When Jehovah Rises Up to His Unusual Work
1. How does Isaiah describe the situation of those trying to take careless ease in worldly arrangements for peace and security, and why?
THIS is no time for careless ease or for self-satisfaction within worldly arrangements for peace, security, prosperity and survival. Anyone that stretches himself out on a bed of ease provided by this world finds the bed too short to keep his feet from sticking out into the cold. If he doubles himself up to conform to the shortness of the bed and gets his knees under his chin, then the bedsheet or covering proves to be too narrow for wrapping himself in to keep his whole body warm. So, under the darkening shadows of Jehovah’s deed and work during the oncoming battle of Armageddon, the situation of mankind in trying to take worldly ease and rest becomes bloodchilling. It gives one the shivers. “For,” says Isaiah (28:20, 21), “the couch has proved too short for stretching oneself on, and the woven sheet itself is too narrow when wrapping oneself up. For 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.”
2, 3. (a) In the century following Isaiah’s prophecy, why was the situation one that allowed for something strange and unusual by Jehovah? (b) When did Jehovah accomplish that unbelievable work, and how did he show that he was not unwilling to repeat it?
2 During the century that followed the utterance of those words Jehovah rose up in a first fulfillment of them. Jerusalem had never been destroyed before. Its throne of the house of David had never been overthrown before. Its awe-inspiring temple to Jehovah had never been burned and razed to the ground before. That such a thing would occur was unbelievable, to the Jews. That Jehovah would become responsible for such a thing was too strange, too unusual, for Jews to think possible. Yet, by means of the prophet Habakkuk (1:5-9, RS), Jehovah warned the doubting Jews: “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For lo, I am rousing the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize habitations not their own. Dread and terrible are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards. . . . They all come for violence.”
3 In 607 B.C. Jehovah accomplished that work. What is more, Jehovah was not unwilling to repeat that seemingly unbelievable work. About A.D. 44, or about twenty-six years before the second destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, the apostle Paul preached in an Asian synagogue to many unbelieving Jews. He warned them against the consequences of rejecting Jehovah’s King on Zion by quoting Habakkuk’s words (LXX): “Behold it, you scorners, and wonder at it, and vanish away, because I am working a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe even if anyone relates it to you in detail.” (Acts 13:14-41) Scornful Jews turned against this message. Just the same, Jehovah worked the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple by means of the Roman legions in the year 70, shocking the religious feelings of the Jews world-wide.
4, 5. (a) What, then, should Christendom not think that Jehovah would never do, and why so? (b) Like whom, at what battle, will Jehovah rise up and treat Christendom like Philistines?
4 Why, then, should Christendom with her thousand religious systems think that Jehovah God would never repeat his strange deed or his unusual work upon her in a final, culminating fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy? What is there Christian about Christendom? At the grandest opportunity of all her history, at the climactic occasion of all her sixteen centuries of existence, she belies her name and rejects Jehovah’s King enthroned on Zion. She refuses to proclaim the saving good news of His kingdom, and chooses the League of Nations and the United Nations. What is there Christian about that? She and her religious crowd are mere spiritual Philistines; and Jehovah will treat them as he long ago treated the Philistines at the hand of David, Jehovah’s king on the ancient earthly Mount Zion.
5 What is strange and unusual to unbelievers, Jehovah God will do; and this time it will be to Christendom, the imitator of ancient Jerusalem and Judah. At Armageddon’s day and hour Jehovah, the God of angelic armies, will rise up as he did at Perazim. By means of his armies under his Greater David he will break forth upon Philistine Christendom like an irresistible flood of water pouring out through a gap in a crumbling dam. When Christendom’s vast organization is broken up and her adherents are sent scattering, they will leave behind them their false gods to be burned up by Jehovah’s forces.
6. How will Jehovah become agitated in spirit against Christendom’s Philistines as at Gibeon, and what will his unusual work result in?
6 Whatever individual survivors there may be of this strange deed of wiping out the blasphemously false Christian organization, they will not be able to conceal themselves and escape to survive Armageddon. For against these dismayed but unrepentant Kingdom opposers, now unmasked, the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, will be agitated in spirit, just as he was at Gibeon long ago. At that place King David, from behind the cover of the baca bushes and beneath the roar of the heavy winds sweeping through the bush tops, swooped down upon the Philistine camp. Then he pursued them for a distance of sixteen miles, all the way to Gezer, striking down those who were against his kingship. So by his Greater David on Zion, Jehovah will come upon Christendom’s Philistines like a thief at an unexpected hour. He will perform his unusual work to the point of wiping out the last ones of Christendom’s adherents. Her great temples of religion will suffer the ruin that Jerusalem’s polluted temples did.
7, 8. (a) Having in mind Perazim and Gibeon, Jehovah likens his Greater David to what? (b) What will the symbolic storm and flooding waters do, and the mere reporting about it will become a reason for what?
