The Rebirth of the Happy Nation
1. Who resent the fact that God has a “nation,” and what efforts have been made to destroy that nation of God?
SATAN the Devil and his worldly organization resent the fact that God should have a “nation” in the earth that is called by his name and that worships Jehovah as God. As prophetically stated in Psalm 83:4, the enemies of the nation whose God is Jehovah have said to fellow conspirators: “Come and let us efface them from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” Bible history and secular history record how the enemies, including even leading members of natural Israel, tried to wipe out spiritual Israel in the first century of its existence. In spite of the fierce persecution and efforts to exterminate them, the people of spiritual Israel survived and remained a nation supremely happy because the God whom they worshiped and served was Jehovah.
2. How does what occurred in 537 B.C.E. give us confidence in Jehovah’s power and ability to save his people at any time?
2 All the enemies in heaven and on earth simply cannot wipe out Jehovah’s nation. When the enemies have seemingly succeeded in doing so, the Almighty God Jehovah can even resurrect a nation, if necessary! Did the world of the sixth century before our Common Era think that such a thing was impossible? Had they heard of such a thing before? Had they seen such a thing before? No! And yet in the year 537 B.C.E. they saw the resurrection, the rebirth, of the one nation back there whose God was Jehovah, just as had been foretold in Isaiah 66:7, 8. This God could repeat the miracle, and he has actually done so. By his permission, in the first century of our Common Era, the enemies, Jewish and Gentile, put to death the Head and King of the “holy nation” of spiritual Israel, but on the third day (Nisan 16, 33 C.E.) the God of this nation raised him from the dead and thereafter exalted him to power in heaven. On the fiftieth day from resurrecting the King, Jehovah God gave to him a newborn nation, spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God,” doing this by begetting with his holy spirit the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ on earth at Jerusalem. The enemies were foiled!
3 This is the nation whom Jesus Christ meant when he said to the Pharisees and chief priests of Jerusalem: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43, 45) From the day of Pentecost of the year 33 C.E. this favored “nation” has produced the required fruits, proclaiming the kingdom of God, not with David as its king, but with the royal descendant of David as its king, namely, Jesus Christ, now exalted to the right hand of Jehovah God. (Acts 2:36; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 30, 31) This producing of the fruits of the kingdom of God is the thing that makes this “holy nation” of spiritual Israel an object of hatred by all the Gentile nations and peoples, even the nations of Christendom. (Matt. 10:22; 24:9) What wonder, then, that these haters of the kingdom of God try to destroy the nation producing its fruits!
4, 5. (a) Who dealt the fatal blows to God’s nation in 607 B.C.E., and in this twentieth century? (b) How did statements in the official magazine of the dedicated remnant of sprit-begotten Christians recognize their nationhood under Jehovah?
4 In the year 607 B.C.E., at the destruction of Jerusalem and the desolating of the land of Judah, it was ancient Babylon that dealt the fatal blow in hatred of the nation whose God was Jehovah. But in this twentieth century of our Common Era, during the throes of World War I, it was Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and her political lovers that dealt a seemingly fatal blow to the nation of today whose God is Jehovah. Here, right in our own modern world, was a remnant of dedicated, baptized, spirit-begotten Christians earnestly studying the Holy Bible and recognizing their spiritual nationhood. In the second number (that of August 1879) of its official magazine it confessed Jehovah as its God, saying on page 4: “‘Zion’s Watch Tower’ has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support.” Recognizing its nationhood, its official magazine, under date of August 15, 1893, said to its readers:
5 “‘Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.’—1 Pet. 2:9. . . . Truly such a people, such a nation, are we under Christ Jesus our King, and our interests are indeed one: they are the interests of the truth concerning the establishment of Christ’s kingdom in all the earth. Our national policy is aggressive, and contemplates the complete subjection of every other power; but its object, unlike that of all other ambitious powers, is . . . the establishment of universal peace and happiness. Every loyal citizen of this nation is deeply interested. . . . ”—Pages 250, 251, under the title “A Peculiar People.”
