Making Men and Nations a Laughingstock
1. (a) Did the Almighty God laugh at all the reproach and discredit heaped upon his suffering Son, or at what? (b) When attempt was made to suppress the news of the resurrection of Jesus, who was it that laughed?
WHAT about Almighty God, as he observed derision and discredit heaped upon his Son whom he had anointed to preach the “kingdom of the heavens” and to be the reigning King in that Messianic government? Did God laugh? Could he laugh? Yes! Not, of course, at all the reproach that fell upon his own name and that fell upon his royal representative, his terribly suffering Son Jesus the Messiah, but at the most extreme measures and efforts of mere puny human creatures to defeat the will and purpose of the Almighty, Supreme One of the universe. On the third day, when his angel descended in glory and broke the seal and rolled away the stone from before Jesus’ tomb, frightening the soldier guard almost to death, whose turn was it to laugh? The chief priests and their religious associates did not laugh at the report made by the soldier guard. They bribed the soldiers to say: “His disciples came in the night and stole him while we were sleeping.” (Matt. 28:2-4, 11-15) But the true facts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ got out to the public anyhow, by the testimony of true witnesses, more than five hundred of them. Well, then, who did laugh, if anybody? Almighty God did!
2, 3. (a) When and how did Almighty God bring the facts of the case to the knowledge of the general public? (b) What did Peter say in testifying that Almighty God had foiled the plot against Jesus?
2 Fifty-one days after the combined religious-political efforts to block the Messianic kingdom by killing Jesus Christ, Almighty God began bringing the facts of the case to the knowledge of the general public. It was on the festival day of Pentecost, Sivan 6 (Jewish calendar), of the year 33 C.E. that Almighty God poured out his holy spirit upon one hundred and twenty faithful followers of Jesus Christ, who had seen him by means of his materializations visibly to them since his resurrection from the dead. More than three thousand Pentecostal feasters gathered together to hear these one hundred and twenty witnesses testify in many languages by the miraculous power of the holy spirit about the “magnificent things of God.” A leading witness, the Christian apostle Peter, got up and frankly told the crowd how God Almighty had foiled the plot of religionists and politicians against his anointed Son, the Messiah. Peter said:
3 “Jesus the Nazarene, a man publicly shown by God to you through powerful works and portents and signs that God did through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know, this man, as one delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men and did away with. But God resurrected him by loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to continue to be held fast by it. . . . This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”’ [Psalm 110:1] Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”—Acts 1:12 to 2:36.
4. (a) Why did the religious leaders have no reason to laugh at the events of the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E.? (b) How did they handle the case of the two apostles, Peter and John, preaching Jesus and the resurrection in the temple?
4 It was no laughing matter for the religious leaders of Jerusalem when about three thousand of the crowd whom Peter and his fellow witnesses addressed believed the good news about the resurrected, heavenly exalted Messiah, Jesus, and got baptized and became his followers. (Acts 2:37-47) It was no laughing matter for those same religious leaders when the preaching about Jesus the Messiah was carried right on into their temple in Jerusalem, particularly by the apostles Simon Peter and John the son of Zebedee. Especially the religious sect of the Sadducees disliked the preaching of the resurrection, the means by which Almighty God defeated the efforts of the religious and political enemies to do away forever with the promised Messiah, the Christ. They had the apostles Peter and John arrested, jailed and put on trial for their conduct. Finally the Jewish Court felt obliged to release the two apostles, but only after threatening them. Here now came the proof that God was laughing at the persecutors of the faithful followers of his Son the Messiah. How do we know?
5, 6. (a) Why could not the religious leaders now laugh at the immediate effect that their mistreatment of Peter and John had upon Jerusalem Christians? (b) Why did Jehovah’s answer to the Christians’ prayer provide the rulers no cause for mirth?
