Growth and Protection of God’s Capital Organization
1. (a) Who is the greatest Organizer? (b) According to Romans 1:19, 20, what should intelligent creatures on earth have perceived about that Organizer?
THE GREATEST organizer in all existence is “The First Great Cause,” the Creator of all the things made. His matchless organizing ability is amply demonstrated by all his works in heaven and on earth. In first-century Rome (Italy) there were those who worshiped, not the national god Jupiter, but the living Almighty God. To these worshipers it was written, about the middle of the first century C.E.: “What may be known about God is manifest among them, for God made it manifest to them. For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.” (Romans 1:19, 20) From the creation of the world of mankind onward, intelligent humans should have been able to perceive that there was a Creator, God, even though he was invisible and even without his speaking to any of them out of the invisible. By the visible works that he made and arranged so orderly, they should have perceived that he is a perfect Organizer.
2, 3. (a) What basis is there for believing that He would organize his intelligent creatures with minds of their own? (b) What warning did He give through Enoch about his invisible heavenly organization?
2 Since this God could organize unintelligent creations so perfectly in the visible heavens and in the amazing ecology of the earth, he could and would organize all his living intelligent creations. It would be in the interest of universal peace and harmony and in order to prevent anarchy that He would organize such creatures with minds of their own. He visibly showed his organizing ability more than three thousand four hundred years ago when he organized the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai in Arabia and gave them a set of laws with which none of all the pagan nations had anything to compare. For immeasurable time before that he had an invisible organization, made up of heavenly spirit creatures. Enoch, the seventh man in line of descent from the first man, gave us people on earth a warning concerning this invisible organization, saying:
3 “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.”—Jude 14, 15; Genesis 5:18-24; Hebrews 11:5.
4. When was mankind part of God’s universal organization, when did they get out of it, and when will mankind be restored to that organization?
4 Perfect man and woman in the Edenic garden that Jehovah God planted for their home were part of His universal organization. They were the earthly visible part of it. And since the earth is spoken of as the footstool of Jehovah who thrones in the heavens, perfect man and woman were the lowest part of his universal organization. (Isaiah 66:1) When man was driven out of the garden of Eden because of rebelliously sinning against Jehovah God, he was driven out of God’s holy universal organization. Holy cherubs from out of his invisible organization appeared at the entrance of the garden of Eden and prevented disobedient man and woman from going back in. (Genesis 3:1-24) When God’s Messianic kingdom restores an Edenlike Paradise to earth, obedient ones of all mankind will be elevated to human perfection and holiness and thereafter Jehovah God the great Organizer will make humankind once again a part of his universal organization. (Luke 23:43) Then there will be sublime harmony between heaven and earth.
5. What does God purpose to set up over all his intelligent creation, and from where are the component members of this taken?
5 The perfect Organizer has more in mind than just to restore the earthly visible part of his universal organization. In the Book of his recorded purposes, the Holy Bible, he informs us of his grand purpose to establish a capital organization over all his intelligent creatures. Logically, that capital organization will be in the holy heavens, next below the Most High God himself. Most remarkable of all, those whom He takes to make up this capital organization are drawn out from mankind here on God’s footstool the earth. What an exaltation for these! In the last book of the Holy Bible we have an illustration of this.
6. In David’s days, what was made the capital of Jehovah’s visible organization, and how was the capital quality thereof enhanced in David’s days?
6 We remember that in the days of King David, when the nation of Israel was the visible theocratic organization of Jehovah God, the city of Jerusalem was made the royal capital of this theocratic organization. (2 Samuel 5:1-10) The capital quality of the city of Jerusalem was tremendously enhanced when Jehovah’s Ark of the Covenant was transferred and lodged in a tent near King David’s palace in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 6:11-14; 7:1-3) By his spirit Jehovah throned in that sacred tent as Israel’s invisible heavenly King.
7-10. (a) The name of what city is adapted to God’s capital organization? (b) How does the apostle John show the application of that name, and how does he describe the capital organization?
7 Appropriately, then, the name of earthly Jerusalem is adapted to Jehovah’s capital organization. Only it becomes called a New Jerusalem, of course. The Holy Bible could not be completed without this glorious fact’s being called to our attention. In Revelation, chapter twenty-one, the application of the name is made and the organization to whom it is applied is identified. The aged Christian apostle John writes and tells us:
8 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’
9 “And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls which were full of the seven last plagues, and he spoke with me and said: ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ So he carried me away in the power of the spirit to a great and lofty mountain, and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God and having the glory of God. Its radiance was like a most precious stone, as a jasper stone shining crystal-clear. It had a great and lofty wall and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names were inscribed which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. On the east were three gates, and on the north three gates, and on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The wall of the city also had twelve foundation stones, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
10 “And I did not see a temple in it, for Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb is. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God lighted it up, and its lamp was the Lamb. And the nations will walk by means of its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. And its gates will not be closed at all by day, for night will not exist there. And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But anything not sacred and anyone that carries on a disgusting thing and a lie will in no way enter into it; only those written in the Lamb’s scroll of life will.”—Revelation 21:1-4, 9-14, 22-27.
11. What body does that New Jerusalem picture, and what nationality do the members thereof have and on what official level?
11 There is no mistaking of it. That “holy city,” New Jerusalem, pictures the clean, undefiled, holy Christian congregation. It is composed entirely of spiritual Israelites, Jews inwardly, circumcised in their hearts. True, the “twelve apostles of the Lamb” were natural, circumcised Jews or Israelites; but from the festival day of Pentecost of the year 33 C.E. onward they all became spiritual Israelites or Jews, for then Jehovah’s holy spirit was poured upon them through the Lamb Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:12 to 2:42) These spiritual Israelites are 144,000 in number (12 x 12 x 1,000), grouped into twelve tribes, as it were, the names of these twelve tribes being inscribed over the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 7:4-8) Calling attention to their official position is the fact that they are called ‘the kings of the earth.’ (Revelation 20:4, 6) They are higher than “the nations” on earth who walk by means of the light of the New Jerusalem.—Revelation 5:10.
