Warnings of Jehovah’s Unusual Work
1, 2. (a) How did Christendom and Judah and Jerusalem have warning examples of coming extermination? (b) How did Isaiah sound out the warning?
CHRISTENDOM today has a warning example of what is about to befall her in what befell Judah and Jerusalem. In turn, ancient Judah and Jerusalem had their warning example of the extermination that was coming upon them in the extermination that came upon the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, whose main tribe was Ephraim and whose capital city was Samaria. The name Ephraim was in fact used to designate the entire ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The extermination upon Ephraim and its capital city Samaria occurred in the days of the prophet Isaiah, in 740 B.C. Before ever it came, Isaiah was used to sound out a warning, saying:
2 “Woe to the eminent crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading blossom of its decoration of beauty that is upon the head of the fertile valley of those overpowered by wine! Look! Jehovah has someone strong and vigorous. Like a thunderous storm of hail, a decimating storm, like a thunderous storm of powerful, flooding waters, he will certainly do a casting down to the earth with force. With the feet the eminent crowns of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trampled down. And the fading flower of its decoration of beauty that is upon the head of the fertile valley must become like the early fig before summer, that, when the seer sees it, while it is yet in his palm, he swallows it down.”—Isa. 28:1-4.
3. (a) When Samaria was made the national capital, what was the religious condition of Israel? (b) On what were its drunkards drunk, and what kind of decoration did they wear?
3 Toward the western end of a fertile valley rises the 300-foot-high hill with steep sides called Samaria or “watch mountain.” The city of Samaria was built there. Its position was one of great beauty and charm, and, according to ancient methods of warfare, it was a strategic military stronghold that was able to be reduced only by being starved out. When the city of Samaria was made the capital of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, the nation had already fallen away from Jehovah and had become the enemy of Judah and Jerusalem. It even joined in an alliance with non-Jewish Syria against Jehovah’s kingdom in Judah. There were continual wars between Israel and Judah. The capital city Samaria, the seat of Baal worship, was full of drunkards, particularly political drunkards. They became drunk not merely on literal wine but also on political wine. This latter wine was the wine of political independence from Judah and also wine of political alliance with the Syrians and other enemies of Jehovah’s kingdom in Judah. At their wine bouts they crowned their heads gaily with a wreath or garland of flowers. It was a decoration of beauty; but it was made of blossoms that fade and die. It was a fading crown that was worn by those drunkards that were overpowered by wine. It was a fading crown that the entire capital city Samaria wore while it was drunk with the pleasures of independent political power, backed by political alliances.
4. How was there to be woe to the perishable crown of those drunkards, and what was the “strong and vigorous” one whom Jehovah used for executing divine wrath?
4 Woe to that perishable crown! declared Jehovah God through Isaiah, for it was to be trampled on the ground. The glory of being a kingdom was to be soiled. The drunken state of self-indulgence as a kingdom was to be abruptly interrupted. The sobering experience of being overturned and of being subjugated by a mighty world power was to bring Samaria and Ephraim to a sensing of the stern realities of the situation. This was to come as a shock upon Samaria’s drunkards, because their kingdom had rejected Jehovah and had turned to worshiping the golden calves and the false god Baal and had fought continually against Jehovah’s anointed king who sat on the “throne of Jehovah” on Mount Zion. In order to overthrow the apostate kingdom belonging to Samaria, Jehovah God had a “strong and vigorous” one for executing the divine wrath. Who was it? The world power of Assyria, whose capital city was Nineveh. Like the flooding Euphrates River, Assyria’s conquering armies would tramp through the land, ravaging it and destroying Samaria the capital. (Isa. 7:17-20; 8:7, 8) Quickly, as when an early summer fig is gobbled up as soon as it is spied, the beauty of the decorating crown of Samaria’s drunkards would be blighted.
5. What should the drunkards of Jerusalem and Judah have observed and done, and how, through them, did Jehovah give a warning to modern Christendom?
