The Time to Decide in the Name of Which God to Walk
1. Did that second temple at Jerusalem prove to be the one to which nations and peoples would come to worship Jehovah forever, and why?
THE second temple that was built in Jerusalem, during the days of the prophet Zechariah, proved to be only typical and, as such, had a prophetic significance. It did not prove to be the permanent temple to which all the nations and peoples should come up to worship Jehovah God forever. In view of that fact, Jerusalem’s earthly temple was destroyed in the year 70 C.E., when Jerusalem was destroyed for the second time, this time by the armies of the Sixth World Power, the Roman Empire.
2. Who foretold that, and when did the times that he mentioned come to their end?
2 This had been foretold by Jesus Christ thirty-seven years previously, in 33 C.E., and he said that thereafter Jerusalem would continue to be trampled on until the “times of the Gentiles” (“the appointed times of the nations”) were fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-24) Those Gentile Times, seven in number, began at the first desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Judah by the Babylonians in the year 607 B.C.E. Jerusalem never again got a king of David’s royal family upon its throne, and correspondingly those Gentile Times continued on for 1,844 years after earthly Jerusalem’s second destruction. That means that those Gentile Times ended in the year 1914 C.E.
3. What question arises as to the building of a third temple to Jehovah at Jerusalem since the Gentile Times ended in 1914, and is the spread of Jehovah’s worship dependent on such a temple?
3 This did not mean that the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 marked the time for a third temple to Jehovah’s worship to be built in Jerusalem. No, even though the beginning of the Gentile Times, in early autumn of the year 607 B.C.E., saw Jehovah’s temple lying in ruins and desolate of worshipers amid a land desolate of man and domestic animal. An earthly material temple to Jehovah’s worship did not need to be built in Jerusalem, to take the place of the Mohammedan mosque, the Dome of the Rock, still standing there. Neither the start nor the spread of Jehovah’s worship in modern times depended on the erecting of such a temple there, for nations to stream to it there. The reason why not we shall soon see.
4. To what extent was Jehovah’s worship at a low ebb by 1914 C.E., and what did even Bible Students not then appreciate about his name?
4 On earth the worship of Jehovah as God was at a low ebb in the year 1914 C.E. Yes, even among those who professed to be Christians, not to speak of natural, circumcised Jews. World War I, which broke out in that year, brought Jehovah’s worship on earth to an even deeper low. The International Bible Students Association, which rejected the Trinity doctrine because of its being unscriptural, was still somewhat hampered in appreciation because of the use of generally authorized versions of the Bible (like the Authorized or King James Version) that rarely contained the name of Jehovah or that did not even contain it at all. Yet, through the columns of the magazine The Watch Tower they brought forth fittingly entitled articles such as “Jehovah’s Abiding Presence with His People” (10/1/14), “Jehovah Our God Is One” (8/15/15), “Jehovah Chastening the World” and “Jehovah’s Act—His Strange Act” (1/1/16), and “Jehovah an Accurate Time-Keeper” (3/15/19). However, those Bible Students did not then appreciate that the time was near for Jehovah God to make a name for himself.—Isa. 63:14.
5. What was the record of the larger body of those who professed to be Christian during World War I, and why does this remind one of what Micah 3:9, 10 says?
5 However, what was there to be said about the far larger body of those who professed to be Christians, namely, that worldwide religious organization called Christendom? It was an assassination within her borders that touched off World War I, which began on July 28, 1914. By the end of the Gentile Times about October 4, 1914, eight nations and empires of Christendom, along with Japan, were fighting one another. And by the end of that war on November 11, 1918, there were twenty-four nations of Christendom, together with four non-Christian countries, that were fighting one another. In contrast with the International Bible Students Association, the churches and religious organizations of Christendom, also Jewry and Mohammedanism, involved themselves with that war. The members of the churches who were taking the lead in this worldwide bloodspilling reminded one of the prophet Micah’s description of the head ones and commanders of Judah and Jerusalem in his day in “building Zion with acts of bloodshed and Jerusalem with unrighteousness.”—Mic. 3:9, 10.
6. How did the head ones and religious leaders of Christendom match the description given by Micah, and what outstanding example was there of Christendom’s ‘making everything that is straight crooked’?
