Global Support for the Kingdom Issue
“O Jehovah, you have added to the nation; you have glorified yourself. You have extended afar all the borders of the land.”—ISAIAH 26:15.
1. (a) How has a modern-day “nation” fulfilled Isaiah 26:2? (b) How does this “nation” contrast with the worldly nations?
WHICH nation does Jehovah bless thus with expansion? It is “the righteous nation that is keeping faithful conduct.” (Isaiah 26:2) It is the spiritual nation of true Christians that Jehovah’s heavenly helpmeet, “the Jerusalem above,” brought to birth “at one time,” in the modern year 1919. In contrast with the nations of earth and their clergy, who had fought World War I for world domination, Jehovah’s “nation” gives uncompromising support to his Messianic Kingdom, established in the heavens in 1914. (Galatians 4:26; Isaiah 66:8; Revelation 11:15-18) Jehovah has brought this “righteous nation” into a spiritual paradise of Kingdom activity and set it to work in giving a final witness to the nations and peoples of earth.—Matthew 24:14; 25:31-33.
2. For what reasons does this “nation” rejoice?
2 In fulfillment of the prophetic song of Isaiah 26:1-6, the members of the newborn nation have entered through wide-open gates in making their approach to “a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem.” (Hebrews 12:22) These Kingdom heirs joyfully heed the words of the song: “Trust in Jehovah, you people, for all times, for in Jah Jehovah is the Rock of times indefinite.” Jehovah has “added to the nation,” up to its full membership, and these citizens of the holy nation hail Jehovah as their “Rock” and “Sovereign Lord,” confident that he is about to bring all his grand purpose to fulfillment.—Isaiah 26:15; 25:8.
3. In what further way has Jehovah been glorified?
3 In recent years Jehovah has ‘extended the borders’ of his theocratic land still farther. This he has done to make room for “the desirable things” out of all the worldly nations—a “great crowd” that becomes part of his dedicated people. These ‘fill his house with glory’ as they, too, witness to his name and Kingdom.—Haggai 2:7; Revelation 7:9, 15.
Jehovah Adds to the Nation During 1982
4. (a) How does Ezekiel 9:1-11 set forth a fine example for those engaged in a ‘marking’ work today? (b) As a result of faithfully reporting our service, what satisfaction can we have?
4 As they give wholehearted support to the Kingdom issue, Jehovah’s Witnesses make written reports of their month-by-month service. In this, they are like the man with the secretary’s inkhorn, described at Ezekiel 9:1-11, who is commissioned to mark people for survival and who faithfully reports back to Jehovah, saying, “I have done just as you have commanded me.” How satisfying it can be at Service Meetings to hear details of a fine total report by the congregation and to know that your report, even though it may have been a mere ‘widow’s mite,’ contributed toward that result! Also, as we each year examine the grand total of activity in the annual worldwide report of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it can be thrilling to reflect on the fact that our own reports, however small, are yet a part of that tremendous global record!—Mark 12:42, Authorized Version.
5. (a) How has Jehovah glorified himself with regard to the 1982 Service Year Report? (b) How has the ‘disciple-making’ work borne fruit?
5 On pages 18-21 you will find the “1982 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE.” The precious name of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is indeed glorified by this marvelous record of service! Looking at the total figures at the bottom of page 21, we find a most encouraging increase of 4.2 percent in the number of those sharing each month in Kingdom service in obedience to Jesus’ command: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations.” Also, there is that splendid new peak of 2,477,608 Witnesses who shared at some time or another during the year in preaching the good news “publicly and from house to house.”—Matthew 28:19; Acts 20:20.
6. With regard to their commission, what fervent hope do Jehovah’s Witnesses have?
6 However, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not expect to convert the world. Rather, their divinely given commission is “to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God.” It is our fervent hope and prayer that millions more of earth’s teeming billions will respond to the Kingdom message before the “great tribulation” removes all harmful, ruinous elements. Then, “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isaiah 61:2; Matthew 24:14, 21, 22; Isaiah 11:9.
7. How has Jehovah’s organization prepared for further expansion?
7 Looking to further rapid expansion of the Kingdom work, Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide have been busy during the past several years in expanding their organizational facilities. Headquarters at Brooklyn, New York, has renovated and extended office facilities at 25 Columbia Heights, and factory operations both at Brooklyn and at Watchtower Farms have been computerized and updated for offset printing. Throughout the earth, more than 30 of the Society’s branches have been building new, enlarged facilities, some of which are illustrated on the opposite page. Jehovah’s organization is geared for further increase and expansion!
8. With regard to Kingdom-publisher increase, what points of interest did you find in examining the chart on pages 18-21?
