No Harming nor Ruining in the Spiritual Paradise
1. Whose moral qualities are reflected by the one who is King over the spiritual paradise?
IT HAS been said that the moral quality of any human government represents what the governed people themselves are. This has been the observation made by worldly statesmen themselves. That, however, is not the case among those who now occupy the spiritual paradise that the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has established for his worshipers on earth. As Universal Sovereign, He is the One that has put their ruler, their King, over them. They did not select and install their King over themselves, a King patterned after themselves and hence one who would be indulgent with their materialistic, selfish, sinful way of life. Rather, those in the spiritual paradise want a King that images Jehovah God, and they want to imitate, to be like, their God-given King. Morally and religiously, they want to be what they are because of what their God-fearing King is. Yes, what they are they want to represent that which their Messianic King is, to his honor.
2, 3. With what kind of language does Isaiah 11:6-8 describe the personality changes brought about in the subjects of the Messianic King?
2 The personality of the Messianic King affects the personalities of his subjects in the spiritual paradise in an excellent, upbuilding way. The prophecy of Isaiah points in that direction. Right after describing the qualities and acts of the Messianic King raised up by Jehovah God, the prophet Isaiah goes on to say:
3 “And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand.”—Isaiah 11:6-8.
4. (a) What is unusual about that description, particularly as to the wild beasts? (b) Have such conditions ever existed on earth?
4 In that amazing prophetic picture, something has radically affected the animals, particularly the wild beasts of the field. The wild animals are no longer preying upon and devouring the domesticated animals. They have become tame and harmless, leaving their carnivorous ways and becoming vegetarians. Why, that was the way it was in the earth, yes, in the Garden of Eden, before Jehovah God put perfect man and woman there. And even though created in the midst of an earth swarming with animal life, Adam and Eve were not afraid of being molested by them, and both of them also were vegetarian eaters. So why is such a transformation in the animal realm pictured in the prophecy? Why is this picture of harmlessness and sense of security prophetically drawn for us?
5. What is evidently the purpose of this delightful description?
5 Evidently to portray what takes place in human society when under the rule of the Messianic King-Judge, Jesus Christ enthroned in the heavens. But certainly things would not be one way in the animal realm and another way in the human realm. The one must reflect the other. The lower sphere must mirror the higher sphere. A paradise relationship must obtain among them.
6. (a) Where has such a transformation taken place, and since when? (b) What accounts for the change?
6 Such a transformation of long-inbred characteristics has not yet taken place in the animal realm. No, even though the Messianic King has been reigning in the heavens since the end of the Gentile Times in the year 1914 C.E. However, such a transformation of characteristics in the animal world was meant to mirror the transformation occurring in human society. In harmony with that intention, such a transformation as is foretold by the prophecy regarding the animal world has actually taken place in the spiritual paradise of Jehovah’s restored worshipers. This has been true since their deliverance from bloodguilty Babylon the Great, beginning with the year 1919 C.E. All this transformation is owing to the operation of the “spirit of Jehovah,” and is also because the residents of the spiritual paradise have reigning over them the Messianic King upon whom the “spirit of Jehovah” has settled down.—Isaiah 11:1, 2.
7, 8. (a) What sort of dispositions did many who are now in the spiritual paradise use to have, and what contributed to this condition? (b) How does Ephesians 2:1-3 well apply to those in the spiritual paradise?
7 Not all of those now residing in the spiritual paradise of God’s favor were formerly peacefully disposed like the domesticated lamb or kid or cow or fattened animal. Many, likely the vast majority, had dispositions like that of the predatory wolf or leopard or maned young lion or bear or cobra or other poisonous snake. Particularly so, since the world entered what has been called “the Age of Violence” in 1914, the year marked by the outbreak of war on a global scale, world war. This did not work for the improvement in the disposition and inclinations of people as a whole. Even decent morality began to decline to what it is today. To all those resident in the spiritual paradise it can equally as well be said as it was to the Christian congregation in Ephesus, Asia Minor, nineteen hundred years ago:
8 “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and the thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest.”—Ephesians 2:1-3.
9, 10. What did the apostle Paul state as to the former way of life of those in the Christian congregations at Corinth and at Rome?
