Blessed Results from Making the Test
1. What happened when the Israelites listened to Malachi and brought in the whole tenth, and how was that illustrated in Nehemiah’s governorship of Judah?
WHEN the Israelites listened to Malachi and brought in the whole tithe to the temple storehouse, what followed? The full quota of priests and Levites turned out regularly to serve at the temple and to care for the spiritual needs of the people, keeping the people in favored relationship with their God. An illustration of this we have in the days of Nehemiah, governor of the province of Judah, after he rebuilt and inaugurated Jerusalem’s walls in 455 B.C. “There were appointed on that day men over the halls for the stores, for the contributions, for the first fruits and for the tenths, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions [called for by] the law for the priests and the Levites; for the rejoicing of Judah was because of the priests and of the Levites who were in attendance. And they began taking care of the obligation of their God and the obligation of the purification, also the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the commandment of David [and] Solomon his son. . . . And all Israel during the days of Zerubbabel and during the days of Nehemiah were giving the portions of the singers and of the gatekeepers according to the daily need and were sanctifying [them] to the Levites, and the Levites were sanctifying [them] to the sons of Aaron.” (Neh. 12:44-47, NW) The Israelites rejoiced to see the full service force on duty at the temple; all service positions were filled. They were glad because their own contributions helped to make it so, by providing for all these temple servants. Twelve years later Nehemiah found it necessary to revive this temple support and reinstate the Levitical temple servants in their places and have all Judah back them up materially. (Neh. 13:10-14) Then Judah rejoiced again.
2. (a) How are Jehovah’s witnesses made to rejoice as Judah then rejoiced? (b) How did the agricultural condition of the nation affect the temple servants?
2 Likewise with Jehovah’s witnesses today. We too are made to rejoice when we heed God’s invitation and bring in the spiritual tithes, for then we see an increase in the temple worship due to an increase in the number of active, well-supported servants at the temple. Because the remnant of spiritual Israelites brought in the spiritual tithes from 1919 on, the full number of members of the “royal priesthood” were brought in by 1931 to fill up the places of the 144,000 members of the body of Jesus Christ the High Priest. By bringing in the spiritual tithes Jehovah’s house is made to prosper with plenty of food in its storehouse or treasure house, and the temple servants have, so to speak, the necessary food and clothing for carrying on their duties there. In ancient Israel, even when the tithes were brought in, if the produce of the field was poor, the tithes would be correspondingly poor and the temple servants would have correspondingly poor material support. So what?
3. How did Jehovah’s covenant here come into play, and what kind of testing of him was the bringing in of the whole tithe?
3 Here Jehovah’s covenant came into play. According to it he was not going to let such a poor inbringing of tithes be necessary due to poor returns from the field when his people were faithful. If they did their part, then he would do his. Their obediently bringing in the whole tithe he declared to be a testing or proving of him as their God. It was a testing of him as to his carrying out his part of the covenant. This was a legitimate testing of him. It was not a tempting of him to do evil; it was no testing of him by one’s doing evil, or foolishness. (Mal. 3:15; Matt. 4:5-7) It was a doing of one’s proper part of the covenant moved by love and faith, not by presumptuously going beyond what the covenant allowed. It betokened a loving trust in God to do faithfully his part of the covenant, as promised at Leviticus 26:3-10 and Deuteronomy 28:1-14.
4. In answer to the test what did Jehovah promise to do, and what does this show as to the source of prosperity?
4 “‘Test me now in this way,’ says the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts, ‘and see if I will not open for you the windows of the heavens, and pour out for you a blessing until there is no more need.’” (Mal. 3:10, AT) The heavens are the source of prosperity, for they are Jehovah’s real storehouse. (Deut. 28:12, AS; Lev. 26:4; Jer. 10:13) The source of our blessing is from heaven down, not from the material earth up. Heaven’s windows are the “floodgates of the heavens.” (Gen. 7:11; 8:2, NW) Through these sluices Jehovah empties out his overflowing blessing upon the covenant keepers. He promised to pour out this blessing before the great and dreadful day of Jehovah.
5. Since when has this test been made, and has Jehovah met it?
5 By lovingly, faithfully, zealously bringing in the spiritual tithes since 1919 the remnant of spiritual Israelites proceeded to test Jehovah according to his new covenant through Christ. Has Jehovah met the test? The abundant blessing that has been poured out upon his witnesses during the thirty-six years since then answers emphatically Yes! Note what all this blessing includes:
6. What has this blessing included as to literature?
6 October 1, 1919, the magazine The Golden Age (now Awake!) began to be published as a complement to The Watch Tower. In 1920, commencing with Talking with the Dead? and later Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a new series of booklets began to be published regularly. The old Bible textbooks, the seven volumes of Studies in the Scriptures (1886-1917), were replaced, for, beginning with The Harp of God of 1921, a new series of Bible study textbooks was published culminating in the book You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World in 1955. All these publications since 1919 have kept presenting Bible doctrines and expositions of Bible prophecy from the progressive standpoint and not according to tradition or the understanding of any dead man. In addition to publishing those Bible study helps, the Watch Tower Society has entered into publishing Bible versions, The Emphatic Diaglott, the King James Version, the American Standard Version, and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. New free tracts were provided, the “Challenge” of 1922 starting off the series that has run into the hundreds of millions of copies till now.