6 During those four years three and a half months of intercontinental warfare, were judges in Christendom handing down judgments for bribes, were the religious priests commercializing religion by rendering their services for a price, were the religious prophets making their unscriptural predictions to please people for money? Yes, just as suchlike men were doing in Micah’s day among Jehovah’s chosen people. There was a detesting of true justice and a ‘making everything that is straight crooked.’ This became outstanding in Christendom’s dealings toward the International Bible Students, who refused to mix in with politics and who wanted no part in the warfare over political and commercial issues, warfare that was not theocratic. Persecutions, restrictive bans, imprisonments she heaped upon these conscientious Bible Students, and by early summer of 1918 she had the president of the International Bible Students Association and seven other associates in the Watch Tower Society behind bars in the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., denied bail and appeal.
7, 8. (a) Thus Jehovah’s worship was being torn down by what religious organization? (b) How was the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers desolated, to compare with Micah 3:12?
7 Certainly that was a tearing down of the worship of Jehovah! By whom? By modern Babylon the Great, this world empire of false religion while being dominated over by its most populous and powerful part, namely, Christendom. Yes, Christendom, which has the complete Bible in which the name Jehovah occurs, was serving foremostly as the agent of Babylon the Great in desolating the worship of the Most High God Jehovah. Christendom was laying His worship waste within her own self. She was devastating it among the International Bible Students, who had been reviving the worship of Jehovah as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, by the close of World War I at mid-autumn of 1918, not only were many parts of the literal earth desolated by the ravages of war, but also the earthly spiritual estate of the worshipers of Jehovah was desolated, that is, as far as hopes of spiritual restoration and reoccupation were concerned. It compared with what Micah had foretold of his own land because of Babylon’s atrocities:
8 “Zion will be plowed up as a mere field, and Jerusalem herself will become mere heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the house will be as the high places of a forest.”—Mic. 3:12.
9. (a) Why was it not necessary for the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers to lie desolate for seventy years? (b) After the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, what must become the center of Jehovah’s worship?
9 There was no need, however, for the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers to lie in such a dilapidated state for seventy years, as in the case of the land of Judah, which lay desolate without man or domestic animal for the first seventy years of the “times of the Gentiles.” (Luke 21:20-24; 2 Chron. 36:20, 21) The publicly exposed deathlike state of Jehovah’s witnesses had been foretold to be for only a short period, like three and a half days. (Rev. 11:3-12) The Gentile Times had already ended, back in 1914, when nation lifted up sword against nation and they began to learn war on a worldwide scale with total mobilization and mass human slaughter. At the end of those Gentile Times the time had closed for Jerusalem’s right to the Messianic kingdom to be trampled upon by the Gentile nations, and Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom in the hands of King David’s rightful successor, Jesus Christ, was born in the heavens, in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” For more than eleven centuries earthly Jerusalem had been the center of Jehovah’s worship. The “heavenly Jerusalem,” with its Messianic kingdom in power, must now promote that same worship.
10, 11. (a) So what did the “heavenly Jerusalem” properly act to bring about in the earth? (b) According to Micah 4:1, when was this to occur, and with what effect on peoples?
10 In harmony with this, the “heavenly Jerusalem,” the heavenly center of Jehovah’s worship, properly acted to bring about an early restoration of the worship of her God in the earth, and that to a scale never before experienced. The prophecy of Jehovah’s mouthpiece, Micah, had foretold this, and miraculous has been the fulfillment of this glorious prophecy. Proceeding to foretell the restoration, Micah was inspired to say: “And it must occur in the final part of the days.” That is to say, after the terrible desolation to Zion and Jerusalem and the “mountain of the house” that Micah had just foretold in the preceding verse. (Mic. 3:12; 4:1) What was to occur? An astounding reversal! Listen:
11 “And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream.”—Mic. 4:1.
