Part 11—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
In keeping with its title Chapter 4 has presented “foregleams of God’s kingdom,” calling attention to how King-Priest Melchizedek of Salem and Kings David and Solomon of Jerusalem were prophetic prefigurements of Jehovah’s anointed Ruler of the coming Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ. From the beginning Jehovah God was the invisible King of the nation of Israel, but he granted that nation to have visible human kings as his earthly representatives on the “throne of Jehovah” at Jerusalem Because of King David’s godly devotion to Him, Jehovah God made a covenant for the kingdom according to which the kingship was to continue in David’s royal line until the coming of the promised Seed of God’s woman to whom the kingship would belong forever. In 607 B.C., because of the bad conduct of the succeeding kings of Israel, the earthly kingdom was overturned, never to be re-established. Even when Jesus Christ rode triumphally into Jerusalem, the kingdom was not set up anew at that city. After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and just before he ascended back to heaven, his disciples asked him but he refused to tell them when the kingdom would be restored.
24. Why did Christ’s disciples not wait in Jerusalem for God’s kingdom to be established, and how does Revelation 12:17 show that Satan was not crushed under their feet at Jerusalem’s destruction?
24 The faithful disciples of Christ did not stay in Jerusalem waiting for the kingdom of God to be restored there to Israel. They knew that the rightful Heir to God’s kingdom then sat at Jehovah’s right hand in heaven. So they went out witnessing to Christ, going out from Jerusalem. In the year 70 (A.D.) the Roman armies under General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and its temple of Herod; but in good time before the horrible destruction the Christians yet in Jerusalem fled from the doomed city and escaped perishing with it. They acted on Jesus’ instructions, in Luke 21:20-24. The apostle Paul had written before that to the Christian congregation in Rome: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20) But that crushing of God’s great adversary under their feet did not occur at the destruction of unfaithful Jerusalem A.D. 70. More than twenty-five years afterward the Revelation to John concerning the “things that must shortly take place” warned Christians that the original Serpent would persecute God’s “woman” ferociously and would make war upon her spiritual children on earth, the spiritual brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.—Rev. 12:17.
25. What question do we today ask concerning the bruising of the Serpent and concerning the kingdom of the Serpent-Bruiser?
25 In the Revelation John heard the souls of faithful Christians who had been slaughtered because of God’s Word and because of the witness work that they used to do cry out: “Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth? “ (Rev. 6:9, 10) And even today we ask, When will the Seed of God’s woman bruise the wicked Serpent in the head? How long was it to be from the ruin of the typical kingdom of God in 607 B.C. until God’s heavenly kingdom is established by giving it to the Serpent-Bruiser, the Seed of God’s woman, who has the right to it?
26. When did the trampling down of the capital city of the typical kingdom of God begin, and how do we know that the trampling had not ceased even in Jesus’ own days on earth?
26 At its ruin in 607 B.C. the capital city of the typical kingdom of God began to be trodden down, trampled upon by the non-Jewish nations, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon starting off this trampling. Jerusalem was founded anew in 537 B.C. by the faithful remnant that returned from exile in Babylon to their desolated land. But the trampling of Jerusalem underfoot by the non-Jewish nations continued. Jesus predicted the destruction of the rebuilt Jerusalem within the days of his apostles. The Roman armies in the Middle East did this destructive work in a few months in 70 (A.D.). But Jesus said that the trampling would continue on beyond that. For how long? Hear his words: “There will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”—Luke 21:23, 24.
27. What did the Jerusalem that began to be trampled in 607 B.C. stand for, and so what would the end of the trampling at God’s appointed time mean?
27 Back in 607 B.C. the Jerusalem that was overthrown stood for the kingdom of God because it had the typical throne of Jehovah on which the anointed one of Jehovah sat as his king. Likewise, the Jerusalem that is trampled upon by worldly nations stands for the kingdom of God. In his own days on earth Jesus said these words as a part of his Sermon on the Mount: “Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.” (Matt. 5:34, 35) So the end of the trampling down of Jerusalem at the complete fulfillment of the “appointed times of the nations” would mean the rising again of symbolic Jerusalem, namely, the kingdom of God. It would mean the giving of the kingdom of God to the great Heir of King David, who used to sit on Jehovah’s throne in Jerusalem of old. It would mean that this Heir would begin to reign because he has the right to do so in harmony with the Kingdom covenant that Jehovah God made with King David.
