Love as a “Bond of Union” Proves to Be “Perfect”
1. In what way can Jehovah be compared to a forger, and in what way does every family owe its name to him?
THE greatest Forger in the universe, Jehovah God the Almighty, can forge a “bond of union” that will hold firm forever. Family ties, even those on earth, can be very strong; and Jehovah God is spoken of as “the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.” (Ephesians 3:14, 15) Since the global Flood of the days of the patriarch Noah every human family has descended from that faithful man whom God approved of as worthy of being preserved with this family through that world-engulfing inundation. Owing to this fact, every human family now on earth owes to Noah its “name,” that is, its being alive to bear a name. In the past, Jehovah God has been responsible for the giving of certain names to individuals on earth, but he has not directly given names to human families. Yet they owe their name to him, for they could never have come into existence as a family with a name were it not for him as the universal Life-Giver.—Genesis 5:1, 2, 32.
2. How did the rebel against God’s family become father to a family, and so what question is it appropriate that each one of us ask ourselves?
2 There has been a human breakaway from the universal family of the heavenly Father. This was induced by a superhuman rebel against the angelic family of God in the heavens, the rebel who came to be named Satan the Devil. By gathering followers to his side in the heavens he became, so to say, a father, but it is not love that binds the members of his family together. On one occasion Jesus Christ, the outstandingly faithful member of Jehovah’s universal family, said to his opposers of Jewish descent: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for from God I came forth and am here. . . . You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.” (John 8:42, 44) In this regard each one today can ask himself: By this standard, who is my “father”?
3. How does Satan’s situation since World War I differ from that before this time, and what prayer especially needs to be answered in behalf of all adherents to God’s organization?
3 At his rebellion Satan the Devil was cast out of the universal family of Jehovah God, and later on so were his demons under his fatherhood. At the garden of Eden he presented himself to humankind as the Tempter, and he was permitted, even after that, to go to and fro throughout the earth in his campaign of wickedness and opposition to the truth. (Job 1:7; 2:2) But now, since the foretold “war” after the birth of God’s Kingdom in the heavens, following the end of “the appointed times of the nations” in 1914, Satan the Devil and his demons have been cast out of heaven from immediate contact with the heavenly angels and down to the earth. Never again will they gain entry into the angelic heavens. So we can well understand the rage that Satan has against Jehovah’s universal organization and the loyal members of it. (Revelation 12:1-12; Luke 21:24) This, therefore, is the time of all times for the loving prayer of the apostle Paul, as recorded at Colossians 1:2, to be answered in behalf of the loyal adherents to Jehovah’s organization who are now on earth, namely: “May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father.” This prayer for peace among them cannot be realized if there is no unity within their ranks. Peace calls for internal harmony inside the visible organization of the God who gives peace, yes, cohesion of the organization members to one another.
4. For what do the unified witnesses of Jehovah thank him, and in what do they need to keep on walking?
4 For the organizational unity with resulting peace that distinguishes the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide today they can be doing what the Colossian congregation members were told to do, be “thanking the Father who rendered you suitable for your participation in the inheritance of the holy ones in the light.” (Colossians 1:12) We need to keep walking in the increasing light, and in these “last days” of the old system of things an especial effort has to be made to keep ourselves “suitable” for further enlightenment and for whatever will be our inheritance in the new system.—2 Timothy 3:1.
United as “One Flock”
5. From what have Jehovah’s Witnesses today been drawn despite all the potentially disunifying features, but why has the “one flock” of the “one shepherd” held together?
5 Today Jehovah’s Witnesses are found to be drawn from more human families than was the case with the first-century Christians. In view of that, they are drawn from all races of mankind, from all skin colors and from all walks of life. These noticeable things could have acted as a disunifying factor among Jehovah’s Witnesses. But not so! They recognize that, regardless of race, color, language, nationality and social level, they all have one common source of their existence and of the light of truth. Among Jehovah’s Witnesses of this late date there are a remnant of spirit-begotten Christians who have heavenly prospects and a “great crowd” of those whom the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, called his “other sheep.” (John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; Matthew 25:31-46) Nevertheless, the long-range forecast of Jesus Christ has not failed, even though it said: “And they will become one flock, one shepherd.” The Fine Shepherd has shown his skill in keeping all his peace-loving sheeplike followers “one flock,” notwithstanding the difference in hopes for the future. They all unitedly love their “one shepherd,” who lovingly sacrificed his human life for all of them, and they are loyal to him.