12. What was the miniature realization of that prophecy, and what compares with that in modern times?
12 A miniature realization of that prophecy began in 537 B.C.E. with the releasing of the faithful Jewish remnant from Babylon, under imperial orders to return to Jerusalem and rebuild Jehovah’s house of worship on the city’s mountaintop. Now that the Gentile Times ended in 1914 C.E., we are living in the “time of the end” of the Gentile nations, whose further domination of the earth has been challenged by the newborn Messianic kingdom of Jehovah God in the heavens. (Dan. 12:4; Matt. 24:3-14) Well timed, in the first postwar year, namely, in 1919, came the divine release of the worshipers of Jehovah who had faithfully survived the crushing experiences of World War I, this release being notably marked by the release from Federal Penitentiary of the governing body of the International Bible Students, who clearly recognized that the Gentile Times had ended and that Jehovah’s established Messianic kingdom must be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth to all the nations, for a witness.
13. To what extent has the modern-day remnant elevated the level of Jehovah’s worship?
13 Like that restored Jewish remnant who engaged in rebuilding Jehovah’s house on the mountaintop of Jerusalem, so this modern-day remnant of Jehovah’s worshipers engaged in promoting His pure worship, elevating it above all other interests of earthly life. This worthy worship of the only true God must be the most highly exalted thing in their lives. No other worship, regardless of how highly exalted by men, must be allowed to be higher than the worship of the Most High God, Jehovah. Its elevation must be established firmly above all other forms of human worship, no matter how highly extolled and boosted up by men and demons.
14. (a) Why did Jehovah not authorize the remnant of spiritual Israel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem? (b) What temple is it that they must recognize, and why?
14 So this faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites did not engage in building a literal temple at earthly Jerusalem. The temple that Jehovah had decreed to be destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. he did not authorize the remnant of spiritual Israelites to rebuild there. He does not need such a man-made temple at that onetime holy place, for he has plainly told us that he does not dwell in temples made with human hands. He has his true, spiritual temple in which he personally dwells. It is the temple into the Most Holy compartment of which his High Priest Jesus Christ entered in the spring of 33 C.E., with the precious merit of his perfect human sacrifice in behalf of all sinful, dying mankind. (Heb. 9:24-26; Acts 17:24) It is this spiritual temple that we must recognize, and thereby give the Most High God his true dignity and holiness and grandeur. It is to this temple that we must draw near in the sincere spirit of worship, and this we can do anywhere on earth, for that is what Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s High Priest, himself said. (John 4:21-24) Earthly Jerusalem counts no more!
15, 16. (a) In 1925, what did the remnant begin to appreciate about God’s name, and why did they embrace a new designation for themselves in 1931? (b) How was this in fulfillment of Zechariah 10:9-12?
15 As the postwar years flowed on, the number of spiritual Israelites who were engaged in this figurative temple-building work increased. They were Christians, footstep followers of Jesus Christ, but the rank and file of church members of Christendom also claimed to be such. So in whose name did this temple-building remnant of spiritual Israelites choose to walk? It was an important decision for them to make. From the year 1925 onward they began to discern that the time had come for the Most High God to make a name for himself. They were determined not to denigrate that name along with the professed Christians of Christendom. So, after six years of intensively endeavoring to make the divine name known world wide, they embraced, in the summer of 1931, the Scripturally based name for themselves, Jehovah’s witnesses. This has come about in fulfillment of the prophecy uttered by Zechariah during the days of the temple rebuilding at Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C.E.:
16 “‘In the distant places they will remember me; and they must revive with their sons and return. . . . And I will make them superior in Jehovah, and in his name they will walk about,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”—Zech. 10:9-12.
17, 18. (a) Since then, how have the peoples of the nations come to know about Jehovah God and his true temple for worship? (b) What did Micah 4:2 say about the peoples that would stream to the temple?
17 Consequently, since that historic decision in the year 1931 C.E., this temple-building remnant of spiritual Israelites have gone throughout the Gentile nations preaching the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom in the name of Jehovah, as his Christian witnesses. (Isa. 43:10-12; 44:8) As an inevitable result of this, have the peoples of the nations come to learn about Jehovah as God and about his spiritual temple at which to render pure worship? The information that pours in from all parts of the earth answers with a positive Yes! Take note of what the prophet Micah says about these peoples who are streaming to Jehovah’s temple:
18 “And many nations will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem.”—Mic. 4:2.
