End of Worldwide Witnessing Gets Nearer
1. (a) What additional witnessing was given to Jesus’ Jewish disciples from Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward? (b) What effect was this to have on their witnessing to Jehovah?
THE WORLDWIDE witnessing on the part of the disciples of Jesus Christ has been going on now for more than nineteen centuries. When, on the Mount of Olives in the spring of 33 C.E., Jesus Christ said to his Jewish disciples, “You will be witnesses of me,” he was speaking to natural-born witnesses of Jehovah. (Isa. 43:1-12; 44:8) But from then on, or from the outpouring of God’s holy spirit upon them ten days later at Pentecost in Jerusalem, they were also to be witnesses of Jesus. Why this additional witness? Was this meant to take away anything from their being dedicated witnesses of Jehovah or even to take the place of their being witnesses of Jehovah God? Rather than detract from proclaiming God’s name Jehovah and to put him in the overshadowed background, the bearing witness of Jesus was calculated to glorify Jehovah God yet more. It was to give more pointedness, more definiteness to the witnessing for Jehovah. It was to show that Jehovah had not lied, but that, after more than four thousand years, he at last had raised up his Messiah or Christ.
2. What provision, first referred to in the Garden of Eden, had now become of worldwide importance?
2 Jehovah’s providing of the long-promised Messiah or Anointed One was a matter of worldwide importance. It deserved to be made known to the whole world of mankind, even “to the most distant part of the earth.” What Jehovah God himself did deserved to be imitated by his faithful witnesses on earth. What was that? Why, bear witness of the actual, historical Messiah or Christ, Jesus the Son of God. About the year 4026 B.C.E., Jehovah God had said to the Serpent that had brought about man’s downfall in the Garden of Eden: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Gen. 3:15) This was Jehovah’s first reference to the Messiah or Christ.
3. Hence what did Jehovah have to do in order to show his word to be vindicated in this regard?
3 When God vindicated his word of promise by raising up his Messiah or Anointed One, it would be necessary for Him to identify his Messiah by bearing witness to him in a supernatural way. All mankind could repeat the request once made to him: “May Jehovah prove to be a true and faithful witness.” (Jer. 42:5) Jehovah did do so.
4. How did John come to be a witness regarding Jesus to those who came to him for baptism?
4 In the latter half of the year 29 C.E., after the baptism of his Son Jesus in the Jordan River, he gave a visible manifestation of his holy spirit descending upon the baptized Jesus, and John the Baptist heard God’s words from heaven: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” Thereafter John the Baptist, a Jewish witness of Jehovah, could bear witness of Jesus, that this one is the Messiah, as John himself said: “I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.” (Matt. 3:13-17; John 1:29-34) John from then on bore witness to those who came to him to be baptized, desiring to be prepared to become disciples of Jehovah’s Messiah or Christ.
5. Three years later, how and where did Jehovah again bear witness to Jesus, and how did Peter testify thereto in writing?
5 Three years later, at the Mount of Transfiguration, Jehovah again bore audible witness to his Messiah, Jesus. Three disciples of Jesus, who saw this vision of his transfiguration with supernatural glory, heard God’s voice from heaven say: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him.” After Jesus’ being resurrected from the dead these three eyewitnesses told the vision to the other apostles of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 17:1-9) Years later the Christian apostle Peter wrote: “For he [Jesus Christ] received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.’ Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain.”—2 Pet. 1:12-18.
6, 7. (a) How did God bear witness to Jesus all through his public career? (b) How did Peter speak to Cornelius about the part that God took in connection with Jesus as the Christ?
6 All through the public career of Jesus Christ on earth Jehovah bore witness to the fact that that one was the foretold Messiah by giving him the good news of the kingdom of God to preach and by bestowing upon him miraculous powers. Hence, when the apostle Peter was bearing witness to the first Gentile converts to Christianity, he could speak about Jehovah’s Messiah thus:
7 “Jesus who was from Nazareth, how God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him. And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they also did away with him by hanging him on a stake. God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead. Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”—Acts 10:38-42.
