In Unison Keep Crying Out Joyfully
“Become cheerful, cry out joyfully in unison.”—ISAIAH 52:9.
1. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses now cry out “in unison”?
IN UNISON! The dictionary defines this phrase to mean “in perfect agreement: so as to harmonize exactly.” Jehovah’s Witnesses serve in unison because they have the mind of Christ, and are united in magnifying Jehovah’s name. Because of Jehovah’s blessing upon them, even the symbolic land in which they dwell is cheerful, every feature of it crying out joyfully. All of this is in line with the apostle Paul’s prayerful words: “Now may the God who supplies endurance and comfort grant you to have among yourselves the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had, that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Romans 15:5, 6; John 17:4, 6, 20, 21.
2 ‘Glorify God!’ That is what Jehovah’s unified “watchmen” are doing today. Thus they fulfill the prophecy: “In unison they keep crying out joyfully; for it will be eye into eye that they will see when Jehovah gathers back Zion.” (Isaiah 52:8) They see “eye into eye,” because they are “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10; see also Ephesians 4:4-6.) And now, as the “great crowd” echoes the ‘joyful cry,’ the global shout rises to a crescendo.—Revelation 7:9, 10, 15.
3. How has Jehovah’s organization on earth reflected the joy of the heavenly hosts?
3 God’s heavenly organization, including “myriads of myriads” of holy angels, raises its “voice” in giving praise to Jehovah as the grand Creator, and to “the Lamb,” Jesus Christ. (Revelation 5:11, 12; 4:11) Likewise, God’s people on earth today are organized for joyful sacred service. Even the symbolic land in which they dwell is “cheerful.” Says the prophet: “Become cheerful, cry out joyfully in unison, you devastated places of Jerusalem, for Jehovah has comforted his people; he has repurchased Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 52:9) Jehovah has brought “his people,” the earthly representatives of “Jerusalem above,” his heavenly organization, back from the devastation they experienced during World War I, and their “crying out joyfully” in full unison has resulted in global expansion that continues to this day!—Galatians 4:26, 27; Isaiah 52:8.
4. In what way has Jehovah “bared his holy arm” already, giving us what confidence for the future?
4 Next the prophecy says: “Jehovah has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth must see the salvation of our God.” Jehovah truly acted on behalf of his people in the early part of those “last days,” and shortly, at Har–Magedon, he will again ‘bare his holy arm,’ bringing salvation to his organized people. At that time, ‘many nations will have to know that he is Jehovah.’—Isaiah 52:10; 12:2; Ezekiel 38:23.
5, 6. (a) Why is it urgent to get God’s work accomplished? (b) How has the organization acted with a view to giving a wider witness?
5 Jehovah’s day of execution is at hand! “There is a hurrying of it very much.” (Zephaniah 1:14) In the meantime, the “good news of something better” must be published abroad throughout all the earth. (Isaiah 52:7) To get the work accomplished, Jehovah’s organization uses a number of legal corporations, such as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, and these supervise the work of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in some 94 branches throughout the earth. During the past five years, there has been a great expansion of the printing and other facilities at these branches, so that the Society is in better position than ever before to ‘publish peace and salvation.’
6 During the past year, a large addition was built on to the Society’s factory at Watchtower Farms, New York State, where the Bethel Home is also being enlarged. A huge offset magazine press has been installed, with a capacity for printing at least 400,000 magazines a day. Many of the Society’s older M.A.N. letterpresses have been dismantled and rebuilt as two-unit offset presses. These are being used now in Watch Tower branches throughout the world, as well as at Brooklyn and Watchtower Farms. Expansion is taking place earth wide. For example, the branch in Germany is now operating its second high-speed offset rotary press, and the Japan branch is about to start production with its third offset rotary press, capable of producing 60,000 magazines per hour.
Magazines to the Fore!
7. What progress was there in placing subscriptions during 1983?
7 Why all this expansion in the field of theocratic printing? It is because of the zealous activity of all of you brothers in the field. During the past year you obtained a splendid total of 1,756,153 subscriptions for the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, a 28-percent increase over the previous year.
8. How has recognizing the value of our magazines brought results?
8 A circuit overseer in the United States wrote that the special four-page insert on magazine activity, published in Our Kingdom Ministry of April 1983, “had a telling effect on all of us.” He said it was common for a car group to return from service having obtained four or five subscriptions. One pioneer Witness overcame her former negativeness and obtained nine subscriptions in one week. The Japan branch reported that new subscriptions for May and June totaled 70,115—compared to 49,016 in the previous two-month campaign—even with a yearly subscription price of 1,800 yen ($7.50, U.S.)! But the value of our magazines, spiritually, cannot be measured in money, not even in silver or gold. (Proverbs 8:10, 11) May we continue to show zeal in offering subscriptions during 1984!