19. (a) How have the “law” and “word of Jehovah” gone forth from the heavenly Jerusalem to the peoples and nations? (b) Their saying, “We will walk in his paths,” signifies what on their part?
19 Through the preaching and teaching activities of the temple-building remnant of spiritual Israelites in all the earth the knowledge of the “law” and the “word of Jehovah” has gone forth from the heavenly Zion and heavenly Jerusalem, the seat of the newborn heavenly kingdom of the Messiah. Reports pile up from year to year to show that individuals of all the nations are streaming up to the exalted “house of Jehovah” to worship Him at his spiritual temple. What does it mean for these seekers of Jehovah to say: “And he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths”? This means that these instructed persons of all nationalities make a dedication of themselves to Jehovah God, to do his will. They make a choice of their God.
20. What did Zechariah 2:10, 11 say to foretell this same thing?
20 This very thing was foretold also by the prophet Zechariah, when prophesying in the days of the rebuilding of the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem. Addressing himself to the temple builders, he said: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. And many nations shall join themselves to Jehovah in that day, and shall be my people.”—Zech. 2:10, 11, AS.
21 These peoples of “many nations” do the very opposite of what twenty-four thousand Israelites did on the plains of Moab shortly before the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. These twenty-four thousand forsook Jehovah; as it is written in Numbers 25:3-5: “So Israel attached itself to the Baal of Peor; and the anger of Jehovah began to blaze against Israel. . . . Then Moses said to the judges of Israel: ‘Each one of you kill his men who have an attachment with the Baal of Peor.’”
22 Concerning those renegade Israelites the prophecy of Hosea 9:10 says: “They themselves went in to Baal of Peor, and they proceeded to dedicate themselves to the shameful thing, and they came to be disgusting like the thing of their love.” In utter contrast with that, today, while the “daughter of Zion” is crying out joyfully and singing because Jehovah has taken up residence in her as the “city of the living God,” hundreds of thousands of persons out of “many nations” come and “join themselves,” dedicate themselves, to Jehovah and become his people.—Heb. 12:22.
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AMONG WORSHIPERS OF JEHOVAH
23. What attention does Micah 4:3, 4 say that they get from Jehovah, and how do they act toward one another?
23 Because these dedicated people of all nationalities accept the law that goes forth out of the heavenly Zion and the word of Jehovah that proceeds out of the heavenly Jerusalem, what attention do they get from Him and how do they act toward one another? Micah’s prophecy goes on to inform us, saying: “And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”—Mic. 4:3, 4.
24. (a) Did the United Nations fulfill that prophecy of Micah 4:3, 4? (b) Why does the “great crowd” that has streamed to the temple courtyards since 1935 not worship the United Nations as a god?
24 The man-made world organization for international peace and security, namely, the United Nations, has not brought about the fulfillment of this prophecy. That political organization still has its Disarmament Conference functioning regularly amidst a world that is more mightily armed than ever before in history. But not so with the “great crowd” from the “many nations” that stream into the earthly courtyards of Jehovah’s spiritual temple to worship Him unitedly. These know from the Bible prophecies that the United Nations will fail and that it is wrong to make a god out of it. (Rev. 13:14, 15; 7:9-17) They know that it will fail just as the previous League of Nations failed. Particularly from the spring of the year 1935 C.E., or four years before World War II broke out, these seekers of the one living and true God began to stream into his temple courtyards. Did they carry out Micah’s prophecy?
25. (a) Figuratively speaking, how have Jehovah’s worshipers beaten their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears? (b) Accordingly, at Har–Magedon, to what divine rule will they stick in their conduct toward the nations?
25 Did this international “great crowd” of worshipers at Jehovah’s temple, figuratively speaking, beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears? The facts of recorded history are at hand to prove that they did and are doing so down to this day. In November of 1939, amid World War II that had then been raging for two months, they backed up their nonparticipation in national politics by boldly declaring their stand for Christian neutrality toward all worldly armed conflicts. To this day, in spite of fanatical persecution over this issue, they have held fast to their declared neutrality. (See the article “Neutrality” in the November 1, 1939, issue of The Watchtower.) Even when the Har–Magedon situation is reached by the militarized nations and Jehovah God launches his theocratic “war of the great day of God the Almighty” against the hostile nations, these unarmed worshipers of Jehovah God will not lift up even a weaponless hand against those nations. They will stick to the divine rule: “The battle is not yours, but God’s.”—2 Chron. 20:15; Rev. 16:14, 16.
