Jehovah’s Helper and the New World Society
JUST before Christ Jesus ascended to his Father following his resurrection he commissioned his disciples to preach the good news in all the inhabited earth and make disciples and baptize them. Then he added: “And, look! I am with you all the days until the consummation of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:20) What did he mean by those words? He certainly would not be with them in a bodily way, for he would be sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Well, then, would he merely have his mind or thoughts turned toward them, as when we today say we are with someone in spirit, a purely mental directing of our mind to think about the person or group?
By our reading Luke’s account of the same event (Luke 24:48, 49; Acts 1:4, 5), the meaning of Jesus’ statement becomes clear to us: “You are to be witnesses of these things. And, look! I am sending forth upon you that which is promised by my Father. You, though, abide in the city until you become clothed with power from on high.” “And while he was meeting with them he gave them the orders: ‘Do not withdraw from Jerusalem, but keep waiting for what the Father has promised, about which you heard from me; because John, indeed, baptized with water, but you will be baptized in holy spirit not many days after this.’”
Far from just fixing his mind upon them and leaving them orphans, so to speak, Jesus would be used by Jehovah to send upon his followers the helper, or comforter, or advocate (paraʹcletos, Greek). His description of the helper and its operations on behalf of the congregation, on the night he was betrayed, makes very interesting reading.
NOT A PERSON
The clergy of most religions stoutly maintain that the helper is the third person of the trinity. In their assumed wisdom they claim that, mysterious as it might sound, “he” is equal in power, substance and eternity with the Father and Son. Looking down their spiritual noses at those who are honest enough to admit that the trinity doctrine does not make sense, they do not deign to answer pointed questions, which might prove embarrassing, but try to squelch all such opposition by loftily stating that such doctrines are not beyond reason but may be above reason, your reason. Nevertheless, here are some more questions that call for some of their “wisdom” in the form of answers. If the helper is a person and coequal with the Father and the Son, then what is his relation to them? Another son? A brother? A twin of Christ Jesus? If so, then in what sense is Jesus the “only-begotten” of the Father?
The Bible, not the clergy, gives the true information regarding the helper. For one thing, the Greek language, which is the original language of the Christian Scriptures, is a precise language. The Greeks had a word to express the exact meaning or shade of meaning that they wished to convey, and the Christian writers knew that language well. In addition they wrote under inspiration and so would certainly select the correct words to convey the truth clearly.
Notice how the use of the neuter gender in referring to the helper shows it not to be a person: “And I will request the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you.” (John 14:16, 17; also AT, ED, Ro) “When the helper arrives that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth which proceeds from the Father, that one will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26; also ED, AS) “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear.”—Acts 2:32, 33; also AV, RS, Mo, Dy, etc.
It is true that Jesus used the masculine gender when calling the holy spirit the helper, paraʹcletos, but the context of such places, as well as the many other places where the holy spirit is mentioned, shows again that it is not a person. In describing the benefits to be obtained from receiving the helper, Jesus said: “Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit I am going away. For if I do not go away, the helper will by no means come to you; but if I do go my way, I will send him to you. And when that one arrives he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment: in the first place, concerning sin, because they are not exercising faith in me; then concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will behold me no longer; then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:7-15) Jesus was here personalizing the spirit as a helper, which practice is familiar to Bible readers.—Judg. 9:8-15.
In this age of electronics it should be an easy thing for us to grasp the fact that an inanimate force or energy can “speak” whatever it hears as well as do many other wonderful things. By means of radio and television a person can speak and be seen by a distant and scattered audience whose receiving sets are tuned to that particular broadcasting frequency. By means of his electronic “cat eye” man can now see in the dark. No one today, however, would declare that electricity, which is the basis of modern electronics, is a person. It is simply an invisible power or energy created by Jehovah that man has learned to harness.
So it is with the holy spirit. It is Jehovah’s invisible active force or energy by which he operates the universe and accomplishes his will. It was that force from on high that caused the mighty deeds to be performed by Jehovah’s servants of old and that inspired the prophets to write the Hebrew Scriptures. Now, through Christ Jesus, it was to function in a special way toward his disciples. Jehovah, its Sender, always fully controls its operation.
At Pentecost, not many days later, the promised helper came. “And suddenly there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And tongues as if of fire became visible and were distributed to them, and one sat upon each one of them, and they all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4) They were baptized in the spirit and were there begotten as spiritual sons of God; they were filled with the spirit. It was Jehovah’s energizing force, not a person, that was thus poured out upon them. From then on it would act as an advocate on their behalf and a helper in carrying forward their commission.
