Jehovah ‘Speeds It Up’
“I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.”—ISAIAH 60:22.
1. How does the outlook of Jehovah’s people contrast with that of Satan’s world, and why?
TODAY, rejoicing and exultation are to be found not only in Jehovah’s heavenly organization but also throughout the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses here on earth. Our happiness stands out in sharp contrast to the gloom that has engulfed Satan’s world. (Psalm 144:15) We have spiritual food and drink in abundance, so that we “cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart.” (Isaiah 65:13-19) We are not ignorant as to the reason for the present world crisis. Our hope for early deliverance by God’s Kingdom is fortified as we see Bible prophecies being fulfilled in the relentless countdown to Armageddon. We know that this “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will come exactly at “the appointed time,” for the vision “keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie.”—Revelation 16:14, 16; Habakkuk 2:3.
2. What conditions abound in Jehovah’s organization, leading to what question?
2 As in heaven, so on earth there is permanency to Jehovah’s theocratic organization. Further, since Jehovah is the Source of dynamic energy, he makes ‘full might abound in those who are hoping in him.’ (Isaiah 40:29-31) His organization is alive with activity and is constantly on the move. (Compare Ezekiel 1:15-21.) The 47,869 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 203 lands throughout the earth are well organized to press forward zealously in the Kingdom work. (Matthew 24:14) How was this dynamic global organization brought forth?
3. (a) How has Isaiah 60:17 been fulfilled in modern times? (b) What similar arrangements brought prosperity in Bible times?
3 “Organization” was the title of the study articles in The Watchtower of June 1 and 15, 1938. These discussed at length Isaiah 60:17, where Jehovah addresses his heavenly organization, saying: “Instead of the copper I shall bring in gold, and instead of the iron I shall bring in silver, and instead of the wood, copper, and instead of the stones, iron; and I will appoint peace as your overseers and righteousness as your task assigners.” In reflecting this better condition, Jehovah’s organization on earth was revitalized. Just as gold is more valuable than copper (and it is similar with the other materials here mentioned), so the theocratic arrangement that the Watch Tower Society explained to the congregations of God’s people back in 1938—and which they wholeheartedly accepted—is much to be preferred over former democratic procedures. It is Scriptural. It makes for good organization in getting God’s work done, just as similar arrangements brought prosperity in Moses’ time and in the early days of the Christian congregation.—Exodus 18:25; Acts 6:3-7; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-3.
4. (a) How were Jehovah’s Witnesses fortified for the trials of 1939-45? (b) What proved that Jehovah’s blessing was upon that theocratic arrangement?
4 Thus, in 1938, a year before the outbreak of World War II, the “overseers” and “task assigners” in all congregations became “peace” and “righteousness.” A strong, unified organizational arrangement moved forward with fruitful increase. Jehovah blessed his united witnesses. Their numbers almost doubled, from 71,509 to 141,606 between 1939 and 1945, despite the pressures and persecutions of those war years.
‘No More Violence’
5. As to “peace,” how do Jehovah’s people differ from the world?
5 However, what of the post-World War II period? There has been no peace among the nations of the earth. In fact, it has been reported that more than 30,000,000 persons have perished in the “minor” wars that have been fought since 1945. As many as 40 “pocket-size wars” have been raging around the globe at one time. How happy we are, therefore, to serve with an organization that has rejected violence! (Isaiah 2:4; Proverbs 20:22) Moreover, as a global organization, we enjoy peace within our ranks. By walking with “the God of peace,” we have come to experience “the peace of God that excels all thought.”—Philippians 4:7-9.
6, 7. (a) What makes God’s people stand out as distinct? (b) How has Isaiah 60:18 been fulfilled toward us? (c) In what outstanding way do we differ from false religionists?
6 Since “peace“ and “righteousness” prevail among Jehovah’s people, we stand out as distinct from Satan’s world. Taking note of this, some of our neighbors have said, ‘We admire you people, but we don’t like your religion.’ However, is it not our religion that has made us the people that we are? We have no interest in the opposing ideologies and hatreds that divide the nations. Rather, our twofold interest is (1) to instruct meek persons in the way of salvation through Christ’s Kingdom and (2) to praise Jehovah, keeping his name before all peoples as a witness. We are “no part of the world.”—John 17:14, 16.
7 Thus, we have shared in the fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise: “No more will violence be heard in your land, despoiling or breakdown within your boundaries. And you will certainly call your own walls Salvation and your gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18) All praise to our God Jehovah! The religious leaders of Christendom (and all of their apostate bedfellows) dishonor that name—even to the point of hypocritically trying to purge it from translations of the Bible. “But we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.”—Micah 4:5.
