Laying the Stone in Completion
1. Show how the Scriptures mark the time for the building of Zion.
THE Stone is placed in its proper position for eternity when the Lord appears in his glory. This is at the second appearing of Christ Jesus, for it is then he comes with glory. The Scriptures are very explicit on this matter. “The glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith.” (2 Thess. 1:9, 10, NW) “For the Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will recompense each one according to his behavior.” (Matt. 16:27, NW) “And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will go to wailing and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet-sound and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” (Matt. 24:30, 31, NW) He is the Royal Majesty from the heavens, a Ruler in his own right. The will of his Father shall then be done and the Father’s name, Jehovah, be praised everywhere. “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.’”—Matt. 6:9, 10, NW.
2. Why was not Zion built up following the ascension of Christ Jesus to heaven?
2 From the time Jesus Christ ascended on high to the time when he exercises the kingly authority it has been a waiting period in so far as the actual rulership over the earth is concerned; otherwise he has not been inactive. Christ had to await God’s due time. “From then on awaiting until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.” (Ps. 110:1; Heb. 10:13, NW) This waiting time terminates when the lease of power in the hands of the nations of earth runs out, the end of the Gentile times, in 1914. During this long waiting period Jehovah’s purposes have been working out. (Luke 21:24; Heb. 2:5-13, NW) Then, when the “times of the Gentiles” end, the day of Jehovah commences. Now He acts toward the Kingdom and the greatest of all events takes place. The King, Christ Jesus, the ‘cornerstone of Zion’, is authorized to start operations. “Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”—Ps. 110:2, 4, AS.
3. After 1914 what had to be accomplished in heaven before the stone was laid?
3 Following 1914 the great battle of heaven raged between Jehovah’s anointed King and the satanic and demonic powers. First, it is necessary to remove from heaven the iniquitous organization that has been a defiling influence and obnoxious to the extreme. Heaven is to be cleansed, for it is impossible to contemplate the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven as the king of the capital of the universe and at the same time and place tolerating filthiness and wickedness. One has to go, and it is Satan and the demons who have to quit. And quit they do, for they are pitched out of heaven, “hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”—Rev. 12:7-12, NW.
4. How is Christ Jesus a ‘tried’ and ‘tested’ cornerstone at the time of Kingdom power rule?
4 Jehovah’s anointed King wins the battle after approximately three and a half years. Just as at the first advent Christ appeared at Jordan and was anointed, and three and a half years later presented himself as king, so in the completion. In 1914 he begins activity as priest and king, and three and a half years later offers himself as king. Again he is the ‘tried’ and ‘tested’ cornerstone. For three and a half years he battles evil, and conquers. Jehovah says: “Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Ps. 2:6, AS) The stone of Zion is laid in completion in 1918. The King not only is now present but has proved himself the victorious one of God’s choice by ousting from heaven Satan and all his demon forces.
5. How do we differentiate between ‘laying the stone in Zion’ and the bringing of it forth?
5 Zion is God’s capital organization erected in heaven, made up of Christ Jesus and the anointed spiritual children of Jehovah, whereas the new world is organized to embrace that which is for the benefit of man, earth’s new society, those who will be subjects under the supervision of God’s royal house, which is the governing agency in heaven. However, it is important to note that the foundation of the new world was brought forth at the time of the dedication of Jesus at the Jordan river, after which time he began to preach “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”; and three and a half years later the laying of the “stone” in miniature took place. So it is also in the major fulfillment. In 1914 Christ commenced to exercise his power as earth’s rightful ruler by moving against Satan, and three and a half years later (1918) offered himself as king to his professing people. In the three and a half years the King broke the power of the ruler of this present system of things.