12, 13. (a) What in that Revelation description shows that the New Jerusalem is to be a capital organization? (b) How does one of the symbolic foundation stones identify the bride’s husband?
12 The name New Jerusalem indicates that it would be a capital organization, resembling Jerusalem in the days of King David and of his son King Solomon. But what is there to show that the New Jerusalem of 144,000 spiritual Israelites would be the capital organization over all of Jehovah’s realm of creation? It is this: The New Jerusalem is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17) To this figurative Lamb, it is said: “You were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10) This once slaughtered Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Jehovah God. In agreement with that fact, one of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb” wrote to his fellow Christians and said:
13 “It was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were delivered from your fruitless form of conduct received by tradition from your forefathers. But it was with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, even Christ’s.”—1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 5:7.
14, 15. (a) Who is the Head of that bride-wife? (b) Because of what heirdom of the members thereof is the station of the bride-wife elevated, and what does Peter state is the station of her Husband?
14 As a husband, the Lamb Jesus Christ is the head of his bride-wife, New Jerusalem: “a husband is head of his wife.” (Ephesians 5:23) Nevertheless, the bride-wife is made up of spirit-begotten sons of God, who are not only ‘heirs of God,’ but also “joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16-18) Such heirdom elevates the station of the bride-wife, and she shares with her husband in his glory and honor in the heavens. What, then, is the heavenly station of her “husband,” the Lamb Jesus Christ? Peter, one of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb,” says of him:
15 “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit. . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Peter 3:18, 21, 22.
16. How does Paul, at Philippians 2:5-11, go into greater detail as to the present station of the bride-wife’s Husband?
16 To other “joint heirs with Christ,” the apostle Paul writes in even greater detail, saying: “Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:5-11.
17. (a) In what position did such elevation of God’s Son put him, and how did God create a capital “organization”? (b) As to priesthood, what relative positions do Jesus Christ and those of his bride-wife hold?
17 No creature could get any higher than to the “right hand of God,” and the “superior position” to which God exalted him was to that right-hand position. (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:34-36; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1, 2; 10:12, 13; 12:2) This put the Lamb Jesus Christ in the capital position over all the rest of God’s creation. Of course, the Lamb Jesus Christ is not an “organization” in himself. But since Jehovah God gives him a bride-wife, namely, the congregation of 144,000 joint heirs, the Most High God creates a capital organization over all his holy universal organization. In this capital organization that the Supreme Being establishes, Jesus Christ is His High Priest and the bride-wife class are 144,000 underpriests, “a royal priesthood.” (1 Peter 2:9) Scripturally, then, beyond all contradiction, the Most High God Jehovah now has a capital organization through which he deals with all the rest of his universal organization.
THE THIRD VISION
18, 19. (a) According to Zechariah’s previous vision, what would need to be done for Jerusalem? (b) In his third vision, what did the man with the measuring rope want to do?
18 This Scriptural understanding of Jehovah’s capital organization to which the name Jerusalem is attached will aid us in understanding the third vision that the prophet Zechariah had on that wonderful twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (Shebat) of the year 519 B.C.E. Zechariah had just had his vision about the four craftsmen whom Jehovah sent to “cast down the horns of the nations that are lifting up a horn against the land of Judah, in order to disperse her.” This dispersion therefore included Jerusalem, and for that reason she would have to be regathered in Jehovah’s fixed time, when he would “return to Jerusalem with mercies.” (Zechariah 1:14-21) So the theme of Zechariah’s third vision logically follows. Here is how this vision proceeded:
19 “And I proceeded to raise my eyes and see; and, look! there was a man, and in his hand a measuring rope. So I said: ‘Where are you going?’ In turn he said to me: ‘To measure Jerusalem, in order to see what her breadth amounts to and what her length amounts to.’”—Zechariah 2:1, 2.
20. (a) What did his being a young man indicate about him? (b) What did Jerusalem’s walls not yet having been rebuilt allow for this young man to measure off?
20 The bearer of the measuring rope proved to be a young man, and naturally he has still quite a number of things to learn or things on which to be informed. With all the verve of youth he was interested in the full restoration of Jerusalem and was eager to see how large she would become or how extensive she ought to become. Hence his measuring rope. There was at least the Jerusalem of that year 519 B.C.E. that could be measured. However, the walls of the city had not yet been rebuilt, nor would they be rebuilt for a long time to come. As long afterward as the ninth lunar month (Chislev) of the year 456 B.C.E., over sixty-three years later, it was reported in the Persian capital Shushan: “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its very gates have been burned with fire.” (Nehemiah 1:1-3) Possibly, then, the Jerusalem of 519 B.C.E. had not yet reached the limits of the former preexile city. Or, possibly, the restored city might be extended beyond those former limits. The young man with the measuring rope may have had in mind to measure off what should be the final limits of the second Jerusalem.
21. What did the one angel tell the other angel to advise the young man with the measuring rope?
21 Was it the proper thing for an enthusiastic young man to set the limits for the Jerusalem to which Jehovah was returning with mercies? Let us see, from what Zechariah now reports: “And, look! the angel who was speaking with me was going forth, and there was another angel going forth to meet him. Then he said to him: ‘Run, speak to the young man over there, saying, “‘As open rural country Jerusalem will be inhabited, because of the multitude of men and domestic animals in the midst of her. And I myself shall become to her,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘a wall of fire all around, and a glory is what I shall become in the midst of her.’”’”—Zechariah 2:3-5.
22. From what took place in the days of Governor Nehemiah and also after Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 C.E., are we to understand this information to the young man to be in a literal way?
22 Was Jehovah of armies there talking about the literal earthly Jerusalem of Zechariah’s days? The later facts indicate plainly that He was not doing so. Why not? Because Jerusalem ceased to be inhabited “as open rural country.” Sixty-four years later the walls of Jerusalem were completely rebuilt under the leadership of Governor Nehemiah, in 455 B.C.E. Also, those rebuilt walls had twelve gates, as reported by Governor Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 2:3 to 6:15; 7:1) There were the Valley Gate, the Gate of the Ash-heaps and the Fountain Gate on the south; the Water Gate, the Horse Gate and the Inspection Gate on the east; the Gate of the Guard, the Sheep Gate and the Fish Gate on the north; the Gate of the Old City, the Gate of Ephraim and the Corner Gate on the west. (Nehemiah 2:13, 14; 3:26, 28, 31; 12:39; 3:32, 3, 6; 2 Chronicles 25:23) That city was destroyed by the Roman legions in the year 70 C.E. (Luke 21:20-24) The third Jerusalem, which is standing in this year 1972, is also walled and has gates on all four sides. But a modern Jerusalem has been built alongside it and its population is reported to be 275,000 as a whole.
23. (a) How is it apparent that Zechariah 2:4, 5 is not fulfilled in modern-day Jerusalem? (b) Where, then, should we look for the prophecy’s fulfillment?
23 Even though the Jerusalem of today has expanded far out beyond the old walled city even into “open rural country,” no informed observer will argue, not even the Israelis themselves, that Jehovah of armies has become to her “a wall of fire all around” and a “glory . . . in the midst of her.” For protection the Jerusalem of the Republic of Israel is trusting in the United Nations, of which it has been a member since 1949, also in the military aid supplied to the Republic of Israel by friendly nations such as the mostly Gentile United States of America. All this obliges us to look to the spiritual Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the divine prophecy of Zechariah 2:4, 5. The prophecy has to do with the remnant of the spiritual Israelites, who are yet to become part of the heavenly New Jerusalem under the Greater Governor Zerubbabel, Jesus Christ, the capital organization of Jehovah’s universal organization.
24. After World War I, who were the only ones surviving on earth who were obligated to respond to the rousing call of Isaiah 60:1-3 because of Jehovah’s glory?
24 The postwar year of 1919 C.E. found a remnant of the spiritual Israelites surviving on the earth and eagerly desiring to preach “this good news of the kingdom” world wide as a witness to all the nations. (Matthew 24:14) In that faithful remnant the heavenly New Jerusalem under Christ was represented. Because of what they represented on earth, these spiritual Israelites were the ones who were obligated to respond to the rousing prophetic command: “Arise, O woman, shed forth light, for your light has come and upon you the very glory of Jehovah has shone forth. For, look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups; but upon you Jehovah will shine forth, and upon you his own glory will be seen. And nations will certainly go to your light, and kings to the brightness of your shining forth. And to you the sons of those afflicting you must go, bowing down; and all those treating you disrespectfully must bend down at the very soles of your feet, and they will have to call you the city of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
25. To what extent would Jehovah speed up the growth of his organization?
25 “And as for your people, all of them will be righteous; to time indefinite they will hold possession of the land, the sprout of my planting, the work of my hands, for me to be beautified. The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.”—Isaiah 60:1-3, 14, 21, 22.
26. Why was that rousing call to the representatives of the “city of Jehovah” most fitting back in 1919 C.E., and how had Jehovah glorified these?
26 The call to the spiritual “city of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel,” was most fitting at the time. Back there in the year 1919 C.E. the outlook for the peoples of the earth was gloomy, dark. Today it was never darker! Back there it was the time for the representative remnant of the New Jerusalem to arise from the low, beaten-down condition to which the persecutions during World War I had brought them, and to shine, to “shed forth light.” To shine with what? To shed forth what light? The only light that the faithful remnant had was, not any worldly enlightenment of this so-called Brain Age, but the “glory of Jehovah” that had shone forth upon his devoted remnant. Glory is resplendent, magnificent, beaming with light. Jehovah had glorified them by delivering them from bondage and abject subjection to their enemies, religious, political, military. He had glorified the remnant by appointing the members of it to be the witnesses to His sovereignty and the ambassadors of His established Messianic kingdom. They must let this “glory of Jehovah” upon them be seen everywhere by acting as his witnesses and Kingdom ambassadors.
27. To whom, then, does Jehovah need to become a “wall of fire all around,” and why?
27 To whom, then, is it that Jehovah needs to become a “wall of fire all around”? Not the New Jerusalem in the invisible heavens, but the remnant of the New Jerusalem as that glorified remnant goes out into this bedarkened world and acts as the witnesses of Jehovah of armies and as his Kingdom ambassadors.
28. Why is Jehovah’s “wall of fire” around his remnant more effective in this Age of Violence than stone walls as now around Old Jerusalem?
28 A literal stone wall like that which surrounds Old Jerusalem in the Republic of Israel, of what protection could such a wall be in this day of nuclear weapons and missiles with nuclear warheads? The idea is ridiculous! The stone walls that were built around Jerusalem by Governor Nehemiah in 455 B.C.E. (and later) did not successfully resist the Roman legions in the year 70 C.E. In this Age of Violence, nuclear firepower must be met by fire. Jehovah of armies can meet it that way. He can be and he has promised to become a “wall of fire” all around the faithful remnant of the New Jerusalem. Who, then, can effectively assault them?
29. What protection of Elisha at Dothan do the spiritual Israelites recall, and what do they discern would result to the enemies in trying to crash through the “wall” that God is about them?
