The Visible Part of God’s Organization
1, 2. (a) Is it anything new or recent for Jehovah to be spoken of as a Husband? (b) How does Isaiah 54:1-5, 13 bear out the answer?
TO PERSONS widely read in the Bible it is nothing new or recent that God should be spoken of as a Husband. When Jesus Christ himself said: “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by Jehovah’” (John 6:45), he was quoting from a prophecy that spoke of God as a Husband. This prophecy, Isaiah 54:1-5, 13, says (in part):
2 “Cry out joyfully, you barren woman that did not give birth! . . . For your Grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Repurchaser. . . . And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.”
3. When, at Galatians 4:27, the apostle Paul quoted from that same prophecy of Isaiah, was he referring to literal women on earth in any sense?
3 The apostle Paul quoted from that same prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 54, when he said: “For it is written: ‘Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break out and cry aloud, you woman who does not have childbirth pains; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.’” (Gal. 4:27) Certainly the apostle Paul was not there speaking of literal women on earth, for Jehovah God was not the Husband of an individual woman in either a typical sense or in a symbolic sense. What was figuratively God’s “wife” was something greater.
4. What, then, was this “something greater”?
4 What was it? Why, God’s organization, which he created for himself and which can never be induced to believe that God is a selfish liar! Like a husband, he will make it fruitful so that it gives birth to a “seed,” or offspring, by means of which God will destroy Satan and the organization he started with Adam and Eve.
5. When was the principal one of the “seed” spoken of in Genesis 3:15 provided, and how so?
5 The “Seed” of God’s “woman” or “wife” began to be provided in the person of the only-begotten Son of God in heaven. When? At the time that his life, which up till then had been in the spirit realm, in heaven, was transferred to the womb of the virgin Jewess Mary, for her to become pregnant with a child, in 2 B.C.E. So Mary was not “the woman” of Genesis 3:15. Nor did Mary prove to be the mother of those whom Revelation 12:17 calls “the remaining ones of her seed.”—Note Galatians 4:26-31.
6. (a) When on earth as a perfect man, Jesus was a part of what organization? (b) When did Jesus’ disciples start becoming part of God’s spiritual organization?
6 Just as the first man on earth, Adam, when perfect in the garden of Eden, was a “son of God” and was part of God’s universal organization, so Jesus as a perfect man on earth was a visible part of God’s organization of sons. (Luke 3:21-38) In prayer to God, Jesus said concerning himself and his disciples: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:14, 16) Later Jesus said to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) This was because Jesus Christ was a part of God’s spiritual organization, God’s “woman,” of whom he was the principal one of her “seed.” From the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward, when the glorified Jesus in heaven poured out holy spirit upon his faithful disciples on earth, these became part of the “seed” of God’s “woman.” They made up the visible part of God’s spiritual organization. Though in the world, they were no part of it.—Acts 2:1-47.
7. What kind of “bride” does the prospective husband Jesus Christ have, and what does she say according to Revelation 22:17?
7 In view of the foregoing, even Jesus Christ is spoken of as a Bridegroom with a prospective “bride.” She, of course, is not a literal woman. If she is not such, then what is she? She is a “bride” of many component parts, a composite “bride,” and so an organization following, imitating and doing the will of the prospective Bridegroom. Call it an ecclésia, an assembly, a congregation, if you prefer. (Deut. 4:10; 9:10; 18:16, Greek Septuagint Version; Acts 7:38) The last book of the Bible refers to this prospective heavenly mate of the glorified Christ when, at Revelation 22:17, it says: “And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’”
8. (a) In 2 Corinthians 11:2 the apostle Paul likens the Christian congregation of his day to what? (b) Since Paul quotes from Psalm 45 to connect it with Jesus, who, then, is the woman that is brought to the Messianic king as her Lord?
8 To the ecclesia or congregation in Corinth, Greece, the apostle Paul wrote: “I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2) At Hebrews 1:8, 9 the apostle Paul applies Psalm 45 to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This prophetic psalm likens the Son of God to a Bridegroom, for Psalm 45:13-15 goes on to say: “The king’s daughter is all glorious within the house; her clothing is with settings of gold. In woven apparel she will be brought to the king. The virgins in her train as her companions are being brought in to you. They will be brought with rejoicing and joyfulness; they will enter into the palace of the king.”
9. To what did John the Baptizer liken Jesus Christ and the group of his disciples?
9 Even John the Baptizer likened Jesus Christ to a Bridegroom and his future disciples to a prospective bride. Because of having the privilege of introducing the first disciples to the baptized, anointed Jesus, John said: “I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent forth in advance of that one. He that has the bride is the bridegroom. However, the friend of the bridegroom, when he stands and hears him, has a great deal of joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom. Therefore this joy of mine has been made full.” (John 3:28, 29) John the Baptizer did not expect to be made part of the spiritual “bride” of the Christ. He remained merely a “friend of the bridegroom.” Nevertheless, like those virgin bridesmaids of Psalm 45:13-15 he rejoiced unselfishly.
