Working With the Organizer of All the Universe
“For we are God’s fellow workers. You people are God’s field under cultivation, God’s building.”—1 CORINTHIANS 3:9.
1. What expression voiced over 60 years ago thrilled its hearers, and what effect did it have on earnest Bible Students of that time?
“GOD’S ORGANIZATION.” That expression was used by a member of the Watch Tower Society’s editorial staff during the daily Bible discussion at the Bethel dining tables over 60 years ago. How it thrilled the headquarters family in Brooklyn, New York! That unique phrase, “God’s organization,” served to guide the future thinking, speech, and writing of those Bible Students. It broadened their spiritual vision with regard to all creation and greatly influenced their attitude toward the marvelous Organizer of the universe, Jehovah God.
2. As indicated by its Greek origin, how may the word “organization” be defined?
2 Today, that may seem strange, since the word “organization” is used regularly among Jehovah’s Witnesses, who cherish their privilege of working with the Organizer of the universe. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) The word “organization” is drawn from the Greek term orʹga·non. Among other things, it signifies an instrument or implement with which work is accomplished. It appears in the Septuagint Version a number of times and is used to refer to a musical instrument, such as David’s harp. The root of this word is erʹgon, a noun meaning “work.” So an organization is an arrangement of things put in force to get something done or worked out in the best way possible and with the least expenditure of time and energy.
Early Views of Organization
3. What did the March 1883 issue of this journal say about “our organization”?
3 Years ago, however, the Bible Students had some difficulty in applying the word “organization.” For instance, in the Watch Tower issue of March 1883, it was stated:
“But, though it is impossible for the natural man to see our organization, because he cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God, we trust that you can see that the true Church is most effectually organized, and is in the best possible working order. . . . We have unbounded faith in our Captain; and this perfect organization, invisible to the world, marches on to certain and glorious victory.”
4. What view of organizing was presented in the December 1, 1894, issue of this magazine?
4 However, the Watch Tower issue of December 1, 1894, said:
“But as that work of organizing the church of the new Gospel dispensation was no part of the harvest work of the old Jewish dispensation, so the present harvest work or reaping of the Gospel dispensation is also separate and distinct from the work of the new Millennial dispensation now drawing on. . . . It is plain that the forming of a visible organization of such gathered out ones would be out of harmony with the spirit of the divine plan; and if done would seem to indicate on the part of the church a desire to conform to the now popular idea of organization or confederacy. (See Isa. 8:12) The work now is not organization, but division, just as it was in the Jewish harvest proper. (Matt. 10:34-36) . . .
“While, therefore, we do not esteem a visible organization of the gathered ones to be a part of the Lord’s plan in the harvest work, as though we expected as an organization to abide here for another age, we do esteem it to be his will that those that love the Lord should speak often one to another of their common hopes and joys, or trials and perplexities, communing together concerning the precious things of his Word.”
5. Regarding organization, what was said in the book The New Creation?
5 So the Christian congregation was not then considered to be an organization. But it was thought well to set in order the congregation, or ecclesia. For example, Study V of the book The New Creation, published in 1904, was entitled “The Organization of the New Creation” and opens by saying: “As the New Creation will not reach its perfection or completion until the First Resurrection, so its organization will be completed only then. The temple figure illustrates this: as living stones we are now called, or invited to places in the glorious temple.”
6. How did the book Thy Kingdom Come identify the “mother” of members of the “new creation”?
6 Interestingly, the book Thy Kingdom Come, published in 1891, said regarding those anointed ones of the “new creation”: “As for Isaiah 54:1-8, the Apostle Paul has thrown the light of superhuman wisdom upon it, and has applied it to spiritual Zion, our mother or covenant, symbolized by Sarah. The fleshly seed of Abraham had been cast out from being heir of the promise, and the true seed, Christ (typified by Isaac and Rebecca), had been received as the only seed of promise.—Gal. 4:22, 24, 26-31.”
7, 8. Who is the husband of the “mother” of the Christian congregation, and what does Isaiah 54:1-8 say in this regard?
7 This statement had nothing to do with the Zionist World Organization, founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. That organization dealt with Jerusalem below, here on earth, not “the Jerusalem above,” the “mother” of the Christian congregation. (Galatians 4:26) The book Thy Kingdom Come did not go on to develop the fact that the husbandly owner of the “mother” of the Christian congregation is God, who was pictured by Abraham. Jehovah is married, not to the Abrahamic covenant or the new covenant, but to “Jerusalem above,” pictured by Isaac’s mother Sarah. Like her, as a “mother,” “the Jerusalem above” must be something alive and having personality.