6. Why have the remnant with heavenly hope not held back from publishing the Bible truths that pertain to the “other sheep”?
6 The Biblical “truth” that all the sheep of today love so strongly has much to say about the Paradise hope for the constantly growing “great crowd” of the Shepherd’s “other sheep.” So, as lovers of the whole “truth” of God’s Word, the spiritual remnant are not envious so as to hold back anything profitable from those “other sheep” but have lovingly published worldwide that grand earthly hope, particularly since the year 1935. The remnant know that they are now living in “the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” (Acts 3:21) For the remnant the revelation of this truth has been part of their “inheritance of the holy ones in the light.” From the start of the publication of this magazine, The Watchtower, in July of 1879, it has been God’s instrument for reviving this grand Paradise hope for redeemed humankind. The other publications of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society have all combined to strengthen and confirm that hope in which the “great crowd” of “other sheep” delight so greatly today, with loving appreciation for the remnant.
7. In 1935, what hope besides their own did the anointed remnant lovingly set forth, and why did they allow for the baptism of those with this other hope?
7 Down to the spring of 1935 the dedicated, baptized witnesses of Jehovah had entertained in true faith the “one hope” that was set before them in Ephesians 4:4-6, as follows: “One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all persons.” But in that memorable year of 1935, at the convention held in Washington, D.C., the “great multitude,” as visualized at Revelation 7:9-17 (Authorized Version), was identified as being composed of the Fine Shepherd’s “other sheep” of John 10:16. The anointed remnant who still held on to their valid “one hope” rejoiced greatly over this advancing light upon the Holy Scriptures and set themselves to act wholeheartedly in the gathering of those “other sheep.” They did not feel that the “other sheep” were infringing on the “one baptism” by themselves getting immersed in water, for the baptism of such “other sheep” was as much a symbol of their dedication to Jehovah God through Christ as that of the anointed remnant had been. The love with which they had clothed themselves now widened out to embrace those lovable “other sheep” of their own Shepherd.
8. To whose love, in the days of ancient Israel, may the love existing between the two classes in the “one flock” be compared?
8 A mutual love has developed and deepened among all the sheeplike ones of the “one flock” under the Greater David, Jesus Christ. This uniting bond of love corresponds with that unbreakable, undying love of the anointed king-elect David of the tribe of Judah toward unselfish lovable Jonathan, the son of the then reigning king Saul. (2 Samuel 1:25-27) Shortly before their final parting from each other, “Jonathan swore again to David because of his love for him; for as he loved his own soul he loved him.” (1 Samuel 20:17) On learning of Jonathan’s death with his father in battle, David was impelled to chant a dirge and to climax it with the words: “I am distressed over you, my brother Jonathan, very pleasant you were to me. More wonderful was your love to me than the love from women.” (2 Samuel 1:26) Their mutual love was a “perfect bond of union.” Only death did them part.
9. By whom were the “other sheep” there pictured, and how will those of the two classes eventually be parted, but with no lessening of mutual love?
9 Jonathan foreshadowed the “other sheep” of the present time. Some future day after “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon the surviving Jonathan class will be parted from the remnant of the David class. (Revelation 16:14, 16) This will be only because the beloved remnant will be taken away by death, they being “caught away,” as it were, “in clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” by means of their instantaneous resurrection in the spirit out of death. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) They will continue to love the “other sheep” left behind on earth. In fact, their love then will be more powerfully expressed!
“The Greatest of These Is Love”
10, 11. Why is it that faith and hope are not so great as love, as stated in 1 Corinthians 13:13?
