“Into All the Earth Their Sound Went Out”
IN PSALM 19, David extols the glories of God’s physical creation and goes on to express warm appreciation of Jehovah’s law, reminders, orders, commandments, and judicial decisions. The apostle Paul too showed appreciation for these things. He quoted from this psalm and extended its application to the vital work of true Christians. Of these he said: “Into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.”—Romans 10:18.
These “utterances” are of life-and-death concern to all mankind today, for Jehovah’s judicial decisions are about to be executed on the wicked system of things on earth. (Zephaniah 2:2, 3; 3:8) Mankind certainly needs to know about the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom. Wherever you look today, there are disunity, lawlessness, crime, immorality, broken families. Oh, yes, there is talk of peace, but the great powers continue to build weapons that are ever more sophisticated, while the membership of the ‘nuclear club’ keeps on extending to ever more nations. Conditions on earth clearly fit “the last days” described by Paul at 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Who will be saved out of this mess, and how? Paul answers plainly, quoting the prophecy at Joel 2:32: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) But how can the peoples of earth ‘call on the name of Jehovah’? Why, a great many do not even know that Jehovah is God’s name! How can these people be helped? Paul answers that preachers must be sent to them.—Romans 10:14-16.
Happily, Jehovah has sent forth his Witnesses to inform the people that God’s Kingdom is at hand and that it will mean salvation to everlasting life for those who come to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 43:10, 12; Luke 21:25, 26, 31; John 17:3) This good news is being sounded forth “into all the earth.”
Millions are giving heed to this preaching, as is evidenced by the worldwide total of 9,201,071 who attended the meeting that memorialized Jesus’ death, on April 1, 1988. During that year, a peak of 3,592,654 Kingdom proclaimers was reached for the world field, and 239,268 new ministers were baptized—a 3.6-percent increase over the previous year. Faithful missionaries laid much of the groundwork for this increase, as described later in this magazine. But in recent years, hundreds of thousands of local Witnesses, those who ‘have put faith in the things heard,’ have also imbibed the pioneer spirit and are daily ‘declaring the good news of good things.’ An average of 455,561 Witnesses have been reporting as pioneers, an increase for the year of 4.4 percent. As a result, a grand total of 785,521,697 hours was spent in preaching, more than double the total hours just 6 years ago.
The chart on the following four pages of this magazine shows in detail how extensive that preaching is. We invite your study of this 1988 report of worldwide Christian activity.
[Chart on page 4-7]
1988 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
(See bound volume)