5 However, Judah and Jerusalem had their drunkards also. These should have observed what happened to God-forsaking, idolatrous, power-drunk sots of Ephraim and Samaria and should have taken the warning example to heart and should have sobered up. To alert Judah and Jerusalem to what was in store for them unless they came to their senses, Jehovah inspired Isaiah to point to what was due to befall the neighbor-kingdom of Ephraim and Samaria. At the same time, by doing this, Jehovah was giving a warning to modern-day Christendom of what is in store for her soon at Armageddon.
6. Whom does Isaiah then identify as drunkards of Judah and Jerusalem, and how have their tables become?
6 Referring now to the drunkards of Judah and Jerusalem, the inspired Isaiah said: “And these also—because of wine they have gone astray and because of intoxicating liquor they have wandered about. Priest and prophet—they have gone astray because of intoxicating liquor, they have become confused as a result of the wine, they have wandered about as a result of the intoxicating liquor, they have gone astray in their seeing, they have reeled as to decision. For all the tables themselves have become full of filthy vomit—there is no place without it.”—Isa. 28:7, 8.
7. (a) As regards the Levite priests of Jerusalem, what did the obligations of their office require? (b) As regards the prophets of Jerusalem, what did the requirements of their office call for?
7 The king and people looked to the priests and prophets of Jerusalem for spiritual guidance and religious services. These men should have exercised self-control and kept from getting drunk. Levite priests were under God’s command to drink no intoxicants at all before entering upon their religious services. They had to keep their senses and be careful that they did not become presumptuous toward the things of God, break the laws of God and the limitations that he placed upon them and get killed for it. (Lev 10:1-11) They needed to keep their heads clear in order to call to mind readily God’s Word and teach it to His people. They should be steady examples for his holy people to follow. Similarly with the prophets of Jerusalem. It was disgraceful and reproachful to God and a degrading example to his people for these prophets to get intoxicated. The requirements of their high office as Jehovah’s mouthpieces called for them to keep their vision clear and their powers of discernment sharp in order to see the will of Jehovah. They needed balanced heads in order to express the decisions of Jehovah. Their tongues could not be numbed and thickened with overmuch intoxicants and also explain God’s message understandably.
8. Whom, though, did those men of holy office imitate, and with what result?
8 Sad to say, they imitated the drunkards of Ephraim and Samaria. Instead of God’s Word pouring forth from their mouths, filthy vomit belched out. It splashed over everything. Drunkenly they fell into it and slapped around in it. In doing so, did they return to their vomit and lap it up? No; they returned to their wine that they might keep on the spree. Hence their judgments were warped. They saw false things for God’s holy nation. They reeled unsteadily in the way that they went. No one could they guide safely or to a certain destination. They could be expected only to commit the same mistakes that the drunkards of Ephraim and Samaria did. For themselves and their nation that followed them they were laying up an end like that which came to Ephraim and Samaria. Woe to those drunk priests and prophets of Jerusalem! They were not rightly directing the people of Jehovah to the preserving of His typical kingdom that he had set up among them. They were in no fit condition to be spiritual counselors to the king who sat on the “throne of Jehovah.”
9. Whom of today do they well picture, and what intoxicated effect do certain other things besides actual wine and liquor produce?
9 How well they pictured the spiritual drunkards of Christendom at the present time! Besides actual wine and intoxicating liquors, there are other things to intoxicate the priests and preachers in Christendom so as to induce drowsiness in them, to make them reel, to confuse things before their religious vision, to induce them to belch out the vomit of spiritually filthy things and to be dull and feelingless toward the dangers confronting the religious world and toward the true interests of God’s Messianic kingdom.