9 Plainly stating what kind of worldly people members of the Christian congregation at Corinth, Greece, used to be, the apostle Paul wrote to them: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”—1 Corinthians 6:9-11; see also Colossians 3:5-8.
10 Also, when warning Christians not to slip back into their former worldly ways, the apostle Paul wrote the congregation in Rome, Italy: “You people know the season, that it is already the hour for you to awake from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than at the time when we became believers. The night is well along; the day has drawn near. Let us therefore put off the works belonging to darkness and let us put on the weapons of the light. As in the daytime let us walk decently, not in revelries and drunken bouts, not in illicit intercourse and loose conduct, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not be planning ahead for the desires of the flesh.”—Romans 13:11-14.
11. (a) How did many who are now in the spiritual paradise at one time reflect traits that are like those of predatory animals? (b) What has brought about a change in their personalities?
11 So, in all likelihood, many of the more than two million who are enjoying the spiritual paradise of God’s provision today, once had and still have to fight against the predatory disposition, the animalistic tendencies, associated with the predatory animals mentioned in Isaiah 11:6-8. In this era of world wars, some of the residents were engaged literally in those world conflicts and in the lesser wars in between, and actually acted like hungry wild beasts in killing or seeking to kill fellowmen. Other residents were in enterprises or operations that make it their business to exploit the weaknesses of victimized persons for selfish profit, regardless of the physical and mental hurt done to their victims. But now with the aid of Jehovah’s holy spirit they have undergone a change of personality. His appointed King of the spiritual paradise, the Messianic King upon whom Jehovah’s spirit has settled down, does not permit such animalistic preying upon one another inside this spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers. (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:10, 11) Christian brotherly love pervades the Paradise.
12. How have the words of Jesus, as recorded at Matthew 18:1-4, affected those in the spiritual paradise?
12 Thus, in a figurative way, the tamed wolf lies down with the lamb, also the leopard with the kid, the calf and the well-fed animal and the maned young lion mingle together at any time. Instead of the bear feeding upon the cow and its young ones, the bear and the cow and their young ones feed together on a vegetarian diet. Even the lion is seen eating straw just like the bull. In the spiritual paradise the words of Jesus Christ the King have been heeded: “Unless you turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.” (Matthew 18:1-4) So it is now as if a mere young boy were a leader of wild beasts of the field.
13. Application of what Scriptural rule has helped them to achieve the condition foretold by the prophet Isaiah, and how so?
13 What helps in this peaceableness and this absence of preying animalistically upon one another in the spiritual paradise is the fact that its residents live by the rule that they are no part of this world. (John 15:19; 17:14-16) During World War I of 1914-1918 C.E., some of the remnant of spiritual Israel accepted non-combatant service in the fighting armies, and thus they came under bloodguilt because of their sharing in community responsibility for the blood spilled in war. However, in 1939, the year in which World War II erupted, all the remnant of spiritual Israel and also those of the “great crowd” of sheeplike companions declared themselves in favor of absolute neutrality toward all worldly conflicts, regardless of nationality. The publication of the article “Neutrality” in the issue of November 1, 1939, of The Watchtower set forth their position. They have not budged from this stand at any time since. Consistent with this, also, they have never meddled in or even taken part in the politics of any nation, with which there is so much mudslinging and the stirring up of so many hostilities and divisive hatreds.
14. What fruitage is cultivated in the spiritual paradise, and how does this contribute to the fulfillment of what was foretold in Isaiah 11:6-8?
14 The fruitage of Jehovah’s spirit is cultivated, in harmony with the apostle Paul’s counsel: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Moreover, those who belong to Christ Jesus impaled the flesh together with its passions and desires. If we are living by spirit, let us go on walking orderly also by spirit. Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26) There being no competitions, rivalries, ambitious self-exalting over others, there is no venomous backbiting or spitefulness. It is as when the venomous snake, even the cobra, feels secure and chooses not to use its poisonous venom, so that a sucking child may play upon the hole of the cobra, and the recently weaned child may put his hand over the light aperture of the den of a poisonous snake.