5 By what followed this official mistreatment of Christian apostles. Did the religious authorities have reason to laugh over the effect of their fanatical handling of the matter, at how the Christians reacted to such official action? How could they? The record tells us: “After being released they [that is, Peter and John] went to their own people and reported what things the chief priests and the older men had said to them. Upon hearing this they with one accord raised their voices to God and said: ‘Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, “Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, in order to do what things your hand and counsel had foreordained to occur. And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and portents occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’”
6 What followed could provoke no mirth or laughter among Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate and the religious rulers of Jerusalem, for we read: “And when they had made supplication, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and went speaking the word of God with boldness.”—Acts 3:1 to 4:31.
7. From the application that the disciples made in prayer of two verses of Psalm Two, how do we know that Jehovah was then laughing at the opposition to Christ and his followers?
7 Because of the boldness of these Christian disciples in the first century C.E. Almighty God could laugh derisively at the opposition to his Messiah and faithful followers of his Messiah. God did laugh, for the second Psalm, from which the disciples quoted in their prayer to Almighty God, foretold that He would laugh. Just as the disciples in their prayer commented on the fulfillment of the Ps 2:1, 2 first two verses of the inspired psalm written by King David of ancient Jerusalem, so the following verses of the same psalm must have then been undergoing fulfillment. Here is where the laugh comes in, for verses two through six of Psalm 2:2-6 Two say: “The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one, saying: ‘Let us tear their bands apart and east their cords away from us!’ The very One sitting in the heavens will laugh; Jehovah himself will hold them in derision. At that time he will speak to them in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, saying: ‘I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.’”
8. (a) Why did Jehovah have reason to laugh at the opposers? (b) How, in the cases of Herod, Pilate and the Israelites, did Jehovah speak to them in his displeasure?
8 All the antics of politicians and religious leaders on earth could not alter the actual situation. Opposition and persecution against the followers of the Messiah could not alter the divine arrangement of Almighty Jehovah. In spite of all this he had his resurrected Messiah at his right hand in heaven, upon the celestial Mount Zion, or height of government. So he could laugh derisively at his opposers on earth. He had reason to be angry with them and to speak to them in his hot displeasure. Years later, Herod Antipas, the murderer of John the Baptist and ridiculer of Jesus Christ, was banished by Rome to the province of Gaul, and his nephew, Herod Agrippa, was smitten suddenly with a plague and eaten up by worms. (Acts 12:1-23) According to secular history, Pontius Pilate later fared badly at the hands of the Roman Empire. In the year 70 C.E. the Jewish nation suffered the grief of having Titus, the future emperor of Rome, destroy their holy city Jerusalem and its temple and desolate the province of Judea. But Jesus the Messiah continued to reign on the heavenly Mount Zion over his followers on earth, strengthening them to keep on preaching God’s kingdom despite persecution by Rome and Israelites.
9. How did that second Psalm have a historic background that foreshadowed this fulfillment in the first century C.E.?
9 That second Psalm, which had a phenomenal fulfillment in the first century C.E., had a historical background that foreshadowed just such a fulfillment. Psalm Two was composed in the eleventh century B.C.E. and was based on the international situation that obtained then. David of Bethlehem, an earthly ancestor of Jesus Christ, had been anointed to be king over all twelve tribes of Israel and had captured the enemy stronghold on Mount Zion that dominated the city of Jerusalem. There King David established his throne, transferring it from the southern city of Hebron. When the nearby nation of the Philistines heard of this, the city kings of the Philistines massed their armies and tried to unseat King David and to keep from being bound by bands and cords by this new king of Israel. But Almighty God tolerated no interference by those pagan Philistines. So he gave David two miraculous victories over them and crushed them into subjection to King David.—2 Sam. 5:1-25.
10. (a) In Psalm Two what did Jehovah indicate he would do for King David? (b) Why is this historically important?
