THE HOUSE-TO-HOUSE MINISTRY -WHY IMPORTANT NOW?
"Every day in the temple and from house to used they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus."-ACTS 5:42.
Our dear Blondie is on holidays this week, so I said I would do the Comments for her to give her a bit of a break.
This weeks study is on the ‘ house to house ’ ministry, which of course, is the central practice of Jehovah ’ s Witnesses. The article attempts to justify this antiquated method of preaching, by insisting that this is the method that first century Christians used. Is it really? A little research that I ’ve done over the last few days reveals that the Society is giving the rank and file a very slanted view of this "life saving work".......
The WT article is in black, my comments and those that I have referenced, are in blue. Unless otherwise noted, all biblical references are from the New World Translation.
Q. 1, 2. (a) What method of preaching are Jehovah's Witnesses known for? (b) What will we consider in this article?IT IS a familiar sight in almost every nation on earth. Two neatly dressed individuals approach a house and endeavor to share with the householder a brief message from the Bible concerning God's Kingdom. If he shows interest in the message, they may present Bible-based literature and offer a free home Bible study. Then they proceed to the next house. If you participate in this work, you likely find that people often recognize you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses even before you begin to speak. Indeed, the house-to-house ministry has become our trademark.
It is true that most people who get a knock on their door Saturday mornings will probably recognize the pair as Jehovah’s Witnesses as they’ve been preaching "the End" for decades. What the paragraph doesn’t say (and one thing I ran into a lot) is that many of the people who answer the door today can tell you that their grandparents or even great-grandparent were also told by Jehovah’s Witnesses that "the End" was nigh 70, 80 or 90 years ago. For myself, I would find it quite embarrassing if my "trademark" method of preaching had been exposed as false predictions and flip flops over the years and would hardly be bragging about it in the printed pages.
2. We use a variety of methods to carry out the commission Jesus gave to preach and make disciples. (Matt. 28:19, 20) We witness in marketplaces, on street corners, and in other public areas. (Acts 17: 17) We contact many by telephone and by letter. We share Bible truths "with those we meet during our daily activities. We even have an official Web site, which provides access to Bible-based information in more than 300 languages:All these methods yield good results . Yet, in most places, our principal way of spreading the good news is by preaching from house to house. What is the basis for this method of preaching? How did it come to be used so extensively by God's people in modern times? And why is it important now?
Generally speaking, street corner witnessing along with telephone and letter witnessing are done solely to help get help get your hours in if you’re pioneering. In all the years I preached, this was the only time these methods were used and it actually yielded very meager results. I find their statement that "all these methods yield good results" as highly dubious given the fact that there has been virtually no increase in developed nations over the past several years despite the billions of hours that are spent preaching each year. A quick look at some statistics show that it takes thousands of hours to convert one person. I’d hardly call that "good results":
How many preaching hours does it take to convert a person to a Jehovah's Witness?
Top and bottom 20 countries of the ratio of one baptism to hours. The higher the ratio, the longer hours are needed to convert to Jehovah's Witnesses. For example in Japan, it takes about 18,000 hours (!) of preaching to gain one baptism, whereas in Nepal it takes only 2000 hours..
The Apostolic Method
Q. 3. What instructions about preaching did Jesus give the apostles, and what does this indicate about how they were to preach?
3. The method of preaching from house to house has its basis in the Scriptures. When Jesus sent forth the apostles to preach, he instructed them: "Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving." How were they to search for deserving ones? Jesus told them to go to people's homes, saying: "When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it." Were they to visit without a prior invitation? Note Jesus' further words: "Wherever anyone does not take you in or listen to your words, on going out of that house or that city shake the dust off your feet." (Matt. 10: 11-14) These instructions make clear that as the apostles "went through the territory from village to village, declaring the good news," they were to take the initiative to visit people in their homes.-Luke 9:6.
