Nations Long Ago Had to Know Who He Is
1. What has been the attitude of the nations toward the greatest name in the universe, and what will they have to know about its Bearer?
JUST as nations of long ago did not like him, the nations of today do not like him. Neither do they like his name. By not mentioning his name they seek to ignore his existence, to let him become a person unknown, to let his name fade from memory. Strangely, though, the nations have proved unable to blot his name out of human history. They have not kept his name from being heralded far and wide throughout the earth, in our twentieth century. Obviously the Bearer of that name must be greater than all the nations. His is the greatest name in all the universe. It is the oldest name on record. It is immortal! It adorns the greatest One in all heaven and earth. It is just as imperishable as its Bearer is. Nations of the past got to know it. Present-day nations, as political organizations, will likewise get to know that incomparable Name. Shortly they will perish, but not the Name! Before they perish they shall know the superiority of the One bearing that Name.
2. What will vindication of that name mean, and to whom is this of highest concern now?
2 In this regard history will have to repeat itself, but on a far grander scale. Recorded history of the past justifies us in expecting that name to be put in its rightful place among all who dwell on earth. The vindication of it as the name of the One who really lives, who is almighty and supreme, will strike the nations with awe. Even though unwillingly, they will have to recognize the One whose name has been unjustly reproached and downgraded among men. They will know that he is and that he has spoken and that what he has spoken never fails to occur. The significance of this to all nations is of the highest concern to every member of this present generation of mankind right now.
3. To that Name Bearer, why is what happened in 1513 B.C.E. as if it happened just half a week ago?
3 To us of today any event that occurred in the year 1513 before our Common Era occurred a long time ago. Nearly three thousand five hundred years ago! But to the Eternal One whose name must be vindicated such a time period is not calculated according to the earth’s daily spinning on its axis and its yearly movement around the sun. Those three and a half millenniums are viewed as but three and a half of our days. And what is a mere half a week of time to Him? To Him it was just half a week ago that he confronted the first-class political power of the sixteenth century before our Common Era. So it was no mere poetic outburst when an inspired songwriter of that day said to Him: “A thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.”*
4. What counted with Him as regards that first world power?
4 To Him it did not matter that that first world power had the latest military equipment in great quantity and could dominate the then inhabited earth. Its highly prized wisdom and its high degree of civilization made no difference to Him. The great number of its religious gods and goddesses did not overawe Him but showed how ignorant and misguided that highly civilized world power was in a religious way. What counted with Him then was that this world power had got into difficulty with him. How?
5. In the matter of oppression, with what were innocent people of one branch of the human family threatened while residing as aliens in the land of another race?
5 Have we ever seen an inoffensive people being oppressed by a powerful, militarized, nationalistic political government in this twentieth century? Such a question turns our minds to a number of oppressed peoples and racial groups. So, then, we can appreciate the tyrannical oppression that had gone on for scores of years upon an innocent people in a land in which they were alien residents. According to the three great branches into which our human family is divided, these alien residents were of the Semitic branch and were dwelling in a Hamitic land. The oppression upon them finally became so extreme that it attempted what is called “genocide” nowadays, to bring about the disappearance of that particular family of Shemites that had now grown to the size of an outstanding people, a nation populous indeed but having no active part in the government of that Hamitic land.
6. Then, the troublesome issue was of what kind, and how so?
6 Seemingly it was a racial issue that troubled the Hamitic land, for that large body of alien residents of another race might even furnish a military threat to this first-rate world power. But if we study the situation more deeply, we can discern that there was an issue of importance even greater than that of the racial issue. It was a religious issue. The records of ancient history prove beyond denial by our irreligious scientifically educated modernists that religion played a dominant part in the life of the nations, even of the rulers. A remarkably different religion was identified with that alien people residing in that world-famous Hamitic land. That was why the hard core of that people refused to join in worshiping the many gods of the land. So the wiping out of this people of Shemitic stock would mean the wiping out of this religion. This was, according to the priests of the gods of the land, the more desirable thing.
7. What questions did the Hamitic oppressors raise about the God of the alien residents, and for what action did such questions call?
