“SEPARATING TO THE RIGHT” TESTIMONY PERIOD
This is the twelfth annual campaign for taking subscription for The Watchtower. February, the second month of the campaign, has been set aside as a special Testimony Period entitled “Separating to the Right”. Thoughtful readers of this magazine know there is no better Bible publication than The Watchtower for helping people to be separated to the right of the King Jesus Christ in this judgment day of the nations. As an added inducement to the public to subscribe, a premium of 8 assorted booklets will be offered with every year’s subscription for The Watchtower at the regular rate of $1, American money. To persons already subscribing for The Watchtower a year’s subscription for the companion magazine Awake! may be offered, however without the premium added. We especially invite our Watchtower readers one and all to join in this campaign during February. A postcard to us will bring instructions and references to local fellow campaigners. Yes, by all means, report on our form the success with which Jehovah God blesses your activities during February.
Week of February 5: “Be Rich in Good Works,” ¶1-18 inclusive, The Watchtower January 1, 1950.
Week of February 12: “Be Rich in Good Works,” ¶19-29 inclusive, also “A Sound Investment”, ¶1-9 inclusive, The Watchtower January 1, 1950.
Week of February 19: “Reviewing the Past Year’s Work World-wide,” ¶1-17 inclusive, The Watchtower January 1, 1950.
1950 YEARBOOK OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
1949, the most remarkable service year yet! So the 1950 Yearbook of Jehovah’s witnesses shows. You will want to read about it and rejoice at the noteworthy expansion of the worship of the true God in the 104 regions reported on. In addition to the annual world report of the president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, the Yearbook also sets out his comment upon the 1950 yeartext and a daily text and comment for throughout the year. The printing of the 1950 Yearbook is in limited edition, and hence a contribution of 50c per copy is asked. Where you are in association with others, send in a group order, as by the servant of a company of Jehovah’s witnesses, with remittance to cover. This will save us on time of handling as well as expense of shipping.
By having the 1950 Calendar published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society you will have prominent before your gaze the yeartext, “Preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2), and also a view of the Society’s headquarters home, including the new Bethel structure, from which the service work throughout the earth is directed. Alongside this artistic picture you will find a calendar. Besides giving five interior views of the new Bethel home, this sets out the titles of the bimonthly special testimony periods for 1950 and the specific themes for the intervening months. This service calendar we send to any address at 25c a copy or $1.00 for 5 copies sent to one address, postpaid. So let companies or groups order the Calendar in quantity, through their designated servant, sending remittance to cover the cost at the above rate.
Be Rich in Good Works Edit
JEHOVAH God is a wonderful provider. He has given humankind everything they need. From the very beginning when he created Adam and Eve and placed them in Eden he provided them with a beautiful home in a paradise. He did more than that. God did not make his first earthly intelligent creations hunt for food to keep them alive. No, that was all provided for too. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.” (Gen. 1:29, A.S.V.) With all these provisions, they should have had sufficient. But even after the first pair sinned by eating the fruit of the only forbidden tree, which fruit was forbidden them in order to test their obedience, the Lord provided them with clothing. “And Jehovah God made for Adam and for his wife coats of skins, and clothed them.”—Genesis 3:21, A.S.V.
1. How did God at the first show himself man’s provider?
2 Since that time nearly six thousand years ago, man has needed these three things—shelter, food and clothing—in order to carry on his normal existence in life. With these he should be content. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim. 6:7, 8) David, a man after God’s own heart, expresses how generously Jehovah provides for every one of his creatures; not only for man, by supplying him with all his needs, but for every living thing: the birds, fish and beasts of the field. The Almighty God looks after and cares for what he creates. “The eyes of all wait for thee; and thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”—Psalm 145:15, 16, A.S.V.
2. With the supply of what desires should creatures be satisfied?
3 In providing all these necessary things in abundance God was not making man an idler so that he would be able to say, “I don’t have anything to do.” No, God kept man busy from the time of his creation, when He put him in the garden “to dress it and to keep it”. (Gen. 2:15) So it will be with man in the new world. But when man went contrary to God’s law He declared, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” (Gen. 3:17, A.S.V.) While God made man a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor, it was Jehovah who gave him the assignment to look after things upon the earth. He put all things under man’s feet: “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing.” (Gen. 1:26) Man has used beasts of burden in his toil to plant, cultivate, water, and eventually bring forth food. But still Jehovah is the original Provider of all our needs and our thanks must go to him for all things. We are dependent on him for the rain, sun, air, soil, fertile seed, for everything; and he gives it to us. When God made man ruler over these animals and charged him to keep the fields and forests in all their majesty, he never decreed that man was to be a tyrant over man. Man’s sovereign Ruler and everlasting Provider must be Jehovah. Man’s life is dependent on the only true God!
3. Did providing for man’s needs mean he was to idle? Why?
4 Man should know that all creation, including man himself, was made to set forth the splendor and the glory of Jehovah, the Supreme One of the universe. Man should feel his need of relying on God; for when one comes into the world he has nothing but the gift of life God gave him, and he can take nothing along when he leaves it. When one knows this, why should he crave to domineer over and control the lives and destinies of other human creatures? Why be greedy and have that selfish condition of heart? If, as we know, God supplies all things to sustain our life, why try to take away the substance that God has given other men for their existence? In this commercialized world most persons have very little and the giants of commerce do not want them to have more. Those who substitute communistic co-operatives do not succeed in overcoming that condition and the people continue to suffer from lack of the necessities of life. Under one system or another that men set up, selfishness and lust for control rise to dominate. It would be better to give our substance to the poor than to covet what little they have. What is our gain if we do rob the poor? We certainly can’t take it with us!
4. Why should we not be greedy, coveting other’s possessions?
5 The Lord has always been interested in and helpful to the poor. Christians should be too. David knew that the favor of God did not go with the oppressor of the poor, for he said, “All my bones will say, ‘O LORD, who is like thee, saving the poor from him that is too strong for him, the poor and the needy from him that would rob him?’” (Ps. 35:10, An Amer. Trans.) David’s whole body, his very bones, cried out in an expression of praise to his Creator because of God’s loving interest in the poor. To know that Jehovah will protect the poor against the oppressor, the strong, the rich and the mighty is surely a comfort. Good men will help the poor. “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” (Prov. 14:31) The poor love life the same as all other folks. Why make them suffer and rob them of what they have?
