“The Spirit and the Bride Keep On Saying: ‘Come!’”
“The spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ . . . Let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.”—REV. 22:17.
1, 2. What place should Kingdom interests occupy in our lives, and why?
WHAT place should Kingdom interests occupy in our lives? Jesus urged his followers to ‘keep on seeking first the kingdom,’ assuring them that if they did so, God would supply what they needed. (Matt. 6:25-33) He compared the Kingdom of God to a pearl so valuable that upon finding it, a traveling merchant “sold all the things he had and bought it.” (Matt. 13:45, 46) Should we not attach the utmost importance to the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work?
2 As we saw in the two preceding articles, our speaking with boldness and our using the Word of God skillfully in the ministry demonstrate that we are directed by God’s spirit. That spirit also plays an important part in our having a regular share in the Kingdom-preaching work. Let us see how.
An Open Invitation!
3. To what type of water are all humans invited to “come”?
3 An open invitation has been extended to humans by means of holy spirit. (Read Revelation 22:17.) The invitation is to “come” and satisfy one’s thirst with a very special type of water. It is not ordinary water composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Though literal water is essential for sustaining life on earth, Jesus had in mind a different type of water when he said to a Samaritan woman at a well: “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” (John 4:14) The extraordinary water that humans are invited to partake of imparts everlasting life.
4. How did the need for the water of life arise, and what is represented by that water?
4 The need for such water of life arose when the first man, Adam, joined his wife, Eve, in disobeying the very one who created them—Jehovah God. (Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:1-6) The first couple were expelled from their garden home “in order that [Adam] may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite.” (Gen. 3:22) As progenitor of humankind, Adam subsequently introduced death into the entire human race. (Rom. 5:12) The water of life represents all of God’s provisions for recovering obedient humans from sin and death and giving them unending perfect life in Paradise on earth. At the very root of these provisions is the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.—Matt. 20:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9, 10.
5. The invitation to come and “take life’s water free” issues from whom? Explain.
5 Who originates the invitation to come and “take life’s water free”? When all the provisions for life through Jesus become fully available to mankind during Christ’s Millennial Reign, they are portrayed as “a river of water of life, clear as crystal.” That river is seen as “flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1) Jehovah the Life-Giver is, therefore, the Source of the water containing life-giving elements. (Ps. 36:9) He is the One who makes that water available through “the Lamb,” Jesus Christ. (John 1:29) This symbolic river is Jehovah’s means to undo all the harm brought upon mankind by Adam’s disobedience. Yes, Jehovah God is the Originator of the invitation to “come.”
6. When does the “river of water of life” begin to flow?
6 Though the “river of water of life” will flow in the fullest sense during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, it begins to flow in “the Lord’s day,” which dawned with the heavenly enthronement of “the Lamb” in 1914. (Rev. 1:10) Hence, certain provisions for life became available after that. They involve God’s Word, the Bible, for its message is spoken of as “water.” (Eph. 5:26) The invitation to “take life’s water” by hearing and responding to the Kingdom good news is open to all. But who is doing the actual inviting in the Lord’s day?
“The Bride” Says, “Come!”
7. Who in “the Lord’s day” were the first to extend the invitation to “come,” and to whom?
7 The members of the bride class—the spirit-anointed Christians—are the first to extend the invitation to “come.” To whom? Well, the bride is not saying, “Come!” to herself. Her words are directed to those who hope to gain everlasting life on earth after “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” has been fought.—Read Revelation 16:14, 16.
8. What shows that anointed Christians have been extending Jehovah’s invitation from as far back as 1918?
8 The anointed followers of Christ have been extending the invitation since as far back as 1918. In that year, the public talk entitled “Millions Now Living May Never Die” offered hope that many will gain life in a paradise earth after the battle of Armageddon. A talk given at the convention of Bible Students at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., in 1922 urged listeners to ‘advertise the King and his kingdom.’ This appeal helped the remnant of the bride class to reach more people with the invitation. In 1929, the March 15 issue of The Watchtower contained an article entitled “Gracious Invitation,” with Revelation 22:17 as its theme text. In part, the article stated: “The faithful remnant class join [the Most High] in the gracious invitation and say, ‘Come.’ This message is to be proclaimed to those who have a desire for righteousness and truth. It must be done now.” To this day, the bride class continues to extend that invitation.
“Let Anyone Hearing Say: ‘Come!’”
9, 10. How have those hearing the invitation been invited to say, “Come!” in response?
9 What about those who hear the invitation to “come”? They are invited to say, “Come!” in response. For example, the August 1, 1932, issue of The Watchtower stated on page 232: “Let the anointed encourage all who will to take part in telling the good news of the kingdom. They do not have to be anointed of the Lord in order to declare the Lord’s message. It is a great comfort to Jehovah’s witnesses to now know that they are permitted to carry the waters of life to a class of people that may be taken through Armageddon and given everlasting life on the earth.”
10 Pointing to the hearer’s responsibility to say, “Come!” The Watchtower of August 15, 1934, page 249, stated: “Those of the Jonadab class must go along with those who are of the antitypical Jehu company, that is, the anointed, and announce the message of the kingdom, even though they are not the anointed witnesses of Jehovah.” In 1935, the identity of the “great crowd” mentioned at Revelation 7:9-17 was made clear. That gave tremendous impetus to the work of extending God’s invitation. Since then, a growing number of the great crowd of true worshippers—over seven million now—have responded to that invitation. Having appreciatively heard the message, they have made a dedication to God, undergone water baptism, and joined the bride class in actively inviting others to ‘come and drink life’s water free.’
