They Are Not Afraid
1. Among Jehovah’s witnesses freedom from fear results from what?
JEHOVAH’S witnesses are filled with confidence in Jehovah, the living God. They see his direction of them and they observe how he aids them in their service. They appreciate that they are backed up by his holy spirit or active force. They see the strength in the unity of Jehovah’s organization and they rejoice in sticking together in performing his purposes. Knowing that Jehovah is with them, Jehovah’s witnesses are not afraid. The psalmist says: “Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, even then will I be confident. One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after: That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:1-4, AS) Every one of Jehovah’s witnesses wants to dwell in the house of Jehovah forever. They have dedicated themselves as Jehovah’s slaves and they are fully cognizant of Jehovah’s will concerning them. They know what he wants them to do despite any outside influences. Knowing that the taking in of more knowledge of him and his purposes is the right thing to do and the way to life eternal, and knowing that they want to live so they can serve Jehovah, they certainly will not be fearful of anyone else. So they ask: “Whom shall I fear?” If they fear man, then they fall into man’s snare. If they are afraid of evildoers and any hurt that may come upon them, they will fall into a snare. But by their staying wholly on Jehovah’s side and in his organization and close to the congregation of his people they will continually observe their adversaries falling and stumbling, and eventually vanishing permanently in the battle of Armageddon, now near.
2. How are activities of Jehovah’s witnesses affected by communism’s organized opposition?
2 Even though the entire communistic organization globally lines itself up against Jehovah’s people, as it now does behind its “iron curtain,” the hearts of Jehovah’s witnesses will not fear. As the 1954 report shows, those fearless ones behind the “Iron Curtain” are not ceasing their service to Jehovah God. They still remain his obedient slaves and preach Jehovah’s kingdom, not communism. Even though war were to rise up against them, still they would be confident that Jehovah God would protect them.
3. What desire and determination underlie the fearless behavior of Jehovah’s witnesses?
3 Having studied Jehovah’s Word day by day, privately and congregationally, a true witness of Jehovah God will always seek his Father in heaven and worship him and will want to bless him every day. He will not only want to do it, he will do it, as Jehovah’s witnesses have been doing for the past many years, and especially so during the 1954 service year of the WatchTower Society. This you can prove as you study the chart on pages 27 to 29. You do not see Jehovah’s witnesses running for cover and trying to seek safety within the worldly governments of the Devil’s organization. These governments, with their religious false shepherds, their high and mighty political shepherds, and their powerful business organizations cannot give life to man. Jehovah’s witnesses know that, and because of their careful study of God’s Word they see that life comes through knowledge of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe and of his Son Christ Jesus, and that life is a gift of God to them because of their obedience to his commands. Why should they seek anything less than life eternal?
4. (a) Their survival against intense opposition and their unceasing fearless publishing of Jehovah’s kingdom prove what? (b) Why, when necessary, is such publishing work carried forward underground?
4 No matter where you may be in the world you will see that Jehovah’s witnesses are a minority people, oppressed especially by Catholic and Protestant religious organizations, who often use the arm of the state to try to cut them off from being a people. They can certainly say as the psalmist: “Mine enemies would swallow me up all the day long; for they are many that fight proudly against me. What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in thee. In God (I will praise his word), in God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid; what can flesh do unto me?” (Ps. 56:2-4, AS) When one reads the report of Jehovah’s witnesses and sees how fearlessly they fight on against opposition, one cannot help but conclude that Jehovah God is with them, for no organization can stand up and hold its position as a ministerial society in this wicked old world unless Jehovah God gives them his backing. Jehovah’s witnesses have hearkened to and “praise his word”; they know clearly that it states they will meet up with persecution and oppression, and that some will be killed for the sake of Christ Jesus and because they worship the Sovereign Ruler, Jehovah. “What can flesh do unto me” but kill the body? Flesh cannot deprive the faithful of a resurrection by Jehovah! So again they turn to God’s Word for strength: “But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell securely, and shall be quiet without fear of evil.” (Prov. 1:33, AS) Thus it is with Jehovah’s witnesses. Regardless of intense Roman Catholic opposition in Quebec, the fighting against them by the Communist organization east of its “iron curtain,” the banning of the Society’s publications and the forbidding of its public ministry in several “democratic” countries, Jehovah’s witnesses joyously continue preaching the good news of his kingdom. When necessary they go underground with their activity—not to do harm to any political or religious organizations, but merely to exercise their God-given right to meet together to study God’s Word and to maintain a congregational organization for making public declaration of their hope one to another and so incite one another to love and right works. Then, too, they will go forward to other willing listeners and tell them the good news of God’s kingdom. No; no matter what the world may do to try to break down Jehovah’s witnesses and the New World society, the organization will unitedly move ahead, declaring that Jehovah’s kingdom is the only hope for mankind. “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his adversaries.”—Ps. 112:7, 8, AS.