8 Who, then, is “Jerusalem above”? To find out, let us first consider Isaiah 54:1-8, which reads in part:
“‘Cry out joyfully, you barren woman that did not give birth! Become cheerful with a joyful outcry and cry shrilly, you that had no childbirth pains, for the sons of the desolated one are more numerous than the sons of the woman with a husbandly owner,’ Jehovah has said. . . . ‘For your Grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Repurchaser. The God of the whole earth he will be called. For Jehovah called you as if you were a wife left entirely and hurt in spirit, and as a wife of the time of youth who was then rejected,’ your God has said. ‘For a little moment I left you entirely, but with great mercies I shall collect you together. With a flood of indignation I concealed my face from you for but a moment, but with loving-kindness to time indefinite I will have mercy upon you,’ your Repurchaser, Jehovah, has said.”
9 There, in the first instance, Jehovah was not talking to a covenant. He was addressing a nation, his chosen people in the Mosaic Law covenant with him. From God’s standpoint, that nation made up a composite “woman” that was like a wife to him. According to the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, that figurative “woman” was typical, but he does not say that she is a covenant, or compact. A covenant could not be comforted, consoled. Rather, Paul shows that the antitypical “woman” is something alive, like a “mother,” just as the “husbandly owner,” Jehovah, is alive as a Person having intelligence and ability to give comfort. Speaking of women of ancient history, the apostle wrote: “Now this Hagar [the maidservant who substituted for her mistress Sarah in bearing Ishmael to Abraham] means Sinai, a mountain in Arabia, and she [Hagar] corresponds with the Jerusalem today [when Paul was on earth], for she is in slavery [to the Mosaic Law covenant] with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”—Galatians 4:25, 26.
The Jerusalem in Slavery
10, 11. (a) What significant development involving the Israelites took place at Mount Sinai? (b) With regard to the Law covenant, what happened in 33 C.E.?
10 Hagar does not typify, or represent, the Mosaic Law covenant. Nor is that covenant with its Ten Commandments pictured by Mount Sinai, with which Hagar corresponds. Of course, God did not make any covenant with Mount Sinai. But it was there that he brought the Israelites, whom he had freed from Egyptian bondage, into a covenant relationship with himself, and he dealt with them as a free nation. This took place centuries after God made a unilateral covenant with Abraham, promising him a male seed.
11 When Moses, the mediator of the Law covenant, came down from Mount Sinai, his face had a superhuman effulgence of such intensity that he had to veil it so that the Israelites could look at him. (2 Corinthians 3:12-16) But up on Mount Sinai, Moses was not in direct touch with Jehovah, for it was by means of an angel that God entered into the covenant with the Israelites. (Acts 7:37, 38; Hebrews 2:2) In that way the nation of Israel became subject to the Law covenant. Centuries later, however, that covenant was removed, being nailed to Jesus’ torture stake in 33 C.E.—Colossians 2:13, 14.
12. (a) Of whom was earthly Jerusalem a “mother”? (b) Jerusalem on earth was under what servitude 19 centuries ago, and why did she never get free?
12 Paul wrote that Mount Sinai corresponded with the Jerusalem below of his day. Of course, Jerusalem was not a covenant; it was a prized city occupied by Jewish residents. As the capital city, it stood for the nation and was the symbolic “mother” of “children,” that is, of all members of the Jewish, or Israelite, nation. (Matthew 23:37) In Jerusalem stood the temple of Jehovah, the God with whom the Israelites were in covenant relationship. But the Jewish people did not then have an independent kingdom of their own ruled by a descendant of King David. Hence, they were not free but were in servitude under Gentile political authorities. More importantly, they were in religious slavery. Only the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, could free them from that, as well as from slavery to sin. But that Jerusalem did not accept Jesus as Messiah and King and never did get free. Instead, she perished at Roman hands in 70 C.E., with disaster for her “children.”
The Free Jerusalem
13. What did Paul say about the free Jerusalem, and in freedom from what should her “children” stand fast?
13 Paul contrasted enslaved earthly Jerusalem with “Jerusalem above,” which is “free.” Quoting from Isaiah 54:1-8, he wrote:
“But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: ‘Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break out and cry aloud, you woman who does not have childbirth pains; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.’ Now we, brothers, are children belonging to the promise the same as Isaac was. But just as then the one born in the manner of flesh began persecuting the one born in the manner of spirit, so also now. Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? ‘Drive out the servant girl and her son, for by no means shall the son of the servant girl be an heir with the son of the free woman.’ Wherefore, brothers, we are children, not of a servant girl, but of the free woman. For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.”—Galatians 4:26–5:1.
14. Why was Isaac’s birth “in the manner of spirit”?
14 The Galatian Christians thus addressed were “God’s children as a result of his promise.” (Galatians 4:28, Today’s English Version) Foreshadowing this, Isaac was born to the centenarian Abraham and his 90-year-old wife Sarah in fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise to that faithful patriarch. Yes, Isaac’s birth to Abraham was miraculous, absolutely not “in the manner of flesh.” (Genesis 18:11-15) So it had to be “in the manner of spirit.” Yes, the spirit of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God, surely was needed to revive the reproductive powers of the free woman Sarah, as well as those of Abraham. (Romans 4:19) It is noteworthy that the “promise” itself was not old when Isaac was born in 1918 B.C.E., for that was only 25 years after Abraham’s entry into the promised land of Canaan in 1943 B.C.E., when the “promise” went into effect.
