Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Organization?
“This is what Jehovah has said: ‘The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.’”—ISAIAH 66:1.
1, 2. (a) To what visible evidence of Jehovah’s organization can you point? (b) Where does Jehovah dwell?
DO YOU believe that Jehovah has an organization? If so, why do you believe it? You might answer: ‘Well, we have a Kingdom Hall. We have a well-arranged congregation with a body of elders. We have a duly appointed circuit overseer who visits us regularly. We attend organized assemblies and conventions. We have a branch office of the Watch Tower Society in our country. Surely, all of this and much more proves that Jehovah has a functioning organization.’
2 Such features amount to evidence of an organization. But if all we see and appreciate is here on earth, we do not have a total grasp of Jehovah’s organization. Jehovah told Isaiah that the earth is only His footstool, but the heavens are His throne. (Isaiah 66:1) To which “heavens” was Jehovah referring? To our atmosphere? To outer space? Or to some other level of life? Isaiah speaks of Jehovah’s “lofty abode of holiness and beauty,” and the psalmist describes these heavens as “the established place where he dwells.” Thus, the “heavens” at Isaiah 66:1 refers to the invisible spirit realm in which Jehovah occupies the supreme, or ultimate, position.—Isaiah 63:15; Psalm 33:13, 14.
3. How can we overcome doubts?
3 Therefore, if we truly want to perceive and appreciate Jehovah’s organization, we must look to the heavens. And therein lies a problem for some. Since Jehovah’s heavenly organization is invisible, how do we know that it really exists? Some may even pass through a tunnel of doubt, wondering, ‘How can we be sure?’ Well, how can faith overcome doubt? Two key ways are intense personal study of God’s Word and regular attendance at and involvement in Christian meetings. Then we see the light of truth at the end of the tunnel. There have been other servants of God who have had doubts. Let us consider the case of Elisha’s servant when Israel was under attack by the king of Syria.—Compare John 20:24-29; James 1:5-8.
One Who Saw the Heavenly Hosts
4, 5. (a) What problem did Elisha’s servant have? (b) How did Jehovah respond to Elisha’s prayer?
4 The king of Syria sent a heavy military force by night to Dothan to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up early in the morning and went out, perhaps to get some fresh air on the flat roof of their Middle Eastern dwelling, why, what a shock he got! A whole army of Syrians with horses and war chariots was surrounding the town, waiting to capture God’s prophet. The servant cried out to Elisha: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Evidently, calmly and with conviction, Elisha responded: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The servant must have wondered, ‘Where are they? I can’t see them!’ Sometimes that might also be our problem—failure to see with the eyes of understanding, or to perceive, the heavenly hosts.—2 Kings 6:8-16; Ephesians 1:18.
5 Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. What happened next? “Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) Yes, he saw the heavenly hosts, angelic armies waiting to protect God’s servant. Now he could understand Elisha’s confidence.
6. How can we get insight into Jehovah’s heavenly organization?
6 Do we sometimes have a problem of perception similar to what Elisha’s servant had? Are we prone to see only the physical side of situations threatening us or the Christian work in certain lands? If so, can we expect a special vision to enlighten us? No, because we have something that Elisha’s servant did not have—a whole book containing many visions, the Bible, which can give us insight into the heavenly organization. That inspired Word also gives guiding principles to set straight our thinking and our way of life. However, we must make an effort to search for discernment and cultivate appreciation of Jehovah’s arrangement. And that we can do by personal study, along with prayer and meditation.—Romans 12:12; Philippians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
Studying to Perceive
7. (a) What problem might some have with personal Bible study? (b) Why is personal study worth the effort?