10 Jehovah then inspired victorious David to write the second Psalm and to say that Jehovah would laugh at all the kings and nations who would vainly imagine that they could keep Jehovah’s anointed king David from reigning over all the Promised Land from Mount Zion as his capital. Despite all the international tumult and protest and opposition Jehovah kept his anointed king David reigning on the holy mountain of Zion to the end of his forty years of rule. All this is historically important, for the anointed David was not only an outstanding ancestor of Jesus the Anointed but also a prophetic figure of him. As the name David means “Beloved,” so Jesus is the Beloved One of Jehovah God.—Matt. 3:17; 17:5.
DIVINE LAUGHTER IN THIS TWENTIETH CENTURY
11. In the face of those ancient fulfillments of Psalm Two, what questions do we now ask about it?
11 King David reigned on Mount Zion three thousand years ago, and could laugh with Jehovah God against his enemies. David’s greatest descendant, Jesus Christ, was on earth as a man nineteen centuries ago. Now we are in the spring of the year 1969 C.E. Are the events and circumstances of this twentieth century causing history to repeat itself by another fulfillment of Psalm Two? Is Jehovah God the Almighty again laughing at the political nations of this system of things? Yes! Why?
12. (a) When did Jesus mention the Gentile Times, and when did they end? (b) What do secular historians say ended for the nations in that year?
12 Did you ever hear of “the times of the Gentiles,” or, “the appointed times of the nations”? Jesus Christ spoke of them in connection with the city of Jerusalem, the walls of which in his day took in Mount Zion. He said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) Those “appointed times of the nations” were not to go on forever on earth; they must be fulfilled or completed at some time. When? In June of 1967, when the Israelis won the six-day war over the Arabs and took possession of East Jerusalem, including the old walled city? No! for those Gentile Times had already ended years before, in 1914 C.E., the opening year of World War I. Decades before 1914 C.E., careful Bible students had calculated this date by means of the Bible timetable and Bible prophecy. From world events and conditions since that momentous year, it is unmistakable that something ended, an era ended, for the Gentile nations in 1914. Secular historians may say that the age of peace and security for the nations ended in that year, but, according to Jesus, what ended in 1914?
13. (a) According to Jesus, what really did end in 1914 C.E.? (b) In 33 C.E. what further trampling on “Jerusalem” by the Gentiles took place in effect?
13 This, the appointed times for the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations to trample on Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24) No, not on the literal Jerusalem of Jesus’ day, but on what Jerusalem represented as the location of the government of God’s anointed king. That is to say, the “Jerusalem” that was no longer to be trampled on by the Gentiles was the kingdom of God as carried on by an anointed king of the royal family of David. In the year 607 B.C.E., when David’s descendant, King Zedekiah, was dethroned and his royal domain, Jerusalem and the land of Judah, was desolated, the Gentiles began trampling on “Jerusalem” in this sense. Jesus Christ was also a royal descendant of David, and, in the year 33 C.E., the “friend of Caesar,” namely, Pontius Pilate, yielded to the demands of the religious leaders and handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to be put to death on a stake. That was a further trampling on Jerusalem by the Gentile nations.—John 19:12.
14. (a) Why did not the Messianic kingdom of God come to power at the time of the exaltation of the resurrected Jesus to heaven in 33 C.E.? (b) What change in heaven and earth did the year 1914 C.E. mark?
14 Jehovah God Almighty raised up his Beloved Son from the dead and exalted him to His own right hand in heaven, but was the kingdom of God in the hand of this royal descendant and successor of King David at once set up at that time? No! (Acts 1:6, 7) Jesus Christ had to wait in heaven until God’s fixed time arrived for those Gentile Times for trampling on Jerusalem to be fulfilled, terminated. (Heb. 10:12, 13) God’s prefixed date was the year 1914 C.E. In that year, 2,520 years after ancient Jerusalem and Judah were first desolated by the Gentile Babylonians, the end came to the Gentile Times for trampling on Jerusalem or on the right of God’s kingdom to rule over the earth by means of God’s Anointed One, a descendant of King David. Then God’s Messianic kingdom must be restored, this time, not on earth, but in heaven. Then, instead of letting the Gentile nations trample on what was symbolized by Jerusalem, the Gentile nations themselves must be trampled on, must be made the footstool of the Anointed King of God’s Messianic kingdom. (Ps. 110:1, 2) Thus the year 1914 C.E. marked a change for both heaven and earth!.
