The Kingdom Withstands International Assault
1. By what force uncontrolled by scientists has the pronouncement from beyond outer space been communicated to us, being made available to most of us also by what means?
INTERNATIONAL communications—by cablegram, by telegram, by telephone, by radio, by television—have carried the pronouncements of shepherdlike rulers to the ends of the earth. The seeming importance of such pronouncements made them deserving of such widespread newscasting. But, by a force that the scientists of this twentieth century have been unable to harness, a pronouncement of the highest importance has been communicated from beyond outer space to our earth. That high rating of this pronouncement is not too high, for it is the pronouncement of the Creator of earth and heaven, and it has been communicated by means of his invisible active force, namely, his holy spirit. Also, by means of hundreds of millions of printed copies of the Holy Bible, in hundreds of languages, that pronouncement has been made available for consultation by the vast majority of the population of the earth. As we read this pronouncement bearing the name of the Creator, let us judge for ourselves whether it is of international importance now:
2. According to that pronouncement, what will Jehovah make Jerusalem resemble to the nations, and like what will He make his people to the attacking nations?
2 “A pronouncement: ‘The word of Jehovah concerning Israel,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, the One who is stretching out the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth and forming the spirit of man inside him. ‘Here I am making Jerusalem a bowl causing reeling to all the peoples round about; and also against Judah he will come to be in the siege, even against Jerusalem. And it must occur in that day that I shall make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all the peoples. All those lifting it will without fail get severe scratches for themselves; and against her all the nations of the earth will certainly be gathered. In that day,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘I shall strike every horse with bewilderment and its rider with madness; and upon the house of Judah I shall open my eyes, and every horse of the peoples I shall strike with loss of sight. And the sheiks of Judah will have to say in their heart, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem are a strength to me by Jehovah of armies their God.” In that day I shall make the sheiks of Judah like a fire pot among trees and like a fiery torch in a row of newly cut grain, and they must devour on the right hand and on the left all the peoples round about; and Jerusalem must yet be inhabited in her own place, in Jerusalem.’”
3, 4. Why have the natural, circumcised Jews been unable to come up with an explanation of Zechariah 12:1-6 that applies to the history of their nation?
3 Those words of Zechariah 12:1-6 are a puzzle to the natural circumcised Jews of today. They have tried to find a fulfillment of those prophetic words in the ancient history of their nation between the time of this “pronouncement” in the sixth century before our Common Era (about 518 B.C.E.) and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions in the year 70 C.E. But they have been unable to come up with anything authentic in verification of the prophecy. Why not? It is because the fulfillment of the “pronouncement” reaches its culmination or climax in an Israel and Jerusalem of a higher order than that of natural, fleshly Israel and earthly Jerusalem. Thus when the earthly Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed in 70 C.E. there was a Jerusalem that then remained. Not an earthly one, of course. It was the one of which the writer of Hebrews 12:22-24 speaks. Although writing about 61 C.E., about nine years before earthly Jerusalem was demolished in 70 C.E., he writes to Christianized Hebrews:
4 “But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s blood.”
5. What was the “congregation of the firstborn” to which those Christianized Hebrews had approached by about 61 C.E., and what city did this “congregation” have?
5 “The congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens” to which those Hebrew Christians had approached was not the congregation of natural, fleshly Israel, of which they had been a part until their conversion to Christianity. Rather, it was the “congregation” of spiritual Israel and it had been brought into the “new covenant” that Jesus the mediator had validated with his own “blood of sprinkling” that speaks in a better way than did the blood of Abel the first martyr of Jehovah. In a perfect match with these facts, this spiritual Israel had a higher Jerusalem, the “city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem.”
6. What did earthly Jerusalem as Jehovah’s throne city picture, and when and to what was there a transfer of the thing thus pictured?
