A Shepherd-King for All Mankind
1. Reportedly, from as far back as when have political rulers not liked to consider themselves as shepherds, and why so?
KINGS, princes, presidents and governors of the world, not excluding those of Christendom, have not considered themselves as shepherds. To this day such political rulers have not cared to assume duties like those of a shepherd. This has been true from as far back as the Pharaohs of Egypt of the eighteenth century before our Common Era (1728 B.C.E.). Concerning that land it is reported: “Every herder of sheep is a detestable thing to Egypt.” (Genesis 46:32-34) To worldly rulers the occupation of shepherd appears too lowly to comport with the dignity of their governmental position. It is an occupation that calls for tenderness and compassion such as worldly rulers are not disposed to display toward the masses who “must be kept under.” Also, shepherding is too peaceful an occupation for rulers who are inclined to show belligerency and militancy with the idea of keeping other rulers in their place. So they keep prepared for war.
2. Is Jehovah too proud to liken himself to a shepherd, and to what did the psalmist David liken Jehovah, and to what did Jehovah liken Moses’ successor Joshua?
2 What, though, about the very highest one in all the realm of existence, who is also the Sovereign of the Universe? Is he too proud to liken himself to a shepherd? No! So without offense an ancient king, the psalmist David, spoke of Him as a herder of sheep, saying: “Jehovah is my Shepherd.” (Psalm 23:1) He acts as shepherd toward all his human creatures. Likewise, he speaks of the rulers of His people as shepherds. In the year 1473 B.C.E. he brought his chosen people into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua the son of Nun, who belonged to the tribe of Ephraim and who had been commissioned by the prophet Moses to lead Israel, why? For the loving purpose “that Jehovah’s assembly may not become like sheep that have no shepherd.”—Numbers 27:15-21.
3, 4. Like men in what occupation did the later rulers of Israel fail to act, and therefore Jehovah addressed himself to them as being what?
3 In later years the governmental rulers of Jehovah’s people failed to act like unselfish, compassionate Oriental shepherds to their subjects. So Jehovah declared to his prophet Ezekiel what he was determined to do about matters. Ezekiel leads up to a scathing denunciation of these “shepherds” by saying:
4 “And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and you must say to them, to the shepherds, “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said.”’”—Ezekiel 34:1, 2.
5, 6. Through Jeremiah what did Jehovah say concerning the royal shepherd Coniah (Jehoiachin), what did Jehovah say that the rulers were doing to His sheep, but what would He do for them?
5 This declaration against the governmental shepherds of Israel is recorded as occurring after Jerusalem’s destruction. But before her destruction the prophet Jeremiah at Jerusalem was inspired to declare something similar in connection with the second-last king on the royal throne, namely, Coniah (or Jeconiah or Jehoiachin), in these words: “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘Write down this man as childless, as an able-bodied man who will not have any success in his days; for from his offspring not a single one will have any success, sitting upon the throne of David and ruling anymore in Judah.’ [1 Chronicles 3:17-19; Matthew 1:11, 12] ‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasturage!’ is the utterance of Jehovah.
6 “Therefore this is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said against the shepherds who are shepherding my people: ‘You yourselves have scattered my sheep; and you kept dispersing them, and you have not turned your attention to them.’ ‘Here I am turning my attention upon you for the badness of your dealings,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And I myself shall collect together the remnant of my sheep out of all the lands to which I had dispersed them, and I will bring them back to their pasture ground, and they will certainly be fruitful and become many. And I will raise up over them shepherds who will actually shepherd them; and they will be afraid no more, neither will they be struck with any terror, and none will be missing,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.
7. In that connection, what did Jehovah purpose to raise up to King David, and what name would Jehovah bestow on what was raised up?
7 “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I will raise up to David a righteous sprout. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel itself will reside in security. And this is his name with which he will be called, Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.’”—Jeremiah 22:24 to 23:6.
