Find Your Place in the New World Society
“Now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.”—1 Cor. 12:18.
1, 2. (a) What physical facts prove that Jehovah is a God of order? (b) What arrangement, then, should we expect to find in the New World society?
LOOK above into the vault of heaven on a clear moonless night and count the number of stars if you can. Thousands are visible to the naked eye. Actually there are billions; yes, hundreds of billions of these stellar bodies may be observed when the boundless depths of outer space are probed with powerful telescopes and special photographic equipment. Certainly mere men are dwarfed by this display of immeasurable greatness. Yet here is something even more marvelous and awe-inspiring to ponder over: The uncountable material hosts of heaven are not thrown together in a haphazard chaotic scramble without thought or reason, but, rather, according to a most intricate pattern of a Supreme Intelligence each one has its fixed place in the unlimited expanse of celestial space. Moreover, instead of being stationary or frozen in place like grains of sand in hardened concrete each star is in high motion and is traveling at an astounding speed. Each star has its own individual orbit, each its predictable course in which it moves with precise timing; each is controlled by established laws of the Creator.
2 Jehovah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, by his own design and arrangement has set the stars each and all in their places. Hence we may say that each star has a God-given position, a divine assignment, its proper individual place. (Gen. 1:1; 2:1; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 8:3; Isa. 45:12, AS) So it is in all of Jehovah’s creative works. He is a God of orderly arrangement. “God is a God, not of disorder.” Hence all things in his organization “take place decently and by arrangement,” by divine assignment. It is only reasonable, therefore, to expect that in the New World society, which is also a special creation of Jehovah, there would be a place arranged for each individual member. An examination of the Scriptures and facts shows us that this is so.—1 Cor. 14:33, 40.
3. Since 1918, what place have the remnant filled?
3 At one time the earthly remnant of the “bride” of Christ were in Babylonish captivity, but surely that was no proper place for this pure virgin class of Christ’s footstep followers. So when Jehovah came to the spiritual temple for judgment in 1918 this faithful remnant class were commanded to get out of Satan’s filthy Babylonish system. They obeyed. Then God placed the restored remnant in their proper place, at the very center of the New World society, appointing them as “the faithful and discreet slave” to watch over and care for all the Master’s belongings. (Rev. 18:4; Matt. 24:45-47) Other scriptures speak of God’s spiritual temple, of which the remnant is the only visible part remaining on earth, as constituting a “spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” “You have been built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah.”—1 Pet. 2:5; Eph. 2:19-21.
4, 5. (a) According to the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, what other class of people are finding a place in the New World society? (b) Is this “great crowd” an idle class without responsibilities?
4 Today great multitudes of other people are coming to this house or temple of God and are gathering around this visible temple class, the central core of the New World society, even as the prophets Isaiah and Micah foretold would take place in these latter days. “And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.”—Isa. 2:2, 3; Mic. 4:1, 2, AS.
5 With already upward of seven hundred and sixteen thousand persons, speaking more than a hundred languages and numbered from more than one hundred and sixty lands and islands of the seas, all congregated as a New World society around the Lamb Christ Jesus as the Right Shepherd, it is most important for each one to recognize his proper place in the organization, recognize whether he is of the remnant of spiritual Israel or of the “great crowd” associated with the remnant. (Rev. 7:4-10; John 10:16) That those constituting the “great crowd” must also bear a heavy load of responsibility Isaiah’s prophecy shows, for after describing the condition of the restored remnant it says that those of the “great crowd” would be as strangers that feed the flocks and as aliens that serve as plowmen and vinedressers. So whether of the remnant class or of this “great crowd,” each one is accountable to the one Master to take his place in this fertile, fruit-bearing organization and then discharge the duties assigned. None are exempt from the King’s service. “Each one will carry his own load of responsibility.”—Isa. 61:4, 5, AS; Rom. 14:4; Gal. 6:5.
6. What place of pre-eminence and authority does Jehovah occupy in this organization?
6 The New World society is and must of necessity be theocratic in its structure, that is, God-ruled from top to bottom. At the very head of the organization, faithfully residing in his most rightful place, is Jehovah God, the Most High and the most glorious Sovereign of the universe. “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” In him alone reside all three branches of government, the judicial, the legislative and the executive. “For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king.” “Jehovah himself has firmly established his throne in the very heavens, and his own kingship has held domination even over everything.”—Ps. 83:18; Isa. 33:22, AS; Ps. 103:19.
