“A New Name”
1. What assurance is recorded in Isaiah chapter 62?
REASSURANCE, comfort, hope of restoration—that is what despondent Jews in Babylon need. Several decades have passed since Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. Some 500 miles [800 km] away from Babylon, Judah lies desolate, and the Jews seem to have been forgotten by Jehovah. What can improve their situation? Promises from Jehovah that he will bring them back home and allow them to restore pure worship. Then such descriptions as “left entirely” and “desolate” will be replaced by names denoting God’s approval. (Isaiah 62:4; Zechariah 2:12) Chapter 62 of Isaiah is full of these promises. However, like other restoration prophecies, this chapter touches on issues far beyond the liberation of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. In its major fulfillment, Isaiah chapter 62 assures us that the salvation of Jehovah’s spiritual nation, “the Israel of God,” is certain.—Galatians 6:16.
Jehovah Does Not Stay Quiet
2. In what way does Jehovah again show favor to Zion?
2 Babylon is overthrown in 539 B.C.E. Thereafter, King Cyrus of Persia issues a decree enabling God-fearing Jews to return to Jerusalem and restore Jehovah’s worship. (Ezra 1:2-4) In 537 B.C.E., the first returning Jews are back in their homeland. Jehovah once again shows favor to Jerusalem, as is reflected in the warmth of his prophetic declaration: “For the sake of Zion I shall not keep still, and for the sake of Jerusalem I shall not stay quiet until her righteousness goes forth just like the brightness, and her salvation like a torch that burns.”—Isaiah 62:1.
3. (a) Why is earthly Zion finally rejected by Jehovah, and who replaces her? (b) What falling away occurs, and when, and in what period are we living today?
3 In 537 B.C.E., Jehovah fulfilled his promise to restore Zion, or Jerusalem. Her inhabitants experienced salvation by him, and their righteousness shone brightly. Later, though, they again drifted away from pure worship. Eventually, they rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and Jehovah finally abandoned them as his chosen nation. (Matthew 21:43; 23:38; John 1:9-13) Jehovah caused a new nation, “the Israel of God,” to be born. This new nation became his special people, and in the first century, its members zealously preached the good news throughout the then-known world. (Galatians 6:16; Colossians 1:23) Unhappily, following the death of the apostles, there was a falling away from true religion. As a result, an apostate form of Christianity developed, as found today in Christendom. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; Acts 20:29, 30) For centuries, Christendom had been allowed to bring great reproach upon Jehovah’s name. Finally, however, in 1914, Jehovah’s “year of goodwill” began, along with the major fulfillment of this part of Isaiah’s prophecy.—Isaiah 61:2.
4, 5. (a) Whom do Zion and her children symbolize today? (b) In what way has Jehovah used Zion to make “her salvation like a torch that burns”?
4 Today Jehovah’s promise to restore Zion has been fulfilled on his heavenly organization, “Jerusalem above,” as represented on earth by her children, spirit-anointed Christians. (Galatians 4:26) Jehovah’s heavenly organization serves as a devoted helper—watchful, loving, and industrious. What a thrilling occasion it was when in 1914 she gave birth to the Messianic Kingdom! (Revelation 12:1-5) From 1919 in particular, her earthly children have preached to the nations about her righteousness and salvation. As Isaiah foretold, these children have illuminated the darkness like a torch, letting their light shine.—Matthew 5:15, 16; Philippians 2:15.
5 Jehovah is keenly interested in his worshipers and will not rest, or stay quiet, until he has fulfilled all the promises he made to Zion and her children. The remaining ones of the anointed along with their “other sheep” companions also refuse to keep silent. (John 10:16) They are noisy indeed as they point people to the only way of salvation.—Romans 10:10.
“A New Name” Given by Jehovah
6. What does Jehovah have in mind for Zion?
6 What does Jehovah have in mind for Zion, his heavenly “woman,” represented by ancient Jerusalem? He states: “The nations will certainly see your righteousness, O woman, and all kings your glory. And you will actually be called by a new name, which the very mouth of Jehovah will designate.” (Isaiah 62:2) As the Israelites act in righteousness, the nations are forced to look on attentively. Even kings are forced to acknowledge that Jehovah is using Jerusalem and that any rulership they exercise pales into insignificance beside Jehovah’s Kingdom.—Isaiah 49:23.
7. What does Zion’s new name signify?
7 Jehovah now confirms the changed condition of Zion by giving her a new name. That new name signifies the blessed condition and honored status enjoyed by Zion’s earthly children beginning in 537 B.C.E.* It shows that Jehovah acknowledges Zion as belonging to him. Today, the Israel of God is thrilled to be the object of Jehovah’s delight in this way, and the other sheep rejoice with them.