THE PREVALENCE OF LIFE-GIVING KNOWLEDGE
15, 16. Where else in the book of Isaiah is a parallel prophecy found, and what indications are there here as to the time of fulfillment?
15 A parallel prophecy in the inspired book of Isaiah locates the time for this peaceful, secure spiritual paradise. To get the timing of the fulfillment of the prophecy, we have to consider the verses leading up to this parallel prophecy. Hence, we read as follows:
16 “‘Because the former distresses will actually be forgotten and because they will actually be concealed from my eyes. For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. For here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation. And I will be joyful in Jerusalem and exult in my people; and no more will there be heard in her the sound of weeping or the sound of a plaintive cry. . . . They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them. And it will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear. The wolf and the lamb themselves will feed as one, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull; and as for the serpent, his food will be dust. They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain,’ Jehovah has said.”—Isaiah 65:16-25.
17. When did this prophecy have its first fulfillment, and what was the “cause for joyfulness” then?
17 The first or miniature fulfillment of this magnificent prophecy serves as a prophetic pattern to prefigure the final, full-scale realization of the prophecy. The small-scale or miniature fulfillment of the Isaian prophecy took place after the restoration of the exiled Jews to their homeland, the land of Judah, in the days of the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great. In course of time Jerusalem was rebuilt on its former site, and this holy city became a “cause for joyfulness” when Jehovah’s temple was rebuilt there on its previous location and his revived worship was carried on by the reinstated priests and Levites. The account of this is recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
18. When is the final fulfillment of this prophecy, and at that time what works to bring about the foretold transformation?
18 The major and final fulfillment comes, therefore, in a similar period of restoration. It is in the time when there is a restoration of the remnant of spiritual Israel from bondage under modern Babylon the Great to their rightful spiritual estate in Jehovah’s renewed favor. According to twentieth-century history, this took place in the year following the close of World War I. The courageous revival of the free and open proclaiming of “this good news of the kingdom” world wide in the year 1919 C.E. indicated that there had come a restoration of the liberated remnant of spiritual Israel to their God-given spiritual estate on earth. Under divine blessing and under the operation of Jehovah’s holy spirit, this spiritual estate of the anointed remnant was transformed into a spiritual paradise. In that estate is where the spiritual beauty of His worshipers glorifies Jehovah God and there are brotherly peace, unity and security.
19. Identify the Jerusalem that is a “cause for joyfulness” in this final fulfillment of the prophecy.
19 The Jerusalem that Jehovah God has created as a “cause for joyfulness” and in which he himself is joyful is, not the capital city of the Jewish Republic of Israel, but the heavenly Jerusalem, to which the remnant of spiritual Israel are approaching. (Hebrews 12:22-29) It is the seat of the Messianic kingdom that was born in the heavens at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. (Revelation 12:1-5) This city is located on the heavenly Mount Zion, Jehovah’s “holy mountain,” where the Messianic King, Jesus Christ, has stood up in royal power.—Psalm 2:6; Revelation 14:1-5.
20. On the part of the remnant of spiritual Israel, from 1919 onward why were there corrections in their understanding of Bible prophecies?
20 Therefore the time for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the transformation of the disposition of animal life dates from the postwar year 1919 C.E. onward. This marked the beginning of a period of education in the written Word of God from the standpoint that Bible prophecy is best understood after it has been fulfilled. So there needed to be a correction of our previous views, and the surviving remnant of spiritual Israel needed to be readjusted to the postwar realities and opportunities. The preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” now was to be, not of a coming heavenly government, but of God’s Messianic kingdom now established in the heavens since the end of the “appointed times of the [Gentile] nations” in the autumn of 1914. The liberated remnant were henceforth to be witnesses of the Lord God, the One who had taken his great power to reign in 1914 by means of the kingdom of his Christ. (Matthew 24:14; Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:15-17) This revised program of Bible education had a profound effect on the remnant. It oriented their work in the right direction.
21. How was the effect of this educational work foretold in Isaiah 11:9?
21 This educational work along with its transforming effects is referred to in the further part of Isaiah’s prophecy, in these words: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) The pronoun “they” in this verse may refer to the wild animals that were just referred to in the preceding three verses Isa 11:6-8. Those verses described the wolf, the leopard, the lion, the bear, the cobra, the poisonous snake as doing no harm either to domesticated animals or to innocent children.