10. Referring to such things causing spiritual drunkenness, what did Jehovah call out through Isaiah?
10 Referring to such things causing spiritual drunkenness, Jehovah called out through the prophet Isaiah: “Linger, you men, and be amazed; blind yourselves, and be blinded. They have become drunk, but not with wine; they have moved unsteadily, but not because of intoxicating liquor. For upon you men Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep; and he closes your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered even your heads, the seers. And for you men the vision of everything becomes like the words of the book that has been sealed up, which they give to someone knowing the writing, saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: ‘I am unable, for it is sealed up’; and the book must be given to someone that does not know writing, someone saying: ‘Read this out loud, please,’ and he has to say: ‘I do not know writing at all.’” For that reason they had drawn near to God with only their mouths, but not with their hearts; they followed men’s commands, not God’s. Hence he said: “Therefore here I am, the One that will act wonderfully again with this people, in a wonderful manner and with something wonderful; and the wisdom of their wise men must perish, and the very understanding of their discreet men will conceal itself.” (Isa. 29:9-14) This drunkenness is more detestable to Jehovah God than physical drunkenness.
11. (a) In Scripture what was wine used to symbolize? (b) What spiritual kingdom vineyard has Jehovah rejected, but what spiritual vineyard does he cultivate and safeguard?
11 In ancient Israel vineyards were cultivated for the production of wine. In Scripture wine was used to symbolize the power of God’s kingdom to induce joy and stimulation. Because ancient Israel was not true to him as God’s typical kingdom, he rejected unfaithful Israel as the typical kingdom vineyard that he was cultivating. However, in the Christian congregation that is loyal to the interests of his kingdom, Jehovah God has a spiritual vineyard that he cultivates and safeguards, and over it he rejoices. Jesus Christ is the Vine; his anointed followers who abide in him are branches, and this vineyard bears much fruit to glorify Jehovah. (Isa. 5:1-7; 27:2-6; John 15:1-8) But Christendom has turned out to be a vine that is strange, foreign to Jehovah. The wine of her priests and prophet-preachers is not the spirit of God’s kingdom, a spirit that induces pure, godly joy and enthusiasm. It is not the wine together with milk that Jehovah God invites us through Isaiah to come and buy, “even without money and without price.”—Isa. 55:1.
12, 13. (a) What is the figurative wine of Christendom’s clergy, and how does it affect them? (b) After vomiting, to what do they return, and how are they a warning example to Jehovah’s witnesses?
12 The wine of the priests and prophet-preachers of Christendom is the spirit of the kingdoms of this world. It induces them to find joy and stimulation in the politics and controversies of earthly kingdoms under Satan the “ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; Matt. 4:8, 9) It excites them to compromise with this world and enter into alliances with it and pray for it and give it moral support. The priests and prophet-preachers get a lot of pleasure out of it and out of the honors, plaudits, friendships, favors and protection that come from the kingdoms of this world. They overindulge themselves in this kind of drink and get intoxicated with the spirit of this world. They get filled up and vomit out filthy utterances.
13 This vomit does not mean that they reject what they have filled themselves with, but shows that they have indulged themselves to an excess, to drunkenness. That is why they return to the wine of this world, seeking it yet again, never sobering up spiritually. Hence they see nothing straight regarding God’s kingdom about which Jesus preached. They see blurry, confused, and so cannot be safe guides to God’s kingdom or to his new world. They are a warning example to those who are spiritual overseers among Jehovah’s witnesses of today. Overseers should not become befuddled through literal wine and liquor. They must become no spiritual alcoholics addicted to the spiritual, religious wine of the kingdoms of Satan’s world. That is not the kind of wine that makes God’s heart and the heart of men of good will glad.—Judg. 9:12, 13; Eph. 5:18.
14. In ridicule, what rhyme did the drunkards jingle off in objection to Isaiah’s talk?
14 In Isaiah’s day the drunken priests and prophets objected to his criticisms, warnings and advices. In ridicule they raised their voices, saying: “Whom will one [like Isaiah] instruct in knowledge, and whom will one make understand what has been heard? Those who have been weaned from the milk, those moved away from the breasts? For it is ‘command upon command, command upon command, measuring line upon measuring line, measuring line upon measuring line, here a little, there a little.’” Or, according to the margin of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, they jingled off this little rhyme: “For it is tsaw latsáw tsaw latsáw, qaw laqáw qaw laqáw, zeeir sham zeeir sham!”—Isa. 28:9, 10.
15. What is the force of the objections of those drunkards to Isaiah, in their indignation?
15 In other words, ‘Whom does this Isaiah think he’s talking to? Whom does he think he’s trying to instruct in knowledge or to make understand what he says he’s heard? Does he think he’s talking to babies who are still in their diapers, mere children who have just been weaned from mother’s milk and taken away from mamma’s breast to start eating mushy food? For Isaiah just keeps up this repetitious preaching. He keeps on drumming the same things into our ears: “This is what Jehovah has commanded, and that is what Jehovah has commanded! This is Jehovah’s standard by which to measure one’s conduct and teaching, and that is Jehovah’s standard of measurement! It’s here in Jehovah’s Word that you find it, and it’s there in Jehovah’s Word that you find it; it’s here a bit of advice, and it’s there a bit of advice!” It is just jargon to us. It is like baby talk. It is not talk for us adult men. We are educated and well versed in the affairs of this world. We are smart enough to make decisions that are able to help us get out of trouble and to save us from disaster. Isaiah must take us for mere babies. It is to laugh!’
16. How, in similar fashion, do Christendom’s clergy regard Jehovah’s modern witnesses?
16 In the days of Jesus Christ and his apostles the religious leaders of Jewry were like that. In this day the religious clergy of Christendom are like that toward Jehovah’s witnesses. They regard Jehovah’s modern witnesses the same as the Jewish Sánhedrin looked at the apostles Peter and John on the witness stand, “men unlettered and ordinary.” (Acts 4:13) The clergy regard themselves as the lettered men, men out of the ordinary and hence obligated to dress differently and to be addressed with titles, men specially trained for religious leadership and to be recognized as authorities never to be challenged or questioned. They feel that Jehovah’s witnesses, who have not been taught in the theologies of Christendom but who are so bold in their speech, are treating Christendom’s clergy like immature babies, uneducated, inexperienced, lacking in judgment, unable to take care of themselves. Jehovah’s witnesses do not speak to them their language, the language of the sectarian creeds, the language of higher criticism, the language of philosophy. Our Bible preaching is to the clergy a foreign tongue, a jargon of our own, like the uncultured language of barbarians.
17. Regardless of what the clergy think, what is it that decides whether Jehovah’s witnesses are superior in their religious education?
17 Regardless of what these learned, highly educated clergy of Christendom think, the deciding question is, Are Jehovah’s witnesses nevertheless what Isaiah 54:13 says, “persons taught by Jehovah”? Is the school of Jehovah’s witnesses really higher in plane? Is it specializing on God’s Word and teaching what his Word says, and not what self-opinionated men say? Does their school point to “here a little, there a little” in God’s Word as it has to do with any matter of religious discussion?
18. According to Isaiah 28:11-13, what answer did Jehovah have in store for those drunken ridiculers?
18 Proverbs 26:5 says: “Answer someone stupid according to his foolishness, that he may not become someone wise in his own eyes.” Jehovah had his answer for the drunken ridiculers who said Isaiah talked like a barbarian that seemed to stammer or like a man of a different language than theirs. “For,” said Isaiah regarding Jehovah, “by those stammering with their lips and by a different tongue he will speak to this people, those to whom he has said: ‘This is the resting place. Give rest to the weary one. And this is the place of ease,’ but who were not willing to hear. And to them the word of Jehovah will certainly become ‘command upon command, command upon command, measuring line upon measuring line, measuring line upon measuring line, here a little, there a little,’ in order that they may go and certainly stumble backwards and actually be broken and ensnared and caught.”—Isa. 28:11-13.
19. How did Jehovah begin to talk to them by stammerers, according to his prophecy through Jeremiah, and who came through this experience with profit?
19 In the next century after Isaiah, Jehovah did begin to talk by means of stammerers of a different tongue to the drunken priests and prophets of Jerusalem. Jehovah talked to them by means of real barbarians, who spoke what sounded like gibberish, meaningless sounds, barbaric language, namely, the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. Some years before the king of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and its glorious temple, Jeremiah prophesied, saying: “‘Here I am bringing in upon you men a nation from far away, O house of Israel,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘It is . . . a nation whose language you do not know, and you cannot hear understandingly what they speak. Their quiver is like an open burial place; all of them are mighty men. . . . They will shatter with the sword your fortified cities in which you are trusting.’” (Jer. 5:15-17; compare Ezekiel 3:5, 6) The Jews did not listen to God’s warning advice through Isaiah. Isaiah spoke their own language with no stammer, but the spiritual drunkards refused to understand his speech, as if it were in a foreign tongue. So now Jehovah God spoke to them by hard discipline at the hands of the Babylonians, who did speak a different tongue in a style that sounded like a stammer. For almost seventy years, or from 607 B.C., when they were carried away captive to Babylon, until Babylon’s destruction in 539 B.C., the exiled Jews had to listen to the Babylonian’s commands and measuring standards, and to obey them as their slaves. A remnant of faithful Jews came through this discipline with profit.
20. Whom has Jehovah raised up as his executioner like Nebuchadnezzar, and how did the Jews treat the warning by Jesus?
20 Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians have long been dead as a nation. Today, however, Jehovah has raised up his great Servant as the Executioner of divine judgments, his anointed Son, the King Jesus Christ. This Anointed One, or Christ, is the Head of the anointed congregation of sheeplike followers. In the first century of the Christian era the Jews of Judah and Jerusalem treated Jesus Christ as the ancient drunkards had treated Isaiah. They did not take to heart Jesus’ prophetic warning concerning the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions in the year 70 (A.D.). Only a sheeplike remnant, a “little flock,” turned to Jesus Christ, the Greater Isaiah, and received advice on how to escape the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the province of Judah. The greater number of the Jews followed their spiritually drunk priests and prophets, who rejected God’s kingdom of his Messiah and who cried out: “We have no king but Caesar.”—John 19:15.
21, 22. (a) How did the Jews treat the warning by Jesus’ followers, and how did God back up their message? (b) To whom was this divine miraculous backing for a sign?
21 To these Jews, the Messiah Jesus Christ and his faithful followers were talking as in a foreign tongue not understandable. The Jews stopped their ears to the warning. During the years that followed Jesus’ death in 33 (A.D.), the disciples kept preaching the day of God’s vengeance that was to come upon the Jews. To give additional weight to the message, God even gave to those early disciples the miraculous gift of speaking in foreign languages. The purpose of this the apostle Paul explains:
22 “Brothers [in Christ], do not become young children in powers of understanding, but be babes as to evil; yet become full-grown in powers of understanding. In the Law [at Isaiah 28:11] it is written: ‘“With the tongues of foreigners and with the lips of strangers I will speak to this people [Israel], and yet not even then will they give heed to me,” says Jehovah.’ Consequently, tongues are for a sign, not to the believers [Christians], but to the unbelievers.” (1 Cor. 14:20-22) That is to say, tongues were a sign to unbelievers who were like the Jews that were transported to Babylon in 607 B.C. and that needed to hear Babylonish speech in Babylon itself in order to believe that Isaiah told the truth and was a true prophet of Jehovah.
23. Since Paul carries forward the application of Isaiah’s prophecy, when does it have its complete, concluding fulfillment, and is not the gift of miraculous tongues needed to make the message “different”?
23 Thus the apostle Paul carried the application of Isaiah’s prophecy into this Christian era. Isaiah’s prophecy did not cease applying after the Jewish remnant returned from the long exile in Babylon and Jerusalem’s first desolation ended. Likewise Isaiah’s prophecy did not cease applying after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70, at which time the surviving Jews were led captive into all the Gentile nations to be talked to, no, not by Jewish-speaking Christians, but by Gentiles whose lips seemed to stammer in speaking a non-Jewish or foreign tongue. Hence Isaiah’s prophecy has its complete and concluding application in our day since 1914. True, Jehovah does not speak now by his Christian witnesses by means of the gift of foreign tongues as he did on the day of Pentecost nineteen centuries ago. Such a miraculous gift of foreign tongues is not needed today for the purpose of winning unbelievers from Jewry and Christendom. Our message from Isaiah does not need to be in a foreign tongue to be called “different.”
24. Like Jerusalem, what does Christendom face, and what resting place has she ignored though it was called to her attention?
24 As with Jerusalem in the apostles’ day, so with Christendom in this “time of the end” of this world. She faces execution by Jehovah’s great Servant at Armageddon. Since the beginning of the “time of the end” in 1914 she has had her attention called to what the resting place provided by the Lord God is, the place to rest our hope and to seek ease from the weariness of Satan’s world. This place of rest and ease relieves us of the fears of this world and gives us a safe abiding place and refuge. This place is God’s kingdom in the hands of his Anointed Son, Jesus Christ, who now reigns on the royal height of the heavenly Zion.
25. Why has Christendom shown herself “unwilling to hear,” and how does the message as delivered sound to her?
25 Repeatedly Christendom has been urged and encouraged to lead the people to the established kingdom of God in order to “give rest to the weary one.” However, because Jehovah has called the matter to her attention by his remnant of anointed witnesses, Christendom is stubborn and proud. Also because she is obsessed with her own theology and schemes and is drunk with the wine of political-religious relationships with their world, she has shown herself “unwilling to hear.” She has not sought this Kingdom resting place herself, and she has not taken up the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom as a witness to all the nations. In rejection of God’s King and kingdom she has fought Jehovah’s witnesses and tried to destroy them and to put a stop to their Kingdom preaching. To Christendom, Jehovah’s witnesses are stammering in a foreign tongue a very strange message, at which she scoffs in ridicule.
26. What thing should Christendom know for certain as regards Jehovah’s speaking to her by his witnesses?
26 Let Christendom know one thing for certain. Jehovah God is not forever going to exercise his long-suffering with her. He is not forever going to speak to her by means of his peaceful, harmless witnesses, who take persecutions at her hand. As soon as he decides that their preaching about his reigning kingdom and about the day of his vengeance has gone on long enough, he will take action by his executional forces at the battlefield of Armageddon.
27. Then what is it that Christendom will hear, and what will her religious leaders do, to their annihilation?
27 Then what Christendom will hear amid the roar of battle of the “great day of God Almighty” will be his carrying into effect the command upon command, the measuring line upon measuring line, the here a little and there a little. Then in the hard way Christendom will find out that Jehovah’s witnesses spoke His message and that it was nothing to scoff at drunkenly with tsaw latsáw tsaw latsáw, qaw laqáw qaw laqáw, zeeir sham zeeir sham! We witnesses of Jehovah have warned Christendom and urged her to repent; but she has kept on her drunken spree and will keep on it till God executes his sentence of destruction. Then her religious leaders and their sectarian flocks will “go and certainly stumble backwards and actually be broken and ensnared and caught.” That means annihilation!
28. Unsilenced, what stern proclamation of the prophet Isaiah do Jehovah’s witnesses repeat?
28 Jehovah’s witnesses refuse to be silenced by all the scoffing and ridicule. They repeat this stern proclamation of the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, you braggarts, you rulers of this people who are in Jerusalem [foreshadowing Christendom of today]: Because you men have said: ‘We have concluded a covenant with Death, and with Sheol we have effected a vision; the overflowing flash-flood, in case it should pass through, will not come to us, for we have made a lie our refuge and in falsehood we have concealed ourselves’; therefore this is what the Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a stone, a tried stone, the precious corner of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will get panicky. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument; and the hail must sweep away the refuge of a lie, and the waters themselves will flood out the very place of concealment. And your covenant with Death will certainly be dissolved, and that vision of yours with Sheol [the common grave] will not stand. The overflowing flash-flood, when it passes through—you must also become for it a trampling place. As often as it passes through, it will take you men away, because morning by morning it will pass through, during the day and during the night.’”—Isa. 28:14-19a.
REFUGE IN A LIE
29. Why do the spiritually drunk rulers of Christendom feel cocksure, and how did the bragging rulers of Samaria and of Jerusalem foreshadow that?
29 The bragging, scoffing, spiritually drunk rulers of Christendom feel cocksure. They think they have made all provisions and taken proper safeguards against the day of divine wrath, in order to avoid what happened to ancient Samaria and Jerusalem. They say they have secured themselves against getting killed and being buried. How? By taking refuge in what Jehovah’s witnesses say is a lie, and by concealing themselves in what we witnesses say is a falsehood. In Isaiah’s day did the drunken, bragging rulers of Samaria and of Jerusalem take refuge in the lies of a trinity doctrine, the hell-fire doctrine of eternal torment, the doctrine of the fiery end of our earth and universe, and similar doctrines? In the face of being attacked, besieged and destroyed by the world power of Assyria and then that of Babylon, did they conceal themselves in such false doctrines? No; Samaria turned for help to a protective alliance with Syria. And Jerusalem, in her turn, appealed first to Assyria and finally, when that failed, Jerusalem took refuge in Egypt and concealed herself behind Egypt’s horses, chariots and armies. When the Babylonian besiegers once withdrew because Pharaoh’s army was approaching, the pro-Egyptian rulers and priests and prophets of Jerusalem felt sure that they had a safe refuge and place of concealment to which the enemy could never get.
30. Similarly, in this time of the end, in what has Christendom taken refuge and concealed herself?
30 Likewise in this time of the end, when Jehovah’s witnesses are particularly warning Christendom concerning the coming of God’s executional forces at Armageddon. Now her rulers, backed by her priests and prophets, take refuge, not in Jehovah’s provided resting place and place of ease, but in worldly alliances. First, Christendom proposed and took refuge in the League of Nations, from 1919 down to 1939. Then, from 1945 till now, she has concealed herself behind the world-peace-and-security organization, the United Nations. Heedless of Jehovah’s witnesses, Christendom in effect says:
31. What, in effect, does Christendom say self-assuringly and in defiance to Jehovah’s witnesses?
31 ‘You witnesses, with your message of the day of vengeance of your God Jehovah, can’t scare us. The Death and Sheol that you predict for us won’t touch us or harm us. We have got on good terms with Death so it will not touch us by those executional forces of your Jehovah God. We’ll survive and you won’t. We have come to a good understanding with Sheol, which you witnesses say is the common grave. We have a vision with it; we see alike as to the outcome of matters. Sheol will not open its mouth or enlarge itself to receive us, and you witnesses of Jehovah will never bury our bones after what you call Armageddon. Ha, ha! We once made our refuge the League of Nations and the Court of International Justice. Since World War II we have concealed ourselves behind the United Nations, its security forces, its Committee for Disarmament, its International Court of Justice, and all the defensive alliances and pacts that have been formed within the framework of the United Nations. So those forces of destruction about which you witnesses of Jehovah are doing such sensational preaching will never reach us or sweep us into Death and Sheol. They will be swept back, and our Egyptian refuge and place of concealment will hold out. They are our last and only hope, but they will not fail us. They will prove true to us, and you witnesses will prove to be calamity howlers, false prophets such as we have all along said that you were.’
32, 33. (a) In what do we witnesses of Jehovah say that Christendom’s rulers have made their refuge, as proved by Psalms 62:8, 9 and Ps 33:17-19? (b) As a refuge and concealment place, what did the League of Nations prove to be, and what will the United Nations prove to be?
32 But, standing on God’s sure Word, we witnesses of Jehovah say that Christendom’s rulers political and religious have made their refuge a lying, deceptive arrangement. They have concealed themselves in what will prove false to them—in false gods, in undependable allies, in what is unequal to meeting the forces operating at the time of divine execution. We quote Psalm 62:8, 9: “God is a refuge for us. . . . Indeed the sons of earthling man are an exhalation, the sons of mankind are a lie. When laid upon the scales they are all together lighter than an exhalation.”
