Fighters Against God Losing the Battle
“They will be certain to fight against you, but they will not prevail against you, for ‘I am with you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘to deliver you.’”—Jer. 1:19.
1. In what sense are those now losing the battle the fighters against God?
FIGHTERS against God! Not in the sense of fighting against the laws of God’s creation, such as the law of gravitation. But fighters against God in the sense of fighting against the visible organization of his chosen people and the work that he commands them to do. In modern times, men who highly respect the scientifically discovered laws of creation may thus find themselves fighting against the God of The Holy Bible. To their own chagrin, they are losing the battle.—Acts 5:39.
2. How is the proof furnished that God has accepted the small organization under question and that he has not cast it off?
2 To such fighters against God it doubtless seems presumptuous for a small organization on earth to consider itself the organization over which God has put his special protection in order to deliver it from fighters against him. But to what mental conclusions should actual experiences of that organization lead it? The evidence of 100 years ought to lead it to the right conclusion as to the identity of the organization that God has chosen and strengthened to withstand worldwide attacks till now. This small organization of dedicated persons stepped onto the stage of modern affairs in God’s name. All the evidence to date indicates that God chose to recognize and accept the organization and that he has not cast it off. The test of time, of as much as 10 decades, has furnished valid proof to this fact.
3. In whose name did the announced Messiah come, but with what reaction from the people?
3 The experience of this organization compares with what took place 19 centuries ago, in Bible times. In the Middle East a man was then being announced as the long-awaited Messiah, the one anointed by God to be the King of a government that would at last give all mankind a righteous rule. The majority of the people followed their religious leaders and refused to believe him to be the promised Messiah from God. But he was no impostor. He was no self-made Messiah ambitious for glory and power. To his opposers he said: “I do not accept glory from men. . . . I have come in the name of my Father, but you do not receive me; if someone else arrived in his own name, you would receive that one.” (John 5:41-43) The speaker of those words was Jesus, a descendant of King David of Jerusalem and, hence, also a descendant of faithful Abraham, by means of whose seed all the families of the earth are to be blessed.—Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Matt. 1:1-16.
4. Jesus coming in the name of his heavenly Father meant what respecting himself?
4 Jesus’ coming in the name of his heavenly Father meant that he came, not on his own initiative, but as the one sent by his heavenly Father. So he was a son who obediently had to do on earth the will of his Father. He had to make his Father’s name known and to bring honor to it, not misrepresenting it.
5. Although being a prophet himself, in whose prophecies also was Jesus the Messiah interested?
5 To this very day Jesus the Messiah has proved himself to be the greatest prophet that the God of the Bible has ever had on earth, not even excepting the lawgiver Moses of pre-Christian times. (Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:22, 23; Rev. 22:18-20) But he was also interested in prophecies made by a prophet earlier than himself named Jeremiah.
6. In whose name did Jeremiah come and speak, and how is this fact verified by statements from persons of that time?
6 Jeremiah was a member of a priestly family living in Anathoth, under the kingdom of Judah. Like Jesus Christ, Jeremiah did not come or speak in his own name, even though the obligations of a Levite priest fell upon him. As in Jesus’ case, Jeremiah’s prophesying roused opposition. His opposers, who desired to kill him, said to him: “You must not prophesy in the name of Jehovah, that you may not die at our hand.” (Jer. 11:21) Once, when feeling discouraged, Jeremiah said: “I am not going to make mention of him, and I shall speak no more in his name.” (Jer. 20:9) But he found himself so fired up with God’s word that he could not stop proclaiming it. His prophecies came true with the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., and yet the Jewish survivors who were bent on their own ways said to him: “As regards the word that you have spoken to us in the name of Jehovah, we are not listening to you.” (Jer. 44:16) In time those fighters against God had to take the consequences.
7. What reassuring words did Jehovah need to say to Jeremiah at the start?
7 Little wonder that, 40 years earlier, in 647 B.C.E., Jehovah needed to say to the then young man Jeremiah: “You must . . . speak to them everything that I myself command you. Do not be struck with any terror because of them, in order that I may not strike you with terror before them. But as for me, here I have made you today a fortified city and an iron pillar and copper walls against all the land, toward the kings of Judah, toward her princes, toward her priests and toward the people of the land. And they will be certain to fight against you, but they will not prevail against you, for ‘I am with you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘to deliver you.’”—Jer. 1:17-19.
8. What recollection strengthened Jeremiah to endure for so long, but what question do we now ask?
8 Think of the resistance that Jeremiah had to put up, the endurance that he had to display—for more than 40 years! He was one of Jehovah’s spokesmen to whom the Christian disciple James directed our attention, saying: “Take as a pattern of the suffering of evil and the exercising of patience the prophets, who spoke in the name of Jehovah.” (Jas. 5:10) Jeremiah’s constantly reminding himself that he had not come in his own name, but that he spoke in Jehovah’s name, strengthened him to endure and defeat the purpose of his attackers, who were really fighting against God. Jehovah did not strike Jeremiah with terror before those assailants, for Jeremiah did not let himself be struck with terror at their menacing appearance and numbers. That was excellent for 26 centuries ago, but do we have anything to duplicate this today—an up-to-date illustration? Yes, we do!
