Loyalty to God’s Visible Organization Today
1, 2. How is the scripture at Psalm 50:5 to be understood?
IN PSALM 16:10 it is written: “You will not leave my soul in Sheol. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.” And in Psalm 50:5 it is written: “Gather to me my loyal ones, those concluding my covenant over sacrifice.” Are those who conclude Jehovah’s covenant the ones who provide the “sacrifice”? No, these loyal ones do not make an individual “sacrifice” of themselves, giving up their fleshly bodies in order to make a compact with God.
2 How, then, is the covenant concluded? Over the “sacrifice” of the “loyal one” whose soul was not left in Sheol but who was resurrected from the dead. The apostle Peter applied the words of Psalm 16:10 to Jesus Christ and went on to say: “He [David] saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God resurrected.”—Acts 2:25, 27, 31, 32.
3. Who are those gathered according to the command in Psalm 50:5, and why should they be motivated to prove loyal to God?
3 This resurrected Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant, and it is on the basis of his sacrifice that the new covenant is validated. (Hebrews 9:15, 17) So who are those to be gathered according to the command in Psalm 50:5? They are Jesus’ disciples who are in the new covenant by reason of his sacrifice. Out of gratitude to Jehovah for this incomparable sacrifice, they should be motivated to prove loyal to him.
4, 5. (a) What success did Satan the Devil have during the first world war in his efforts to destroy Jehovah’s visible organization? (b) To where was the Society’s headquarters moved, and why? (c) In a modern-day parallel to Psalm 137:1, what was the emotional state, or disposition, of the loyal remnant when they contemplated the crippled condition of God’s organization?
4 When Jehovah’s Kingdom was set up in the heavens in 1914, the nations raged in opposition to that Kingdom by engaging in the first world war, and God permitted this. (Psalm 2:1, 2) Satan the Devil endeavored to use that world conflict to destroy the visible part of Jehovah’s organization. He succeeded in having the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society imprisoned in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. Seven other representatives of the Society were imprisoned with him.
5 Because of persecution, the Society’s headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, were moved to a rented building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was done to keep up the publication of the Watch Tower magazine. The heavenly glorification of the faithful ones was expected shortly. But those of the remnant were inclined to weep as they contemplated the oppressed, crippled condition of Jehovah’s organization.—Psalm 137:1.
Loyalty During Time of Imprisonment
6-8. During his imprisonment, how did the Society’s president, J. F. Rutherford, display loyalty to Jehovah’s organization?
6 Displaying loyalty to Jehovah’s organization during his time of imprisonment, the president of the Watch Tower Society, J. F. Rutherford, on December 25, 1918, wrote a special letter to J. A. Bohnet, a trusted fellow servant of Jehovah. It was addressed to him at the Society’s office in Pittsburgh. Rutherford wrote the following:
7 “Because I refused to compromise with Babylon, but faithfully tried to serve my Lord, I am in prison, for which I am thankful. . . . I would far prefer His approval and smile and be in prison, than to compromise with or yield to the Beast and be free and have the plaudits of the whole world. It is a blessed, sweet experience to suffer for faithful service to the Lord. In the Kingdom we shall prize the Father’s smile above all things. This should be uppermost in the mind of every child of God. We are longing for the union that will make us One there. I am happy, yet I long to see you all again. The convention and annual meeting draws near. May the spirit of Christ fill the heart of every attendant . . .
8 “There is yet much to do. It will be a great favor to participate. Only those who love Him supremely are faithful and will be thus honored. . . . Before that glad day there must be a strenuous witness given. . . . Past methods and means will not meet the requirements, but the Lord in His own good way will provide. . . . I am glad this prison experience was reserved for us rather than for Brother Russell. Never before have I so thoroughly hated iniquity and loved righteousness and longed to help others. . . . Zion’s triumph is at hand.”
God’s Organization Their “Chief Cause for Rejoicing”
9. What attitude of the psalmist did the imprisoned representatives of the Society reflect?
9 Although Jehovah’s servants were branded in the world as disloyal, traitors, and unpatriotic, they did not renounce Jehovah’s organization. They refused to compromise under that pressure. They would rather lose the use of their right hand or become mute than forget God’s organization and no longer let it be their “chief cause for rejoicing.”—Psalm 137:5, 6.
10, 11. (a) For what did the loyal remnant pray, and what words of the psalmist did they take up regarding Edom? (b) What had the enemies of Jehovah’s visible organization been able to do, and what did such enemies never expect?
10 Jehovah’s enemies maliciously rejoiced over the action against the earthly representatives of his universal organization. But Jehovah’s servants prayed for his day of vengeance to come because of all this affront heaped upon his organization. They took up the words that the psalmist spoke with reference to ancient Edom: “Remember, O Jehovah, regarding the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who were saying: ‘Lay it bare! Lay it bare to the foundation within it!’” (Psalm 137:7; Galatians 4:26) Ah, no, Jehovah loves his wifelike organization too dearly to forget what those who are part of the Devil’s organization say and do against the loyal ones of his earthly organization.