6 The earthly Jerusalem was where the line of kings in David’s royal family had had its throne, which was called “Jehovah’s throne” because the occupant thereof represented Jehovah God who was the real and invisible King of Israel. Since Jehovah had covenanted with King David for an everlasting kingdom with a permanent heir of him in the throne, Jerusalem as the throne city stood for the God-given right to a kingdom in the hands of a descendant of King David. (1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Samuel 7:14-16) Jesus Christ, “son of David, son of Abraham,” was that Permanent Heir. Consequently, when Jesus Christ, resurrected from the dead, made his ascent to heaven and appeared in God’s presence and sat down at his right hand, his heirship and his unforfeited right to the kingdom went along with him. Thus that Kingdom right was transferred from the earthly Jerusalem to the “heavenly Jerusalem” in the year 33 C.E.—Acts 2:29-36; Psalm 110:1, 2; Hebrews 10:12, 13.
7. In view of the overturning of the Davidic kingdom in earthly Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., when was it that Jehovah made Jerusalem a “bowl causing reeling to all the peoples” (Zechariah 12:2)?
7 In the year 607 B.C.E. the Babylonians overturned the kingdom of David at earthly Jerusalem, and the kingdom was to become no one else’s “until he comes who has the legal right,” at which time God would give it to that one. (Ezekiel 21:25-27) When did that one with the “legal right” come and receive the kingdom from Jehovah the great Theocrat? It was in 1914 C.E., at the end of the Gentile Times about October 4/5 (Tishri 15). Then Jehovah enthroned his Son Jesus Christ in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” Then, too, in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1, 2 Jehovah sent the rod of Christ’s strength out of the heavenly Mount Zion, saying: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.” By that act and at that time the Great Creator of heaven and earth carried out his pronouncement and made Jerusalem, the “heavenly Jerusalem,” to be a “bowl causing reeling to all the peoples.”—Zechariah 12:1, 2; Revelation 11:15.
8. (a) When King David made Jerusalem his throne city, what did the Philistines try to do, and with what result? (b) When and how did notice begin to be served on Christendom as regards Christ’s enthronement at the end of the Gentile Times?
8 Two thousand nine hundred and eighty-three years before that, King David had captured earthly Jerusalem and made it his capital city. On hearing that, his bitter enemies the Philistines came up against Jerusalem and tried to unseat David. Two successive miraculous defeats sent the assailants reeling back to Philistia. (2 Samuel 5:17-25; Psalm 2:1-6) What, then, do we find in the case of the “heavenly Jerusalem” with its newly enthroned King Jesus Christ, the Permanent Heir of David? For decades prior to 1914 C.E., even since the year 1876 C.E., the nations and peoples of the world had been notified that the Gentile Times would close in that year.* Dedicated, baptized Christians, like Charles Taze Russell who became president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, were used to serve this notice, especially upon the nations of Christendom. These professed Christian nations spurned the notification and launched their first world war July 28, 1914.
9. During World War I, how did those embattled nations gather around “heavenly Jerusalem” as around a drinking “bowl” for their pleasure?
9 During this war the embattled nations took advantage of martial law and wartime hysteria and nationalistic fervor to persecute these dedicated, baptized, spirit-anointed Christians who had served notification upon them and who had taken their stand for Jehovah’s established Messianic kingdom. Thus the nations gathered around them as around a drinking bowl, to take draughts of pleasure and glee at venting their opposition to God’s Kingdom representatives. As these dedicated, anointed Christians were part of the “congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens,” those nations were, in effect, gathered around the “heavenly Jerusalem” as around a drinking “bowl.” For a time those nations did experience great exhilaration, as foretold in Revelation 11:7-10.
10, 11. How, after World War I, did “heavenly Jerusalem” come to be under siege by the nations, and were these also “against Judah”?
10 After World War I ended on November 11, 1918, the worldly nations did not cease their hostility to God’s established Messianic kingdom as set up in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” In the following years they adopted the League of Nations as a substitute for God’s heavenly kingdom. They thus began a figurative siege of the “heavenly Jerusalem.” This siege expressed itself in the nations’ opposition and persecution against the anointed remnant of the “congregation of the firstborn” who proclaimed the Messianic kingdom of the “heavenly Jerusalem.” Inasmuch as these disciples of Jesus Christ upheld him as “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David,” they were spiritual Judeans, or spiritually of the tribe of Judah. So, along with the heavenly Jerusalem, these spiritual Judeans were under siege by the anti-Kingdom nations. It was just as it had been foretold, in Zechariah 12:2:
11 “Here I am making Jerusalem a bowl causing reeling to all the peoples round about; and also against Judah he will come to be in the siege, even against Jerusalem.” (NW) “Lo, I am about to make Jerusalem an intoxicating bowl unto all the peoples around. Moreover, the cities of Judah will be under siege along with Jerusalem.” (AT) “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a fearful place to all the people round about her, also there shall be a siege both against Judah together with Jerusalem.” (Lamsa) “Lo, I am making Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the peoples round about, and also against Judah it is, in the siege against Jerusalem.”—Yg.
12. How did the spiritual Judeans manifest a different spirit from what they had shown during World War I, thus taking what apostolic stand?
12 Whereas in 1919 C.E. the worldly nations adopted the League of Nations as an international organization for world peace and security, the anointed remnant of the spiritual Judah started proclaiming as never before the good news of the kingdom of the “Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.” So from then on the worldly nations began laying siege against this spiritual Judah on earth, prolonging and persisting in their endeavors to overpower the resistance and nonconformity of these spiritual Judeans. Quite differently from their general course of action during World War I, these spiritual Judeans refused to be put in fear by the nations. They discerned their commission from the Most High God more clearly than previously, and they chose the apostolic course: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) They stuck to this course even amid World War II. They stuck to an absolute Christian neutrality toward the international controversies, such as they had openly declared on November 1, 1939. The nations were quite stunned at the strictly neutral stand of these Christian witnesses of Jehovah.—See The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, as of November 1, 1939, pages 323-333.
13. By what course have the nations got “severe scratches for themselves,” and why?
13 The intransigent stand of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses for neutrality, their courageous resort to the legal courts of the land to maintain their civil rights, their steadily increasing preaching of the good news of Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom, all this has sent the nations reeling. The Kingdom right, as represented by the “heavenly Jerusalem,” has become a “burdensome stone” to the nations. For trying to lift it out of the way of their ambitious worldly schemes for global domination by tampering with the Kingdom preachers, the meddling nations have got “severe scratches for themselves.” No satisfaction for themselves, but smarting pains of humiliating failure. Their reputations have been hurt. They cannot remove or nullify the Kingdom’s right to be preached, nor can they silence the remnant who obey Jehovah’s command to preach it world wide.
14. How has Jehovah fulfilled even already his pronouncement regarding the enemy horses and their riders, and upon whom does he open his eyes, and why?
14 Already, in a figurative way, Jehovah of armies has done according to His pronouncement. He has bewildered those who fight against the spiritual Judeans, the ambassadors for His kingdom. The riders of the war machine have been made to act madly, as in the case of frustrated dictators who have become blind with fury. Their war strategists know no more what direction to take, as if for loss of sight. But Jehovah opens his eyes and keeps them open in order to direct the strategy of the spiritual “house of Judah.”
15. How have the spiritual Judean sheiks been inflammatory “like a fire pot among trees and like a fiery torch in a row of newly cut grain,” to the right and to the left?
15 As for the “sheiks of Judah,” spiritually speaking, the governing body of the “house of Judah” and the overseers of the congregations of the spiritual Judeans, Jehovah fills these with a fiery zeal in behalf of the earthly interests of the Kingdom of the “heavenly Jerusalem.” “Like a fire pot among trees and like a fiery torch in a row of newly cut grain,” they set things aflame in a spiritual way, causing great religious discussions and controversies to flare up and consuming the influence of many shepherd rulers so that they are exposed as “fighters actually against God” and many of their “sheep” turn away to God’s kingdom. To the right and to the left this occurs among the peoples. In consequence of this fiery activity and positiveness of these “sheiks of Judah,” the spiritual Judeans keep remaining in their God-given spiritual estate, inhabiting it with increased numbers. They do not abandon the cause of the “heavenly Jerusalem.”