A MODERN JEREMIAH CLASS
9, 10. As prefigured by Jeremiah, whom do we have in mind, and why is such a one now due to be here?
9 We do not mean that Jeremiah himself has come back to life by a resurrection from the dead. That was what some first-century Israelites thought of Jesus Christ because of his coming in Jehovah’s name and enduring so much religious opposition there in Israel. (Matt. 16:13, 14) Today we mean someone who was prefigured or typified by ancient Jeremiah. We have in mind the servant or slave about whom Jesus Christ spoke in his prophecy concerning “the sign of [his] presence [or, parousia] and of the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3) Today, alert Bible students see the “sign” of the presence, or parousia, of the glorified Jesus Christ in heavenly Kingdom power. Hence, the servant or slave should now be here on earth to complete the “sign” in all its details. In Matthew 24:45-47, Jesus said:
10 “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.”—NW; compare the Authorized Version.
11, 12. (a) When did the “slave” appear on the scene, and how? (b) What showed that the “slave” was appointed to feed the “domestics” at the proper time?
11 The “slave” here foretold could not be an individual Christian man, for, in such a case, he would have to be more than 1,900 years old by now. The “slave” must be the entire Christian congregation made up of the 144,000 disciples who have been begotten by God’s spirit to become joint heirs with Jesus Christ in his heavenly kingdom. This “slave” class had its start on the festival day of Pentecost in the year 33 C.E. The original part of the “slave” class came into existence when the glorified Jesus Christ was used to pour out the holy spirit upon the waiting disciples (about 120 of them) assembled at Jerusalem. That this newly created “slave” class was then appointed to give spiritual food at the proper time to the domestics of the glorified Jesus Christ the Master is shown by an outstanding fact. What is that?
12 All those who were then anointed with the holy spirit began to speak with hitherto unknown foreign languages and to talk about “the magnificent things of God.” (Acts 2:1-11) Right after that 3,000 truth-hungry Jews and proselytes were fed with spiritual food at that proper time and became baptized, spirit-begotten Christians, domestics of the Master Jesus Christ.—Acts 2:14-42; Matt. 24:45.
13. (a) How has this “slave” been kept alive till now, and in expectation of what? (b) Why should the 63-year period since 1914 have a special significance?
13 Those first-century spirit-begotten Christians died off, but in the centuries since then members have been added to the “slave” congregation, all these awaiting the “presence” of the glorified Master Jesus Christ in Kingdom power. Since the year 1914 the “sign” has appeared and become constantly more impressive, to verify that the Master’s presence in Kingdom power began at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914. (Luke 21:24; Dan. 4:16, 23, 25, 32) Since then, no period of just 63 years has seen all mankind plagued with such international wars, political upheavals, accompanied by so many earthquakes, pestilences of pandemic proportions, food shortages with spiraling food costs, outbursts of lawlessness, and loveless oppression and persecution of Christ’s “slave” class world wide. Truly, this period between World War I of 1914 and now remains without historic parallel. It should have significance of world importance. It does! Jesus Christ, God’s prophet greater than Moses, prophetically explained what it would mean. What?
14. According to Jesus’ explanation, what did this period mean?
14 That his “presence,” or parousia, is now in effect since 1914 and that the end of this system of things draws ever closer!
15. Why should there be a Jeremiah class on earth today, and who compose it?
15 The period of Christ’s “presence” is the time for his judging of members of the “slave” congregation appointed 19 centuries ago to feed his domestics with spiritual food at the proper time. (Matt. 24:45-47; 25:14-30) So the final remnant of the spirit-begotten “slave” class are now due to be here on earth and to be undergoing judgment. Their faithfulness and spiritual wisdom in the Master’s service determines their worthiness to be put in charge of all the earthly belongings of their Master. Also, since our times correspond with the days of Jehovah’s prophet Jeremiah, it is logical that there should be a class like Jeremiah today, coming in Jehovah’s name. There is such! It is composed of the approved remnant of the “slave” class. And till now the fighters against God have not prevailed against it!
16. (a) A hundred years ago what had begun to exist in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, with what relation to Christendom? (b) How did a vitally needed magazine then come to be published, and by whom?