5. Why should Christians be helpful to the poor?
6 Man was made to be free and to be allowed to use the many things God created for his welfare. If a man likes something another man has he should not covet it. There is enough of everything in the world for everyone to have sufficient. The accumulation of earthly wealth and possessions is not the big thing in life. “You must not covet your neighbor’s home; you must not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything at all that is your neighbor’s.” (Ex. 20:17, An Amer. Trans.) It is not wrong to have a home, wife, servants, or animals; but it is wrong to covet that which someone else has. One should not use his power or his wealth or influence to take away from another that person’s own beloved possessions. That is the spirit of the old world, the spirit that the Devil has implanted in the minds of men. This selfishness has grown up in the hearts of human creatures, and they have a strong desire to control other people and to make man dependent upon man rather than dependent upon Jehovah God, who is the supplier of all things. If God has so abundantly supplied food, clothes and things needful for living, then why rob the poor? Why not seek the greater thing—life everlasting?
6. Why is it not necessary to covet, as well as wrong to do so?
WORLDLY SELFISHNESS AND DISSATISFACTION
7 The spirit of this world is selfishness and it says, “We do not need God!” Whether they be commercial, political or religious, these combines covet that which others have. Religion tries to control politics; so does commerce. Riches have a big influence on religion. Politics curtsies and tips the hat for the smile of religion. Take the greatest religious organization in the world today, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. Look at it. Note the evils it has done in the name of religion: how it has corrupted nations; how it has managed to hold its members in illiteracy; how it has controlled education in many countries and kept the poor people in ignorance; how it has hid the Bible and had its Bible-burnings so that the Book of freedom would never become the peoples’ Textbook of life. Yes, look at the world it influences! Its wars! Its torture chambers! Its bloodshedding! Its oppression of the poor! Why have they not given the people the Bible, so that they could learn of the true God, his Son and the way of life eternal?
7. How has organized religion shown itself selfish, oppressive?
8 Now turn to the political organizations of the world. None is satisfied with its own territory or sphere of influence. The desire of each is to gain control of people through a system of government. They often claim to have a government with rulers of divine right. The whole purpose of governments of the world is to control the people by making them dependent upon the state rather than upon God. They want all people to believe that that which they have comes to them through the good graces of a dictator, a prime minister, a president or a political party. All this propaganda is merely a scheme of government to regiment the people and make them wholly dependent upon a man-made way of life rather than on Jehovah God, who says He will provide them with all the necessities of life: shelter, food, and clothing. The state tells the farmer how much wheat to plant, how many pigs to slaughter and bury in the ground, how much coffee to burn when the stock piles are too great to please commerce or politicians. They dump the potatoes into the sea or destroy them by other means when the prices are “too low”. The increase that God has given to the land and to the animals, to the fruit and the herbs, man destroys to please the state and commerce. The poor and needy they will take care of in their way if they do not die first. Man, in his covetous desire to control and take away from the people, has said, “This is mine.” He never reflects for a moment to think that God, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that therein is, provided these things for all men, not for a few to control.
8. How have governments operated for control and self-exaltation?
9 Then there is the third part of this oppressive, great, devilish organization: commerce. We see the great combines and cartels feverishly working against one another. We see management and labor vying for control of industry. We see small business men struggling to eke out an existence in a competitive world. The big things are money, power, wealth, getting ahead, doing better than the other fellow, getting on top, beating competitors out of the world, state or city markets. The spirit of helping the poor has been lost. The spirit of helpfulness is nearly forgotten and, as for doing a day’s work, man’s motto is, “Do as little as you can and watch the clock.” When the earth yields its increase there are no thanks to God for it, but commerce grabs the controls and either boosts or lowers prices according to its own interest. It is a fearful thing to be entwined in this great commercial organization which has no heart and to get the feel of its selfish, grasping, possessive atmosphere. It is better to ask the Lord to ‘give us this day our daily bread’ than to do as the rich of the religious, political and commercial world do. They are laying up “treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal”.—Matt. 6:19.
9. How has commerce acted selfishly and unthankful toward God?
10 How much better it is for one to trust in the Lord and believe his Word! “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” (Lev. 26:3-5) That was the promise that God gave to His chosen people, and it was a sure promise, but it meant that the individuals must follow the commandments of the Lord and walk in them. As far as the provisions of life are concerned, God guarantees these the year round to those who walk in his statutes. In the very beginning of creation, Jehovah provided all the necessary things for man, and in their abundance the food and provisions were for all. These things are just as sure today for those who love Jehovah.
10. What does obeying God’s commands guarantee us as to provisions?
11 But how different are all the nations today who seek to control all production and say what portion of the God-given provisions men shall have! By getting control of the world’s necessities one nation can force its rule on another. How true the saying, ‘Every man’s hand is against his neighbor.’ (Zech. 14:13) The rulers of a nation boast that ‘we are massing this wealth and power so that you, the people, may have security’. Has the United Nations organization, with all its potential accumulated power, brought security. The more things nations control in the world, whether they be the atomic bomb, airplanes, steamships, food supplies, raw materials, or anything else, the more they want and the greater become their influence and power, while the poor suffer. There is no safety in the accumulating of all these riches for the last days. Having coveted and collected wealth, influence and political and religious power, what will these men do in the day of judgment when Jehovah God brings his wrath against the oppressor of the poor, the wicked organization, and destroys it?
11. By amassing wealth and power what do rulers claim to give? Do they?
12 The Lord’s Word prophesies just how these men will feel in that time: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” (Jas. 5:1-3) There is no material wealth that will save governments or men from the destruction that will be meted out to them, because of their evil doings, at the battle of Armageddon. Momentarily the material wealth of a nation makes it feel strong, but Jehovah said he would deliver “the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him”. (Ps. 35:10) How the nations of the earth have spoiled the people, especially through the first and second world wars! Even in between these wars and to this very day there is no peace, but the peoples of the nations are still being spoiled. And for what? “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.” (Ezek. 7:19) How foolish then it is for men to hoard their wealth just to satisfy their own selfish desires! It will profit them nothing. They cannot take it with them. The wise man wrote in Proverbs: “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”—Proverbs 11:4.
12. In the day of God’s wrath how will their riches prove vain?
HOW TO GAIN LIFE
13 It is so very evident that the accumulation of wealth does not bring peace, security or prosperity to the nations, nor does it bring real happiness to the individual who may have gathered it through evil means and covetousness. It is righteousness that counts! One who wants to live and really enjoy life must turn to the Lord’s Word for advice and then follow it. The poor as well as the rich must put their trust in Jehovah and do his bidding and preach the good news of the kingdom of God. Can the rich, those with much of this world’s goods, do that? Is there any hope at all for them to gain life in the new world? If there is, what must they do?
