Benefits and Rewards from Being Spiritually Secure
1. Who are the ones that are secure from the dangers of the drifting world?
MATERIALISTIC, physical security of mankind is breaking down, but spiritual security is proving a safeguard against the moral, social, political and religious dangers of this drifting world. The spiritually secure are those who put the spiritual things set out in God’s Holy Word first in their lives. They know that God will take care of all other needs.
2, 3. How have the remnant and the “great crowd” really made Jehovah their “refuge”?
2 As regards our giving God the predominant place in our lives the inspired writer of Psalm 91 goes on to give us a sense of security by saying: “Because you said: ‘Jehovah is my refuge,’ you have made the Most High himself your dwelling; no calamity will befall you, and not even a plague will draw near to your tent.”—Ps. 91:9, 10.
3 What a wonderful thought, this making of the Most High God “your dwelling”! This is because of not only saying to Jehovah, “You are my refuge,” but also really making Him the place where we seek our haven for safety. Fearlessly, in open public, the anointed remnant of the spiritual Israel of God have declared Jehovah to be their refuge, especially from the year 1925 onward. The recently appearing “great crowd” that have joined the remnant in worshiping Jehovah as God have imitated the remnant in declaring and making Him their refuge, and hence their “dwelling.”
4. These two groups have been united in their course of action in behalf of what outstanding issue?
4 Unitedly these two groups have proclaimed the Most High, Jehovah, to be the Universal Sovereign. In the now-raging issue between God’s rulership of the whole earth and human rulership, they have taken their stand for Jehovah’s sovereignty. They continuously announce world wide that God’s Messianic kingdom in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ is the only hope for distressed humanity. In Jehovah they dwell as the only Source of all security. Their eternal interests for now and the future are secure in Him!
5. What is the kind of calamity that does not befall those who make God their life’s refuge?
5 For this wicked world, the calamities are mounting, not only in political and economic affairs, but far more hurtfully in moral, social and religious matters. But those making the one living and true God, Jehovah, their life’s refuge, “no calamity will befall you.” That is to say, none of the calamities described in the preceding verses of Psalm 91. Of course, they may share with the general public in large-scale natural calamities such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, epidemics, food shortages, the ravages of international and intertribal wars and political revolutions, but these do not destroy their spirituality or weaken their faith and trust in Almighty God. And they can recover materially and physically from those earthly calamities.
6. Why is spiritual calamity more serious, and who are those who suffer therefrom?
6 Spiritual calamity, however, is different. From it there is no recovery, as in the case of religious Christendom and Jewry. These religious groups are, just like pagandom, not spiritually prosperous. They continue in their sick, diseased religious state, with destructive calamity ahead of them in the coming “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21, 22; Rev. 7:14) Calamity is ahead for all not taking refuge in Jehovah and dwelling in him.
7. (a) What are the figurative “plagues” that infect the citylike world? (b) In what course does safety lie for us who are like tenting alien residents?
7 Those trustfully dwelling in the Most High God are pictured as alien residents, dwelling in tents in this present system of things, outside city limits. (1 Pet. 2:11; Heb. 11:8-10) To these as a class the divine promise is: “And not even a plague will draw near to your tent.” (Ps. 91:10) Among the spiritually harmful “plagues” that now infest the citylike world are such contagious things as nationalism, fanatical patriotism, the teaching of evolution as a fact, selfish materialism, drug abuse, the blood transfusion craze, spiritistic practices, the modern “new sexual morality,” the love of pleasures rather than love of God, religious sectarianism, “Higher Criticism” of the Bible, worship of the “sacred cow” of science, also the worship of the political “wild beast” and worship of its postwar “image,” the United Nations, successor to the League of Nations. (Rev. 9:20, 21; 13:1-18) Only as those making Jehovah their refuge keep their “tent” pitched far away from the “city” of this world will they keep free from the contagion of its many “plagues.” So let us keep our distance, as being no part of this world.—John 17:14-16; compare Hebrews 11:9, 10.
ANGELIC PROTECTION AGAINST FALLING VICTIM
8. What do we need rather than merely human guidance, and is it available to us?
8 As we walk about in this world of spiritual dangers, we need more than human guidance that our ways may be pleasing to God. Such superhuman guidance is assured to us, “for,” as the psalmist adds, “he will give his own angels a command concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”—Ps. 91:11.
9. This reminds us of what promise to fleshly Israel, and of what ministry rendered to Jesus, and of what assurance with reference to his childlike followers?
9 This promise reminds us that, through the prophet Moses, God said to the nation of fleshly Israel: “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. For my angel will go ahead of you and will indeed bring you.” (Ex. 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2) Also, after God’s Son, Jesus Christ, turned back three temptations presented to him in the wilderness of Judea, one of which involved Psalm 91:11, 12, “the Devil left him, and, look! angels came and began to minister to him.” (Matt. 4:1-11) With reference to his childlike followers, Jesus said: “Their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10) These heavenly angels are now under divine command with respect to the remnant of spiritual Israelites and their loyal companions.
