Taught by Jehovah
1. How has Jehovah’s organization been barren?
IN THE preceding issue of The Watchtower we undertook a consideration of the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, and now continue with the examination of the questions as to the teaching of Zion’s children by Jehovah God. When? How? Who? May we share therein? We have seen that Jehovah’s rulership and worship are directly involved. Jesus recognized that time must pass pending the arrival of God’s due time for his Kingdom rule. In the twenty-first chapter of Luke we read his words: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.” (Luke 21:24, 32, NW) It is apparent then that until such time would arrive when God’s kingdom through Christ Jesus would be set up, which is to say, when the Kingdom would be born, the great universal organization of Jehovah God is properly represented as a barren woman, as a wife without the desired child, an organization not as yet productive of its purpose toward earth.
2. What were the circumstances pertaining to Israel’s rule and the historical facts that combine to establish the beginning of the “appointed times of the nations”?
2 In ancient Israel, Jerusalem was its capital city, Zion was the citadel of Jerusalem, and that name also was applied to the entire city. Zion was the capital therefor, and as such was capital of Jehovah’s kingdom over that comparatively small part of the earth. Israel’s kings sat on Jehovah’s throne. (1 Chron. 29:23, AS) To and through them there was promised an everlasting rulership, and yet this kingdom which was typical ended in violence in 607 B.C. (2 Sam. 7:12-16, AS) Against that unfaithful yet typical kingdom of Israel and its ungodly ruler came the word of Jehovah through his prophet Ezekiel: “Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. And thou, O deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day is come, in the time of the iniquity of the end, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Remove the mitre, and take off the crown; this shall be no more the same; exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezek. 21:24-27, AS) Thus began the “appointed times of the nations” that were to run for a set length and would terminate with the establishment of the antitypical theocratic kingdom of God over earth, the birth by Jehovah’s great universal organization, his righteous woman Zion, his wife, of the Kingdom man-child. In the interval until then Zion would be as a barren woman.
3. Evidence of the Bible and history mark A.D. 1914 as what?
3 Previously in the columns of The Watchtower and the other publications of the Watch Tower Society the evidence has been set forth from God’s Word and the events of history of more than twenty-five hundred years ago and of our day, pointing to the year A.D. 1914 as the time when the “appointed times of the nations” terminated and the kingdom of Jehovah God was born. While Zion was barren respecting the Kingdom man-child, God’s appointed King sat down, as it were, waiting. “Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”—Ps. 110:1, 2, AS.
4. What timely birth gives importance to the date 1914?
4 The setting of Christ Jesus as God’s heavenly King upon his holy hill of heavenly Zion to rule is a bringing forth or birth by Zion: “Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Ps. 2:6-8, AS) So the Kingdom is born in heaven by virtue of the heavenly King’s taking his power in Jehovah’s due time. It is a successful birth, a timely one. It is the cause for the greatest rejoicing by the Father, the mother, the King of the newly born rule, and by all recognizing it and being for it. Christ Jesus looked forward to that time, and of this Paul the apostle states: “Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—Heb. 12:2, NW.
5. How is Jehovah’s wifely organization depicted in the 12th and 19th chapters of Revelation, and what does she accomplish?
5 The twelfth and nineteenth chapters of Revelation recount the realization of that joy. In reading Revelation’s prophecy, have in mind God’s woman-organization and her Kingdom man-child. “And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars, and she was pregnant. And she cries out in her pains and in her agony to give birth. And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is destined to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne. And I heard what was as a voice of a great crowd and as a sound of many waters and as a sound of heavy thunders. They said: ‘Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king. Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.’” (Rev. 12:1, 2, 5; 19:6, 7, NW) Thus the birth of the man-child ends the barrenness of God’s woman as to his Kingdom rule over earth. There is work to be done under the heavenly Kingdom organization respecting Christians and all persons of good will and honest heart who may become Christians, that is, who may join in what should now be the order of the day, namely, the worship of Jehovah. This work must be done during the existence of the wicked old-world organization.
6. In Isaiah, chapter 66, how is this great event shown?
6 No one prophecy foretells all the events involved, nor all the acts of God, but many prophecies are used, all in agreement with one another, all to the praise of Jehovah’s name. The prophet used by God to write the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah also wrote concerning the birth of Zion’s offspring in the sixty-sixth chapter, where we read: “A voice from the temple, a voice of Jehovah . . . Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? shall a nation be brought forth at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah: shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? saith thy God. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn over her; that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.” (Isa. 66:6-12, AS) Incidentally, and among other things, in harmony with the rest of God’s Word, this prophecy of Isaiah shows the utter impossibility of Jehovah God’s woman’s being the woman Mary who gave birth to the babe Jesus.