29 The glorified remnant of spiritual Israelites are therefore not trusting in man-made or natural defenses. They look to Jehovah of armies to be a “wall of fire” all around them, even though it is invisible to them and to their enemies. They remember that the “horses and war chariots of fire” with which the mountains around the town of Dothan were full were invisible to the prophet Elisha’s servant and to the Syrian war forces that surrounded Dothan to capture Elisha. (2 Kings 6:13-17) They get their spiritual eyes opened to discern that God Almighty can, by invisible means, protect them and that it would mean fiery destruction for any enemy to try crashing through the “wall of fire” and attacking them. “For our God is also a consuming fire.”—Hebrews 12:29.
30. How was the surviving remnant inclined in 1919 C.E. to limit the growth of the organization, and what was the real fact about the “harvest” of “sons of the kingdom”?
30 Why do interested persons like the young man with the measuring rope think to measure off a limit on the growth of Jehovah’s capital organization? Do not fear that otherwise the “city” will get so big and extensive that it will not be possible to build an adequate protective “wall” around it! For a time back there in 1919 C.E., after World War I was all over, the surviving remnant of spiritual Israelites thought that the harvest work that Jesus predicted for the “conclusion of the system of things” was finished and that all there was for them to do henceforth on earth was a “gleaning work,” gathering up just a few leftovers or overlooked ones. (Matthew 13:39) They did not for the moment discern that the spiritual harvest was only really beginning and that there were many more of the “sons of the kingdom” to be collected into God’s capital organization, “sons” whom their preconceived ideas had not allowed for. In fact, the full number of the remnant needed to bring to the full the foreordained company of 144,000 “sons of the kingdom” was to be collected during this “conclusion of the system of things.”
31. (a) How do we estimate Jerusalem’s population in Zechariah’s day? (b) How was the young man with the measuring rope made to see that it would be improper for him to put limits on the city’s size, because of any fear about it?
31 Apparently, in Zechariah’s vision of 519 B.C.E., the young man with the measuring rope wanted to measure off what the length and breadth of the restored Jerusalem should grow to be. At that time the population of Jerusalem was apparently not too large. Let us remember that only 42,360 Israelites and some 7,560 servants and singers, or a total of some 49,920, had returned from exile in Babylon in 537 B.C.E. and that later, in Governor Nehemiah’s time, it was arranged to “bring in one out of every ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city.” So Jerusalem had only several thousand inhabitants in Zechariah’s day. (Ezra 2:64, 65; Nehemiah 7:66, 67; 11:1, 2) Hence when Jehovah’s angel told the young man that “as open rural country Jerusalem will be inhabited, because of the multitude of men and domestic animals in the midst of her,” he knew that it was not his business to measure off what should be Jerusalem’s length and breadth in order to put a material wall all around it. Its population was to grow according to what Jehovah had in mind for it, and He would safely protect it.
32. Although the number of partakers of the emblems at the annual Lord’s Supper increased, what was true of Jehovah’s protection?
32 In the case of the modern-day remnant of the spiritual heirs of Jehovah’s capital organization, the number of members grew as the years went on. Correspondingly, the number of dedicated, baptized Christians who attended the annual celebration of the Lord’s Supper and who partook of the emblematic bread and wine increased according to the reports sent in for the record. No matter to what extent the number of Jehovah’s remnant of spiritual Israelites increased all around the earth, Jehovah protected them as with a “wall of fire” all around them. Through all these perilous times he preserved them, even through the world’s spree of war madness during 1939-1945 C.E., yes, down till the present time.
33. What do the facts show as to whether Jehovah has become a ‘glory in the midst of her’ as represented by the anointed remnant?
33 Also, did Jehovah fulfill to this anointed remnant of heirs of the New Jerusalem his promise: “A glory is what I shall become in the midst of her”? (Zechariah 2:5) He has indeed, for he has glorified himself by being the heavenly Protector in the midst of the persecuted, harassed, opposed remnant. Their surviving despite their being without visible protection of an earthly carnal kind reflects gloriously upon the God whom they worship and in whom they put their trust. They glory in Him and not in men; and after years of bearing witness to his name and Kingdom, they embraced the name by which they have been known world wide since July 26, 1931, namely, Jehovah’s witnesses. Through them, and not through any other religious organization on earth today, Jehovah has been made known by name all around the earth. They have conscientiously avoided bringing any reproach upon his holy name. In imitation of his Son Jesus Christ they have endeavored to live up to the rules of conduct set out in his sacred Word, the Holy Bible, obeying Him as ruler rather than men, and this course has brought glory to His name. (Acts 5:29) He is truly a glory amidst them!
THE CALL OF THE LIBERATOR
34. Who is the rallying point for lovers of pure worship to assemble, and what call to assemble has rung out since 1919 C.E.?
34 Is not the glorious God, Jehovah of armies, a rallying point to which all lovers of pure worship that is undefiled by politics, militarism and commercialism should gather in unity and brotherhood? Yes! And where His glory is seen, there is the place to assemble. He issues the call to assemble, and he liberates his people from religious bondage to Babylon the Great and calls to them to assemble. Since 1919 C.E. the words of his call have rung out: “‘Hey there! Hey there! Flee, then, you people, from the land of the north,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”—Zechariah 2:6.
35. (a) What was called “the land of the north” in Zechariah’s day, and why so? (b) The fleeing from there foreshadowed what today?