16 Let us look back 100 years—back to 1877 C.E. By that time the religious sects and denominations of the realm of Christendom had multiplied greatly. However, at that time there was a small congregation of dedicated Bible students in Allegheny (now a part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, U.S.A. This congregation was completely divorced from the religious systems of Christendom, which was then under attack by the evolution theory, the so-called Higher Criticism and materialism. Within that small congregation in Allegheny unsectarian study of God’s inspired Word aroused a driving sense of urgency. An elder of that congregation saw the need of publishing a new magazine that would champion the basic, underlying doctrines of the Holy Bible. His material wealth he decided to use in this behalf. So in July of 1879 he founded the desired magazine with himself as editor and publisher. This magazine was due to pose a problem for the world system of things, particularly for Christendom. It was entitled “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” Its editor and publisher was the self-sacrificing Bible student Charles Taze Russell.
17, 18. (a) Besides what is indicated by the title “Zion’s Watch Tower,” in whose name did those having to do with the magazine step out onto the world stage? (b) Why would the magazine never beg or petition men for support?
17 This editor and fellow contributors to the new magazine and the congregation that backed it up stepped upon the world stage in the name of the God of Jeremiah, who served as priest at ancient Zion. The Bible speaks repeatedly of the Zion of Jeremiah’s time as being the residence of Jeremiah’s God. (Ps. 74:2; 48:1, 2) The magazine’s designation “Watch Tower” had to do with the Bible text quoted on the title page: “Watchman, what of the night?” “The morning cometh.” (Isa. 21:11, 12, Authorized Version) This suggested the purpose that the magazine was going to serve with regard to the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. But on page 2 of the second issue of the magazine (Volume 1, Number 2), at the top of the first column there appeared the heading: “Do You Want ‘Zion’s Watch Tower’?” Under this heading, paragraph three said:
18 “Do not suppose these remarks to be an appeal for money. No. ‘Zion’s Watch Tower’ has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ‘All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.”
GOING FORWARD IN THE DIVINE NAME
19. What shows whether Jehovah failed to provide funds for publishing the magazine?
19 There is no room for debating the point. The publisher of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence stepped into the world arena of religious activity in the name of JEHOVAH, just as the prophet Jeremiah of old did. So, then, did Jehovah fail to provide the necessary funds for the continued publication of this magazine? The answer to this question is obvious from the fact that never, since July of 1879 till now, did this magazine, in spite of being banned at various times in various lands, suspend publication or miss even a single issue!
20. What does the magazine’s printing now amount to, and to what does its title call attention?
20 Today the Watchtower magazine has increased its printing from an initial 6,000 copies monthly in one language (English) to a semimonthly printing of 10,400,000 copies in 79 languages. Today, ever since the issue of March 1, 1939, this magazine has been entitled “The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.” Also, today it has a companion magazine entitled “Awake!” printed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., in 33 languages and with an average printing of 10,125,000 copies.
21, 22. (a) What was made an objective of the magazine, and what name did those accepting it as their official magazine embrace? (b) Thus what obligation, like that of Jeremiah, came upon them?
21 From its issue of January 1, 1926, the Watch Tower magazine made it its special endeavor to set the name of the Bible’s God, Jehovah, most prominently before the whole world. It was only logical that, five years later (in 1931), those dedicated, baptized Christians who accepted the magazine as their official publication should embrace the name based on Isaiah 43:10, namely, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Not strangely, such a coming and speaking in the name of Jeremiah’s God from 1879 onward placed an obligation upon the publishers and supporters of the Watch Tower magazine and related publications. What? To herald to all mankind what Jehovah had declared in the Holy Bible. This resembled the responsibility that was laid upon Jeremiah, to whom God said:
22 “And as for you, you should gird up your hips, and you must rise up and speak to them everything that I myself command you.”—Jer. 1:17.
23. So what has the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses continuously striven to do, and how?
23 The Christian organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses has recognized its obligation in that respect and has continuously striven to fulfill it. Not only do they publish the complete Bible in a number of translations, but they also publish and circulate bound books, booklets and tracts that explain Jehovah’s written Word in its entirety, that is to say, “everything that I myself command you.” Down till now they have not held back from doing this.
24. How did Jesus outline the main work for his disciples?
24 Jesus Christ, as a prophet greater than Jeremiah, outlined the main work for his disciples when he said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” Also: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father [Jehovah] and of the Son [Jesus Christ] and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
25. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses carried forward this ordained work, but what about those fighting against this work?
25 Such work as commanded by God’s Son Jesus Christ has been pushed by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses clear around the globe into 216 lands and island groups in 194 languages. Men who oppose them in this divinely ordained work make themselves in actuality fighters against God. In doing so, they are fighting a losing battle. Desperately they persist in thinking that they will prevail against the small anointed Jeremiah class and their loyal companions. But we have Jehovah’s Word for it that they will never prevail!
[Picture on page 752, 753]
“The Watchtower” has increased its printing from 6,000 copies monthly in English to a semimonthly printing of 10,400,000 in 79 languages; ten of these are shown here: