Jehovah’s Organization Supports Your Ministry
“I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings.”—REVELATION 14:6.
1. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses been tested, and why have they survived?
WHY is it so important to recognize the role of Jehovah’s heavenly organization in supporting the Christian ministry? Well, could Jehovah’s Witnesses have accomplished the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom throughout a hostile world without the support of Jehovah’s heavenly hosts? Witnesses have done such preaching during a century of extreme nationalism, totalitarian political systems, world wars, and sundry adversities. Without Jehovah’s help could the Witnesses have survived the international barrage of prejudice, bias, and often violent persecution that has been leveled against them?—Psalm 34:7.
Survival in Spite of Worldwide Opposition
2. What parallel is there between true Christians of the first century and those today?
2 In this 20th century, enemies, both religious and political, have raised every possible obstacle, legal and otherwise, to try to prevent or stifle Jehovah’s work. Christian brothers and sisters have been persecuted, misrepresented, libeled, and slandered—many have even been killed—often at the instigation of the clergy of Babylon the Great. It can be said, as it was of the early Christians, that “truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.” Just as the Jewish clergy of Christ’s time fought tooth and nail to stop his ministry, so the clergy and apostates, in league with their political paramours, have tried to suffocate the great educational witness work of Jehovah’s people.—Acts 28:22; Matthew 26:59, 65-67.
3. What can we learn from the integrity of Henryka Żur?
3 Take as an example what happened in Poland on March 1, 1946. Henryka Żur, a 15-year-old Witness girl from near Chełm, accompanied another Witness, a brother, to visit interested people in a nearby village. They were picked up by members of a Catholic military squad called Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (National Armed Forces). The brother was severely beaten but escaped with his life. Not so with Henryka. She was horribly tortured for many hours as they tried to force her to make the Catholic sign of the cross. One of her tormentors said: “Think inside whatever you want to, just make the Catholic sign of the cross. Otherwise a bullet awaits you!” Did she weaken in her integrity? No. The religious cowards dragged her into a nearby forest and shot her. Still, she was victorious! They had failed to break her integrity.*—Romans 8:35-39.
4. How have political and religious elements tried to suppress the Kingdom preaching work?
4 For over one hundred years, God’s modern-day servants have been treated harshly and disrespectfully. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses are not, and do not wish to be, a part of Satan’s mainstream religions, they are viewed as fitting prey for any biased critic or fanatical opponent. They have been ferociously attacked by the political elements. Many Witnesses have been martyred for their faith. Even so-called democracies have tried to impede the preaching of the good news. As far back as 1917 in Canada and the United States, the clergy instigated accusations of subversion against the Bible Students, as the Witnesses were then known. Officials of the Watch Tower Society were wrongly imprisoned, only later being exonerated.—Revelation 11:7-9; 12:17.
5. What words have served to encourage Jehovah’s servants?
5 Satan has used every means at his disposal to try to stop the witnessing work of Christ’s brothers and their loyal companions. Yet, as so many experiences show, neither threats, intimidation, physical violence, prisons, concentration camps, nor even death has silenced Jehovah’s Witnesses. And this has been the case down through history. Time and again, Elisha’s words have served as an encouragement: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” One reason is that faithful angels outnumber the Devil’s hordes!—2 Kings 6:16; Acts 5:27-32, 41, 42.
Jehovah Blesses Zealous Preaching
6, 7. (a) What early efforts were made to preach the good news? (b) What beneficial change took place starting in 1943?
6 In the course of the 20th century, Jehovah’s Witnesses have used many advances in technology in order to amplify and speed up the great work of witnessing before the end comes. Back in 1914, Pastor Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, promoted the early use of slides and motion pictures, synchronized with a Bible-based commentary on phonograph records, in an eight-hour Bible production called “The Photo-Drama of Creation.” It amazed audiences in many countries at that time. Later on, in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Witnesses became known for their house-to-house preaching with portable phonographs, using recordings of Bible talks presented by J. F. Rutherford, the second president of the Society.
7 In 1943 a bold step was taken under the direction of Nathan H. Knorr, the third president of the Society, when it was decided to set up a school for ministers in every congregation. The Witnesses would be trained to preach and teach from house to house without the use of phonograph recordings. Since then, other schools have been organized to train missionaries, full-time pioneer ministers, congregation elders, and responsible overseers in the branches of the Watch Tower Society. What has been the result?
8. How did Witnesses show great faith in 1943?
8 Back in 1943, in the midst of World War II, there were only 129,000 Witnesses active in 54 lands. Yet, they had faith and determination that Matthew 24:14 would be fulfilled before the end came. They were convinced that Jehovah would have the important warning message proclaimed first before the sequence of events that would bring an end to this corrupt system of things. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 16:16; 19:11-16, 19-21; 20:1-3) Have their efforts been rewarded?
9. What facts show that the witness work has prospered?
9 There are now at least 13 countries that have more than 100,000 active Witnesses each. Several of these are lands dominated by the Catholic Church. Yet, look at the situation. Brazil has some 450,000 publishers of the good news, and over 1,200,000 attended the Memorial of Christ’s death in 1997. Mexico is another example, with nearly 500,000 Witnesses and over 1,600,000 at the Memorial celebration. Other Catholic countries are Italy (some 225,000 Witnesses), France (about 125,000), Spain (over 105,000), and Argentina (more than 115,000). In the United States, where the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religions predominate, there are some 975,000 Witnesses and over 2,000,000 attended the Memorial. Surely, great crowds are streaming out of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, with its mystical teachings and are turning to God’s simple and sure promises of “new heavens and a new earth.”—2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 2:3, 4; 65:17; Revelation 18:4, 5; 21:1-4.