7. As to means of production and assemblies?
7 Additionally, beginning in 1920 with the small printing plant at 35 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, factories were established for printing the literature of Jehovah’s witnesses upon their own presses, and now a thirteen-story addition is in building opposite the nine-story factory at 117 Adams Street. There has been an increase in the number of branches of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania from less than twenty in 1919 to over seventy now, the latest ones being in Luxembourg and Berlin. Besides the recurring circuit, district and national assemblies, great international assemblies began with the Cedar Point Convention in 1919, climaxing in 1955 with the series of thirteen “Triumphant Kingdom” Assemblies at which more than four hundred thousand heard the public talk “World Conquest Soon—by God’s Kingdom” in nine languages, and over thirteen thousand were baptized. The film “The New World Society in Action,” exhibited free to hundreds of thousands over all the earth from 1954 on, continues to show the Society’s factory in operation and a number of international assemblies in progress, especially that at Yankee Stadium, New York city, in 1953, when a visible audience of 165,829 heard the public lecture there.
8. As to sound reproduction and as to training preachers?
8 Radio stations were established, the Society’s own radio station WBBR still functioning since its inauguration in 1924, and this now being supplemented by free broadcasting over commercial radio stations. For many years field sound equipment was provided and used, such as sound cars and portable phonographs for playing recorded sermons. New Bethel homes for housing branch workers were built, starting with the new Brooklyn Bethel home in 1927. The missionary school, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, was opened in 1943, and as a result of sending out missionaries therefrom into many lands scores of missionary homes have been established. Theocratic ministry schools have been set up in all the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, and for these a series of textbooks has been provided since 1943, the latest being entitled “Qualified to Be Ministers.”
9. As to promoting field activity and defending and legally establishing it, and all this with what recent participation in field activity?
9 The monthly field-service paper was issued, known as the Bulletin in 1922 but now the Informant; and this has been supplemented by booklets, the latest being Preaching Together in Unity. The former traveling preachers known as “pilgrims” have since 1927 been replaced by field-service promoters today known as district servants and circuit servants. For combating all the mischief that the enemies have framed by law against the Kingdom proclamation the Society has opened up a legal department, which has done valiantly in defending and legally establishing the right to preach the good news of the Kingdom as God has commanded through Christ. Midweek prayer, praise and testimony meetings have been superseded by practical service meetings weekly. In consequence of all the foregoing blessings the Kingdom publishers increased from thousands active in the field in 1919 to now hundreds of thousands, 642,929 engaging in the field witness by the end of August of 1955. What temple worship!
10. How has Jehovah thus rebuked the symbolic “devourer” and made the symbolic vine fruitful?
10 Looking over all these spiritual provisions for those who bring in the spiritual tithes that there may be food in Jehovah’s house, we can deeply appreciate how he has opened the floodgates of the heavens and given us a downpour of blessings so that today no more need exists. Jehovah’s witnesses are now the best spiritually provided-for people on the face of the earth. He has fulfilled his prophecy: “And I will rebuke the devourer [the devouring locust, RS, margin] for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts.” (Mal. 3:11, AS) The seed we have sown has been protected, to grow and come to fruition, and the devouring enemies, like locusts, have not been permitted to devour the fruitage by their overrunning tactics, leaving our fields barren of increases. Our pestilential enemies have been rebuked, but the fields of Christendom have been overrun by the plague of symbolic locusts foretold in Joel, chapter two. We are having a blessed time of harvest. Our vine of Kingdom joy has not been blasted or ruined by pests, to cause the developing fruit to drop off or shrivel up before our gladness of heart is realized. Our expectations have been realized, no, exceeded. So we have spiritual bread to strengthen our hearts and spiritual wine to gladden them as we go on in Jehovah’s service and regularly bring into his storehouse the whole memorial of our complete dedication to him.
11. In what way is the nation of spiritual Israel rich, happy and dwelling in a land that is married?
11 Whereas the ancient tithe-bringing nation of Israel was to be materially rich, the nation of spiritual Israel, Jehovah’s anointed witnesses, today is spiritually rich. They have the evidences of the divine favor, blessing and protection in spite of all the attacks of the enemy. Always they have come through triumphant, no matter how terrible and trying their earthly experiences. They are producing the fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit, which is love, joy, peace, goodness, faith, etc., and hence are not corrupted by the “works of the flesh.” They are a clean organization of clean worship. (Gal. 5:19-23) They have a satisfying Bible message, one that glorifies God and satiates one’s hunger and thirst for spiritual nourishment. They are rich in the possessing of God’s unique holy name, and they dwell in a theocratic earthly condition, a symbolic “land” worthy of the name “Beulah,” for it is a land not forsaken, not destitute of inhabitants, but a land undivorceably married by a nonemigrating remnant. So Jehovah’s prediction has come true: “And all nations shall call you happy; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Jehovah of hosts.”—Mal. 3:12, AS.
