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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XXIV

FREEDOM-LOVING WITNESSES

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AMONG other signs which Christ Jesus detailed as due to appear during the "time of the end" and after "the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" is this: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24: 31; Mark 13: 27) Inasmuch as the gathering is by command of the reigning King and by means of his angels, this work cannot be blocked by governments on earth even though they may ban the work and may decree that the gathered elect ones are "an illegal organization". That Jehovah's King would have angelic servants engaged at work when he exercises his royal functions at the temple, he makes clear, saying: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations." (Matthew 25: 31, 32) Such angels do not have to be seen by men in order to do their work of gathering.

Christ Jesus is God's Elect One for the Kingdom. "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put

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my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." (Isaiah 42:1) Matthew applies this prophecy to God's beloved Son. (Matthew 12:15-21) The fact that God designates him as his servant shows that the Son is not "equal in power and glory" with the Father, but that Jehovah God is the Supreme Power, and that He and Christ Jesus his Son constitute together "the Higher Powers". (Romans 13:1) The members of the church-body of the Great Servant are with him in the covenant for the Kingdom and accordingly are elect with him. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:2) Why should he gather together the elect remnant of his body yet on earth at his coming to the temple in A.D. 1918?

The need for gathering indicates that the faithful ones of his elect had been scattered as a consequence of World War I. This was due to "Christendom's" persecution of them, as Jesus forewarned, saying: "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matthew 24:9-13) Such persecution

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during the war period reached its climax in the year 1918, at the time of the Lord's coming to the temple for judgment and before the World War had ended. In the United States the hatred, which was fanned by the religionists, vented itself in the mobbing and imprisoning of Jehovah's covenant people and the banning of their literature; and the co-operation of these Christians in America with Jehovah's people in foreign lands was broken up. Under the great stress and trial of their integrity only a remnant kept faith and held true to their covenant obligations to the Lord and hoped for a reopening of His work on earth.

Of whom was this remnant composed? True spiritual Israelites. They had dedicated themselves to the Most High God and were then brought by Him into the new covenant to be a "people for his name" and also into the Kingdom covenant with "the King of kings, and Lord of lords". Impelled by a love of the truth they began to assemble together, particularly from about the year 1878 forward. Realizing the bondage to superstition, religion and priestcraft in which all "Christendom" lay bound, they made a break for freedom and came out from all religious sects, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and others. They gathered together freely to discuss and be instructed in the truths which the Lord's great "Messenger of the covenant" then began to make known. In July, 1879, the magazine The Watchtower began to be published in this behalf, and in 1884 the Watch

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Tower Bible and Tract Society was incorporated and chartered in the state of Pennsylvania. The truths they learned from the storehouse of truth, the sacred Bible, they published to others in many lands and languages, by books, free tracts, free public lectures, and all other valid means.

Thousands became free by the truths exposing the falseness of such religious doctrines as a fiery hell of conscious torment of human souls, Purgatory, divine ordination of clergymen, trinity, etc. The clergy of all denominations were disturbed and embittered. They conspired among themselves to overthrow this educational work and prevent the people from learning the truth and getting free of their power. Then came 1914 and the outbreak of world war. The religious clergy used this emergency to lay false charges against these publishers of truth and freedom, and succeeded in having their public activities practically stopped in all nations.

Nevertheless, the greatest work of Jehovah's covenant people was yet to be done. The "time of the end" had begun in A.D. 1914, the Devil's world-organization was doomed and was heading toward its final end, and the people were in danger of destruction in the coming "battle of that great day of God Almighty". According to God's rule of action prior to the Flood and also Jerusalem's destruction in 606 B.C. and again in A.D. 70, he would warn the people of the impending world catastrophe and give them an opportunity to escape perishing with the nations.

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The Kingdom had been established as the "new heavens" in 1914, and it must be advertised. Lovers of truth and righteousness must be shown the way to flee to the Kingdom for deliverance and salvation.

Jesus prophesied that this work must be done. Immediately after foretelling the World War and the persecution of his faithful elect ones he stated distinctly what work they must do without fail after that world struggle. His word is both a prophecy and a command, namely: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a WITNESS unto all nations: and then shall the end come." —Matthew 24:14.

For Jesus' own faithful testimony on earth even to a martyr's death he was honored with the title "The Amen, the faithful and true witness". (Revelation 1:5; 3:14; 19:11) As his Father's Elect Servant it was incumbent upon him to see that the Kingdom witness was given before the final end of Satan's oppressive organization. He had cast the invisible part of that wicked system out of heaven and down to the earth, and the prophecy was now in effect: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Revelation 12:12) It is at the most but a short time until the decisive battle at the earth is fought in which the seven-headed dragon organization is wiped out. God's kingdom will triumph, and man's only hope of

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salvation is in it. The woe-stricken people must receive witness.

For these urgent reasons the mighty King Christ Jesus broke the bonds of his faithful remnant of the elect after his arrival at the temple: "to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." (Isaiah 42:1, 6, 7; 49: 9) He used his angels in gathering the dispersed elect ones, and this by the loud, wide-sounding proclamation of the establishment of the Kingdom, like the "great sound of a trumpet". He gathered these elect by bringing them into unity with himself at the temple, by making known his presence at the temple for judgment and setting forth clearly before them God's will and his work for them before the final end. He revealed to them that the issue is God's supremacy and name.

Then the commission of the Christians according to their anointing received at the temple was made clear. "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour. I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed; and there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God." (Isaiah 43:10-12, A.R.V.) After long and hard years in which Jehovah used them in this commissioned work

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in the face of international hatred and persecution, the elect remnant perceived that God had conferred upon them a "new name". It is different from all the abusive, contemptible and unscriptural names which the enemies were calling them. Such "new name", which God's own mouth named, was and is "Jehovah's witnesses". (Isaiah 62: 2; 65:15; Revelation 2:17) Fearlessly and joyfully they received the name unto themselves in July, 1931, and let it be known to all the nations. They continue trying to live up to that God-given name.

