Which Organization—Jehovah’s or Satan’s?
“Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”—Josh. 24:15.
1, 2. (a) Today the choice is between what two things, and how urgent is the need to decide about it? (b) Nineteen centuries ago, whose decision on the matter was of universal consequence, and what choice was made by that one?
TODAY the choice is between the two biggest organizations in existence. Historically, this is nothing new, but today the need for making the right choice is more urgent than ever before. Two thousand years ago a historical person, whose decision on the question would carry the greatest consequences for all the universe, was faced with the need to make such a choice.
2 Two witnesses to this fact, two searchers for the historical facts, namely, Matthew Levi, a former tax collector, and Luke, a physician, give us the testimony establishing the truth of it. The historical person upon whom the eyes of the whole universe were then focused was Jesus Christ of the Middle East. Matthew Levi tells us that Satan the Devil “showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’” Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim to the organized world, but he unhesitatingly rejected Satan’s offer. (Matt. 4:8-10) Jesus refused to desert the organization to which he already belonged and make himself a part of Satan’s organization.
3. In the Revelation to the apostle John, how was Satan the Devil pictured, and of what was his organization composed?
3 A personal associate of Jesus Christ, namely, the former fisherman John, the son of Zebedee, wrote what is now listed as the last book of the Bible. In that book the adversary, Satan the Devil, is pictured as a creature whose makeup John could never have organized in his own mind. So under divine inspiration John pictures him as “a great fiery-colored dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and upon its heads seven diadems.” (Rev. 1:1, 9, 10; 12:3) That oddly organized creature is called “the great dragon . . . the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” As the outcome of a war—think of it—in the invisible heavens, or spirit realm, the symbolic dragon “was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” (Rev. 12:7-9) Those demonic angels who fought on Satan’s side make up his spirit organization.
4. (a) What does the “wild beast” that emerges from the sea, as described in Revelation, chapter 13, picture? (b) What is the attitude of the world of mankind toward that “beast,” and where and how will their minds be disabused?
4 Satan the Devil also has a visible human part to his organization. Do we belong to it or side with it? In Revelation, chapter 13, it is pictured as a wild beast emerging from the sea. What course does the world of mankind take toward this symbolic creature? Listen: “And the dragon gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority. . . . and all the earth followed the wild beast with admiration. And they worshiped the dragon because it gave the authority to the wild beast, and they worshiped the wild beast with the words: ‘Who is like the wild beast, and who can do battle with it?’” (Rev. 13:2-4) Those worshipers of the visible earthly part of Satan’s organization will have their minds disabused, for, according to Revelation 19:11-21, the glorified Jesus Christ with his organized angelic armies will do battle with the “wild beast” at Har–Magedon and destroy it.—Rev. 16:14-16.
5. Till that war at Har–Magedon, what system of things keeps on existing?
5 Till then, what the apostle Paul speaks of at Ephesians 2:2 keeps existing, “the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” Also, at 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul says that “the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” For what purpose? “That the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”
6. (a) According to Ephesians 6:11-18, what kind of warfare are Christians obliged to wage? (b) Does this mean that there is no visible part of Satan’s organization with which to contend?
6 Paul exposes the Devil’s invisible organization in Ephesians 6:12, where we read: “We have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” Paul is not here saying that there is no visible earthly part to Satan’s organization. He is merely reminding us that we as Christians are not fighting a violent combat against the visible human elements of Satan’s organization in order to overthrow it. Jesus Christ, when in the flesh on the earth, did not try to overthrow Satan’s organization, and neither should his followers try to do so, for in such an effort they would waste their time and would fail. They need to carry on a spiritual war in order not to be made a part of Satan’s organization, and for this they need to take to themselves the armor and weapons that Paul describes in Ephesians 6:11-18.
7. (a) The fact that Satan has an organization argues what with respect to God, and why? (b) How was this illustrated in Jesus’ parable about the field that was oversown by the planter’s adversary?
