Witnessing Brings Kingdom Increase
“May Jehovah . . . increase you a thousand times as many as you are, and may he bless you just as he has promised you.”—DEUTERONOMY 1:11.
1, 2. (a) What did Jehovah promise Israel? (b) How did he fulfill his promises, but depending on what?
A THOUSANDFOLD INCREASE! That is what Moses petitioned for Jehovah’s “holy nation,” Israel. Jehovah had promised great things for that nation. (Exodus 19:5, 6; see also Genesis 12:2, 3.) Did he fulfill those promises?
2 Well, some 500 years after Moses spoke the above words, it was reported: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” The queen of Sheba, coming from afar to behold the splendor of that kingdom, exclaimed to Solomon: “Look! I had not been told the half. You have surpassed in wisdom and prosperity the things heard to which I listened. . . . May Jehovah your God come to be blessed . . . because Jehovah loves Israel to time indefinite.” (1 Kings 4:20; 10:7-9) As long as that people served faithfully as Jehovah’s witnesses, he did indeed prosper and increase them.
3. (a) What did Peter testify as to God’s “people for his name”? (b) Why is the name Jehovah’s Witnesses appropriate for that people?
3 More than a millennium after Solomon’s day, the apostle Peter, while testifying before the Christian governing body in Jerusalem, “related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14) The Israelites had been a people for God’s name. But now, again, God was gathering out “a people for his name”—the Christian congregation, spiritual Israel—who also would witness for Jehovah, making known his Kingdom purposes. (Galatians 6:16) Appropriately, this people is recognized today earth wide by the name that Jehovah himself makes prominent at Isaiah 43:10-12, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ What is involved in their being a people for Jehovah’s name?
“Witnesses of Me”
4. (a) Why must Jehovah’s Witnesses also be ‘witnesses of Jesus’? (b) According to the Scriptures, Jesus left us what example in witnessing for Jehovah?
4 Jesus himself commissioned this people, saying: “You will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) “Witnesses of me”—do these words of Jesus mean that it is concerning Jesus only, and not Jehovah, that the witness must be given? Far from it! At that crucial time, when Jehovah’s favor was being transferred from fleshly to spiritual Israel, it was necessary to give a thorough witness concerning the Christ upon whom this new arrangement is built. However, Jesus remains always subject to his Father. He set the example for us in witnessing concerning Jehovah’s name and Kingdom.—John 5:30; 6:38; 17:6, 26; 18:37.
5. (a) Concerning what features related to Jesus must we witness? (b) In this, how do we follow in Jesus’ steps?
5 Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant and anointed Christians in it are called to inherit the Kingdom. He is “the Chief Agent of life” whom Jehovah uses in redeeming mankind from death. Jesus “must rule as king” until all enemies of God and man are subdued and a glorious paradise is restored to this earth. He is “the Son of God” who calls the dead from their tombs in the resurrection. (Hebrews 9:15; Acts 3:15; Psalm 110:1, 2, 5; 1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Luke 23:42, 43; John 5:25-29) Hence, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we witness also concerning the Son’s outstanding part in vindicating Jehovah’s name. In this, we follow in the steps of our Master, who was himself the preeminent witness for Jehovah—“the Faithful Witness.”—Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 18:37; 1 Peter 2:21.
Who Is Witnessing?
6. (a) Who alone today are giving the Kingdom witness? (b) Why can it be said that these are doing ‘greater works’?
6 Today, a united people is witnessing “to the most distant part of the earth.” It is the people spoken of by the apostle Peter—the ‘people for God’s name’—that is bearing witness to Jehovah and his Kingdom by Christ Jesus. Concerning this, Jesus himself told his disciples: “He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father.” (John 14:12) From his Father’s right hand in the heavens, the King Jesus Christ now directs the most extensive witness ever conducted here upon earth. As Jesus prophesied, when “this good news of the kingdom” has been “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations . . . then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
7. (a) Why do Christendom’s sects fail to witness? (b) In contrast, why are Jehovah’s Witnesses so zealous in their service?
7 “This good news of the kingdom” is the most thrilling news that has ever been proclaimed to humans. It is the glorious good news concerning which the religious sects of Christendom are completely silent. They have no Kingdom hope for the future. No wonder that they fail to witness! They have failed to take note of the most exciting event in all history—the arrival in Kingdom glory of the Son of man to sit down on his glorious throne and judge the nations and peoples of earth. That is something about which to witness! Hence, under angelic direction, witnesses for Jehovah and his Christ are now declaring “everlasting good news . . . as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” Are you sharing zealously in this witness?—Revelation 14:6, 7; Matthew 25:31-33.
Grand Witness in 1984
8. (a) Why should we be happy about the 1984 Service Year Report? (b) What attracts new disciples?