10. The assignment of angels to “guard you in all your ways” applies to what “ways”?
10 The assignment of these angels to “guard you in all your ways” would apply to the “ways” that Jehovah’s worshipers take that are in harmony with His revealed Word and that are therefore under His approval and guidance. His angels would not go along with the “remnant” and the “great crowd” of their companions in ways that are otherwise—selfish, self-willed.—Matt. 13:41, 42.
11. How did Jesus’ prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things” and of the messenger flying in midheaven indicate angelic involvement with his followers on earth?
11 Jesus’ own prophecy on the “sign of [his] presence and of the conclusion of the system of things” plainly foretold that in behalf of the gathering of the chosen members of spiritual Israel he would send forth his angels. Also, when he came to separate the people of the nations like sheep and goats, the angels would be with him. (Matt. 24:3, 31; 25:31, 32; Rev. 7:1-8) The last book of the Bible, the Revelation as given through Jesus to the apostle John, definitely reveals that the heavenly angels would be involved with the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel in their earthly activities during this “conclusion of the system of things.” For instance, in the fulfillment of John’s vision of the angel that flew in midheaven with the everlasting good news to declare to all earth’s inhabitants, angelic guidance and guardianship are indicated in behalf of Jehovah’s worshipers who do that work on earth. (Rev. 14:6, 7) But more than that:
12. According to the Revelation, when the remnant of that time began pouring out the “seven last plagues,” why must they have had angelic guidance and guardianship?
12 When the “seven last plagues” began to be poured out during the years 1922-1928 C.E., through the anointed “remnant” at that time, there must have been angelic guidance and guardianship. Logically so, for Revelation, chapters 15-17, reveals that the “bowls” or “vials” that were full of the wrath of God were held and maneuvered by heavenly angels who received these vessels at God’s hands. By proceeding thus in God’s ways of service Jehovah’s worshipers are assured of angelic guardianship.—Ps. 34:7; Heb. 1:13, 14.
13. What do Satan’s earthly agents place in the path of those walking in Jehovah’s “ways,” and what does Psalm 91:12 say of this?
13 The “ways” that we, as worshipers of Jehovah God, take lie amid this worldly system of things of which Satan the Devil is “the god.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Hence, it might be expected that the earthly agents of this false god would place in our path figurative stones for Jehovah’s worshipers to trip over to a disastrous fall. But with reference to such causes for stumbling the psalmist speaks further about Jehovah’s angels, saying: “Upon their hands they will carry you, that you may not strike your foot against any stone.”—Ps. 91:12.
14. In the first century of our Common Era, what proved to be “a stone to strike against” for the nation of fleshly Israel, and why?
14 This means that these heavenly angels will sustain us, support us, so that we are not affected by such a “stone.” Back in the first century of our Common Era the apostate Israelites, “both the houses of Israel,” did not have such angelic assistance against stumbling into spiritual ruin. They stumbled over Jehovah’s true Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was to them “a stone to strike against” and “a rock over which to stumble,” as foretold in Isaiah 8:14. (1 Pet. 2:7, 8) Their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah has hurt the circumcised Jewish people spiritually to this very day. However, this is not the “stone” spoken of in Psalm 91:12.
15. How is the “stone” of Psalm 91:12 different, and how can this be illustrated?
15 This “stone” is something from Jehovah’s Great Adversary, Satan the Devil; and so if one accepts what this “stone” is, one falls out of favor with God. This is unlike the Messianic “stone” of the first century, which, if accepted by the Jewish nation, would serve for their continued favor with God. But back there the nationalistic Jews followed false Messiahs not from God. Looking forward also to our time, Jesus Christ warned his disciples against false Messiahs or Christs in this “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3, 5, 23-26) True to prediction, these “false Christs” have risen up, not particularly in the form of individual men, but in political and economic systems to whom Messianic powers have been ascribed and through which Messianic blessings were expected. For example, as when Nikita Khrushchev promised that Russian Communism of his brand would establish paradise for the people. And how could we ever forget that, in December of 1918, the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America hailed the proposed League of Nations as “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth”?
16. Thanks to the angels, what are some of the ‘stones’ against which Jehovah’s witnesses have not struck the foot to a fall?
16 Faithfully Jehovah’s angels have ‘carried His worshipers upon their hands’ so that they have not struck their foot against “any stone” of that kind and fallen out of his favor. When, in November of 1939, they came out publicly in adherence to Christian “neutrality” toward all worldly controversies, this fortified them in their already chosen course of refusal of military conscription, in peacetime as well as wartime. Dictators in political government rose up after World War I, such as Adolf Hitler who aimed at reestablishing the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation for a thousand years. But Jehovah’s Christian witnesses never yielded to such dictators as taking the place of Jehovah’s true Messiah, Jesus Christ. In times of test regarding the supremacy of the law of the Most High God, they have taken up the words of Christ’s apostles and have said to politicians, judges and police: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Thanks to Jehovah’s angels, not even “any stone” like bans and proscriptions against them and their preaching of God’s kingdom has caused His worshipers to stumble and fall.