7 Personal study is not necessarily a pleasant prospect for many people, such as those who never enjoyed study at school or never had the opportunity to engage in it. However, if we want to perceive and appreciate Jehovah’s organization with our eyes of understanding, we must cultivate a desire to study. Can you enjoy a good meal without preparation? As any chef or cook will tell you, a lot of work goes into preparing a delicious meal. Yet, it may be consumed in half an hour or less. On the other hand, the benefits of personal study can last a lifetime. Personal study can become an acquired taste when we see the progress we can make. The apostle Paul rightly said that we should pay constant attention to ourselves and to our teaching and continue applying ourselves to public reading. Consistent effort is required, but the benefits can be everlasting.—1 Timothy 4:13-16.
8. What attitude does Proverbs recommend?
8 A wise man of old said: “My son [or, daughter], if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself, so as to pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment; if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.”—Proverbs 2:1-5.
9. (a) How does the value of gold compare to “the very knowledge of God”? (b) What implements do we need to get accurate knowledge?
9 Do you recognize where the responsibility lies? ‘If you’ is the repeated phrase. And notice the expression, ‘If you keep searching as for hid treasures.’ Think of the miners who for centuries dug for silver and gold in Bolivia, Mexico, South Africa, and other countries. They worked hard, using picks and shovels, to excavate the rock from which they would get the precious metals. They valued gold so much that in one mine in California, U.S.A., they excavated 367 miles [591 km] of tunnels, reaching a vertical depth of about one mile [1.5 km]—just to find gold. Yet, can you eat gold? Drink gold? Will it sustain you in a desert if you are dying of hunger and thirst? No, its value is artificial and arbitrary, changing from day to day as reflected in the international markets. Nonetheless, men have died for it. Now how much effort is it worth to get spiritual gold, “the very knowledge of God”? Think of it, the very knowledge of the Sovereign Lord of the universe, his organization, and his purposes! In this regard, we can use spiritual picks and shovels. Those are Bible-based publications that help us to dig into Jehovah’s Word and discern its meaning.—Job 28:12-19.
Digging for Insight
10. What did Daniel see in a vision?
10 Let us do some spiritual digging in order to begin getting the very knowledge of Jehovah’s heavenly organization. For a key insight, let us turn to Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days on his throne. Daniel writes: “I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. His clothing was white just like snow, and the hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire. There was a stream of fire flowing and going out from before him. There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened.” (Daniel 7:9, 10) Who were these thousands who were ministering to Jehovah? The marginal references in the New World Translation, used as “picks” and “shovels,” lead us to such references as Psalm 68:17 and Hebrews 1:14. Yes, the ones ministering were heavenly angels!
11. How can Daniel’s vision help us to understand Elisha’s words?
11 Daniel’s account does not say that he saw all the faithful angels that God has at his command. There may be millions more. But surely we can now appreciate why Elisha could say: “There are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The army of the king of Syria, even though backed up by unfaithful angels, the demons, was outnumbered by Jehovah’s heavenly armies!—Psalm 34:7; 91:11.
12. How can you get to know more about angels?
12 Perhaps you would like to know more about these angels, such as the role they play in serving Jehovah. From the Greek word for angel, we can see that they are messengers because it also means “messenger.” However, there is much more to their duties. To find out what it is, though, you must dig. If you have available Insight on the Scriptures, you can study the article “Angels,” or you can consult past articles in The Watchtower about angels. You will be amazed how much you can learn about these celestial servants of God and come to appreciate their support. (Revelation 14:6, 7) However, in God’s heavenly organization, some spirit creatures serve specialized purposes.
What Isaiah Saw
13, 14. What did Isaiah see in vision, and how did this affect him?
13 Now let us do some digging in the vision of Isaiah. When you read chapter 6, verses 1 to 7, you should be impressed. Isaiah says that he “got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne,” and “seraphs were standing above him.” They were calling out about the glory of Jehovah, extolling his holiness. You should be affected even by reading this account. What was Isaiah’s reaction? “I proceeded to say: ‘Woe to me! For I am as good as brought to silence [in Sheol], because a man unclean in lips I am, and in among a people unclean in lips I am dwelling; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of armies, himself!’” How impressed he was with that vision! Are you?