33 We witnesses also quote Psalm 33:17-19: “The horse [of Egypt for warfare] is a deception for salvation, and by the abundance of its vital energy it does not afford escape. Look! the eye of Jehovah is toward those fearing him, to those waiting for his loving-kindness, to deliver their soul from death itself, and to preserve them alive in famine.” Today Christendom has a symbolic “image of the wild beast.” Each member of the United Nations has joined in setting it up or in maintaining it for worship as an idol image for worship by the worldly nations. Concerning it we quote Jeremiah (10:14, 15): “His molten image is a falsehood, and there is no spirit in them. They are vanity, a work of mockery. In the time of their being given attention they will perish.” Hence we witnesses say: The war horses of antitypical Egypt will not avail Christendom. The Devil-inspired, man-made images symbolizing peace and security now worshiped by the nations will prove to be no gods. The alliance of Christendom’s religions with this political world is an unclean, ungodly deception. As a refuge and place of concealment the League of Nations proved to be a lie, even without the coming of the battle of Armageddon. Not less so now, when the actual “war of the great day of God the Almighty” is impending, the United Nations is a lie and a falsehood! Jehovah says so through his Word.
34. Where has Jehovah laid the basis of a stable, enduring government, and when did he lay this basis there?
34 Mankind’s only hope, our one refuge and concealment place, is in Zion, God’s heavenly kingdom. There Jehovah has laid as the basis of a stable, enduring government his Son, his tried Stone, his precious Stone of a sure foundation, Jesus Christ the King. (Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:4-6; Rom. 9:32, 33; 10:6-11) Jesus is the one whom Jehovah has anointed and tried and tested and who proved faithful to the divine sovereignty. In spite of Jesus’ being rejected as king by Jewry in the year 33, Jehovah raised him from the dead and laid him in the heavenly Zion; and there is where the apostle John, in the Revelation to him, saw Jesus standing with his congregation of 144,000 faithful anointed followers.—Rev. 14:1-5.
35. When did Jehovah lay his precious Stone in Zion in an undisputable sense, and why then?
35 Christendom made a similar rejection of Jesus Christ at the climax of World War I in 1918. Yet Jehovah has laid his precious Stone in the heavenly Zion in an undisputable sense. Why so? Because by 1918 Jehovah’s anointed enthroned King Jesus Christ had proved himself precious to God. He proved successful under test and trial during the war that broke out in heaven in 1914 and that resulted in freeing God’s heaven of the Devil’s presence and in the casting of him and his demon angels down to the neighborhood of this earth, to be reserved here for a short period of time before he is abyssed at Armageddon.
36. For what has Christendom made her choice, and why has she been panicked into taking refuge and concealment there?
36 Christendom has rejected Jehovah’s enthroned King. Both before World War II and since then, she has made her choice. It has been for worldly alliances, not for Jehovah’s royal Stone laid irremovably in heavenly Zion. In spite of the failure of the League of Nations, the Catholic and Protestant churches of Christendom still do not see the royal Stone on Mount Zion, whom Jehovah’s witnesses have advertised so loudly specially since 1926.a Those religious systems that profess Christ chose and rested their hope in the United Nations. Faced with the threat of world communism and the destruction of modern, materialistic civilization of the twentieth century, Christendom has been panicked into taking refuge and concealing herself in the United Nations. Her last hope is in this organization made up of many nations of different political ideologies and different religious beliefs, Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan, pagan and Communist.
37. Why have Jehovah’s witnesses not been panicked into the United Nations, and where do we invite all sheeplike persons to take refuge and concealment, and why?
37 However, even under international hatred and persecution, Jehovah’s witnesses have not been panicked into the United Nations. In 1918-1919 they put faith in Jehovah’s thoroughly tried and precious Stone in Zion. They refused to worship the League of Nations but declared its doom. Now we refuse to worship and trust in the United Nations, and we likewise declare its coming doom. We rest on the royal Stone in Zion for refuge and concealment, and we do not share in the world’s fear, distress and anguish. We are still here, immovably resting upon Jehovah’s precious Stone, and we preach and invite all sheeplike persons all around the earth to take refuge and find concealment against Armageddon in Jehovah’s Stone. Our hope is in Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ. As a refuge, that kingdom is no lie; it is the truth. As a concealment place, that kingdom is no falsehood; it is a dependable reality. That kingdom will last as long as the truth lasts—forever!
a See The Watch Tower as of October 15, 1926, page 310, ¶26-30.