7. Describe some of the special privileges of service entrusted to Christ Jesus.
7 Christ Jesus, “the only-begotten Son of God,” also has a very proper place in this New World structure. He is the Ransomer and Redeemer, “by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins.” Also, “he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things.” Furthermore, “Christ did not glorify himself by becoming a high priest [of his own initiative], but was glorified by [Jehovah] who spoke with reference to him: ‘You are . . . a priest forever after the likeness of Melchizedek.’” This King-Priest is now reigning in the heavens as “King of kings and Lord of lords,” and as Jehovah’s great Vindicator he is riding at the head of all the armies of heaven, riding to the battle of Armageddon, where he will crush the very life out of Satan’s wicked organization. Jehovah’s long-promised New World government ‘is upon his shoulder and his name is called Prince of Peace, and of the increase of his peaceful government there shall be no end,’ for he will rule for a thousand years, restoring paradise in all its glorious perfection. (Col. 1:14, 18; Heb. 5:5, 6; Rev. 19:11-16; Isa. 9:6, 7, AS) This is the sacred treasure of service that has been divinely entrusted to Christ Jesus; and no enemy of his, not even the Devil and all the demons of outer darkness, can take him away or crowd him out of his place in Jehovah’s new system of things!
ONE BODY WITH MANY MEMBERS
8. How does the human body in its structure resemble the New World society?
8 Even as “the head of the Christ is God,” so Christ, in turn, “is head of the congregation.” (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23) Logically it follows that there are not many organizations, not even two, beneath this centralized headship. There is but one theocratic organization, even though within this one structure there are many branches of service and departments of work, many places to be individually filled, and many assignments of duties, each carrying its own degree of responsibility. Thus we read in Ephesians 4:4-12: “One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all persons, who is over all and through all and in all.” Only one organization, yes, yet the eleventh verse says, “And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as missionaries, some as shepherds and teachers.” What for? Why, “with a view to the training of the holy ones for the ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ,” the one body or organization. This also shows that in the early Christian organization there were many appointments made, and they were made theocratically, not democratically.—Acts 10:44, 45, 48; 14:23; 20:28.
9. How was the early Christian organization held together, and with what results?
9 With the spread of Christianity in the first century many congregations were established in various parts of the Roman Empire, but instead of becoming isolated and independent organizations these scattered groups were kept closely attached to the central governing body at Jerusalem by letters and by the periodic visits of traveling representatives. “Now as they [the visiting representatives] traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there [the local congregations] for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men [the central governing body] who were in Jerusalem.” And what was the result of each one’s keeping his place in that young and growing organization? The next verse answers: “Therefore, indeed, the congregations continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number from day to day.”—Acts 16:4, 5.
10. Show how the basic organizational structure of Jehovah’s witnesses today conforms to that established in the first century.
10 Removed as we are from the infancy of Christianity by some nineteen hundred years, yet under the headship of the same Higher Powers, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, there still remains but one theocratic organization, represented in the earth today by the one God-sponsored and God-ruled organization, the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. Even though the twentieth-century expansion of this truly primitive Christian society has been phenomenal, yet in basic structure it conforms to the divine pattern set out in the first century. As then, so now in the modern society of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses “God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.” (1 Cor. 12:18) As then, so now it has pleased the divine headship to establish a central directive body, which serves and governs Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the earth. Representing this central body are many branch servants and thousands of traveling ministers who serve in various capacities as zone, district and circuit servants. These representatives, besides visiting many isolated publishers of the good news, regularly serve 16,883 organized congregations. In these established congregations there are various servants appointed by the central governing body and its special representatives to oversee the local activities of Jehovah’s witnesses.
11. Describe the earth-wide unity among Jehovah’s witnesses. How is this possible?
11 This being organized from top to bottom to conform to the theocratic pattern has brought about a oneness and unity among Jehovah’s people not to be found in another group on the face of the earth. In thought and belief, in doctrine and teaching, in activity and conduct and in living habits and practices there is a oneness and unity among Jehovah’s witnesses that leaps all geographical boundaries, all language barriers and all national and tribal customs. Now such oneness and harmony are made possible only because each one in walking in his integrity finds his proper place in this society and then discharges his God-given responsibilities in faithfulness.