Adapting to the Needs of People
10. How have circumstances changed in some areas?
10 Many of those who have turned to Jehovah through Christ Jesus were found from house to house. (John 3:16; Acts 20:20) But other methods have been used. Times have changed, and economic conditions are such that many women now work outside the home. Often, during the week, few people can be found at home. Thus, Jehovah’s Witnesses have adapted to the situation. Like Jesus and the early disciples, they go where and when the people are to be found.—Matthew 5:1, 2; 9:35; Mark 6:34; 10:1; Acts 2:14; 17:16, 17.
11. Where are Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching today, and with what result?
11 Witnesses are taking the initiative and are discreetly preaching to people in large parking areas, shopping malls, factories, offices and businesses, schools, police stations, gas stations, hotels and restaurants, and on the streets. In fact, they preach wherever people can be found. And when people are at home, then the Witnesses continue calling on them there. This adaptable and pragmatic approach is resulting in increased distribution of Bible literature. Sheeplike ones are being found. New Bible studies are being started. The greatest educational work in human history is being carried out zealously by over five and a half million volunteer ministers! Do you have the privilege of being one of them?—2 Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:5, 6.
What Motivates Jehovah’s Witnesses?
12. (a) How is Jehovah teaching his people? (b) What effect does this teaching have?
12 How does the heavenly organization fit into all of this? Isaiah prophesied: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” (Isaiah 54:13) Jehovah is teaching this worldwide united brotherhood through his visible organization on earth—at Kingdom Halls, at conventions, and at assemblies. Unity and peace result. Jehovah’s teaching has produced a unique people, educated to love one another and their neighbor as themselves, not to hate their neighbors, wherever they may live in this divisive and divided world.—Matthew 22:36-40.
13. How can we be sure that angelic direction is involved in the preaching work?
13 Love is what motivates Jehovah’s Witnesses to continue preaching in spite of apathy or persecution. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) They know that their lifesaving work is being directed from heaven, as Revelation 14:6 states. What is the message that is being proclaimed under angelic direction? “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” The preaching of the Kingdom good news exalts Jehovah’s name. People are being invited to give glory to the Creator, God, not to creatures and blind evolution. And why is the preaching work so urgent? Because the hour of judgment has arrived—judgment against Babylon the Great and all other aspects of Satan’s visible system of things.—Revelation 14:7; 18:8-10.
14. Who are involved in this great teaching campaign?
14 No dedicated Christian is exempt from this preaching work. Spiritual elders take the lead in preaching with the congregation. Trained pioneers are fully occupied in the work. Zealous publishers of the Kingdom message, whether able to preach only a few hours a month or many, are spreading the message into every corner of the earth.—Matthew 28:19, 20; Hebrews 13:7, 17.
15. What is an indicator of the impact of the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
15 Has all this effort made an impact on the world? One simple proof that it has is the number of times Jehovah’s Witnesses are featured on TV programs and in news columns. These often highlight our persistence and determination to reach everybody. Yes, our zeal and constant presence make a deep impression, even if the majority of people reject the message and the messengers!
Our Zeal to Complete the Witness
16. What attitude should now be manifested in the limited time that remains?
16 We do not know how much more time is left for this system of things, nor do we need to know as long as our motive in serving Jehovah is pure. (Matthew 24:36; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) But we do know that in order for Jehovah’s love, power, and justice to be manifest, the good news must be preached “first.” (Mark 13:10) Therefore, regardless of how many years we may eagerly have awaited the end of this wicked, unjust, and violent world, we must zealously live up to our dedication in accord with our circumstances. We may be elderly or sick, but we can still serve Jehovah with the zeal that we had in our younger or healthier days. Maybe we can no longer manage to spend as much time in the ministry as we formerly did, but we can certainly maintain the quality of our sacrifice of praise to Jehovah.—Hebrews 13:15.
17. Relate an encouraging experience that might help us all.
17 Therefore, whether young or old, let us show zeal and share our positive new world message with all we meet. Let us be like the shy seven-year-old girl in Australia who went with her mother to the store. She had heard at the Kingdom Hall how important it is for all to preach, so she put two Bible brochures in her bag. While her mother was busy at the counter, the little girl disappeared. When her mother looked for her, there she was offering a brochure to a lady! The mother went over to apologize for any annoyance her daughter might have caused the lady. But the lady had graciously accepted the brochure. When the mother again was alone with her daughter, she asked her how she got the courage to approach a stranger. “I just said, Ready, Set, Go! And I went!”
18. How can we show an admirable spirit?
18 We all need a spirit like that of the Australian girl, especially in order to approach strangers or even officials with the good news. We may fear rejection. Let us not forget what Jesus said: “Do not become anxious about how or what you will speak in defense or what you will say; for the holy spirit will teach you in that very hour the things you ought to say.”—Luke 12:11, 12.
19. How do you feel about your ministry?
19 So trust in the help of God’s spirit as you approach people in a kindly way with the good news. Millions put their trust in often unworthy men and women who are here today and gone tomorrow. We trust in Jehovah and his heavenly organization—Christ Jesus, the holy angels, and resurrected anointed Christians —who are alive forever! Therefore, remember: “There are more who are with us than those who are with them”!—2 Kings 6:16.
For further examples, see the 1994 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, pages 217-20.
How Do You Answer?
□ What role has God’s heavenly organization played in the survival of Jehovah’s people?
□ What political and religious elements have attacked Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 20th century?
□ How have Jehovah’s Witnesses adapted their ministry to the needs of the times?
□ What motivates you to preach?
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Jehovah’s Witnesses preach wherever and whenever people are to be found
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Earlier in this century, phonographs were used to spread the Kingdom message