8. As we read Jehovah’s words addressed through Ezekiel to the “shepherds of Israel,” whom should we have in mind?
8 Note, now, how, when giving a similar message to his prophet Ezekiel, Jehovah goes into more detail as to the misconduct of the unfaithful “shepherds of Israel.” As we read Jehovah’s words of description, we do well to think, not just of the history of the bad kings of Israel, but of their modern counterpart, the professed Christian kings, princes and governors of Christendom.
9. In Ezekiel 34:2-6, how did Jehovah describe the misconduct of the rulers as “shepherds of Israel,” with what result to the sheep?
9 “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have become feeders of themselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds ought to feed? The fat is what you eat, and with the wool you clothe your own selves. The plump animal is what you slaughter. The flock itself you do not feed. The sickened ones you have not strengthened, and the ailing one you have not healed, and the broken one you have not bandaged, and the dispersed one you have not brought back, and the lost one you have not sought to find, but with harshness you have had them in subjection, even with tyranny. And they were gradually scattered because of there being no shepherd, so that they became food for every wild beast of the field, and they continued to be scattered. My sheep kept straying on all the mountains and on every high hill; and on all the surface of the earth my sheep are scattered, with no one making a search and with no one seeking to find.’”—Ezekiel 34:2-6.
THE PREY OF THE GOVERNMENTAL “SHEPHERDS”
10. According to religious claims, whose “sheep” are the church people of Christendom, but who have been their visible governmental “shepherds”?
10 By virtue of their religious claims the church people of Christendom were Jehovah’s “sheep.” The professed Christian political rulers should therefore have been very careful of how they treated the sheeplike subjects, inasmuch as these were not the property of the political rulers but the property of the God whom they professed to worship. This fact holds true not only respecting the secular authorities of Christendom but also regarding popes, cardinals and archbishops who have held or still hold political office and maintain relations with the political states of this world. For example, since 1929 the popes of Rome have ruled as the absolute sovereign of Vatican City and have maintained diplomatic relations with the political states of this world. The first president of the Republic of Cyprus has been an archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church. Despite their harsh treatment of the sheeplike people, the political rulers of Christendom have had favor and support from the religious clergy and have been the highly regarded church members of their religious systems.
11. Despite their claiming to be Christian, how have the political rulers of Christendom treated the “sheep,” and what must be said about their imitating Jehovah’s Fine Shepherd?
11 Notwithstanding their claims to being Christian, the political rulers have fattened themselves materially off these poor “sheep.” How unlike the one whom they claim to follow, namely, Jesus Christ, who said: “I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved, and he will go in and out and find pasturage. The thief does not come unless it is to steal and slay and destroy. I have come that they might have life and might have it in abundance. I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep”! (John 10:9-11) Imitate this Fine Shepherd and lay down their lives for the sheep? We have not seen the political rulers of Christendom do this. Just because the religious clergy hobnob with the politicians and rank them high among their church members, let no one think that the heavenly Owner of the “sheep,” Jehovah, approves of the oppressive course of the political rulers of Christendom. To correct any wrong ideas of ours, He declares:
12. What position does the heavenly Owner of the “sheep” take toward those political shepherds, and for what stated reasons?
12 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah, ‘“As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “surely for the reason that my sheep became something for plunder and my sheep continued to be food for every wild beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, and my shepherds did not search for my sheep, but the shepherds kept feeding themselves, and my own sheep they did not feed,”’ therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of Jehovah. This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Here I am against the shepherds, and I shall certainly ask back my sheep from their hand and make them cease from feeding my sheep, and the shepherds will no longer feed themselves; and I will deliver my sheep out of their mouth, and they will not become food for them.’”—Ezekiel 34:7-10.
13. How have the “sheep” of Christendom been sacrificed to various causes, and been scattered and thus fallen prey to “beasts”?
