God’s United “Mighty Nation” to Fill the Earth
“The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.”—ISAIAH 60:22.
1, 2. (a) What has happened to world unity and order? (b) In the midst of a debased world, what is happening to Jehovah’s servants?
KNOWLEDGEABLE people agree that this world is becoming ever more disunited and disorderly. An editorial in The New York Times declared: “Political violence is spreading around the globe as seldom before. . . . There is such a lot of the violence now that it’s hard to keep track.” It observed: “The fact is that nobody is running the world anymore and keeping a semblance of order.” However, this breakdown is just what God’s Word foretold for our day.—2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13; Matthew 24:3-13.
2 To Jehovah’s united servants, the spreading disorder is a sure sign that an old system of things is nearing its end, while a new system of things is emerging. (Luke 21:28) Yet, in the midst of a world that more and more imitates its debased god, Satan the Devil, Jehovah is cleansing his people and leading them toward a bright New Order. He gathers them to his pure worship, which has been exalted as if on a mountain, high above all other forms of worship. The ones who turn to this united worship of the true God then say to others: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:2, 3) Those brought into this united worship look forward eagerly to ‘new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell.’—2 Peter 3:13.
Separating “Sheep” From “Goats”
3, 4. (a) What events have been taking place since 1914? (b) How are people being separated for survival?
3 According to God’s timetable of Bible prophecy, the “new heavens” (the heavenly Kingdom of God under Christ’s rule) was established in the crucial year of 1914. Since then the selection of the 144,000 associate rulers of the “new heavens” has generally been completed. (Revelation 14:1-4) Now Jehovah is calling out people to be earthly subjects of that Kingdom. They will “come out of the great tribulation” as survivors to begin building a righteous new order under Kingdom direction.—Revelation 7:9, 14; Matthew 24:21.
4 Jesus foretold this gathering in these words: “When the Son of man [Christ] arrives in his glory [in heavenly Kingdom power], and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.” With what result? Jesus stated: “Then the king will say to those on his right [sheeplike persons], ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.’ . . . Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left [goatlike persons], ‘Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire [eternal destruction] prepared for the Devil and his angels.’ . . . And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”—Matthew 25:31-46.
5. How is Jehovah’s mercy manifest now?
5 Yet, Jehovah is a merciful, loving God. “He is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Hence, before God brings this divided, warring world to its finish, it is his will that his servants deliver the message of hope of eternal life in a righteous New Order. Accordingly, his Son declared: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
6. Whom does Jehovah use in Kingdom-preaching work?
6 Who is to do this preaching of the Kingdom before the end comes? Obviously, Jehovah will not use those who do not want to serve him. The ones he uses in Kingdom-preaching work are those who willingly submit to him. Upon the remnant of spiritual Israel the prophecy has been fulfilled: “In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen.” (Micah 2:12) The “other sheep” now share that unity with them. (John 10:16) All these are the internationally united witnesses of Jehovah. They include old and young, male and female, for the inspired psalms say: “Praise Jah, you people! . . . You young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah.” “The women telling the good news are a large army.”—Psalm 68:11; 148:1, 12, 13.
Preaching in Unity
7. (a) What unity do Jehovah’s Witnesses have? (b) How can we be certain that this unity will be preserved?
7 Jehovah, Jesus Christ and the holy angels see to it that the earthly organization of Kingdom preachers proclaims God’s message in unity. (Matthew 28:19, 20; John 14:26; Revelation 14:6, 7) So Jehovah’s Witnesses do what God’s inspired Word says. They are “completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.” ‘With one accord and with one mouth they glorify the God and Father of their Lord Jesus Christ.’—1 Corinthians 1:10, Today’s English Version; Romans 15:6.