Here is the first twisting of scriptures that this article promotes. As the average Witness is not well versed in ancient/historical cultural practices (except for what they read in the Organization’s literature), they are going to take the above at face value. The context of Matthew chapter 10 has to be considered. First of all, verse 5 says that they were to go only to "the lost sheep of the house if Israel", not to the Gentiles. Furthermore, the disciples are specifically told not to take money in their purse (verse 9) or to take any food with them (verse 10). Why would they be told this?
Here is a brief summary of the culture of 1 st century Judaism regarding lodgings in a foreign city that helps explain the context: The early disciples were Jewish and, as with many religions today, they had a network that could be used to their advantage when in a strange town or city. When they came to a new city, they would go to a Jewish home to seek lodgings where hopefully, the household would be receptive to the gospel and where they could stay until they finished preaching in that area. The preaching was done in the market places, the synagogues, in other Christian homes and basically anywhere public and they were to "stay in the home" until they had finished preaching, then they moved on. That is what the context is referring to.
The WT CD-ROM references Matthew 10:11 with Luke 10:7 in order to‘prove’ that the disciples preached house to house. Incredibly, the scripture in Luke proves just the opposite: that it is actually referring to lodgings, not preaching:
Luke 10:7: "So stay in that house, eating and drinking the things they provide, for the worker is worthy of his wages. Do not be transferring from house to house." (This would harmonize with Matt 10:9 that tells them not to take any money with them)
And even if Matthew 10:11 was talking about knocking on a strangers’ door with the gospel, Luke 10 would dispel any notion that preaching "from house to house" was mandatory-----in fact, it does the opposite by telling them not to transfer "from house to house".
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary says of the above mentioned verse:
"....In strange towns and cities: when you come to a town, enquire who in it is worthy. [1.] It is supposed that there were some such in every place, as were better disposed than others to receive the gospel, and the preachers of it; though it was a time of general corruption and apostasy...........They must enquire out such; not enquire for the best inns; public houses were no proper places for them that neither took money with them (v. 9), nor expected to receive any (v. 8); but they must look out for accommodations in private houses, with those that would entertain them well, and expect no other recompence for it but a prophet's reward, an apostle's reward, their praying and preaching...."
Here, the WT slyly combines two distinct practices (preaching and finding lodgings) into one so that it appears that this scripture supports the idea that first century Christians preached from "house to house". And naturally, the average Witness is going to fall for their explanation without ever looking into the matter themselves and hence come to the conclusion that the scriptures support‘house to house’ preaching when it is actually saying something completely different.
Q 4. Where is house-to-house preaching specifically mentioned in the Bible?
4. The Bible specifically mentions that the apostles preached from house to house. For example, Acts 5:42 says of them: "Every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus."
More twisting of facts. The footnote on the WT CD-ROM says of Acts 5:42:
"Lit., "according to house." Gr., katoikon Here kaqta´ is used with the accusative sing. in the distributive sense. R. C. H. Lenski, in his work The Interpretation of The Acts of the Apostles, Minneapolis (1961), made the following comment on Ac 5:42: "Never for a moment did the apostles cease their blessed work. ‘Every day’ they continued, and this openly ‘in the Temple’ where the Sanhedrin and the Temple police could see and hear them, and, of course also ,kat' oikon which is distributive, ‘from house to house,’ and not merely adverbial, ‘at home.’ "
What the Watchtower apparently hoped to prove by this quote is fairly obvious: it would be assumed by the rank and file Witness that Lenski’s use of the term ‘distributive’ would support the "house to house" method of preaching. That Lenski meant no such thing is apparent from his note on Acts 2:46:
"Luke sketches the daily life of the first congregation. The three [kata] phrases are distributive: "day by day," "house by house" The believers both visited the Temple and broke bread house by house at home ... "Breaking bread" also refers to all the meals and not merely to such as might precede the Sacrament as an agape. "House by house" is like "day by day." It does not mean merely "at home" but in each home." The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, 1961, pp.120-21
For obvious reasons, the WT failed to use Lenski’s full quote on Acts 2:46 and is a wonderful example of the academic dishonesty that resides in the Writing Department. If they were honest, they would have included the entire quote but that would have shown that Lenski renders the phrase in question as: "breaking bread house by house", and views Acts 2:46 & Acts 5:42 as basically saying the same thing. Reading Lenski’s full quote cannot be used to support the idea that the disciples preached "house to house" the way Jehovah’s Witnesses do today. It’s just not there.