7 There is no denying that Satan has a mighty organization with invisible and visible parts. Satan the Devil is a mimic for the purpose of deception, and the fact that he has an organization argues, in effect, that his chief opponent, Jehovah God, also has an organization. So Satan the imitator has deceived multitudes of people into thinking that they are accepting, adopting and joining the right and proper thing. (2 Cor. 11:13-15) Just call to mind Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares, or darnel, as an illustration of this. The early appearance of the tares, or darnel, was so much like that of the wheat that there was danger at that early stage of growth that, instead of the Devil-sown tare, or darnel, plantlets, the wheat plantlets might be uprooted. (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43) Jesus explained that the tares, darnel, or weeds, pictured “the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil.”
8. According to John’s first letter and Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, what would those symbolic weeds picture?
8 In the harvest now taking place during the ‘conclusion of a system of things,’ the symbolic weeds make up the foretold antichrist. In his first letter, written near the end of the first century, the apostle John writes, saying: “Just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be many antichrists . . . This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:18, 22) This agrees with what the apostle Paul wrote about 50 years earlier concerning the day of Jehovah. He said: “It will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.” Of course, Paul was not referring to a literal man, for he went on to say: “True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; . . . But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved.”—2 Thess. 2:3, 7-10.
9. (a) How does “the mystery of this lawlessness” rank as a work of Satan? (b) How does Christendom rate as a part of Babylon the Great?
9 From those words it is evident that the antichrist, the apostate man of lawlessness, “the mystery of this lawlessness,” is Satan’s masterpiece in the form of an organization. It is an imitation of organized Christianity and so an opposer of it. As a replacement of true organized Christianity, it finds its expression in present-day Christendom, this name meaning the realm of Christianity. That is certainly a deceptive name, for Christendom is really the most powerful part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, under the emperorship of Satan the Devil.
10. In the light of the words of John and Paul, what really is Christendom today, and what does each member organization of it claim to be?
10 In the light of what the apostles Paul and John said, Christendom is a departure from the true, original congregation of Jesus Christ, really an apostasy from it, yes, a rebellion against it. Unlike the first-century Christian congregation, Christendom today embraces more than a thousand religious sectarian organizations, each and every one of which claims to be Christian, the exponent of Bible Christianity.
11. Almost a century ago, by what name did the publishers of the Watch Tower magazine choose to be called?
11 With reference to those divided religious organizations that make up Christendom, the issue of the Watch Tower magazine for February of 1884 (almost a century ago) said the following under the heading “Our Name”:
“New readers in all parts of the country are constantly inquiring: By what name do you call yourselves? Are you ‘Primitive Baptists’? Are you ‘Missionary Baptists’? Are you ‘Universalists’? Are you ‘Adventists’? Are you ‘Primitive Methodists’? etc., etc. We have several times tried to make clear our position, and now endeavor in a few words again to do so.
“We belong to NO earthly organization; hence, if you should name the entire list of sects, we should answer, No, to each and to all. We adhere only to the heavenly organization—‘whose names are written in heaven.’ (Heb. 12:23; Luke 10:20.) All the saints now living, or that have lived during this age, belonged to OUR CHURCH ORGANIZATION: such are all ONE Church, and there is NO OTHER recognized by the Lord. Hence any earthly organization which in the least interferes with this union of saints is contrary to the teachings of Scripture and opposed to the Lord’s will—‘that they may be ONE.’ (John 17:11.)”
12. Indicating that the consecrated, baptized members of the Christian congregation are part of God’s organization, what did the Watch Tower issue of March 1883 say?
12 Indicating that the consecrated, baptized members of the true spirit-begotten church, or congregation, are united with the invisible heavenly part of God’s organization, the Watch Tower issue of March of 1883, page 6, said the following:
“But, though it is impossible for the natural man to see our organization, because he cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God, we trust that you can see that the true Church is most effectually organized, and in the best possible working order. . . .
“Recognizing this organization, which is of the Spirit, and desiring no assimilation whatever with the worldly, who cannot see or understand it, we are quite willing to bear the reproach of a peculiar people. . . .
“We have unbounded faith in our Captain; and this perfect organization, invisible to the world, marches on to certain and glorious victory.”
13. (a) In 1904 the Watch Tower Society published what book, and on what scriptures was its title based? (b) What was the title of Study V of the book, and, regarding this, what did it say, in part?
