The Ancient Pattern of Jehovah’s Unusual Work
“Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, He will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed—his deed is strange—and that he may work his work—his work is unusual.”—Isa. 28:21.
1. Why are Jehovah’s deeds and works not what men expect or want to believe?
JEHOVAH is capable of doing strange deeds and of working unusual works. The thoughts of fallen mankind are not His thoughts, and his ways are not their ways. (Isa. 55:8) Since he proceeds according to his thoughts and he works according to his way, his deeds and works are not what men expect or want to believe.
2. How did the “throne of Jehovah” become established on Mount Zion in the Middle East, and what did the Philistines determine to do about this?
2 Two of his strange and unusual acts, which have a prophetic meaning for our generation, occurred in the eleventh century before the Christian era, over in the Middle East. David, the former shepherd of the town of Bethlehem, had been anointed king over all twelve tribes of Israel in 1077 B.C. Shortly afterward he led his troops to the city of Jerusalem and captured the city stronghold called Zion. Finding it to be more suitable as the seat of government and moving under the guidance of his God Jehovah, King David transferred his capital from the southern city of Hebron to the citadel of Zion. Thus Jerusalem became the capital. The Philistines, the non-Jewish enemies on the seacoast to the west, observed all this and became disturbed. David, whom they knew quite well, had been set up as king over all Israel in the mountain stronghold of Zion, and this was a danger to them. Jehovah God had chosen David for the kingship over Israel and had ordered him to be anointed to that position. So now up there on Mount Zion David sat on what was called “the throne of Jehovah,” reigning as the visible representative of the real Ruler, Jehovah. The enemy Philistines resented this established kingdom of God. They determined to oust King David and overturn God’s typical kingdom.
3. How did Jehovah break up the first movement of the Philistines against King David, and thus what fact was established concerning godship?
3 Was the Most High God of heaven interested? He was. The Bible record tells us how matters worked out, when the Philistines’ armies came to the valley of Rephaim south of Jerusalem. “And David began to inquire of Jehovah, saying: ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?’ At this Jehovah said to David: ‘Go up, for I shall without fail give the Philistines into your hands.’ So David came to Baal-perazim [meaning, Master of Breakings Through] and David got to strike them down there. At that he said: ‘Jehovah has broken through my enemies ahead of me, like a gap made by waters.’ That is why he called the name of that place Baal-perazim. Consequently [the Philistines] left their idols there and so David and his men took them away.” “So David said the word and they were burned in the fire.” (2 Sam. 5:17-21; 1 Chron. 14:8-12; Deut. 7:5, 6) The pagan Philistines had brought along their gods, their idol images, with them for a successful war; but these gods, these idol images, proved to be nothing but lies, false hopes for the Philistines. Jehovah turned out to be the truth, the real God. By a strange deed involving waters he gave victory to his anointed king, David, and thus preserved the typical kingdom of God with its capital in Zion. The false gods perished.
4, 5. (a) What were Jehovah’s instructions for breaking up a second movement of the Philistines against King David? (b) How did the battle turn out, and over what stretch of territory did it take place?
4 However, the Philistines had not learned their lesson. In hatred for God’s kingdom with David seated on the throne on Zion, they made another raid into the kingdom territory. “The Philistines came up once again and tramped about in the low plain of Rephaim. At that David inquired of Jehovah, but he said: ‘You must not go up. Go around to the rear of them and you must come against them in front of the baca bushes. And let it occur that when you hear the sound of a marching in the tops of the baca bushes at that time you act with decision, because at that time Jehovah will have gone out ahead of you to strike down the camp of the Philistines.’ Accordingly David did that way, just as Jehovah had ordered him.” “And they went striking down the camp of the Philistines from Gibeon to Gezer. And David’s fame began to go out into all the lands and Jehovah himself put the dread of him upon all the nations.”—2 Sam. 5:22-25;1 Chron. 14:13-17.
5 This time David under divine orders made no frontal attack on the enemies of God’s kingdom. He got behind baca bushes on the flank or to the rear of the Philistines. Then when the rushing wind in the tops of the bushes sounded like a marching army, which could doubtless drown out the sound of his own attacking army, David pounced down upon the Philistines. Jehovah too had moved in upon the Philistines, and they broke camp and fled. King David and his troops pursued them and kept striking them down for a distance of about sixteen miles, or from the city of Gibeon to Gezer.
6. In King David, what had Jehovah laid in Zion, and, despite the Philistines, how long did David sit on Jehovah’s throne?
6 Beginning at Gibeon, Jehovah here performed an unusual work against those Philistines. He worked to defend his typical kingdom and his anointed king on Zion. In King David Jehovah had laid in Zion the foundation for a royal ruling class, a dynasty of kings, that was to reach the apex of its glory in Jesus Christ. The Philistines were bent on dislodging that royal stone from Mount Zion and overthrowing the “throne of Jehovah.” But Jehovah’s will was otherwise. His typical kingdom triumphed. His king, David, continued reigning on Zion for thirty-three years, till Solomon his son was anointed as king on Zion and seated on the “throne of Jehovah” there. King David thus kept the Philistines underfoot.
7. In what way does Philistinism exist today, and where does it persist, and so what strange thing has Jehovah decreed according to Isaiah 10:21-23?
7 Those two strangely won victories of Jehovah served as excellent historic references for Jehovah God in describing his purposes for the future, even for our own day. Today also there is Philistinism or malicious opposition to the real kingdom of God like that of the ancient Philistines. It exists and persists in Christendom, which claims to be in a new covenant with God. Hence he has decreed something very strange, an extermination, something decided upon, from which he will not change. Isaiah was used as a prophet to tell about it, saying: “A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For although your people, O Israel, would prove to be like the grains of sand of the sea, a mere remnant among them will return. An extermination decided upon will be flooding through in righteousness, because an exterminating and a strict decision the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, will be executing in the midst of the whole land.”—Isa. 10:21-23.
8. Upon whom first did that extermination come, but how does Paul locate a larger fulfillment of it in times future from his day?
8 Extermination came upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and of Judah in the next century after Isaiah. However, the Christian apostle Paul locates a larger fulfillment of the extermination in times future from his own day by quoting from Isaiah and saying: “Moreover, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Although the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved. For Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, consummating it and cutting it short.’ . . . at the present season also a remnant has turned up according to a choosing [by Jehovah God] due to [his] undeserved kindness.”—Rom. 9:27, 28; 11:5.
9. When was there a second extermination, and now what will there be in our day?
9 That “accounting on the earth” was made by Jehovah on the land of Judah and Jerusalem and resulted in the extermination of the Jews that was executed by the Roman soldiers in the year 70 (A.D.). Now in our day there will be a final extermination.