THE WORLD-WIDE WITNESS
5. What divinely foretold experiences do all proclaimers of Jehovah’s kingdom expect, and why, nevertheless, are they not afraid?
5 Knowing the responsibility that rests upon them, Jehovah’s witnesses in the year 1954 (beginning September 1, 1953, and ending August 31, 1954) have continued to advance in the greatest preaching campaign that they have been privileged to share in to this time. All Jehovah’s witnesses have dedicated themselves to Jehovah’s service; hence they are not afraid of man or Devil. They follow Peter’s advice: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith, knowing that the same things in the way of sufferings are being accomplished in the entire association of your brothers in the world. But, after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong. To him be the might forever. Amen.” (1 Pet. 5:8-11, NW) In the year 1955 Jehovah’s witnesses will go ahead fearlessly, just as determined as ever to accomplish their work with the entire association of their brothers throughout the world, knowing that no matter where any of them will be there will be suffering and that this suffering will be caused by the Devil and through his organization. (Rev. 2:10) No matter how severe it may be or how light, whether in hard season or in good season, the Kingdom message will be preached and the other sheep will be gathered together. Have a share with Jehovah’s witnesses in this great educational work and bless Jehovah every day.
6, 7. (a) How are they affected by the 1954 service year’s report? (b) What are some inspiring comparisons as to the number of present-day Kingdom publishers?
6 This report for the 1954 service year is most encouraging and all people in the world should want to know what Jehovah’s witnesses did. Their report they do not make boastfully, but in humble praise of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, and they are grateful for their share in promoting the true worship of him and bringing to the people lifesaving Bible education. In this world today there is so little knowledge of Jehovah that his witnesses want to shout from the house-tops who the Sovereign Ruler is and what he will do for all those who love righteousness. For the past good year they have had Jehovah’s witnesses are happy, and they look forward to 1955 with great joy, anticipating even larger privileges of service in Jehovah’s organization side by side with many new “other sheep” seeking to do Jehovah’s will.
7 During 1953 there was an average of 468,106 ministers preaching God’s kingdom. But for the 1954 service year the average was 525,924, a 12 per cent increase. All persons who are seeking truth and righteousness and who are sighing and crying for the abominations that exist in this world Jehovah’s witnesses are trying to help to come to Jehovah God and worship him with spirit and truth. (John 4:23, NW) It is the other sheep they are trying to find, and they are finding them. By the end of the 1954 service year there was a peak of publishers of 580,498, or a 24 per cent increase over the 1953 average number of publishers in the field. These ministers are going to attend meetings. They will not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but together they will grow on to maturity. During 1955 they will keep on preaching the good news, by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness, and find more of the other sheep. They rejoice in what they have accomplished with Jehovah’s help and under the direction of his beloved Son Christ Jesus, invisibly present and directing his organization. Their rejoicing is not because of the growth in membership of the organization but because they were able to gather together persons who have wanted to get out of the present wicked system of things and now maintain their integrity in wholeness of devotion to Jehovah God; yes, be glad with these people from all nations who want to serve Jehovah with spirit and truth and who want to take in knowledge so that they may live in God’s new world. They were determined to do this, for 57,369 of such “sheep” were baptized in water in symbolizing their dedication to Jehovah’s service. These are no longer afraid; their hearts are fixed, trusting in Jehovah.
8, 9. Numerically speaking, what are some indications of the scope of the Kingdom publishing work done during 1954?
8 All these ministers together have devoted 80,814,996 hours to the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. This is not the time they came together to study God’s Word; it is the time they devoted in walking from house to house, making back-calls, conducting Bible studies in the homes of those interested in the Kingdom message. Were we to add up all the time spent by 580,498 ministers of Catholic and Protestant congregations all over the world, would it amount to 80,814,996 hours spent in preaching the good news of Jehovah’s kingdom to people at their homes? But Jehovah’s witnesses made 25,337,026 back-calls on interested people, bringing them comfort. Every month in the year they were conducting 293,341 Bible studies in many languages, weekly, in the people’s homes. Are Christendom’s clergy that anxious or energetic to get their parishioners to understand the Bible? This educational work has been going on in 159 lands under the direction of the Watch Tower Society’s 75 branches.
9 God’s Word says: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:14, NW) This very thing Jehovah’s witnesses are trying to do. To accomplish it 1,720 graduates of Gilead School have been sent out to all parts of the world. Some are in the district and circuit servant work, others in branch offices, and 910 are missionaries located in 220 homes in 71 different countries and in 205 different cities. From those homes these missionaries work out into small villages and towns and rural sections preaching this good news of the Kingdom. They are not alone in this, because the Society has appointed many local ministers as special pioneers. These are selected from the general pioneer ranks and aided financially to go off into isolated places in their respective countries, to do the same kind of full-time ministerial work. These missionaries and special pioneers, who try to devote 140 or more hours monthly in preaching the good news from house to house, together with pioneers who try to devote 100 hours a month to the field service, totaled 17,265. Congregation publishers averaged 508,659 every month, making a grand total of 525,924 Kingdom publishers, ministers, joyfully proclaiming the good news every month.