8. What witness did God give to Jesus that was extraordinarily powerful, as spoken of by Paul in Romans 1:1-5?
8 Extraordinarily powerful was the witness that Jehovah God the Almighty gave to his Messiah by resurrecting him from the dead. Calling attention to this overwhelming divine testimony, the apostle Paul could write to the Roman Christians: “God’s good news, which he promised aforetime through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who sprang from the seed of David according to the flesh, but who with power was declared God’s Son according to the spirit of holiness by means of resurrection from the dead—yes, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we received undeserved kindness.” (Rom. 1:1-5) Only God the Almighty could give such a witness to prove who was really Christ.
9. Upon whom did Jesus mainly depend for a witness respecting him, and how did he explain this to the Jews?
9 Jesus Christ himself depended upon the witness from God rather than on that of men. To the Jews who had remained unconvinced concerning his being the Messiah, Jesus said: “If I alone bear witness about myself, my witness is not true. There is another that bears witness about me, and I know that the witness which he bears about me is true. You have dispatched men to John [the Baptist, then in prison], and he has borne witness to the truth. However, I do not accept the witness from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. . . . But I have the witness greater than that of John, for the very works that my Father assigned me to accomplish, the works themselves that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father dispatched me. Also, the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. . . . You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life; and these are the very ones that bear witness about me.” (John 5:31-39) In this way Jesus depended upon the most powerful and irrefutable witness, namely, that of Jehovah God and of his inspired Word, the inspired Bible.
10, 11. (a) How does the acceptance of testimony in human law courts contrast with accepting that of God? (b) If we reject God’s witness, what do we make Him, as argued by John in 1 John 5:9-12?
10 In law courts of today the judges and the jury are inclined to accept the witness given by mere men and women who are imperfect. Why should we not rather accept the witness of the perfect and never-mistaken Almighty God, Jehovah? Every legal reason exists for us to accept his infallible testimony. If we do not do so, it means that we are rejecting his testimony and we are making him a liar. This is the argument of the apostle John, in 1 John 5:9-12:
11 “If we receive the witness men give, the witness God gives is greater, because this is the witness God gives, the fact that he has borne witness concerning his Son. The person putting his faith in the Son of God has the witness given in his own case. The person not having faith in God has made him a liar, because he has not put his faith in the witness given, which God as witness has given concerning his Son. And this is the witness given, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has this life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have this life.”
12. (a) Why is it unreasonable to take the attitude that God’s witness is impossible for us to accept? (b) What future of mankind depends upon the virgin birth of Jesus?
12 What if the witness that God gives far exceeds that which man could give? That does not indicate that God is a liar and that his witness is impossible. It is only to be expected that God would do a thing that would be impossible for mere man to do; just as the angel Gabriel said to the Jewish virgin Mary concerning the virgin birth of her Son Jesus (a thing that more and more of Christendom’s clergy claim it is impossible to believe): “With God no declaration will be an impossibility.” (Luke 1:26-37) And it did not prove to be an impossibility. The future everlasting life of all mankind in a paradise earth in perfect happiness depended upon that virgin birth of the Son of God. So it is a matter of everlasting life or everlasting death for us according to whether we accept or reject the witness given by God.
13. According to John 8:17, 18, what is the mightiest basis that we have for believing the witness given?
13 Jesus Christ the Son of God pointed to God’s law as given to the Jews by the prophet Moses and said: “In your own Law it is written: ‘The witness of two men is true.’ I am one that bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” (John 8:17, 18) Here we have the mightiest basis for belief, namely, the concordant witness of the two greatest Personages in all existence, Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.
14. In order to imitate Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, and to do what Jesus told his Jewish disciples, what must we as true Christians do?
14 Certainly since Jesus Christ accepted and depended upon the witness given by his heavenly Father, Almighty God, all who want to be true Christians should also accept God’s own testimony, in order to imitate Jesus Christ. More than that, Jesus Christ bore witness concerning the truth because God his Father did so: like Father, like Son. (John 18:37) And inasmuch as Jehovah God himself has borne faithful witness concerning Jesus Christ, then all those who would imitate God, all those who claim to be witnesses of Jehovah, all those who claim to be followers of Jehovah’s only-begotten Son, should and must likewise do as Jesus Christ told his Jewish disciples on the Mount of Olives: “Be witnesses of me.”