9. How might increased magazine distribution be achieved?
9 However, what of our general magazine distribution during 1983? It was good, but this is the one feature of our service that has not increased. What can we do about this? Again, deep appreciation for the contents of our magazines should stimulate us to carry them and offer them on every occasion, especially on our weekly Magazine Day. We say “weekly” Magazine Day, for so many of our brothers around the earth are enjoying such regular participation. Branches as far apart as Kenya and Hong Kong have requested that second and fourth Saturday for magazine activity be omitted from the Society’s calendar, as this could result in halving the magazine distribution in their territories. By all means, let everyone share in this joyful service on the second and fourth Saturdays, but why not advance now to the further goal of every Saturday for magazine service—from house to house, in the streets and markets and on magazine routes!—Ecclesiastes 11:1.
10. What benefit did one magazine bring an Awake! reader?
10 So often it is just one magazine that sparks interest, with the final result that another “sheep” is added to the “fold” of the “fine shepherd.” (John 10:14, 16) The following experience illustrates the point:
One day a Kingdom publisher in Réunion was passing the home of a confirmed drunkard when the man called him over. “Monsieur, I have stopped drinking,” he said with joy. Since in Réunion many people go to a hospital to be detoxified, the Witness asked him, “Which hospital did you go to?” The man replied, “I didn’t go to a hospital; I read the Awake! [July 8, 1982, on alcoholism] and I stopped drinking.” For two months, at the time of writing, the Witness has been conducting a Bible study with this family in the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. One magazine could accomplish just that!
This leads into another topic:
Home Bible Studies on the Increase!
11. What impact has the Live Forever book had on the world field?
11 In June 1982, the Watch Tower Society released the illustrated study book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. By mid-September 1983, 14,663,229 copies of this book had been printed in the Society’s factories around the earth. It is now available in 55 languages. And what effect has this book had on the world field? A tremendous impact! The Watch Tower branch in Puerto Rico writes concerning the Spanish field there:
‘We received 30,000 Live Forever books in August, but these soon went, and then in October we received 30,000 more. February of 1983 saw us down to “0,” but in March and June we received a total of 40,000 more. We are again down to around 10,000, but we are expecting 35,000 more books soon.’
12. (a) How has appreciation been shown for this book? (b) Referring to the chart on pages 20-23, do you see countries where Bible studies exceed the number of publishers?
12 In Lapland an elderly man, who is not a Witness himself, wrote the Watch Tower branch in Finland:
“I have read quite a number of religious books. I think, however, that your book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth is one of the best of them. I would like you to send me 11 copies of it so that I can give them to my friends.”
This book no doubt contributed to the big increase in home Bible studies during the 1983 service year. Around the earth, 1,797,112 studies were being conducted monthly with newly interested persons—a 13.3-percent increase over the 1,586,293 studies in 1982.
13. How may the Live Forever book aid those who are not active Witnesses?
13 Do you want to learn how to cope with the problems of life? Then contact Jehovah’s Witnesses at one of their Kingdom Halls and request a Bible study in this Live Forever book. Have you been interested for some time in Bible prophecy as explained by Jehovah’s Witnesses, but at present you are not an active Witness? You, too, should study this book with one of the Witnesses.
14. How can all active Witnesses put the Live Forever book to good use?
14 Are you a Witness who does not yet conduct a Bible study with a newly interested person? Then why not arouse someone’s interest in this book—through house-to-house calls or informal witnessing—and suggest that you read the book together? It is so easy to do this by just reading the paragraphs and discussing them with the help of the questions and pictures that are provided. As Jesus himself said, when we accept the yoke of Christian discipleship we ‘find refreshment for our souls,’ and the joy we have is enhanced when we personally have a share in helping others to become disciples. (Matthew 11:29, 30; 28:19) And such studies will open the way for us to use, later, the faith-strengthening study material in our new pocket-size book, United in Worship of the Only True God.
15. What profound mark has the Enjoy Life brochure made?
15 During the past year, the 32-page picture brochure Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! has been another powerful instrument in the global teaching program of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The large African country of Zaire, where the new peak of 28,126 publishers is a 14-percent increase over the average for 1982, reports as follows:
The brochure Enjoy Life on Earth Forever! in our various local languages has had a profound effect on the preaching work. Many have commented that it is just the thing for their territory where people are illiterate or read poorly. Congregations rapidly distribute their stock. A Protestant church in Isiro requested supplies from the local congregation for use in their Sunday school. A Catholic priest in Medje drove for miles in his Land-Rover in an effort to obtain supplies for a local school. It is not uncommon to see travelers with their copy of this brochure in hand.
16. (a) What distribution has the brochure had? (b) In harmony with Ecclesiastes 11:6, how can young children use the brochure?