10. Through distribution of what other publications, and in what quantities, have knowledge and comfort reached many during the year?
10 Undoubtedly there are millions of persons who believe as Jehovah’s witnesses do but who lack the courage or faith or full hope that Jehovah’s witnesses have; otherwise they too would come forward and take their stand as dedicated servants of Jehovah. To help such, to bring them on to maturity, so that they can appreciate that the only hope for the world is Jehovah’s kingdom, may require many more years. They must take in greater knowledge of this kingdom. That is why Jehovah’s witnesses continually take literature to the people in their own language so that they may read and study. In the service year of 1954, Bibles, books and booklets in total of 17,687,257 were distributed in upward of 100 different languages. Persons that wanted to read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines regularly in their own tongues were offered subscriptions. New subscriptions for these magazines obtained during the year by the publishers afield were 995,787. They also distributed 29,937,614 individual copies of The Watchtower and Awake! in many languages, which undoubtedly brought great comfort to the readers. It was necessary for the Society to print 43,467,909 Watchtower and 29,620,128 Awake! magazines in order to meet the world-wide reader demand. The total increase over last year was 9,386,246 magazines printed.
11. What part have congregation meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses played in their past year’s preaching?
11 What a boundless joy it is to see the message of the Kingdom preached on such a wide scale! Jesus, when upon earth, gathered his apostles and talked to them and gave them accurate knowledge, and they were his disciples or learners. Then he sent them forth to preach to those seeking the truth. So today Jehovah’s witnesses are gathering the other sheep and training them to give sermons at the doors or in the homes of the people or publicly. Those other sheep they invite to meet with them in their congregations. Throughout the world there are 14,531 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, and at Memorial time last spring there were 829,836 persons in attendance. Of these, 17,884 professed to be of the anointed, confidently hoping to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus, believing in their heart that because they are begotten by God’s holy spirit they, according to the will of Jehovah, will receive their resurrection to heavenly glory. All the others, well over 800,000, happily look forward to life on the new earth under the permanent rulership of the kingdom of heaven. Jehovah’s witnesses have a big work to bring all of these on to maturity so that they, all of them, can be able ministers.
12. Financially speaking, what are some additional indications of the extent of the service to persons of good will?
12 The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is very glad to see that Jehovah has blessed and prospered the efforts to organize the work world-wide. With millions afield who have been served we are very grateful, too, for the unsolicited contributions that our brothers in all parts of the earth have sent in to the Society so that this constantly expanding witness can be carried on to the ends of the earth. To care for the work outside the United States the Society spent through its seventy-five branch offices over three million dollars during the year. To sustain missionaries alone and to aid them in their field activity the Society has spent nearly half a million dollars. How it cheers our hearts to see that a work of such proportions can be accomplished with such a small amount of funds! Of course, each local congregation has spent freely, too, to take care of its Kingdom Hall and to put on local public meetings in all parts of its territory; and if to that we were to add what individual publishers themselves spent during the year for transportation, by car, bus, train, plane and otherwise, to get to the homes of their willing listeners, as well as to attend circuit, district and national assemblies for training themselves to do better service in the public interest, it would total many, many more millions. But this is their gift to Jehovah God, an expression of their joy, their thankfulness that they can spend of what they, in fact, have received from him to help their neighbors to learn his truth. That is love in action.
13. What, basically, causes Jehovah’s witnesses everywhere to keep on working unitedly, courageously?
13 Do you find any others on earth who have the delight and satisfaction of living as Jehovah’s witnesses have in serving the Sovereign Ruler of the universe? No wonder it is true that not one of these will be afraid of evil tidings. The reason is that their heart is fixed and they do trust in the living God. As children of Zion, they, to the extent of their capacity, rejoice in Jehovah God and his enthroned and unconquerable King, Christ Jesus. (Psalm 149) The clergy with all their threats, their mob action—the rulers with all their bans and restrictions against “freeness of speech,” their taking away from Jehovah’s witnesses and destroying printed material these use to enlighten others with Bible truths—none of these things frighten them. Conscious is each of them that ‘he has dispersed, given to the needy,’ that “the wicked shall see it, and be grieved” and that “the desire of the wicked shall perish.” (Ps. 112:9, 10, AS) Jehovah’s witnesses earth-wide courageously work on! So unitedly, as one man, they continue to announce Jehovah’s kingdom, for “he shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah.”—Ps. 112:7, AS.
[Chart on page 27-29]
1954 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD-WIDE
(See bound volume)