7. (a) What is there unusual about the birth of Zion’s man-child? (b) “Who hath heard such a thing?”
7 What is there unusual about the birth of Zion’s man-child? This: it is brought forth before her pain comes. In 1914, in God’s own due time, his organization Zion brought forth the Kingdom by Jehovah’s setting his King Christ Jesus upon his throne to rule in the midst of his enemies. “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?” No one! It is unheard of among the nations of the world. Furthermore, as Isaiah foretold, the Kingdom was born without travail, and thereafter travail followed with which Zion brought forth her children, not the man-child, but children, plural in number.
8. How is the certainty of the Kingdom’s birth shown in Revelation 12?
8 We have read in the twelfth chapter of Revelation that God’s woman was ready to give birth to the Kingdom son, and that at that time she cries out in her pains and in her agony to give birth. The scripture in Revelation shows that the time had come for God’s universal organization to bring to the birth the Kingdom and that the birth was unavoidable. The birth must follow, because she is represented as being in pain and agony to give birth. So Jehovah states through Isaiah, “Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?” Jehovah does cause to bring forth.
9. In Isaiah 66, what is the order of events prophesied?
9 Something else, however, is shown in the sixty-sixth chapter of Isaiah, namely, the order in which certain events occur. Without travail, or before the great travail or trouble that followed, the Kingdom was born in 1914 when Christ took his power to reign. Thereafter, both in heaven and upon earth, travail, distress, trouble, pangs, came upon God’s organization. What accounts for this? Three things: (1) a war in heaven, (2) persecution of Christians upon the earth, (3) their spiritual purging.
10. What events of “travail” followed the birth of the Kingdom?
10 Turning again to the twelfth chapter of Revelation we read that after the birth of the Kingdom “war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.’” (Rev. 12:7-10, NW) The events on earth mark the heavenly. Note, therefore: “Now when the dragon saw it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child. And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.”—Re 12 Vss. 13, 17, NW.
11. What do the facts of the past thirty-nine years show respecting persecution of Christians?
11 This is an amazing thing! It shows that following the birth of God’s kingdom in 1914 and the action of the King in heaven against God’s enemy, Satan the Devil, the Dragon instigates a bitter persecution of all who would worship God and who are of the seed of God’s organization or become children of it. The facts known to all familiar with the history of the past thirty-nine years prove that every man, woman and child who dares to take a stand for the worship of the true God Jehovah and for the righteous principles of his Word, and who advocates his kingdom under Christ Jesus, is absolutely certain to be the object of the hatred of the Dragon and the attacks of his organization, the organization of the world, religious, political, commercial and military.
12. How does the great sign of Matthew chapter 24 coincide with Zion’s travail?
12 Elsewhere and previously the Watch Tower publications have discussed in detail the wonderful prophecy of Jesus found in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and related scriptures, which prophecy sets out a great sign, composed of many parts, fitted by the facts and events since 1914. Be it noted that included in that sign marking the reign of Christ Jesus there is this: “Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.” Nevertheless, “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end [the final destruction of the wicked world organization] will come.” (Matt. 24:9, 14, NW) In point of time, then, it is after the birth of the Kingdom and following the beginning of the trouble upon real Christians on earth that Zion’s children are born. “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”—Isa. 66:8, AS.
13, 14. State each of the pertinent questions here asked, with the answer we are now able to give to each.
13 “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye Jehovah.” (Ps. 113:9, AS) Let us read again Isaiah 54:13 (AS): “And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” This text also has reference, as we have seen, to the children of Zion. We can at this point then ask some pertinent questions, to which the answers now appear to us: Who are the children? Who are the parents, that is, who is the father and who is the mother? The father, of course, would be a husband; so, who is the husband? How are the children taught? How can I receive this teaching? And what are the results of this instruction? The Scriptural consideration that has gone before enables us to now briefly answer these questions.
14 The Maker, Jehovah God, is the Husband; and he is also the Father referred to in the prophecy. The mother is God’s great, universal organization. The children are his devoted worshipers from among men. They are taught by God through his Word by means of his spirit and his organization. Persons may receive this instruction only by a personal, individual devotion or dedication to God. The results are the blessings of the immediate worship of Jehovah, in peace, and with lasting life in view. The facts previously observed, respecting Jehovah God and his relationship to his organization, when applied to the prophecy of this fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, assist us in determining how we individually may come into and maintain this essential happy relationship to God and receive his teaching.
