Jehovah Brings the Increase
“To us belongs nothing, O Jehovah, to us belongs nothing, but to your name give glory according to your loving-kindness, according to your trueness.”—Ps. 115:1.
1. (a) Why is it here stated that Christianity is on the increase? (b) Where should the credit for such increase be given, and why?
FALSE, imitation Christianity is a curse to mankind. True, genuine Christianity is a blessing to men of good will. Is true Christianity on the increase at this time? Yes, it is. This is a well-considered answer, based on events that are actually taking place, and it is true in spite of the fact that now is the most materialistic time of man’s history. Who is accomplishing the increase in true Christianity? The One accomplishing it, the One to whom all credit is given, is the true God himself, Jehovah. In some sectors of the earth orthodox church evangelism is prominent from time to time, but such “evangelism” has nothing to do with the God-given increase of true Christianity. It is true that in some sectors church membership and church attendance have increased; but that such increase is no part of the present expansion of true Christianity is demonstrated by the fact that in those same sectors devilish materialism also increases, and is accompanied by increasing crime, lawlessness and violation of every righteous commandment and principle of Christianity. So for the advance of the cause of clean worship, pure religion, true Christianity, no man and no organization of men can properly claim credit; but, on the contrary, “To us belongs nothing, O Jehovah, to us belongs nothing, but to your name give glory according to your loving-kindness, according to your trueness.”—Ps. 115:1.
2. Why must we be in accord with Psalm 115:1?
2 Are you in accord with the expression of this psalm? Are you willing, yes, anxious that the glory go to Jehovah’s name? Jehovah is accomplishing his purposes to the glory of his name and according to his own loving-kindness, and with such we must be in accord if we are to share in the blessings of Christianity’s increase now. The increase is also ‘according to his trueness.’ The truth of God’s Word, the Bible, is the precious gathering instrument, which he is using to bring about his increase earth-wide.—Ps. 115:1, margin.
3. (a) Why is Christian prosperity certain? (b) How is it being accomplished? (c) Where do the facts locate it? Why there?
3 To observe this increase with glory to Jehovah’s name according to his loving-kindness and truth, where can we look? To what quarter can we turn to see actually it in progress? That such increase is on and is to be permanently successful is unquestionably certain, because Jehovah himself is the great One who brings it about. How is it being accomplished on earth? Economically? No, because the world’s economy is at once materialistic and sick. Politically? No, because no political organization or nation of the East or of the West is devoted to the glory of Jehovah’s name, to his loving-kindness, or to his trueness. Religiously? Yes, religiously; but certainly not among orthodox religions of pagandom or of Christendom, because no one of such religions holds high the name of Jehovah God or requires that its adherents acknowledge his loving-kindness and conform to his truth. And yet on every hand, wherever we turn, in all quarters, in all the earth, is seen the increase in true Christianity, which Jehovah God himself is bringing about in our wonderful day. It is seen in the earth-wide, Christian New World society. This New World society is not a philosophy of economy or of politics, nor has it anything in common with orthodox religion, but it is strictly Christian.
4. In what way does Ezekiel 36:8-11 show Jehovah’s reason for bringing the increase?
4 It is well for us to realize thoroughly that while the increase is certain, due to the fact that Jehovah brings it, it is for his own good purpose that he does so. What is his purpose? Why does he grant prosperity upon his worshipers? Because they give glory to his name, because of his own name’s sake: “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded; and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezek. 36:8-11, AS) That this beautiful, pictorial prophecy finds no fulfillment in any political nation of earth, the nation of modern Israel, or otherwise, is evident in the conditions, standards and practices of such nations. And yet the prophecy is true. We see it fulfilled upon those who are in fact today of “the Israel of God,” spiritual Israel, the Christian congregation.—Gal. 6:16.
5. (a) How may we share in today’s spiritual prosperity? (b) What new nation is subject to the God in heaven? (c) What proves the new nation knows its God?