VARIETIES OF OPERATIONS
To get the early congregation organized and firmly started in its work many things were necessary, which were made possible by the helper. As Paul explains: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6) Special gifts were given to various members of the congregation so that some could teach, others prophesy and others organize, with the apostles and older ones in Jerusalem acting as a co-ordinating governing body of the whole congregation. Through the apostles certain gifts of the spirit could be conferred on others.
The very act of the outpouring of the spirit furnished convincing evidence, to that world, of sin on the part of the Jewish nation in particular against God and his Son and showed them to be a part of Satan’s system of things. It proved the righteousness of the Son, for he had been resurrected; and this active force from on high was through him, showing his acceptance by the Father. Now a judgment was entered against the “prince of this world,” for he had failed in his effort to corrupt the integrity of Christ Jesus, making his own destruction doubly certain.
Pentecost was only the beginning of the fulfilling of Jesus’ words. Beginning with Peter as spokesman, the message concerning sin and righteousness and judgment was preached first in Jerusalem and then abroad. God’s truth on the reason for sin and his provision to cancel its effects were proclaimed along with information about our repentance and taking the course leading to being declared righteous through faith in Christ Jesus. The great issue over universal sovereignty and the coming day of wrath and the execution of Jehovah’s judgment were preached, and this preaching work continues to this very hour, when it has reached its greatest intensity and scope.
At the direction of the helper the good news was carried to the nations so that both Jews and Gentiles could know God and be accepted into the congregation. Cornelius and his family became the first Gentile recipients of God’s mercy. Then the spirit caused Paul and his companions to do missionary work among the people of the nations, while Peter and the other apostles concentrated on the Palestine area and the East.
Through the spirit from on high it was possible for the good news and its proclamation to be boldly defended and legally established. The helper made known Jehovah’s will in matters of doctrine and morals. It caused prophesying to be done regarding matters soon to occur and in the far-distant future.—Acts 4:18-20; 5:32; 10:18, 44; 21:4, 11.
POSITION OF THE ANGELS
Jehovah did not withdraw the angels from the service in behalf of and in connection with his earthly servants with the sending of the helper. They continued to serve and, in many instances, they seem to be directly responsible for the functioning of the spirit on a particular occasion. In the case of the apostles’ being freed from prison, the angel who freed them also instructed them to continue their preaching activity. An angel of God caused Philip to contact and convert the Ethiopian. Cornelius received his instructions on getting in touch with Peter by means of one of the angels. Paul was counseled and comforted by an angel on one occasion. Christ Jesus sent his angel with God’s revelation to John to be recorded as the last book of the Bible.—Acts 5:19, 20; 10:3; 8:26; 27:23, 24; Rev. 1:1.
We are now in the time of the parousía of our Lord. Prophecy clearly shows that he would be accompanied with many angels and that they would perform services with regard to the New World society. They are the reapers of the harvest; they gather out all things that offend in the organization of Jehovah’s servants on earth. The helper is still in operation among Jehovah’s dedicated ones and performs similar services as at Pentecost, though the miraculous gifts ceased with the death of the apostles. In the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy Joel (2:28, 29) there was an outpouring of the spirit in 1919, with the founding of the New World society, and again in 1922, which corresponded with the two outpourings A.D. 33 and 36. This has resulted in completing the full membership of the congregation of God and in the final manifestation of the “man of lawlessness [or, sin],” as the angels do their work of gathering out the lawless ones who resist the spirit.—2 Thess. 2:3-8.
Those who have worked with the New World society for ten, twenty or more years have seen convincing evidence of the operation of the holy spirit as a guide and counselor. No man can be given credit for the wonderful flow of truths: the vision of the Kingdom’s establishment, the vindication of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, our new name, the “great crowd,” etc. Decisions with regard to theocratic organization, the casting away of false religious practices, the operating of Gilead School and the increasing of missionary work are certainly not reached or accomplished by purely human reasoning and logic. The great legal victories that have become so numerous and that have defended and legally established our right to expand true worship are really Jehovah’s victories. He assures us that it is not by might or by power but by his spirit.—Zech. 4:6, AV.
Now, under the guidance of the helper, all of us, the remnant along with the “other sheep,” are preaching the final convincing message of sin and righteousness and judgment. Jehovah will not remove that spirit. (Isa. 59:21, AV) So let it have free rein in you as you continue to receive its benefits. “The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of you.”—2 Cor. 13:14.