22. Who really are the ones who, as a result of this education, no longer harm or cause ruin?
22 However, here these potentially harmful animals must be used as illustrations in the prophecy, for such animals could not be mentally affected by the filling of the earth with the knowledge of Jehovah. So the real application of the pronoun “they” is to the residents of God’s spiritual paradise for his restored remnant of spiritual Israel on earth. These intelligent God-fearing persons are the ones that would be transformed in their dispositions and pursuits by receiving the “knowledge of Jehovah.”
23-26. (a) In harmony with the prophecy, to what name did the Watch Tower publications give increasing emphasis? (b) Illustrate this from The Watch Tower of August 1, 1919.
23 Accordingly, in Watch Tower Society publications, the personal name of the Most High God, Jehovah, began to come to the fore, so as to identify more sharply the One who had previously been spoken of under the general title Lord or Lord God. For example, in the sixth paragraph of the leading article “Blessed Are the Fearless,” in the issue of August 1, 1919, of The Watch Tower, the situation of the liberated remnant of spiritual Israel was likened to that of ancient Israel when about to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses’ successor, Joshua. The Israelites needed encouragement to go forward, and the paragraph went on to say:
24 “Joshua, like Moses, was a meek man, having little confidence in his own strength, but he had great faith in God and manifested such faith by encouraging the people to go forward and possess that which God had promised them. But Joshua needed encouragement and the people whom he would lead needed encouragement to perform the deeds which Jehovah had set before them. God began such encouragement by saying: ‘Now, therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, . . .’”
25 Paragraph eight (page 228) of the same article spoke of the triumph gained by Judge Gideon and said: “The Israelites had been slack in their faith and obedience to Jehovah, and the Midianites were permitted to come and threatened to take possession of the most fertile part of their land. Faithfulness on the part of Israel would have prevented this threatened invasion. The Midianites came in a great host, more than 200,000 strong and encamped preparatory for battle against the Israelites. Jehovah purposed to achieve a great victory over these enemies of his people and to drive them out of the promised land. . . . Jehovah afforded Gideon the great honor of being the instrument in his hand for the deliverance of Israel. . . . At the direction of Jehovah, Gideon then called for volunteers from amongst the Israelites to fight the hosts of Midian. . . .”
26 Speaking about Gideon’s little band of 300 volunteers specially selected, the following paragraph says: “This little band of 300 possessed the very elements of character pleasing to Jehovah.” And so on through the article down to the last paragraph, which said, in part: “It is only the pure in heart that are perfect in love, therefore it follows according to Jesus’ words, that the fearless—perfect in love—pure in heart, are the ones who will be received into the kingdom and see Jehovah.”—Page 233.
27. (a) What is “the earth” that is filled with the knowledge of Jehovah, as foretold at Isaiah 11:9? (b) With what feature of the new covenant is this increase of the “knowledge of Jehovah” consistent?
27 Thus the “knowledge of Jehovah” began to spread and fill “the earth,” that is to say, the spiritual estate of the restored remnant of spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) This remnant is in the new covenant that was mediated by Jesus Christ between God and the “holy nation” of spiritual Israel. One of the features of this better covenant is set forth in these prophetic words: “‘And they will no more teach each one his companion and each one his brother, saying, “Know Jehovah!” for they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.’” (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-12) Hence, it was only proper that the spiritual estate of the remnant of the Christian “Israel of God” should become filled with the “knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”
28. (a) How is the individual who possesses the “knowledge of Jehovah” affected by it? (b) What is represented by the “holy mountain,” referred to at Isaiah 11:9, where they cause no harm or ruin?
28 The “knowledge of Jehovah” does something for its possessor. It is said to be responsible for the fact that “they will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain,” according to what Jehovah says in Isaiah 11:9. Since the “holy mountain” is the seat of government and was typified by Mount Zion, where King David sat on “Jehovah’s throne,” the expression “all my holy mountain” is used in a representative sense. It does not refer to just the heavenly Mount Zion, but means all the realm of spiritual Israel here on earth. It means the present spiritual estate of the liberated and restored remnant since 1919 C.E. They acknowledge and obey as the Messianic King the onetime “twig out of the stump of Jesse,” whom the Lord God has installed upon the heavenly Mount Zion, His “holy mountain.”—Isaiah 11:1; Hebrews 12:22; Psalm 2:6.
29. Why does the “knowledge of Jehovah” transform the personalities of those who possess it?
29 Why is it that the “knowledge of Jehovah” transforms the inhabitants of the spiritual paradise to be harmless and not ruinous? It is because there is much more to it than merely having information about him. Knowing him means acknowledging Him to the extent of living according to His will. “By this,” says the Christian apostle John, “we have the knowledge that we have come to know him, namely, if we continue observing his commandments. He that says: ‘I have come to know him,’ and yet is not observing his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person. He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. And we ourselves have come to know and have believed the love that God has in our case. God is love, and he that remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him. For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.”—1 John 2:3, 4; 4:8, 16; 5:3.
CONSEQUENCES FROM LACK OF KNOWING JEHOVAH
30. What did Jeremiah say about those not knowing Jehovah, in contrast to those who do?
30 The sad consequences that follow upon one’s not knowing Jehovah, not acknowledging him, not taking note of him, are declared by the mouth of His prophets. For instance, during the last forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the deportation of the surviving Jews to Babylon, Jehovah declared by the mouth of his prophet Jeremiah: “My people is foolish. Of me they have not taken note. They are unwise sons; and they are not those having understanding. Wise they are for doing bad, but for doing good they actually have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4:22) “Let the one bragging about himself brag about himself because of this very thing, the having of insight and the having of knowledge of me, that I am Jehovah, the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I do take delight.”—Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:21.
31, 32. At an earlier time, what did the prophet Hosea say about the consequences of the lack of knowledge of God in Israel?
31 Also, sometime before the overthrow of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian World Power in 740 B.C.E., the prophet Hosea was inspired to say to the Israelites: “Hear the word of Jehovah, O sons of Israel, for Jehovah has a legal case with the inhabitants of the land, for there is no truth nor loving-kindness nor knowledge of God in the land. [With what consequences?] There are the pronouncing of curses and practicing of deception and murdering and stealing and committing of adultery that have broken forth, and acts of bloodshed have touched other acts of bloodshed. That is why the land will mourn and every inhabitant in it will have to fade away with the wild beast of the field and with the flying creature of the heavens, and even the fishes of the sea themselves will be gathered in death. My people will certainly be silenced [in death], because there is no knowledge. Because the knowledge is what you yourself have rejected, I shall also reject you from serving as a priest to me; and because you keep forgetting the law of your God, I shall forget your sons, even I.”
32 “That is why I shall have to hew them by the prophets; I shall have to kill them by the sayings of my mouth. And the judgments upon you will be as the light that goes forth. For in loving-kindness I have taken delight, and not in sacrifice; and in the knowledge of God rather than in whole burnt offerings.”—Hosea 4:1-3, 6; 6:5, 6.
33. Why are the conditions in the spiritual paradise so different from those in ancient Israel as described by the prophet Hosea?
33 Serious and disastrous were the consequences to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and to the kingdom of Judah for rejecting the “knowledge of God.” When we see the bad side effects that accompanied such a rejection of the most vital knowledge, we can appreciate why, among those residing in the spiritual paradise of the remnant of spiritual Israel, there is no doing of harm or causing of any ruin. It is because the wholesome “knowledge of Jehovah” is filling their blessed spiritual estate just as the waters are covering the very sea. This knowledge is sea deep, ocean deep, like the “seven seas” that embrace the whole globe.
34. In prayer to his Father, what did Jesus emphasize as a prime requirement for everlasting life?
34 Jesus Christ, when offering prayer in behalf of his faithful apostles, rightly said to Jehovah his heavenly Father: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) In the spiritual paradise of today, the residents are still taking in the knowledge of Jehovah and of his Messianic King, Jesus Christ, and consequently spiritual life in the paradisaic estate of those who know Jehovah is peaceful and secure.