15, 16. (a) Paraphrase Isaiah 54:1-3. (b) To whom is it addressed, and what proves this? (c) What does Zion produce?
15 It is, of course, to no individual woman, nor even to the nation of Israel of old, that these words are now addressed: “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah.” (Isa. 54:1, AS) The apostle Paul adds to the great amount of evidence previously considered in showing that the prophecy of the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah applies to God’s organization by actually quoting Isaiah 54:1 in writing to the Galatians, as we read: “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: ‘Be glad, you barren woman who does not bear children; break out and cry aloud, you woman who does not have childbirth pains; because the children of the desolate woman number more than those of her who has the husband.’” (Gal. 4:26, 27, NW) It is an organization not of men, but heavenly, and it produces both the Kingdom and individuals.
16 Jerusalem named here by Paul is also called “Zion”: “the city of David, which is Zion.” (1 Ki. 8:1) “Mount Zion, wherein thou didst take up thy habitation.” (Ps. 74:2, Ro) “For Jehovah hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.” (Ps. 132:13, AS) Zion, God’s organization, had apparently been barren respecting both Jehovah’s rulership and worship, but now, having brought forth the Kingdom, it produces worshipers. Therefore verses two and three of Isaiah chapter fifty-four says, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” (AS) Nothing like this occurred with ancient Israel; nor with Mary the mother of Jesus, even though she did have other children besides the babe Jesus. But this does come to pass respecting Jehovah’s great universal organization.
17. What is the import of Isaiah 54:4-8?
17 That the maker of the organization, and its husband as well, is Jehovah God is shown by his own words: “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth; and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt thou remember no more. For thy Maker is thy husband; Jehovah of hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called. For Jehovah hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In overflowing wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting loving-kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith Jehovah thy Redeemer.”—Isa. 54:4-8, AS.
18-20. (a) Of what is the rainbow a token? (b) What assurance is given to Zion and her children?
18 Following the flood, God stated to Noah his mind concerning sanctity of life and his loving consideration for creatures upon the earth. In this connection he declared the rainbow to be a sign, stating: “I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”—Gen. 9:11-13, 16, AS.
19 Observe that God stated: “I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature.” Many rainbows are seen by men from their observation point upon the earth. It is said that from an airplane flying high above the clouds, looking toward the earth instead of up from the earth, one may see the rainbow even more in evidence. Thus Jehovah has given a complete assurance to those who believe him. Because of his great vantage point he always can observe the rainbow, which he has constituted a sign and a reminder and a strengthening assurance. God’s covenant word is an assurance, not solely that the earth will not be overflowed with water a second time, but, even more wonderfully, that he will never forsake his wife but will always cherish her and her children. So he says, “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving-kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, saith Jehovah that hath mercy on thee.”—Isa. 54:9, 10, AS.
20 Then Jehovah in beautiful phrase speaks further comfort, assurance, and of the spiritual beauties of his precious organization. ’O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set thy stones in fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of precious stones.”—Isa 54 Vss. 11 and 12.
21. What may now be said concerning the children of Zion?
21 Jehovah has identified himself as the father, the teacher of his disciple children. Those children claim our attention now. Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, says that “mother” as a noun “is that which has produced or nurtured anything; a source of birth or origin”. As an adjective “mother” means “bearing the relationship of a mother, as a mother church”. Such a mother is the organization of Jehovah God, as we have seen. It is by association with that organization through the way provided by its Maker that persons may become children of that organization. Those who are the children referred to in the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah are worshipers of God among men, and the question arises as to when they are brought forth, within the language of this prophecy.
22. Explain the relationship between the resurrection, “the last day” and Zion’s “barrenness”.
22 Referring again to the occasion on which Jesus quoted from this prophecy we are reminded that he stated that those who came to him at that time he would ‘resurrect in the last day’. (John 6:41-47, NW) The early Christians did not go to heaven at the time they went down into death. They did not experience their resurrection change, but slept in death awaiting God’s due time for their resurrection. As far as they were concerned, God’s organization was without them as children until such time as they would be resurrected. This brings us to a thrilling part of the fulfillment of the prophecy, and it is continued in the following.