5 If we are to share in the blessings of today’s spiritual prosperity we must not merely be aware of the increase Jehovah is bringing, but be awake to its significance, be associated with it, be attentive to God’s truth. Before the entire world the New World society stands as proof of this mounting increase. This it does, not as a new sect or a new denomination, because, organizationally, the New World society is one of primitive Christians, and it is neither a sect nor a denomination in the usual sectarian sense of these words. Rather, it is before the world now as a new nation, not under worldly direction, not praising lesser gods or serving earthly gods, but praising and serving the great heavenly One. Hence Jehovah’s witnesses say: “Why should the nations say: ‘Where, now, is their God?’ But our God is in the heavens; everything in which he took a delight he has done.” (Ps. 115:2, 3) Accordingly, those of the New World society know their God and they make him known to others through the proclamation of his truth, which, in turn, gathers others, to his praise. So advanced has this Christian organization and work become that it is actually represented throughout the earth by more than 700,000 zealous ministers who are carrying to other persons the essential knowledge of Jehovah’s trueness.
NO COMPLACENT IDOL WORSHIP
6, 7. (a) What warning comes to individual Christians? (b) As an organization, the New World society receives what command? (c) Where must our exclusive devotion and trust be placed?
6 In his loving-kindness Jehovah sounds a warning through his Word so that idol worship of false “Christianity” will ever be avoided by those who would honor him and have his approval. He is aware of the deceptiveness of idol worship. Cannot we see its danger? Certainly idol worship is materialistic, because literal idols are material things. And yet one may be inclined to believe that because an object has a mouth, eyes, ears, a nose and hands and feet, and has a throat, it must be of some account, it must even be alive. It is possible to be deceived by appearances. It is possible for a Christian to be lulled into complacency, to be sidetracked, and so, in the same Psalm 115, there comes to us a warning contrast. You are a reader of The Watchtower. You may be, not one of Jehovah’s witnesses, but a person interested in their activity or interested in the Bible to a measure, or perhaps even having your first contact with this publication. Can you not, whoever you are, recognize the warning in this scripture? To every one of us as an individual, and also to the entire New World society as an organization, comes the command to avoid as a deadly thing the idols of the nations who say to those of the New World society, ‘Where, now, is your God?’ and to trust only in Jehovah God: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of the hands of earthling man. A mouth they have, but they cannot speak; eyes they have, but they cannot see; ears they have, but they cannot hear. A nose they have, but they cannot smell. Hands are theirs, but they cannot feel. Feet are theirs, but they cannot walk; they utter no sound with their throat. Those making them will become just like them, all those who are trusting in them. O Israel, trust in Jehovah; he is their help and their shield.”—Ps. 115:4-9.
7 These idols must not be for us. Their worship is not the religion that we shall practice. Our trust must be and must continue to be in Jehovah, our help and our shield. We cannot go the way of individuals and organizations that worship idols; we cannot go the way of individuals or of organizations that serve and worship anything, any god, other than the true God Jehovah. Therein lies the warning to us as individuals and as an organization.
8. Show how appropriate it is that the warning of Psalm 115:4-9 accompanies spiritual prosperity.
8 Jehovah has brought his wonderful increase, and yet it is in connection with this spiritual prosperity that the warning comes. We must see to it that, by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness, the increase results only in good, in good to the New World society as a whole, in good to our associates therein, and good to ourselves individually. The increase must not result in our conforming to the old world. Large size must not result in our becoming just formalistic “churchgoers.” The increase in numbers must not result in complacency on our part, because we are not like idols, nor are we as the idol worshipers. We have mouths, eyes, ears, noses, hands, feet and throats, but unlike idols, as Jehovah’s servants we must be alive, using our literal and symbolic faculties and resources to the continued advancement of true Christianity, continuing to stand separate from the old world, bearing faithful witness to Jehovah’s name and his kingdom, to the blessing of our fellow man and to the praise of our God, who “is in the heavens.”
9, 10. In what way has one religious writer commented on the treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses, their prosperity, and hope for their conformity?