13. What is it that counts toward secure, happy living?
14 The Word of God tells us that we should be rich in good works; but what are those good works? The problem was put squarely before the Teacher, Christ Jesus, when he walked the earth. The interests of men in his time were the same as the interests of men now: they wanted life, and that more abundantly. Death held nothing for them; so the question was propounded, How can one gain eternal life?
14. In what does God tell us to be rich, and to what end?
15 Let us listen in on the conversation. “And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.”—Matt. 19:16-22, A.S.V.
15. What did a rich young ruler ask Jesus about? What did Jesus say?
16 This rich man that Jesus spoke to got the answer on how to gain eternal life, but did he follow it? No! As far as individuals are concerned, he probably had a splendid personality, and, from all outward appearances, he was living according to the law of God. One of his outstanding qualities as revealed in the conversation was that he loved his neighbor as he did himself. Very likely he was not an oppressor of the poor. His riches probably came to him through his own good, hard efforts and honest management of his great holdings. So it appears that if an individual happens to be rich or gains great wealth through his own labors there is no harm in that particular fact. The question before the rich man today is, How will he use his wealth? If you give to the poor, said Jesus, “thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” However, there was another requirement for eternal life, and that was “Come, follow me”. If one uses his wealth in the advancement of true worship of the Most High God, he is using his “great possessions” in the right way. Jesus gave this rich man the best advice so that he could have real joy in living. What the Teacher wanted him to have was riches in good works, treasures in heaven. But, as is the case with most people, so it was with this rich man; his desire was to hold on to that which he believed belonged to him by right. He worked for it, and therefore it was his. No one else could touch it, and there was no reason for giving it away. Had he forgotten that “as he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand”? (Eccl. 5:15) His earthly possessions would not give him eternal life.
16. Why did not the rich young ruler follow Jesus’ advice?
GIVING TO THE POOR
17 Let us assume that the rich man wanted to follow Jesus but not sell all that he had and give to the poor. Could he follow the Lord and still look after all his earthly possessions? That would be an impossibility. Christ Jesus was a busy man; he was looking after Kingdom interests. He was moving about throughout the cities, villages, towns—throughout the whole countryside—preaching the good news of the Kingdom. His disciples followed him and were instructed by him. He could not be confined to some particular locality to take care of cattle or lands or possessions, nor could his disciples; not if they were to preach the gospel of the Kingdom throughout all the nation of Israel. Jesus did not even have a place to lay his head, much less a house to call home. No, the rich man could never have kept up with Jesus while still looking after his “great possessions”.
17. Why could he not follow Jesus and yet hold on to great wealth?
18 Jehovah provided for Jesus, the second Adam, just as He did for the first Adam. The Son of God had the necessary food, clothing and a place of shelter. He was a welcome guest in the homes of those who loved truth and righteousness. Jesus knew a laborer was worthy of his hire; for He worked in the interests of God’s kingdom. The necessary things of life were assured; so why should he try to accumulate great wealth? He had food and raiment, and with these he was content.
18. Why did Jesus not try to accumulate great earthly wealth?
19 Jesus was looking for full-time disciples, those who would travel with him and do the same kind of work that he was doing, people whom he could send away for weeks and months into different territories to perform works like those he was performing, so as to bring the people to repentance. He was looking for dependable persons, those who would learn and then preach: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Nothing must stand in their way of service to their God. They must not be like most people who are just too busy for the really important things in life. Remember the occasion when Jesus told of a certain man that prepared a great supper, and he asked many to come to that supper. It was a feast for rejoicing; so he sent out his servant to ask those whom he wanted to come. But the guests who were invited, because they had possessions and things that interested them more than the feast of this certain man, replied to the invitation: “I have bought a field, and I must needs go out and see it; I pray thee have me excused. . . . I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. . . . I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”—Luke 14:18-20, A.S.V.
19. For what kind of active, interested persons did Jesus look?
20 So it is today; most people are so busy with their own obligations and work that they do not have time to look after the King’s interests. They do not have the time to enter into the joy of the Lord and celebrate with the Master the doing of the most important work on earth today. They have put a great hindrance in their way just because of the love of money.
21 It was very hard for the rich man to give up all that he had so that he might have treasures in heaven. It is just as hard today for many people to give up even little things and to work in the interests of the poor and comfort those who mourn, with the Kingdom message. They are busy trying to hang on to and gain more earthly possessions. This is selfishness. It is greediness. It is covetousness. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10) Even when the rich plan a banquet they do it with the thought in mind of what profit it will be to them.
20, 21. Why do most persons have no time for Kingdom interests?
22 Jesus had been invited to an evening meal, and he told his host, “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14, A.S.V.) The principle pointed out by the Lord was that of giving to others without expecting a return. Why lavish your wealth on those who are wealthy? They can repay you by doing similar things for you. But rather invite the poor; they will show real gratitude and the giver will be blessed. Yes, “Go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” You will be “rich in good works”.
22. Why do good to the poor who cannot repay you in kind?
LIFE MORE THAN MATERIAL WEALTH
23 Because man is born in sin and shapen in iniquity, he is prone to lean toward the evil side of life and love money. He is taught to get to the top so as to have security. He must be a self-made man, satisfied with his own greatness. How foolish! Isn’t there something worth much more than security and worldly possessions? Isn’t life itself more important? How did we get that? And those riches—are they not just a hoarding of God’s provisions for all? Jesus said, “Take care! You must be on your guard against any form of greed, for a man’s life does not belong to him, no matter how rich he is.” (Luke 12:15, An Amer. Trans.) Another translator of the Greek Scriptures, Mr. Rotherham, puts it this way: “Mind and be guarding yourselves from all covetousness; for not in one’s abundance doth his life spring out of his possessions.” Or, stated in other words, we can say on the basis of this truth, that every individual must be constantly on the alert and be on guard against every form of greediness and covetousness, because even when an individual has an abundance of this world’s goods his life is not due to the things which he possesses. Is not life, then, worth more than riches?