13 The political “shepherds” of Christendom have fought among themselves, one professed Christian ruler against another so-called Christian ruler, and have sacrificed their sheeplike people on the altar of nationalism or religious sectarianism. Some political rulers that have been outstanding favorites of the religious clergy have been dictators. The Christian witnesses of Jehovah have experienced violent persecution at the hand of these dictators and extremely nationalistic, totalitarian rulers. Because of the injustices that are not corrected, many of the oppressed people have fled to various newly formed, revolutionary kinds of organizations and have fallen victim to materialistic radicalism and atheistic communism. There is neither political, national nor religious unity in Christendom. Like bewildered sheep without a shepherd, the people are scattered as prey to “beasts.”
14. How did Jehovah deliver his “sheep” out of the mouths of the self-feeding shepherds of ancient Israel, and how will he do a similar deliverance in the case of modern Christendom?
14 In the case of ancient Israel of Ezekiel’s day, Jehovah delivered his sheep out of the mouth of the self-feeding shepherds in governmental places by having Jerusalem destroyed and the land of Judah desolated. The king and princes had to vacate their governmental office, being captured by the Babylonians and deported. Some were killed as a penalty for their rebellion. In Babylon they were put in prison or subjected to restraints, being stripped of any rulership. (2 Kings 25:18-30; Jeremiah 52:24-34) In modern-day antitype, the destruction of Christendom in the approaching “great tribulation” will absolutely deprive the professed “Christian” political rulers of the religious clergy, for the latter will be put out of religious office by the executional forces of Jehovah. Christendom’s clergy will cease to exist. Any worldly politicians surviving Christendom’s annihilation will be reserved for execution in the final part of the “great tribulation,” namely, in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at the world situation called Har–Magedon.—Revelation 16:14-16; 19:11-21.
15. Thus Jehovah’s true “sheep” will be delivered from the operations of whom, and what prophetic historic guarantee do we have that He will regather his “sheep” into one fold?
15 Thus the death-dealing removal of all the governmental overseers of the entire worldwide system of things, including the professed Christian rulers of Christendom, will free Jehovah’s true “sheep” from the oppression and self-serving operations of the political “shepherds.” No more will those unfaithful shepherds feed themselves at the expense of Jehovah’s flock of Christian’s witnesses. No matter how scattered these may find themselves because of the opposition and persecution carried on by political elements, Jehovah knows where his true “sheep” have been dispersed. Like a loving Shepherd, he will search for them and regather them into one fold. His solemn promise as made through his prophet Ezekiel stands good today. The way that he fulfilled this promise toward ancient Israel in the year 537 B.C.E. and thereafter was a prophetic guarantee that he would carry out his promise in the future. Hear, now, His words:
16. To that effect, what did Jehovah say in Ezekiel 34:11-14?
16 “For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am, I myself, and I will search for my sheep and care for them. According to the care of one feeding his drove in the day of his coming to be in the midst of his sheep that have been spread abroad, that is the way that I shall care for my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all the places to which they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick gloom. And I will bring them out from the peoples and collect them together from the lands and bring them in onto their soil and feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the stream beds and by all the dwelling places of the land. In a good pasturage I shall feed them, and on Israel’s high mountains their abiding place will come to be. There they will lie down in a good abiding place, and on a fat pasturage they will feed upon the mountains of Israel.’”—Ezekiel 34:11-14.
THE REGATHERING OF THE SCATTERED “SHEEP”
17. Upon whom does the larger and final fulfillment of that prophecy come, and even now before destruction of Babylon the Great, how has Jehovah shown his ability to gather his spiritual “sheep”?