8. In what ways has Jehovah honored Zion?
8 Having given Zion her new name, Jehovah now promises: “You must become a crown of beauty in the hand of Jehovah, and a kingly turban in the palm of your God.” (Isaiah 62:3) Jehovah holds up his symbolic wife, heavenly Zion, to be viewed with admiration. (Psalm 48:2; 50:2) The crown of beauty and the “kingly turban” indicate that she is clothed with honor and authority. (Zechariah 9:16) Representing heavenly Zion, or “Jerusalem above,” the Israel of God is a remarkable result of God’s hand—his applied power—in action. (Galatians 4:26) With Jehovah’s help, that spiritual nation has established a monumental record of integrity and devotion. Millions, including both anointed and other sheep, are strengthened to demonstrate outstanding faith and love. During the Millennial Reign of Christ, the anointed, having attained their glorious heavenly reward, will be instruments in Jehovah’s hand to uplift the groaning creation to everlasting life.—Romans 8:21, 22; Revelation 22:2.
‘Jehovah Has Taken Delight in You’
9. Describe the transformation of Zion.
9 The giving of a new name is part of the delightful transformation of heavenly Zion as represented by her earthly children. We read: “No more will you be said to be a woman left entirely; and your own land will no more be said to be desolate; but you yourself will be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Owned as a Wife. For Jehovah will have taken delight in you, and your own land will be owned as a wife.” (Isaiah 62:4) Earthly Zion has been desolate since her destruction in 607 B.C.E. Jehovah’s words, however, assure her of the restoration and repopulation of her land. Once-ravaged Zion will no longer be a woman left entirely, and her land will no longer be desolate. The restoration of Jerusalem in 537 B.C.E. means a new condition for her, in complete contrast with her formerly ruined state. Jehovah declares that Zion will be called “My Delight Is in Her,” and her land, “Owned as a Wife.”—Isaiah 54:1, 5, 6; 66:8; Jeremiah 23:5-8; 30:17; Galatians 4:27-31.
10. (a) How was the Israel of God transformed? (b) What is the “land” of the Israel of God?
10 Starting in 1919 a similar change was experienced by the Israel of God. During the first world war, anointed Christians appeared to be disowned by God. But in 1919 their favored status was restored, and their way of worship, purified. This affected their teachings, their organization, and their activity. The Israel of God came into its “land,” its spiritual estate, or realm of activity.—Isaiah 66:7, 8, 20-22.
11. How do the Jews take ownership of their mother as a wife?
11 Stressing further the new, favored position of his people, Jehovah declares: “Just as a young man takes ownership of a virgin as his wife, your sons will take ownership of you as a wife. And with the exultation of a bridegroom over a bride, your God will exult even over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) How can the Jews, the “sons” of Zion, take ownership of their mother as a wife? In that Zion’s returning sons released from Babylonian exile take possession of their old capital city and settle in her once again. When that happens, Zion is no longer desolate but filled with sons.—Jeremiah 3:14.
12. (a) In what way has Jehovah made it clear that anointed Christians are part of the organization that is joined in marriage to him? (b) How do Jehovah’s dealings with his people provide a lofty model for marriage today? (See box on page 342.)
12 In a parallel way, since 1919 the children of heavenly Zion have taken possession of their land, their spiritual estate, which has the prophetic name “Owned as a Wife.” Their Christian activity in that land has made it evident that these anointed Christians are the “people for [Jehovah’s] name.” (Acts 15:14) Their bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom and publishing Jehovah’s name have made it plain that Jehovah takes delight in these Christians. He has made it clear that they are part of the organization that is joined to him in unbreakable unity. By anointing these Christians with holy spirit, liberating them from spiritual captivity, and using them to preach the Kingdom hope to all mankind, Jehovah has demonstrated that he rejoices over them with the joy of a bridegroom over a bride.—Jeremiah 32:41.
“Let There Be No Silence on Your Part”
13, 14. (a) In ancient times, how does Jerusalem become a city providing safety? (b) In modern times, how has Zion become “a praise in the earth”?
13 The figurative new name given by Jehovah makes his people feel secure. They know that he acknowledges them and that they are owned by him. Now using a different illustration, Jehovah speaks to his people as to a walled city: “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have commissioned watchmen. All day long and all night long, constantly, let them not keep still. You who are making mention of Jehovah, let there be no silence on your part, and do not give him any silence until he fixes solidly, yes, until he sets Jerusalem as a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6, 7) In Jehovah’s due time after the return of the faithful remnant from Babylon, Jerusalem does become “a praise in the earth”—a walled city providing safety to her inhabitants. Day and night, watchmen on those walls are alert to ensure the security of the city and to relay warning messages to her citizens.—Nehemiah 6:15; 7:3; Isaiah 52:8.
