists of renown, even all this world’s high and mighty, completely and deliberately ignore Jehovah God and altogether leave his purposes out of their schemes and calculations. As profane braggarts they boastfully hail the present time in which we live as a superscientific age, an ultramodern era, a highly educated and civilized period of great advancements and high achievements. They seem to think that through some process of evolution they have attained to a level of culture far beyond that in which first-century Christians lived, and hence the teachings, precepts and practices of the humble Nazarene and his disciples nearly two thousand years ago are no longer practical, necessary or even adaptable to this day and age.
5. What lofty point of view are seekers of the truth urged to take, and why?
5 But you honest seekers of truth, do not let yourself be deceived by such fallacious and childish chatter. It is nothing more than low human sophistry, the fanciful opinion and imagination of mere men made of the dust. Rather, consider how the Creator who made the dust from which the man was taken in the first place views these matters. From His profound and lofty point of view the big issues confronting humankind, the issues of life and death, health and happiness, peace and prosperity, have changed very little during the past millenniums. The same old world under Satan’s tyrannical and treasonous rule continues in the earth. Earthly potentates under Satan’s influence, the kings, queens, dictators, prime ministers and presidents of the various nations, not only refuse to accept Christ Jesus as Jehovah’s anointed King and earth’s rightful Ruler now installed in heavenly office, but also go farther in their opposition and take crafty counsel together against him and his kingdom, even as it was prophesied they would do. “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Jehovah, and against his anointed [king].”—Ps. 2:1, 2, AS; Ps 83:2, 3.
6. Why is it altogether unreasonable to think that current human affairs disturb the purposes of Jehovah God?
6 It is therefore not surprising to find this world’s leaders engaged in an all-out and feverish armaments race as if they could withstand even the Almighty God when it comes to a showdown at Armageddon. Speed enthusiasts of this fast-moving, supersonic-jet age seem to think they can outstrip Jehovah, outmaneuver, outfly and outrun his scheduled timetable for the accomplishment of his divine purposes. Alas! How foolish their wisdom! How shallow their good sense! How utterly futile their stockpile of material supplies and lethal weapons! Man’s mightiest explosions equal only a small fraction of the power exerted by an average earthquake. It is an admitted fact that the greatest “A” and “H” bombs yet devised cannot even affect the weather. How much less the possibility that such adventures in nuclear fission can rock the earth on its axis! Why, even the noise of these giant “firecrackers” is heard but a comparatively few miles away. How idiotic, then, to think such explosions disturb the immeasurable expanse of the heavens above when they are never heard outside our immediate atmosphere! Obviously the foaming and agitation caused by the social strife, racial riots, labor strikes and political revolutions that continually plague mankind are even less significant in the eyes of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Of a truth, none of man’s novel experiments, none of his passing fancies and none of this century’s social upheavals disturb the serenity and eternity of the great Jehovah God. Gnats in the air may be annoying to be around, but they are most insignificant to the proper, divinely ordained rotation of the earth. A few buzzing grasshoppers a thousand miles away never disturb your peace or cause you to take them into account in your daily affairs. How much less do you suppose the crowing and croaking of today’s boasting, bragging propagandists upset the purposes of the Almighty, who resides far above the confines of this mundane sphere? Remember, in his estimation the nations and all of earth’s inhabitants “are as grasshoppers.”—Isa. 40:22.
7. What immutable purposes of Jehovah still stand unchanged by modern circumstances?
7 Yes, indeed, Jehovah’s purposes still stand in spite of what senseless critics of this synthetic civilization say or do. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David: his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as the faithful witness in the sky.” (Ps. 89:34-37, AS) It is concerning the Greater David, of whom it was said, “You are to call his name Jesus,” that Jehovah is here speaking, as later disclosed by the angel Gabriel: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33, NW) In carrying out this covenant Jehovah also accomplishes other purposes, for his determination is to show Satan “my power” by replacing that one’s Egyptianlike system of things with a new world filled with righteousness. And before this becomes a full reality Jehovah purposes to have his word, name and fame published throughout all the earth as a final warning to both small and great, and this purpose too stands unaltered by modern circumstances or the present trend of world events. “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.”—Matt. 24:14, NW.