35 In the prophet Zechariah’s day the “land of the north” was Babylon, the city conquered by the Medes and Persians in the year 539 B.C.E. Babylon really lay to the east of Jerusalem, but, when sending its armies to bring about the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., Babylon had its armies take the circuitous route and come down against Jerusalem from “the north.” (Jeremiah 1:14-16; Ezekiel 21:18-22) Also, the conquered territories under Babylon extended to the north of Jerusalem. When the Jews were carried into exile in the years 617 and 607 B.C.E., they were, so to speak, carried off to the “land of the north.” From that land they could be called to flee. This foreshadowed our modern times. During World War I the dedicated, baptized remnant of spiritual Israelites came into bondage to Babylon the Great, that is, to the world empire of false religion. From there it was that Jehovah of armies called the repentant remnant in the year of liberation, 1919 C.E. From there the remnant must flee, now that he had opened the way for them.
36. (a) How were Jehovah’s words, “In the direction of the four winds of the heavens I have spread you people abroad,” true back there? (b) How did they become true as to the modern-day remnant?
36 It was quite a dispersion of the twelve tribes in Israel, Judah and Jerusalem that the “horns” of the Assyrian Empire and the Babylonian Empire had caused as agents of divine discipline for Jehovah’s chosen people. So with correctness he could go on to say, as recorded in Zechariah 2:6 (b): “‘For in the direction of the four winds of the heavens I have spread you people abroad,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” Those Israelites who dodged the conquerors and managed to escape ahead of them fled to the various lands in different directions. In the case of the modern-day remnant of spiritual Israelites, they too were dispersed in all directions, to “the four winds of the heavens.” Not necessarily physically or in a bodily sense, for it was their God-given spiritual estate on earth from which they were dispersed.
37. How was this dispersion of the spiritual Israelites in a figurative way accomplished?
37 Hence the dispersing of them was in a figurative sense. It would mean scattering them into any and every situation or set of circumstances that would keep them from acting within their rightful God-given spiritual estate on earth. This resulted in their being limited in their spiritual privileges, in doing their spiritual work. For instance, government bans on certain literature or on all literature of Jehovah’s remnant would be one way of doing it. Or, banning their religious organization. Or, putting some of the Christian spiritual Israelites in military prisons or encampments for their refusing to violate their Christian neutrality toward international conflicts of this world. Or, arresting the officers of their legal corporations and railroading these off to prison or penitentiaries on false charges trumped up because of war hysteria and religious prejudice. Methods of all kinds, in all directions, just to get the remnant of spiritual Israelites away from their God-given spiritual estate and their Christian privileges and activities on that spiritual estate.
38. Why was it fitting for Jehovah’s angel to call out to the Jewish exiles: “Make your escape, you who are dwelling with the daughter of Babylon”?
38 In the calamities suffered at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the larger part of the Jewish survivors were taken into exile in Babylon and its territories, which included territories taken from the former Assyrian Empire. It was therefore quite fitting for the angel of Jehovah of armies now to cry out: “Hey there, Zion! Make your escape, you who are dwelling with the daughter of Babylon. For this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Following after the glory he has sent me to the nations that were despoiling you people; for he that is touching you is touching my eyeball. For here I am waving my hand against them, and they will have to become spoil to their slaves.’ And you people will certainly know that Jehovah of armies himself has sent me.”—Zechariah 2:7-9.
39. In crying out, “Hey there, Zion,” to whom was Jehovah calling out to make an escape?
39 Ancient Zion, which is here the same as Jerusalem, represented the whole nation, not merely the exiled former inhabitants of the capital city. Now that Babylon had been overthrown in 539 B.C.E. and Cyrus the Persian conqueror had issued his decree of liberation to the Jewish exiles, the call to Zion was really addressed to all the exiled Jews. They were dwelling as exiles “with the daughter of Babylon,” the city of Babylon being spoken of as a woman no longer an unviolated virgin daughter.
40. What is the meaning of the expression “following after the glory” in Zechariah 2:8?
40 The expression “following after the glory” does not seem to mean being in pursuit of future glory but refers to time. Jehovah had got glory by having his word of prophecy vindicated as being true in what he had said about disciplining the Israelites.
41. In administering the discipline to Jehovah’s people, why should the nations have shown some fear, respect, toward Him?
41 It was now time for Jehovah of armies to turn his attention to the enemy nations that had been used to administer the discipline, but who had abused their assignment of work. They had gone too far and had used the occasion to vent their spleen at people who belonged to Jehovah God. They had gone too far in mistreating Zion and her people. (Zechariah 1:15, 21) They should have been more considerate in handling his people whom he delivered into their hands for disciplinary purposes. They should have shown some fear of the God of this people, some respect. He stated the reason why, in saying to his disciplined people: “For he that is touching you is touching my eyeball.”
42. (a) Jehovah’s waving of his hand was a warning of what reversal to the persecutor nations? (b) What was such a reversal for Babylon?
42 Accordingly, when he now waves his hand against those arrogant, presumptuous nations it is a threatening waving of the hand, like the shaking of the fist. It is no idle, meaningless gesture. It was to warn them that they the dispersers and despoilers would suffer reprisals. They would become a spoil to those who had been their slaves in Babylonian exile. What a reversal, and this from the hand of Jehovah of armies! Something of this kind of reversal happened when the Jewish exiles were freed by the conqueror Cyrus the Great to return to the location of Jerusalem and rebuild Jehovah’s temple. What a great humiliation it was for the conquered Babylon when, according to Ezra 1:7, 8, “King Cyrus himself brought forth the utensils of the house of Jehovah, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought out from Jerusalem and then put in the house of his god. And Cyrus the king of Persia proceeded to bring them forth under the control of Mithredath the treasurer and to number them out to Sheshbazzar the chieftain of Judah.”—Daniel 1:1, 2; 5:3-23.
43. How was there a reversal for Babylon as in Daniel’s case?
43 In the course of time and in many ways the once enslaved Israelite captives had occasion to trample Babylon under their feet, she becoming a “place of trampling, like the mire of streets.” (Micah 7:8-10) At the fall of Babylon to Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian, the prophet Daniel ceased to be a slave of Babylon and was made one of “three high officials” whom King Darius the Mede set up over the one hundred and twenty satraps that were over the whole Medo-Persian kingdom.—Daniel 6:1-3, 28.