6. What puts professing Christians in a serious position before God?
6 Christ Jesus was present as king in 1914, but only in 1918 offered himself to those professing to be his people. Remember that millions of people claim to be Christians and are therefore in an implied covenant to do God’s will. The religious leaders of these people claim in a boastful manner that they are doing the will of God. Their leadership, influence and domination in national and international affairs is what God wants accomplished. So they claim. The Catholics claim their leader and chief priest speaks for Christ on earth and, in fact, when speaking officially, is infallible. Also the thousands upon thousands of priests, nuns and other officials in the Roman Catholic system claim to be preachers and teachers of Christianity. It is the same with the Protestant systems of religion, whose clergy, bishops, archbishops, and other officers, and the millions of their adherents make claim to being Christian. So it is with the hundreds of other denominations and sects. Do they not go every Sunday to their meeting halls with a Bible or prayer book in their hand, showing profession? Regularly they repeat the Lord’s prayer for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done. Thousands of preachers deliver sermons testifying that they draw near to God with their mouths though their hearts are far removed from him!
7. Describe the reaction of the false religionists toward the preaching of the Kingdom message.
7 These millions have had the opportunity of recognizing the sign of the “time of the end”. The Gentile times ended in 1914 and the prophecies were fulfilled exactly as foretold at Matthew 24 and Luke 21, but have not been heeded by these millions. Instead of acceptance of these events declaring the second presence of Christ, these false worshipers of God ridiculed, scoffed and became scornful, and have continued in that attitude to this very day. The unbelieving majority have said to the faithful witnesses such things as, ‘What do you know about these things? Our organization has been in existence for hundreds of years, and you are only new.’ Or, ‘Why, our teachers have not told us these things, therefore you cannot be true.’ ‘Why, you even predict evil to us, and nothing could be farther away.’ ‘Let us alone and go to the heathen, for we have our church and are saved.’ ‘This beautiful chapel, or cathedral, has been standing for hundreds of years, and you think God would destroy it? Never!’ ‘We do not want your annoying interferences. Do not trouble us any more.’ Or, ‘Keep out of this town. Do not come near this parish. It is mine. They are my sheep. Do not come near them. Do not disturb us!’ ‘Telling us the Bible shows we are in error, even teaching there is no fire in hell. We ourselves do not really believe there is, but to have you pestiferous people come and tell us is more than we can take.’
8. Why and how can we say that the modern Ephraimites are blind and drunk?
8 The vast majority of these professing Christians and their leaders do not actually care what the Scriptures state, for they have no fear of God. Should any reader doubt this, then put it to the test by going yourself from house to house and speaking to them. Test the clergy and priests and other officers in these religious organizations, and find out how little they know of the Word of God, of the purposes of Jehovah and of the sign of the “time of the end”. They are in darkness and go along with this evil system of things, and know not the right way to go. “Blind leaders of the blind.” (Matt. 15:14) These men are the present-day Pharisees. They are so blind they cannot see the key to true knowledge when it is held up before their eyes. Rather would they conspire together to find a way to stop the truth’s being proclaimed. They get all mixed up. Standing in their pulpits professing to be teachers of Christianity they do not know what it is all about, because they talk about something else. Loudly and sanctimoniously they pray for God’s kingdom to come and Christ to rule, and then in blindness grope about for an organization among men that is big enough to support them and their schemes. Posing as representatives of the “Prince of Peace” they go out to bless the machines of war. In soft words they say, ‘Love your enemies,’ and then heap honor upon those who kill the enemies.
