Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Call on You Repeatedly?
WHEN you are busy, or you feel like relaxing and being left alone, it is disconcerting when you hear a knock at your door. Visions of unexpected guests, or of a salesman pressuring you to buy his product, make you reluctant to answer. Or perhaps you are afraid of being robbed or injured.
But the call that Jehovah’s witnesses make is a different type of call. They know, of course, that you may be busy, or even afraid. But they feel impelled to call because of a danger on the horizon that you may have been too busy to recognize. (See Luke 21:34-36.) Jehovah’s witnesses truly call out of love and consideration for you. They believe that your life is in danger.
Moreover, the Witnesses count it an obligation to call on you. They would feel that they had failed of a duty and done you an injustice if they deliberately ignored your home. Why?
Because they have a direct command from God to warn you.
Is this actually true? Most of us know that Jesus Christ said that the good news would be preached in all the world. (Matt. 24:14) But is it anyone’s duty to do so? Yes, on pain of death to them. How? A powerful illustration in the Bible leaves no doubt.
This illustration clearly sets out God’s principles and way of dealing, and it is not something fictional, but it actually happened on a national scale.
The illustration has to do with Ezekiel, a man whom God selected as his prophet and then informed him that he must warn those practicing wickedness:
“Son of man, a watchman is what I have made you to the house of Israel, and you must hear from my mouth speech and you must warn them from me. When I say to someone wicked, ‘You will positively die,’ and you do not actually warn him and speak in order to warn the wicked one from his wicked way to preserve him alive, he being wicked, in his error he will die, but his blood I shall ask back from your own hand. But as for you, in case you have warned someone wicked and he does not actually turn back from his wickedness and from his wicked way, he himself for his error will die; but as for you, you will have delivered your own soul.”
Someone may say: ‘Yes, go to those doing bad things. Why come to me?’ But note that the righteous also needed Ezekiel’s message:
“And when someone righteous turns back from his righteousness and actually does injustice . . . he himself will die because you did not warn him. For his sin he will die, . . . but his blood I shall ask back from your own hand. And as for you, in case you have warned someone righteous that the righteous one should not sin, and he himself does not actually sin, he will without fail keep on living because he had been warned, and you yourself will have delivered your own soul.”—Ezek. 3:17-21.
Why was the warning so urgent? Because Jerusalem would soon (within six years) be destroyed by the Babylonian army, for the reason that the Jews had rejected God’s rulership of them and had additionally turned to corrupt practices. The destruction to come would be terrible. Both old and young, men and women, were to die in the streets, and children were to be dashed to pieces, after a long siege of the city. Famine conditions would become so serious that some would eat their own children.—Lam. 2:11, 12, 20, 21; 4:4, 9, 10; 5:11, 12.
Ezekiel, though not in Jerusalem, backed up the prophet Jeremiah, who was in Jerusalem, thus providing a second witness to the truth of the message God was sending. Doubtless it became well known in Jerusalem that Ezekiel, in Babylon, was also giving warning of Jerusalem’s doom. The Jews in Babylon surely were greatly stirred up by Ezekiel’s message. They too needed the message, lest God completely forsake them for their wrong, rebellious viewpoint.
In serving as watchman, Ezekiel, though he was commanded to speak God’s message, could not serve Jehovah God properly unless he was in heart harmony with his work, unless he expressed in his ministry the spirit of what he had to say.
For this reason God had Ezekiel symbolically eat a scroll. This scroll contained God’s judgments against Jerusalem and Judah. It warned of the calamities to come, detailing how seriously the Jews had corrupted themselves and the injustices and oppressions they, and particularly their leaders, had practiced. The scroll tasted sweet as Ezekiel began eating it. The receiving of the privilege of serving as God’s prophet and watchman was indeed pleasant. But in Ezekiel’s stomach it proved to be bitter and, says Ezekiel, “I went bitterly in the rage of my spirit.”—Ezek. 3:14.
A SHOCKING MESSAGE, BUT VITAL TO ALL
So shocking were the features contained in the scroll that Ezekiel was stunned for seven days. He needed time to digest its contents, to make it his own. Then as he began to talk to those Jews exiled at Telabib, ‘Jehovah’s hand was strong upon him,’ strengthening him to express in his ministry the things written in the scroll, which were very bitter judgments from Jehovah.
Ezekiel, as a “watchman,” performed a valuable service to those Jews back there. How was he an illustration also for this time?
Well, in 1918, during World War I, the nations claiming to be God’s people, or Christendom, brought much trouble to Jehovah’s witnesses, in effect ‘killing’ their work. But in 1919 these witnesses for God were revived, given the symbolic “scroll,” receiving an understanding of all the violations of God’s laws that Christendom had committed. The message was shocking, stunning. Just as Ezekiel was “stunned” for a time, so Jehovah’s witnesses took time to adjust to the awe-inspiring postwar work, which they saw had to be done world wide.
But now ‘the hand of Jehovah upon them was strong,’ and nothing could stop their proclamation. The Bible in its last book prophetically tells about the ‘killing’ and reviving of this witness work:
“And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not let their corpses be laid in a tomb. . . . And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them.”—Rev. 11:9-11.
Now, as to his duty as watchman, Ezekiel had to watch how the sons of Israel fulfilled their covenant obligations to God. If they did not, a great danger would fall on them. Likewise, the people in the so-called Christian nations have a serious, heavy danger hanging over them. This danger is not from crime, pollution or war, but the far greater danger of destruction through God’s judgments for their violation of his laws. For this he is about to bring these nations to an accounting. His destruction of wickedness will free surviving mankind from the dangers that men now fear and will bring peace and righteousness to earth.