44. How was there a reversal as regards the Babylonian worship and the worship by Jehovah’s people?
44 Also, because of the difference between religion of the Persian worshipers of Zoroaster and the religion of the old Babylonian cultists, the magic-practicing priests, conjurers, Chaldeans and astrologers became overshadowed religiously and finally felt obliged to move from the religious center of Babylon. It appears that they transferred westward to Pergamum in Asia Minor and then from there over to Italy. (Revelation 2:12, 13) In sharp contrast with this, the worshipers of Jehovah won favor from the conquerors of Babylon, and their priests and Levites were reinstated in the posts of service at the rebuilt temple of Jehovah on its original site in Jerusalem. Thus “Zion” escaped homeward from Babylon.
GOD’S REACTION TO TOUCHING “MY EYEBALL”
45. (a) How sensitive is Jehovah about anyone’s violently touching his people? (b) So why has he been waving his hand against the nations of today?
45 All this vividly illustrates that it is an outrageous thing for the nations of this world to touch Jehovah’s worshipers in a violent way. It pains Jehovah God. It is like touching his eyeball, a very sensitive part of a body. Long ago, as far back as the year 1473 B.C.E., the prophet Moses pointed out how sensitive Jehovah was over his chosen people, saying: “He began to encircle him, to take care of him, to safeguard him as the pupil of his eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:10) He is just as sensitive about his Christian witnesses of today. But the nations of Christendom and of pagandom have chosen to ignore this fact in their handling of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Is it any wonder, then, that He has been doing as he foretold, “waving my hand against them, and they will have to become spoil to their slaves”? (Zechariah 2:9) How has He been doing this?
46. How, in 1919 C.E., did Jehovah make the spoilers of his people to become a spoil to them?
46 He has liberated his remnant of spiritual Israelites from religious bondage to Babylon the Great and restored them to their rightful God-given spiritual estate on earth. They do not bow in abject subservience to the political paramours of that international harlot, Babylon the Great, but say to worldly politicians that try to encroach upon the things belonging to Jehovah God: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) In the liberation year of 1919 C.E., they began to proclaim far and wide the adverse judgments of Jehovah God, especially against the international organization for world peace and security, namely, the League of Nations, saying that it would fail. The reason for this? Because the League of Nations was adopted and put in force in 1919 C.E. by the nations of Christendom instead of God’s Messianic kingdom, which had been born in the heavens at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E.—Revelation 12:5.
47. How did these adverse judicial decisions of Jehovah become more pronounced during the years 1922 through 1928?
47 These adverse judicial decisions of Jehovah of armies became more pronounced and comprehensive during the seven years of 1922 through 1928. During that period a series of annual international assemblies was held by the International Bible Students Association in America, Great Britain and Canada, in connection with which Bible commentaries were released that dealt with the divine prophecies concerning these religious and political matters. At each of these principal annual conventions of the International Bible Students resolutions or declarations were adopted, the first one of these, in 1922, being entitled “A Challenge” and the seventh and last, in 1928, being called “Declaration against Satan and for Jehovah.” These seven resolutions and the supporting public addresses, together with related Bible pronouncements, corresponded with things foretold in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, chapters 8 through 16.
48. These emissions corresponded to what in Revelation?
48 They corresponded with the seven trumpets that were sounded by the seven angels and that introduced seven prophetic tableaux. Also with the “seven last plagues,” which are poured out from bowls by the seven appointed angels.—Revelation 21:9; 15:1 to 16:21.
49. (a) What effect did the modern fulfillment of such things have on those concerned? (b) How long did the publication of such judgments of Jehovah continue, so that in effect he has been doing what to the nations?
49 The modern fulfillment of those tableaux introduced by trumpets and of the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues caused a great stir, uneasiness, and rebellious resentment both in Babylon the Great (including Christendom) and in the worldly political governments. The publication of those adverse judgments of Jehovah of armies was not confined to just those seven years of 1922 through 1928, but it has continued on down till the present in greater volume and strength and on a wider scale than back there in the 1920’s. By such publication world wide of his adverse judicial decisions against religious Babylon the Great and her political patronizers Jehovah of armies is in effect shaking his fist, waving his hand menacingly at the worldly organizations, religious and political, that have been despoiling his people. He is doing so by means of His witnesses, formerly slaves of such oppressors.
50. (a) When Jehovah finally executes those judgments, what will be known about the angel who was sent? (b) By the divine execution, the vindication of what persons is brought about, even in our day?
50 Shortly we shall see those divine judicial decisions executed upon those enemies who have pained the Most High God as if they were touching his eyeball. That will be the momentous time of which the angel spoke in Zechariah’s hearing, saying: “And you people will certainly know that Jehovah of armies himself has sent me.” (Zechariah 2:9) But do we today have to wait until that time of complete fulfillment? Even now we have enough evidence at hand to prove that this angel has spoken the truth, like history written in advance. This, in turn, proves that only Jehovah of armies himself could be the One that sent this angel. In this way the prophet Zechariah is also being vindicated as being the recorder of true, infallible prophecy. And what about today? Today there is also a vindication taking place. Of whom? Of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, who have been calling attention to Zechariah’s wonderful prophecies and to the modern fulfillment of them.
WHY NOW THE CALL TO REJOICE?
51. Why did the maliciously minded nations have reason to cry out and rejoice during World War I?
51 Once the maliciously minded nations did have reason to cry out loud and rejoice at the turn of human events. That was when Jehovah of armies let his Christian witnesses fall into their power during World War I and the nations were given the freedom to vent their spleen upon these Christian spiritual Israelites. At the time the nations were fighting over the issue of world domination, not domination by the Creator of heaven and earth, but domination by themselves, by either the democratic bloc of nations or by the autocratic, dictatorial bloc. They wanted to control the resources of the earth, exploiting these for commercial profit.