And if that’s not enough, on page 214 of In Search of Christian Freedom, Ray Franz notes:
"....distributive is not the same as consecutive. A person can go from "house to house" by going from a home in one area to a home in another area just as a doctor making "hosue calls" might go from home to home. It does not at all require the idea of a consecutive door-to-door visitation. Any claim that the use of the preposition kata in the distributive sense requires the rendering "from house to house" in order to be correct and accurate is, in fact, exploded by the New World Translation itself.Few Witnesses realize that the identical phrase (katoikon)translated "from house to house" in the [NWT] rendering of Acts 5:42, also occurs in Acts 2:46. Below are presentations of these verse as found in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation which contains the NWT in it’s right-hand column:
"As the left-hand interlinear portion shows, the same phrase, with the same distributive sense of kata appears in both texts. Yet in Acts 2:46 the rendering is not "from house to house" but "in private homes." Why? Because it is illogical to think that the disciples’ taking meals was done by going from one house to the next....and since the [WTS] wishes that particular sense to attach to the phrase "from house to house" in support of its door-to-door activity), it does not want to raise probable questions by using the rendering "house to house" here."
(Par 4 continues): Some 20 years later, the apostle Paul reminded the older men of the congregation in Ephesus: " I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house." Did Paul visit those elders before they became believers? Evidently so, for he taught them, among other things, "about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus." (Acts 20:20, 21) Commenting on Acts 20:20, Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament says: "It is worth noting that this greatest of preachers preached from house to house."
Here’s another example of the WT giving you a very selective quote. In a footnote on page 56 of "The Organization Book" the actual quote is as follows:
"As regards the translation "from house to house" (kat' oi' kous) in Acts 20:20, which some modern translators would render as: "at your houses" (AT), "in your homes" (Je;NE), "in private" (NA), Doctor Robertson has this to say on pages 349, 350 paragraph 1: "and from house to house (kai kat'oikous). By (according to) houses-----It is worth noting that the greatest of preachers preached from house to house and did not make his visits merely social calls. He was doing kingdom business all the while as in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. (1 Cor. 16:19)"Aquila and Priscilla?? Hmmmm......last time I checked, Aquila and Priscilla were both already Christians when Paul preached in their homes. They weren’t strangers whose door Paul happened to knock on Saturday morning. Corinthians 16:19 says:
"The congregations of Asia send you their greetings. Aquila and Prisca together with the congregation that is in their house greet you heartily in the Lord".So unfortunately for the Watchtower, these scriptures actually show that the "preaching" was being done in the homes of those who were already believers—not strangers. The claim that Acts 20:20 is referring to Paul knocking on the doors of unbelievers doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, nor does the quote from Dr. Robertson support that idea. And while it is true that Robertson allows that the Greek word kat’oikon may be rendered "from house to house", he refers to Acts 2:46, where precisely the same Greek expression kat’oikon occurs:
"they [all that believed, v.44], continuing daily with one accord in the temple,and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart". Instead of claiming that this is referring to a door to door method of preaching, Robertson asks: "Does it refer also to the possible agapai or to the Lord's supper afterwards as they had common meals "from house to house" (kat’ oikon)? We know there were local churches in the homes where they had "worship rooms," the church in the house." [Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol.3, p.39)
How exactly is this supporting the idea that 1 st century Christians knocked on the doors of strangers repeatedly? If anyone can show me a rational explanation for that, I’ll give you a buffalo nickel.
A Modern-Day Locust Army
Q 5. How is the preaching work depicted in the prophecy of Joel?