“A SIGNAL FOR THE PEOPLES”
35. (a) Who beside the anointed remnant are now in the spiritual paradise, and particularly since when? (b) How does the language of Isaiah 11:10 indicate that this would take place?
35 At present, particularly since the marked year of 1935 C.E., the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel are not the only residents of this figurative paradise where there is no harming or causing of ruin to man or animal. Now there is also with the remnant a constantly increasing “great crowd” of transformed sheeplike seekers of the knowledge of Jehovah. The further prophecy of Isaiah foretold that this would take place. Following up the lovely description of the spiritual paradise, Isaiah 11:10 adds: “And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jesse that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting-place must become glorious.”
36. (a) What time is referred to by the expression “in that day”? (b) Who is the “root of Jesse” mentioned in this prophecy?
36 It is “in that day,” since the Gentile Times ended in 1914 C.E., that this must occur. The symbolic “root of Jesse” is the glorified Messianic King, Jesus Christ. The Christian apostle Paul leaves no room for doubt about this, for he quotes this prophecy of Isaiah 11:10, according to the Greek Septuagint Version’s rendering, to show God’s generosity and magnanimity in holding out a grand hope for the non-Jewish nations. So, in Romans 15:12 Paul writes: “And again Isaiah says: ‘There will be the root of Jesse, and there will be one arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope.’”a
37. Why was the apostle Paul’s reference to Isaiah 11:10 appropriate even back there in the first century?
37 It was appropriate for the apostle Paul to quote and use that prophecy of Isaiah 11:10 in behalf of non-Jewish or Gentile believers. It was then about twenty years after the conversion of the Italian centurion Cornelius of Caesarea to Christianity, at which time Jehovah God began admitting Gentile believers to the Christian congregation. So the circumcised Jewish believers had to suppress their former prejudices against the Gentiles, the people of the non-Jewish nations, and to welcome them as brothers in the congregation of disciples of Jesus Christ.
38, 39. (a) But when was it, as foretold, that there was a “standing up” of “the root of Jesse”? (b) In what ways is it true that Jesus Christ really is the “root of Jesse”?
38 However, the prophecy applies more particularly “in that day.” We have been in that day since the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in the heavens in 1914 C.E. Then the glorified Jesus Christ, “the root of Jesse,” stood up in Kingdom authority to deal with all the nations of the earth. (Matthew 25:31, 32) He was a descendant of Jesse of Bethlehem through King David, and yet he could properly be called a “root of Jesse.” This was because in him the royal lineage that sprang from Jesse the father of David was revitalized. Had it not been for Jesus Christ, who came more than six hundred years after the overthrow of the Davidic kings at Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the royal lineage from Jesse would have died out in time. And in 1914 C.E., when Jesus Christ was enthroned in heaven, it was the full length of the Gentile Times (2,520 years) after the overturning of the throne of Davidic kings in 607 B.C.E.
39 Thus Jesus Christ gave new vitality to that line of Messianic kings that came forth at first from Jesse. And, also, when we remember that Jesus Christ said: “I am the resurrection and the life,” he will have to be a life-giving “root” to Jesse by raising him from the dead.—John 11:25.
40. Similarly, how is Jesus the “root . . . of David”?
40 For the same reason, in the revelation given to the apostle John about the year 96 C.E., Jesus Christ could speak of his relationship with Jesse’s son David by saying: “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16) The hopes of the long-dead David hang from this starlike Descendant and offspring, his Permanent Heir, Jesus Christ.
41. How is it true that, since 1914, Jesus Christ has been caused to stand up “as a signal for the peoples”?
41 In active Kingdom authority since 1914 C.E., Jesus Christ has arisen, “standing up as a signal for the peoples.” Jehovah God, the heavenly King-Maker, has stood him up for all the peoples to see as the Messianic King in whom all the families and nations of the earth will be blessed. He is the One to whom all the peoples must gather if they expect to get a righteous government with life in peace, happiness and security.
42. But how are the peoples of the nations to gather to this Messianic King whom they cannot see with their natural eyes?