7 Since Jehovah had in mind his exploits at Perazim and Gibeon, it is not strange that Jehovah likens his Greater David, the King Jesus Christ, to a “thunderous storm of hail, a decimating storm, like a thunderous storm of powerful, flooding waters.” Jehovah therefore calls Jesus Christ “someone strong and vigorous.” Leading his angelic army to victory, Jehovah will remember the measuring line by which he meted out justice, or what was justly due, to Samaria at the head of the fertile valley of Ephraim. He will also remember the leveling instrument by which he executed righteousness, or what was rightly due, upon unfaithful Jerusalem in 607 B.C. and A.D. 70. (2 Ki. 21:11-15) At Armageddon he will make justice his measuring line and righteousness his leveling instrument. His “strong and vigorous” one, his King Jesus Christ, followed by his angelic army, “must sweep away the refuge of a lie.” Surging onward to reach every part of the hypocritical organization, “the waters themselves [or, Jehovah’s strong, vigorous King and his holy angels] will flood out the very place of concealment.”
8 Down will go the peace-and-security organization, any United Nations, and all the worldly alliances that Christendom has built up for her protection against the day of reckoning! Her rulers will find their imagined “covenant with Death” dissolved by Jehovah’s mighty King in action. Death will lay them low. Their false vision that they thought they had effected with Sheol will not stand up against Jehovah’s King and his army. The graves reserved for the armies of Gog of Magog will open their mouths wide to receive them. When Jehovah’s symbolic “overflowing flash-flood” passes through the realm of Christendom, her rulers and their armies will become a trampling place under the feet of Jehovah’s King and his angel warriors. Those religious hypocrites will be swept away; for morning by morning, day after day, during both daylight and nighttime, the heavenly armies will pass through to take away every last one of the Kingdom opposers. Those who hear of what has already overtaken some of their crowd will find it to be a cause of their own selves to tremble when they try to make others understand what they have heard in advance.
9. (a) Why will that indeed be a “different war”? (b) To add to the strangeness and unusualness of it all, what may Jehovah God do in that universal war?
9 This will be indeed a “different war.” It will be different from any international conflict, where “massive retaliation” by the attacked bloc of nations may be used against the attacking bloc. Even with the help of Satan the Devil and his demons, Christendom will be unable to launch a massive retaliation against Jehovah God and his executional forces under his King Jesus Christ. To add to the strangeness of this deed of God and to the unusualness of this work of God, Jehovah may unleash natural physical forces with which the scientists of Christendom have been making us acquainted since around 1914—cosmic rays with all their varied effects upon earth and man, electric currents in the upper air with intensities of as much as ten million amperes, and other physical wonders yet to be discovered by scientists before Armageddon or yet to be revealed during that universal war itself, comparable to the surprising novelty of the flood of Noah’s day.
10. Primarily, the unusualness and strangeness of God’s activity will be owing to what fact?
10 Yet the strangeness, the unusualness of God’s deed and work, need not necessarily be due to the method or means by which he destroys. It will be primarily owing to the fact that his vengeance is wreaked upon templed Christendom, which claims to be God’s visible organization, yes, his church built upon the rock, against which the gates of Hades or Sheol cannot prevail.—Matt. 16:18.
11. What warning is given to those who scoff at this prophetic description of Jehovah’s deed and work?
11 Even though we go into no detailed description of the astounding doings of Jehovah by Christ at Armageddon, this Scriptural explanation may seem overdrawn, fantastic, extremely sensational. It may provoke scoffing in religious circles in Christendom. Yet God’s warning word is to be taken seriously, together with his illustrations drawn from actual recorded history. Isaiah (28:22) warns: “And now do not show yourselves scoffers, in order that your bands may not grow strong, for there is an extermination, even something decided upon, that I have heard of from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, for all the land.” Those who scoff and refuse to turn from Christendom’s unfaithful, worldly course will only harden themselves in unbelief and antagonism to Jehovah’s King and kingdom. Their bands, which doom them to execution at Armageddon, will become all the stronger and tighter, making it more certain that the scoffers will be destroyed by Jehovah’s strange deed and unusual work.
12. Will Jehovah turn aside from his decision against Christendom, and why should the discipline already received be enough for those who are inclined to scoff?
12 The Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, has decided upon an extermination of Christendom and her hundreds of millions. He will no more turn aside from his announced decision than he turned aside from exterminating ancient Jerusalem and her temple in 607 B.C. and A.D. 70. Why should anyone scoff and be beaten still more during this “short period of time” before Armageddon? Why should anyone have Jehovah of armies become drastic and ride over him with a symbolic rollered wagon on the threshing floor of Armageddon and crush him out of all existence? The discipline already received should be enough. Cease from scoffing unbelievingly in pride. Turn to Jehovah’s King and kingdom in faith, humility and devotion.—Isa. 28:23-29.
JEHOVAH AS A CROWN AND A GARLAND
13. Only by doing what now can we hope to be spared from execution by Jehovah’s deed and work, and what will be very “precious” to us at that time?