16. The “sheiks of Judah” acknowledge that their strength to do this under siege comes from what source, and what does that source employ in their behalf?
16 It is not in their own strength that these “sheiks of Judah” and their fellow Judeans accomplish this spiritually devastating work among those who besiege hostilely the cause of God’s reigning kingdom. In their hearts of appreciation they confess that the strength to do this under siege by all the world comes from a superhuman, supernatural source. It comes from the “heavenly Jerusalem,” where the enthroned King Jesus Christ reigns and has gone forth subduing among his enemies. He has associated with him the holy angels. “Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:13, 14; Matthew 25:31) Those anointed Christians who were approaching the “city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem” and who ended their earthly course in death and were resurrected to life and immortality in the heavens, these also could afford invisible strength to the courageous, energetic “sheiks of Judah” and fellow Judeans on earth. (Revelation 2:26-29) Behind all this assistance from heavenly Jerusalem is “Jehovah of armies their God.”
ANNIHILATION IN STORE FOR ATTACKING NATIONS
17, 18. (a) Why will the nations not be able to crown their long siege with victory? (b) According to his pronouncement, what will Jehovah do to those nations coming against “Jerusalem”?
17 The worldly nations cannot crown with victory their long, persistent siege against God’s kingdom and those who serve as its ambassadors throughout the earth. The Almighty God will give these spiritual Judeans renewed powers of endurance to withstand the anti-Kingdom siege, but he will weaken and finally obliterate the God-defying besiegers. This is the significance of the further words of the divine “pronouncement,” in Zechariah 12:7-9:
18 “And Jehovah will certainly save the tents of Judah first, to the end that the beauty of the house of David and the beauty of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not become too great over Judah. In that day Jehovah will be a defense around the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the one that is stumbling among them must become in that day like David, and the house of David like God [or, ‘godlike ones’], like Jehovah’s angel before them. And it must occur in that day that I shall seek to annihilate all the nations that are coming against Jerusalem.”
19. (a) What is indicated by the expression “the tents of Judah”? (b) Why will the “beauty” of others involved not become “too great over Judah”?
19 That expression “the tents of Judah” indicates that the spiritual Judeans are not withdrawn behind the protective walls of cities but are out in the open field, fearlessly defending the interests of the Messianic kingdom as represented by Jerusalem, the throne city. Reasonably, then, before the attackers could come directly against the city, they would have to clear away all the “tents of Judah” that are ringed about the city in its defense. That is why Jehovah of armies has to save the “tents of Judah” first, because these are the first and direct target of attack. For that reason they will be able to boast of Jehovah’s salvation of them the same as will the inhabitants of the “heavenly Jerusalem,” the Kingdom location. These “tents of Judah” will have the beauty of Jehovah’s salvation just the same as the “house of David” represented by the royal Son of David, Jesus Christ, and the same as the “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” the resurrected joint heirs of the Messianic kingdom, Christ’s already resurrected and glorified disciples.—Romans 8:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12.
20. (a) How has Jehovah made the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” to be like David, and David’s house to be like Jehovah’s angel? (b) How has Jehovah defended the “inhabitants of Jerusalem”?