17 In ancient times Jehovah began the fulfillment of this prophecy in the year 537 B.C.E., by the restoration of a faithful remnant of Jewish exiles by the good offices of King Cyrus the Persian, the conqueror of Babylon. (2 Chronicles 36:17-23; Ezra 1:1 to 3:6) A larger and final fulfillment of this hope-inspiring prophecy takes place on spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God,” to whom the Christian apostle Paul wrote. (Galatians 6:16; 1:1-5) Even now, before the outbreak of the “great tribulation” in which Christendom and all the rest of Babylon the Great will be destroyed, the Heavenly Shepherd Jehovah has demonstrated his ability to gather the scattered remnant of spiritual Israel into a religiously free, spiritually nourishing relationship with Him. (1 Peter 2:25) For them the turbulent times of World War I (of 1914-1918 C.E.) had been a “day of clouds and thick gloom.” (Ezekiel 34:12) That day was darkened because of the religious persecution that Christendom (the dominant part of Babylon the Great) heaped on the remnant of spiritual Israel. Thereby the remnant of spiritual Israelites were scattered and came into deep bondage to Babylon the Great.
18. When were the shackles of Babylon the Great broken for these “sheep,” and thereafter they stepped on the world stage as being what?
18 Babylon the Great, however, failed to maintain her oppressive hold on the true-hearted remnant of spiritual Israelites. In the spring of 1919 Babylon the Great suffered a severe fall from her position of religious power over Jehovah’s people, and the shackles of their bondage to her were broken. This was a thing that could have occurred by the power of no one else but Jehovah through his Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ. (Psalm 126:1-4) As far as their religious rights and privileges from God were concerned, this remnant no longer let themselves become the prey or “food” of the governmental “shepherds” of Christendom. In Christian fearlessness they stepped on the stage of the postwar world as witnesses of Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom.—Matthew 24:14.
19. When in 1919 C.E. and by what event did Christendom and the rest of the world have to take note of the regathered condition of the remnant of spiritual Israelites?
19 War-bruised Christendom and all the rest of the world had to take note of the regathered, reunified condition of this Christian remnant of spiritual Israel when they held their first postwar international assembly at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. Thousands of the once scattered remnant gathered here, and there was a public attendance of 7,000 listeners at the lecture entitled “The Hope for Distressed Humanity,” on Sunday, September 7, 1919.
20. What did Jehovah say he would do for the “sheep” lost, scattered, broken and ailing, as in contrast with the strong and fat ones?
20 Toward these regathered sheep of spiritual Israel Jehovah has carried out the further declaration of His purpose: “‘I myself shall feed my sheep, and I myself shall make them lie down,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. ‘The lost one I shall search for, and the dispersed one I shall bring back, and the broken one I shall bandage and the ailing one I shall strengthen, but the fat one and the strong one I shall annihilate. I shall feed that one with judgment.’”—Ezekiel 34:15, 16.
21. Since 1919 there was an addition of whom to the original remnant, and in what manner?
21 Since that year of liberation, 1919 C.E., Jehovah has made an addition to the original remnant that survived faithfully the “day of clouds and thick gloom” during World War I. Thousands of persons inside and outside Christendom heard the Kingdom message as preached by Jehovah’s restored remnant and were filled with the desire to become “disciples” of His Son Jesus Christ. Upon properly understanding Jehovah’s requirements for them, they dedicated themselves to him and got baptized in symbol of their dedication, in obedience to Christ’s commandment.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
22. How did such become members of spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God”?
22 The evidences that followed in the lives of these dedicated footstep followers of Christ proved that Jehovah had given them spiritual birth to be his spiritual sons and had anointed them with his holy spirit as his ministers. (John 3:3, 5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Romans 8:15-17) In this way Jehovah made them members of spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God,” and they have been enjoying His shepherdlike care and attention in the restored spiritual estate of Jehovah’s anointed remnant on earth.
MAINTAINING CONSIDERATE BEHAVIOR AMONG SHEEP
23. Among his restored “sheep,” what does Jehovah promise to do to anyone that misuses his spiritual fatness and strength?
23 Among these restored “sheep” the Heavenly Shepherd permits no one to misuse his strength with impunity. If anyone takes advantage of his spiritual fatness and strength to the rough treatment and oppression of the other “sheep” in the fold, Jehovah will “annihilate” such an unloving, selfish “sheep,” cutting such one off from the flock as one who is spiritually dead. Says he: “I shall feed that one with judgment,” that is, with the judgment of disfellowshiping from the flock now and literal annihilation in the coming “great tribulation” upon Christendom and all the rest of Babylon the Great.