7 Just like with hundreds of millions of East Indians of this twentieth century, it seemed strange to those ancient worshipers of the many Hamitic gods that this alien people in their midst should worship but one God, who was believed to be the One Creator of all heaven and earth. But to those worshipers of many ancient gods and goddesses this One God of that alien resident people could not be a true, living, all-powerful God. Otherwise, why would he let them be oppressed as mere slaves for more than a hundred years? Why would he let their oppressors proceed with the nationalistic plan of wiping out his worshipers and his religion from the earth? Why had he not before now delivered his worshipers from their polytheistic oppressors and slave masters? Those were good questions. If he were the God that these oppressed people worshiped him as being, then he ought to answer those questions. He ought to make himself known to that Hamitic nation! By doing this, too, he could make himself known to all nations!
8. Was it fitting for this God to make himself known also to his own oppressed worshipers, and on what basis?
8 For that matter, what about making himself known to His own worshipers? Even to many of these He may have appeared as an unknown God.* Under the distressing circumstances of that sixteenth century before our Common Era, did they have to know that He is, that he has a name different from the names of all the gods and goddesses of their oppressors, and that he is their God who recognizes them as his people? Yes! He had been no unknown God to their forefathers of earlier centuries. These had even known his personal name, but had especially come to appreciate him as “God Almighty” because of what he did in their favor. Why, then, should they not worship this God of their forefathers?
9. Why was this God clocking the time of their affliction, and what was it timely for him to do respecting his name?
9 He had made wonderful promises to their forefathers, promises not only of interest and importance to them as descendants but of greatest interest and importance to all mankind. He had foretold the affliction such as came upon them in this Hamitic land. Could he be unaware of the affliction when it actually came upon them? Not consistently so! For a fact, he was clocking the time of this affliction, because he had predetermined and foretold when that affliction would end and should end.* They had the records of the time lengths of the lives of their forefathers in succession and of the generations involved. If they had consulted these and had made correct calculations, they would have known that now was the time for their deliverance. It was the time marked by their God to make himself known to them as their Deliverer and to crown his name with never-fading glory. It was the time for Him to prove with deeds that he makes no sworn declaration that is impossible for him to carry out. He is still God Almighty despite the passing of centuries. As his time had come, he could be expected to give to his name a place in human history above all other names.
HOW WILL HE DO IT?
10. So what questions did worshipers with faith in Him ask, and what would be the proper way for Him to act as God in answer?
10 The question before those who still had faith in the unbreakable promises of God was, How will he do it? How will he prove himself to be no mythical god? How will he vindicate his very existence? How will he make his name to be respected, indeed, to be feared by all the nations of the earth? Not by some ordinary means that could be explained by our modern-day scientists. No, but by something that even twentieth-century scientists cannot account for despite all their laboratory experiments, by things so humanly unbelievable that doubters would call them merely mythical and legendary. But how else than by such a demonstration of his superior power and scientific intelligence could it be proved to even this generation of mankind that he is the one God Almighty? One who is a God should be able to do things that ordinary men of any century of time could not do. Otherwise, how can he rank as God? Reasonably, he should be expected to do things that the magic-practicing priests of all the false gods could never do. He should distinguish himself by doing inexplainable things, miracles!
11. How would the Source of these miracles be identified, and what consideration would that Source show for humans on earth?
11 How, though, would these miraculous feats of power be identified with this one living and true God, so as to be unmistakably attributed to him as the true Source? Especially so, when he is invisible and has no visible, material idol or image to represent him to the eyes and touch of men? Simply by having these miraculous performances announced beforehand and having them performed in his name, and this by means of a living human representative, spokesman or prophet, whom he sent to speak and perform in His name. It was not necessary for this invisible, almighty God to present himself in person to fleshly human creatures who were too frail in eyesight and bodily makeup to endure a direct confrontation with the heavenly Maker of the sun and all the billions of galaxies of stars and sources of cosmic rays. In fulfillment of the predictions made by human spokesmen in his name, he could perform the specified miracles by remote control, and this would be safest for puny human creatures with their limited abilities to endure only so much without being destroyed. All this would show divine consideration for mere human creatures of our tiny earth!
12. Whom did this non-idolatrous God use to speak and act in His name, and how did this one get his personal name?
12 The idol gods of that ancient Hamitic land had their magic-practicing priests and other official representatives, among whom were the notable men Janʹnes and Jamʹbres.* Who, then, was the historic figure whom the non-idolatrous God sent to speak and act in his personal name? He was no stranger to the land. In fact, he had been born in that southern Hamitic land eighty years previously. Thus he was now an old man, likely too old to be recognized as a fugitive from the land for forty years, a man whom they might have felt justified in killing as a manslayer. They had wanted to have him killed even as a newborn baby by having him hurled into their sacred river, which they worshiped as a god. But as he was floating in a handmade bulrush ark on the waters near the shore, he was rescued by the compassionate daughter of the then ruler of the land. She was moved to adopt this beautiful baby boy, and fittingly she gave him the name meaning “Drawn Out,” or, “Saved out of Water,” that is to say, Mo·shehʹ, or, as we would pronounce the name today, Moses. This meant a defeat for the river god that had not been permitted to swallow him down.*
13. So how had Moses been reared, and what caused him to flee from the land?
13 Seemingly without knowing that she was being maneuvered, the ruler’s daughter gave over the suckling baby to his own mother, Jochʹe·bed, to nurse and rear until the child should be old enough to be brought into the ruler’s palace. With greatness of heart she was acting contrary to her father’s cruel policy of genocide against the enslaved alien residents of her land. In this way the endangered child was shielded against death at the hands of the oppressors of his people and he received instruction in the worship, not of the many false gods of the land, but of the God of his father Amram.* Strong family and religious attachment to his people remained deep-seated in this child, who was evidently marked out for an important role in history, until he was forty years old, even in spite of spending most of those years at the king’s court and being instructed in all its worldly wisdom. Then, because of being so indignant at the harsh treatment meted out to his enslaved people, he attempted to lead a liberation movement. There was bloodshed, and he had to flee for his life.*
14. On his return to be a leader of his oppressed people, what questions would they be inclined to ask him to assure themselves?
14 What or who could have induced him now as an aged man of eighty years to leave the land of his fugitive existence and to return to the land of the oppressors of his people, who had sought his life? Had he not already failed once as a liberator? Yes! But now it would be his God who would act as the Liberator of those who worshiped Him notwithstanding their longtime affliction. By now he was almost a stranger to his own people, but his older sister, Miriam, and brother, Aaron, were still alive down there in the land of enslavement. To a large extent he would have to identify himself to them. “What brings you back? Who sent you?” they would ask him. To present himself to them as their liberator in his own name would not work with them now any more than it had worked in the first place. Only if he came in the name of their God as Liberator would they be inclined to accept him as their visible leader. Yet, what was the name of this God who had sent him? How could he prove that this God had sent him to lead them to freedom? Had this God changed his name?
15. Where and in what manner did God give orders to Moses to return to the land of the oppressive slave drivers?
15 The divine Sender of Moses knew that his doubting people were wondering why the God of their forefathers had permitted for so long this wickedness practiced upon them, and he knew that they would ask Moses these questions. By means of a miraculous manifestation, not in some mythical land, but at the foot of Mount Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai of the Arabian Peninsula, God gave orders verbally to Moses to return to the land of the oppressive slave drivers. What was he to say when he presented himself first to his own people? By means of an invisible angel at a miraculously burning thornbush of the wilderness God told him what to say. According to The New English Bible published in a land far westward from the Sinaitic Peninsula, 3,482 years later (in 1970 C.E.), Moses was to say in explaining his mission:
16. What was Moses told to say to his people in explanation of his return?
16 “You must tell the Israelites this, that it is JEHOVAH the God of their forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, who has sent you to them. This is my name for ever; this is my title in every generation. Go and assemble the elders of Israel and tell them that JEHOVAH the God of their forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to you and has said, ‘I have indeed turned my eyes towards you; I have marked all that has been done to you in Egypt, and I am resolved to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt, into the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ They will listen to you, and then you and the elders of Israel must go to the king of Egypt.”—Exodus 3:15-18.
17. What was Pharaoh’s reaction to the demand for release of the Israelites, and so what only was left for God to do to him?
17 Courageously Moses obeyed this God of his forefathers, Jehovah. By miraculous signs that Jehovah instructed Moses to perform, Moses proved that Jehovah the God of liberation had indeed sent him to be their leader into liberty. Their liberation could have come in an easy way for the Egyptians, if these, on demand of Jehovah, would lift their oppression upon the Israelites and let them go free to their Promised Land of milk and honey. But what is there to be done when the king Pharaoh of Egypt scorns the demand made upon him in the name of the living and true God and gives the challenging answer: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away?” To back up his defiance of Jehovah as if he were a mere Nobody, the idol-worshiping Pharaoh of Egypt added: “I do not know Jehovah at all and, what is more, I am not going to send Israel away.” And when Pharaoh, the commander of the finest military forces in that ancient world, sticks to his decision, what else is there to do but to make him know Jehovah, to force him to know that the God making the demand upon him for the releasing of His people is Jehovah? Pharaoh asked for it!