14 In modern times Jehovah has used his anointed watchmen to show meek ones the way to freedom from bondage to false religion. These ones have been invited to come within his organization, where they find protection from spiritual contamination, ungodly influences, and Jehovah’s displeasure. (Jeremiah 33:9; Zephaniah 3:19) Vital to such protection is the role of the watchman class, “the faithful and discreet slave,” which provides spiritual “food at the proper time.” (Matthew 24:45-47) Working with the watchman class, the “great crowd” also plays a significant role in making Zion “a praise in the earth.”—Revelation 7:9.
15. How do the watchman class and their companions serve Jehovah constantly?
15 The service of the watchman class and their companions continues! Their whole-souled attitude is seen in the zealous activity of millions of faithful individuals supported by traveling overseers and their wives; volunteers in the various Bethel homes and printing facilities of Jehovah’s Witnesses; missionaries; and special, regular, and auxiliary pioneers. In addition, they work hard in constructing new Kingdom Halls, visiting the sick, assisting individuals who face challenging medical situations, and providing timely relief to victims of disasters and accidents. Many of these self-sacrificing individuals often serve literally “day and night”!—Revelation 7:14, 15.
16. In what way do Jehovah’s servants “not give him any silence”?
16 Jehovah’s servants are encouraged to pray without ceasing, to ask God that his “will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) They are exhorted: “Do not give [Jehovah] any silence” until the desires and hopes regarding the restoration of true worship are granted. Jesus stressed the need to pray constantly, urging his followers to “cry out to [God] day and night.”—Luke 18:1-8.
Service to God Will Be Rewarded
17, 18. (a) In what way can inhabitants of Zion expect to enjoy the fruits of their labor? (b) How do Jehovah’s people today enjoy the fruits of their labor?
17 The new name Jehovah gives his people reassures them that their efforts are not in vain. “Jehovah has sworn with his right hand and with his strong arm: ‘I will no more give your grain as food to your enemies, nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have toiled. But the very ones gathering it will eat it, and they will be certain to praise Jehovah; and the very ones collecting it will drink it in my holy courtyards.’” (Isaiah 62:8, 9) Jehovah’s right hand and strong arm are symbols of his power and strength. (Deuteronomy 32:40; Ezekiel 20:5) His swearing by these shows that he is determined to change Zion’s state of affairs. In 607 B.C.E., Jehovah permits Zion’s enemies to rob her and plunder her belongings. (Deuteronomy 28:33, 51) But now, Zion’s possessions will be enjoyed only by those who have a right to them.—Deuteronomy 14:22-27.
18 In the modern-day fulfillment of this promise, Jehovah’s restored people experience great spiritual prosperity. They fully enjoy the fruits of their labor—an increased number of Christian disciples and an abundance of spiritual food. (Isaiah 55:1, 2; 65:14) Because his people are faithful, Jehovah does not let their enemies interfere with their spiritual prosperity or rob them of the results of their whole-souled service. None of the work that is done in the service of Jehovah is in vain.—Malachi 3:10-12; Hebrews 6:10.
19, 20. (a) How is the way cleared for the Jews to return to Jerusalem? (b) How in modern times has the way been cleared for meek ones to come into Jehovah’s organization?
19 The new name also makes Jehovah’s organization attractive to honesthearted people. Multitudes flock to it, and the way is kept open for them. Isaiah’s prophecy states: “Pass out, pass out through the gates, you men. Clear the way of the people. Bank up, bank up the highway. Rid it of stones. Raise up a signal for the peoples.” (Isaiah 62:10) In the first instance, this call likely refers to passing out of the gates of the cities of Babylonia in order to return to Jerusalem. The returnees are to clear stones out of the way to make the journey easier and to raise up a signal to show the way.—Isaiah 11:12.
20 Since 1919, anointed Christians have been set apart for divine service and are traveling “the Way of Holiness.” (Isaiah 35:8) They were the first to walk on the spiritual highway out of Babylon the Great. (Isaiah 40:3; 48:20) God gave them the privilege of taking the lead in declaring his mighty works and in showing others the way onto the highway. Ridding it of stones—clearing away stumbling blocks—was mainly for their own benefit. (Isaiah 57:14) They needed to see God’s purposes and teachings clearly. False beliefs are stumbling stones on the pathway to life, but Jehovah’s Word is “like a forge hammer that smashes the crag.” With it, anointed Christians shattered stumbling stones that could trip those who wanted to serve Jehovah.—Jeremiah 23:29.