24. What kind of dealing with one another as carried on among the religious flocks of Christendom does Jehovah not desire among his restored “sheep”?
24 Jehovah maintains the proper dealing of the restored “sheep” in his flock, of the one with the other. There has been enough of crowding, and shoving aside and horning among the religious flocks of Christendom, especially on the part of the haughty, self-important clergymen and those church members who have powerful influence with the clergy. Jehovah desires none of this conduct among his restored flock. He says:
25. What will Jehovah do to those “sheep” that mistreat the pasture grounds and waters and that misuse flank and horn?
25 “And as for you my sheep, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am judging between a sheep and a sheep, between the rams and the he-goats. Is it such a little thing for you men that on the very best pasturage you feed but the rest of your pasturages you should trample down with your feet, and that the clear waters you drink but the ones [the waters] left over you should foul by stamping with your very feet? And as for my sheep, on the pasture ground trampled by your feet should they feed and the water befouled by the stamping of your feet should they drink?’ Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said to them: ‘Here I am, I myself, and I shall certainly judge between a plump sheep and a lean sheep, for the reason that with flank and with shoulder you kept pushing and with your horns you kept shoving all the sickened ones until you had scattered them to the outside. And I will save my sheep, and they will no longer become something for plunder; and I will judge between a sheep and a sheep.’”—Ezekiel 34:17-22.
26. Accordingly Jehovah has cleared out whom from among his restored “sheep,” and what rule laid down by Jesus Christ has He enforced?
26 In keeping with this prophetic promise Jehovah cleared out from among his restored remnant of spiritual sheep those who are greedy and self-seeking, using their brute strength and their horns of power to enjoy the best of things for themselves to the exclusion of weak or sickened other ones, even spoiling things for others that these night not thrive spiritually. Jehovah has allowed no dividing of his “sheep” into a clergy class and a laity class. As Shepherd Judge between his “sheep,” he has enforced the rule laid down through his Son Jesus Christ: “But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your [spiritual] father on earth, for one is your father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ. But the greatest one among you must be your minister.”—Matthew 23:8-11.
27. How does Jehovah deal with those who try to mislead, and how are all his “sheep” kept spiritually healthy?
27 If anyone tries to be like a horned ram or a horned he-goat and lead away Jehovah’s “sheep” after him, Jehovah sees to it that he is expelled. The spiritual food and drink must be made available to all His “sheep,” that the whole flock may be spiritually healthy.
THE “ONE SHEPHERD” UNDER ONE GOD
28. Because of His fulfilling what promise have such aggressive ones been judged according to their deserts among Jehovah’s restored “sheep”?
28 Why is it today that, among Jehovah’s restored flock of spiritual Israel, persons like aggressive horned rams and he-goats have been judged according to their deserts and been expelled from the “Israel of God”? It is because Jehovah has put a faithful undershepherd in charge of his flock. In this respect he has not failed regarding his promise in Ezekiel 34:23, 24: “And I will raise up over them one shepherd, and he must feed them, even my servant David. He himself will feed them, and he himself will become their shepherd. And I myself, Jehovah, will become their God, and my servant David a chieftain in the midst of them. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken.”
29. As in ancient Israel, how is it that Christendom has had political rulers like “shepherd” kings?
29 In a correspondency with ancient Israel, Christendom has had men like “shepherd” kings, “shepherd” rulers, in posts of government. For these the clergy have made the claim that such political “shepherds” rule “by the grace of God.” Misguided by the clergy’s misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures, many such rulers claimed “the divine right of kings.” For instance, King James I, the sponsor of the English Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611, was a stout contender for such “divine right of kings.” Quite to his liking, the dedication of this Authorized Version of the Bible is addressed as follows: “To the Most High and Mighty Prince James, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.”