9. State facts that point to their inebriated condition.
9 These men not only are blind but are in a stupor. They get all mixed up with the message of truth and with themselves, and their teachings are getting them down. They do not know what to do or where to go. They are as those drunk, reeling to and fro, first leaning on this organization and then on that; making a concordat with one ruling power, and then with another one on the opposing side. They go backward and forward, but still will not hear the truth, despising it and those who bring it, often to the point of insults, violence, false charges and inciting of mobs. These are the modern-day “drunkards of Ephraim”. Jehovah’s witnesses, the modern Isaiah class, tell them the truth in an endeavor to save them from coming destruction, and warn them to flee from the wrath to come. But to do this they will have to change their ways. In their inebriated condition they refuse to hearken. No, they cannot hear. And say they, Why should we be pestered by such petty matters which these Jehovah’s witnesses say, continually annoying us? To these antitypical “drunkards” it is an endless series of painful sufferings. Why all this talk of Armageddon and the end of the world? However, the faithful servants keep preaching, though necessary at times to say, “Wherefore hear the word of Jehovah, ye scoffers, that rule this people.” Or, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffing men, you satirists among this people who are in Jerusalem!” (Isa. 28:14, AT) Jeeringly, odiously and disgustingly, they scoff at God’s message and try to ridicule his directions, but Jehovah still bears patiently and “the word of Jehovah [shall] be unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken”. (Isa. 28:13, AS) This is not a word to the faithful modern-day Isaiah class to comfort them with a little truth here and a little truth there, but is a reply in no uncertain terms against these “drunkards”. Jehovah will so speak to this mocking nation. Had not this prophet’s lips been touched and purified by a seraph? And still he was condescending and gentle, even as a nurse tending little ones. This is the way it is going on, says Jehovah, even ‘command on command’. How long will God’s patience last? Until the “stone is laid in Zion”. For then judgment will come and the execution will not be long delayed. “What shall we say, then? That people of the nations, although not pursuing righteousness, caught up with righteousness, the righteousness that results from faith; but Israel, although pursuing a law of righteousness, did not attain to the law. For what reason? Because he pursued it, not by faith, but as by works. They stumbled on the ‘stone of stumbling’; as it is written: ‘Look! I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense, but he that rests his faith on it will not come to disappointment.’” (Rom. 9:30-33, NW) The rulers of Christendom today are in exactly the same position as the rulers of Israel when the “stone” was laid in miniature; they are as the “drunkards of Ephraim”.
10. What is God’s judgment upon these “drunkards”?
10 The context of the prophecy at Isaiah 28:16 clearly shows judgment will come, and therefore to these modern-day “drunkards of Ephraim” this is what will happen. “And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” (Isa 28 Verses 17, 18, AS) Two things stand out clearly: First, the word “therefore” in Isa 28 verse 16 is in opposition to their confidence and God declares with utmost distinctness the absolute immovability of Zion’s foundation cornerstone. Secondly, the certainty of their punishment. The implication is also clearly here that a new foundation means the removal of the old. Just as Solomon’s temple was not the final habitation where Jehovah would rest, neither is the present-day organization of apostate religion. The message declared to these false religionists is not listened to, being treated as not worthy of their attention. But when it does come home as to what it means, then it will be too late to escape, for they will be engulfed by the commotion and alarm and destruction-dealing forces of Armageddon. “For who will have pity upon thee, O [apostate] Jerusalem? or who will bemoan thee? or who will turn aside to ask of thy welfare? Thou hast rejected me, saith Jehovah, thou art gone backward: therefore have I stretched out my hand against thee, and destroyed thee; I am weary with repenting.” (Jer. 15:5, 6, AS) This is part of the judgment expressed in Isaiah 28:19.
11. (a) What are the antitypical drunkards of Ephraim resting on today? (b) Why and how will they be punished?
11 These antitypical Ephraimites have flattered themselves. They have prepared an easy and secure couch, probably their reliance on modern Egypt. But “whenever it is that they are saying, ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape. For those who sleep are accustomed to sleep at night, and those who get drunk are usually drunk at night”. “For Jehovah will rise up as in mount Perazim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act.” (1 Thess. 5:3, 7, NW; Isa. 28:21, AS) Judgment shall come to these mockers. True, it is their time for revelry now, but shortly the tables will be turned, and it will be Jehovah through his anointed King who will do it. They will be punished for their evil deeds. “This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you, but, to you who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings due punishment upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith.” (2 Thess. 1:6-10, NW) They have rejected the stone of Zion, God’s anointed King, whom they profess to serve and worship. “Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. But who can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” “For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”—Mal. 3:1, 2; 4:1, AS.
12. How is the prophecy ‘justice to the line, and righteousness to the plumb line’ applied and fulfilled today? With what result to the modern Ephraimites?
