heaven, by the healing of the sick, deaf, lame and blind and by the preaching of the good news. Even then it took faith to recognize him. (Matt. 11:2-6) On the other hand, they had heard him tell those who demanded to see a sign from him that their wicked generation would be given no sign except “the sign of Jonah the prophet.” They had also heard him explain to the Pharisees, when asked by them when the kingdom of God was coming: “The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness, neither will people be saying, ‘See here!’ or, ‘There!’ For, look! the kingdom of God is in your midst.” There the king was and the Pharisees did not know it! Also, the disciples knew that he had said that he would be killed and resurrected, and that he would go away to receive a kingdom and return. They wanted to be sure they recognized him then. But not yet having received holy spirit, they did not appreciate that he would not sit on an earthly throne; they had no idea that he would rule as a glorious spirit from the heavens and therefore did not know that his second presence would be invisible.—Matt. 12:38, 39; Luke 11:29, 30; 17:20, 21; 19:11-27; Matt. 16:21, 28.
They knew the prophecy of Daniel 7:13, 14 would be fulfilled somehow, but wondered how. Even faithful prophets before them had wondered about the Messiah’s coming to earth and as to his taking of glorious power and having followers to share with him, as Peter explains: “A diligent inquiry . . . [was] made by the prophets . . . They kept on investigating what particular season or what sort of season the spirit in them was indicating concerning Christ when it was bearing witness beforehand about the sufferings for Christ and about the glories to follow these.” Yes, even the angels wanted to know the answers, as Peter goes on to say: “Into these very things angels are desiring to peer.”—1 Pet. 1:10-12.
So the disciples in effect asked: ‘Just what will be the sign? Just how will the prophecies concerning your presence be fulfilled? What are we to look for, so as not to miss out, so as not to be blind, as the Pharisees are to your presence now, even though you are bodily present and still not recognized as the Messiah to them?’
Jesus did not answer in so many words that he would be invisibly present, but he outlined evidences that would make his presence recognizable, whether visible or invisible. He assured them that Daniel’s sign would be fulfilled in him. He knew that later, when they received holy spirit, they would appreciate that his resurrection was “in the spirit” and that his second presence would be in glorious spirit power invisible to human eyes. His answer constitutes a sure sign to Christians on earth today who exercise faith as did those disciples and who discern unmistakably his invisible presence in Kingdom power, though all Christendom is blind to this fact of utmost importance to mankind.
The Bible, the book of “everlasting good news,” is indeed beneficial to all and for all things, and it is deserving of sincere consideration. It points the way to life everlasting and exposes those who hinder others in seeking to attain it. As an aid to life seekers, during September Jehovah’s witnesses will continue to present the 704-page Bible-study aid “Babylon the Great Has Fallen” God’s Kingdom Rules!, with a booklet, for 75c.
WHICH SPIRIT MOTIVATES YOU?
God’s spirit would not produce the works of this world that are seen on every hand. God’s spirit produces love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. What protection do you have against the spirit of this world? How can you avail yourself of the fruitage of God’s spirit? These matters were the focal point of talks this summer at the “Fruitage of the Spirit” Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The principal assembly discourses will soon be featured in The Watchtower. Subscribe now for one year. Send only $1. Allow God’s spirit to motivate your life.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
October 11: Nations Come to Jehovah’s House to Pray. Page 552.
October 18: “Carry On Prayer on Every Occasion in Spirit.” Page 559.