18. What declaration of divine purpose was called forth by the national situation that developed back there, and what, with reference to themselves, might nations of today well consider?
18 Do any of the political rulers of this twentieth century take the attitude of that Pharaoh of 1514/1513 B.C.E., as recorded in Exodus 5:1, 2? The national situation that developed away back there called forth for the first time the divine declaration that served notice upon the political nations of Bible times concerning God’s purpose to make them know who he is. But the nations of this modern world need to heed this ancient declaration of God’s purpose as also applying to them. They might well consider very seriously whether they are typified or prefigured by the ancient land of the Pharaohs, when Jehovah said to Moses: “The Egyptians will certainly know that I am Jehovah when I stretch out my hand against Egypt, and I shall indeed bring the sons of Israel out from their midst.”—Exodus 7:1-5.
19. By what as the first of ten plagues was Pharaoh obliged to know that God is Jehovah?
19 Also, to the disobedient Pharaoh of Egypt Moses was ordered to say: “By this you will know that I am Jehovah. Here I am striking with the rod that is in my hand upon the water that is in the Nile River, and it will certainly turn into blood.” It did so. This proved to be the first of the ten plagues by means of which the tough, resisting Egyptians learned to know in a way disastrous to them that the true God is Jehovah.—Exodus 7:17-25.
20. How did Moses’ people fare during the first two plagues, and what doubt therefore may Pharaoh have had concerning Jehovah?
20 That first plague, that of turning the Nile River and its canals into blood, was not directly aimed at Moses’ people, who dwelt separate in the northeastern part of Egypt known as Goshen. But they felt the effects of this plague that afflicted the whole land of Egypt for seven days. However, they knew that Jehovah was not meaning to punish them by this plague, and by suffering with the Egyptians they were enabled to feel how real a blow it was to the oppressive Egyptians. The same thing was true of the second plague, that of frogs overrunning the land of Egypt, not even the land of Goshen being spared. (Exodus 7:19 to 8:15) Pharaoh may have drawn some comfort from the fact that Moses’ own people were obliged to suffer from those plagues the same as did the Egyptians. He may have doubted that Jehovah was able to protect his own people, the Israelites, from those plagues which Egypt’s magic-practicing priests seemed to imitate. So the situation was a challenging one for Jehovah. Was he able to meet it?
21. What did the third plague force Egypt’s priests to admit, and why?
21 The first two plagues did not soften Pharaoh’s heart sufficiently. In fact, Jehovah’s yielding to Pharaoh’s cries for relief really hardened the defiant ruler. A third plague upon Egypt was now in order. It produced swarms of gnats all over Egypt. The magic-practicing priests were unable to duplicate it. They could not credit the plague to any of their demon gods. So to Pharaoh they were obliged to say: “It is the finger of God!” Notably, they did not say: ‘It is the finger of Jehovah!’ Did they deliberately sidestep saying God’s true name? At any rate, their ignoring of the true God’s name did not hide the facts, nor did it save them.—Exodus 8:16-19.
PROTECTION THROUGH WORSHIPING THE TRUE GOD
22. What question on ability of the true God to protect his worshipers arises, and how did the handling of the fourth plague answer this?
22 Is there any protection possible through worshiping the true God, even this God with the unliked name? The way in which the fourth plague upon Egypt was maneuvered answered this question in a positive way. Listen to the historic record, in Exodus 8:20-24:
23. What was Moses told to say in announcing the fourth plague, and with what outworking?
23 “Then Jehovah said to Moses: ‘Get up early in the morning and take a position in front of Pharaoh. Look! He is coming out to the water! And you must say to him, “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘Send my people away that they may serve me. But if you are not sending my people away, here I am sending upon you and your servants and your people and into your houses the gadfly; and the houses of Egypt will simply be full of the gadfly, and also the ground upon which they are. And on that day I shall certainly make the land of Goshen upon which my people are standing distinct, that no gadfly may exist there; in order that you may know that I am Jehovah in the midst of the earth. And I shall indeed set a demarcation between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will take place.’”’ And Jehovah proceeded to do so; and heavy swarms of gadflies began to invade the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and all the land of Egypt. The land came to ruin as a result of the gadflies.”
24. From then on, on what two counts was Pharaoh made to know that God is Jehovah, and after what experience did Pharaoh let Jehovah’s people go?