13 How blessed it is now to prove ourselves true Christians! Only by divorcing ourselves from Christendom and her imitation Christianity and by becoming true followers of the reigning King Jesus Christ can we hope to be spared from execution with Christendom by Jehovah’s strange deed and unusual work in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” He has announced to all Christendom and her spiritual drunkards that their trust is misplaced, and that he has laid a precious royal Stone, one completely tried out and tested, as a “corner of a sure foundation” in his governmental height of heavenly Zion. All persons who see the lie and falsity of worldly arrangements and alliances and who rest themselves upon Jehovah’s precious royal Stone, Jesus Christ the King of the new world, will take refuge and conceal themselves in the true and dependable Protector. By exercising faith in him they will be preserved from any panic into which the world is stampeded to its destruction. Hence that royal Stone in Zion is “precious” to us believers now, whether we are of the remnant of his “little flock” of Kingdom joint heirs or are of the “great crowd” of his other sheep. How “precious” that royal Stone will be to us when all of God’s destructive forces are in operation during the war of Armageddon!
14. What will it mean to the eminent crown and decoration of the spiritual drunkards, but what will the remnant of Kingdom joint heirs have as their decoration?
14 The prophet Isaiah says that it means woe to the “eminent crown of the drunkards of Ephraim” and to the “fading blossom of its decoration of beauty” that encircles the head of the fertile valley of the tipsy rebels against Jehovah. Why? Because their “eminent crowns” will be trampled down by the overflowing hosts of destruction. Their beautiful head-decoration will prove to be composed merely of fading flowers that will be made to wither and die as quickly as an early ripe fig appearing before summer is greedily gobbled up by the one who discovers it on the fig tree. However, the loyal remnant of Kingdom joint heirs, who exercise faith in Jehovah’s tested royal Stone, will have an undying crown of glory. “In that day,” says the prophet Isaiah, “Jehovah of armies will become as a crown of decoration and as a garland of beauty to the ones remaining over of his people, and as a spirit of justice to the one sitting in the judgment, and as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.”—Isa. 28:5, 6.
15. Particularly since when has God’s name been glorified respecting us as his witnesses, and what will happen to this decorative crown and beautiful garland at Armageddon?
15 Particularly since 1926 the spiritual remnant have been honoring Jehovah and publishing his name, so that in 1931 they felt it Scripturally appropriate for them to embrace the distinguishing name “Jehovah’s witnesses.” Since then a growing “great crowd” of other sheep have also embraced that name. What an honor it has been to bear the name of the only living and true God, Jehovah of armies, and thus to be identified with the glorious Supreme One of all the universe! His name upon us does not fade in glory; but because of all that he has done for his witnesses during World War II and till now, he has glorified his name upon us still more. He has protected and guided us; he has wrought all our works for us. So he is our unfading “crown of decoration” and our “garland of beauty” that will never be trampled down. When he glorifies his name to a dazzling brilliance by his victory over all Satan’s organization at Armageddon and preserves his witnesses clear through that universal conflict, how much more gloriously our divine “crown of decoration” and “garland of beauty” will sparkle!
16. Who is the one sitting in judgment in Zion, and as what kind of spirit does Jehovah become to him and with what result?
16 His royal Stone in Zion sits in the judgment that is to be executed at Armageddon. To him the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, has become a “spirit of justice.” Instead of being overcome by the intoxicating spirits of worldly alliances like Christendom’s drunkards who go astray in seeing and who reel unsteadily in making their decisions, Jesus Christ is filled with Jehovah’s spirit to keep him steady and to direct him in clear-sighted decision. Through him Jehovah will “make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument.” The drunken Kingdom enemies will be overwhelmed in destruction, whereas justice will be done to Jehovah’s holy name and universal sovereignty, vindicating these.
17. (a) For us in our spiritual warfare, what will Jehovah become as toward the assault forces of Gog of Magog? (b) With whom is it the right thing to have a covenant and a vision, in contrast with the spiritual drunkards?
17 Victory over this satanic world is assured to us, for the Isaian promise is that Jehovah of armies will be “as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.” So, as we fight on in our spiritual warfare in the “complete suit of armor from God,” Jehovah’s mightiness will turn away “from the gate” the assault forces of Gog of Magog, and Jehovah’s visible organization founded on his precious royal Stone will stand. Jehovah’s strange deed and his unusual work will obliterate the organization of Christendom, and the destruction of all her worldly allies will follow. Zion will remain triumphant, founded upon the royal Stone who has the “keys of death and of Hades [or, Sheol].” This is the one with whom to have a covenant and to have a vision of seeing things alike, with just one objective, one aim, that is, Jehovah’s divine will. Jesus Christ the King is the very reverse of Sheol and death, for he is the “resurrection and the life.”—Rev. 1:18; John 11:25.
18. (a) Why will we not fear, and what will be our earnest prayer? (b) What privilege do we want to continue ours, and thus what will everybody know concerning what comes to pass?
18 Thus we witnesses of Jehovah, who laid this royal Stone in Zion, stand insured against any future developments in heaven and on earth. We will not fear. Strange though Jehovah’s deed may prove to be, and unusual though his approaching work may be, our sincere, earnest prayer is that His will may come to pass. Oh may it continue to be our privilege to tell to all the nations about the extermination and the thing that Jehovah has decided upon as a warning! Then, when it comes to pass, it will be known by everybody that Jehovah of armies, “our crown of decoration” and “garland of beauty,” has done it to his own vindication by Jesus Christ. So be it! Amen!