“THE APPOINTED TIMES OF THE NATIONS”
28. How many are the “times” during which Jerusalem was to be trampled down, and through whose dream do we know?
28 It is vital, then, to know the length of these “appointed times of the nations.” How many times are there? How long does each time last? In the Holy Scriptures the number seven is used as a symbol of spiritual completeness or perfection. Did not seven days make up God’s complete creative week? So, through the apocalyptic book of Daniel, God informs us that the appointed times of the nations for trampling Jerusalem underfoot are seven, a complete number. He sent to King Nebuchadnezzar a dream that none of the scientists, wise men and religious leaders of Babylon could interpret. Finally Daniel the prophet of Jehovah was called. Frightened King Nebuchadnezzar told Daniel the details of the dream and encouraged him not to be afraid of telling the straight truth about the meaning. Daniel, whom the king had named Belteshazzar, said:
29. With what identification did Daniel start off interpreting the dream?
29 “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth; whose leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all; under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the air dwelt—it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth.”—Dan. 4:19-22, RS.
30. Of what was King Nebuchadnezzar a symbol at that time and why did he then and the other nations to follow not have interference from the kingdom of God?
30 The dream tree had a personal application to the dreamer, in the first place. But Nebuchadnezzar had been permitted by Jehovah God the Almighty to establish Babylon as a world power. It was a successor to the first and second world powers, namely, Egypt and Assyria. This Babylonian world power commanded worldwide attention and respect. So Nebuchadnezzar was a symbol of something greater than just himself. He stood as a symbol of world dominance, which, at the moment, he was exercising by permission and according to the purpose of the Most High God. Jehovah God had used him in executing divine vengeance upon the unfaithful nation of Judah, overthrowing its kingdom, and thus beginning the “appointed times of the nations,” during which Jerusalem must be trampled on by such worldly nations. On this account Babylon and the other nations that were to follow during the “appointed times” did not have the interference of the kingdom of Jehovah God even in a typical way. As a national power the typical kingdom of God was cut off.
31. What was to be done with the symbolic tree, and how much time was to pass in connection with it?
31 Daniel continued: “And whereas the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Hew down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field; and let him be wet with the dew of heaven; and let his lot be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;’ this is the interpretation, O king.”—Dan. 4:23, 24, RS.
32. In simplest meaning, what did that picture, and what happened to Babylon’s governmental organization in the meantime?
32 In the simplest meaning, this pictured that Nebuchadnezzar himself would be toppled from his position of world dominance but would not be destroyed to the point of never getting back into power. The “stump” of him would remain in the earth, but would be banded from growth or expansion for the duration of “seven times.” Meanwhile the governmental organization of Babylon kept on working, only not with Nebuchadnezzar active in the throne. His son Evil-meródach may have carried on for him as acting government head.
33. What was the real world domination that was cut down, and who went up into the domination?
33 In the larger meaning of the chopped-down tree, world dominance by the rightful one was cut down. Only the kingdom of God has the right to world domination. Only the anointed king of Jehovah has the God-given right to rule the entire earth, even as the kingdom of Israel had ruled all the Promised Land during the years of its faithfulness to God. But that typical kingdom of God went down in 607 B.C. and world-conquering Nebuchadnezzar went up into domination over all the Promised Land. In this international change the low-spreading vine, King Zedekiah of Judah, was pulled up by the roots and stripped of fruit, his sons being killed. (Ezek. 17:5-10, 20, 21, AS) God’s kingdom covenant then turned to someone else as heir.
34. What did Daniel’s interpretation then say concerning King Nebuchadnezzar?
34 Daniel’s interpretation continued: “It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be sure for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.”—Dan. 4:24-26, RS.
35. During the seven times upon King Nebuchadnezzar, what was to be kept safe for him, and during the corresponding abasement of Jerusalem’s kingdom, what was to continue in force?
35 Nebuchadnezzar was to make a personal exhibition of God’s handling of governmental matters respecting the earth. During this personal exhibition, however, Nebuchadnezzar’s world-dominating position, like the tree stump, was to be kept safe for him till he came to his senses after the passing of seven times over him. Likewise, in 607 B.C. the kingdom of Jehovah as represented typically by the kingdom of Jerusalem was to be abased, cut down. It was then to continue in this lowly state, not carrying on governmental functions, for the period of “seven times.” During all this period, however, the kingdom covenant made by Jehovah with King David for an everlasting kingdom was to continue binding upon Jehovah God and awaiting complete fulfillment with the rightful Heir.
36. A year later, how was the dream as interpreted literally fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar personally?