9 There are persons who apparently hope for our conformity to the world and who try to see in our increase and prosperity signs of such conformity. Occasionally such ideas frequently spoken find published expression. Of interest is the following example, which, while reviewing modern events after a fashion, expresses a wish or hope for conformity on our part, as follows: “Jehovah’s Witnesses is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world. In fifteen years it has tripled its membership. . . . One of my earliest impressions of the group came in the days of World War II when, on a city street, I saw a cleric jostle a Watchtower Witness and exclaim, ‘Damn you, conscientious objector!’ The witness smiled as if this treatment was but the fulfillment of what the Lord and Brooklyn headquarters had promised him. . . . we did attack a group of them in Arkansas in 1940 and beat up five with lead pipes. We tipped over their trailers at one of their Iowa conferences. We clamped them into prisons because of their views on military service and their stubborn refusal to submit to the draft. We asked police to jail a hundred of them in New Jersey because they were ‘dangerous.’ We lectured them publicly about their attitude toward the American flag and the American way. We took them to task for their opposition to blood transfusions. We slammed the doors in their faces. We preached against them and warned our people about them. And by these and other ways we proved again that those whom some will kill, others will canonize. . . . But the most startling of all features about the startling Witnesses is that they are in transition. . . . There is, first, a transition in the area of personality emphasis. . . . This brings us to the second point of transition, the matter of terminology. . . . Which leads us to a third transitional phenomenon in the open arena of social consciousness. . . . things have changed. Today the Witnesses are dipping into the accredited church rolls. Today’s convert to the new and growing Brooklyn denomination is no longer a disorderly soul from the other side of the tracks. He is the same type of person who sits in the cushioned pew of the home-town church around the corner. And he is changing the pattern of this ambitious millennialistic group so that it is becoming socially acceptable and considerably more respected than in the notorious days of Russell and the ‘millions now living shall never die’ days of Mr. Rutherford. . . . since the startling Witnesses are here to stay I can only hope that it is in the stars that they will also modify their incredible stand. . . . The Witnesses show some evidence of becoming more social-minded and more community-conscious. . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a threat, but a challenge calling once more upon the traditional church to—witness!”—The Christian Century, February 13, 1957.
10 Is this not an expressed wish for us to conform, be like other religions, quit preaching the gospel of God’s kingdom and quit insisting on the exclusive worship of Jehovah God?
11. What do we have as a basis for judging the future?
11 The modern history of steadfastness to God’s truth in spite of opposition and persecution during years just past certainly gives no indication that the future will see an abandonment of Jehovah’s requirements by his people. As to the future course of action by Jehovah’s witnesses, this is not “in the stars”; it is not to be seen by scanning the starry creation of Jehovah. In fact, attempts to foretell events by the stars or anyone’s trusting in claimed “influence” of the stars is contrary to Jehovah’s Word. Not to the stars in the visible heavens, but to the God in the heaven of heavens do we look for our future.
12. History and prophecy have what meeting since 1919?
12 So it is that the evidences of the past fifteen years, in fact, of all the years since 1919 particularly, have piled high a mighty heap of testimony to Jehovah’s name and kingdom and to Christian faithfulness. This modern history of the New World society has given fulfillment to much Bible prophecy. And the future? Will it see a modification of the Christian point of view respecting Jehovah’s supremacy and the conclusiveness of his Word? Will it see an end to the increase Jehovah brings? Do even God’s enemies really believe so? Perhaps some do so believe; perhaps many so hope. However, such beliefs or hopes are of no consequence.
13. (a) What is of consequence in considering the future of Christianity? (b) Can you be led by Jehovah’s active force?
13 What is of consequence is the continued blessing of Jehovah; “that is what makes rich.” He brings the increase. His spirit, or active force, accomplishes his purposes to his praise and to the eternal welfare of those who love him. Shall he not thereby lead the New World society in the days ahead? Emphatically, Yes! Through the New World society shall you be led by his active force in the wonderfully promising future? You can be!—Prov. 10:22.