Therefore, Jehovah’s witnesses, having embraced God’s name, and knowing his laws and judgments, are like a sentry who, if he should fall asleep and fail to guard his sleeping comrades, would lose his own life.
Accordingly, Jehovah’s witnesses must call to give their fellow humans opportunity to know what God is going to do and what he requires, so that all who desire to live may do so and not die.
Jehovah God is not harsh toward his witnesses in laying this obligation upon them. Really, it proves a test of their love. And they do it willingly, gladly, as the psalmist foretold: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force.”—Ps. 110:3.
Neither is God unloving toward the people in sending his witnesses among them, even though their call and the message they bring may be considered disturbing to some. The work they do actually originates with God, because he sends and commands his witnesses to go and speak to all, particularly to those in Christendom.
Moreover, it is the greatest undeserved kindness for God to warn all persons, including those who prove to be his enemies. He says: “‘Do I take any delight at all in the death of someone wicked,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘and not in that he should turn back from his ways and actually keep living?”’—Ezek. 18:23.
The gravest danger facing those persons in Christendom who do not listen to what God’s Word of truth, the Bible, says is not danger of dying in a natural way, but of execution at the hands of God. That is why Jehovah’s witnesses take their duty so seriously. They themselves have first been called on by others and have studied the Bible. They see and understand what God is doing and what he is about to do. They would love to see all persons live. Furthermore, they do not want the blood of anyone on their heads for not being concerned enough about preserving life to give the warning. They accept their obligation to reform their own lives according to Bible principles and to inform others, for they know that only those living according to the clean principles of the Creator will live in his new order.
The reason for the zealous activity of the Witnesses, calling at every door, is shown in what next happened to Ezekiel. As newly appointed watchman, he tells us:
“And the hand of Jehovah came to be upon me there and he proceeded to say to me: ‘Get up, go forth to the valley plain, and there I shall speak with you.’ So I got up and went forth to the valley plain, and, look! the glory of Jehovah was standing there, like the glory that I had seen by the river Chebar, and I went falling upon my face.”—Ezek. 3:22, 23.
OPPOSITION FROM PROFESSED SERVANTS OF GOD
It was no longer time to be awestruck by his vision, but it was time for action. The celestial chariot he saw in vision, accompanied by Jehovah’s glory (Ezekiel, chapter 1), represented God’s heavenly organization proceeding to war. It had followed Ezekiel from Tel-abib to his new location, indicating that the divine organization was with him in his ministry. But he was told now that he would experience opposition from his own people the Jews, as Ezekiel reports:
“Then spirit entered into me and made me stand up on my feet, and he began to speak with me and say to me: ‘Come, be shut up inside your house. And you, O son of man, look! they will certainly put cords upon you and bind you with them so that you cannot go forth into the midst of them. And your very tongue I will make stick to the roof of your mouth, and you will certainly become mute, and you will not become to them a man administering reproof, because they are a rebellious house. And when I speak with you I shall open your mouth, and you must say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said.” Let the one hearing hear, and let the one refraining refrain, because they are a rebellious house.”’—Ezek. 3:24-27.
Yes, it was the professed servants of God that would actually try to hinder and restrain Ezekiel from coming out of his house to declare Jehovah’s words. But Ezekiel was not to trust in himself, nor to speak words of his own view of matters. When Jehovah had no message for him to deliver, then, in that regard, Ezekiel would be mute. But when Jehovah had a message, he would open Ezekiel’s mouth to declare it irrespective of what those rebellious Israelites did.
Similarly, Jehovah’s witnesses have had their eyes opened to see and appreciate that fundamentally there are only two organizations, Jehovah God’s and Satan the Devil’s. They realize that Satan is “the god of this system of things,” which God will destroy. They put themselves at the disposal of Jehovah’s organization. They do not claim any divine inspiration, nor are they telling the people what they personally think. Rather, they rely on God’s Word the Bible. They trust in God’s spirit to aid them in having courage to speak.
All people in the so-called Christian lands know that the religious systems, through their leaders, have hated and spoken evil of Jehovah’s witnesses. More than that, they have incited political action against the Witnesses, and, by misrepresenting them, have even brought about mob action to stop them, if possible.
But Jehovah’s witnesses are undaunted. They continue to call to help people, trusting in Jesus’ words to his disciples, as set out in his prophecy concerning the “conclusion of the system of things,” namely:
“Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first. But when they are leading you along to deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what to speak; but whatever is given you in that hour, speak this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is. Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death; and you will be objects of hatred by all people on account of my name. But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.”—Mark 13:10-13; Matt. 24:3-14.
Here we are in the decade of the 1970’s, and, despite all that Christendom has attempted against them by her religious clergy and the fierce attacks of dictators Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and others, Jehovah’s anointed servants have endured down to this time as a watchman to Christendom. They are determined to endure to the end of their earthly ministry, and that will also be to the end of Christendom and to the end of this system of things of which Christendom has been a predominant part.
When Jehovah’s witnesses call at your home, therefore, take time to hear what they say and give it thought. See if it is a true message from God’s Word. (1 Thess. 5:21) Then accept or reject it as you see fit. If you do not believe what they say now, it may be that circumstances will have changed your viewpoint when they call again. Jehovah’s witnesses continue calling at your home because they are obligated to God to give the people warning of what is ahead. They want to deliver their own souls, and have a heart’s desire to help as many others as possible to do the same. Their earnest hope is that you will survive the end of this system of things to enjoy real life on earth under God’s Messianic government.