23. Why be on guard against every form of covetousness or greed?
24 Paul was following this wise and sound counsel of Jesus when he wrote to Timothy and said, “Charge them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, openhanded and generous, storing up a valuable treasure for themselves for the future, so as to grasp the life that is life indeed.” (1 Tim. 6:18, 19, An Amer. Trans.) What a man has gathered together as his possession in the way of riches, property or powerful influence—all these will not guarantee him life. Something else is needed. Pursuing Jesus’ argument that “a man’s life does not belong to him, no matter how rich he is”, he further said: “A certain rich man’s lands yielded heavily. And he said to himself, ‘What am I going to do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do; I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and in them I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have great wealth stored up for years to come. Now take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you. Then who will have all you have prepared? That is the way with the man who lays up money for himself, and is not rich with God.”—Luke 12:16-21, An Amer. Trans.
24. What will material riches not guarantee one? Show by parable?
25 How true that is! The way of a man who lays up money for himself is not rich toward God. He thinks only of himself, of his own property, his own pleasure. When one becomes as self-centered as that it is no wonder Jesus said that “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. . . . It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. Consider for a moment the plans of this rich man. He was going to build greater barns in which to store his crops and then forget the rest of the world of mankind and just live on the wealth he had stored away. How selfish! How inconsiderate! How lazy! He could have given much of his wealth to the poor and still had plenty for himself. He could have planned for the cultivation of his lands for the next year and thus kept his hired help employed. By caring for the land year by year greater income would be his and greater quantities of food would be available for the poor. But no, not that! He said to himself, “Now take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” What a fool! He never got to enjoy the wealth himself, nor had he stored up riches in heaven by giving to the poor. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”—Prov. 27:1.
25. How was the rich man of the parable foolish, selfish, lazy?
26 As an individual, what do you want? Is it security in this world that will soon pass away, or is it life in the new world of righteousness? The Word of God sets out the pattern that all Christians must follow in order to attain eternal life, whether that life be with Christ Jesus as his bride in heavenly Kingdom glory, or whether it be life as a creature who will enjoy the blessings under the kingdom of heaven and the pleasures of life eternal upon a glorious new earth that God makes for man to inhabit. Both are attained through true riches; so store up for yourselves treasure in heaven.
26. What questions on security and life must we answer? How?
27 All people have certain possessions, some greater than others; so the principle, “freely ye have received, freely give,” would apply to the rich, the middle class and the poor alike. The poor widow who came to the treasury and cast in her two mites “cast in all the living that she had” for use in God’s work, said Jesus; whereas the rich who came and made their deposit in the treasury of the temple gave “of their abundance”. (Luke 21:1-4) The rich did not miss the gift that they gave to the Lord. So the question might be asked, Who gave the most? Was it not the widow with the two little coins of small value? So, then, if you would be rich toward God, use your possessions and your knowledge of Jehovah God and his righteous government on behalf of the poor and comfort all that mourn, with the good news of God’s kingdom. Do not let yourself be tied down by your wealth and become a slave to your possessions, but make your possessions work for you in your preaching of the Word of God.
27. How can rich and poor alike be really “rich in good works”?
28 Paul knew of certain individuals among the church who had wealth and who were busy accumulating more, and in a letter that he wrote to Timothy he said this: “Charge the rich of this world not to be arrogant, nor to set their hopes on such an uncertain thing as riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Charge them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, open-handed and generous, storing up a valuable treasure for themselves for the future, so as to grasp the life that is life indeed.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19, An Amer. Trans.) Just because someone has a little or much of this world’s goods is no reason for that individual to take an arrogant position with his friends and his neighbors, nor with those in a Christian congregation, nor with those in the world. They should never set their hopes upon the uncertain riches such as gold and silver, all of which will be of no value in the very last days of this old world. The rich should realize just as much as the poor that it is God who richly provides everything for our enjoyment. Because one has more of the riches of this world than another is no reason for the wealthy one to look down on the poor one with shame. What all can and must be rich in is “good deeds”.
28. What was Timothy told to “charge the rich of this world”? Why?
29 James gave fine counsel to all of the Lord’s people when he said, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”—Jas. 2:5-9.
29. How did James counsel us against showing partiality?
A Sound Investment Edit
IT IS not the accumulation of this world’s wealth that brings security. It is the accumulation of good works. That is what makes one rich toward God, and the “poor of this world” can accumulate this treasure more rapidly than the rich if they are “rich in faith”. Furthermore, those who are poor in this world’s goods do not have to spend so much time caring for that which they possess. One who puts his trust in money has very little security, especially in these days. It seems that after every war money loses value. Shortly after the second World War most of the money in European countries was blocked in the banks by government order, and the people could not withdraw all their funds for many years. Even the rich were given only a small amount to use, and just recently those who were wealthy in pounds sterling found that overnight they lost thousands upon thousands of dollars, as the value of the pound on the foreign market exchange dropped from $4.03 to $2.80. Many other currencies lost much of their buying power in world markets at the same time. So the accumulation of money, wealth, or the uncertain riches of this world is of little value. Its value can vanish away overnight if governments so decree. How much better it would be for a man to make his wealth work to the benefit of others while it has some value than to hold it until it gathers moths and rust and becomes useless.
1. Why can the world’s poor more easily be “rich in good works”?
2 It is really a sound investment to make your money work on behalf of the poor and by so doing to store up treasures in heaven. Christ Jesus preached the Word, and you can make your riches help you preach the Word. His admonition to all of his followers was to go forth and preach this gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness. This takes time, energy and money, and Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the world are giving time, energy and funds, building Kingdom Halls, renting places and fixing them up so that they will be attractive assembly places. Jehovah’s witnesses invest their money in Bibles, books and magazines and take these to the people so that they, too, may study the Word of God. They invest their money in traveling from place to place and give of their strength in going to the ends of the earth if need be with this good news. Jehovah’s witnesses are great travelers, glad to spend their money so as to get to circuit and district assemblies or national conventions, for they know they will thus become better equipped so as to “be rich in good works”. What a grand and glorious work a Christian today has in going forth to the nations of the world with this good news which brings comfort to the poor and in being privileged to spend that which he possesses in the interests of those who are captive to this old world. Using your time, energy and money in doing this work is actually storing up treasures in heaven. It is something that no nation, no organization, no neighbor or thief could come in and steal from you. You have already given the good news to the poor, and they have its blessings. You spent your money in helping them, but the blessing to the giver is even greater than to the receiver.
2. How do Christians really make a sound investment now?
3 To do such work means that the individual will be content and happy and will always have something that is truly worth-while. Godliness is not just a matter of going to church on Sunday or going to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses, although that is the only way some people try to show their godliness. The only way that true godliness can be of great gain is if it is combined with contentment. Your heart and mind as well as your body must be used in preaching the Word. Those who go to the synagogues or churches of this old world, or even to the Kingdom Hall, if they are worried because of their great possessions like the rich man that Jesus spoke to, haven’t the contentment that brings great gain. Perhaps they attend church for show or for business reasons or because it gives them a better standing in the community; but instead of contentment, they have only worries and problems.
