Jehovah and Christ—Foremost Communicators
“The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.”—AMOS 3:7.
1. What methods of communication are employed today?
TODAY communication is a multimillion dollar business. All the books being published, all the newspapers and magazines regularly printed, all the radio and television programs that are broadcast, as well as all motion pictures and stage plays, are efforts at communication. The same is true of all letters written and mailed as well as all phone calls. All are efforts at communication.
2. What are some examples of the advances men have made in the technical aspects of communication?
2 The advances men have made in the technical aspects of communication are staggering. For example, fiber-optic cables, which are a great improvement over copper cables, can carry many tens of thousands of telephone conversations at one time. Then there are the communication satellites, which orbit the earth in space and have equipment for relaying telephone, telegraph, radio, and television signals. One such satellite can simultaneously handle 30,000 telephone messages!
3. What happens when there are communication gaps?
3 But in spite of all these means of communication, there is much misery in the world because of a lack of communication between individuals. Thus, we are told “there is a growing gulf—a widening ‘communications gap’—between the governors and the governed.” And what is the so-called generation gap but the failure of parents and their offspring to communicate successfully with one another? Marriage counselors report that the biggest problem in marriages is a failure of communication between husband and wife. Lack of proper communication can even cause death. Early in 1990, 73 persons lost their lives in a plane crash, a contributing factor evidently being a failure of communication between the pilot and ground control. A newspaper headline declared: “Communication Snag Led to Tragedy.”
4. (a) What is meant by “communication”? (b) What is the goal of Christian communication?
4 What is communication in the Christian context? According to one dictionary, “communication” means “to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood.” Another dictionary defines it as “a technique for expressing ideas effectively.” Notice, “expressing ideas effectively.” Christian communication especially needs to be effective because it has as its goal the reaching of people’s hearts with the truth from God’s Word so that, hopefully, they will act on what they learn. Uniquely, it is motivated by unselfishness, by love.
Jehovah as Communicator
5. What is one of the first ways Jehovah God communicated with man?
5 Jehovah God is undoubtedly the greatest Communicator. Because he created us in his image and likeness, he is able to communicate with us, and it is possible for us to communicate with others about him. Ever since the creation of man, Jehovah has communicated with his earthly creatures about himself. One way he has done this has been by means of his visible creation. Thus, the psalmist tells us: “The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. One day after another day causes speech to bubble forth, and one night after another night shows forth knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1, 2) And Romans 1:20 informs us that God’s “invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward.” “Clearly seen” indicates effective communication!
6. What did Jehovah communicate to his earthly creatures while they were in the garden of Eden?
6 Those without faith in God and his divine revelation would have us believe that man is left to his own resources to ascertain why he exists. But God’s Word makes it clear that God has communicated with man from the beginning. Thus, to the first man and woman God gave the procreation mandate: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection . . . every living creature.” God also granted them to eat their fill of the fruits of the garden—with just one exception. Then, when Adam and Eve disobeyed, Jehovah communicated the first Messianic promise, giving mankind a ray of hope: “I shall put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Genesis 1:28; 2:16, 17; 3:15.
7. What does the book of Genesis reveal as to Jehovah’s communicating with his servants?
7 When Adam’s son Cain was filled with murderous envy, Jehovah God communicated with him, saying in effect: ‘Watch out! You are heading for trouble!’ But Cain refused to heed that warning and murdered his brother. (Genesis 4:6-8) Then, when the earth became filled with violence and wickedness, Jehovah communicated to the righteous man Noah His purpose to wipe the earth clean of all that was defiling it. (Genesis 6:13–7:5) After the Deluge, when Noah and his family came forth from the ark, Jehovah communicated to them his purpose regarding the sanctity of life and blood, and by means of the rainbow he gave the assurance that he would never again destroy all living things by a flood. Some centuries later, Jehovah communicated to Abraham His purpose to have all the families of mankind bless themselves by means of Abraham’s Seed. (Genesis 9:1-17; 12:1-3; 22:11, 12, 16-18) And when God decreed that he would destroy the perverts of Sodom and Gomorrah, he lovingly communicated that fact to Abraham, saying: “Am I keeping covered from Abraham what I am doing?”—Genesis 18:17.
8. In what four ways has Jehovah communicated with his servants on earth?
8 Beginning with Moses, Jehovah used a long line of prophets to communicate with Israel. (Hebrews 1:1) Sometimes he used oral dictation, as when he told Moses: “Write down for yourself these words.” (Exodus 34:27) Much more frequently Jehovah communicated with his spokesmen by means of visions, as he had already done with Abraham.* Jehovah also used dreams to communicate with men, and not just with his servants but also with those having dealings with his servants. For instance, Jehovah caused two of Joseph’s fellow prisoners to have dreams, which Joseph interpreted for them. Jehovah also caused Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar to have dreams, which his servants Joseph and Daniel interpreted for them. (Genesis 40:8–41:32; Daniel, chapters 2 and 4) In addition, on many occasions Jehovah used angelic messengers to communicate with his servants.—Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:11; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26.
9. What motivated Jehovah to communicate with his people Israel, as seen by what expressions of his?
9 All such communication by Jehovah through his prophets reflected his love for his people Israel. Thus, he stated by means of his prophet Ezekiel: “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from your bad ways, for why is it that you should die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11) Jehovah was a long-suffering and patient Communicator with his rebellious ancient people, as can be seen from 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16: “Jehovah the God of their forefathers kept sending against them by means of his messengers, sending again and again, because he felt compassion for his people and for his dwelling. But they were . . . despising his words and mocking at his prophets . . . until there was no healing.”