42 How, though, are the peoples of the nations to gather to the exalted “root of Jesse,” whom Jehovah God has raised up like a signal pole on top of the heavenly Mount Zion? They cannot see him with their natural eyes, so as to assemble to him as the focal point. So it is required that this elevated Signal be pointed out to them, that information about him be given to them, to enable them to see him with their eyes of understanding and faith. The apostle Paul, who made an application of Isaiah 11:10 in the first century of our Common Era, realized that fact. Accordingly he accepted the divine commission to go to the non-Jewish or Gentile nations and preach the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom. At the time of his conversion from traditional Judaism to Christianity it was said concerning him by the glorified Jesus Christ: “This man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel.”—Acts 9:1-15; 22:6-21; 26:12-18.
43. How did the apostle Paul set a fine example for the anointed remnant since World War I?
43 To the Gentile members of the Christian congregation in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote in his letter: “Now I speak to you who are people of the nations. Forasmuch as I am, in reality, an apostle to the nations, I glorify my ministry.” (Romans 11:13) In thus bearing the name of the Messianic “root of Jesse” to the non-Jewish nations, this “apostle to the nations” is today an example to the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel since the close of World War I on November 11, 1918. It is now the time of the major and final fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:10 concerning the “signal for the peoples.” The apostle Paul was sent to “peoples,” to those who were naturally Gentiles in comparison with the natural fleshly circumcised Jews, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) by birth. Paul aided these Gentile believers to put their trust and hope in the Messianic “root of Jesse” who was to be the royal Signal for the peoples of all sorts. These believers also got baptized in obedience to Christ’s command at Matthew 28:18, 19, and in this way they became members of the first-century Christian congregation, the spiritual “Israel of God,” and also joint heirs of the kingdom of the Messiah.
44. Into what areas have the remnant therefore pressed the preaching of the good news since 1919?
44 From 1919 onward the remnant of spiritual Israel vigorously renewed its public activity, keenly appreciating that it was now the time for the prophecy of Jesus Christ to be carried out, namely: “Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:10; Matthew 24:14) This signified that the “good news” of God’s newborn Messianic kingdom had to be preached to not only the natural Jews but also the non-Jewish nations. This was because the unbelieving natural Jews had been cast off and were no longer the chosen people of Jehovah God. Particularly since the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius in 36 C.E., the Jews have been on a par, on a level, with the natural uncircumcised Gentiles before God.
45. (a) From 1919 to 1935 C.E., who were being gathered in response to the preaching work? (b) In the year 1935, how was the attention of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses directed to another group of persons?
45 According to Jesus’ prophecy of Matthew 24:31, there had to be a gathering of the members of the remnant of spiritual Israel first in this “time of the end,” during this “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3; Daniel 12:4) For sixteen years the liberated remnant concentrated on their witnessing to the established Kingdom, or from the spring of 1919 to the spring of 1935 C.E., and this time period allowed for the general gathering of the remnant of spiritual Israel to practically a completion. So now the attention of the gathered remnant was specially directed to a gathering of another kind, a gathering for which the time was then due. This was the gathering of the “great crowd” foretold in Revelation 7:9-17. At the convention of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1935, the feature talk specialized on Revelation 7:9-17, and the then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society identified the “great crowd.” It was not, as had long been thought, a heaven-bound spiritual class of Christians, and consequently the “great crowd” did not belong to the remnant of spiritual Israelites who belong to the class mentioned in Revelation 7:1-8.
46. (a) What grand hope do the Scriptures set before this “great crowd”? (b) Why do certain prophecies about non-Israelite nations apply to this “great crowd”?
46 On the contrary, this “great crowd” was to be made up of “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Their hopes were of an earthly kind, to survive the approaching “great tribulation” and to enjoy perfect human life on earth under the Messianic kingdom of the glorified Son of God. Compared with the anointed remnant of spiritual Israelites, all those of that “great crowd” would, figuratively speaking, be Gentiles. Revelation 7:9 classifies them as such, speaking of them as a “great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” Consistently, then, certain Bible prophecies about non-Israelite nations (Gentiles) could properly be applied to this “great crowd.”
