Gilead’s Spiritual Harvest
“WE ARE approaching a final harvesttime,” pointed out F. W. Franz, vice-president of the Watch Tower Society, on Sunday morning, March 9, 1969. The occasion was the graduation of the 47th class of the Society’s missionary school, Gilead. The ninety-seven graduating students, and over two thousand of their friends and relatives who gathered for the special day wondered what final harvest the speaker meant and how they personally were involved.
The answers came quickly. The dynamic speaker quoted Jeremiah 8:20: “The harvest has passed, the summer has come to an end; but as for us, we have not been saved!”
Making the spiritual application, he showed that Christendom has failed to produce the spirituality that might allow her to be preserved alive in the future. In joyful contrast, the spiritual harvest now going on among Jehovah’s witnesses has been abundant, as indicated by Amos 9:13. (Lev. 26:3-5) Because the work of the spiritual Christian harvesters had God’s blessing, a great fruitage has resulted. Thus when the final destruction comes at the war of Armageddon, those who have this abundant spirituality will be saved into the new order.
The high point of the day was a talk by N. H. Knorr, the president of the Society, entitled “The Implanting of the Word.” It was based on James 1:21, which reads: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.”
“This implanting of the word is not only to be done to the persons outside, it is to be done in ourselves.” This was important, he stressed, for it would mean the saving of our lives.
Too soon the pleasant day came to its end, and the final song and prayer were over. But students and visitors alike had greatly benefited from the special occasion. All were determined to let the word take even deeper root in their hearts and to have a full share in the spiritual harvest now so that they might enjoy God’s rich blessings forever.
Questions From Readers
● What does 1 Corinthians 13:8 mean in saying that ‘knowledge will be done away with’?—R. M., U.S.A.
An examination of the context reveals that the apostle Paul meant that the supernatural knowledge that was a miraculous gift of the holy spirit would in time cease.
In the previous chapter Paul wrote about the “varieties of gifts” of the spirit. The miraculous gifts included healing, prophesying, speaking in different tongues, and speech of knowledge. (1 Cor. 12:4-11) These were not ordinary abilities, such as healing or speaking in tongues because of studying medicine or various languages. They were miraculous abilities. Consistently, then, the “knowledge” mentioned was not ordinary knowledge obtainable through experience, observation or study of books, even the Bible. It was a supernatural knowledge provided by means of the holy spirit.
Illustrating that Jehovah could give supernatural knowledge are these examples: At the death of Lazarus, Jesus’ traveling companions had not learned that sick Lazarus had died, yet Christ knew it. (John 11:5-14) On an earlier occasion, a Samaritan woman at a well recognized Jesus as a prophet because he had supernatural knowledge of her past and present marital status.—John 4:16-19.
Note this case involving the apostles after Pentecost 33 C.E.: When Ananias secretly played “false to the holy spirit,” the apostle Peter miraculously knew about it.—Acts 5:2-4.
Though the Bible does not describe in detail the use of miraculous “knowledge,” it seems likely that it was used in another way too. During Christianity’s infancy God might have supplied supernatural knowledge to strengthen congregations. Though early Christians were intensely interested in the Scriptures, copies of God’s Word were not as available as they are today. Nor would congregations have published reference books dealing with the Bible and setting forth the understanding held by the “governing body” of apostles and older men in Jerusalem. Furthermore, means of communication were limited. It might take months to get a reply to a question sent by letter or messenger to an apostle or the “governing body.”—Acts 15:2, 30; 16:4.
So at a meeting of a congregation in some isolated location amidst a pagan community, a miraculous display of supernatural knowledge would greatly upbuild and encourage the Christians. There might be a question or problem, and God could supply the solution through one having the gift of “speech of knowledge.” That one might recall and grasp the application of a Bible text that he read before, even though the congregation did not have the scroll available.
Would this supernatural knowledge always be present among Christians? No. In fact, not all had it in the first century. (1 Cor. 12:28-30) Furthermore, in time Christianity would be firmly established and organized. Then the need for the miraculous gifts, including “knowledge,” would end. Hence, Paul wrote: “Whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will be done away with.”—1 Cor. 13:8.
Today the Bible is available world wide in hundreds of languages. Unlike the earliest Christian congregations, we now have the complete Christian Greek Scriptures, containing prophecies that we can see being fulfilled as well as information on the application of Hebrew Scripture prophecies. Numerous books and magazines with Scriptural material prepared by the “faithful and discreet slave” class of anointed Christians are accessible to true worshipers.—Matt. 24:45-47.
Hence, even though God is not now providing the miraculous gift of knowledge, we are in no way at a loss. We have much to study as we seek the accurate knowledge that leads to life. (John 17:3) And shortly we will experience the time when “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—Isa. 11:9.
IF YOU VALUE TRUTH. . . !
Truth is usually controversial. Yet even in these days of extreme views, of major confrontations on almost every issue, truth is rarely used to implement an argument. That is because truth is also honest, just and impartial. Jesus said: “The truth will set you free.” If you value truth, if you want honest answers to the many questions perplexing mankind today, then you should read the book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. This 192-page, hardbound, pocket-size book relies on the highest authority. It goes to the source of truth. It is based on the Bible. Send for your copy today. It is only 25c.
“Give us more faith”—this is the request made at one time to Jesus Christ by his apostles. (Luke 17:5) But how can one get more faith and keep it “growing exceedingly”? (2 Thess. 1:3) Well, what is faith? It is not mere expectation but is assured expectation. The only way to get this assurance is from a study of the Word of God. By regularly feeding upon God’s Word, one’s expectation regarding all of God’s wonderful promises gets all the more certain. Jehovah’s witnesses are keenly interested in helping all persons who wish to get more faith. To do this, they offer a free home Bible-study course of six months, using as an aid for such Bible discussion the book The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. They will be using this book during the month of May in their house-to-house ministry, offering it for only 25c.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
May 18: “Serve Jehovah with Rejoicing.” Page 264. Songs to Be Used: 4, 111.
May 25: “Taking Pleasure in the House of My God.” Page 270. Songs to Be Used: 41, 99.