52. Why did those nations mistreat the spiritual Israelites for standing faithfully for God’s Messianic kingdom?
52 They were very nationalistic, with national patriotism running at fever heat. In their efforts at total mobilization of the people for their nationalistic goals, they became enraged at those who refused to be integrated with them because of standing for God’s Messianic kingdom that had been inaugurated in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. So, under war stress, the nations mistreated these champions of God’s kingdom. How they did rejoice at killing off the influence of these for God’s kingdom!
53. How does Revelation 11:7-10 describe the nations’ jubilation?
53 The glee and self-congratulations that the beastly nations indulged in at this defeat for the advocates of God’s Messianic kingdom is foretold in Revelation, chapter eleven, which borrows figures of speech from Zechariah’s prophecy. In pictorial language Revelation 11:7-10 says: “And when they have finished their witnessing, the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will make war with them and conquer them and kill them. And their corpses will be on the broad way of the great city which is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also impaled. And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not let their corpses be laid in a tomb. And those dwelling on the earth rejoice over them and enjoy themselves, and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those dwelling on the earth.” But their jubilation proved to be short-lived.
54, 55. (a) When, however, was it that the remnant of spiritual Israelites were called upon to cry out joyfully? (b) This was the same as calling to whom to cry out, with what reason for crying out?
54 In 1919 C.E., just as portrayed in the Revelation vision, Almighty God resurrected these unburied witnesses spiritually and reactivated them in his Kingdom service. Dismay smote the nations and their religious prostitute Babylon the Great, but now the time had come for the revived remnant of spiritual Israelites to cry out loud and rejoice. Their heavenly Reviver and Liberator called upon them to do so. Inasmuch as they represented the heavenly New Jerusalem and were in line for membership therein it was as if God was calling out to that spiritual organization. Calling that organization Zion (the alternate name for Jerusalem), he said:
55 “‘Cry out loudly and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for here I am coming, and I will reside in the midst of you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘And many nations will certainly become joined to Jehovah in that day, and they will actually become my people; and I will reside in the midst of you.’ And you will have to know that Jehovah of armies himself has sent me to you. And Jehovah will certainly take possession of Judah as his portion upon the holy ground, and he must yet choose Jerusalem. Keep silence, all flesh, before Jehovah, for he has aroused himself from his holy dwelling.”—Zechariah 2:10-13.
56. (a) How did Jehovah show whether he let go his claim to the land of Judah at its desolation? (b) How did Jehovah take possession of the land again, and what miracle did he produce then?
56 In seeing what that prophecy meant back there in Zechariah’s day we can discern what the fulfillment of it means in this remarkable twentieth century of our Common Era. Away back there did Jehovah let go his claim on the land of Judah and allow any territory-greedy nations to take possession of it or land squatters to move in upon it? By no means! Although he had his people deported from it to Babylon, he safeguarded that land and enforced a long sabbath of rest upon it. How? By keeping it desolate, without man or domestic animal, just as he had foretold. At the end of those seventy years of sabbath keeping for the land, he again took possession of the territory of Judah by freeing his exiled people and moving them back from Babylon onto their beloved homeland. Jerusalem he again chose as the capital of Judah by having the restored exiles build a second Jerusalem upon the old location. Thus a peopled land was brought forth as with childbearing labor “in one day.” Also, “at one time” a nation was “born” by having its capital reestablished at Jerusalem exercising governmental rule over the “holy ground” of Judah. (Isaiah 66:7, 8) It was miraculous!
57. So, when did Jehovah take up residence in the land of Judah, and when and how did his residence there become more evident?
57 As ancient Israel was a theocratic nation, under divine rule and law, Jehovah God resumed his residence at Jerusalem when it was founded again and rebuilt. This became all the more evident when the temple of his worship was brought to its completion in 515 B.C.E. and his regular worship, on a full scale, began there. That rebuilt temple would be a symbol to all the surrounding nations that Jehovah of armies had taken up residence there, that he was now dwelling in Zion, in Jerusalem. He could be approached there.
58. How would honest-hearted people of nations round about make favorable observations, and so what would they do (Zechariah 2:11)?
58 What effect was this to have upon the pagan nations round about? Many of the people in those nations would be rightly impressed with the evidence that Jehovah of armies was the God of truth; that he had displayed his perfect foreknowledge and his all-power by fulfilling the prophecies given over his own name. As he had resurrected his people of Israel from a national death and raised it out of its grave in Babylon and restored them to the land of the living in their own homeland, these observers with honest hearts saw that He was the one living and true God, the only One deserving to be worshiped. Sincerely they would desire to worship him and, if possible for them, they would come to his place of residence in Zion (Jerusalem) to do so. Zechariah 2:11 was not to be left unrealized: “And many nations will certainly become joined to Jehovah in that day, and they will actually become my people.” That indicated an increase of the worshipers of Jehovah world wide, and not just on the “holy ground” of Judah.
59, 60. (a) How did the like take place in connection with the remnant who were in line for a place in the New Jerusalem and who were like buried in Babylon the Great’s domain? (b) How has Jehovah shown that he has taken up residence with the remnant?