During World War I those spiritual Israelites came physically under the power of the Babylonish political systems of this world. It was as when the typical Israelites of old experienced the desolation of their land and were carried off captive to Babylon for seventy years. In A.D. 1918 the spiritual Israelites yielded to the world's political interference in their Christian activities. They withdrew from their public educational work largely because of the religious doctrine which still prevails, namely, that the political officials of Satan's visible organization are the "higher powers" to whom all Christian souls are to be subject, as commanded at Romans 13:1. By such perversion of Scripture the religious Hierarchy in control have been able to act as the "spiritual advisers" of the political powers and to use the arm of the state to take away and suppress freedom of speech, of press, of assembly, and of worship of God. Such religious misapplication of Scripture con-

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cerning the "higher powers" has long caused the ignorant bondage of professing Christians to worldly officials at the expense of the interests of God's work and of true freedom.

After the Lord's coming to the temple and freeing the faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites from captivity to modern-day Babylon he began to open their eyes gradually to the truth. In 1929 the clear light broke forth. That year The Watchtower published the Scriptural exposition of Romans chapter 13. It showed that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, rather than worldly rulers and governors, are "The Higher Powers" and that the Christian souls must "obey God rather than men"; and that "every ordinance of man" to which they must submit is every Scriptural ordinance of men who are servants within God's organization under the King Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 2:13) This revelation of vital truth freed the spirits of God's consecrated people as never before.

Such truth enabled them to remain as "the Lord's freeman", even though physically falling into the clutches of worldly officers and being imprisoned and reduced to the condition of bond-servants or slaves. Armed with such truth they could hold fast their unqualified allegiance to God and not bow their necks in servitude to any parts of Satan's organization, religious, commercial, or political. This truth made them realize their God-sanctioned freedom to push on with his "strange work" of witnessing to his Kingdom, regardless of all the opposition and

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all the 'mischief framed by a law' against them. (Psalm 94: 20-22) To them it is written: "You indeed, brethren, were called to freedom"; and they do not use this freedom for selfish gratification of the flesh with the worldly pleasures, but for the loving service of God and the proclamation of his name and Messianic kingdom.  —Galatians 5:13, Weymouth; Diaglott; Rotherham.

The remnant of Jehovah's witnesses endeavor to spread the spirit of freedom throughout the entire earth. This they do by the spread of the truth as contained in God's written Word. Their Leader, Christ Jesus, said: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." By continuing in his word and by being doers of the word as his disciples, they have, by God's grace, come to know the truth. They have come to the freedom enjoyed by the true Christians in the days of the apostles. It was Christ's apostles who told the worldly rulers: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. . . . We ought to obey God rather than men." —Acts 4:19, 20; 5: 29.

So now Jehovah's witnesses refuse to sacrifice God's gift of freedom. They continue to speak the things they see in His Word despite all demonic and human efforts at interference. They follow the example of Christ Jesus and his apostles as to the manner of speaking the Kingdom

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message, by going from house to house as well as in public places, not shunning to declare the whole counsel of God. Like the apostle Paul they may say: "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks." (Acts 20:20,21,27; also 2:46; 5:42; Luke 9:4-6; 10:5-9) Because this is not the easy-going "orthodox way" of religion's clergy to preach, whose way requires the people to come to religious edifices to hear preaching from a pulpit, the religionists look upon the educational activities and message of Jehovah's witnesses as a "strange work". They do not heed the warning that this "strange work" precedes and will be followed immediately by Jehovah's "strange act" at Armageddon. —Isaiah 28: 21.

Many sincere persons continue under bondage to "organized religion" because their clergy have mistaught them to think that "Christendom's" religion and Christianity are the same thing. In due time the exposure of this came out. In 1928 this statement was published and spread throughout "Christendom": "Satan is the god of this world, and therefore the nations of the world can not properly be designated as Christian nations. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CHRISTIAN RELIGION, BECAUSE TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A RELIGION." (The book Government, page 139, 1; published 1928) This truth was made more prominent from 1936 forward, and the religionists everywhere manifested great indignation

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at this exposure and at the public pronouncement that "religion is a snare and a racket". Both sixteen centuries of history till now and the present way of religion back up the foregoing statements as true.

The remnant of Jehovah's witnesses are comparatively few and weak in themselves, as during all past centuries. Hence they are feared only because of the mighty truths they possess and fearlessly proclaim under commission from God. Vicious endeavors are made by religionists to destroy them and their message of Christian freedom. Revelation 12:13,17 makes it plain that the remnant of Jehovah's witnesses are the main target of the attacks by Satan and his demons. It is with the demons, and not with creatures of flesh and blood, that the remnant wrestle and fight, having their "loins girt about with truth" and flashing the "sword of the spirit, which is the word of God". —Ephesians 6:12-17.

Satan's wicked design is to regiment all the people of the earth under a totalitarian form of world government and thereby hold all men in bondage, ignorant of freedom-giving truth, and away from Jehovah God and his kingdom of the new world of righteousness. To this end he used religionists to promote the establishment of Fascism in 1922 and of Nazism in 1933, working together with Vatican City by concordats. In Germany the Nazi dictator at once suppressed Jehovah's witnesses as a "subversive organization" and broke up their meetings.

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Eventually 6,000 of them were thrown into concentration camps, isolated and distinguished from others by a violet badge, and most brutally treated. Still they remain free in spirit, refusing to come into bondage to totalitarian rule. Also in democratic lands, Jehovah's witnesses must resist totalitarian-religious aggressions and fight for freedom of worship.





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