8. (a) What encouragement does Jehovah give his people at Isaiah 60:19-21? (b) What ‘sprouting’ beautifies Jehovah, and how?
8 Jehovah encourages us to walk in his name. At Isaiah 60:19-21, he assures his heavenly organization that he will be to her “an indefinitely lasting light,” even eclipsing the brightness of sun and moon. Spiritually, he becomes her beauty, fulfilling also his promise toward her people: “All of them will be righteous; to time indefinite they will hold possession of the land, the sprout of my planting, the work of my hands, for me to be beautified.” Truly, Jehovah has prospered “the land,” or domain of activity, of his witnesses. Increasingly, it ‘sprouts’ with fruitfulness as multitudes of new ones are gathered to the side of the Kingdom and helped to put on the Christian personality. (Colossians 3:10, 12-14) This ‘beautifies’ Jehovah, bringing honor to his precious name.
9. (a) How is Jehovah blessing his witnesses in Mexico, and why? (b) What did one newspaper say on noting their integrity?
9 A recent example is Mexico. In the past two years, the peak of publishers in that land has increased from 113,823 to 151,807—a commendable 33 percent! (Their 1984 celebration of the Memorial of Jesus’ death was attended by 695,369.) Our Mexican brothers are most zealous in their field activity. A Monterrey newspaper recently took note, also, of their integrity in meeting the neutrality issue, saying among other things: “What a profound respect their steadfastness and courage of conviction inspire in us. Even though their children are expelled from school they prefer to remain loyal to their faith, their belief. How would it be if all of us Christians were that way, without distinction of group and denomination? Mexico would be the branch office of heaven.”
10. (a) What shows Jehovah’s Witnesses to be fruitful even under ban? (b) What question is here posed?
10 Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to bring forth this fruitage of praise, even in lands where there is no letup in persecution. How thrilling it was to note in the 1984 Service Year Report that in 28 countries where there are governmental bans or other restrictions the total number of publishers increased 3.1 percent, to well over a quarter of a million, and pioneers increased 23 percent! Can you imagine pioneering under those circumstances? An average of 6,905 of our brothers and sisters in these lands have been doing so each month! If you have comparative freedom where you live, could you reach out for regular pioneering, or at least part-time auxiliary pioneering?—Compare Luke 17:5, 6.
‘Becoming a Thousand’
11, 12. (a) What is the first part of the promise that Jehovah himself now makes? (b) What are some examples of ‘a little one becoming a thousand’? (c) Why has there been such rapid growth?
11 Over his own precious name, Jehovah now makes a threefold promise. (Isaiah 60:22) First he tells us: “The little one himself will become a thousand.” As you read each Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, have you noticed how a start was made by just one Kingdom publisher, or a few, in some lands where there now are thousands? For example, the pioneer brother who was the first to witness in Chile rented an apartment and invited people to a Sunday meeting. At last one interested person came. This man asked the question, ‘And the others, when will they come?’ The pioneer assured him: “They will come.” And come they did. After some 50 years, that little one has become 23,985.
12 In Italy, Jehovah’s Witnesses were bitterly persecuted by Mussolini’s fascist regime. In the postwar year of 1946, only 120 of them were reporting service. But remember that only about 120 were present at Pentecost in the year 33 C.E. And just think of what got started at that time! (Acts 1:15; 2:1-4, 41) Now, in another respect, Jehovah’s spirit has been poured out in Italy. In 38 years publishers have grown to a peak of 119,408, at last report, very close to a thousandfold increase. As in so many Catholic countries around the earth, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Italy are experiencing a phenomenal growth.—Compare Psalm 69:9; Isaiah 63:14.
“A Mighty Nation”
13 The second part of Jehovah’s threefold promise is this: “The small one [will become] a mighty nation.” It was indeed a “small one,” a dispersed remnant of anointed ones, that was restored to Jehovah’s “land” of favor in 1919. But it multiplied, until all spiritual Israel had come in—the full number of 144,000 Kingdom heirs. (Romans 11:25, 26) Truly, as part of God’s “holy nation,” the anointed remnant on earth has been called out of darkness into his wonderful light. They have rejoiced to declare abroad the excellencies of their God, Jehovah. (1 Peter 2:9) Though comparatively few in number, they have been mighty by God’s spirit. “‘As for me, this is my covenant with them,’ Jehovah has said. ‘My spirit that is upon you and my words that I have put in your mouth—they will not be removed from your mouth or from the mouth of your offspring or from the mouth of the offspring of your offspring,’ Jehovah has said, ‘from now on even to time indefinite.’”—Isaiah 59:21.