4 Paul gave good admonition to Timothy many years ago, and it will, if followed, change the whole course of one’s life: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10) Individuals may accumulate great material gain, prominence, popularity, position, money and influence. They may gain all these things by their own efforts or through inheritance, but the important thing for them to remember is that godliness with contentment is great gain. When they came into the world they brought nothing with them, and when they leave they can’t take anything away. So why be sorrowful the rest of your life because you have great possessions? Take the Master’s advice: ‘Give to the poor; store up treasures for yourself in heaven, and come, follow me!’ (Matt. 19:16-22) Is it not better to be contented in the house of the Lord than to be discontented in the Devil’s organization?
3, 4. What is truly “great gain”? How do some fail to make it?
DIVINE PROVISION FOR WORKERS
5 The certain rich man that Jesus spoke about who said he would eat, drink and be joyful, now that he had great wealth and had laid up great stores for himself, yet lacked contentment. He was trying to find it, but his wealth led him “into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts”. He wanted to live just for himself. Jesus, speaking to his disciples, said, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about life, wondering what you will have to eat, or about your body, wondering what you will have to wear. Life is more important than food, and the body than clothes. Think of the crows! They do not sow or reap, and they have no storehouses or barns, and God feeds them. How much more you are worth than the birds!” (Luke 12:22-24, An Amer. Trans.) It is a matter of having faith in Jehovah God and of believing that when he placed man upon the earth there were ample provisions for all if the effort was put forth to use them. First, however, comes our worship of Jehovah, the Giver of all good things.
5. How did Jesus illustrate we should not worry for the future?
6 Both Job and the psalmist recognized how God looks after the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and makes provision for them. Certainly human creatures are worth much more than these, and especially those who have entered into a covenant relationship with Jehovah God to do His will. Job 38:41 asks, “Who provideth for the raven his prey, when his young ones cry unto God, and wander for lack of food?” (Am. Stan. Ver.) Again, “Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.” (Ps. 147:7-9) Are not the needs of men made sure? Why then be worried about life and all its problems? Seek first the Kingdom!
6. How did both the psalmist and Job further illustrate this?
7 Do not the squirrels gather nuts and store them away in holes dug in the ground or hide them in the trunks of trees? Do not the beavers make provision for themselves and the bees store up honey in their hives for the winter? The point is this: provision is made for all of the animals so that they can gather in the things necessary to their life. They work to gather what God supplies. Man can do the same. All that it is necessary for man to do is to use the things God provides. Man should not be lazier than the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, or the animals of the earth. As good counsel to the lazy man, the wise one said, ‘Consider the ant, thou sluggard.’ Yes, we have to work, but we do not have to become slaves to commerce or to this old world in order to live.
7. How must we avail ourselves of God’s provisions?
8 It is natural for man to want to live, and he would like to carry on his existence even in this present time of hardship and distress as long as he possibly can; but the hoarding up of earthly riches is not the thing that is going to guarantee life any more than it did for that certain rich man who stored all his wealth away in barns only to die that night. For, as the account says, “this very night your soul will be demanded of you. Then who will have all you have prepared?” (Luke 12:20, An Amer. Trans.) Then Jesus in his discussion with his disciples said, “And who from among you though anxious can unto his stature add a cubit?” (Luke 12:25, Roth.) If the body of an individual wears out and it is time for that body to return to the dust, there is not much that one can do in fixing up the organism. If the heart is exhausted and the nervous system worn out or the muscles become stiff and hard, there is not much that one can do to add another step to his life; he has reached the end of his way. So Jesus argues, “If then ye are not able to do even that which is least, why are ye anxious concerning the rest?” (Luke 12:26, A.S.V.) In other words, if we cannot extend our life just a little, not even a cubit, why then should we be so anxious and concerned about storing away great wealth, food, clothing, and in having many homes and properties? Why should we be anxious to store up that which we have collected during the past year into barns and then say: “From now on I will eat, drink and enjoy myself”? How much better it would be to give that which we have to the poor and store up for ourselves treasures in heaven!
8. Why is it foolish to hoard great riches for a future day?
9 What treasure do we have? Those who have come to a knowledge of God’s Word have the truth. They have come to understand who Jehovah God is, the Great One of the universe; how he provided his Son, Christ Jesus, to redeem mankind through him that they might gain eternal life; how Christ Jesus has now come and taken to himself his power and begun to reign and that the kingdom that we have prayed for is established. These things we know; these things Christians possess in the way of knowledge because of their study of God’s Word, and they can give this good message to the poor who are sighing and crying because of the abominations that have come upon them in this world. True Christians will devote what they have of this world’s goods, whether little or much, to bringing this message to the poor and comforting those who mourn. They remember that a person’s life is not due to the things that he possesses, but his eternal existence depends on the treasure that he stores up in heaven. They consistently add to their heavenly treasure by preaching the good news of the Kingdom.
9. What treasure do we have? How do we store treasure above?
Reviewing the Past Year’s Work World-wide Edit
JEHOVAH’S witnesses are ministers of God, ordained to preach the Word. Let us then review what they have done and see if they are trying to store up treasures in heaven, or only treasures upon this earth. Are they giving to the poor and bringing to them the comfort and good news?
1. What are Jehovah’s witnesses? What do we ask about them?
2 The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses, has pointed out through its publications that the kingdom of heaven was established in 1914, and it has shown in its writings how the signs of the present day are fulfilling prophecy in proof of the establishment of that kingdom. The first World War was one of the first signs foretold by Jesus in the 24th chapter of Matthew as marking the end of the Gentile times and the beginning of Christ’s reign in heaven. The Watchtower magazine has proved this many times in its columns. Were there many proclaimers or announcers of this established Kingdom then? Yes, there were quite a number scattered throughout the world; but when the world war broke forth in all its fury, many of the Branch offices of the Society were closed and Jehovah’s witnesses almost everywhere were cast into prison, many killed, and their organization considerably broken up. In fact, those at the headquarters offices at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York, were taken away and put in Atlanta prison; but by following through with the slow court procedure and taking the case before the Supreme Court of the United States, the officers of the Society were acquitted. By the time the officials of the Society were freed from jail the clergy and the government officials felt that the Watch Tower Society and its representatives were pretty well knocked out and would remain inactive. They were as though dead in the streets.—Rev. 11:8.