15. For how long was “Jerusalem above” childless, and when did her offspring begin to become numerous?
15 “Jerusalem above” was “desolate,” childless as it were, much longer than Sarah had been. Actually, “Jerusalem above” was in that state from 1943 B.C.E., when the promise to Abraham went into effect, until Jesus was baptized in 29 C.E. It was then that Jesus was begotten by the spirit of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah, and was anointed with His spirit to be the Christ or Anointed One, the Messiah. But “Jerusalem above” was to have more than one spiritual child. So at Pentecost of 33 C.E., after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, about 120 of his faithful disciples were begotten by the spirit of the Greater Abraham. They were then anointed with that spirit to become the spiritual brothers of the Greater Isaac, Jesus Christ. Later that day about 3,000 more Jews got baptized as Jesus’ disciples and were anointed with the holy spirit. (Acts 2:1-42) Thus on that day “Jerusalem above” became “mother” to many children.
16. What is the identity of “Jerusalem above”?
16 The apostle Paul reveals that the woman addressed at Isaiah 54:1-8 is “the Jerusalem above.” Jehovah God is her “husbandly owner,” as well as her Grand Maker. Figuratively speaking, she is his “woman,” his “wife,” or wifelike organization in heaven above. Like a husband, he is the One who makes her fruitful so as to produce the true “seed” promised in Abraham’s day.—Galatians 3:16, 26-29.
17. How did “Jerusalem above” become the “mother” of the primary “seed” of the Greater Abraham?
17 To become the primary “seed” of the Greater Abraham, the only-begotten Son of God had emerged from Jehovah’s wifelike celestial organization. Thus she became like a “mother” to God’s Son. Jesus Christ was not the figurative son of the earthly Jerusalem of his days on earth, for that city then was in bondage, or slavery, with her “children,” and Jesus never was enslaved. (Galatians 4:25) Earthly Jerusalem was the “mother” of those natural Jews who rejected Jesus Christ as the promised “seed” not only of the patriarch Abraham but also of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God.—Matthew 23:37-39.
Work With the Great Organizer
18. Why was earthly Jerusalem a center of attention in the days of King Solomon?
18 Jesus Christ, who had God’s heavenly organization as his “mother,” was greater and wiser than King Solomon, the renowned son of David and ruler in ancient earthly Jerusalem. Solomon’s glory and wisdom surely attracted the attention of the non-Israelite nations, even as Jesus indicated in saying: “The queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but, look! something more than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31) In part, Solomon displayed that outstanding wisdom in the way he arranged the affairs of his administration. How he had everything wisely organized was a cause of wonderment.
19. What was there about King Solomon’s reign that amazed the queen of Sheba?
19 Accordingly, at 1 Kings 10:4, 5 we read: “When the queen of Sheba got to see all the wisdom of Solomon and the house that he had built, and the food of his table and the sitting of his servants and the table service of his waiters and their attire and his drinks and his burnt sacrifices that he regularly offered up at the house of Jehovah, then there proved to be no more spirit in her.” (NW; Rotherham; Young; Revised Standard; Septuagint. See also 2 Chronicles 9:4.) The queen of Sheba had reason to be impressed with the arrangement of Solomon’s staff. And in having things well arranged and in good order, he was in harmony with the God of Order.—1 Corinthians 14:33.
20. (a) In response to Solomon’s prayer, what did Jehovah give him? (b) As “something more than Solomon,” what does Jesus Christ do, and what is the course of his followers?
20 In keeping with Solomon’s humble prayer, Jehovah gave him “a wise and understanding heart.” (1 Kings 3:5-14) The Great Organizer of all the universe gave Solomon the ability to organize things in behalf of good order and efficiency. Hence, it became the obligation of the king of Jehovah’s covenant people to work with the divine Organizer of all created things in heaven and on earth. Comparably, the glorified Jesus Christ, who is “something more than Solomon,” wisely does so. Therefore, his faithful followers on earth also need to do this, and they do.
What Do You Say?
□ How would you define the word “organization”?
□ Earthly Jerusalem was the “mother” of whom, and she never was freed from what servitude?
□ What is the identity of “Jerusalem above,” and who are her “children”?
□ How did Solomon use his God-given wisdom, and what is being done by the Greater Solomon and His followers?
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How was earthly Jerusalem in slavery?
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The queen of Sheba was amazed when she visited Solomon. He worked with the Organizer of the universe. Are you also working with Jehovah God?