8 The 1984 Service Year Report of Jehovah’s Witnesses Worldwide, appearing on pages 20-23 of this magazine, shows how abundantly our God, Jehovah, is blessing the efforts of his humble witnesses. In all, 203 lands are represented. Of these, 172 lands report a publisher increase. And happily, these Kingdom proclaimers also speak of how ‘the Lord has caused them to increase, yes, made them abound, in love to one another and to all.’ (1 Thessalonians 3:12) The loving unity among Jehovah’s people, together with the Kingdom witness, is attracting multitudes of new disciples. To these Jesus is saying: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:31, 32.
9. (a) How might you have been privileged to share in making this report? (b) What do the figures indicate as to Jehovah and his people?
9 How has this marvelous service report been compiled? It has been made up from the field service reports that you—the individual Kingdom publisher—have faithfully turned in each month. Do you not rejoice that you have had your own small part in this grand report? These figures show how wonderfully Jehovah has ‘emptied out a flood of blessings’ upon his Witnesses—this “people for his name”—whom he has united in a global bond of loving service.—Malachi 3:10; Psalm 56:10, 11; Colossians 3:14.
10. (a) What emphasizes that witnesses must be self-sacrificing? (b) What do the Scriptures say about integrity keepers and their reward?
10 Much of this witnessing has been accomplished under persecution or hardship and at great self-sacrifice. This is to be expected, for the word “witness” as here used is a translation of the Greek martýs or martyr, from which is also derived the word “martyr,” meaning one who bears witness by his death. This emphasizes that we, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, should be self-sacrificing, determined always to expend ourselves and to keep integrity under all circumstances, even to the death if necessary.—Luke 9:23; compare Job 2:3; 27:5; 31:6; Acts 22:20; Revelation 2:10.
11, 12. (a) Jehovah gives us what strengthening assurances? (b) How have his people triumphed over totalitarian oppressions?
11 In times of persecution, Jehovah’s ‘name people’ have needed “power beyond what is normal” in order to overcome the vehement attacks of Satan and his demonic hordes. Jehovah supplies that power and delivers and prospers his faithful witnesses. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 1:19) Take for example the situation in the Axis powers of World War II, headed by Germany, Italy, and Japan. Using cruel dictatorial governments, the Devil ‘disgorged from his mouth a river’ of persecution, to drown out the witness work directed by God’s heavenly womanlike organization. But did Satan succeed in this? Not at all! Jehovah maneuvered events so that the democratic nations of earth swallowed up that flood. ‘The wicked ones were cut off’ and Jehovah’s loyal witnesses now prosper wonderfully in those lands.—Revelation 12:15, 16; Psalm 37:28, 29.
12 Recently, in those three countries, the Watch Tower Society has needed to build and equip large factories in order to send forth a different kind of flood—millions upon millions of Bibles and related Kingdom publications for the edification of Jehovah’s Witnesses and other truth-hungry people. In Germany, Italy, and Japan, today more than 300,000 publishers of the Kingdom are carrying the witness to the homes of people. And throughout the world field Jehovah is blessing his integrity-keeping people with increase!—Compare Psalm 115:12-15.
13. (a) What in the Year Report shows that faithful witnesses have lived up to the 1984 yeartext? (b) How should this stimulate us?
13 However, the Devil, knowing that his time is short, continues to wage war with those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:12, 17) Satan’s opposition is particularly vicious in the lands listed in the accompanying report as “28 Other Countries.” Witnesses in these territories have faithfully lived up to our yeartext for 1984, “showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:14) Their publisher increase of 3.1 percent is most commendable. Stimulated by their example, may all of us zealously continue offering “to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.”—Hebrews 13:15.
14. (a) What may turn out to us “for a witness”? (b) In spite of what situations should we continue to witness courageously, and why?
14 As world conditions worsen, others of us, no doubt, will be persecuted, haled into court and imprisoned. Jesus spoke of such experiences among the things “destined to occur” before the end, and added: “It will turn out to you for a witness.” In all situations, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses must continue to witness concerning God and Christ. Many continue to do this despite bitter family opposition, mockings by fellow employees or schoolmates, and reproaches heaped upon them in their preaching territory. Are you witnessing courageously despite trying circumstances? Then you are one of those to whom Jesus says: “By endurance on your part you will acquire your souls.”—Luke 21:7, 9-19.
15. What are some outstanding points in the chart on this page?
15 “Kingdom Increase”—what an appropriate theme for our district conventions of the summer of 1984! For this indeed has been our finest year of increase. Just look at the chart on this page! This has been compiled from the reports of the 95 Watch Tower Society branches that supervise the witness work in 203 lands.
16. Cite some typical, joyful expressions from around the globe.
16 Space does not permit us to publish all the written expressions of joy that have been received from those branch offices together with their annual reports, but here are some samplings from around the globe:
Alaska: The whole village of Metlakatla came to see 230 Jehovah’s Witnesses construct a beautiful Kingdom Hall in 32 hours; it was dedicated on Sunday of that same weekend.