6. What stand by this spiritual nation showed they were whole-souled for God’s kingdom?
6 True to this spiritual nationhood as spiritual Israel, this dedicated remnant kept themselves from being a part of this world, just as Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles themselves did. (John 15:19; 17:14-16; Jas. 1:27) For this reason they refused to have any part with the nations in World War I, bearing no carnal weapons and declaring their neutrality. By the official magazine and other publications of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society they had pointed to the year 1914 as the year marked in the Bible for the ending of the “times of the Gentiles,” when Christ’s kingdom should come to full power; and the outbreak of World War I in that very year confirmed their Scriptural conviction. They preached that thereafter all the nations of this world would meet their Armageddon in the “battle of the great day of God the Almighty” and be utterly destroyed. Christ’s kingdom was therefore the only hope of mankind.
7. What persecution did Babylon the Great bring upon this holy nation, and how did she view the matter?
7 For taking this course during World War I (1914-1918) the small remnant of the “holy nation” of spiritual Israel became, just as Jesus had foretold in his prophecy on the conclusion of this system of things, “objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matt. 24:3-9) Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, stirred up her political lovers to take action against the remnant of the nation whose God is Jehovah. Also, the spirit of nationalistic patriotism was appealed to to inflame the masses of the people and the legal courts of the land. Violent persecution followed. Various forms of governmental suppression of the remnant followed in various nations, even to the extent of banning these International Bible Students and banning all or part of the Watch Tower Society literature that they used in studying Jehovah’s written Word. Finally, Babylon the Great thought she had triumphed forever over this “nation whose God is Jehovah” when, near the climactic close of the world war in 1918, she saw the very president, the secretary-treasurer, and two other members of the Editorial Committee and three other leading agents of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society lodged in federal penitentiary sentenced to imprisonment for twenty years!
A NATION “BORN AT ONE TIME”
8. (a) While feeling the deathblow had been administered to this nation, what had Babylon the Great forgotten? (b) What dramatic rebirth took place in 1919, and what occurred thereafter?
8 From the standpoint of Babylon the Great and her political paramours, the deathblow had been dealt to the “nation whose God is Jehovah.” But they forgot or overlooked what this God had done back in the year 537 B.C.E. They did not figure or believe that this same God could do it again, in a final and complete fulfillment of Isaiah 66:7, 8. But he did do so! The very next year, the first postwar year of 1919, Babylon the Great and her political paramours saw the rebirth of the “nation whose God is Jehovah” at “one time,” together with the bringing forth of its “land” of religious existence and activity as “in one day”! Suddenly those dynamic leading representatives of the Watch Tower Society were released from imprisonment, never to return under false charges. The international organization was reconstructed, the first postwar international convention was held at Cedar Point, Ohio, and a new magazine, auxiliary to the still continuing Watch Tower magazine, was published. Dramatically, as if arising from the dead, the persecuted remnant of the “nation whose God is Jehovah” strode fearlessly upon the world stage of action.
9. (a) Who had happiness now that this nation had its rebirth? (b) Who had unhappiness and experienced a great fall?
9 Once again, by the reviving power of God’s outpoured spirit, the remnant were on the scene livelily producing and bearing the fruits of the kingdom of God, which they thenceforth proclaimed as having come to power in the heavens at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914. O how happy the “nation whose God is Jehovah” could be, not only the remnant thereof still in the flesh on this earth, but also its King Jesus Christ and the other resurrected members of the “holy nation” in heaven! (Ps. 33:12) But how unhappy Babylon the Great, including Christendom, had reason to be at this powerful evidence that she had fallen from her position of power against Jehovah’s “nation” and had come under his adverse judgment that will shortly be executed in absolute destruction! Like her prototype of ancient times that fell before Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.E., so Babylon the Great must have fallen or otherwise the remnant of the “nation whose God is Jehovah” could not have gone free in the year 1919. (Rev. 14:8) How happy the reborn nation could be over this fall of Great Babylon!