30. How does the case of those who claim rule by God’s “grace” and “divine right of kings” compare with that of the “one shepherd” who rules over spiritual Israel?
30 True, God has permitted such rulers to govern, but such permission does not mean any “Grace of God” to them or impart “divine right” to them. It is not mere divine permission that allows for a certain “one shepherd” to rule over the restored remnant of spiritual Israel. Jehovah himself directly sets him up over them, for that one has the “legal right.”—Ezekiel 21:27.
31. Who, then, is this “one shepherd” whom Jehovah calls “my servant David,” and why are the words “David” and “shepherd” appropriate for that one?
31 Who, then, is the “one shepherd” to whom Jehovah gives the royal governmental position because this one has the “legal right” to it? Jehovah calls him “my servant David.” (Ezekiel 34:23) This does not mean that Jehovah raises up the original King David from the dead in order to put him in this shepherdlike office. It means a natural descendant of King David, who inherited the royal right from him. Such descendant was the heavenly Son of God, who had his life transferred from heaven to the womb of the Jewish virgin, Mary of Bethlehem, in order that he might be born into the earthly royal line of David, thus to become the “son of David, son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1 to 2:6; Luke 1:26-38; 2:4 to 3:31; Romans 1:1-4) The fact that the name David means “Beloved” comports well with the declaration that Jehovah made from heaven at the time that Jesus was baptized in water and at the time of his being transfigured on a high mountain: “This is my Son, the beloved.” (Matthew 3:13-17; 17:1-5) Jesus likened all mankind to sheep when he said: “I am the fine shepherd, . . . and I surrender my soul in behalf of the sheep.”—John 10:14, 15.
32. According to Hebrews 13:20, why is there only the “one shepherd” whom Jehovah could raise up over spiritual Israel’s remnant?
32 That he might resume his shepherding of the “sheep” on earth, Jehovah raised Jesus Christ up from the dead. Hence the Christian apostle Paul, when writing to the Christianized Hebrews, speaks of Jehovah as “the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus.” (Hebrews 13:20) Resurrected back to spirit life such as he originally had, Jesus Christ is now a heavenly Shepherd. In view of this there could be only the “one shepherd” that Jehovah could raise up over the remnant of spiritual Israel, namely, this resurrected Jesus the Messiah.
33. When did Jehovah raise up this “one shepherd” over the remnant of spiritual Israel, and how does he deal with the nations?
33 When did Jehovah do so? In the year 1914 C.E., when the “appointed times of the [Gentile] nations” ended, about October 4/5 of that war-shattered year. Concerning those Gentile nations the prophecy is made concerning his kingdom that he “is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” (Revelation 12:5) That means the breaking to pieces of all those ungodly nations as though being a potter’s vessel. (Psalm 2:8, 9) But the remnant of spiritual Israel he does not shepherd with such a rod or scepter.
34. How did the “shepherd” kings of Christendom treat the anointed remnant during World War I, and when did Jehovah’s “servant David” take over the care of them?
34 “He himself will feed them,” says Jehovah, “and he himself will become their shepherd. And I myself, Jehovah, I will become their God, and my servant David a chieftain in the midst of them. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken.” (Ezekiel 34:23, 24) During the first world war (1914-1918 C.E.) the “shepherd” kings of Christendom and their patriotic subjects persecuted the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel. After World War I Jehovah’s “servant David,” or Jesus Christ, took over the shepherd’s care of them.
35. How did he act toward the remnant of spiritual Israel like ancient Cyrus the Persian, how did he feed them and serve as their “chieftain,” and whom did they acknowledge as their God?
35 Like the ancient Persian conqueror of Babylon, respecting whom Jehovah said: “Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’” Jesus Christ delivered the remnant of spiritual Israel from Babylon the Great and her political associates from the year 1919 onward. With spiritual food he has fed them till now. He has become their chieftain in whose footsteps they follow as sheep. His God, Jehovah, has become their God. In appreciation of this, the anointed remnant, in the year 1931, embraced the Scripturally based name, “Jehovah’s witnesses.”—Isaiah 43:10-12, AS; NW.