12. (a) How have all nations called spiritual Israel happy and a “delightsome land”? (b) How have they acted to share themselves in this spiritual prosperity and happiness?
12 This has happened at the unhappiest time of all human history, when all the nations are suffering from the “beginning of pangs of distress” and all the aftereffects thereof since 1914. Individuals in all these unhappy nations have come to see that the remnant of spiritual Israelites belong to the organization in which Jehovah delights, named Hephzibah, meaning “My delight is in her”; and that they are happy because their God is Jehovah and they are a “delightsome land” because he delights in them as much as a bridegroom delights in his bride. (Ps. 33:12, AS; Isa. 62:4, 5) Such individuals of the nations call the spiritual remnant happy. Yearning for spiritual prosperity and happiness themselves, they come to the “delightsome land.” They join themselves to the spiritually prosperous remnant. They come up to the exalted mountain of Jehovah’s house, climb up to his temple courts and join in the worship of him with spirit and truth, just as foretold at Isaiah 2:2-4. Learning that continued spiritual prosperity is based upon their obedient action, they too bring in their spiritual tithes in Jehovah’s temple storehouse that there may be sustenance in his sacred house for the temple servants. “For from the rising of the sun even unto its setting my name shall be great among the nations; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure oblation: for my name shall be great among the nations, saith Jehovah of hosts. . . . I am a great King, saith Jehovah of hosts, and my name is terrible among the nations.”—Mal. 1:11, 14, Da.
13. How have the worldly proud ones spoken and acted, but how have all their false reasonings been disproved?
13 Jehovah’s witnesses, who have faithfully put him to the test, are the happiest people on earth and know it is not useless to serve Jehovah God. The worldly proud ones in Christendom, of which the rejected “evil slave” class is a part, are not happy; they have no faith in Jehovah God to test him for his blessing. To them he says: “‘Your words have been stout against me,’ says the LORD. ‘But you say, “How have we spoken against thee?” You say, “It is useless to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his charge, and have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts? So now we are deeming the arrogant fortunate [happy]; the doers of wickedness, indeed, are built up; in fact, they test God, and escape!”’” (Mal. 3:13-15, AT) They have not rejoiced in Jehovah’s established kingdom but have opposed those who advertise it. They have walked in mourning before Jehovah of hosts, because of not seeing the issue and so not appreciating the privilege of suffering for God’s side in the great controversy over the sovereignty of the universe. They fret because the schemers of wickedness momentarily prosper materially and politically in their way. (Ps. 37:1, 7) Unlike Job, they take a materialistic viewpoint and charge God with foolishness. (Job 1:22) They have the form of godliness but deny its power. They think their troubles have been in spite of their serving God, whereas these have in fact come because they fail to serve God unselfishly from the heart, not formally for selfish gain but with proper respect, fear and love. The outpoured, overflowing blessing upon Jehovah’s tithe-bringing witnesses disproves all the false reasonings of the disgruntled, faithless, disobedient religionists of Christendom.
14. So what difference already shows up before Armageddon as foretold?
14 Yes, the difference between faithless robbers of God and the remnant of tithe bringers already shows up before Armageddon’s war, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14-16, NW) They have talked respectfully and not cursed Jehovah. “Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts, even mine own possession, in the day that I make [or, do this]; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”—Mal. 3:16-18, AS, margin.
15. Who, since 1931, have joined the remnant in speaking together, and how will that remnant be spared and the wicked be shown up?
15 To speak with one another the Jehovah-fearing remnant met together regularly to express their thoughts about his name. Since 1931 those to whom Jehovah’s name has become great and terrible among the nations have come and joined in the meetings of the remnant to speak to the glory of Jehovah’s name. Jehovah of hosts claims the remnant as his very own possession, taken out from all the nations. (1 Pet. 2:9, NW) The people of good will also recognize the tithe-bringing remnant to be Jehovah’s possession and so they cleave to them as His choice people, that they may enjoy the coming salvation with them. They know that Jehovah promises to spare the remnant in the day when he takes action and vindicates his universal sovereignty by fighting the war of Armageddon to victory. In that war he will remember to spare them from destruction, for they are recorded in his book of remembrance because of fearing him and bringing in the whole tithe into his storehouse. His sparing them alive during that war will be with all the tenderness of a father who spares the obedient, respectful son that lovingly serves him. Then by the salvation of the Jehovah fearers and the destruction of the Jehovah despisers we shall once more see the difference between the truly righteous and the wicked, between those truly serving God according to his commands and those not serving him.
16. How do the good-will people also make a test of Jehovah, and with what blessed results?
16 In the face of such a coming differentiation between the two classes let all the people of good will out of all nations now go up with the remnant to Jehovah’s house bearing the spiritual tithes with them. In this way take courage to act on his invitation and put him to the test. Making this test leads to your abundant blessing now, to spiritual prosperity. It will lead to your being spared with the remnant through the war of Armageddon to enjoy everlasting life in Jehovah’s new world with material as well as spiritual prosperity on earth.