8 In all, 95 countries among those listed in the Service Year Report attained to an all-time peak in the number of Kingdom publishers during 1982, and some of these reached real landmarks. For example, the teeming metropolis of Hong Kong was served for the first time by more than 1,000 ministers of the Kingdom. (Isaiah 60:22) Brazil moved ahead, with 133,377 in the field as a new peak, this becoming the largest “drove” of Witnesses outside the United States. (Micah 2:12) As the second largest religious group in Catholic Italy, Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoyed an 8-percent increase for a peak of 98,172 publishers of the Kingdom. (Mark 4:8, 20) Islands of the sea, large and small, from Australia to the Caribbean, registered new publisher peaks. (Isaiah 42:10) There is joy in noting fine progress in lands that have special problems, such as Argentina, El Salvador, Pakistan and Uganda. (Psalm 91:9, 10) Countries where Jehovah’s organization has long been established shared, too, in the forward surge—Britain, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany—and also the U.S.A., which in August reached a peak of 613,007 Kingdom proclaimers in the field, an 8.8-percent increase.—Acts 16:5.
“Pioneering” the Good News
9. (a) What is the report on pioneer increase? (b) Why is this privilege recommended to all who can make room for it?
9 Of these worldwide proclaimers of the Kingdom, an average of 172,859 reported each month as “pioneer” ministers, spending considerable time each day telling the good news to others. Compared with the previous year, the ranks of these full-time workers increased by 14 percent! Many others, also, are planning to enter this joyful service. Are you one of these? Truly, it would enable you to ‘bear witness thoroughly,’ after the apostolic example, concerning the glorious blessings just ahead for all who come to Jehovah, exercising “faith in our Lord Jesus.”—Acts 2:40; 8:25; 10:42; 20:21, 24; 23:11; 28:23.
10. (a) In what way may pioneering today be compared with the Nazirites’ service in Israel? (b) How have Jehovah’s Witnesses really expended themselves in various lands?
10 Though they do not take vows to be full-time preachers, these loyal pioneers, including the many “auxiliary pioneers” (who may serve as such just for a month or two), are like the Nazirites in ancient Israel, in that often they minister to God at great self-sacrifice. In some lands Jehovah’s servants have really expended themselves in ‘always offering to God a sacrifice of praise.’ For example, in April, Venezuela reported 2,464 auxiliary pioneers—136 percent more than the previous peak number. And Trinidad had 51 percent of its total publishers active as pioneers. In June, at the height of the rainy season in Japan, 25,140 were sharing in pioneer ministry—36 percent of all Kingdom publishers in that land. What joy and satisfaction is to be found in denying oneself in order to praise Jehovah more fully!—Hebrews 13:15; Numbers 6:8; Luke 9:23-25.
11. (a) Why should those unable to pioneer not be discouraged? (b) What splendid record of service and attendance shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere have been most active?
11 However, not only the devoted pioneers but indeed the entire “nation” of spiritual Israel, along with the millions of their companions of the “great crowd,” have made a most commendable effort in Kingdom preaching during 1982. All have contributed their part to the new all-time peak of 384,856,662 hours spent in field service during the year, and many have shared in conducting the 1,586,293 Bible studies held weekly in the homes of interested persons. On the occasion of the Memorial of Jesus’ death, observed on April 8, 1982, the worldwide attendance, in 44,953 congregations, was 6,252,787 persons—a multitude indeed! And may we be diligent in continuing to care for the spiritual feeding of all these “little sheep”!—John 21:15-17.
12. What blessing is pronounced at Numbers 6:24-26, and to whom may it now be applied?
12 Immediately after stating the law concerning the Nazirites, Jehovah had Moses pronounce a blessing on the entire nation, saying: “May Jehovah bless you and keep you. May Jehovah make his face shine toward you, and may he favor you. May Jehovah lift up his face toward you and assign peace to you.” How beautifully these words apply today to Jehovah’s holy nation of spiritual Israel—and also to the “vast mixed company” out of all nations that has come forth to share with them in service to Jehovah! It is indeed thrilling to know that 138,540 new witnesses of Jehovah were baptized throughout the earth during the year, a 15.6-percent increase over the number baptized the previous year. Jehovah’s name has been placed upon all of these, as well as upon all others in the congregation, so that Jehovah himself has come to “bless them.”—Numbers 6:24-27; Exodus 12:38.
‘Coming Off Victorious’
13, 14. (a) What is the situation of our brothers listed under “28 Other Countries”? (b) What encouragement may we derive from their example?
13 In a number of lands Jehovah’s Witnesses have to put up a hard fight for the faith under most difficult circumstances. Due to the viciousness of the enemy, and to protect our brothers, some of these places are not listed individually in the tabulated report, but the totals of their service appear in the line above the grand total, headed: “28 Other Countries.”
14 The Witnesses represented in these reports are indeed “coming off completely victorious through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37-39) As we reflect upon their faithful service, may we be determined, also, to overcome all obstacles in order to keep on serving Jehovah with our ‘whole heart, soul, mind and strength,’ as we lovingly help our neighbor to do likewise. In this way we can demonstrate that we “are not far from the kingdom of God.”—Mark 12:29-31, 34.
15-17. (a) What encouraging reports do we have from strife-torn sections of the earth? (b) What other similar reports have you read during the past year? (c) What is the prayer of Jehovah’s Witnesses with regard to the rulers?