14 So how was Isaiah able to withstand this glorious sight? He explains that a seraph came to his rescue and said: “Your error has departed and your sin itself is atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:7) Isaiah could trust in God’s mercy and pay attention to Jehovah’s words. Now, would you not like to know more about these high-ranking spirit creatures? Then what must you do? Dig for more information. One implement to use would be the Watch Tower Publications Index, following its references to many sources of clarifying information.
What Did Ezekiel See?
15. What indicates that Ezekiel’s vision is reliable?
15 Let us next turn to another type of spirit creation. Ezekiel was privileged to have an inspiring vision while he was yet a captive in Babylon. Open your Bible to Ezekiel chapter 1, the first three verses. How does the account start? Does it say, ‘Once upon a time, in a distant land . . .’? No, this is no fairy tale in a mythological time setting. Verse 1 states: “Now it came about in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, while I was in the midst of the exiled people by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I began to see visions of God.” What do you notice about this verse? It gives an exact date and a precise place. These details point to the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the year 613 B.C.E.
16. What did Ezekiel see?
16 The hand of Jehovah came to be upon Ezekiel, and he began to see an awe-inspiring vision of Jehovah on a throne in a vast heavenly chariot that had huge wheels with eyes all around the rims. The detail that interests us here is that there were four creatures, one standing at each wheel. “This was how they looked: they had the likeness of earthling man. And each one had four faces, and each one of them four wings. . . . And as for the likeness of their faces, the four of them had a man’s face with a lion’s face to the right, and the four of them had a bull’s face on the left; the four of them also had an eagle’s face.”—Ezekiel 1:5, 6, 10.
17. What do the four faces of the cherubs represent?
17 What were these four living creatures? Ezekiel himself tells us that they were cherubs. (Ezekiel 10:1-3, 14) Why did they have four faces? To represent the Sovereign Lord Jehovah’s four outstanding attributes. The eagle’s face was a symbol of farsighted wisdom. (Job 39:27-29) What did the face of the bull represent? With the tremendous strength of its neck and shoulders, a fighting bull has been known to lift a horse and rider into the air. Surely, the bull is a symbol of Jehovah’s limitless power. The lion is used as a symbol of courageous justice. Finally, the face of a man appropriately represents God’s love, since man is the only earthly creature that can manifest this quality intelligently.—Matthew 22:37, 39; 1 John 4:8.
18. How does the apostle John add to our perception of the heavenly organization?
18 There are other visions that can help us to complete the picture. These include John’s visions related in the Bible book of Revelation. He, like Ezekiel, sees Jehovah on a glorious throne accompanied by cherubs. What are the cherubs doing? They echo the seraphs’ proclamation of Isaiah chapter 6, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.” (Revelation 4:6-8) John also sees a lamb by the throne. Who might that represent? The very Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.—Revelation 5:13, 14.
19. Through this study, what have you perceived about Jehovah’s organization?
19 So by means of these visions, what have we perceived? That the heavenly organization has at its zenith Jehovah God on his throne accompanied by the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who is the Word, or Logos. Then we have seen a heavenly host of angels, including seraphs and cherubs. They are part of one vast, united organization serving Jehovah’s purposes. And one of those purposes is the preaching of the good news worldwide in this time of the end.—Mark 13:10; John 1:1-3; Revelation 14:6, 7.
20. What question will be answered in the following article?
20 Finally, we have Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth meeting in their Kingdom Halls in order to learn how to do the Sovereign Lord’s will. Surely, now we can appreciate that there are more who are with us than those who are with Satan and the enemies of the truth. There remains the question, What does the heavenly organization have to do with the preaching of the Kingdom good news? The following article will examine that and other matters.
Questions for Review
□ To appreciate Jehovah’s organization, what must we perceive?
□ What experience did Elisha’s servant have, and how did the prophet encourage him?
□ How should we view personal study?
□ How do Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel give details of the heavenly organization?
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The benefits of personal study far outlast those of a well-prepared meal
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A vision of heavenly hosts was Jehovah’s answer to Elisha’s prayer