36 Twelve months after Daniel’s interpretation Nebuchadnezzar was bragging about Babylon as a world power. Then a heavenly voice said: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” At once the mightiest ruler on earth in that day lost his reason and imagined he was a beast, possibly an ox. “He was driven from among men, and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.” His bragging about himself and exalting Babylon above the kingdom of God deserved to be corrected, and Nebuchadnezzar’s false god Merodach or Marduk was helpless to prevent it. While the “seven times” were passing over him in this condition, he was acting like a dumb beast of the field; but iniquities and oppressions continued to be practiced by Babylon’s acting government.—Dan. 4:28-33, RS.
37. During the larger “seven times,” how have worldly rulers acted like Nebuchadnezzar, and with what effect upon the people?
37 In like manner, while government of mankind has been continued by worldly political systems during the larger “seven times” since the ruin of God’s typical kingdom of Judah in 607 B.C., the rulers not in God’s covenant for the kingdom have acted like crazed Nebuchadnezzar. They have not acted like man made in God’s image. Hence all peoples, not merely Jehovah’s witnesses, have suffered.
38. What did Nebuchadnezzar say happened at the end of the “seven times” for him?
38 What happened at the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s “seven times”? He tells us: “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing; and he does according to his will [where?] in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What doest thou?’ At the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven; for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase.” (Dan. 4:34-37, RS) Nebuchadnezzar made this acknowledgment, not of the false god Marduk, but of Daniel’s God, Jehovah.
39. In Nebuchadnezzar’s personal case, how long, at most, were those “seven times,” but why could not this be the case as regards the trampling down of Jerusalem?
39 Nebuchadnezzar is reported to have reigned for forty-three years. So these “seven times” of insanity in between must have been seven years at the most, in his personal case. In the Holy Bible a “time” is used in places to stand for a literal year. (Dan. 7:25; 12:7, AV; Rev. 12:6, 14; 11:2, 3) But here Nebuchadnezzar was acting out a prophetic drama, in which a year of time would stand for a much longer period. This must be so, for the trampling down of Jerusalem as representing Jehovah’s kingdom did not end at the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity; and six centuries later Jesus Christ said that Jerusalem would continue being trodden down or trampled on by the nations till the appointed times of the Gentile nations should be fulfilled. How long, then, are these “seven times”?
40. (a) By the Bible’s lunar count of time, how long would be a literal “time” in prophecy? (b) Hence, how long would be a symbolic “time,” and when would the “seven times” of the nations end?
40 The Bible measures by lunar time when speaking of months and years. In Nebuchadnezzar’s case a “time” stood for a lunar year, the average of which was reckoned as 360 days. Actually, a twelve-month lunar year was eleven days shorter than the average solar year. This required the lunar calendar to add a thirteenth month of twenty-nine days to certain years, in order to bring the calendar in agreement with the solar calendar. Addition of a thirteenth month was done seven times in every nineteen years. When speaking of longer periods of time, God said that a day should stand for a whole year. On this basis, then, a lunar year of 360 days would stand for 360 years, “a day for a year, a day for a year.” (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6, AV) Therefore a symbolic “time” would amount to 360 years. “Seven times,” symbolically speaking, would amount to 2,520 literal years. The “seven times” or seven years of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness thus predicted a period of 2,520 years. Since the Holy Bible shows that these “seven times” or 2,520 years began in the early fall of the year 607 B.C., then the “appointed times of the nations” would end in the early fall of the year 1914 (A.D.).
41. (a) In what way was the tree stump double-banded in Nebuchadnezzar’s case, and what kind of ruler was he on returning to the throne? (b) What did this picture with regard to the kingdom covenant?
41 During all those years since 607 B.C. the kingdom of Jehovah God had not been operating by means of an anointed descendant of King David according to the kingdom covenant. It had been like a cutdown tree, with no creatures under it or in its branches. The kingdom covenant was like that tree stump left in the earth. It was double-banded by Jehovah’s restraining power until “seven times” should have passed over it. Likewise, Nebuchadnezzar could not regain his sanity and come back in fit condition to his throne in the Babylonian Empire to dominate the world until the decreed “seven times” or seven years had ended. Then it was a ruler who acknowledged the King of heaven, Daniel’s God, that returned to the throne and was established in the kingdom with glory, majesty and splendor and “still more greatness.” In like fashion the Kingdom covenant could not get final and complete fulfillment until the “seven times” of 2,520 years had passed over it. Then the time would come for God to remove his bands of restraint. Then the time would come for him to re-establish the kingdom with a descendant of the anointed King David. Then the kingdom should be given to the one who had the right to it by Jehovah’s kingdom covenant.
(To be continued)