11 To all outward appearances at that time, such political sympathizers with Babylon the Great did lay Jehovah’s visible organization “bare to the foundation within it.” They never expected to see it rise from the dust to the worldwide organization that it is today.
The Happiness of His Avenger
12. (a) Who proved to be the liberator of Jehovah’s captive people in ancient Babylon, and does Psalm 137:8, 9 refer to him in the fullest sense? (b) What did these verses foretell about the avenger of God’s earthly organization?
12 Jehovah used the Persian ruler Cyrus to liberate his people from the ancient world power Babylon. But in the fullest sense, Cyrus was not the one meant in the closing words of Psalm 137, which refer to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion: “O daughter of Babylon, who are to be despoiled, happy will he be that rewards you with your own treatment with which you treated us. Happy will he be that grabs ahold and does dash to pieces your children against the crag.”—Psalm 137:8, 9.
13, 14. Why could the “happy” one of Psalm 137:8, 9 not refer to the political powers that destroy Babylon the Great?
13 Who will be that “happy” one? Does the “happy” one stand for the symbolic “ten horns” that are upon the head of the “wild beast,” on the back of which the old harlot system of religion has ridden with such pomp for so long? No, because the political destroyers of the world empire of false religion do not destroy it to make way for the pure worship of the true God. They do not do it for the glory of the God of the Bible. How, then, could such ones actually be the “happy” one designated by the psalmist?
14 The political powers of this world do not accomplish this antireligious work out of love for Jehovah’s worshipers. Why not? Because Jehovah’s Witnesses will stand in the way of their producing an exclusively godless world. So the political powers are merely the instruments used by the God of the Witnesses to carry out his own purpose.—Revelation 17:17.
15. Who really motivates the political powers, and by means of whom?
15 Thus, though these political powers may be directly used in the annihilation of the world empire of false religion, it is really Jehovah God who is motivating them. How? He uses his empowered royal Son, the Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus Christ in Kingdom power is the “happy” one foretold by the psalmist!
16. How does Jehovah destroy Babylon’s “children”?
16 Whereas Jehovah will safeguard his loyal ones, he will, in a figurative sense, grab ahold of every one of the religious “children” of the harlotlike system of false teaching and break them to pieces against what looms up like a “crag”—the unyielding Kingdom of Jehovah God by Jesus Christ.
17. (a) According to Isaiah 61:1, 2, what was Jesus to proclaim after being anointed with God’s spirit? (b) How is the proclamation being carried out today?
17 When he was on earth, Jesus was anointed with the spirit of his divine Backer not only “to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah” but also to proclaim “the day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isaiah 61:1, 2; Luke 4:16-21) In our time, during “the last days” of this system of things, Jehovah is having his faithful servants proclaim “the day of vengeance on the part of our God” in all the inhabited earth for a warning to all the nations. In this proclamation the remnant have been joined by a growing “great crowd” of sheeplike disciples of Jesus Christ, as forevisioned in Revelation 7:9-17.
18. In what happiness will God’s loyal ones share?
18 All of these, the remnant and the “great crowd,” have obeyed the angelic command of Revelation 18:4. They have got out of Babylon the Great. Why is such action urgent? Because they must flee out of Babylon the Great before her religious “children” are broken to pieces and devastated by means of the “wild beast” and its “ten horns” right before Armageddon. These loyal ones will share in the happiness of the Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ. They will join the heavens in saying: “Praise Jah, you people! The salvation and the glory and the power belong to our God, because his judgments are true and righteous. For he has executed judgment upon the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication.”—Revelation 19:1, 2; compare Jeremiah 51:8-11.
19. What happiness does the loyal remnant now enjoy, and what greater happiness awaits them?
19 Since 1919 Jehovah has done “a great thing” for his people. (Psalm 126:1-3) For this magnifying of his power of liberation, demonstrating that he is “the faithful God,” the liberated remnant are still glad at heart. (Deuteronomy 7:9) They are profoundly happy, but there is the greater happiness that awaits them. This will be when they can join in the happiness of the Greater Cyrus, the reigning Monarch, Jesus Christ, at the time when he breaks to pieces all the “children” of that devilish organization.
20. Who else are sharing in the happiness of the anointed remnant, and why?
20 Millions of former “captives” of Babylon the Great have already been helped to flee that doomed religious organization before its violent destruction. The result has been the “great crowd” of “other sheep.” They now number, earth wide, more than 3,000,000, with no limit to the number yet to be rescued from the destruction of the worldwide empire of false religion. In loyalty to Jehovah’s organization, they are sharing the happiness of the remnant by joining them in proclaiming Jehovah’s day of vengeance upon religious Babylon the Great.
21. What should be our attitude toward Babylon the Great and her captives?
21 Let there, then, be no compromise with that world empire of false religion. Let there be no returning to her in these days of her decline. May we keep on helping as many captives of Babylon the Great as possible to get out of that doomed system before the Greater Cyrus gains his happifying victory.