13 In the year 1904 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society published the book entitled “The New Creation.” The title of this publication was based on the following Bible texts: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17, Authorized Version) “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Gal. 6:15, AV) Study V of Volume 6 of Studies in the Scriptures, page 195, opens up with saying: “As the New Creation will not reach its perfection or completion until the First Resurrection, so its organization will be completed only then. The temple figure illustrates this: as living stones we are now called, or invited to places in the glorious temple, and, as the Apostle explains (1 Pet. 2:5), we come to Jesus, who, as the Father’s representative, shapes, chisels, fits and polishes us for places in the glorious Temple of the future—the meeting-place between God and the world.” Appropriately, the title of that Study or Chapter V is “The Organization of the New Creation.”
14. (a) How did the experiences during World War I affect those who had come out of Babylon the Great and had associated themselves with the Watch Tower Society? (b) What expression related to this discussion came to the fore?
14 The foregoing illustrates how persons who had come out of Babylon the Great and had associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society viewed matters before World War I erupted in 1914. After their tough experiences during that world conflict, the loyal members of God’s “new creation” found themselves more at odds with Babylon the Great than ever before. Their spiritual insight toward many Bible prophecies that were due to be fulfilled since 1914 was sharpened. A postwar convention of many hundreds of them was held at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., September 1-8, 1919, and they began to discern the features of God’s work that yet lay ahead of them. The expression “God’s organization” came to the fore!
15. (a) At the second Cedar Point convention, the feature talk of “The Day” dealt with what prophecy in particular? (b) In that talk, what two organizing operations were set in contrast?
15 In September of 1922 a second convention was held at Cedar Point, Ohio. On Friday, September 8, which was programmed as “The Day,” J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, delivered his historic address based on Matthew 4:17 (AV), “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He dwelt at length on the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 6, in its up-to-date application. His pointed words regarding the enemy organization deserve republication:
“Jehovah, the great ruler of the universe, in whom all domination rightfully lies, planned the redemption and deliverance of the human race and organized the nation of Israel to foreshadow such. With that nation he organized the true religion, commanding that they should worship him as the only true God. Satan, the opposer, the mimic God, organized amongst the people round about Israel the false religion, and caused them to worship him and other devils. The power exercised by Jehovah upon his people is the holy spirit. The tie that binds Satan to his followers is the evil spirit. Because of yielding to his machinations Israel was overreached by him. God pronounced a decree against the nation, and enforced that decree in 606 B.C.; and there Satan became the god of this world. He is also called the prince of the power of the air, thus indicating his organization visible and invisible. . . .
“The financial princes and the mighty rulers of earth assembled in Paris for a peace conference, and the clergy of nominal Christendom joined with them; and the result was the bringing forth of the League of Nations, the devil’s final substitute for the kingdom of Messiah. Nominal Christendom now not only was allied with big business and big politics, but boasted of the fact; and the nominal church (now a part of the devil’s organization, with no authority to act in the priestly office) came forward to offer incense. . . .
“ . . . But will the ecclesiastic leaders and their flock supporting the devil’s organization hear? The Lord’s prophet answers: ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. . . .’”
16. With what appeal did the speaker climax his talk on the theme of God’s kingdom by Christ?
16 In harmony with his theme text on God’s kingdom by Christ, J. F. Rutherford climaxed his stirring talk by saying:
“Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.”—The Watch Tower, November 1, 1922, pages 331-337.
17. Because of the fine “field organization” since 1922, what has resulted despite the population growth since then, and to what have Jehovah’s Witnesses thus borne testimony?
17 In its issue of December 15, 1922, under the subheading “Field Organization,” The Watch Tower said in its annual report: “The efficiency with which the witness must be given of necessity depends largely upon the organized efforts made in the field.” (Page 389) Since that early postwar year (1922) the world population has been increased by two thousand million inhabitants of the earth. The advertisers of Jehovah’s appointed King and his Messianic kingdom have also increased. In the light of the efficient witness that these have given till now, Jehovah’s dedicated, baptized witnesses have borne inerasable testimony as to where they stand on the supreme issue of the day, “Which organization, Jehovah’s or Satan’s?”
[Picture on page 13]
The glorified Jesus Christ, with his organized angelic armies, will destroy the “wild beast” at Har–Magedon