14 By this statement Jehovah assures us that our proclaiming “good news of good things” must meet with sure success, and for this we pray fervently in this ‘day of Jehovah.’ Our preaching has gained momentum as the figurative “offspring” of the anointed remnant, the “great crowd,” and also their “offspring” (new ones whom they have directed to God’s organization) have taken this message of salvation into their mouths, making public declaration thereof. As a result, all congregations continue to grow in spirituality, as well as in numbers.—Romans 10:10, 15; Psalm 118:24, 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:12.
15. How populous has God’s figurative “nation” become, and why is it happy?
15 In recent times, how marvelously the Kingdom fruitage has increased! With the addition of large numbers of the “great crowd,” God’s figurative nation now totals 2,842,531 active Witnesses as a peak. This “nation” is more populous than some 92 nations and geopolitical divisions of the world. With joy we repeat the words of the sweet singer: “To time indefinite the very counsel of Jehovah will stand; the thoughts of his heart are to one generation after another generation. Happy is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people whom he has chosen as his inheritance.”—Psalm 33:11, 12.
‘Speeding It Up’
16, 17. (a) What indicates that the third part of Jehovah’s promise is now being fulfilled? (b) How has love for God and Christ been demonstrated? (c) What joyful activity and spirit has helped to “speed it up”? (d) How does Matthew 9:35-38 apply today?
16 Jehovah adds a third part to his promise: “I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.” As we stand at the brink of the “great tribulation,” the time for this is NOW! (Mark 13:10, 18, 19) The rapid acceleration of the Kingdom work during the past two years bears this out. This ‘speeding up’ is to be observed earth wide, even in lands where Jehovah’s Witnesses must demonstrate their love for Jehovah God and Jesus Christ by preaching in the face of persecutions or other circumstances that endanger their very lives. With the ranks of the full-time publishers ever increasing, the pioneers are to the forefront. And what joy they find in Jehovah’s service!—Proverbs 10:22.
17 This happy pioneer spirit has encouraged congregations everywhere to ‘speed up’ their share in the final ingathering. Even with the grand increase, we can say that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” In this hopeless world of today, we can feel pity for the people, as Jesus did when on earth, for indeed they are “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” So we “beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest,” and we rejoice to see our prayers so wonderfully answered.—Matthew 9:35-38.
18, 19. What are some reports showing the world field to be “white for harvesting”?
18 To take just one of many stimulating examples: In April of 1984, Ecuador reported 1,048 auxiliary pioneers in the field, 106 percent more than the previous April. By June this land was reporting 12,238 home Bible studies, a 24-percent increase for the year, and 8,044 publishers, a 17-percent increase. Memorial attendance mushroomed to 40,728, a ratio of more than 5 for each publisher. From around our globe come similar reports, and the worldwide attendance of 7,416,974 at the Memorial celebration of April 15, 1984, shows that the fields are “white for harvesting” those who are being gathered “for everlasting life.”—John 4:35, 36.
19 Often Jehovah ‘speeds it up’ in striking ways. A traveling overseer writes this from the jungles of northern Papua New Guinea: “A person who was contacted by a special pioneer returned to his isolated home in a mountain village. Several years later, he reappeared at a circuit assembly—with a request. This as-yet-unbaptized man had witnessed to his village and the surrounding ‘wilds’ so effectively that the village elders now wanted Jehovah’s Witnesses to come and care for the spiritual interests of the whole area.” Once the seed is planted, it is God who ‘keeps making it grow.’—1 Corinthians 3:6.
20. How have Watch Tower branches been expanded to handle the increase?
20 In many ways, Jehovah has been preparing his people for the grand increase that is now coming forth. We rejoice that, in recent years, Jehovah has so wonderfully cared for the expanding of the Watch Tower branch facilities. Today, these branches are equipped to help massive flocks of “doves.”
21. How can we continue to share in ‘speeding it up’?
21 Therefore, let all of us share in beaming forth the light of the Kingdom good news to millions more! Let us point all homing “doves” to the way of “salvation” behind the protective walls of Jehovah’s organization and increase “praise” to him at its gates. Let it be our prayer that the Sovereign Lord Jehovah and the head of the Christian congregation, our beloved King Jesus Christ, will continue to “speed it up” as the Kingdom proclamation moves on toward its climax!
Reviewing This Study:
□ What notable fulfillment of Isaiah 60:17 took place in 1938?
□ In line with Isaiah 60:18, what interests do we have?
□ How are reports from the field ‘beautifying’ Jehovah?
□ How is the threefold promise of Isaiah 60:22 moving to a climax?
[Picture on page 18]
Watchtower covers of the 1930’s depicted Ezekiel’s vision of Jehovah’s dynamic organization
[Picture on page 21]
A healthy pioneer spirit has helped toward ‘speeding up’ the harvest work