“OTHER SHEEP, WHICH ARE NOT OF THIS FOLD”
36. After they embraced that name, to what “sheep” was the attention of the anointed remnant specially drawn, and who are those “sheep”?
36 Shortly after they began identifying themselves as the Christian witnesses of Jehovah, the attention of the anointed remnant was specially drawn to Jesus’ words, in John 10:16: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” The “other sheep” mean all the others of the world of mankind for whom the Fine Shepherd surrendered his soul or laid down his life as a ransom sacrifice.
37. What revelation concerning the “other sheep” was given in 1935, and for what future did Jehovah indicate that he was reserving these baptized disciples of Christ?
37 In the spring of the year 1935 it was revealed to the anointed remnant that a numberless “great crowd” of these “other sheep” was to be taken out from this system of things before the outbreak of the “great tribulation” upon Christendom. These began being baptized as “disciples” of Jesus Christ. But thereafter Jehovah revealed by his Word and dealings that He was not begetting them to a heavenly future but was reserving them for life in the coming Paradise earth along with all the rest of the “other sheep.” (Matthew 28:19, 20; Revelation 7:9-17) Nevertheless, He kept them in association with the anointed remnant that thus there might be “one flock.”
38, 39. So, according to Jehovah’s promise in Ezekiel 34:25-28, the “great crowd” enjoy what conditions with the anointed remnant?
38 Thus in companionship and cooperation with the remnant of spiritual Israel, the “great crowd” enjoys the peace and protection that Jehovah has promised to his restored remnant, saying:
39 “And I will conclude with them a covenant of peace, and I shall certainly cause the injurious wild beast to cease out of the land, and they will actually dwell in the wilderness in security and sleep in the forests. And I will make them and the surroundings of my hill a blessing, and I will cause the pouring rain to descend in its time. Pouring rains of blessing there will prove to be. And the tree of the field must give its fruitage, and the land itself will give its yield, and they will actually prove to be on their soil in security. And they will have to know that I am Jehovah when I break the bars of their yoke and I have delivered them out of the hand of those who had been using them as slaves. And they will no longer become something to plunder for the nations; and as regards the wild beast of the earth, it will not devour them, and they will actually dwell in security, with no one to make them tremble.”—Ezekiel 34:25-28.
40. How has Jehovah fulfilled this prophecy among his restored remnant and the associated “great crowd,” and thereby what have they come to know?
40 What a beautiful prophecy this is of the peace and security that prevail within the ranks and congregations of the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel, now joined by the “great crowd” of baptized sheeplike ones who are being gathered out of nations, tribes, peoples and tongues! According to Jehovah’s “covenant” for Christian peace, he has driven out and kept out all ferocious beastlike personalities dangerous to sheeplike Christians. By his holy spirit operating upon the true baptized disciples of Christ he has transformed their personalities into a peaceful, harmless sheeplikeness. They lovingly seek to protect one another spiritually as well as materially amidst this hostile world. The effect of this has been as predicted: They have come to know that the God who has broken the bars of their religious yoke of bondage and delivered them from their Babylonish enslavers is the one “whose name is Jehovah.” (Psalm 83:18) Little wonder, then, that they take delight in being his active, vocal witnesses.
A PARADISAIC “PLANTING FOR A NAME”
41. In harmony with Ezekiel 34:29, 30, for how long is the organization of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses planted in the earth, in contrast with Christendom?
41 Christendom will be uprooted and destroyed in the coming “great tribulation,” but the organization of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses is planted in the earth to remain through the present turbulent times and through the “great tribulation” in which the present worldwide system of things ends. This is the meaning of Jehovah’s words, when he says concerning restored spiritual Israel: “And I will raise up for them a planting for a name, and they will no more become those taken away by famine in the land, and they will no longer bear the humiliation by the nations. ‘And they will have to know that I, Jehovah their God, am with them and that they are my people, the house of Israel,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 34:29, 30.