8. How has Jehovah made the wisdom of this world foolish and ridiculous?
8 So what if the over-smart and conceited of this world think the preaching work of Jehovah’s witnesses is impractical and foolish in the extreme? The all-wise Jehovah declares that he will accomplish his purposes and put to shame the wise ones of this age by and through a means that to them seems most ridiculous. “For the speech about the torture stake is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is God’s power. For it is written: ‘I will make the wisdom of the wise men perish, and I will shove the intelligence of the intellectual aside.’ Where is the wise man? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this system of things? Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not get to know God, God saw good through the foolishness of what is preached to save those believing.” (1 Cor. 1:18-21, NW; Isa. 29:14; Jer. 8:9) To engage in such a wonderful preaching work is therefore a great honor and those so privileged have the same mental attitude as their Leader and Commander, Christ Jesus, who exclaimed: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes.”—Matt. 11:25, NW; Ps. 8:2.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS NO SECRET
9. Who is the Chief Witness in behalf of Jehovah’s witnesses?
9 That these witnesses today who are actively engaged in the “foolishness of preaching” are approved by Jehovah and authorized to bear his sacred name there is not the slightest doubt. Jehovah himself bears witness, saying: “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; . . . before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour. I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; . . . therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it? and ye are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no Rock; I know not any.” (Isa. 43:10-12; 44:8, AS) The whole world knows these people by their beautiful name, by their name taken from Jehovah’s Word; therefore let the whole world be informed concerning the purpose of their witnessing.
10. When questioned about our work why should we answer truthfully?
10 When people ask you as one of Jehovah’s witnesses what you are trying to do, what the purpose of your witnessing is, tell them the truth. “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: . . . [one of which is] a false witness that uttereth lies.” “A false witness will not go unpunished; he who utters lies will not escape. . . . he who utters lies will perish.” So do not hesitate or evade speaking the truth when asked the purpose of your witnessing.—Prov. 6:16-19, AS; Pr 19:5, 9, AT.
11, 12. Do we engage in this work for commercial or competitive reasons?
11 When people ask if Jehovah’s witnesses go from house to house to make money, tell them the simple truth of the matter. Tell them what Jesus says to his followers: “You received free, give free.” (Matt. 10:8, NW) Tell them how the apostle Peter urges his brothers to “shepherd the flock of God . . . willingly, neither for love of dishonest gain.” (1 Pet. 5:2, NW) Tell them how Paul likewise declares that a faithful servant of God must be “irreprehensible, . . . not a lover of money, . . . not greedy of dishonest gain.” (1 Tim. 3:2, 3, 8, NW; Titus 1:7) Tell them what Jehovah God himself says: “Ho! everyone that is thirsty, come to the waters, and he that has no money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy grain without money, and wine and milk without price!” Jehovah’s witnesses certainly have refreshing and lifegiving spiritual food for the drought-stricken and undernourished people of the world if they will only accept it. And such priceless provisions from God’s storehouse are offered without measure and “without price.” “Why should you spend money for what is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy?” Frankly, Jehovah is here asking, Why spend your hard-earned money for the sickening stuff dished out for a stiff price by Christendom’s sorry lot of leaders when you can get a superabundance of rich, life-giving delicacies at His table? “You cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and [at the same time eat off] the table of demons.”—Isa. 55:1, 2, AT; 1 Cor. 10:21, NW.
12 When it is asked if other selfish promotion schemes provide the incentive or driving force behind the activity of Jehovah’s witnesses, again the truth should be told. Competition is very much a part of the Devil’s system of things, but it has no place in God’s organization. To compete against one another, to make a name for oneself, to gain fame, prestige or prominence in the congregation are not the motives behind the witnessing activity at all. Unfaithful Christendom stresses outward show and spectacular works as the big thing, saying: “Master, Master, did we not . . . perform many powerful works in your name?” To which the Master Christ Jesus answers: “I never knew you at all. Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:22, 23, NW) No, works alone do not meet the requirements. Faith comes first, then works follow as a result and as a manifestation of faith, for “faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.” (Jas. 2:17, NW) So putting the emphasis where it properly belongs, not on the human individual or his personal efforts or accomplishments, but on God, the apostle Paul writes: “He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not by reason of our works, but by reason of his own purpose and undeserved kindness.”—2 Tim. 1:9, NW.