47. Since when have “the nations,” as foretold, turned inquiringly to the Messianic Signal?
47 In view of this the Messianic “root of Jesse” on the heavenly Mount Zion was now “standing up as a signal for the peoples,” as never before. From then on, the further part of Isaiah 11:10 went into fulfillment: “To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting-place must become glorious.” In spite of World War II, more and more people of the nations have kept turning inquiringly to the royal Signal. With the eyes of faith they have caught sight of that Messianic Signal because of the Kingdom witness given by the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel.
48. On having their inquiries concerning the divine requirements answered, what action have these people from “the nations” appropriately taken?
48 According to reports received from 207 lands in which the people’s attention is being turned to the Signal by the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom,” more than two million have responded. They have inquired concerning the divine requirements for them to become the approved subjects of Jehovah’s now installed Messianic King. On having their inquiries Scripturally answered to their satisfaction and conviction, they have dedicated themselves to Jehovah God through the Messiah Jesus. They have publicly symbolized such dedication by being baptized in water, 297,872 of them in the service year of 1974 alone.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
49, 50. (a) Who and what are now located in the spiritual paradise? (b) So how has the “resting-place” of the Messianic Signal become glorious?
49 All these “other sheep” who have been flocking to the Messianic Shepherd, the “Signal,” have been ushered into the spiritual paradise, in which the remnant of spiritual Israel have resided since 1919 C.E. There are now more than 35,000 congregations of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah in this spiritual paradise, where life and personality have been transformed and where they neither do harm nor cause any ruin. Since the Messianic “root of Jesse,” the royal “Signal,” resides there in spirit, truly his “resting-place” or residence has become glorious. (Matthew 28:20) This gloriousness has gone along with the fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy, in Haggai 2:7: “‘I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” Jehovah’s “house” or spiritual temple has been filled with glory by the bringing in of these “desirable things of all the nations,” namely, the members of the “great crowd.” In this way his temple is now becoming, as never previously, “even a house of prayer for all the peoples.”—Isaiah 56:7.
50 There, in that spiritual “house of prayer,” those of the “great crowd” render sacred service to Jehovah God day and night. (Revelation 7:15) There they offer prayer to God acceptably through the “root of Jesse,” Jesus Christ. There, in his name, they bend the knee to God, and every tongue openly acknowledges that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:10, 11.
51. What conditions that you experience in the spiritual paradise make it evident to you that the paradise is no imaginary thing?
51 The spiritual paradise is not an imaginary thing. It is real and exists today as the spiritual estate of the restored remnant of spiritual Israelites and those already gathered of the “great crowd,” all of these together being the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. (Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8) In sharp contrast with the style and quality of life lived by the earthly human society of this present system of things, life in the spiritual paradise is blessed indeed. Here there is a freedom from any such thing as harm being done or ruin being caused by the Christlike residents who are filled with the “knowledge of Jehovah.” Here, too, there is spiritual security, such as is described in Psalm 91. The spiritual and moral plagues and dangers that infest this degraded world of mankind are not permitted to invade the spiritual paradise and make the divinely protected residents religiously and morally sick, diseased and subject to God’s disapproval and disfavor. It is a spiritually healthful place, in which the fruits of God’s holy spirit are produced in abundance.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
52, 53. For how long will the spiritual paradise endure, and of what is it the forerunner?
52 The spiritual paradise of Jehovah’s worshipers is here to stay! Because Jehovah himself delights in it, it will not be destroyed from the earth in the now close “great tribulation,” the like of which the world of mankind has never experienced before. (Matthew 24:21, 22; Daniel 12:1) It is the forerunner of the material earthly paradise that will robe the literal earth with glory and beauty after the polluters and ruiners of the earth have been brought to their end in the “great tribulation” and after the one who caused the entrance of sin into man’s original paradise in Eden is bound and hurled with all his demon horde into the prison abyss.—Revelation 19:11 through 20:3; Psalm 37:37-40; 67:5-7.
53 Then the combining of the spiritual paradise with the literal earthly paradise will make the entire earth a most pleasant location for the “great crowd” of “other sheep” to live under the blessed kingdom of their heavenly Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
a According to the English translation of the Greek Septuagint Version, by Charles Thomson (1954 printing, revised), Isaiah 11:10 reads: “Therefore there shall be in that day the root of Jessai, even he who riseth up to rule nations: in him nations will put their trust, and his resting place shall be glorious.”