12 Judgment begins with the professing Christians, both those who are inside and those outside God’s organization, and the determining factor in the commencement of judgment is the laying of the stone in Zion in completeness. ‘Justice is the line, and righteousness the plumb line.’ Jehovah is exact and right in all his dealings, and the erection of the building on the cornerstone will be performed with minute exactness. The building will be the correct height and breadth; also, only the chosen tried stones will be used. There will be no place there for revilers, scorners and scoffers, and certainly not for the modern-day “drunkards of Ephraim”. Only those will be of that building who are in absolute and complete harmony with Jehovah’s purposes and who conform themselves to his righteous requirements. Jehovah’s building is a true place of refuge, while the one the “drunkards” trust in is false and has not been trued to judgment for a line or to righteousness for a plumb line. Rather, they have worked to lies and falsehood. Nothing in the structure of their organization is Scripturally tested, whereas in Jehovah’s structure the “living stones” are measured, squared, and leveled to the true and sure foundation. Therefore the organization of these false religionists is completely out of line and condemned. It is due for demolition. It is an established fact that in 1919 they were so out of line with God’s purposes that they accepted the League of Nations as “the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth” in preference to Jehovah’s anointed King.
13. May the same scripture be applied to those associated with Jehovah’s organization and if so, how?
13 Judgment came not only to the modern-day “drunkards of Ephraim” but also to those Christians inside God’s visible organization, for in 1918 there was great commotion here also. Many making loud profession of being footstep followers were found completely out of harmony, out of line with the measurements, and were determined to go their own way, wholly ignoring the righteous requirements of the Lord. They were disapproved and were denied further opportunity of remaining in association with those who were truly of the Kingdom class. We are still in the judgment day and the destiny of all is being determined by our actions now. The anointed remnant today when finally approved will be rewarded with a place in the eternal capital city of the universe, with Christ Jesus and the apostles and all those proved faithful since their day. Those of the anointed judged unworthy will have no place in the heavenly city, but as they go into death they will die forever and the memory of them shall be forgotten.
CHIEF STONE OF THE CORNER
14. (a) Explain briefly the local setting of Zechariah 4:7-10. (b) How is Christ Jesus the headstone in completion?
14 Not only is God’s anointed King the foundation cornerstone, but he is also the chief headstone, and it has to be brought forth and placed in position. “So shall he bring forth the headstone, with thundering shouts Beautiful! Beautiful! thereunto. Then came the word of Yahweh unto me, saying: The hands of Zerubbabel have founded this house and His hands shall finish it. So shalt thou know that Yahweh of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? Yet shall they rejoice when they see the plummet-stone in the hand of Zerubbabel.” (Zech. 4:7-10, Ro) This is the crowning stone of the structure. The Lord Jesus forms not only the basis, supplying everything fundamental as the very beginner, author and leader of our faith, but he is also the perfecter, the crowning beauty, the “altogether lovely” one, the grand and all-glorious King of Zion, and Jehovah’s glory rests upon him. “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.” “Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘The firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘The Ruler of the kings of the earth’. To him that loves us and that loosed us from our sins by means of his own blood.”—Ps. 45:2, AS; Rev. 1:5, NW. See also Rev. 5:9, 12, 13, NW.
15. Why were the builders happy in Israel’s day when the headstone was put in position?
15 Those who see this royal majesty in his exalted position are greatly blessed and filled with delight, for such ones know he is now reigning and the time for the Kingdom rule has come. So, knowing these sacred truths, they hail the anointed King with “shoutings” when he is placed in position as the headstone. This is the time when he must be heralded “with thundering shouts”. “So shall he bring forth the headstone, with thundering shouts Beautiful! Beautiful! thereunto.” (Zech. 4:7, Ro) In Zerubbabel’s day, when the headstone was put into its place, shouting upon shouting went on. And why not? Had not Israel been in captivity for seventy years? Were they not now back in their own land and their temple rebuilt amid tremendous opposition? Now as the finishing touches were put to it, no wonder they gave out “with thundering shouts”!
16. How was the prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ day? and how is it fulfilled now and with “thundering shouts”?