13. Why do we display the Kingdom message along busy streets and in the market places?
13 When Jehovah’s witnesses stand along the thoroughfares and at busy intersections publicly displaying the Kingdom message, what is their purpose and motive? Certainly they do not do what hypocrites of Christendom do who “like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the broad ways to be visible to men.” (Matt. 6:5, NW) Jehovah’s witnesses are as their name implies, “witnesses,” and as such they are forced to appear before those that hear their testimony, like a witness in a courtroom. Consequently, Jehovah’s witnesses “become a theatrical spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” and are “exposed as in a theater both to reproaches and tribulations.” (1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 10:33, NW) Their public activity is not done because these witnesses have an inflated ego that demands public recognition and attention, or because they have a fanatical desire to be mobbed as martyrs or burned at the stake in the public square. Nehemiah and his associates long ago did not undertake the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s fallen-down walls because they had a craving to hear their enemies ‘laugh them to scorn and despise them.’ In Nehemiah’s case it was his supreme love for Jehovah and an intense, burning desire to see pure worship once again protected in the land that enabled him to move ahead with the work in spite of scoffer Sanballat and his cronies. (Neh. 2:17-20) Today the same devotion to Jehovah and his righteous worship moves Jehovah’s witnesses to action, notwithstanding the fact that “all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”—2 Tim. 3:12, NW.
14, 15. Why do government officials of all nations have no reason to fear Jehovah’s witnesses or their God-ordained activity?
14 When colonial governments and other officials in positions of responsibility want to know if the work of Jehovah’s witnesses is seditious or subversive, tell them the honest truth. Tell them that Christ Jesus was not the least seditious in teaching his disciples to pray to Jehovah God, “Let your kingdom come,” and neither are his true footsteps followers today seditious in telling the whole world that that kingdom is now at hand. (Matt. 6:10, NW) Speaking the truth contained in God’s Holy Word, the Bible, as a warning to this generation of impending destruction at Armageddon is not subversive in any sense. It is a lifesaving message delivered out of love and mercy. “A truthful witness saves lives; but he who utters lies destroys them.” (Prov. 14:25, AT) Noah diligently worked in a similar way, preaching a similar message of warning to his generation, and which resulted in “the saving of his household.” (Heb. 11:7, NW) Now Noah’s proclamation was not subversive. It was not his message that overthrew and washed that wicked system of things out of existence. Rather, it was Jehovah’s terrible manifestation of supreme power following the completing of the warning that wrought such havoc to the opposers. So, too, in modern times, the message delivered by Jehovah’s witnesses, although most appreciated by all lovers of God, may be hot enough on the ears of the wicked, nevertheless, its heat is nothing to compare with the fire to follow, the ‘fire of Jehovah’s jealousy and anger,’ which will consume this world at Armageddon.—Zeph. 3:8; 2 Pet. 3:7.
15 Jehovah does not propose to reform the irreformable, and neither do his witnesses. Jehovah is not attempting to straighten out this crooked and perverse generation, and neither are his witnesses. This old system is condemned by God and doomed to complete destruction. The charge that the early Christians “turned the world upside down” was, of course, entirely false. (Acts 17:6) So also is the same charge today when leveled against Jehovah’s witnesses and their gospel activity. The assignment Jehovah’s witnesses have from the Lord God is merely to warn all, the rulers and the ruled, of the impending cataclysm of Armageddon, in order that all who will may now take advantage of Jehovah’s provision for safety.—Jer. 1:17-19; Ezek. 3:10, 11; 33:7-9.
WHAT IS ACCOMPLISHED?
16. (a) What blessings and benefits do Jehovah’s witnesses bring to good-will people the world over? (b) Yet what separating takes place as a result?
16 Instead of seditiously disturbing the peace within nations, or agitating revolt among the people, the work of Jehovah’s witnesses has an exactly opposite effect. The momentous announcement concerning God’s theocratic government now being made by his witnesses gives real contentment and tranquillity with peace of mind. This happy message calms and quiets distressed people who sigh and cry because of the present abominable conditions. It steadies and strengthens the faltering, the feeble and the weak. It brings perception and sight to the mentally blind. It opens the ears of the spiritually deaf. It restores health to the spiritually sick. It gives hope to the hopeless. And life to the spiritually lifeless it gives. Of course the proclamation of such a wonderful message like this will not be acceptable to all, for those with the Devil’s spirit and the spirit of this old world detest and reject it the same as did those who perished in the Flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the Red Sea disaster. Hence, the present publication and distribution of the Kingdom message causes a dividing of the people in their standing before the Lord, a separating of lovers of what is right from workers of lawlessness, a dividing of the sheep from the goats, all “according to the purpose of him who operates all things according to the way his will counsels.”—Eph. 1:11, NW; Matt. 25:31-33.
