The “Great Crowd” Now Takes the “Highway” to God’s Organization
1, 2. When does Isaiah chapter 35 have a spiritual fulfillment, and what description do the first two verses give?
DURING the Millennial Reign of the “Prince of Peace,” many of the features of Isaiah chapter 35, now undergoing fulfillment before the destruction of Babylon the Great, will have a reflection in a literal sense upon mankind. For what will have been accomplished in a spiritual way will certainly be accomplished in a physical way. The major spiritual fulfillment of this prophecy is taking place right now, with the restoration of God’s servants from captivity to Babylon the Great. The prophet Isaiah described it in this lovely phraseology:
2 “The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron. Without fail it will blossom, and it will really be joyful with joyousness and with glad crying out. The glory of Lebanon itself must be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and of Sharon. There will be those who will see the glory of Jehovah.”—Isaiah 35:1, 2.
3. Back in the sixth century B.C.E., where was the barren land, and how could it exult?
3 Where were the wilderness and waterless region and desert plain located? In the sixth century B.C.E., they were in the territory of the kingdom of Judah. By 537 B.C.E., that land had lain desolate and without inhabitants for 70 years. But how could a wilderness exult? It would be necessary for the former occupants to be moved back into it. It was to be elevated from its low state and to be given the dignity of the tall mountains of impressive-looking Lebanon.
Producing a Figurative Garden of Eden
4, 5. (a) When, in modern times, did a similar transformation of such a forsaken land take place, and why? (b) In what did the rehabilitation activities of the anointed remnant result? (c) How did Isaiah 35:5-7 describe their renewed spiritual condition?
4 The modern-day correspondency, in a spiritual sense, to this transformation of a land from a God-forsaken appearance to a condition evidencing Jehovah’s restored favor began to take place in 1919. Jehovah’s restored people were determined to take full advantage of the peace period that had then opened up. The Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ, and his Father, Jehovah God, assigned the liberated remnant of spiritual Israelites to do a magnificent work that corresponded to the rebuilding of the temple of Jehovah by the repatriated remnant of ancient Israel after 537 B.C.E. The rehabilitation activities after 1919 resulted in the producing of a figurative garden of Eden.
5 This had been foretold in these words of Isaiah 35: “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness. For in the wilderness waters will have burst out, and torrents in the desert plain. And the heat-parched ground will have become as a reedy pool, and the thirsty ground as springs of water. In the abiding place of jackals, a resting-place for them, there will be green grass with reeds and papyrus plants.”—Isaiah 35:5-7.
6. What has the continued existence of antitypical, modern-day Edom not prevented, and who today cry out exultantly with the restored remnant?
6 The existence of antitypical, modern-day Edom has not prevented the restoration of spiritual Israel to a paradise condition in fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 35. So the modern-day Edomites have no reason to rejoice as the reinstated remnant of spiritual Israel does, along with the increasing “great crowd.” The “great crowd” have a large part in maintaining the spiritual paradise of Jehovah’s modern-day Witnesses.
7. What had the remnant’s eyes of understanding never envisioned before 1914, but were their “blind” eyes opened?
7 Never before the end of the Gentile Times had the eyes of understanding of the spiritual Israelites been opened to see that the world trouble that was due to break out in 1914 would terminate with a remnant of them still here on earth. Nor did they see that they and the “great crowd” of “other sheep” would be favored with the privilege of giving a worldwide witness to the establishment of God’s Messianic Kingdom. So it occurred that in 1919 the spiritually blind eyes of the remnant were opened, and what a vision of the immediate future those opened eyes perceived!
8. What effect did the two Cedar Point, Ohio, conventions have on the spiritual ears and tongues of the restored remnant?
8 At their conventions in Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1919 and 1922, they received some intimation of the work that lay ahead. They bounded to the task before them. Their spiritual ears were unstopped to hear the electrifying message of the Kingdom of God and the need to advertise it. Like a stag, they fairly leaped to serve as witness bearers in behalf of that long-prayed-for Kingdom. Their tongues, which had hitherto been mute, cried out in gladness about the Messianic Kingdom in power in the heavens.—Revelation 14:1-6.
9. Spiritually, how was it that waters burst out in the wilderness?
9 Yes, it was as if waters had broken out in a spiritual estate that had formerly lain dry and waste, so that now everything looked green with abundant verdure—ready to be most productive. No wonder that the reinstated people of Jehovah rejoiced exuberantly and felt strengthened like a stag that vigorously climbs up onto the heights! Indeed, the waters of truth about the Kingdom of God, established in the hands of Jesus Christ in 1914, gushed forth with increasing force, resulting in tremendous refreshment.—Isaiah 44:1-4.