15. (a) By his witness to Jesus, what does Jehovah do respecting his own name? (b) How are true Christians more privileged as witnesses than the pre-Christian witnesses of Jehovah?
15 By the marvelous witness that He gives concerning his Son Jesus Christ, Jehovah God magnifies himself more than ever. He glorifies himself all the more as the Almighty and true God who both promised and produced the Messiah. He gives all the more reason for his name as the heavenly Father to be sanctified. (Matt. 6:9) His name, Jehovah, still ranks above that of his Son, Jesus. Those who become witnesses of Jesus Christ still remain witnesses of Jehovah. They are first witnesses of Jehovah God before witnesses of his Son Jesus Christ. They are the Christian witnesses of Jehovah with a more wonderful message and in a more privileged position than were those who were faithful witnesses of Jehovah before the coming of his Son Jesus Christ.—Heb. 11:1 to 12:2.
THE CONTENT OF THEIR TESTIMONY, THEN AND NOW
16. Why was it necessary for Jesus’ Jewish disciples to wait in Jerusalem before entering in upon their work of bearing witness to Jesus?
16 Those disciples of Jesus Christ who heard his final command on the Mount of Olives and who saw him ascend heavenward faithfully obeyed what he told them to do. They waited at Jerusalem till they received the holy spirit from God through Christ with which to bear witness to Jesus, exalting Jehovah God still more by this witness concerning his Messianic Son Jesus. Not in their own strength, but in the help of Jehovah’s spirit they trusted in order to deliver their testimony, acting as Christian prophets. Just as the angel told the apostle John, in Revelation 19:10: “All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing to Jesus. Worship God; for the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying.” So, when violent opposition arose against their testifying, it was that spirit that powerfully moved them; just as we read, in Acts 4:31: “And when they had made supplication, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness.”
17, 18. (a) From where were those first-century disciples to start testifying about Jesus Christ and Jehovah, and after receiving what? (b) What did Peter testify about Jesus at Pentecost?
17 All those who became disciples of Christ back there in apostolic times during the first century C.E. were able to testify concerning Jesus Christ together with his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. Testify what? The written record that has the very thing that “inspires prophesying” tells us what they testified, what their testimony contained. It tells us that the resurrected Jesus said to his apostles: “Starting out from Jerusalem, you are to be witnesses of these things. And, look! I am sending forth upon you that which is promised by my Father [in Joel 2:28, 29]. You, though, abide in the city [of Jerusalem] until you become clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:47-49) True to those instructions, at Jerusalem, after the outpouring of holy spirit upon the disciples the apostle Peter said to more than three thousand Jewish celebrators at the feast of Pentecost:
18 “Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’” Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”—Acts 2:1-36.
19. While bearing witness of Jesus at Pentecost, Peter continued to act as what and with greater glory to whom?
19 The record for that day continues on to say: “And with many other words he bore thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: ‘Get saved from this crooked generation’” (Acts 2:40) Let it here be noted that the apostle Peter, while faithfully bearing witness of Jesus Christ, did at the same time continue acting as a witness of Jehovah, giving the greater glory to Jehovah God for what he had done in connection with his Messiah.
20. How was the bearing witness to Jesus opened up in Samaria, and was it introduced without reference to God?
20 Regarding the province of Samaria, which bordered on the province of Judea, we read: “However, those who had been scattered [by the persecution under Pharisee Saul] went through the land declaring the good news of the word. Philip, for one, went down to the city of Samaria and began to preach the Christ to them. . . . when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women. . . . When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they dispatched Peter and John to them; and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. . . . Therefore, when they had given the witness thoroughly and had spoken the word of Jehovah, they turned back to Jerusalem, and they went declaring the good news to many villages of the Samaritans.” (Acts 8:4-25) The believing, baptized Samaritans received holy spirit when Peter and John laid their hands upon them. They received the witness of Jesus, but this was part of the preaching of the “kingdom of God.” It was the spirit of God that they got.
21, 22. How did the introduction of the witness to Jesus among the first Gentile converts result with reference to God?
