Prophesying with the Loyal Organization
1. (a) What related loyalty is called for in our loyalty to God? (b) In giving loyalty to what religious organizations are people not giving loyalty to God?
LOYALTY to God who created and organized heaven and earth calls for loyalty to his organization. Today many persons think that by their loyalty to a religious organization they are loyal to God. But they can be wrong about this. Among things foretold to appear in our day are people and organizations described as being “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Tim. 3:1, 4, 5) These make religious claims; they pretend to be devoted to God; they go through man-made religious ceremonies conducted by men who are ordained as priests, bishops, deacons, reverends and doctors of divinity. At the same time they go in for material things, the satisfying of the flesh rather than the spirit, and thus they betray that they are not God’s true organization. They betray themselves as loving the pleasant things and sports, games and gambles of this world, and they do not show the power of true godly devotion in their lives. Their conduct belies the sincerity of their outward godly devotion. Their loyalty is to a false organization, and not to the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 1:3) Their loyalty is to a religious organization that is false to God, an organization that God does not own as his organization.
2, 3. (a) To which organization does God command us to be loyal, and what day nineteen centuries ago decided this for us? (b) That day how was the Christian congregation shown to be the organization to which to be loyal?
2 The visible organization to which God commands us to be loyal is the one upon which he has poured out his holy spirit. More than nineteen centuries ago, on the festival day of Pentecost of A.D. 33, the Jewish congregation in Jerusalem thought that they were God’s visible organization. For this reason fifty-two days previously their priests and religious rulers had forced the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate to nail Jesus Christ to a stake to die like a criminal slave. But what happened on that day of Pentecost proved whether their thinking was right or wrong. The disciples of Jesus Christ testified that he had been resurrected from the dead on the third day after his death and that he had appeared to them on a number of occasions, during forty days after his resurrection, and that they also had witnessed the beginning of his ascension to heaven. Were these disciples who had been outcasts by the Jewish organization the new visible organization of Jehovah God? The day of Pentecost decided the question in an authoritative way.
3 That day God’s holy spirit was poured out upon his approved congregation, no, not upon the Jewish congregation celebrating Pentecost at their temple in Jerusalem, but upon the disciples of Jesus Christ who were gathered in an upper room outside the temple precincts. These one hundred and twenty disciples all became filled with holy spirit and miraculously began to speak in foreign languages about the magnificent things of God. When Jehovah God had previously poured out his spirit upon Jesus of Nazareth, he said from heaven: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” Likewise, when he poured out his spirit upon that first Christian congregation in Jerusalem, it was the visible, audible evidence that he had approved them but had rejected the Jerusalem congregation of Jews who bore a community responsibility for the murder of Jesus Christ. There remained no question as to which one was the organization to which Jehovah’s worshipers must from then on be loyal. It was the Christian congregation, not the Jewish religious organization.
4. Of what prophecy was that a fulfillment, and how did those in that upper room prophesy?
4 That outpouring of the holy spirit with all its effects was a miraculous fulfillment of divine prophecy. The apostle Peter, who was one of those anointed and filled with the holy spirit that day, said it was the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32, which reads: “After that it must occur that I shall pour out my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy. As for your old men, dreams they will dream. As for your young men, visions they will see. And even on the menservants and on the maidservants in those days I shall pour out my spirit. . . . before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And it must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe.” (Acts 2:1-21) That was why all those in that upper room in Jerusalem prophesied, that is, spoke about the magnificent things of God for other persons to hear.
5. How did Peter’s remarks show whether the outpouring of the spirit was to be limited to the one hundred and twenty in that room?
5 That pouring out of the spirit was not limited to those one hundred and twenty there in that upper room in Jerusalem. Peter said that God had used Jesus Christ at his own right hand in heaven to pour out the holy spirit. So if the several thousands of Jews who heard the explanation that Peter gave of the miracle wanted to get the holy spirit in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, they would have to repent and get baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Then they would “receive the free gift of the holy spirit.”—Acts 2:22-40.
6. According to the Bible record, how did the spirit continue to be poured out, but has this continued into our own century?