15 The wife of a traveling overseer in Lebanon wrote: “In the service, whenever we hear the antiaircraft shooting, we stand under cover inside building entrances for protection, because five people had been killed by falling shrapnel in the territory we were working from house to house that same week. Constantly our prayers to Jehovah were for his blessing on the coming assembly and our brothers in West Beirut. The circuit assembly was on June 13. To our joy a cease-fire was announced on the radio the day before, on the 12th, so the assembly went off fine.” And later reports showed that none of Jehovah’s Witnesses were harmed in West Beirut at that time.
16 In a Central American country, where the peaceful ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been grossly misunderstood by the new government, all missionaries were deported. One missionary couple were seized and held in a secret hideout for two weeks, until loyal native Witnesses located them and revealed their whereabouts to the British Embassy, where arrangements were made for their departure. It was reported from this area that the authorities were searching for “the faithful and discreet slave” whom they had heard was the leader of the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Matthew 24:45-47.
17 In the African country of Zimbabwe, a high government official told a political rally: “As long as they are Jehovah’s Witnesses we have no problem. They are not our enemies. But if they cease being Jehovah’s Witnesses then it is time to be concerned.” It is the prayer of God’s true people that all government officials take such an enlightened viewpoint, so that all of Jehovah’s Witnesses “may go on leading a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness.”—1 Timothy 2:1, 2.
“Kingdom Truth” District Conventions Start Something!
18. What outstanding book was released at the “Kingdom Truth” District Conventions, and what is its purpose?
18 During the month of June 1982, the international series of “Kingdom Truth” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses was launched, and these conventions still continue in parts of the globe. In the U.S.A. alone there was a new peak attendance of 1,108,022.* At these 1982 conventions in the U.S.A., as well as in a number of other places, a new Bible study aid was released. This is the beautifully illustrated 256-page volume entitled You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. But this is no mere picture book. Nor is it a book especially prepared for children. Its lovely illustrations are for the purpose of teaching persons of all ages, that they may be helped to cultivate that lifesaving quality, FAITH. It was because of their FAITH firmly grounded in an accurate knowledge of Jehovah, his Word and his purposes, that loyal witnesses of ancient times were able to overcome seemingly insuperable obstacles. It is through FAITH that a “great crowd” of righteously inclined persons today are meeting the challenge of these “last days” and will find salvation through the “great tribulation” into Jehovah’s New Order.—Revelation 7:9, 14; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 10:38, 39; 11:32-38.
19. What comment do you yourself have to make on this book?
19 One family head, a happy recipient of this book, commented: “It is truly a gift from Jehovah unprecedented in my 25-year association with the truth. The style of writing would appeal to anyone. The illustrations are so moving you can see every emotion they seek to represent. God’s Kingdom purposes unfold in a convincing manner.” This priceless book has already been published in 21 languages, with many more to come.
20 It is hoped that millions of persons around our globe may yet learn the truth through the pages of this new book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, and that these will stand firm in support of the Kingdom issue when, shortly, the concluding words of the “song” of Isaiah chapter 26 are fulfilled: “Go, my people, enter into your interior rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for but a moment until the denunciation passes over. For, look! Jehovah is coming forth from his place to call to account the error of the inhabitant of the land against him.” After the Sovereign Lord Jehovah thus vindicates his great name at Har–Magedon, “the righteous nation that is keeping faithful conduct,” along with the “great crowd” of companion worshipers, will come forth unscathed, to advance into the reality of all those grand promises that “Jah Jehovah” has so faithfully recorded in his Word.—Isaiah 26:2, 4, 20, 21; Revelation 7:9, 14; 16:13-16.
Worldwide, at the 1981 “Kingdom Loyalty” District Conventions, there was an attendance of 4,147,256, with 44,357 new Witnesses being baptized.
Considering the modern-day fulfillment of the prophetic “song” of Isaiah 26:
□ Isa 26 Verse 2: Who first gave global support to the Kingdom issue, how, and with what result?
□ Isa 26 Verse 4: What confidence should these words instill in every servant of Jah?
□ Isa 26 Verse 15: High points of the 1982 Service Year Report indicate what fulfillment?
□ Isa 26 Verse 20: What place of refuge does Jehovah provide, and for how long?
□ Isa 26 Verse 21: What emphasis does this give as to Jehovah’s reason for executing judgment?
[Box/Picture on page 25]
Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide rejoiced at the release, during their “Kingdom Truth” District Conventions, of the 256-page illustrated book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. This book, clearly setting out the basic Bible teachings, has an appeal to people, old and young alike, who seek better things for our earth. It is expected to play a major part in stepping up the Witnesses’ global work of encouraging the study of the Bible in the home.
[Chart on page 18-21]
1982 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
(See bound volume)
[Pictures on page 17]
Some of the new Watch Tower branch facilities under construction in Europe during 1982
AJALVIR (MADRID), SPAIN