5. The witnessing done in the last century was but a foretaste of a greater work to be done in our day. The prophet Joel likened the preaching activity of anointed Christians to a devastating plague of insects, including locusts. (Joel 1:4) Advancing like an army, the locusts surmount obstacles, enter into houses, and devour everything in their path. (Read Joel 2:2, 7-9.) What a vivid portrayal of the perseverance and thoroughness of God's people in carrying out the witnessing work in modern times! Foremost among the methods used by anointed Christians and their "other sheep" companions in fulfilling this prophetic picture is the house-to-house ministry. (John 10:16) How did we, Jehovah's Witnesses, come to adopt that apostolic method of preaching?
This is a fallacious, even embarrassing, interpretation of Joel, as chapters 1 and 2 both make it clear that it is speaking of natural disasters that those living in the Mesopotamia region were all too familiar with and indeed, continue to this day. The description of locusts and caterpillars swarming into the houses, devastating the crops and laying waste the land is a literal description:
John D. Whiting, "Jerusalem's Locust Plague," TheNational Geographic 28 (Dec., 1915), 511-50. "At maturity the desert locusts are two and a half inches long. They have two sets of wings and an enlarged pair of legs for jumping. Their appearance has been compared to horses (Joel 2:4; Job 39:20; Rev. 9:7; cf. German Heupferd, Italian cavallette.) Desert locusts are phenomenal travelers. They are able to fly for 17 hours at a time and have been known to travel 1500 miles. The sound of their wings can be compared to the sound of chariots (Joel 2:5; Rev. 9:9). Their route of travel is determined by the prevailing winds (Ex. 10:13, 19). In the 1915 plague the locusts came to Jerusalem from the northeast (cf, Joel 2:20)..."
Stanley Baron, The Desert Locust (New York: Charles Scribner's, 1972 p. 9): The Bible does not exaggerate when it speaks of swarms of locusts covering the ground (Ex. 10:5). We know from modern measurements of swarm areas and volumes that the descriptions repeatedly given in the Bible and elsewhere, of the sky being darkened and the sun eclipsed, are literally correct. For instance, during the plague that continued from 1948 to 1963, several swarms were recorded as exceeding a hundred square miles; and one is said to have been the size of London."
An interesting side note is a report of a locust plague that devastated parts of Africa in 204 BC that reads very much like the description in the Book of Joel:
Ibid., p. 123. Augustine (note 79), p. 108, "One may also read that Africa, which had by that time become a province of Rome, was visited by a prodigious multitude of locusts, which, after consuming the fruit and foliage of the trees, were driven into the sea in one vast and measureless cloud; so that when they were drowned and cast upon the shore the air was polluted, and so serious a pestilence produced that in the kingdom of Masinissa alone they say there perished 800,000 persons, besides a much greater number in the neighboring districts. At Utica they assure as that, of 30,000 soldiers then garrisoning it, there survived only ten."So to try and whittle and wedge the birdbrained idea that these "locusts" are referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on doors Saturday morning is beyond crazy. Hell, even Erich von Daniken’s interpretation of the bible can at least be more entertaining that this.
Q 6. In 1922, what encouragement was given to witness from house to house, but how did some respond?
6. From 1919 on, the responsibility of each Christian to have a personal share in witnessing has been stressed. For example, an article entitled "Service Essential" in the Watchtower of August 15, 1922, reminded anointed Christians of the importance of "actively carrying the printed message to the people and talking to them at their doors, giving the witness that the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Detailed presentations were provided in the Bulletin (now Our Kingdom Ministry). Still, the number of those who actually preached from house to house was small at first. Some held back. They raised various objections, but the basic problem was that some felt it beneath their dignity to preach from house to house. As emphasis on field service increased, many of such ones gradually withdrew from association with Jehovah's organization.
Q 7. In the 1950's, what need became evident?
7. In the decades that followed, the scope of the preaching work grew. It became evident, however, that further personal training in the house-to-house ministry was needed. Take the situation in the United States as an example. During the early 1950's,28 percent of the Witnesses in that country limited their preaching activity to distributing handbills or standing on the streets with magazines. Over 40 percent were irregular in the preaching work, allowing months to go by without doing any witnessing at all. What could be done to help all dedicated Christians preach from house to house?
