Perhaps we live in an area where there are few Witnesses or where we do not see a lot of immediate results in our preaching work. Yet, remembering that the Kingdom arrangement can overcome all obstacles will strengthen us to endure. For example, when Brother Edwin Skinner arrived in India in 1926, there were only a handful of Witnesses in that country. Initially, there was little progress, and the work was described as “hard going.” But he kept on preaching and saw how the Kingdom message overcame great obstacles. In 2013 there were over 37,000 active Witnesses in India, with over 108,000 attending the Memorial. In the same year that Brother Skinner arrived in India, the work had just started in Zambia. Now over 170,000 publishers preach there, and 763,915 attended the Memorial in 2013. This means that 1 in every 18 persons in Zambia attended. What amazing growth!
There is no doubt in my mind that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has been an instrument that Christ has used to train and equip ministers to be able to preach to and teach others. The question is, though, has the work of the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah regarding the little one becoming a thousand?
I invite readers to consider the entire 60th chapter of Isaiah, verse 22 merely being the last verse of a very interesting conversation God has with his covenant “woman.” The chapter begins with Jehovah addressing his organization: “Arise, O woman, shed light, for your light has come. The glory of Jehovah shines on you. For look! darkness will cover the earth and thick gloom the nations; but on you Jehovah will shine, and on you his glory will be seen. Nations will go to your light and kings to your shining splendor. Raise your eyes and look all around you! They have all been assembled; they are coming to you. From far away your sons keep coming,and your daughters being supported on the hip.”
Although it is beyond the scope of a daily commentary to delve into the entire prophecy, consider this: When are the nations enveloped in gloom and darkness? Has it been since 1914? The Watchtower says yes. But does that harmonize with what Jesus foretold when he said: “Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
The opening of the sixth seal of Revelation similarly depicts the nations being plunged into total darkness, as if the sun went black and the stars of heaven fell out of the sky. Surely this sort of symbolism betokens something far more than merely the chaos of past wars.
That being true, surely God shining his glorious light upon his people is much more than their merely knowing about the condition of the dead and other basic Bible truth that is attainable through a careful study.
The nations and kings coming to her light symbolizes the great crowd and sealed anointed persons at the time they are granted entry into the Kingdom, when the sons of the Kingdom, themselves, will shine like the sun. Didn’t Jesus foretell a great ingathering will occur during the darkest night for this old world, when he said: “And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity”?
Foremost among the many factors that ought to cause us to reject the Watchtower’s application of this verse in the day’s text, is what is stated in the verse preceding: “And all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever. They are the sprout that I planted, the work of my hands, for me to be beautified.”
In proof that the 60th chapter of Isaiah is not being fulfilled at this time, would any of Jehovah’s Witnesses be so presumptuous as to declare that everyone is righteous in God’s eyes? How could that possibly be when even the Watchtower admits that 10’s of thousands of Christians are disfellowshipped every year for practicing various forms of unrighteousness?
Is Jehovah beautified by the thousands of pedophiles who lurk in the congregations up to the present moment or the fact that the Watchtower’s policies have been formulated to prevent legal authorities from becoming involved in investigating crimes committed against children? How could Jehovah possibly impart his glorious light to an organization that has besmirched his holy name in such a way?
No, the prophecy is speaking to the time when only the righteous will be allowed onto the highway of holiness, which leads directly into the Kingdom. And that highway will only open up to us after we have endured Jehovah’s great displeasure and discipline, as the 10th verse indicates: “For in my indignation I struck you, but in my favor I will have mercy on you.”