10 This reminds us of Paul’s words at the close of his magnificent description in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, namely: “Now, however, there remain faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) How is that so? Well, consider first what is said in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” Certainly, then, the hope for such things is only for the time that they are not “beheld.” Take Abraham, for instance. He demonstrated faith in Jehovah God and in His ability to raise the dead. So he waited confidently for things that he did not behold before his death. So Jehovah’s Witnesses of today, due to strong faith in Him, hope for things not yet beheld and so wait for them. When, in time, they behold the “things hoped for,” their faith and hope respecting such things end, having been fulfilled. This is indicated by what Paul further says in Romans 8:24, 25, where we read:
11 “For we were saved in this hope; but hope that is seen is not hope, for when a man sees a thing, does he hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, we keep on waiting for it with endurance.”
12. In what way have Jehovah’s Witnesses seen the “restoration of all things,” as stated in Acts 3:21, and so in course of time what qualities will cease but what quality will not?
12 Likewise, since the postwar year of 1919 Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth have seen the “restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” They have seen Jehovah’s visible organization recovered from the death-dealing blow of World War I and then rebuilt. It is again worshiping Jehovah God, in a spiritual paradise right here at the earth. (Isaiah, chapter 35) Deliverance has been gained from Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. (Revelation 18:1-4) Many of the things foretold in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, have been fulfilled or are undergoing fulfillment. Thus faith and the hope based on such Biblical faith are serving their purpose, and once their purpose has been fully met, they will cease. Ah, yes, but what about love? It has remained and will remain. Whereas the world is in a state of disintegration and the world elements are about to melt due to the intense heat, the “bond of union” based on love from God does not get dissolved. It still holds intact toward God and his approved organization and between the remnant of the “little flock” and the welcome “great crowd” of the “other sheep.” It proves to be “perfect.” Love as the “bond” is a fruit of God’s spirit.
13. Why will love never die?
13 God is the personification of love; and since God never dies, love will never die. It is correctly said, “God is love.”
14. What truth can be restated as to the unifying power of love?
14 As regards the unifying power of love, the inspired truth stated at 1 John 4:8, 16 can be repeated and enlarged upon: “God is love, and he that remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him.”
15. When creating man, by what was God motivated, and why can man appreciate and react properly to that motivating force?
15 Accordingly, when God produced the first human creature on earth, he was motivated by love to do this. As Genesis 1:27 reports on this: “And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him.” Not that the first man had God’s bodily shape, but that he was gifted with qualities such as God himself has, these mental, spiritual and heart qualities differentiating him from the lower forms of creature life on earth. For this reason this gifted human creature could appreciate the love of his Creator toward him and could react toward that love in a proper way, like a son toward his father. There existed a family tie between them that was made realistic by regular communion with each other in spite of the fact that the Father was invisible to the earthly son, inasmuch as no man can see God and yet keep on living. This fact God stated later on to Moses: “No man may see me and yet live.” (Exodus 33:20) This rule was not changed, for more than fifteen hundred years later the apostle John wrote to fellow Christians: “No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.”—John 1:18.
16. With what did John and his fellow disciples respond to God’s fatherly love, and how has the “bond of love” proved to be with regard to the anointed remnant and the “other sheep”?
16 As a spirit-begotten son of God, the apostle John was in a family relationship with Jehovah God and with his Son, “the only-begotten god,” Jesus Christ. John and his fellow Christians responded to God’s fatherly affection with a filial love. That love was a “bond of union” between them and their invisible heavenly Father. It also cemented the spirit-begotten ones together as the spiritual sons of God and as Christian brothers and sisters. As we examine that “bond of union” today we see that it has proved to be “perfect,” for the members of the anointed remnant cleave together inseparably as fellow worshipers and witnesses of Jehovah God. This love keeps them in the family of God and in the Christian brotherhood. Noteworthily, their fellow worshipers at God’s temple, the “great crowd” of Christ’s “other sheep,” display the same unquenchable love that binds Jehovah’s Witnesses of today together so perfectly. Determinedly, may we share the conviction of the apostle Paul that no “creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 8:38, 39.
How Do You Answer?
□ In what way does every family owe its name to God?
□ How should that fact affect all those in the Christian congregation?
□ Whom did Jonathan foreshadow?
□ Why is love greater than faith and hope?
□ How does love bind us to God?
[Picture on page 20]
The deep love between David and Jonathan foreshadowed the love between the anointed and the “other sheep”