21 Some time after that witness of Jesus was given to those circumcised Samaritans, the apostle Peter was sent to Caesarea at the northwestern tip of Judea to give the witness of Jesus to the Italian centurion Cornelius and his relatives and friends.
22 Later in explaining to the disciples at Jerusalem why he had baptized those believing Gentiles, the apostle Peter said: “If, therefore, God gave the same free gift [of holy spirit] to them as he also did to us who have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should be able to hinder God?” How did those disciples react to this report of the conversion of the uncircumcised Gentiles? The record says: “Now when they heard these things, they acquiesced, and they glorified God, saying: ‘Well, then, God has granted repentance for the purpose of life to people of the nations also.’” (Acts 10:1 to 11:18) Thus the giving of the witness of Jesus to the uncircumcised Gentiles resulted in the disciples’ giving glory to Jehovah God, the Father of the Lord Jesus the Messiah.
23, 24. (a) According to the record, concerning whom did the apostle Paul bear witness in Corinth and in Rome? (b) At the time of his imprisonment in Rome, how widely had the good news been preached?
23 Thereafter the apostle Paul was sent forth as an “apostle to the nations.” (Rom. 11:13; Acts 13:1-4; 16:6-12) Concerning his work in Corinth, Greece, we read: “Paul began to be intensely occupied with the word, witnessing to the Jews to prove that Jesus is the Christ [or, Messiah].” (Acts 18:5) When Paul was later held prisoner in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus said to him: “Be of good courage! For as you have been giving a thorough witness on the things about me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts 23:11) Two years afterward, when Paul was held in custody in Rome, what did he do? The record tells us: “He explained the matter to them [his visitors] by bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God and by using persuasion with them concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23) From there in Rome Paul could write, even about the year 61 C.E., to the Christian congregation in Colossae, Asia Minor:
24 “The hope of that good news which you heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven.”—Col. 1:23.
25. (a) How did that fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 back there result as regards world conversion? (b) How did that worldwide witness back there result with regard to secular historians?
25 Thus, even back there in the apostolic days of the first century of our Common Era, the prophetic words of Jesus Christ had not proved to be false, namely, “You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” But that did not result in world conversion back there nineteen hundred years ago. Jesus’ words were never meant to signify that. But so mighty was the witness that was given about him that the records of the existence and early activities of the Christian congregation were not overlooked by secular historians, but these non-Biblical historians have borne witness to the reality of Christianity nineteen centuries ago.
TWENTIETH-CENTURY WITNESSING WORLD WIDE
26. What has Christendom done about spreading the Bible message, and has she at the same time given a true witness to Jesus?
26 How true, then, have the words of Jesus proved to be now, so long after he first spoke them? It is true and must be admitted that Christendom has spread the Holy Bible in hundreds of languages in more than two thousand million copies of all the Bible or parts of it. But has Christendom, in explaining those sacred Scriptures, given a true witness concerning Jesus Christ? The state of Christendom today, as well as the state of the world of which Christendom is a most powerful part, obliges honest examiners to answer, No!
27. What, then, must be said about the carrying out of Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 in our time?
27 True Christianity is radically different from the confusing mixture of hundreds of sectarian religions that Christendom now practices. Nevertheless, the words of Jesus are being fulfilled today by the same class of disciples as the ones to whom he addressed his words back there on the Mount of Olives in 33 C.E. Those disciples back there were all witnesses of Jehovah God, and that is what those who today are bearing Scriptural witness of Jesus are, whether natural Jews or Gentile non-Jews.—Isa. 43:10-12.
28. What time period ended in 1914 C.E., and so what does the bearing witness of Jesus Christ include today?
28 Today one’s bearing witness of Jesus Christ means much more than it embraced nineteen centuries ago. History has not stood still. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy has not stood still. Today, according to the timetable of the Bible, the world of mankind is living in “the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4; 11:40) Consequently, true witnesses of Jesus Christ have to bear witness of what has become true of Jesus Christ during this “time of the end” that began back in the year 1914, at the end of the Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” in that year. (Luke 21:24; Dan. 4:16, 23, 25, 32) There the time came for Jehovah God to put an end to the trampling by the Gentile nations upon the Kingdom right of his Messiah, Jesus Christ. This he did by enthroning his Son Jesus Christ and commanding him to go subduing among his enemies until they are finally broken to pieces in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. (Rev. 16:14; Ps. 110:1-5; Heb. 10:12, 13) After his enthronement in heaven, World War I on earth was overshadowed by the fact that “war broke out in heaven” and Satan was cast down to the earth.—Rev. 12:1-13.