This was in fact, the brain-child of Nathan Knorr and it was under his rulership that the Organization really began enforcing the ‘house to house’ method of preaching and equating it with eternal salvation. The fact that Knorr’s predecessor, Rutherford did not use the "house to house" method of preaching himself was completely irrelevant. It was time to start reigning in flock whether they liked it or not.
Q 8, 9. What training program was initiated in 1953 and with what results?
8. At an international convention held in New' York City in 1953, the house-to-house ministry received special attention. Brother Nathan H. Knorr declared that the principal work of all Christian overseers should be to help every Witness to be a regular house-to-house minister. "Everyone," he said, "should be able to preach the good news from house to house." A global training program was launched to achieve this goal. Those who were not yet preaching from house to house were given training in approaching people at their doors, reasoning with them from the Bible, and answering their questions.
This goes beyond even the question of the "house to house" ministry when they started to insist that "everyone" should be out there knocking on doors. This is yet another area where they go far "beyond the scriptures" in their effort to turn the average God fearing soul into salesmen for a publishing company. Even if you ignore their usage of the phrase "house to house", there is still no evidence that ALL first century Christians were evangelizers. In fact, the scriptures make it quite clear that only some of them had this gift:
"...And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers..." Ephesians 4:11 "...And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services, abilities to direct, different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are translators, are they?" (1 Corinthians 12:28-30)
You’d never here the "Slave Class" tell 6.5 million Witnesses that they were all apostles, prophets or healers now would you? But somehow they manage to ignore these scriptures and convince the R&F that every single one of them are under scriptural obligation to go preaching from "house to house" and then turn in a field service report at the end of the month, in order to be in line for salvation.
9. The results of this training program were outstanding. Within a decade, the number of publishers worldwide increased by 100 percent, the number of return visits by 126 percent, and the number of Bible studies by 150 percent. Today, almost seven million Kingdom publishers are preaching the good news worldwide. This remarkable growth is one evidence of Jehovah's blessing on the efforts of his people in the house-to-house ministry.-Isa.60:22.
Evidence of Jehovah’s blessing? Surely they jest. The fact that a religion grows does not mean that God is backing it. If that were the case, how do they explain the 1.2 billion Catholics, the 700 million Protestants or the 77 million Anglicans? Even if you take a ‘newer’ religion, the Mormons, they’ve got a membership of 13.2 million people----double that of Witnesses. And all these churches (with the exception of the Mormons who only let their male members preach for 3 years) managed to get to these numbers without banging on anyone’s door. Heck, even Disney World "all started with a mouse". Does that mean old Walt had ‘divine guidance’?
The ‘training program’ that the WTS basically forced on everyone had a measure of success because the rank and file were fearful of ‘displeasing Jehovah’. After all, if the Slave Class said ‘jump’, our only answer should be ‘how high?’ Considering the billions of hours that are spent each year preaching, along with everyone’s time and gas money, there’s no way the end justifies the means. With so many various methods of preaching available with today’s technology, it is ridiculous to insist on this method of preaching. It would be like plowing a 5,000 acre field using an ox instead of a John Deere tractor----a total waste of time and not worth the effort.
And even if the first century Christians had preached "house to house", it would have been because there was no technology to allow for any other form of preaching, other than orally. How does the WTB&TS print their literature? Do they copy it by hand the way things were written 2,000 years ago? Of course not. They take advantage of modern day technology and from what I understand, have excellent printing facilities. They could actually reach a lot more people if they used the television and radio. Regardless of what they teach, I find in a lot of ways the Organization is regressing—not progressing. Charles Russell had that Photo Drama of Creation which was on the cutting edge of technology when it was done. Rutherford preached on the radio (which is actually how both my paternal and maternal grandmothers got "the Truth"). Yet today, the Society has nothing like this anymore and insists on using a method of preaching that can only be compared with the Amish method of farming.
Marking People for Survival
Q 10, 11. (a) What vision was Ezekiel given, as recorded in Ezekiel chapter 9? (b) How is that vision being fulfilled in our day?