2. Were there many Kingdom publishers in 1914? What befell them?
3 You cannot keep Jehovah’s witnesses silent. They must preach the Word! They were revived from the deathlike condition and began storing up more treasures in heaven. In 1918 there were only 3,868 persons announcing the King and the Kingdom in all the world. Being strengthened by the spirit of the Lord, and because of their determination to press on, maintaining their integrity, they were richly blessed. Never slacking their hand, they went forward, singing praises “yet more and more”, and as a result ten years later there were 23,988 persons proclaiming this same good news of the Kingdom and comforting those who were mourning. Grateful to God who had given them time to revive, and grateful, too, that they had the opportunity of gathering together “other sheep”, this remnant of Jehovah’s organization moved on into greater activity. By the time 1938 rolled around when the nations of the world were again preparing for another world war, there were 47,143 publishers preaching the Word. By this time Jehovah’s witnesses were established in 52 different nations of the world, declaring this same message that Jehovah reigns through His Son, Christ Jesus, whom He has set upon His throne.
3. What increases in publishers did two decades since 1918 show?
4 Then came years of greater strife, turmoil, distress and perplexity—a decade of war and of trying to establish peace among the nations. Jehovah’s witnesses were driven underground in most countries of the world; they were persecuted and their work banned, but, nevertheless, they continued preaching the Word. In 1948, after another ten years had passed, there were 230,532 persons who had taken up this grand message of peace for the poor in God’s righteous new world. Not content unless they were witnessing, Jehovah’s witnesses moved into every corner of the earth that they could possibly reach with the good news, and as you consider the chart which appears on the following page you will rejoice to find that in the year 1949 there was an average of 279,421 publishers of the Kingdom engaged in field-service work every month in 104 different places throughout the world. The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society has established 63 Branches in the principal countries of the earth, and, by the Lord’s grace, will continue to preach the Word to the poor and rich alike, to all those who have an ear to hear.
4. Despite what events, what increases did 1948 and 1949 show?
CHARTING THE INCREASE
5 Jehovah’s witnesses are not trying to get members for their organization, but they are trying to take to the people the truth as it is contained in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. They know, however, that as people study the Lord’s Word and receive comfort from it and learn how to gain life eternal by storing up treasures in heaven, they, too, will proclaim this good news. They cannot do otherwise if they love true worship. It is the deep appreciation of the individuals who learn the truth and the righteous way of life that causes them to want to tell others about it. As a natural result, then, a great increase has come to the ranks of Jehovah’s witnesses. In fact, in 1949 as compared with 1948 there was a 21-percent increase throughout the world in number of publishers proclaiming the Kingdom as the only hope for mankind. A peak number of 317,877 publishers who were out in the work preaching the Word was reached for the year. This is the highest number of ministers of the gospel ever to engage in the work in any one year according to our records, and we rejoice with all these persons of good-will who are associating themselves with the Lord’s organization and are now working under the direction of the Society, all to the honor and glory of Jehovah’s name.
5. What was the past year’s percentage of increase? Its peak?
6 Jehovah’s witnesses love to serve the King of the new world now. Their hope and faith is in the kingdom of God, for through it the blessings of eternal life will be gained. So they continue to work and pray: “Your kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!” While being good citizens of the nation in which they live, paying their taxes, complying with the laws of the land as long as these laws are in full accord with God’s laws, still they move ahead, expanding their activity among the people, doing the will of the Lord and following out the principal command of Jehovah, to “preach the word”. [w1950 12][Chart] 1949 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD-WIDE [w1950 13] From one end of the earth to the other these persons of good-will have organized themselves until now there are 12,535 companies of Jehovah’s witnesses where they assemble together regularly for study of God’s Word in order to prepare themselves to be better ministers of the Lord.
6. How many companies of witnesses are there now? For what?
7 But you ask, Don’t they get something out of this personally? Isn’t there something in it, something material they will gain by being Jehovah’s witnesses? No, the only thing to gain, as far as being one of Jehovah’s witnesses is concerned, is treasure in heaven. They are trying to be rich in good works “so as to grasp the life that is life indeed”. How do they do this? By spending their time preaching the Word to the poor, the rich, the meek, the haughty, the farmer, the factory worker, the husband and the wife. They do it by calling at the homes, the apartments, the palatial residences, the bungalows, the farmhouses, the adobe huts. It makes no difference; wherever people live, there Jehovah’s witnesses will go to preach the Word. During the service year 1949, the 279,421 publishers who engaged in the field service on an average every month devoted 53,741,547 hours to preaching the Word of God to people who wanted to hear. Not only did they go from house to house in the first place, but they called back on the people who were interested in the Kingdom message. These witnesses of God made 15,897,544 such calls on the people to answer their questions.
7. How many hours did the publishers preach? To whom? How?
8 As a result of these millions of return calls, a number of persons were anxious to diligently study what Jehovah’s witnesses had to offer; and regularly throughout the year Jehovah’s witnesses have been conducting Bible studies in 167,571 homes. These one-hour studies are conducted weekly with groups of two to five or more persons. Sometimes there is only one person interested, but time will be spent each week in giving him lessons from the Bible. Is this a selfish work? Are Jehovah’s witnesses getting something out of it for themselves by putting all these hours into preaching? or are they giving something to the poor in life-sustaining spiritual food? The facts show they are giving the people words of life, in addition to their time, energy, money; and thus they are storing up treasures in heaven. For them there is more real satisfaction in that than in accumulating earthly riches.
8. How many home Bible studies do they conduct? At what cost?
9 It must be observed, too, that after a very successful year of gathering together the “other sheep” into the Lord’s organization Jehovah’s witnesses do not settle back and say, “Well, this is enough. We have gathered in great gains. We will make larger barns or churches in which to put these people and then hold them for ourselves.” No, Jehovah’s witnesses are not like the rich man who decided to quit working and to live off his gains and just eat, drink and be merry. Not at all! They want to plant more seed and cultivate the field again and again. So, as the Scriptures indicate, one will plant, another waters, but it is God who gives the increase. (1 Cor. 3:7) They sow in order that they may reap; and as the Lord prospers their efforts, more people come into His organization, seeking refuge and safety. Even those newly coming to the organization in time go out too to sow and water, looking to God to give the increase at harvest time.
9. How do they act and plan differently from the parable’s rich man?
WHAT WILL WE DO IN 1950?