20 If, in the case of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Jehovah defends them and keeps them from stumbling to a fall in that he makes them strong and courageous like David the fighting king, he will do likewise with the spiritual Judeans in their “tents” out in the field. The historical record that the anointed remnant of spiritual Judeans has made for itself till now shows that He has done this. And he will continue to do this in the future, to the full carrying out of his promise. Also, because of the larger responsibility that is involved, Jehovah has done still more for the “house of David,” which “house” is represented by the Permanent Heir of David, Jesus Christ. Jehovah has made him “like God, like Jehovah’s angel before them.” No, not like Jehovah himself, but like Jehovah’s “angel,” who led the sons of Israel out of slavery in Egypt in 1513 B.C.E. (Exodus 14:19; 23:20, 23) Jehovah of armies has already defended the inhabitants of the “heavenly Jerusalem” by authorizing his reigning King Jesus Christ to cast Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things,” out of heaven and to keep him out.—Revelation 12:7-13; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
21. (a) In harmony with the house of David’s acting like Jehovah’s angel, what is one of the appropriate titles of the Representative of that “house”? (b) How long will the enemy keep up the siege of Jerusalem, and why till then?
21 So the godlike Son of David, Jesus Christ, acts like Jehovah’s angel in behalf of spiritual Judeans in their “tents” on earth. Appropriately one of the names by which he has been called is Mighty God. (Isaiah 9:6, 7) How, then, could all the nations of this world, backed by Satan the Devil, triumph against him and against the “tents of Judah” before whom he serves as Jehovah’s angel? By force of circumstances their siege of the Messianic kingdom is bound to fail. In their lust for world domination they will never lift the siege and withdraw in admission of defeat or failure. They will keep up the siege down to the last!
22. (a) Why will Jehovah not have to look far when seeking to annihilate the nations? (b) When will be the occasion for him to annihilate them?
22 Will Jehovah of armies have to seek far in that day when seeking to “annihilate all the nations that are coming against Jerusalem”? By no means! By their persistent opposition to his Messianic kingdom and their support of the man-made international organization for world peace and security and their harassment and persecution of the spiritual Judeans, those nations are piling up a condemnatory record against themselves. The Supreme Judge of all is aware of the account that has to be settled in full measure against them. When their final attack upon the “tents of Judah” takes place, producing the world situation figuratively called Har–Magedon, they will fill up their allowed account to the full.
23. To what will Jehovah reduce those nations, and by means of whom, and with “beauty” for whom?
23 On examining that account, the searching Jehovah of armies will find every justification for him to annihilate those nations coming against the Kingdom of his “heavenly Jerusalem.” By means of his reigning King, who is “like God, like Jehovah’s angel,” he will reduce those nations absolutely to nothing. (Revelation 16:13-16) O with what “beauty” that will crown the “house of David” and the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” and the “tents of Judah”!
THE ONE “PIERCED THROUGH” WHO BECAME KING
24, 25. (a) Will there be a wailing for those annihilated nations? (b) A wailing over whom is it that Jehovah foretells as being outstanding?
24 There will be no wailing and lamentation over those presumptuous nations whom Jehovah of armies annihilates in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. But there was wailing and lamentation at a mournful event that paved the way for the “beauty of the house of David and the beauty of the inhabitants of Jerusalem” in that glorious day of divine salvation. As the “pronouncement” of Jehovah the Creator of heaven and earth continues on, we learn what that event was, for we hear Him say:
25 “And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only son; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn son. In that day the wailing in Jerusalem will be great, like the wailing of Hadadrimmon in the valley plain of Megiddo. And the land will certainly wail, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their women by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their women by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their women by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their women by themselves; all the families that are left remaining, each family by itself, and their women by themselves.”—Zechariah 12:10-14; NW; JB; Mo; RS; AT.
26. To the question of who was the one whom they pierced through, we turn to what apostle’s writing for the answer, and how does he answer our question?
26 Who is that “One whom* they pierced through” and to whom “they will certainly look”? Cutting through the entanglement of human guesses, we go direct to the inspired answer furnished by the One who made this prophetic “pronouncement.” From the record written down by the Galilean John, who was an eyewitness of the impalement of Jesus Christ between two impaled evildoers on Friday, Nisan 14, 33 C.E., we quote these inspired words:
Then the Jews, since it was Preparation, in order that the bodies might not remain upon the torture stakes on the Sabbath, (for the day of that Sabbath was a great one,) requested Pilate to have their legs broken and the bodies taken away. The soldiers came, therefore, and broke the legs of the first man and those of the other man that had been impaled with him. But on coming to Jesus, as they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Yet one of the soldiers jabbed his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he that has seen it has borne witness, and his witness is true, and that man knows he tells true things, in order that you also may believe. In fact, these things took place in order for the scripture to be fulfilled: “Not a bone of his will be crushed.” And, again, a different scripture says: “They will look to the One whom they pierced.”—John 19:31-37.