15. (a) Why have the Gentile nations no reason to be ignorant of all this? (b) How would it have made a difference on earth if the nations, particularly those of Christendom, had accepted and conformed to the Kingdom witness?
15 The Gentile nations, including the Republic of Israel, have no reason to be ignorant of this. Twentieth-century history shows why, for since the very year of 1914 C.E. notice has been served on all nations concerning the establishment of God’s Messianic kingdom in the heavens. Not in vain did Jesus Christ say, in Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” What if the Gentile nations, particularly the nations of Christendom, had accepted that witness and had realistically conformed to it, yielding their sovereignty over to God’s heavenly Messianic kingdom, in the same way that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have done? Would conditions and world trends be different on earth from what they are today? Yes! For all of God’s promises to those who submit to his Beloved Son, the enthroned Messianic King Jesus Christ, would have been fulfilled to them. History would not brand them as the shameless persecutors of true Christians bearing witness to the Kingdom since 1914.
16. What do world conditions and trends indicate has been the course of the nations since 1914 C.E.?
16 The sad and frightening conditions and trends on earth today speak for themselves, testifying to the fact that, since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 and despite the worldwide witness to the Kingdom as given in all the inhabited earth by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, the Gentile nations, including Christendom and Jewry, have chosen their own way, not God’s way. They have stubbornly refused to yield over their sovereignty to God’s rightful Ruler for the earth, his Messiah or Christ. They have continued to carry on their power struggle for world domination, even to the extent of fighting two world wars and threatening now the whole human race with a third. For world peace and security they have chosen to look to their League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations, considering it as the only practical substitute for God’s heavenly Messianic kingdom, a thing that their faithless hearts cannot visualize or appreciate.
17. (a) Since the Gentile Times ended in 1914, what has been the big issue before us? (b) Do all that they are permitted to do, what can the nations not undo or prevent on God’s part?
17 Since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 the big, universal issue is, Jehovah God’s Messianic kingdom or domination of all the earth by Gentile nations, which? Will the Gentile nations win out? Can they win out? Let them, if they can, suppress the worldwide proclaimers of God’s Messianic kingdom, let them do whatever else they can in opposition to the Kingdom, yet they cannot unseat Jehovah’s anointed King, his Christ, now enthroned on the heavenly Mount Zion. They cannot prevent the heavenly Messianic kingdom from making them Christ’s footstool, to be crushed out of existence. God Almighty laughs at them derisively. Today all nations are in tumult because of choosing their own way, hence fighting against God’s way. By pushing and propagandizing for their own schemes the national groups are meditating upon empty things, muttering empty things that will prove to be hollow. Bible history, Bible prophecy, foretold this.—Ps. 2:1-6; Acts 4:25, 26.
18. (a) What would have been the wise course for the nations, as counseled in Psalm 2:10-12? (b) What wisdom have they followed, and what is foreshadowed to overtake them?
18 Already the nations are eating the fruitage of their anti-Messianic course since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. The wise course would have been to study God’s Word the Bible and heed its counsel to the kings and judges of the earth, to “kiss” the Beloved Son of God as willing subjects of him and then to serve Jehovah God under his Messianic government. (Ps. 2:10-12) But, instead, they chose to follow human wisdom as glorified by modern science and technology. Their worldly wisdom will not be justified by its fruitage, its outcome. Disaster faces them. Disaster will catch up with them, as it did with the Philistines in King David’s day and as it did with religious and political persecutors in the days of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Then the heartiest laughter will peal forth on the part of divine wisdom, just as foretold:
19. What will “true wisdom” then do and say?
19 “True wisdom itself keeps crying aloud . . . Because I have called out but you keep refusing, I have stretched out my hand but there is no one paying attention, and you keep neglecting all my counsel, and my reproof you have not accepted, I also, for my part, shall laugh at your own disaster, I shall mock when what you dread comes, when what you dread comes just like a storm, and your own disaster gets here just like a stormwind, when distress and hard times come upon you. At that time they will keep calling me, but I shall not answer; they will keep looking for me, but they will not find me, for the reason that they hated knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah they did not choose. They did not consent to my counsel; they disrespected all my reproof. So they will eat from the fruitage of their way, and they will be glutted with their own counsels. For the renegading of the inexperienced ones is what will kill them, and the easygoingness of the stupid is what will destroy them.”—Prov. 1:20-32.