29, 30. Who today are bearing witness to those events of this “time of the end,” and how does a secular channel of information verify this?
29 Who is it today that is witnessing world wide concerning that birth of God’s Messianic kingdom and the victory of the newly enthroned King Jesus Christ over Satan the Devil and his demons? It is the Christian witnesses of Jehovah since the year 1914 C.E. Instead of consulting the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 1970, let us turn to a secular channel for information about them. On page 448, column two, of The New York Times Encyclopædic Almanac 1970, we read under “Jehovah’s Witnesses” these words:
30 “It is the belief of Jehovah’s witnesses that they adhere to the oldest religion on earth, the worship of Almighty God revealed in the Bible as Jehovah. . . . All of Jehovah’s witnesses are considered to be ministers of the gospel. . . . such ministers preaching, teaching the people of all nations that God’s word is true and that their only hope is in the Kingdom of Jehovah under Christ Jesus, which has been established to rule over earth and replace all governments.”
31. (a) What indicates whether their work is a “worldwide witnessing”? (b) How does Revelation 12:17 show whether the Devil is pleased at their witnessing work?
31 Witnessing to Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ in 206 lands around the globe deserves to be called “worldwide witnessing,” does it not? Certainly! Is the debased Satan the Devil pleased at this witnessing concerning God’s Messianic kingdom? Revelation 12:13-17 indicates No, saying: “Now when the dragon [Satan] saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman [God’s heavenly organization] that gave birth to the male child [the Messianic kingdom]. . . . And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who  observe the commandments of God and  have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.”
32. (a) What indicates whether this persecution of these Kingdom witnesses will go on much longer? (b) What, then, was the worldwide witnessing to Jesus meant to accomplish?
32 Since World War I this persecution of these Kingdom witnesses has continued. For how much longer? Hardly much longer, for concerning the debased Dragon Satan the Devil the triumphant heavens have announced: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Rev. 12:12) After the oncoming “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, where all his visible earthly organization will be destroyed, the Devil and his spirit demons reach the end of their “short period of time.” Then they will be bound and removed from the vicinity of earth by being hurled into “the abyss,” unable to deceive and seduce the nations during the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ over the earth and its inhabitants. Thus the bearing witness to Jesus Christ world wide is not meant and never was meant to convert the world of mankind to Christianity. As a witness, it merely serves notice upon the political nations before their end comes at Har–Magedon. Thereby they have had their warning!
33. (a) What did Jesus’ prophecy indicate as to whether there will be an end to this worldwide witnessing? (b) What decision is ours now to make before the worldwide witness ends?
33 When God’s war at Har–Magedon proceeds to destroy all such enemy nations, the worldwide witness will have served its purpose. It will end, just as Jesus Christ foretold, declaring: “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. 24:14) “In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:10) Were the “end” to come tomorrow, it could never be said by the nations that this prophecy has failed to be fulfilled. Evidently, though, the climax of this worldwide witnessing is yet to be reached. But all evidence is persuasive that the climactic end is near. When it does come, shortly, where will it find us? Lined up on the side of the unconverted nations? Or lined up on the side of the invincible kingdom of Jehovah God in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ? The decision is for each one of us to make now, before the end of the worldwide witnessing occurs according to God’s will.
34. Who will be the happy ones when the time for the worldwide witnessing ends?
34 Happy will all those be who are then found on the side of the Kingdom, yes, all those who will have had an active share in giving this never-to-be-repeated worldwide witness to God’s Messianic kingdom and to whom he can then say: ‘You are my witnesses and the witnesses of my Son Jesus Christ, the King, and I am your God Jehovah.’—Isa. 43:12; Acts 1:8.