27. In his writings, what other connections does John make of Jesus with that one “pierced through”?
27 There is also another connecting of this Jesus Christ with the ‘piercing through’ when the same apostle John writes:
To him that loves us and that loosed us from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen.—Revelation 1:5-7.
28. What does the medical doctor Luke write, to indicate that Jesus was “pierced through” after, not before, he died?
28 Thus the piercing of Jesus’ side occurred sometime after he had expired, not before, concerning which Doctor Luke writes:
Well, by now it was about the sixth hour [12 o’clock noon], and yet a darkness fell over all the earth until the ninth hour [3 o’clock in the afternoon], because the sunlight failed; then the curtain of the sanctuary was rent down the middle. And Jesus called with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” When he had said this, he expired. Because of seeing what occurred the army officer [centurion] began to glorify God, saying: “Really this man was righteous.” And all the crowds that were gathered together there for this spectacle, when they beheld the things that occurred, began to return, beating their breasts. Moreover, all those acquainted with him were standing at a distance. Also, women, who together had followed him from Galilee, were standing beholding these things.”—Luke 23:44-49; also, Mark 15:33-41.
29. How, as in Thomas’ case, did that pierced side of Jesus enter into the proof that he had been resurrected from the dead?
29 The pierced side of Jesus Christ was also an important item that entered into the proof that Jesus was later raised from the dead. The apostle Thomas, who did not get to see Jesus on the day of his resurrection (Sunday, Nisan 16, 33 C.E.), said to those who had seen him materialized in the flesh that day: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe.” A week later, Jesus again materialized in flesh, in a body like that of his impalement, and said to Thomas: “Take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.”—John 20:24-27.
30. (a) How was the wailing by Jesus’ disciples of greater seriousness than the “wailing of Hadadrimmon in the valley plain of Megiddo”? (b) What more was needed than the mere wailing in grief in order for the “spirit of favor and entreaties” to be poured out on them?
30 In fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10-14, the faithful apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ must have wailed and lamented, there at earthly Jerusalem. Their lamenting was over the death of the “only-begotten Son” of God, “the firstborn of all creation,” “the beginning of the creation by God.” (John 3:16; Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) So the lamenting over him was of greater seriousness than the previous “wailing of Hadadrimmon in the valley plain of Megiddo.” (Zechariah 12:11; compare 2 Kings 23:28-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-25.) Jehovah did pour out upon those faithful disciples the “spirit of favor and entreaties.” Especially so, since those disciples “were hoping that this man was the one destined to deliver Israel.” (Luke 24:21) But, in order to gain divine favor, more than mere grief must be expressed in such wailing and bitter lamentation. There must be belief in the one who was pierced through and belief in the value of his sacrificial death. On the basis of such belief or faith, divine favor can be extended to the grieved one and then his entreaties due to faith will be answered.
31, 32. (a) To receive the “spirit of favor and entreaties,” how must one look at him who was pierced through, even though one was of “the house of David”? (b) Even if of the “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” what would one have to do besides wail in order to receive the “spirit of favor and entreaties”?
31 To prove worthy of receiving that divine “spirit of favor and entreaties” a person must look with eyes of faith, “look to the One whom they pierced through.” A person might be of “the house of David,” but, just one’s being of that royal rank according to fleshly descent by no means guarantees that one will be with the Messiah in the heavenly kingdom as one of his joint heirs.