26. (a) What state of affairs do we find therefore in the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers on earth? (b) What will be their domestic state on earth after Har–Magedon?
26 What, then, do we today find with regard to the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s worshipers on earth? This: Despite their international and interracial extraction, there is godly peace among them. They do not resort to violent war to settle their differences. They keep first their peace with Jehovah God and then their peace with man. Borrowing the prophetic language of the picture of peace and security, they sit unafraid in their garden, each one under his grapevine and his fig tree, enjoying the spiritual, life-giving prosperity that the God whom they unitedly worship showers down upon them. In brotherly neighborliness, as foretold in Zechariah’s prophecy (Zec 3:10), they “call, each one to the other, while under the vine and while under the fig tree.” This is really a precious foretaste of the peace, security and prosperity after God the Almighty has destroyed all his remaining enemies at Har–Magedon and he then restores paradise to earth. Jehovah’s worshipers will sit literally under grapevines and fig trees alongside their happy homes.
PRE-HAR–MAGEDON TIME FOR DECISION!
27, 28. (a) Our enjoyment of such a future experience depends upon what choice now, and what variety exists toward which to make a choice today? (b) What evaluation does the Bible make of such worldly gods?
27 A most inviting prospect that! But a person’s future enjoyment of that Paradise experience all depends upon the choosing of the right God now. All around the earth the people are idolizing various things as gods. One of the most popular gods in each country is patriotic nationalism. To many persons a certain political ideology is a god. The political institution called The State also ranks as a god with many. Militarism has its worshipers in this nuclear space age. Materialistic science has its own devotees. And what about sports idols, theatrical and motion picture idols, musical idols? These have their idolizers among those who are “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Tim. 3:4) Unwittingly, many people worship demons, for the apostle Paul said: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God.” (1 Cor. 10:20) And all these gods have over them the one whom Paul called “the god of this system of things,” namely, Satan the Devil.—2 Cor. 4:4.
28 Truly the inspired psalmist correctly evaluated the gods of the nations by saying: “All the gods of the peoples are valueless gods.” (Ps. 96:5) Of what value will these gods be to mankind when Jehovah God removes them at Har–Magedon and at his binding and abyssing of Satan the Devil and his demons?—Rev. 16:16; 20:1-3.
29. (a) Why is there now no room for neutrality with respect to gods? (b) In harmony with Micah 4:5, what definite decision have those made who engage in building up true worship?
29 We are fast approaching that time, God’s time. No longer is a neutral position toward the gods possible. The world situation that is now shaping up is forcing upon us the making of a final decision. Whom shall we choose—the true God or the valueless gods to which the people of the nations are dedicated? Remember, the prophecy of Micah 4:1-4 is today undergoing fulfillment. It behooves us, therefore, to consider Micah’s words that immediately follow that prophecy. Micah’s words call for our defiance of all the false gods of this doomed world. Says Micah: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Mic. 4:5) This is the unchangeable decision that all the remnant of spiritual Israelites who engage in building up the pure worship at the spiritual temple of Jehovah God have made. That is the decision that those of the international “great crowd” who are streaming up to the earthly courtyards of Jehovah’s spiritual temple are making. Is it the personal decision of each of us?
30. (a) How did Jesus himself show that this is the right decision to make? (b) Which one is the god whom we can worship “to time indefinite, even forever,” and what will this signify for us?
30 It is the only right decision. It is in favor of the one God whom Jesus Christ himself takes the front rank in worshiping with exclusive devotion. No one can be a true Christian unless he imitates Christ’s perfect example. (Ps. 69:9; John 2:13-17; 20:17; Rev. 3:12) All false gods will perish, and their worshipers along with them. Jehovah alone is the true God, who is imperishable, immortal, who lives “to time indefinite, even forever.” He is the one God whom we can worship “to time indefinite, even forever.” This choice of worship signifies eternal vindication to Him and endless blessings and joys to us in his peaceful new order.—1 Tim. 1:17; Ps. 90:2.