24 Thus hardhearted Pharaoh was further made to know that the true God is Jehovah on two counts, by the plague of gadflies itself, which also could be said to be “the finger of God,” and by the miraculous separating of Jehovah’s people, the Israelites, and protecting them from the plague of gadflies. If Pharaoh had sent to the land of Goshen, he would have found this to be so, just as he did in connection with the very next plague, which struck all sorts of livestock of the Egyptians with pestilence so that they died. Concerning Pharaoh’s checkup as to whether Jehovah had really made a distinction between the livestock of the Israelites and the livestock of the Egyptians, we read: “Then Pharaoh sent, and, look! not so much as one of Israel’s livestock had died.” (Exodus 9:7) But even this was not enough knowledge of Jehovah for unteachable Pharaoh. It was only after the tenth and last plague had killed off his firstborn son and the firstborn sons of all his Egyptian subjects that he relented enough to let Jehovah’s people go. It was his own fault that he learned to know Jehovah in only the hard way for Egypt.
25. Thereafter God declared to Moses that he would get further glory for himself by means of Pharaoh how, and so the Egyptians would certainly know what?
25 Despite all of this, the God of miracles was not through with forcing Pharaoh and his subjects to know that he is Jehovah. Some days after the departure of the Israelites with all their firstborn of man and livestock with them, they encamped by the Red Sea, on its western bank, near the head of the Gulf of Suez, and “in view of Baal-zephon (“Lord of the North, or, of the Watchtower”).” Near this geographical spot Jehovah purposed to make himself known still more to his enemies. It was just as Jehovah said to Moses: “Then Pharaoh will certainly say respecting the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering in confusion in the land. The wilderness has closed in upon them.’ So I shall indeed let Pharaoh’s heart become obstinate, and he will certainly chase after them and I shall get glory for myself by means of Pharaoh and all his military forces; and the Egyptians will certainly know that I am Jehovah.”—Exodus 14:1-4.
26. How had Jehovah now determined to settle accounts with the Egyptians, and what did he tell Moses was the purpose of this?
26 Really, then, it was not the Israelites that were trapped at the Red Sea with the Egyptian military forces fast bearing down upon them, but it was the Egyptians themselves that fell into a trap for their destruction. By this there was one final lesson that was to be given to the Egyptians in knowing Jehovah. This would settle his accounts with them. When Jehovah now told Moses that he would open up a corridor through the bed of the Red Sea for the Israelites to go forward to the eastern bank and to deliverance, he disclosed to Moses the purpose of this, saying: “As for me, here I am letting the hearts of the Egyptians become obstinate, that they may go in after them and that I may get glory for myself by means of Pharaoh and all his military forces, his war chariots and his cavalrymen. And the Egyptians will certainly know that I am Jehovah when I get glory for myself by means of Pharaoh, his war chariots and his cavalrymen.”—Exodus 14:15-18.
27. At what plight of theirs did the Egyptian forces finally make acknowledgment of God by name, but how timelily?
27 That night, under the light of the Passover moon, the hundreds of thousands of Israelites passed across the bed of the Red Sea with the miraculously parted waters of it on each side of them. Toward morning Jehovah permitted the Egyptian military forces to enter the dried seabed in pursuit of the Israelites. When the God of Israel began to hamper the progress of their pursuers, the Egyptian military forces sensed danger and began to feel that they were fighting against Jehovah. At last making an acknowledgment of Him by name, they said to one another: “Let us flee from any contact with Israel, because Jehovah certainly fights for them against the Egyptians.” But it was too late to flee, for Jehovah sprang the trap upon them. We read:
28. On that day how did Jehovah save Israel from the hand of the Egyptians?
28 “All the while the Egyptians were fleeing from encountering it [the sea], but Jehovah shook the Egyptians off into the midst of the sea. And the waters kept coming back. Finally they covered the war chariots and the cavalrymen belonging to all of Pharaoh’s military forces and who had gone into the sea after them. Not so much as one among them was let remain. As for the sons of Israel, they walked on dry land in the midst of the seabed, and the waters were for them a wall on their right hand and on their left. Thus on that day Jehovah saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel got to see the Egyptians dead on the seashore.”—Exodus 14:21-30.
See the prophecy of Ezekiel, chapter twenty, verses 6-10.
See the first book of Moses, Genesis, chapter fifteen, verses 12-14.
See the Second Letter to Timothy, 2Ti chapter three, verse eight.
See the book of Exodus 1:22–2:10, chapter one, verse twenty-two, through chapter two, verse ten.