17. What is the chief concern, aim and purpose of Jehovah’s witnesses, and, hence, what are all people called upon to do?
17 While the above-mentioned results may seem most important to mankind, yet additional results are accomplished by Jehovah’s witnesses that are of universal and hence of far greater importance. Primarily Jehovah’s witnesses are concerned with the settling of the universal issue of supremacy, with the vindication of Jehovah, with the clearing of his holy Word and sacred name, which have been smeared and reproached for so long by the Devil and his hordes. Jehovah is the only true and living God. He alone is the Source of life and blessings, a God unequaled in every respect. Jehovah is wise beyond complete comprehension or understanding. Jehovah is just beyond dispute or contradiction. Jehovah is powerful beyond resistance or containment. Jehovah is love beyond full measure or appreciation. Yes, Jehovah is the supreme universal Sovereign! These facts must be published to the ends of the earth. “Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king. Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory.” (Rev. 19:6, 7, NW) Jehovah has placed his anointed King upon his glorious throne in the heavens and people of all languages and races are commanded to bow in subjection to him. After so many thousands of years under Satan’s oppressive and killing rule all these facts are certainly good news. Therefore let all who love righteousness and hate wickedness join this chorus of witnesses in shouting praise to Jehovah!
18. Why is it really later than most people think?
18 There is no time to lose. This is a most urgent message. Time is fast running out for Satan and his system of things, for they refuse to recognize that the “Gentile times” ended in 1914 and Christ Jesus was then enthroned as earth’s rightful Ruler. We are now forty years within “this generation,” the generation that witnessed the eventful year 1914, the generation doomed to experience Armageddon. (Matt. 23:36; 24:34) Make no mistake about it, that final war is a fixed date on the divine calendar, just as sure to occur on time as all the other purposes of Jehovah have. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” “For to every purpose there is a time and judgment.” (Eccl. 3:1, 17; 8:6, AS) Really, it is much later than most people think!
19. Prove that the rebellion in Eden did not spoil, change or delay Jehovah’s purpose to populate a paradise earth with perfect creatures.
19 With the passing of Armageddon’s destructive storm Jehovah’s original purpose to have the earth filled with faithful and obedient creatures will begin to take place. The completion of that purpose will not be delayed but will be accomplished within the time limit originally set by the Creator. By the end of the sixth creative day Jehovah had issued to Adam and Eve the divine mandate to multiply and fill the earth with perfect creatures like themselves. Jehovah then “proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made.” (Gen. 2:2, 3, NW; Ge 1:28) So the end of Jehovah’s 7,000-year sabbath will see his purpose accomplished by the 1,000-year reign of Christ Jesus.a By that time the paradise earth in all its beauty and perfection will be fully populated by a New World society that is expanded to the limits. Thus Christ during his reign will accomplish what the rebel cherub in Eden failed to do. No, not even the 6,000-year rebellion that broke out in Eden has spoiled, changed or delayed Jehovah’s original purposes one iota!
20. So, in the face of these facts, what are we urged to do?
20 In view of the momentous period in which we live, this is no time for you faithful witnesses of Jehovah to slack your hands. You have your divine commission, you have your assignment of territory, you know your purpose, and you have the backing of the Most High God. ‘A purpose sustained Jehovah will guard, saying, Prosper! Prosper!’ (Isa. 26:3, Ro) Therefore, Go! advertise the established kingdom of God as man’s only hope for eternal peace! Go, disciple all nations with implicit trust in the one that is “with you all the days until the consummation of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:20, NW) Go, “preach good tidings unto the meek”; go, “bind up the broken-hearted”; go, “proclaim liberty to the captives”; go, “comfort all that mourn”; and as you do, never hedge or show fear in proclaiming “the day of vengeance of our God.” Continue to go, and continue to preach this joyful and happy news from door to door, on the streets, and in the homes of the people until the Devil’s organization is wasted and emptied without inhabitant. “Thoroughly accomplish your ministry.” And, never forget it, Jehovah’s spirit, favor, blessing and prosperity will continue upon you and your work!—Isa. 61:1, 2, AS; 2 Tim. 4:5, NW; Isa. 6:11, 12; Luke 4:18.
a Each creative day was 7,000 years in length. See “New Heavens and a New Earth”, pages 40-43.