16 It was the same in the days of Christ Jesus: “As he rode along they kept spreading their outer garments on the road. As soon as he got near the road down the Mount of Olives all the multitude of the disciples started to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice concerning all the powerful works they had seen, saying: ‘Blessed is the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name! Peace in heaven, and glory in the heights above!’” “Most of the crowd spread their outer garments on the road, while others began cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. As for the crowds, those going ahead of him and those following kept crying out: ‘Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!’ Now when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was set in commotion, saying: ‘Who is this?’” This prophecy is now receiving its major and complete fulfillment, and is marvelous to those who now see the “king in his beauty”. (Isa. 33:17, Ro) Today the anointed King Christ Jesus is being heralded “WITH THUNDERING SHOUTS” as the chief stone of Zion. What are they shouting? They are loudly proclaiming, “Beautiful! Beautiful! thereunto.” To those belonging to God’s organization the exalted position of Christ as the crowning work is beautiful indeed. Now note how the shout is stronger, bolder, more pointed and emphatic at the present time than when it began in 1922. It has increased year by year, so that in this year more than 400,000 voices are joined in the shouting.
17. In what way is the visible part of God’s organization being brought into line today?
17 Not only is the King being exalted above every name but the plumb line is in his hand, and happy are those who see it. For, as never before, the people of Jehovah are being brought into line with His righteous requirements. Blessed are those who come into line and remain and continue singing “Beautiful! Beautiful! thereunto”. “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Jehovah: we have blessed you out of the house of Jehovah.”—Ps. 118:26, AS.
HAPPINESS TO ZION
18. How is the cornerstone precious? What is required of those who would obtain the happiness of Zion?
18 Under inspiration the apostle Peter wrote: “For it is contained in Scripture: ‘Look! I am laying in Zion a stone, chosen, a foundation cornerstone, precious; and he that rests his faith on it will by no means come to disappointment.’” (1 Pet. 2:6, NW) How true it is that “he that rests his faith on it will by no means come to disappointment”! It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers. Precious indeed he is to those of Zion, the heavenly city, and precious also is he to those who have joined themselves to the anointed of God and become subjects of the glorious King. The same degree of loyalty and faithfulness is required of those who have the heavenly hope and those having the earthly hope. Complete dedication of everything one has is required of all who will enjoy the happiness of God’s organization. It is an honor from Jehovah to be privileged to see these marvelous purposes of the Lord being worked out in these days. We know Zion is established in the heavens, and that Jehovah has set the “living stones” there as it pleases him; that his anointed King Christ Jesus is the foundation cornerstone and the headstone too, and that this building is Jehovah’s habitation forevermore. He has become King. “In that day will Jehovah of hosts become a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people; and a spirit of justice to him that sitteth in judgment, and strength to them that turn back the battle at the gate.” (Isa. 28:5, 6, AS) Truly he is the Giver of justice and strength to his people.
19. In what way do the anointed and “other sheep” gain confidence and happiness by knowing the cornerstone is laid and is in position?
19 The Lord’s “other sheep” will be happy because they know that the earthly organization of Jehovah to which they belong is under the immediate control of the heavenly organization, and they will make up earth’s new society under the rulership of Zion’s King. There is a great work to be accomplished before the remaining “living stones” of the heavenly Zion are fully tried, tested and approved, and before the complete removal of the false worshipers of Jehovah God, the “drunkards of Ephraim”. But the purposes of the Creator will be carried into effect, because he is the Most High and the Almighty One, and no one can prevent his accomplishing what he intends to do. Perhaps to some the years are more than were anticipated; but such should be cause for rejoicing and happiness by reason of what they see coming to pass. We are not in any doubt as to where we are going, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. The fact is, the Kingdom is here, Christ Jesus is King, the “other sheep” are being gathered, and the false worshipers are being brought together for destruction. All should remember that the whole inhabited earth must know that the heavenly Zion’s King is now in authority and is ruling. The temple in heaven is practically complete. In fact, it is already opened. The cornerstone has been laid in completion and the judgment is on. The unbelievers will be destroyed but the believers will be saved, protected and blessed forevermore. Behold, therefore, your King, and be happy, you who believe in him. Honor the King and rejoice to the full. Truly the time of blessedness of God’s people has come.