32 A person might be one of the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” on earth; but his being of the earthly capital city of King David by no means guarantees him a place in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” Such a person should grieve because of any community responsibility that may be attaching to him for the death and piercing through of the Messiah Jesus. So the wailing and bitter lamentation must include sorrow over the fact that the Messiah had to die over our sins and must also include repentance over such sins. Then Messiah’s death will be of benefit to the one lamenting and he will receive the “spirit of favor and entreaties.”
33. (a) How did this rule apply also to a person even though he was of “the house of Levi,” or the “family of the Shimeites”? (b) Or, if one was of the “family of the house of Nathan,” as Jesus’ mother Mary was?
33 This would apply also to a person who, according to the flesh, was of the “house of Levi.” Although as a Levite he served at the earthly temple in Jerusalem, with its altar of animal sacrifices, he still needed the perfect human sacrifice of the One pierced through. The “house of Levi” also included the “family of the Shimeites.” (Exodus 6:16, 17; Numbers 3:17-21) So these also needed a sacrifice able to ransom sinful human creatures. The “family of the house of Nathan” belonged to the royal family of David. (2 Samuel 5:13, 14) Mary the earthly mother of Jesus Christ was born into the line of descent of this Nathan the son of David. (Luke 3:23-31) Despite their royal connections according to the flesh, those of this family needed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and that he was “pierced through” in order to fulfill divine prophecy and to prove worthy of the heavenly kingdom.
34. (a) From what standpoint must everyone, regardless of family, house, or sex, wail and lament over the pierced one? (b) How must we today do so in order to receive the “spirit of favor and entreaties”?
34 Everybody, no matter of what family or house, needed to wail and lament in repentant grief over the need for the Messiah to die as a ransom sacrifice for sins. Woman as well as man needed to do so. That is why the prophecy repeatedly says that there must be wailing on the part of “their women by themselves.” (Zechariah 12:12-14) Likewise each one of us today must look with repentance and in faith to Messiah Jesus, the One whom the enemies of Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom were permitted to ‘pierce through.’ If we do so, we shall receive the “spirit of favor and entreaties.”
35. When are our tears of wailing and lamentation over the ‘piercing through’ of the Messiah wiped away?
35 Our tears of wailing and lamentation are wiped away when we discern, also, that the Messiah Jesus was “pierced through” for the vindication of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. His finally being “pierced through” proved that he had maintained his perfect integrity to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah to the death. As a reward he was honored with being enthroned as Messianic King in heaven.
“The seven times will end in A.D. 1914.” So it is stated in the special article entitled “Gentile Times: When Do They End?” by Charles T. Russell, as published on page 27 of the monthly magazine called “Bible Examiner,” Volume XXI, Number 1 - Whole Number 313, under date of October, 1876, with mailing address at No. 72 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, New York, and the editor and publisher of which was George Storrs. The discontinuance of his magazine “Bible Examiner” due to his severe illness was announced under the heading “Brother Geo. Storrs,” in the January, 1880, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, and the use of part of the space of this latter magazine was offered to him. Sometime after his death, an article from his pen, entitled “The Doctrine of Election,” was published in Zion’s Watch Tower, in June of the year 1884.
On the words “the One whom,” the 1971 edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures carries this footnote: On this passage Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, by E. Kautzsch and A. E. Cowley (1949 reprint), says on page 446, in footnote 1 belonging to section 138 (2) e, the following: “In Zechariah 12:10 also, instead of the unintelligible e·laʹi ēth a·sherʹ, we should probably read el-a·sherʹ, and refer the passage to this class.” In two Hebrew manuscripts the written text reads e·laʹi ēth a·sherʹ (“to me whom”), but the marginal note reads e·laʹiw ēth a·sherʹ (“to him [or, to the one] whom”). LXX reads: “to me for the reason that”; Vg, “to me whom”; Sy, “to me for him whom”; Th, “to him whom.” See German Bible translation by Emil F. Kautzsch (1890): “To that one whom”; also John 19:37.