6 About three thousand guilty Jews and proselytes repented and got baptized in Jesus’ name, and afterward they received the holy spirit the same as the original hundred and twenty disciples had that same day. About three and a half years later a group of uncircumcised Italians who heard Peter preach and who became believers received holy spirit and began prophesying in foreign languages. (Acts 10:1-46) Sixteen years later, A.D. 52, or nineteen years after Pentecost, the apostle Paul preached to a group of twelve believers at Ephesus in Asia Minor and they got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; after which Paul laid his hands on them and the holy spirit was poured out upon them and they began prophesying in foreign tongues. (Acts 19:1-7) We must not assume, therefore, that the outpouring of the holy spirit, which was followed by prophesying in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, was all accomplished on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33. It has continued over the years. Well, then, has the outpouring of holy spirit accompanied by prophesying continued into this twentieth century? Yes; and by means of this test we can ascertain what is the organization to which to be loyal now.
7. In what days are we living according to prophecy, and will Christendom get away safe in the coming day of Jehovah?
7 In the light of world events since A.D. 1914 as viewed from the standpoint of Bible prophecy, the evidence is overwhelming that we are living in the foretold “last days.” Nineteen centuries ago it was the “last days” for the national Jewish organization with its temple and a priesthood at Jerusalem. Since A.D. 1914, the year of the outbreak of World War I in the very center of Christendom, it has been the “last days” for Christendom, which claims to be the spiritual Israel of God. So, as in ancient Jerusalem’s case, there must be for Christendom the “coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” Will Christendom “get away safe” in that day when the entire wicked system of things goes down in destruction in unparalleled trouble? No; for Christendom does not call upon the name of Jehovah. Her heart has not been unified to fear the name of Jehovah. She is unified in the fear of atheistic Communism.
8. In determining upon Christendom’s churches as deserving of our loyalty, how do we know whether the miraculous speaking with foreign tongues is the right test or not?
8 Well, then, are the religious churches of Christendom, Catholic and Protestant, the organizations for true, dedicated, baptized Christians to be loyal to down to the very death? We must answer by asking: Do those organizations have the Pentecostal proof that they are the approved religious organization of God? Now by this we do not mean that they must speak with foreign tongues like certain so-called Pentecostal churches of Christendom. Today the speaking miraculously in foreign tongues is not the test. The gift of speaking with foreign tongues was imparted in the presence of the twelve apostles of Christ or by the laying on of their hands. Hence the miraculous gift of speaking or interpreting foreign tongues passed away with the death of the twelve apostles, just as the apostle Paul said that it would. (Acts 8:14-19; 19:1-7; 1 Cor. 13:1, 6-11) And in the list of eight services performed with God’s spirit in the Christian congregation in his day Paul lists prophecy second and the speaking with different tongues as eighth and last.—1 Cor. 12:27-31.
9. What effect of the outpouring of God’s spirit was it to which Joel’s prophecy referred, and who or how many share in this effect?
9 Let this fact not be overlooked: It was not the miraculous speaking with foreign tongues that Joel’s prophecy on the last days foretold; it was the outpouring of God’s holy spirit accompanied by prophesying. This particular prophesying was not the special gift of prophecy that was inspired, a gift that was not shared by all Christians. It was the declaration publicly of the “magnificent things of God,” and this prophesying was shared by all receivers of God’s outpoured spirit, from Pentecost forward.—Acts 2:5-11.
10. (a) What question should we ask today concerning Christendom’s churches with regard to prophesying? (b) What should be the “magnificent things of God” to be prophesied about today?
10 Since we are living in the time marked by the Scriptures as “the last days” (Acts 2:16, 17), the test upon the religious systems of Christendom today is, Have they had the spirit of Jehovah God poured out upon them through Jesus Christ? And, in proof of it, are they doing the foretold prophesying? Not merely their ordained clergy, but all members of the congregation along with their clergy? But what should they prophesy about today? What are the “magnificent things of God” that must be prophesied today like the magnificent things that were prophesied or preached on Pentecost, A.D. 33? Then the apostle Peter preached that the slain and resurrected Jesus had been made Lord and Christ at God’s right hand in the heavens. As for today, not what we ourselves say, but what the prophecy of the Bible says should be the “magnificent things of God” to talk about in prophesying under the power of God’s spirit.