“The Spirit” Says, “Come!”
11. In the first century C.E., how was holy spirit involved in the preaching work?
11 When preaching in a synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus opened the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and read: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” Then Jesus applied these words to himself, saying: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” (Luke 4:17-21) Before his ascension to heaven, Jesus told his disciples: “You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In the first century, the holy spirit played a noteworthy part with regard to the preaching work.
12. How is God’s spirit involved in extending the invitation in our day?
12 How is God’s holy spirit involved in extending the invitation to humans in our day? Jehovah is the Source of holy spirit. He uses the spirit to open the hearts and minds of the bride class to understand his Word, the Bible. The spirit impels them to extend the invitation and explain Scriptural truths to those who have the prospect of living forever in Paradise on earth. What about those who accept the invitation, become disciples of Jesus Christ, and extend the invitation to still others? The spirit is involved in their case too. Having been baptized ‘in the name of the holy spirit,’ they cooperate with and rely on the spirit to help them. (Matt. 28:19) Think also of the message preached by the anointed and the growing great crowd. It comes from the Bible—the book written under the direct influence of God’s spirit. Thus, the invitation is extended by means of holy spirit. We are, in fact, directed by that spirit. How should that affect the extent of our participation in the invitation work?
They “Keep On Saying: ‘Come!’”
13. What is indicated by the statement “the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’”?
13 “The spirit and the bride” do not merely say, “Come!” The original-language verb used here denotes continuous action. Taking that factor into consideration, the New World Translation reads: “The spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’” This indicates regularity in extending God’s invitation. What about those who hear and accept the invitation? They too say, “Come!” The great crowd of true worshippers is spoken of as ‘rendering sacred service day and night in Jehovah’s temple.’ (Rev. 7:9, 15) ‘Day and night service’ in what sense? (Read Luke 2:36, 37; Acts 20:31; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.) The examples of the aged prophetess Anna and the apostle Paul show that ‘day and night service’ implies constancy and earnest effort in the ministry.
14, 15. How did Daniel demonstrate the importance of regularity in worship?
14 The prophet Daniel also demonstrated the importance of regularity in worship. (Read Daniel 6:4-10, 16.) He did not change his spiritual routine—his habit of praying to God “three times in a day, . . . as he had been regularly doing”—even for one month, although that meant being thrown into the lions’ pit. How clearly his actions indicated to observers that nothing is more important than regular worship of Jehovah!—Matt. 5:16.
15 After Daniel had spent a night in the lions’ pit, the king himself went there and cried out: “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you are serving with constancy been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel immediately replied: “O king, live on even to times indefinite. My own God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions, and they have not brought me to ruin, forasmuch as before him innocence itself was found in me; and also before you, O king, no hurtful act have I done.” Jehovah blessed Daniel for serving “with constancy.”—Dan. 6:19-22.
16. What questions should Daniel’s example prompt us to ask about our participation in the ministry?
16 Daniel was willing to die rather than neglect his spiritual routine. What about us? What sacrifices are we making or are we willing to make in order to declare the good news of God’s Kingdom with constancy? Why, we should not let a month go by without speaking about Jehovah to others! If at all possible, should we not endeavor to participate in the ministry each week? Even if we are very limited physically and can witness for just 15 minutes during the month, we should report this activity. Why? Because, along with the spirit and the bride, we desire to keep on saying, “Come!” Yes, we want to do all we can to remain regular Kingdom publishers.
17. What opportunities to extend Jehovah’s invitation should we not miss?
17 We should seek to extend Jehovah’s invitation at every opportunity, not just at times that we have set aside for the public ministry. What a privilege it is to invite thirsty ones to ‘come and take life’s water free’ during other times, such as while shopping, traveling, vacationing, working, or going to school! Even if authorities restrict the preaching work, we continue to preach discreetly—perhaps by staggering our house-to-house visits or by increasing our informal witnessing.
Keep On Saying, “Come!”
18, 19. How do you show that you value the privilege of being God’s fellow worker?
18 For over nine decades now, the spirit and the bride have been saying, “Come!” to anyone thirsting for life’s water. Have you heard their thrilling invitation? Then you are urged to extend this invitation to others.
19 We do not know how long Jehovah’s loving invitation will continue to be extended, but our responding to it by saying, “Come!” makes us God’s fellow workers. (1 Cor. 3:6, 9) What a privilege that is! May we show that we value that privilege and “always offer to God a sacrifice of praise” by preaching regularly. (Heb. 13:15) Together with the bride class, let those of us who have an earthly hope keep on saying, “Come!” And may many more “take life’s water free”!
What Did You Learn?
• The invitation to “come” is extended to whom?
• Why can it be said that the invitation to “come” originates with Jehovah?
• What part does holy spirit play in extending the invitation to “come”?
• Why should we strive to be regular in the ministry?
[Chart/Pictures on page 16]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
Keep On Saying, “Come!”
Many will gain life in Paradise on earth
“Advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom”
The faithful remnant says, “Come!”
The invitation to say, “Come!” is extended beyond the anointed
The Jonadab class is invited to preach
The “great crowd” is identified