To his followers Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Were they not to do proselyting work, to make disciples? Indeed they were, and Christ’s modern-day followers do the same thing. If turning pagans from false worship to Judaism was proselyting them, then, also, turning pagans to Christianity means proselyting them. Of course, they do not use force or unchristian methods in their preaching work. No coercion is employed to bring about conversion. Instead, Biblical truths are taught today by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Those with righteous hearts respond to the truth. It is not the personal force of the minister that changes the person, for Christ said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) It is the truth of God’s Word, as preached by Jehovah’s witnesses, that sets persons free from religious bondage. (John 8:32) Those who hear the message of truth must individually decide whether to accept or reject it. They determine whether to turn around, to make a change in life, to quit being fashioned after this system of things and become converts to true Christianity.—Rom. 12:2.
But Jehovah’s witnesses are doing a proselyting work, a work of conversion, just like that of the early Christians. Due to their ministry, hundreds of thousands of persons have abandoned Babylon the Great. And we joyfully look to the future, for there still remains some time for others to heed the admonition: “Get out of her, my people.”—Rev. 18:4.
● What does Acts 6:15 mean when it says that Stephen’s face “was as an angel’s face”? Was he transfigured, as Jesus was?
The Bible account at Acts, chapters 6 and 7, tells about Stephen’s defense before the Sanhedrin, and Acts chapter 6, verse 15, says: “As all those sitting in the Sanhedrin gazed at him, they saw that his face was as an angel’s face.” The scripture here does not necessarily mean that Stephen’s face was transfigured, as Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration. Yet there must have been something about Stephen’s face that fascinated the members of the Sanhedrin. It was not unusual, of course, for the judges to observe the countenance of the prisoner before them, which sometimes is an indication of guilt or innocence. Now, Stephen appeared before the court, not with the downcast face of one guilty of a crime, but with the countenance of an angel, a messenger sent by God, one with confidence that he had the backing of God. His face gave no evidence that he was guilty of wrongdoing. He displayed courage. His face showed that he was serene and unperturbed, because of his confidence in God. As Jesus had said not long before this: “I give you my peace. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink for fear.”—John 14:27.
The Bible’s description of the appearances of angels who manifested themselves at times to Jehovah’s servants also reveals that an angel’s appearance is awe-inspiring. So Stephen, filled with holy spirit, reflected the countenance of a representative of the God of glory, and Stephen’s facial appearance, for the moment, seemed to overawe his hostile judges. But the impression of the opposed Jews changed from wonderment to chagrin when Stephen exposed their guilt as to the murder of the “righteous One,” Jesus Christ. After Stephen’s rebuke, the judges “felt cut to their hearts and began to gnash their teeth at him.” But Stephen, “being full of holy spirit, gazed into heaven and caught sight of God’s glory and of Jesus standing at God’s right hand.” With this vision to strengthen him, he could face those unrighteous judges with confidence that he had indeed done the will of God.—Acts 7:52, 54, 55.
Jehovah God has provided everlasting good news that is today being proclaimed to all peoples, and it is the privilege of his servants on the earth to share in this proclamation. During October, Jehovah’s witnesses will continue to do this by giving brief Bible sermons to the people in their homes, by conducting free home Bible studies with those who manifest interest, and by offering the Awake! magazine on a subscription basis; $1 for a year.
NOTICE TO READERS!
Did you know that this magazine you hold in your hand has a companion? It is Awake! Like The Watchtower it is spiritually awake because it is governed by true Bible principles, not philosophy or expediency. But it does not deal exclusively with Bible doctrine. It is a magazine of facts, news, everyday problems, practical sciences, human interests and the wonders of God’s creation. It is instructive, wholesome reading for all, but not from a materialistic standpoint. Send for a year’s subscription and receive three booklets on timely Bible subjects free. One year, $1.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
October 25: The Bible and Creation in the Light of Modern Science. Page 584.
November 1: God’s Word the True Guide for Man. Page 590.