10. The importance of the house-to-house ministry can be seen from a vision given to the prophet Ezekiel. In that vision, Ezekiel sees six men with weapons in their hands as well as a seventh man clothed in linen with a secretary's inkhorn at his side. The seventh man is told to "pass through the midst of the city" and "put a mark on the foreheads of the men that are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the midst of it." Following that marking work, the six men with the slaughtering weapons are commanded to execute all those who do not have the mark.-Read Ezekiel 9: 1-6.
11. We understand that in the fulfillment of this prophecy, the man "clothed in linen" represents the remnant of spirit-anointed Christians. By means of the preaching and disciple-making work, the anointed class puts a symbolic mark on those who become part of Christ's "other sheep." (John 10:16) What is the mark? It is the evidence, as if displayed on their uncovered foreheads, that such sheep are dedicated, baptized disciples of Jesus Christ and that they have put on the Christlike new personality. (Eph. 4:20-24) These sheeplike ones become one flock with anointed Christians and assist them in their vital work of marking still others.-Rev. 22:17.
Really? Is there anything scriptural to back up such an extraordinary claim that this man clothed in linen represents ‘spirit annointed Christians? Maybe I understand it as the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. Hey, he was clothed in linen wasn’t he? There’s about as much evidence for one as there is the other.
Q 12. How does Ezekiel's vision about marking foreheads highlight the importance of our ongoing search for sheeplike ones?
12. Ezekiel's vision highlights one reason why our ongoing search for people who are "sighing and groaning" is so urgent. It involves lives. Soon, Jehovah's heavenly executional forces, represented by the six men with weapons, will destroy those who do not have the symbolic mark. Concerning that coming judgment, the apostle Paul wrote that the Lord Jesus, accompanied by "his powerful angels," will bring "vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus." (2 Thess. 1:7, 8) Notice that people will be judged on the basis of their response to the good news. Hence, the proclamation of God's message must continue unabated right to the end. (Rev. 14:6, 7) This places a heavy responsibility on all of Jehovah's dedicated servants.-Read Ezekiel 3: 17-19.
So in other words, the Governing Body members—not Jesus or Jehovah----have full control over your very life (big shocker there eh?). Paragraph 11 states that it’s the "anointed ones’ who get to mark everyone’s forehead and paragraph 12 confirms that if your forehead isn’t marked, you’re dead meat. And it’s all based on how many hours you spend each month in an activity that is neither a requirement for Christians, or found in the scriptures. And they wonder why Witnesses grow up so dysfunctional and unable to cope in the real world and why half of them are on anti-depressants? With this sort of threat hanging over your head from infancy on, no wonder we’ve got so many hang ups. Something tells me that this is not what Jesus had in mind when he started preaching.
Q 13. (a) What responsibility did the apostle Paul feel, and why? (b) What responsibility do you feel toward the people in your territory?
13. The apostle Paul felt a personal responsibility to share the good news with others. He wrote: "Both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to wise and to senseless ones I am a debtor: so there is eagerness on my part to declare the good news also to you there in Rome" (Rom. 1:14, 15) Out of gratitude for the mercy he had been shown, Paul felt compelled to try to help others to benefit from the undeserved kindness of God just as he had benefitted from it. (1 Tim. 1:12-16) It was as if he owed a debt to each person he met, a debt that could be repaid only by sharing the good news with that person. Do you feel such a debt to the people in your territory? -Read Acts 20:26, 27.
Slight bit of a difference between Paul and the average Witness today. Paul had a miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus and the gospel about who Jesus was, was a new gospel---something people had never heard before. That was why he felt compelled to go and preach far and wide.
Q 14. What is our foremost reason for preaching publicly and from house to house?
14. As important as the preservation of human life is, there is a far greater reason for preaching from house to house. In the prophecy recorded at Malachi 1:11, Jehovah declares: "From the sun's rising even to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and ... a presentation will be made to my name, even a clean gift; because my name will be great among the nations." In fulfillment of this prophecy, Jehovah's dedicated servants are publicly praising his name in all the earth as they humbly carry out their ministry. (Ps. 109:30; Matt. 24:14) Rendering "a sacrifice of praise" to Jehovah is our foremost reason for preaching publicly and from house to house.-Heb. 13:15.