11. According to Matthew 24:14, what should be the “magnificent things of God” about which to prophesy today?
11 Jesus Christ while yet in flesh on earth foretold these “last days” and the evidences by which we should know that we are living in the “conclusion of the system of things.” Among the evidences he said this: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:3, 4, 14) Accordingly, the “magnificent things of God” about which to prophesy today are the things about God’s kingdom since A.D. 1914, when the Gentile Times (”the appointed times of the nations”) ended. God then caused the birth of his promised kingdom in the hands of Christ the Lord. The newborn kingdom at once warred against Satan the Devil and his demons and cast them out of the heavens down to this earth’s neighborhood. Jehovah God then revived his persecuted witnesses on earth to initiate the greatest Kingdom witness of all times. Next he began gathering before his throne a “great crowd” of upholders and proclaimers of his newly established kingdom. Many other related things are also set forth, particularly in the last book of the Bible, A Revelation.
12, 13. (a) How do the clergy answer as to whether they are doing the foretold prophesying, and what does this prove as to the holy spirit? (b) Why, then, is the clergy’s organization not the one that will be saved?
12 These are “magnificent things of God.” But are the religious systems of Christendom, even their clergy, prophesying about these foretold things? Are they preaching this good news of the Kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, in the knowledge that the end of this system of things is coming? Are they doing this preaching and prophesying as the apostles and their fellow believers did from the day of Pentecost forward, namely, “publickly, and from house to house”? (Acts 20:20; 2:46; 5:40-42, AV) Their own confessions made verbally and in their printed publications answer No! Well, then, what does their failure to do so argue in the light of the prophetic Scriptures? This: That the holy spirit has not been poured out upon them and it is not fulfilling its mission through them.
13 Their failure to carry out Jesus’ prophecy of Matthew 24:14 under the incitement of God’s spirit proves that they have failed God’s kingdom in this time of all times, amid this grandest world situation in which to do it. For this failure they could not have God’s approval. They are not the organization that will be saved; “for with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) This fact holds good for organizations as well as for individuals. An organization that does not confess God’s kingdom before men will not be confessed or acknowledged by God’s kingdom in which Jesus Christ serves.—Matt. 10:32, 33.
14. What is Christendom not giving the people today, and hence what does it not deserve from us?
14 Christendom with all her jumble of religious sects is not the organization that is giving true, safe leadership to the people of the world today. It is not the organization to which to give our loyalty as a practical expression of our loyalty to God. We must turn elsewhere to find the organization loyal to God.
15. In fulfillment of Joel 2:28, 29, what must be true of the organization today loyal to God?
15 That organization for which we must look is the one that gives the proof of having God’s spirit poured out upon it in these “last days” by doing the foretold prophesying, the ‘preaching of this good news of God’s kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.’ As foretold, this preaching or prophesying is being done by every sort of flesh in the organization, by male and female, by sons and daughters, by old men and young men, by the menservants and the maidservants, by all those on whom the spirit has been poured out.
16. (a) In this regard, to whom does the record of 1914-1918 point? (b) How did Jesus picture this class in Matthew 24:45-47, and what did the appointment of this class include?
16 Since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, and more particularly since the end of World War I in 1918, the record has been made for all the world to study so as to come to an unprejudiced, objective conclusion. The record points to the anointed remnant of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. In the prophecy on the evidences of the “conclusion of the system of things,” Jesus foretold this anointed remnant as being the loyal servant class, pictured as a “faithful and discreet slave,” whom he finds serving the due spiritual food at the time he returns and whom he appoints over all his royal belongings on earth. (Matt. 24:45-47) This appointment includes the assignment to do the foretold Kingdom preaching; and notably since 1919 the anointed remnant have done it and are still doing it.
17. Who today have recognized God’s appointed organization, and what proof are they giving of this fact?
17 Already hundreds of thousands of persons who have had the Kingdom witness given to them in now 144 languages in 181 lands have recognized God’s appointed organization that is loyal to his kingdom and that therefore deserves to be given their Christian loyalty, support and co-operation. This is just what these hundreds of thousands out of all nations are doing in obeying Jesus’ counsel to seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. In proof of this they have got baptized in symbol of their full dedication of themselves to God and are wholeheartedly taking part with the remnant in the prophesying or preaching of the good news.—Zech. 8:20-23.