21, 22. What signal has Jehovah established for those leaving false religion, and how do we know?
21 In 537 B.C.E., Jerusalem became the signal that beckoned the Jewish remnant to return and rebuild the temple. (Isaiah 49:22) In 1919 when the anointed remnant were delivered from bondage to false religion, they did not wander aimlessly. They knew their destination, for Jehovah had established a signal for them. What signal? The same signal foretold at Isaiah 11:10, which reads: “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.” The apostle Paul applies these words to Jesus. (Romans 15:8, 12) Yes, the signal is Christ Jesus, reigning as King on heavenly Mount Zion!—Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1.
22 Around Jesus Christ, both the anointed Christians and the other sheep are gathered to engage in the unifying worship of the Most High God. His rulership serves to vindicate Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and to bless honesthearted ones out of all nations of the earth. Is this not reason for every one of us to join in exalting him with praise?
“Your Salvation Is Coming”!
23, 24. How is salvation being brought to those having faith in God?
23 The new name that Jehovah grants to his wifelike organization has to do with the eternal salvation of her children. Isaiah writes: “Look! Jehovah himself has caused it to be heard to the farthest part of the earth: ‘Say, you people, to the daughter of Zion, “Look! Your salvation is coming. Look! The reward he gives is with him, and the wages he pays are before him.”’” (Isaiah 62:11) Salvation came to the Jews when Babylon fell and they returned to their homeland. But these words point to something greater. Jehovah’s declaration brings to mind Zechariah’s prophecy regarding Jerusalem: “Be very joyful, O daughter of Zion. Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem. Look! Your king himself comes to you. He is righteous, yes, saved; humble, and riding upon an ass, even upon a full-grown animal the son of a she-ass.”—Zechariah 9:9.
24 Three and a half years after Jesus was baptized in water and anointed with God’s spirit, he rode into Jerusalem and cleansed its temple. (Matthew 21:1-5; John 12:14-16) Today, Jesus Christ is the one bringing salvation from Jehovah to all of those having faith in God. Since his enthronement in 1914, Jesus is also Jehovah’s appointed Judge and Executioner. In 1918, three and a half years after his enthronement, he cleansed Jehovah’s spiritual temple, as represented on earth by the congregation of anointed Christians. (Malachi 3:1-5) His being raised as a signal marked the beginning of a great ingathering of people from all over the earth, in support of the Messianic Kingdom. Following the ancient pattern, “salvation” came to the Israel of God when they were liberated from Babylon the Great in 1919. “The reward” or “the wages” in store for the self-sacrificing harvest workers is either immortal life in heaven or eternal life on earth. All who stay faithful can be confident that their “labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 15:58.
25. What assurance is given to Jehovah’s people?
25 How positive the outlook is for Jehovah’s heavenly organization, for its anointed representatives here on earth, and for everyone actively associated with them! (Deuteronomy 26:19) Isaiah prophesied: “Men will certainly call them the holy people, those repurchased by Jehovah; and you yourself will be called Searched For, a City Not Left Entirely.” (Isaiah 62:12) At one time “Jerusalem above,” represented by the Israel of God, felt forsaken. She will never feel that way again. Jehovah’s people will forever be the object of his protective care, enjoying his continuing smile of approval.
[Box on page 342]
A Lofty Model for Marriage
When people marry, they bring their own expectations to the marriage union. But what are God’s expectations? The institution of marriage originated with him. What was his purpose for it?
One indication of God’s perspective comes from his relationship with the nation of Israel. Isaiah portrays this relationship as a marriage. (Isaiah 62:1-5) Notice what Jehovah God as a “husband” does for his “bride.” He protects and sanctifies her. (Isaiah 62:6, 7, 12) He honors and values her. (Isaiah 62:3, 8, 9) And he finds delight in her, as indicated by the new names he gives her.—Isaiah 62:4, 5, 12.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Paul echoes Isaiah’s description of the relationship between Jehovah and Israel when he compares the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Christ and the congregation of anointed Christians.—Ephesians 5:21-27.
Paul encouraged Christians to imitate in their marriages the relationship between Jesus and the congregation. There can be no greater love than that shown by Jehovah toward Israel and that shown by Christ toward the congregation. Those symbolic relationships provide a lofty model for a successful and happy marriage between Christians.—Ephesians 5:28-33.
[Picture on page 339]
Jehovah will call heavenly Zion by a new name
[Pictures on page 347]
In modern times Jehovah’s watchman class has not kept silent