20. Of what march have the nations been warned since the end of World War 1 in 1918, and for which war have they made a choice?
20 For many years, yes, since the close of World War I in 1918, the Gentile nations have been warned that they are on the march to Armageddon for the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14, 16)a Neither the League of Nations nor the United Nations has slowed down the march; they have rather speeded up the pace, for they have backed up nationalism and the dominating of earth by the Gentile nations instead of by the Messianic kingdom of Almighty God. The choice of the nations is for war—not war among themselves, but war unitedly against God the Sovereign of the universe and Creator of our earth.
21. (a) From the Bible standpoint, why is the situation today laughable? (b) Where and when will Jehovah’s derisive laughter prove itself to have been justified for him to enjoy?
21 When we see that this is the real situation today, it becomes laughable. The laugh is on the nations, for they are but as the drop from a bucket and as the fine dust on the scale pans in comparison to Almighty God the Creator. (Isa. 40:15) They are simply asking for destruction. They will get it—at the climax of this universal dispute at Armageddon. (Rev. 19:11-21) Laughing defiantly at the nations at their all-out showdown fight for world domination, Almighty God will send his Messianic King Jesus Christ into battle action against them and destroy those Gentile challengers of God’s rightful domination of the earth. His Messiah will win the battle, to the everlasting vindication of the universal sovereignty of Almighty God. God’s defiant laughter at the nations will have been justified as the proper thing for him to indulge in. Then the Messianic kingdom, the “good news” of which has been preached world wide by Jehovah’s witnesses in spite of international opposition, will take over full control of the earth and all of mankind’s eternal interests. It will forever bless all the wise and obedient ones of humankind.
SHALL WE LAUGH WITH GOD?
22. What does being laughed at now and in the future mean for any one of us, and what can we do that this should not be the case?
22 So what, now, about us as individuals? Is Almighty God together with his Messiah (Christ) laughing at us today amid the increasing anguish of the nations? Will he laugh triumphantly over us after gaining victory at Armageddon? It is for each one of us to decide whether this should be the case or not. To be laughed at means our destruction, preceded by a lot of unnecessary discomfort, distress and trouble now. What sane, right-minded person wants to be laughed at under such circumstances as those? We do not have to be! Let the nations of the world keep on acting unwisely, but let us not do so. We can heed the wisdom that comes down from above, the heavenly wisdom, this true wisdom.
23. What does true wisdom promise to those listening to her, and why is that a desirable state in which to find ourselves?
23 After telling how she will laugh in the day of distress upon those who have ignored her, true wisdom ends up by saying: “As for the one listening to me, he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Prov. 1:33) Is that not a desirable state in which to be? In it we have no reason to fear anything calamitous or dreadful from the hand of Almighty God, the All-Wise One. Instead, his countenance will beam upon us with divine approval. His protection will be assured to us during the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” Having this, we shall survive the destruction of the laughed-at nations and be ushered into God’s righteous new order under his kingdom of the Beloved Messiah, the Greater David. There we shall join with one another in laughter over all the pure, wholesome pleasures with which Almighty God will fill our lives.
a See the book Deliverance, published by the Watch Tower Society in May of 1926, and Chapter 12 entitled “The Final Battle.”
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It was God who laughed when He raised Jesus from the dead. His angel opened the tomb, scaring the guards almost to death
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The nations choose war with God, but the laugh is on them; to God they are as dust on a scale and a drop from a bucket