12. How does 1 Corinthians 12:20-30 make room in the New World society for congregation publishers who are not overseers?
12 Are you appointed overseers in a local congregation of this New World society? If you are in such a position, the apostle Peter says you must “shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly, neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly, neither as lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:2, 3) Or are you an honored congregation publisher without particular overseer responsibilities? If so, you too have a proper and important place in God’s arrangement of things. “Now they are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand: ‘I have no need of you’; or, again, the head cannot say to the feet: ‘I have no need of you.’ But much rather is it the case that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, and the parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, these we surround with more abundant honor, . . . God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. . . . Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healing, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are translators, are they?”—1 Cor. 12:20-30.
13. When taking the good and wholesome place provided among Jehovah’s witnesses for youth, what responsibilities must they also assume?
13 In this globe-encircling New World society there is also plenty of room for our children and youth. You younger ones should therefore know your place and take it. The Bible mentions some children in the past that did this very thing. So follow the good examples set by such boys and girls as Samuel, Jeremiah, Jephthah’s daughter, Timothy and Jesus, to mention a few. Prepare yourselves for greater privileges that will be assigned to you when you prove capable of carrying a heavier load of responsibility. To this end take in knowledge of the Scriptures, both by personal and by organized group study, which knowledge will make you wise for salvation. Study your assignments ahead of time and come prepared to take an active part in the congregational meetings. Grow to maturity in spiritual wisdom and understanding not only by diligent study but also by taking part in the various forms of ministerial activity. Regularly engage in the house-to-house preaching work and in the weekly distribution of the magazines. Learn how to call back properly on interested persons and how to conduct home Bible studies with them. Show proper and due respect for your parents as well as toward the overseers in the organization. “Remember, now, your grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.” This is certainly the place, and it is a good and wholesome place, for the youth among Jehovah’s witnesses. And, praise Jehovah! the wise youths who find and keep this happy place are not numbered among the criminal delinquents of this present wicked system of things.—Eccl. 12:1.
IS YOUR PLACE PIONEERING?
14, 15. (a) Does the New World society make room also for pioneers and missionaries? (b) As a pioneering missionary, what blessings and privileges did the apostle Paul enjoy?
14 Often there are full-time pioneers and missionary publishers associated with local congregations. They too have a place in this society of Christian ministers. Being free of Scriptural obligations that would prevent them from serving as full-time ministers, they seek first the kingdom of God instead of selfish pursuits and, like the apostle Paul, they count the loss of worldly position and material luxuries as so much refuse or common garbage.—Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 3:8.
15 Stop and consider what a privileged man the apostle Paul was. He was the “foremost apostle” to the Gentile nations. He traveled over a considerable expanse of the Roman Empire, visiting many places and establishing many congregations. Paul was further privileged to write more of the Christian Greek Scriptures than anyone else. In Athens he bore witness before the most distinguished philosophers and educated men of his day. He also testified before the Supreme Court of Jerusalem, the Jewish Sanhedrin. He had the privilege of preaching the good news about Christ Jesus, the New World Ruler, before such oldworld rulers as Governors Felix and Festus, King Agrippa, and eventually before the Imperial Court of the Roman emperor Nero. All these and many more privileges and blessings Paul enjoyed when as a pioneer he crossed over the threshold separating the part-time from the full-time ministry.
16. (a) Are all able to enter the pioneer service? (b) How does Jesus’ illustration show the danger of being so preoccupied with personal matters that one misses out on the privilege of pioneering?