Nothing like giving yourself credit for something you’re not even really responsible for. The name "Jehovah" is widely known today and humans have known who He is for thousands of years. This is not some new bright revelation that Jehovah’s Witnesses are privy to. I’ve heard various churches use the name "Jehovah" either in their sermons or even in their hymns. While there is no doubt that the Witnesses use it more often than the average Christian, it’s highly dubious, in my opinion, as to whether they should even be using it this way as one of the Ten Commandments was: ‘You must not use the Lord’s name in a worthless manner.’ To use the name ‘Jehovah’ (even if it were the correct pronunciation), the same way you would ‘Bob’ or ‘Bill’ seems to be using it ‘in a worthless manner’.
Momentous Events Ahead
Q 15. (a) How did the Israelites intensify their activity as they marched around Jericho on the seventh day? (b) What does this indicate about the preaching work?
15. What developments are yet in store for the preaching work? The siege of Jericho, recorded in the book of Joshua, provides an illustration. Recall that just before God destroyed Jericho, the Israelites were instructed to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, however, there was to be a marked increase in their activity. Jehovah told Joshua: "You should march round the city seven times and the priests should blow the horns. And it must occur that when they sound with the horn of the ram, ... all the people should shout a great war cry; and the wall of the city must fall down flat." (Josh. 6:2-5) It is possible that there will be a similar expansion of our preaching activity. No doubt, by the time of the destruction of the present system of things, we will have seen the greatest witness to God's name and Kingdom in the history of this world.
Q 16, 17. (a) What will be accomplished before "the great tribulation" is finished? (b) What will we consider in the following article?
16. The time may well come when the message we declare is like" a great war cry." In the book of Revelation, powerful judgment messages are pictured as "a great hail with every stone about the weight of a talent.'" And Revelation 16:21 states: "The plague of it was unusually great." Just what role the house-tohouse ministry will play in the proclaiming of those climactic judgment messages remains to be seen. But we can be sure that before "the great tribulation" is finished, Jehovah's name will have been made known as never before in human history.-Rev. 7:14; Ezek. 38:23.
17. As we await the momentous events that lie ahead, may we continue zealously declaring the good news of the Kingdom. In carrying out that assignment, what challenges do we face in the house-to-house ministry, and how can we meet those challenges? These questions will be considered in the following article.
Yes, lets keep "zealously declaring the good news" that if you don’t drop everything normal in life and go preaching "from house to house", you won’t get that mark on your forehead from the Governing Body and will be toast "soon".
How Would You Answer?
What is the Scriptural basis for preaching from house to house?
How was the house-to-house ministry given emphasis in modern times?
Why do dedicated servants of Jehovah have a responsibility to preach?
What momentous events lie ahead?
I think articles like this show that there is definitely a slow down in the ‘zeal’ of the average Witness. Even the most dedicated ones can realize that there is something seriously wrong in the Organization that all boils down to: ‘Why isn’t The End here yet?’ My own feeling is that ever since they changed the meaning of "this generation" back in 1995, there’s been a huge decline in membership and activity. After all, the sole reason for preaching "house to house" is to warn the public of imminent catastrophe if they don’t join the religion. If "the end" is nowhere in sight, there is little point in preaching and apparently more and more Witnesses are viewing it as such.
It’s a shame that the Organization doesn’t encourage the rank and file to do something productive, like charity work. Can you imagine the impact that would have on local communities if you had 70 - 100 people volunteering with the elderly, the homeless, the orphans and the depressed? Not only would it help the community, but it would also help Jehovah’s Witnesses individually, as few things make you feel better than helping someone in need. Probably why Jesus stressed this so much.
Unfortunately, with the stubborn disposition of the Governing Body members who like to rule the flock as though they were living in the days of Charles Dickens, there seems little hope that things are going to change any time soon. The Witnesses will continue on their never-ending treadmill of knocking on doors Saturday mornings, blissfully unaware that this method of preaching is either scripturally based, or has God’s backing.