8. What is vital in promoting unity of worship?
8 To achieve this unity of thought, purpose and preaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly study God’s Word of truth. They do this in private, at annual conventions and also at five congregation meetings each week. In this way they receive unifying spiritual food from Jehovah’s table. (Matthew 24:45-47; Hebrews 10:24, 25) This Bible education is recognized as being a key to their united worship. As Catholic writer William Whalen said in the magazine U.S. Catholic: “Any kingdom hall [of Jehovah’s Witnesses] offers more adult education in a month than most Catholic parishes do all year.” Yes, Bible education is the key to having “one thought,” “one purpose,” “one mouth.”
9. How can we identify those whom Jehovah uses to preach the Kingdom message?
9 If you have any doubt as to whom Jehovah is using to preach his “good news of the kingdom,” ask yourself: When individuals call at the homes of people to talk about Jehovah and his Kingdom, who are these callers? It is well known that they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. How often do people of other religions call on you to talk about Jehovah and his Kingdom? How often do such people talk about these things at all, anywhere? The adherents of this world’s divided religions are silent about Jehovah and his Kingdom. Few of them even know who Jehovah is or what his Kingdom will mean for this earth. Yet, Jehovah and his Kingdom are world-shaking news, because, as Daniel 2:44 foretold, Jehovah’s Kingdom will soon ‘crush and put an end to all other governments and it alone will rule forever.’
Rapid Growth From Small Beginnings
10. How numerous were Jehovah’s servants before 1914, but how should we view what was accomplished then?
10 Modern-day Kingdom proclamation began in a small way. From the 1870’s to the pivotal year of 1914, the numbers of Kingdom proclaimers were small. But those faithful ones laid the groundwork for what was to come. While that beginning was small, it calls to mind the scripture that says not to ‘despise the day of small things.’ (Zechariah 4:10) For Jehovah’s servants it was a “day of small things” before 1914, but much more was soon to come.
11, 12. (a) What evidence was there of holy spirit in action after 1914? (b) What comment was made about the Kingdom work over 30 years ago, and what can we say about it now?
11 With the beginning of World War I in 1914, the old system of things entered its “last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Kingdom rule also began in 1914. (Revelation 12:10-12) Christ was then authorized to begin separating the “sheep” from the “goats.” Thus, God’s holy spirit began to act mightily on his faithful servants. (Compare Acts 2:16-21.) The ranks of Kingdom proclaimers grew from about 4,000 in 1918 to over 260,000 in 1948, a period of 30 years. About that time, C. S. Braden, a professor of religious history, wrote: “Jehovah’s Witnesses have literally covered the earth with their witnessing. . . . It may be truly said that no single religious group in the world displayed more zeal and persistence in the attempt to spread the good news of the Kingdom than the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
12 However, that was well over 30 years ago! Today there are more than ten times as many Kingdom proclaimers throughout the world as there were in 1948! Since, as Braden noted, Jehovah’s Witnesses had “covered the earth” with the Kingdom proclamation back then, what could be said about the scope of the Kingdom work now? And we can say this with confidence: Far more is to come in the immediate future!
13. What developments throughout the world indicate that Isaiah 60:22 is undergoing fulfillment?
13 Reports from over 200 countries tell of expansion in the ranks of Kingdom proclaimers. To correspond with this, new or expanded Watch Tower branch facilities have been or are being constructed. There are new machines, new and faster printing methods, computerization on a large scale, and willing workers in growing Bethel families the world over. All this rapid expansion tells us that we are seeing fulfilled before our very eyes the heartening promise made long ago regarding God’s faithful and patient servants: “The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.” (Isaiah 60:22) There is no question about the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses are being spiritually equipped and organizationally prepared to give the greatest witness to Jehovah and his Kingdom in the history of the world!
14. Why can we say that Jehovah’s servants are well on their way to becoming “a mighty nation”?
14 Today there are over two and a half million active Christian ministers of the good news. They are found in more than 46,000 congregations throughout the world. When Jehovah’s Witnesses gathered on March 29, 1983, to commemorate Christ’s death, 6,767,707 persons met together, thus showing their interest in God’s Kingdom. That number exceeds that of the individual population of nearly two thirds of the nations of the world! Surely, Jehovah’s united servants are well on their way to becoming “a mighty nation,” although they are relatively few when compared to the total world population of about four and a half billion.—Matthew 7:13, 14.