59 Has not the like of this also become true in the case of the modern-day remnant of spiritual Israelites? Do they not have every reason to “cry out loudly and rejoice,” as the “daughter of Zion” was told to do in ancient times, in Zechariah’s day? Yes! This remnant of spiritual Israelites is like a bride, ‘promised in marriage to one husband so as to be presented as a chaste virgin to the Christ,’ and it is therefore in line for a part in the heavenly New Jerusalem. That New Jerusalem with Jesus Christ as its Head is the capital organization of Jehovah God over all his universal organization. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2, 9, 10) During World War I the remnant’s unity as a “holy nation” was broken up, they were exiled from their God-given spiritual estate and were as if buried in a grave in Babylon the Great’s domain. After that first world conflict was over and its pressures were lifted, the amazing fulfillment of what was depicted prophetically in Revelation 11:11-13 startled the world!
60 Jehovah revived the buried remnant spiritually, brought them up out of their grave in Babylon the Great, restored them to their rightful spiritual estate on earth, and reintegrated them as his united “holy nation.” He had again chosen this faithful remnant that was looking upward to citizenship in the New Jerusalem under Christ. (Philippians 3:20, 21) Jehovah turned his favorable attention to them, and he energized them with that mighty active force, his holy spirit, to undertake a worldwide witness to his Messianic kingdom, the like of which has never been realized before in all Christian history. (Mark 13:10; Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) They did not join the nations of Christendom in worshiping the idolatrous League of Nations as “the last hope of the world,” but fervently devoted themselves to the worship of the “God of hope” at his spiritual temple. (Revelation 13:14, 15; 14:9) They made known the name of their God, Jehovah, to an extent never before equaled. (Isaiah 12:4, 5) By all outward tokens, he had taken up his residence with them.
61. How has it become true, therefore, that “many nations will certainly become joined to Jehovah in that day”?
61 Can we see today that this had its effects upon the peoples of the world? The nations as political entities had their fears aroused. But among those nations there were sincere, honest-hearted individuals who were hungering and thirsting for a pure, true, sensible religion that really brought a person into touch with the true God, worthy of worship. As the faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites carried the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” into more and more of the inhabited earth, more and more of these seekers for the true God were reached. They learned that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah of Jehovah God and they took the steps of dedication to God and water baptism in order to become disciples of His Messiah. (Matthew 28:19, 20) It turned out to be just as foretold, “many nations will certainly become joined to Jehovah in that day.” (Zechariah 2:11) No nationalities or races were barred from doing so.
62. To what extent has this become true since 1935 C.E., and how have they become Jehovah’s “people”?
62 This markedly became true from 1935 C.E. onward, four years after the anointed remnant had embraced the designation, Jehovah’s witnesses. World War II did not stop these genuine seekers of the true God from becoming “joined to Jehovah” as disciples of His Messiah. In comparison with how many they were back there in 1935, yes, and in comparison with the anointed remnant, these thus “joined to Jehovah” have become a “great crowd” without a fixed number set for them in the Bible. (Revelation 7:9-17) And as Jehovah said, “they will actually become my people.” They do not profess to be of the anointed remnant of spiritual Israelites. This is because God has not begotten them with his holy spirit to become his spiritual sons, even though he has accepted their joining of themselves, their dedicating of themselves, to Him through His High Priest, Jesus Christ. It is the merit of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice that makes them acceptable to Jehovah God. Thus these dedicated, baptized ones He counts as “my people,” attached to Him. So these, as “other sheep,” become “one flock” with the anointed remnant under the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ.—John 10:16.
63. As such “sheep,” how have they become “joined to Jehovah”?
63 These “other sheep” have heard the voice of the Fine Shepherd and have responded to his call and come forth from “many nations.” They join with the anointed remnant of spiritual Israelites in the worship of the true God at his spiritual temple. (Revelation 7:15) In such a way they become “joined to Jehovah.”
64. (a) What hope has been set before them, and why? (b) How has Jehovah, because of them, filled his house with glory (Haggai 2:7)?
64 Since Jehovah has not begotten these “other sheep” with his spirit to become part of the heavenly New Jerusalem, he sets before them the hope of eternal life on His “footstool,” that is, this earth, but then transformed to a beauteous Paradise. (Genesis 2:8; Luke 23:43) Jehovah God has rocked all the nations by the way that he has dealt with human affairs since 1914 C.E., and thereby these “other sheep” have become aware of His Messianic kingdom. In appreciation of His kingdom they have come into his house of worship, and He receives them as desirable worshipers. In fact, they are the “desirable things of all the nations” that were foretold to “come in,” and by means of them at his place of pure worship Jehovah fills his house or temple with glory.—Haggai 2:7.
65. The evidence today shows what as to the sender of the ones by whom we got the third vision of Zechariah, and this strengthens our conviction as to what further?
65 Today, nearly forty years since that memorable year of 1935 C.E., which called our attention to the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17 in a right understanding thereof, we see the things foretold in the third vision to Zechariah being grandly realized. Already, therefore, we have enough evidence to know that it was the God of truth, Jehovah, and not some false prophetic source, that sent the angel to Zechariah and his people. This same Jehovah also sent Zechariah as a prophet to record the vision for us today. This strengthens our conviction that all further visions to Zechariah will come true.
66. What are we rightly commanded to do now, and in order to do what has Jehovah “aroused himself from his holy dwelling”?
66 Should we not, then, keep silent so as to hear what Jehovah has to say? Indeed so! Highly appropriate, therefore, is the inspired command with which the third vision to Zechariah closes: “Keep silence, all flesh, before Jehovah, for he has aroused himself from his holy dwelling.” (Zechariah 2:13) He has aroused himself from his holy dwelling in the heavens to fulfill his Word.
[Map on page 156]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
JERUSALEM IN THE DAYS OF THE RETURN
Tower of Hananel
Tower of Meah
GATE OF THE GUARD
Tyropean (Central) Valley
GATE OF EPHRAIM
Tower of the Bake Ovens
GATE OF THE OLD CITY
Spring of Gihon
CITY OF DAVID
GATE OF THE ASH-HEAPS
Valley of Hinnom
Torrent Valley of Kidron