10. (a) Why is it correct to say that the “bride” class is the visible part of God’s spiritual organization? (b) How is that situation supported by what Paul wrote concerning Christ the Head in letters to the Romans and Corinthians?
10 The point of all of this is that as the heavenly Bridegroom is part of God’s spiritual organization so the prospective “bride” class, begotten of God’s spirit while yet on earth, is the visible part of God’s spiritual organization. The truth of this situation is strengthened by the fact that this “bride,” who has a husbandly head, is at the same time the spiritual body of Christ. To the ecclesia, or congregation, at Rome Paul wrote: “So we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but members belonging individually to one another.” (Rom. 12:5) To the congregation in Corinth, Paul wrote: “For truly by one spirit we were all baptized into one body, . . . Now you are Christ’s body, and members individually.” (1 Cor. 12:13, 27) Since now the Head of that spiritual body, the glorified Jesus Christ, is part of God’s spiritual organization, so the members of his “body” are part of God’s organization, only, at present, the visible part of it. It is not amiss to say that they are God’s visible organization on earth. “God has arranged the body.” (1 Cor. 12:24, The Jerusalem Bible) “But God has organized the body.”—The Riverside New Testament by William G. Ballantine.
GOD’S ORGANIZED, DEDICATED PEOPLE ON EARTH TODAY
11. After World War I, why was there need for reorganization on the part of the worldly nations and also on the part of the “remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed”?
11 Reorganization within Satan’s visible system of things became necessary for the war-battered nations at the close of World War I in 1918. A new actor had stepped onto the stage of international affairs in the form of the Bolsheviki or Communists, who staged a violent revolution in Russia and took over the political control of its sprawling empire in Europe and Asia. What a world the “remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed” had to face! There was need for reorganization on their part. They had to look at the future from a new and quite revolutionary standpoint, in the light of Bible prophecies opening up to their understanding as never before. Satisfying proof was at hand, from Bible chronology and prophecy and from world happenings, that the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations,” had ended in October of 1914. (Luke 21:24) Since then the old world has been in its “time of the end” or in its “last days.” (Dan. 12:4; 2 Tim. 3:1) That being the case, it was the due time for a new set of people, not the Communists, but God-fearing persons, to make their appearance on the world stage of action. The identity of these cleared up as time went on.
12. (a) The earthly hope for such God-fearing people then appearing on the world scene began to be proclaimed when and where before World War I ended? (b) So with whom did the book entitled “The Harp of God,” published in 1921, connect up John 10:16?
12 These were in line for surviving the destruction of the old system of things at Armageddon and would enter the new system of things under Christ’s heavenly kingdom. This would afford them the opportunity of never dying off the face of our earth, which the Kingdom would transform into a paradise. This hope, the like of which was never proclaimed before, was publicly proclaimed in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., in February 1918, before World War I ended more than eight months later. Those adopting such a hope would never expect to go to heaven so as to become part of God’s organization up there. After the war a fresh look was taken at Jesus’ prophetic words recorded in John 10:16. So in 1921 the Watch Tower Society published the book entitled “The Harp of God,” which in paragraphs 577, 578, on page 345, said:
“That those who are to be saved are not confined to the ones who go to heaven Jesus proved when he said: ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice.’ (John 10:16) ‘This fold’ means the church; and after this class is selected, then all must have an opportunity to come into the fold of Christ. [Authorized Version of John 10:16] And this is true because he bought them all with his precious blood.
“God caused the Prophet David to write: ‘All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.’ (Psalm 86:9) This is further corroborative proof that all must have an opportunity.”
13. At the Los Angeles convention in 1923, how did the key speech connect up Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats with John 10:16?
13 In the year 1923 a nine-day convention was held in Los Angeles, California, climaxing with a public meeting in the Coliseum on Sunday, August 26. Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, at Matthew 25:31-46, was discussed, and there was a departure from Christendom’s traditional explanation of the parable. The “sheep” were identified with the “other sheep” of which Jesus prophesied in John 10:16. The explanatory talk, as published in the Watch Tower issue of October 15, 1923, said (on page 310, paragraph 33):
“We believe there are millions in the nominal church who are holding on because of their respect for the Lord; and they regard the nominal church as in some sense being used of the Lord. Great numbers of these do not claim to be consecrated unto the Lord, and have no heavenly hopes or aspirations. Here we believe is to be found the class designated by our Lord as the sheep. (John 10:16) Our conclusion therefore is that both the sheep and the goats of the parable claim to be Christians, forming Christendom, and both are claiming to do the works in the name of the Lord.—Matthew 7:21-23.”
14. In its issue of January 15, 1924, what did the Watch Tower magazine have to say about the time for gathering the “other sheep”?
14 The following year the Watch Tower issue of January 15, 1924, commented further (on page 26, paragraphs 2 and 3), saying:
“‘And unto him shall the gathering of the people be.’—Genesis 49:10.
“This is a prophetic statement relating to the work of the Christ. The time for this fulfillment is at hand. It means that the peoples of every nation, kindred and tongue, who desire and love righteousness, shall be gathered unto the Lord. Jesus said: ‘And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.’ (John 10:16) A sheep is a docile, peaceable and teachable animal; hence it is used to symbolize people that love peace and desire better things.”