10. What great happiness awaits all 144,000 of that reborn nation, both now and in the future?
10 Since that rebirth of the “nation” and its deliverance from Babylon the Great in 1919, the number of members of the remnant increased, much to the happiness of the nation. Its God Jehovah has predestinated that the full number of its citizen body must be 144,000 members with the King Jesus Christ in the heavens. (Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-3) Happy, indeed, will that nation of spiritual Israel be when its remnant yet on earth finishes its course faithfully and is united to all the other members of the nation in heaven and then the entire 144,000 reign in glory with their King Jesus Christ for the vindication of the universal sovereignty of their God and for the everlasting blessing of all the families of the earth, living and dead. But even now while yet on earth in this “time of the end” of the anguished Gentile nations, the remnant of the “nation whose God is Jehovah” has unique reasons for being happy. Lovingly it endeavors to share this happiness with others.
11. Who have now associated themselves with that nation, and what have they become?
11 More and more of distressed humanity are taking steps to share in this happiness, the only true happiness now on earth. Particularly since the year 1935 the “great crowd,” foretold in Revelation 7:9-17, has left off being a part of this world and has associated itself with the nation of spiritual Israel. (Zech. 8:20-23) They have become like “alien residents” dwelling within the “gates” of spiritual Israel and enjoying the benefits of thus residing with them. (Ex. 20:10) As this “great crowd” is foretold to be without any predestinated number, its number has kept increasing steadily, year after year, till now. With the nation of spiritual Israel they have become like “one flock” under “one shepherd,” Jesus Christ the King.—John 10:16.
12. Because of their great happiness, who can it truly be said is the God of both the spiritual nation and the “great crowd,” and how do they worship their God?
12 What happiness they all continue enjoying together despite the worsening conditions among the Gentile nations! By their full dedication and water baptism as followers of Jesus Christ, this “great crowd” has the same God as the nation of spiritual Israel, namely, Jehovah. The Christian apostle Paul called him “the happy God,” and so why should not his worshipers on earth be happy with Him? (1 Tim. 1:11, NW; Ro; NEB) If they were not happy, Psalms 33:12 and Ps 144:15 would make it doubtful that Jehovah was their God. There is no happiness in blindly worshiping false, demonic gods, but what ground for being happy is one’s having as the object of one’s exclusive worship and devotion the only living and true God! What a privilege to worship him “with spirit and truth”!
13. What added happiness is just ahead for God’s people?
13 To his nation of spiritual Israel Jehovah says: “You are my witnesses.” (Isa. 43:10-12) What added reason to be happy is it for the “great crowd” as associates of the nation also to be witnesses of Jehovah! When Babylon the Great, including Christendom, shortly goes into destruction with all her false gods, how happy these witnesses will be that they were privileged to bear testimony to the true and immortal God Jehovah, who will then be triumphant over his longtime enemy, the world empire of false Babylonish religion! Then it will be the time to shout Hallelujah!—Rev. 19:1-3.
14. What has been the good news since the end of the Gentile Times, and what are Jehovah’s witnesses doing about it in spite of persecution?
14 At the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 the long-promised Messianic kingdom of Jehovah God was brought to birth in the heavens. (Rev. 12:5-9) Since then this world has furnished no good news, but the heavenly Father of the newborn kingdom has provided his nation and associated worshipers with the best news that mankind has ever heard, “this good news of the kingdom,” the newborn kingdom. How happy they are, not alone to have this good news, but also to have the honor and privilege to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy and preach this good news of the Kingdom in all the earth for a witness before the end of this system of things comes at Armageddon! (Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10) What does it matter that this brings international persecution upon them? In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that their being persecuted for this reason is an occasion for us to be happy. (Matt. 5:11, 12) This persecution will soon end with the violent end of all our persecutors!
15. With true appreciation, what can we say with the psalmist?
15 Most happy, then, are the sure prospects just ahead of us. Yet happy is our earthly estate even now in our spiritual paradise. We know this. We feel this. It is no self-delusion. With true appreciation welling up in our hearts to our God and his reigning King Jesus Christ, we can joyfully join the psalmist in exclaiming: “Happy is the nation whose God is Jehovah.”—Ps. 33:12.