16 The Watch Tower factories preparing this publication have now printed more than 17,000,000 in 111 languages, and the demand throughout the earth is greater than ever. Many children have found this brochure to be a fine help in planting seeds of truth with school friends, leading to Bible studies with them.—Ecclesiastes 11:6.
17. What experiences illustrate the teaching value of this brochure and its pictures?
17 A country where our work is banned sent this report:
A Witness sister using the Enjoy Life brochure to teach three young children had just completed a discussion of idols. After the study the children disappeared quickly into another room. They reappeared shortly, arms full of cut woodwork, crosses and various other articles. These were deposited on the table before the Witness. Surprised, she asked what that was for. The older girl replied, “We have just learned that we have to get rid of idols and images according to the Bible.”
The Ivory Coast sent this information:
A circuit overseer’s wife reports that she is able to use the brochure in handling various subjects, such as polygamy, free love, spiritism and prayer, just by referring to a few of the pointed and well-drawn pictures. Yes, as she says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
“Turn Away, Turn Away”
18. From what, principally, should Jehovah’s people “turn away”?
18 Not alone in Africa but throughout the earth, all those desirous of worshiping the true God, Jehovah, must turn away from Babylonish false religion and the immoral ways that such religion either spawns or permits. Says God’s prophet: “Turn away, turn away, get out of there, touch nothing unclean; get out from the midst of her, keep yourselves clean, you who are carrying the utensils of Jehovah.”—Isaiah 52:11.
19. How should we react if apostates try to draw us away from our sacred service?
19 Since 1919, Jehovah’s people have been cleansed of Christendom’s religious falsehoods. Yet, from time to time, someone may return to idolatry and be disfellowshipped from the congregation. He may try to draw away those who carry “the utensils of Jehovah”—the precious provisions that God makes for sacred service in house-to-house, magazine, Bible study and other Christian activity. But loyal Witnesses do not so much as “touch” such apostasy.—2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 John 9-11.
20. What does God’s Word say about moral uncleanness, and how may we avoid it?
20 However, there is other uncleanness that today claims many times more victims than does apostasy—moral uncleanness. We need to be on guard against the world’s pressures to indulge in immorality! The apostle Paul warns that “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom,” and to the list of vices he adds also “uncleanness, loose conduct.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:19-21) There is no place for immoral persons in the spiritual paradise that Jehovah has established among his people today, nor will there be a place for any such in the Kingdom or in the Paradise earth, now so close at hand. Let all of Jehovah’s clean people hold to their place in the spiritual paradise by following Paul’s pointed counsel: “Flee from fornication,” “flee from idolatry.”—1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14.
21. (a) In line with Isaiah 52:12, what confidence should we now have? (b) How can we show that we have ‘comely feet’?
21 When Jehovah’s anointed people were delivered from bondage to Babylonish religion, they experienced the impact of the words spoken by God’s prophet: “You people will get out in no panic, and you will go in no flight. For Jehovah will be going even before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12) Today, the “great crowd” of the Lord’s “other sheep” rejoice also in this deliverance. All the 2,501,722 loyal publishers of the Kingdom have full confidence that Jehovah will continue to go before them, and that he will be their rear guard, right down to and through the decisive battle at Har–Magedon. (Revelation 16:13-16) Therefore, you witnesses of the true God, Jehovah, “become cheerful, cry out joyfully in unison”! Let your ‘comely feet’ carry you swiftly in publishing good news of something better, for “your God has become King!”—Isaiah 52:7-9.
What answers would you give to the following?
□ How has Jehovah equipped his people to ‘cry out in unison’?
□ In what positive ways may we show appreciation for our magazines?
□ What effective use might all of us make of recent study publications?
□ How should we respond to the counsel and encouragement of Isaiah 52:11, 12?
[Box on page 26]
In June, Korea reported a new peak of 6,656 subscriptions, 110 percent more than in the previous June. Kingdom publishers in Greenland obtained 510 new subscriptions for the year, a 71-percent increase over 1982
[Box on page 27]
Awake! is now published in additional languages as a quarterly magazine—Arabic, Bicol, Croatian, Fijian, Hebrew, Hiri Motu, Icelandic, Kikamba, Kikuyu, Russian, Shona, Sinhalese, Turkish and Urdu, as well as in some other Oriental languages. Though subscriptions are not available, individual copies can be obtained through the congregations. These special editions have been most enthusiastically received
[Box on page 29]
A family moved from France to the island of Mooréa in French Polynesia to help the small congregation there. After some months, they are now reporting 4 pioneers, 5 publishers and 51 home Bible studies. It is said that on the nearby island of Raiatéa, every family has studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Worldwide, “the harvest is great.”—Matthew 9:37.