15. How did the Watchtower issue of August 15, 1934, show that God’s kindness takes in more than saving the “little flock” to heaven?
15 A decade later the Watchtower issue of August 15, 1934, said in its opening paragraph (page 243):
“Jehovah’s loving-kindness is extended to all who diligently seek to know and to do his will. He extends his kindness to men who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) Jesus Christ is God’s provided way of life, but not all men who get life will become spirit creatures. There are other sheep which are not of the ‘little flock’. (John 10:16) It is the latter, or the ‘other sheep’, that, after the coming of Christ Jesus to the temple for judgment, he addresses in these words: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ (Matt. 25:34)”
(See also paragraph 28 on page 248.)
16. At the Washington, D.C., convention in 1935, the “great multitude” was explained to be of what class of “sheep,” and how next day did hundreds of the specially invited ones react to the information?
16 The following year, 1935, proved to be epoch-making. A meaningful convention was held at Washington, D.C., to which those desiring to be “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd were especially invited. This indicated that now a definite move was being made to gather such “other sheep.” On Friday, May 31, the talk was delivered that identified the “other sheep” (or, Jonadabs) as those who make up the “great multitude” with an earthly destiny, as foretold in Revelation 7:9-17 (AV). The surge of many of the conventioners to be of that “great multitude” was indicated by the fact that, the next day, 840 presented themselves to be baptized in water in symbol of their unqualified dedication of themselves to Jehovah God through the Fine Shepherd Jesus Christ.
A “NEW NAME” FOR THE EARTHLY PART
17. In its issue of March 1, 1925, the Watch Tower magazine explained the birth of the man child in Revelation, chapter 12, so as to apply to what outstanding event?
17 Back, however, to the meaningful year of 1925. The long misunderstood vision of Revelation 12:1-17 was cleared up. The March 1, 1925, issue of the Watch Tower magazine cleared away the idea that the birth of the man-child by the “woman” in heaven pictured the birth of the papacy from an apostate religious system during the fourth century. Rather, the bringing forth of the man-child portrayed the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom from his “woman,” his wifelike heavenly organization. This took place in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations,” in the autumn of 1914 C.E. The earthly part of Jehovah’s spiritual organization was thrilled at this revelation!
18. (a) In 1925 attention was called to the fact that the time was at hand for God to do what in his own behalf? (b) In line with that, what did the congregation of those in “this fold” of the Fine Shepherd do in 1931?
18 More than that, in 1925! The noteworthy fact came to the fore that the time had come for God to make a name for himself. This fact was publicized that summer at the regional convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. (2 Sam. 7:23; Isa. 64:1, 2) In line with God’s purpose to take out of the nations “a people for his name,” in July of 1931 the designation “Jehovah’s witnesses” burst forth upon the world, when, formally and by resolution, thousands of those belonging to “this fold” of the Fine Shepherd adopted this Scriptural designation for God’s dedicated, baptized people. (Isa. 43:10) That example, set at the Columbus (Ohio) convention, was followed by the congregations of those of “this fold” around the globe.
19. According to the revised version readings of John 10:16, do those in “this fold” include all the “sheep” of the Fine Shepherd today?
19 Jesus Christ made a distinction between his sheeplike followers of “this fold” and the “other sheep.” According to the English Revised Version of 1884, he said: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock, one shepherd.”—The Emphatic Diaglott of 1864; Rotherham, of 1903.
20. Since 1935 in particular, what “sheep” is it that the Fine Shepherd has organized on earth into a unity?
20 Those of “this fold” were part of God’s spiritual organization, these being “the remaining ones” of the spiritual “seed” of God’s woman, spoken of in Revelation 12:17. Since the “other sheep” do not belong to “this fold,” they are not part of God’s spiritual organization. They are not part of the “little flock” to which the heavenly Father gives “the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) But in the spring of 1935 the Fine Shepherd Jesus Christ definitely began to bring these “other sheep” with an earthly destiny into recognized association with the spirit-begotten remnant of “this fold.” They then became “the sheep” who were foretold in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, in Matthew 25:31-46. Thus the Fine Shepherd merges the “sheep” of “this fold” with the “other sheep” to form just “one flock” under him as their “one shepherd.” So the “flock” becomes one organization.
21. The remnant of “this fold” of sheeplike ones will work together with the “other sheep” as one organized “flock” until when, and then what adjustments will be made?
21 This lays the basis for all these sheeplike ones, of whichever destiny, to work together now as one organization on earth. The separation that must eventually come between the two classes will be because the “sheep” of “this fold” will have finished their earthly course faithfully and will share in “the first resurrection,” to be absorbed into the invisible heavenly organization. (Rev. 20:4, 6) Those of the “little flock” being then all gone, readjustments will have to be made among the remaining “other sheep,” that these may all serve harmoniously as subjects of the Greater David, the Messianic King Jesus Christ.—Rev. 22:16.
[Picture on page 25]
Today the “little flock” and the “other sheep” form “one flock,” one organization of Jehovah’s loyal witnesses