18, 19. (a) What does God’s poured-out spirit cause or induce in what is prophesied by his approved organization? (b) What did Zechariah 13:2, 3 have to say about this?
18 God’s holy spirit when poured out upon the remnant of spiritual Israel causes or induces only the prophesying or preaching of the truth, God’s own truth. Jesus once spoke of it as “the spirit of the truth.” (John 15:26) The spirit of the God of truth can be expected to cause a purification of the things that are preached by God’s approved loyal organization. His spirit would not allow for anyone to prophesy falsehood, the preaching of lies and errors under the cloak of religion. Such a cleansing as carried on inside the organization of God’s restored loyal remnant and of their loyal companions is foretold in the prophecy of Zechariah 13:2-6. In Zec 13 verses two and three we read:
19 “‘And it must occur in that day,’ is the utterance of Jehovah of armies, ‘that I shall cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they will no more be remembered; and also the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness I shall cause to pass out of the land. And it must occur that in case a man should prophesy any more, his father and his mother, the ones who caused his birth, must also say to him, “You will not live, because falsehood is what you have spoken in the name of Jehovah.” And his father and his mother, the ones who caused his birth, must pierce him through because of his prophesying.’”
20. Of what was the foregoing a prophetic illustration, and what does it show must be the condition of our hearts?
20 Here we have a prophetic illustration of the loyalty that would mark those within the organization of Jehovah’s anointed remnant upon whom he has poured out his spirit in these “last days.” That spirit is a spirit of loyalty to Jehovah God and the kingdom of his Messiah, the Christ, a spirit in favor and support of the universal sovereignty of the Most High God. Hence those of the anointed remnant recognize that their loyalty must go above and beyond human relationships by natural ties. It must transcend the natural affections that one has for one’s own parents or one’s own children or other close flesh-and-blood relatives. When it comes to loyalty to God and to the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ, there can be no division of our hearts; there can be no compromise.
21, 22. (a) How can some children offend against dedicated parents in connection with Matthew 24:14? (b) What must be the action of such dedicated parents toward their child who is offending?
21 The prophecy of Jesus makes it certain that this is the time for the good news of God’s kingdom to be preached in all languages, in all places. This is the very heart of the prophesying that must be done now. What, then, if the son of a family that is within God’s visible organization should oppose this prophesying concerning the Kingdom? What if the son should begin to proclaim or prophesy something contrary to the Kingdom message and try to influence others in the organization wrongly, doing this in the name of Jehovah? What should the dedicated, baptized father and mother do? They dare not let their affections run wild; they dare not spare even this dear one whose natural birth they caused.
22 They must declare to him the mortal sinfulness of his false prophesying or opposition to Kingdom prophesying. They cannot endure to have even their own child speak falsehood in the name of Jehovah. They must pierce him through because of his false prophesying. They must consider him as spiritually dead to themselves, as one with whom to have no religious association and fellowship and whose prophesyings are to be rejected. They must not hinder his being disfellowshiped from the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. It is a situation in which to remember the words of Jehovah’s King, Jesus Christ: “He that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.”—Matt. 10:37.
23, 24. (a) With whom else may such a test with respect to loyalty take place within the organization? (b) How does Zechariah 13:4-6 picture it?
23 However, the case is not always one of having to deal with unfaithfulness or disloyalty to truth and organization right within our natural family circle. The false, disloyal prophesying may occur on the part of someone with whom we have come into intimate friendship within the organization of Jehovah’s restored remnant. Verses four through six of Zechariah, chapter thirteen, foretold what must be the outcome of such a situation within God’s loyal organization.
24 We read: “And it must occur in that day that the prophets will become ashamed, each one of his vision when he prophesies; and they will not wear an official garment of hair for the purpose of deceiving. And he will certainly say, ‘I am no prophet. I am a man cultivating the soil [a·da·mahʹ], because an earthling man [a·damʹ] himself acquired me from my youth on.’ And one must say to him, ‘What are these wounds on your person between your hands?’ And he will have to say, ‘Those with which I was struck in the house of my intense lovers.’”