10. How does Jehovah communicate with his people today, and to what extent is he the God of communication?
10 Today, we have God’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible, by which Jehovah communicates to us information about himself, his purposes, and his will for us. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) In fact, as the Preeminent Communicator, Jehovah, declares: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) He makes known to his servants what he purposes to do.
God’s Son as Communicator
11. Who is Jehovah’s foremost instrumentality in communicating with man, and why is his title “the Word” appropriate?
11 Of all the agents used by Jehovah to communicate His will, the foremost is the Word, the Logos, who became Jesus Christ. What is the import of his being called the Word, or Logos? That he is Jehovah’s Chief Spokesman. And what is a spokesman? One who communicates what another has to tell. So the Logos became the communicator of Jehovah God’s word to His intelligent earthly creation. That role is so important that he is called the Word.—John 1:1, 2, 14.
12. (a) For what purpose did Jesus come to earth? (b) What testifies to his faithfully fulfilling that purpose?
12 Jesus himself told Pontius Pilate that his main purpose in coming to earth was to communicate the truth to mankind: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) And the record in the Gospels tells how well he carried out that assignment. His Sermon on the Mount is recognized as the greatest sermon ever preached by a man. How well he communicated through that sermon! “The effect was that the crowds [who heard the sermon] were astounded at his way of teaching.” (Matthew 7:28) Concerning another occasion, we read: “The great crowd was listening to him with pleasure.” (Mark 12:37) When certain officers were sent to arrest Jesus, they came back without him. Why? They answered the Pharisees: “Never has another man spoken like this.”—John 7:46.
Christ’s Disciples Commissioned to Be Communicators
13. What shows that Christ was not content with being a lone communicator?
13 Not content with being a lone communicator, Jesus first commissioned 12 apostles and then 70 evangelizers to go forth as communicators of the good news of the Kingdom. (Luke 9:1; 10:1) Then shortly before he ascended to heaven, he commissioned his disciples to perform a special task. What task? As we read at Matthew 28:19, 20, he instructed them to be communicators; and they were to teach still others also to become communicators.
14. How effective were the early Christian communicators?
14 Were the disciples effective communicators? They certainly were! As a result of their preaching on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., 3,000 souls were added to the newly formed Christian congregation. Soon the number increased to 5,000 men. (Acts 2:41; 4:4) No wonder that their Jewish foes accused them of filling all Jerusalem with their teaching and later complained that they had overturned the inhabited earth with their preaching!—Acts 5:28; 17:6.
15. What instrumentality has Jehovah used in modern times to communicate with men?
15 What of modern times? As foretold at Matthew 24:3, 45-47, the Master, Jesus Christ, has appointed “the faithful and discreet slave,” made up of anointed Christians, to care for all his belongings on earth during this day of his presence. That faithful and discreet slave is represented today by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has as its publicity agent the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Most appropriately, that faithful and discreet slave has also been called God’s channel of communication. It, in turn, encourages us to be good communicators. In fact, the very first issue of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence counseled its readers: “If you have a neighbor or friend whom you think would be interested in or benefitted by [this magazine’s] instructions, you might call it to their attention; thus preaching the Word and doing good unto all men as you have opportunity.”
16. What shows that more is needed than just the Bible for God to communicate effectively with his earthly servants?
16 However, merely having access to the Word of God and personally reading it is not enough to gain the accurate knowledge that sets one on the road to life. Remember the Ethiopian court official who was reading the prophecy of Isaiah but did not understand what he was reading. Philip the evangelizer explained the prophecy to him, after which he was ready to be baptized as a disciple of Christ. (Acts 8:27-38) That more is needed than merely reading the Bible by oneself can be seen from Ephesians 4:11-13, where Paul shows that Christ not only gave some as inspired apostles and prophets but also gave “some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man.”
17. By what identifying marks can we recognize the agency Jehovah is using today to communicate his purposes to mankind?
17 How can we identify those whom Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are using to help people who would be Christians to reach the status of a full-grown man? According to Jesus, one of the identifying marks would be that these love one another as Jesus loved his followers. (John 13:34, 35) Another identifying mark: They would be no part of the world, even as Jesus was no part of the world. (John 15:19; 17:16) Still another mark would be that they recognize God’s Word as the truth, as Jesus did, continually appealing to its authority. (Matthew 22:29; John 17:17) Putting God’s name to the fore, as Jesus did, would be another mark. (Matthew 6:9; John 17:6) And one more mark would be the following of Jesus’ example in preaching the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 4:17; 24:14) There is only one group that measures up to these requirements, namely the international communicators known as the Christian Witnesses of Jehovah.
18. What three areas for communication will further articles discuss?
18 Communication, however, implies responsibility toward others. With whom are Christians responsible to communicate? Basically, there are three areas in which Christians must be concerned with keeping open the lines of communication: the family circle, the Christian congregation, and the Christian field ministry. The succeeding articles will deal with these aspects of our subject.
How Would You Answer?
□ What harm can result from a lack of communication?
□ Who are the two foremost communicators?
□ What various means has God used to communicate with man?
□ How did Jesus excel as a communicator?
□ How successful were the early Christians in communicating?
[Picture on page 18]
Like his heavenly Father, Jesus was a compassionate communicator