10 What will Jehovah’s witnesses do during 1950? Just what they did in 1949; only, by God’s undeserved kindness, they will do even better in their work of preaching the Word in all the world. They will continue inviting everyone who has an ear to hear the truth to ‘come, and drink of the water of life freely’. (Rev. 22:17) Jehovah’s witnesses have placed much literature in the hands of the people, and this for one purpose, to help them to understand the Word of God. The small contributions they receive for such literature are used to print more, so that others too can read. During the 1949 service year, Bibles, books and booklets were placed throughout the world in the number of 15,709,161 copies. Many new subscriptions were obtained for the two magazines, The Watchtower and Awake! in many languages. In fact, 596,766 new subscriptions were taken, in all parts of the world. To accommodate the readers of these magazines it was necessary for the Society in Brooklyn, New York, and throughout its Branch offices to print 23,190,737 copies of the Watchtower magazine and 16,136,389 of the Awake! magazine. In addition to the 39 million magazines, the Society’s publishing plants printed more than 4 million bound books and over 17 million booklets.
10. What literature distribution was there? Hence what production?
11 Jehovah’s witnesses could not be satisfied with just serving the people they meet in homes; so they arrange for public meetings in fine auditoriums, in small halls, in their own Kingdom Halls, in public parks, out along the seashore, or in the wilderness. Wherever people will congregate to hear the message of the Kingdom, Jehovah’s witnesses will furnish a minister to preach the good news. During the year 1949 there were 174,404 such public meetings arranged for, all of which had good attendance. These meetings were well advertised, and handbills were distributed, placards printed, notices put in stores, letters sent out to interested persons—all requiring additional printing on the part of the Society. Along with letterheads and normal supplies for office use, the handbill and tract orders made it necessary for the Society to print 231 million pieces during 1949. This is over and above the printing of the magazines, books, Bibles and booklets.
11. How was the public meeting campaign carried on?
12 Such work can be carried on because some people are giving what they have to the poor. Jehovah’s witnesses love to give to the people world-wide, regardless of nationality, color or creed. That is why they devote their time, physical strength and funds to the preaching of the gospel. Contributions were made by them during the past year to carry on the Society’s world-wide expansion program. One feature of its expansion program was in helping its missionaries and smaller Branch organizations financially to the extent of $591,358.96. At the present time there are 63 Branch offices of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society directing the work in different areas of the earth. There are also 107 missionary homes, in 77 different countries. The total number of missionaries who are now in foreign assignments outside the United States and Canada, except Quebec, is 652, all of whom are graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. Five hundred of these are working out of the 107 missionary homes, while others of these trained missionaries are doing general pioneer work in different countries. Some are working in Bethel homes, and some are circuit or district servants or Branch servants.
12. How was the missionary work carried on, and where?
13 Another great field for personal expansion activity is the pioneer work. During the 1949 service year there was an average of 1,451 special pioneers assigned to certain territories that needed special attention, and these have done excellent work. In this special pioneer group are included the missionaries who are scattered throughout all the world. Additionally there are the general pioneers, 10,973 in number, who have arranged their affairs so as to devote most of their time and energy to the preaching of the good news. All of these must have faith in Jehovah, the Great Provider. Jesus’ words are a comfort to them: “See how the lilies grow. They do not toil or spin, but, I tell you, even Solomon in all his splendor was never dressed like one of them. But if God so dresses the wild grass, which is alive today, and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more surely will he clothe you, who have so little faith?” (Luke 12:27, 28, An Amer. Trans.) It does take faith to make this forward step and go into the full-time service, becoming a pioneer or taking up a special assignment or going into the missionary work. Their faith and their works show they believe Jehovah will care for them. It is not a storing up of earthly treasures, either, to become a member of the Bethel family or to take up work in a Branch home; but it does mean storing up treasures in heaven, “so as to grasp the life that is life indeed.”
13. How was the pioneer work carried on? With what quality?
14 One must trust in the Lord that the provisions which He makes for the birds and the animals of the fields were also promised to man and will be provided for him. You remember that when Paul was traveling from place to place he did not want to make himself a burden to any of the brethren, so at times he would stop and make tents. He earned sufficient money doing this that he could travel on to his next stop. Sometimes he accumulated enough that he would not have to go to making tents for quite a while. He knew it was necessary for an individual to work and earn some money to look after his earthly needs, but at the same time he could not neglect his preaching duties. Luke tells us in the book of Acts that Paul never failed to go to the synagogue on the sabbath to preach the Word of God to the Jews and he also mingled with the Greeks so that they too might hear. (Acts 18:3, 4) Eating and drinking and being clothed are not the all-essential things in life. They are necessary, yes, but the big thing is storing up treasures for oneself in heaven. “So you must not ask what you are to have to eat or drink, and you must not be anxious about it. For these are all things the nations of the world are in pursuit of, and your Father knows well that you need them. But you must strive to find his kingdom, and you will have these other things besides. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom. Sell what belongs to you, and give away the money! Get yourselves purses that will never wear out, inexhaustible riches in heaven, where thieves cannot get near nor moths destroy. For wherever your treasure is, your heart will be too.”—Luke 12:29-34, An Amer. Trans.
14. In view of God’s provisions we must seek first what? How?
15 Certainly there is nothing to be fearful about in going forward in preaching the Word of God. Not with such promises! There will be hardships, difficulties and problems to overcome; maybe some will be killed. Jesus told us to expect that kind of treatment. But life! This is the gift to those who love Jehovah. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” (John 8:51) But even though persons do see death now, there is a reward for those who love righteousness and who have been storing up treasures in heaven. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25, 26) Furthermore, the time is coming, in the new world, when there will be no more death. (Rev. 21:4) Of course, most of the people of the world today do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ nor in the merit of his sacrifice. That is why Jehovah’s witnesses as God’s ministers must preach the good news of God’s Word to the people, so that they may have the opportunity of believing. Many are listening, and some are taking heed and starting to study.
15. Why be fearless in going forward, though faced with death?
16 At one of the most important meetings of the Lord’s people in the earth today, the celebration of the memorial of Jesus’ death, there were 453,274 persons in attendance. Of this great number only 24,312 partook of the emblems, thus signifying that they believe they are of the remnant class that will be joint-heirs with Christ Jesus in heaven. The others, numbering considerably more than 425,000 now, are sincerely looking forward to the time when the new world will be established. Not all of these, however, have been preaching the gospel to the extent that they have been making reports to the Society of what they are doing in this respect; but we firmly believe that in time they will take their stand and preach, because they will soon believe with their hearts that the greatest work that must be done in these last days is to make known the salvation of our God. During 1949 there were 42,524 persons who consecrated their lives to God’s service, symbolizing that covenant with water immersion. They accepted the charge, along with all others of Jehovah’s witnesses, to “preach the word”. By so doing, they will “be rich in good deeds, open-handed and generous, storing up a valuable treasure for themselves for the future, so as to grasp the life that is life indeed”.—1 Tim. 6:18, 19, An Amer. Trans.