42. The “planting” that Jehovah has raised up for them has become what in a spiritual sense, and how has the overflow of spiritual food been made available to the nations?
42 In fulfillment of this divine promise, the modern-day remnant of spiritual Israel have been brought into a spiritual Paradise. (2 Corinthians 12:4) The “planting” that Jehovah has raised up for these restored ones has remained to this day and is producing more abundantly than ever previously since the year 1919. Under Jehovah’s blessings, like pouring rains, their earthly estate has brought forth superabundantly the “fruits” of the kingdom of God. (Matthew 21:43) This productive plantation has become “for them a planting for a name,” a renowned or famous plantation. Jehovah’s written Word, the Holy Bible, he has opened up to their understanding, and not only are they sharing the resulting spiritual food among themselves but, by means of millions on millions of pieces of printed literature, they are making this overflow of spiritual food available to all the nations possible in many languages.
43. How has this gained a name for these spiritual Israelites, and how have nations been prevented from humiliating them as being famine-stricken?
43 This has resulted in their gaining a name earth wide as distributors of Bible literature. Opposed nations cannot halt or diminish this worldwide export of spiritual food by spiritual Israelites and thereby humiliate them by calling them famine-stricken.
44. Why will the nations be unable to repeat what they did during World War I to attempt the spiritual death of Jehovah’s remnant, and thus what have these spiritual Israelites been made to know?
44 Never again will the worldly nations be able to repeat what they did during World War I in banning and censoring the circulation of Jehovah’s kingdom message world wide so as to bring about the death of the remnant of spiritual Israel by spiritual famine. Whether by underground movement or by open above-ground distribution in broad daylight, the printed message of life issues forth in larger and larger volume, penetrating to the far corners of the earth to feed persons who are conscious of their spiritual need as regards the one living and true God. (Matthew 5:3) Due to their being blessed with such spiritual prosperity and overabundance of spiritual food, they have been made to know that Jehovah, the God whose name they bear, is with them and that they are his people, the spiritual “house of Israel,” even though they are a small remnant in comparison with populous Christendom.
45. As respects all the many religious people of the world, what question arises, and how does the Supreme Shepherd answer this?
45 Who, then, of all the many religious people of the world are today the spiritual “sheep” of the Divine Shepherd, Jehovah, and under His “one shepherd,” Jesus Christ the Greater David? In speech straightforwardly addressed to the remnant of spiritual Israel, the Supreme Shepherd says: “‘And as regards you my sheep, the sheep of my pasturing, you are earthling men. I am your God,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 34:31.
46. In what favorable period are these designated “sheep” living, and what kind of “earthling men” are they in connection with Jehovah?
46 The anointed remnant of spiritual Israel, restored to God’s favor since 1919, are manifestly living in the “year of good will on the part of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 61:1, 2) By making them “the sheep of my pasturing” he is treating them as His “men of good will,” concerning whom the angelic “multitude of the heavenly army” said at the time of Jesus’ birth in David’s city, Bethlehem: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.”—Luke 2:10-14.
47. Under whose shepherding does the “great crowd” of “other sheep” place itself, and why do they follow along as “one flock” with the remnant of spiritual Israel?
47 The “great crowd” that comes out of all nations, tribes and peoples discern that Jehovah has made choice of the remnant of spiritual Israelites and they likewise put themselves under his Shepherd-King Jesus Christ, as his “other sheep.” Despite their not being spiritual Israelites but coming from all earthly nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, they listen to the voice of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and sheeplike they follow him as the “one shepherd” whom Jehovah has raised up over spiritual Israel. Why do they follow along with the remnant of spiritual Israel as “one flock” under “one shepherd”? It is because they know for a fact that Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s Shepherd-King for all mankind.—John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17.