The “Highway” of Holiness
10, 11. (a) What did this refreshing change signify? (b) By what route did the remnant attain to their spiritual paradise, and how does Isaiah 35:8, 9 describe it?
10 What does the foregoing signify? This: First the remnant and later the “great crowd” of “other sheep” have got out of Babylon the Great and have been made God’s Kingdom witnesses. But by what route were they to get back into divine favor and get ushered into this spiritual paradise? It was to be as if a broad, spacious roadway were opened to them to permit throngs of pioneer-spirited Israelites to march unitedly together to their God-given homeland. Isaiah’s rapturous prophecy indicates this:
11 “And there will certainly come to be a highway there, even a way; and the Way of Holiness it will be called. The unclean one will not pass over it. And it will be for the one walking on the way, and no foolish ones will wander about on it. No lion will prove to be there, and the rapacious sort of wild beasts will not come up on it.”—Isaiah 35:8, 9.
12. Did the end of World War I automatically open up the “highway” for the remnant, and what took place on the fourth day of the year 1919?
12 The end of World War I did not automatically open up a modern-day “highway.” Eight of the headquarters staff of the Watch Tower Society were still imprisoned and the witness work was seriously slowed. On January 4, 1919, at the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Society in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, J. F. Rutherford, the Society’s president, was voted back into office, despite his imprisonment, in the certainty that he was an innocent servant of the Most High God.
13, 14. What events in 1919 indicated that a figurative highway had opened up to the remnant, and who walked upon that “highway”?
13 On March 25, 1919, he and his seven fellow prisoners were released and later completely exonerated. The Watch Tower of September 15, 1919, page 283, contained the encouraging news that the offices of the Society would, as of October 1, 1919, be moved from Pittsburgh back to Brooklyn Bethel at 124 Columbia Heights. Then, with the December 15, 1919, issue of The Watch Tower, this semimonthly publication was announced as again being published in Brooklyn, New York.
14 So it was that in 1919 a figurative highway was opened up to the joyful servants of God. Those who wanted to be holy in Jehovah’s sight were the ones who walked upon that “highway,” “the Way of Holiness.” Any who did not have the right objective, a clean motive, did not strike out on that figurative “Way of Holiness” and attain to reinstatement in divine favor.
15. What furnishes visual proof that the “great crowd” has entered the figurative highway?
15 On June 1, 1935, at the convention in Washington, D.C., 840 of the “great crowd” were baptized in water, giving visual proof that they had begun to enter the “highway.” Now, increasing millions of them have entered that highway, joining the diminishing numbers of the anointed remnant. Peacefully and in enjoyable companionship, they now walk together on the “highway,” determined that, with the help of Almighty God in heaven, nothing shall break up their unity.
16. Figuratively speaking, how is it that there is no lion or other rapacious beast on this highway?
16 Figuratively speaking, no lion or any other rapacious beast was to be found on this highway. That is, there was nothing to act as a deterrent or to frighten off the anointed remnant and the “great crowd.” They launched out confidently on the route that their Liberator, the Greater Cyrus, now opened up to them, with Zion as their destination.
17. (a) Though we are deep into “the conclusion of the system of things,” is the “highway” still open? (b) Who are entering upon “the Way of Holiness,” and how have they done so?
17 Today, so deep into “the conclusion of the system of things,” that divinely provided “highway” remains open. Throngs of appreciative people are acting upon the information that Babylon the Great has fallen before the onslaught of the Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ. And they are fleeing from it, entering in upon the spiritual paradise route, “the Way of Holiness.”—Jeremiah 50:8.
18. How does the last verse of Isaiah 35 describe the present situation of Jehovah’s faithful witnesses, and to whom go the thanks for the fulfillment of this prophecy?
18 They are attaining to indescribable joy and gladness, as the closing verse of Isaiah chapter 35 puts it: “And the very ones redeemed by Jehovah will return and certainly come to Zion with a joyful cry; and rejoicing to time indefinite will be upon their head. To exultation and rejoicing they will attain, and grief and sighing must flee away.” Their grief and sighing over having once been out of harmony with Jehovah God have fled away since 1919. And grief and sighing have not returned to Jehovah’s faithful, joyful witnesses. Thanks be to the truthtelling God, Jehovah, who has so praiseworthily fulfilled that glowing prophecy of Isaiah chapter 35!