16. What do Memorial observance and baptismal figures show?
17 With joy and gladness Jehovah’s witnesses enter the 1950 service year, thankful for the honor of service under Christ the King. They are not worried about the persecutions, trials and difficulties. These they will face as they come day by day. The thing of greatest interest to them is the praising of Jehovah’s name and the vindication of his sovereign position in the universe. To prove it, Jehovah’s witnesses will “preach the word”.
17. How do Jehovah’s witnesses enter 1950, and with what purpose?
Haggai Exhorts the Temple Builders Edit
JEHOVAH God caused this prophecy of reconstruction in Judah to be declared to the Jewish exiles in Babylon: “This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.” Why? So that the Jews might regain political independence? No, nothing like that. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, . . . For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.”—Ezek. 36:22-24, 35, 36.
Jehovah’s purpose was to regather his name-people to their homeland that they might reconstruct the temple and restore the true worship of Jehovah God in the land. This for his name’s sake, that his name might be vindicated in the sight of heathen nations. Accordingly, shortly after Darius and Cyrus overthrew Babylon the Jewish exiles were permitted to return to Jerusalem, armed with a commission from King Cyrus to rebuild the temple there. (Ezra 1:1-4) Hence it was that in 537 B.C. Zerubbabel and nearly 50,000 Jews trekked from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Opposition from neighboring adversaries, those religious hybrids called “Samaritans”, soon flared up and succeeded in halting the building work. They maneuvered the slapping of an official Persian ban on the Theocratic reconstruction work, and for nearly sixteen years work on the temple was at a standstill. It was at this crucial point of time and state of matters that Jehovah raised up his prophet Haggai, in the second year of Darius II, in 520 B.C.—Ezra 4:1 to 5:1.
Little is known about Haggai personally. His name means “festive”. He probably returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel, in 537 B.C. He started prophesying “in the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month”; his prophesyings come in four brief discourses on three different days, and the last one is dated the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month in the second year of Darius. (Hag. 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20) This means his prophetic career was short, only three months and twenty-four days. Short, but effective! For sixteen years no work had been done on the temple, and some of the Jews returned from captivity selfishly looked on outward conditions and said: “It is not the time for us to come, the time for Jehovah’s house to be built.” But to refute this class whom some moderns might call “morale weakeners” Haggai declared:
“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your ceiled houses, while this house lieth waste? Now therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith Jehovah. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith Jehovah of hosts. Because of my house that lieth waste, while ye run every man to his own house. Therefore for your sake the heavens withhold the dew, and the earth withholdeth its fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the grain, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands.”—Hag. 1:1-11, Am. Stan. Ver.
Haggai’s words sank deep into the hearts of the people and their leaders Zerubbabel and Joshua. In less than four weeks the temple builders had reorganized themselves and the work was resumed, right in the teeth of the imperial ban! (Hag. 1:12-15) But as promised, Jehovah was with the builders and blessed their zeal and fearlessness by causing Darius II to renew the decree of Cyrus authorizing the work. The malicious Samaritan enemies were squelched!
Haggai’s second discourse (2:1-9) came less than a month after resumption of the work. This time it was to beat down any propaganda of any old-timers that the new temple was disappointing when compared with the glory of Solomon’s temple; these zeal-weakeners complained that the new temple being built was as nothing in comparison with the one Nebuchadnezzar had leveled. But in his discourse Haggai assured Zerubbabel and Joshua and the remnant that “the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former”, for Jehovah will “shake all nations” and the “desire of all nations shall come” to the temple.
Two months and three days later Haggai delivers his third discourse, and in it queries the priests concerning the past uncleanness of the nation, calls upon them to consider the plague of crop failures that ravished the land while the temple work stood still, and promises blessing from Jehovah God in view of the renewed building activity. (Hag. 2:10-19) His fourth and final discourse recorded was delivered on that same day, but was addressed exclusively to Governor Zerubbabel, as follows:
“I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith Jehovah, and will make thee as a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith Jehovah of hosts.”—Hag. 2:20-23, Am. Stan. Ver.
Thus in his closing prophecy Haggai foretold the time when Jehovah of hosts would shake this evil world of Satan, would overthrow its kingdoms and governments, and would set up in Kingdom power the Greater Zerubbabel, Christ Jesus.
Answering yours of September 22 on the matter of sexual intercourse:
Of course, it is best for everyone not to pry into the private affairs of a married couple and even appear to attempt to dictate to them in regard to this subject. The safest thing we can do is to quote the inspired advice of the apostle Paul thereon at 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 (Moffatt’s translation):
“Now for the questions in your letter. It is indeed ‘an excellent thing for a man to have no intercourse with a woman’; but there is so much immorality, that every man had better have a wife of his own and every woman a husband of her own. The husband must give the wife her conjugal dues, and the wife in the same way must give her husband his; a wife cannot do as she pleases with her body—her husband has power, and in the same way a husband cannot do as he pleases with his body—his wife has power. Do not withhold sexual intercourse from one another, unless you agree to do so for a time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again. You must not let Satan tempt you through incontinence [through your lack of self-control, An Amer. Trans.]. But what I have just said is by way of concession, not command.”
It is plain here that the apostle is speaking not just of sexual intercourse for the sake of reproducing children, but for the sake of sexual relief. For this reason, he says, it is better for some passionate persons to have a marriage mate of their own to help keep them from indulging in the immorality prevalent in this world. So married couples should not withhold sexual intercourse; otherwise, Satan might tempt one or both of the couple to immorality with persons outside. But, of course, in this matter self-control must be exercised so as not to overindulge to one’s spiritual harm, even to interfering with ‘devoting yourselves to prayer’. In this respect let each couple regulate its own life and not try to dictate to another couple.
- Faithfully yours in Kingdom service,
- WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols: but Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: strength and gladness are in his place. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength; ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him; worship Jehovah in holy array. . . . say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.—1 Chron. 16:23-29, 31, A.S.V.