25, 26. (a) What is it that makes these would-be prophets get ashamed of their visions, and how can the penalty be enforced? (b) What must those who have been intense lovers of the offender do, and why?
25 What makes such prophets among Jehovah’s restored remnant get ashamed of their visions? What keeps them from going around advertising themselves as certified prophets as if they were wearing an official garment of hair to make the deception easier? It is the treatment that these disloyal would-be prophets get even in the house of those who have intensely loved them as Christian associates, their natural parents being likely the most intense lovers. In ancient theocratic Israel such false prophets were to be tried before witnesses, exposed and stoned to death. (Deut. 13:1-11) Today the true Christian congregation may not enforce such a death penalty for prophets of deception who try to induce disloyalty to God and his kingdom. But the congregation can give them a spiritual smiting or striking with the truth of God’s Word, even wounding them sorely at heart and in spirit.
26 The very ones who have intensely loved them must strike and wound them in order to demonstrate their own principled loyalty to God and to his organization and to safeguard his loyal visible organization. Let the false prophets be made ashamed! “Stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed,” says 2 Thessalonians 3:14. “Keep on exhorting . . . showing uncorruptness in your teaching, seriousness, wholesome speech which cannot be condemned; so that the man on the opposing side may get ashamed,” says Titus 2:6-8. What if this spiritual treatment does make a wound? “The wounds inflicted by a lover are faithful,” says Proverbs 27:6.
27. Why is it good for the offender to become ashamed of his visions, and in his shame what should he confess in honesty?
27 Make it so that the one whom we are endeavoring to recover from false prophesying will have to testify to our faithfulness to God’s Word with which we struck and wounded him. It is good for that one to become ashamed of his visions that are out of harmony with God’s Word. Then he will not try to parade around among us any more as a special prophet of God with direct individual connections with God. Instead of laying claim to the high office of a special prophet of something new and different, he will have to admit that he was not prophesying under the influence of God’s outpoured spirit. He was not a spiritual man. In making such false prophecies he was merely a groundling, an earthly “natural man,” like a farmer, one who is a slave to a farmer that got possession of his service from his boyhood onward. He never was an accredited prophet. Make him see that he can get nowhere within Jehovah’s cleansed organization whose members love God more intensely than dear earthly friends.
28. (a) Of what is the true prophesying an outward evidence, and by what ones is it carried on? (b) How will the unifying of each one in the organization result?
28 If we are against false prophets within the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses and must expose them, then certainly we must also expose Christendom’s false prophets who claim to speak in God’s name as though they were ordained and sent by him. It is this very keeping of false prophets out of the loyal organization of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses that shows that it is His loyal organization with which He does the prophesying foretold.
29. What, then, should be our action toward Christendom’s prophets?
29 The true prophesying is the outward evidence of the outpouring of Jehovah’s spirit. This prophesying, which is now engaged in not by a select few but by all members of whatever sort of flesh, is the foretold preaching of “this good news of the kingdom.” We are safe when within the organization that is loyal to Jehovah God, filled with his spirit and doing his ordained prophetic work. To Him each one of us should pray that he would unify our hearts to fear his name. The unifying of the heart of each individual to fear Jehovah’s name will make for the unifying of the entire loyal organization. All those in the organization will then speak with one mouth. (Rom. 15:6) Thus we shall be “standing firm in one spirit, with one soul fighting side by side for the faith of the good news, and in no respect being frightened by [our] opponents. . . . a proof . . . of salvation for [us]; and this indication is from God.”—Phil. 1:27, 28.
30. For being loyal to him, how will God act toward us with goodness?
30 For being loyal to God, he will be loyal to us. He will fulfill our united prayer: “Work out with me a sign meaning goodness, that those hating me may see it and be ashamed.” (Ps. 86:17) To their shame, but as a sign of goodness to us, Jehovah God will use us in completing the foretold prophesying, the preaching of the good news of his kingdom, using us thus with his loyal organization, down till the very end comes and he is fully vindicated.—Matt. 24:14.