15. What has happened in the past few years regarding the ingathering of sheeplike people?
15 Recently, the ingathering of sheeplike people has picked up speed. Righteously disposed persons are now flocking to Jehovah’s organization for worship. In doing so, they are participating in a thrilling fulfillment of God’s promise at Haggai 2:7, where Jehovah says: “I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory.” These desirable, humble individuals say to Jehovah’s servants: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”—Zechariah 8:23.
16, 17. How will Jehovah use his people before he brings this ungodly system of things to its end?
16 The expanding visible organization of Jehovah is nearing the time when he will use it in another mighty way: to deliver his final judgment message against this system. This may be likened to the time when the Israelites, who had already marched around Jericho once a day for six days, were instructed: “On the seventh day you should march round the city seven times and the priests should blow the horns. . . . When you hear the sound of the horn, all the people should shout a great war cry; and the wall of the city must fall down flat.” So on the final day the work speeded up by seven times! Then the horns sounded, the people shouted a war cry and “the wall began to fall down flat.”—Joshua 6:2-5, 20.
17 Today the “soft” waters of truth are being taken to the people to encourage them to turn to Jehovah. But the day soon will come when the message will turn “hard.” It will announce the imminent end of this entire satanic system. The soft waters of truth will congeal to become the hard hailstones of truth. So powerful will these final judgment messages be that they are likened to “a great hail with every stone about the weight of a talent,” that is, of gigantic size. That is why Revelation 16:21 states: “The plague of it was unusually great.”
“A Mighty Nation” Fills the Earth
18. (a) How real is God’s Kingdom? (b) What does Daniel 2:35 show that the Kingdom will eventually do?
18 The Kingdom of God to which Jehovah’s Witnesses give their first allegiance is indeed a real government. It has Christ and his 144,000 associates as heavenly rulers. It has real laws and a “constitution”—God’s Word. This real government also has real subjects that make up a growing nation, millions of them united as one people. And the Bible foretells that after this Messianic Kingdom crushes all worldly governments out of existence, it will ‘fill the whole earth.’ (Daniel 2:35) How will this come about?
19, 20. How will Jehovah’s servants come to be “a mighty nation” in the fullest sense?
19 Those who survive Armageddon will begin building the Paradise Jesus spoke of at Luke 23:43. (Revelation 16:14, 16) Then, in time, “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) During the Thousand Year Reign of Christ in Kingdom power, all will be given the opportunity to take their stand for Kingdom rule. Those who do not want righteous rule will be taken out of the way. (Revelation 20:6, 11-15) Hence, at the end of the thousand years, everyone living on earth will be a devoted worshiper of Jehovah! Then it can be said that Isaiah 11:9 will be fulfilled in the complete sense: “The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”
20 What a glorious time that will be! Every person you meet will be a worshiper of Jehovah, with “one thought,” “one purpose,” “one mouth.” Billions of such united worshipers, lifted to human perfection, will fill the Paradise earth. Then they will truly constitute “a mighty nation,” the mightiest nation the earth has ever seen. No, a united human family is not just a dream. It is well under way right now! Are you a part of it?
Questions for Review
□ While the world grows more disorderly, what is happening to Jehovah’s people?
□ What great separating work is being carried on now?
□ Why can we be confident that the unity of Jehovah’s servants will be preserved?
□ How is Jehovah’s visible organization developing into “a mighty nation,” and where will this lead?
[Picture on page 15]
As a shepherd separates sheep from goats, so Jesus Christ in Kingdom power separates people today
[Pictures on page 17]
Bethel homes and factories such as these are being built or expanded to further the Kingdom-preaching work
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Ingleburn, N.S.W. Australia
Ajalvir (Madrid), Spain