Honduras: 3,663 publishers was our highest peak ever; with a Memorial attendance of 17,005 much more remains to be done.
Brazil: New peaks culminated in 160,927 publishers, with 474,450 persons attending the Memorial.
Thailand: The pioneer spirit is alive, with 22 percent of all publishers in this service in April.
Papua New Guinea: Peak auxiliary pioneers increased by 91 percent; Memorial attendance rose by more than 1,000—to 7,704.
Austria: The pioneer spirit is catching on, and we had five consecutive peaks in that field; we had seven peaks of publishers, the latest being 15,618.
Zambia: We reached an all-time peak of 58,925 publishers: Memorial attendance was 393,431—110,447 more than last year.
17. (a) How is the pioneer field expanding? (b) What practical goals are recommended, and for whom? (c) What is the new publisher peak, and what may have contributed toward this?
17 Reports show that faithful missionaries and pioneers continue to take the lead in carrying the witness to territories new and old. It is encouraging indeed to see the increase in pioneers. The total of auxiliary pioneers reporting in April mushroomed to an all-time peak of 323,644 for a 49-percent increase. Not a few of these have seen their privilege of advancing into the regular pioneer ranks. Further, many of our young Kingdom publishers are setting pioneer service as their goal and are making practical preparation to that end during their final years in high school. The overall result is shown in the splendid increase of pioneers. This has helped also to build a spirit of zeal in our congregations, contributing, no doubt, to the new worldwide peak of 2,842,531 publishers, a 7.2-percent increase over the 1983 peak. Do you not rejoice that you have shared in this forward surge?
18. (a) What other grand increases were there in 1984? (b) The Memorial report indicates what potential for expansion, and how can our readers respond?
18 The joyful witness given during 1984 is reflected also in the increased placements of magazines and other literature, the record number of field-service hours reported, the outstanding increase in return visits to interested persons and in home Bible studies conducted with these. How we look forward to further fruits from this zealous service! And there is great potential for a still larger ingathering! This is shown by the remarkable attendance at the Lord’s Evening Meal last April 15. In the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the earth, a total of 7,416,974 attended, of whom 9,081 indicated that they were of the Lord’s “little flock” by partaking of the bread and the wine. May all our readers continue to grow spiritually, in order to make room for sharing in the grand witness and ingathering that yet lies ahead.—Compare Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 1:9-11.
19. For what can we thank Jehovah, and what is our prayer regarding the future?
19 Truly, we may repeat Moses’ words in saying of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the modern day “people for his name”: “Jehovah your God has multiplied you, and here you are today like the stars of the heavens for multitude.” (Deuteronomy 1:10) It is our prayer that our Sovereign Lord, Jehovah, will continue to prosper the Kingdom witness and add to the increase!
What Would You Say?
□ Why must Jehovah’s Witnesses be ‘witnesses of Jesus’ also?
□ What grand witness was given during 1984?
□ What shows that Jehovah blesses faithful witnesses?
□ In what ways should the 1984 report stimulate us?
[Box on page 26]
‘Joyful, Happy, Thankful’
From a land where the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been restricted for more than 40 years comes this report: “The greatest joy [we] have been experiencing is the increased preaching and teaching activity in the field. Many have been serving as auxiliary pioneers. One of them expressed his feelings in these words: ‘I am filled with joy, rejoicing and happiness, and with deep satisfaction.’ Another auxiliary pioneer said: ‘I am so happy that I do something that is pleasing to Jehovah. I was able to start five new home Bible studies.’ Another one added: ‘I am thankful to Jehovah who helped me to cultivate the love needed to help other people.’ In one congregation of 61 publishers 38 served as auxiliary pioneers in one month. As a result, 66 new Bible studies were started.”
[Chart on page 20-23]
1984 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
(See bound volume)
[Chart on page 25]
World Report Comparison
1984 1983 Increase
Watch Tower Branches 95 94
Lands Reporting 203 205
Peak of Publishers 2,842,531 2,652,323 7.2%
Average Publishers 2,680,274 2,501,722 7.1%
Average Pioneers 258,936 206,098 25.6%
Auxiliary Pioneers (April) 323,644 217,860 48.6%
Total Field Hours 505,588,037 436,720,991 15.8%
Literature Placed 36,639,925 36,039,400 1.7%
Subscriptions Placed 1,812,221 1,756,153 3.2%
Magazines Placed 287,358,064 258,698,636 11.1%
Return Visits 195,819,093 174,687,309 12.1%
Av. Bible Studies 2,047,113 1,797,112 13.9%
Memorial Attendance 7,416,974 6,767,707 9.6%
Memorial Partakers 9,081 9,292