16 That same open door of opportunity is before those of the New World society today. But some feel they are not able to enter the pioneer ranks because they have small children or other dependents, or because they are in a feeble state of health. Others feel they are so heavily burdened down with financial obligations that must be met that it is impossible for them to pioneer. On the other hand, there are a large number of persons associated with Jehovah’s witnesses who profess to be fully dedicated to God’s service and who are free of binding Scriptural obligations, yet, for one excuse or another, they attempt to beg off from assuming the responsibility that goes with pioneering. May it not be said that these persons are out of their proper place in the New World society? Are they not out of orbit, wandering carefree off course, attempting to remain free of the restrictions and routine of full-time pioneer service? This is certainly a foolish and dangerous course to pursue, for it borders on the attitude had by those in Jesus’ illustration who begged off from attending a special banquet simply because they had bought a field or some oxen or because they had married a wife. Now was not the proper place for those invited guests at the banquet table? And were not their excuses extremely small and trivial? No wonder the householder’s anger was kindled against those excuse-makers who were so preoccupied with selfish interests that they passed up an opportunity of a lifetime! True, it would have inconvenienced them somewhat to cancel, postpone or rearrange their personal affairs in order to accept the special invitation. But what surpassing joys and blessings they would have had if only they had made room in their lives for the extraordinary privilege offered them!—Luke 14:16-24.
17. What was the pioneer Paul’s attitude toward his ministry?
17 The same is true with the opportunity of full-time service that is offered today to those free to accept it. It is not easy to pioneer. Cancellations of personal programs, for example, a college education or a specialized career, may be necessary in order to accommodate the full-time pioneer service in one’s life. Many obstacles and much opposition must be overcome. Paul had to surmount similar obstacles in order to cross the threshold and enter the enlarged field of activity as a pioneer. “A large door,” he says, “that leads to activity has been opened to me, but there are many opposers.” Again this full-time servant of the Lord God wrote: “Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? Will tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword?” If on earth today Paul might add: ‘Will the materialism and luxuries of this age prevent us from proving our love for God in the full-time service?’ Positively and forcefully he answers all such questions, saying, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Any other “creation” would include not only animate creatures but also all the inanimate luxuries and unnecessary things of this modern civilization, which things those having the same mental attitude as Paul do not allow to come between them and their proving their love for God to the full extent of their ability.—1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 4:7-11; Rom. 8:35-39.
18. Is it possible for one today to have the same peace of mind and contentment that Paul possessed?
18 Paul’s peace of mind and contentment and his joy and happiness in life certainly did not suffer because of the privations he experienced. His personal loss of many of the comforts of life did not dampen or quench his fire and zeal. His writings bubble with enthusiasm and optimism as he urges others to follow him in his Christlike way of life. He never complained when it was necessary to work part time at his secular trade in order to keep in the apostolic ministry. You too can partake of similar blessings as Paul and others enjoyed, provided you also enter into the same privileges of service as they did.
19. In making sure we find our proper place in the New World society, how should we question ourselves?
19 Question yourself whether you have found your proper place of service in the New World society. Do you have family responsibilities that hinder and prevent you from engaging in the pioneer service? If so, the Scriptures say you most certainly must take care of such responsibilities. (1 Tim. 5:8) Or are you free of legitimate Scriptural obligations, free to enter through the large door that leads to activity in the pioneer service? Are you willing and anxious to be a missionary and travel to foreign lands and there serve where the need is great? Perhaps you have the willingness and desire but lack the physical health to go to foreign fields of service. There is a great need for full-time ministers in every country of Christendom. The so-called Christian nations need Christian missionaries as much as the rest of the world. There are many isolated territories among people speaking your own language where there is a crying need for more pioneers. Your home congregation undoubtedly needs more full-time ministers to feed, train and care properly for the “other sheep” that are flocking into the New World society. Now if your proper place in this organization of diversified assignments is that of a full-time pioneer or missionary, then it is certainly wrong and foolish to allow the cares and anxieties of the old-world system of things to prevent you from occupying your rightful place.
20. Why the urgency now to both find and keep one’s place in the constellation of the New World society?
20 Jehovah God has a place for each one of us in his organization, just as he has a place for the two hundred million times two hundred billion stars of space. Under Jehovah and Christ Jesus, for those of the remnant and those of the “other sheep,” for appointed servants and for congregation publishers, for those old and those young in years, for part-time and for full-time ministers—yes, indeed, in this highly organized New World society there is a properly assigned place for each and all. It is therefore most important for every living individual to find his appropriate place quickly in this association. It is not less important either, as the following article shows, that, having found one’s place in the constellation of the New World society, one should faithfully remain in it if one hopes to survive Armageddon and live forever in eternal peace and happiness.