SECURE AGAINST OPEN AND SECRET ATTACKS
17 Near the end of the year 32 C.E., Jesus Christ sent out seventy disciples as evangelizers of God’s Messianic kingdom. Evidently speaking in symbolic language to them, he said: “Look! I have given you the authority to trample underfoot serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will by any means do you hurt.” (Luke 10:19) Similarly, in a symbolic sense, the psalmist now says to the class that has made Jehovah its dwelling: “Upon the young lion and the cobra you will tread; you will trample down the maned young lion and the big snake.”—Ps. 91:13.
18. How, figuratively, has the “young lion” been trodden down?
18 The young lion makes an open, frontal attack, exposing itself. So, too, powerful political states have resorted to legislative action that names the victim. They have openly passed laws aimed at Jehovah’s witnesses. Or they have applied nationalistic laws against these. With what purpose? To devour them, to assimilate them, to make them religiously subservient to the State, making them a national religious institution, torn apart from the worldwide body of Jehovah’s witnesses that is ruled from God down. Loyal witnesses of Jehovah have turned down such a totalitarian, State-controlled arrangement. Theocratically they have held firmly to God’s Rule!
19. How, figuratively, has “the cobra” been trodden down?
19 Unlike the young lion, the cobra strikes in the dark from a place of concealment. It is dangerous, like a “serpent by the roadside,” to which the tribe of Dan was compared and which “bites the heels of the horse.” (Gen. 49:16, 17) Venomous, unsuspected attacks like those of the cobra have been made upon the intentionally victimized witnesses of Jehovah as they carry on their public work of proclaiming God’s kingdom from house to house, even in lands where State religions hold power. Hiding behind the State as executioner for them, clergymen of Christendom have made covert attacks upon Jehovah’s witnesses through the politicians, the lawmakers, the police authorities and the judges of law courts. (Ps. 94:20) But as respects Jehovah’s witnesses, they have not been paralyzed with fear by the venom of the unfair attacks. They have remained law abiding and have peacefully applied to the law courts for their constitutional rights, appealing to the Bill of Rights granted by the State. To the highest courts of the land they have carried their legal fight for establishing and defending by law freedom of religion and the right to preach God’s kingdom. (Phil. 1:7, 16) Victory has often crowned their efforts!
20. Despite bans upon their Bible literature, how have the Witnesses still made disciples?
20 Whether the enemies used open, frontal attacks or covert, underhanded ones, they have been trodden down by the onward-marching witnesses of the Most High God. When their literature has been banned they have kept pressing forward in their Scriptural work of making disciples of Christ by using just the Bible alone in their witnessing work. Disciples have resulted!—Matt. 28:19, 20.
21. How do Jehovah’s worshipers trample down the symbolic “maned young lion”?
21 The psalmist heightens the intensity of the figures of speech when, in a parallelism, he speaks of trampling down “the maned young lion and the big snake.” The maned young lion should be older and also fiercer-looking than just the young lion; and the big snake would be a monstrous reptile, which the Greek Septuagint Version of the Psalms calls a “dragon.” However, no matter how impressive-looking, how fierce-looking the symbolic maned young lion may be when making his open, frontal attack, Jehovah’s worshipers trample this dangerous attacker down. They walk right on, obeying the Most High God as Sovereign Ruler rather than lionlike men or lionlike man-made organizations. They render to lionlike Caesar only what belongs to Caesar and in no way holding back anything that belongs to God, giving to him all the things belonging to Him. (Acts 5:29; Matt. 22:21) So they are not spiritually hurt by the menacing action of the “lion.”
22. How do Jehovah’s worshipers trample down the symbolic “big snake”?
22 The dragonlike “big snake” reminds us of the father of the “seed” of the serpent, Satan the Devil, “the original serpent.” (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:9) The psalmist here pictures him, not as a “sea monster,” but as a land monster, a reptile of unusual size, long enough to get its coils around a human to crush him and swallow him. (Jer. 51:34) So if Jehovah’s worshipers discern that Satan the Devil, by means of his monstrous world organization, is trying to wrap his coils around them and crush them with worldly pressures and swallow them down into his demon-controlled organization, they shake themselves loose and trample down this “big snake.” They avoid and resist all forms of spiritism, thus not permitting the demons subtly to take control of their mind and will. (Luke 10:17) For one thing, the anointed remnant of joint heirs of Christ must do this if they desire to share in the fulfillment of Romans 16:20, having Satan crushed under their feet shortly. They must take positive steps against this fiery-red “dragon” now and keep him always underfoot.—1 Pet. 5:8.
LOVING GOD AND KNOWING HIS NAME
23. What does God say in Psalm 91:14 with regard to those who love Him for what he is?
23 Satan the Devil denies that human creatures can love God the Creator just for what He is. But the Most High God appreciates the true love of even earthly creatures of His. How God expresses his appreciation the psalmist shows, when he now represents God as speaking and saying with regard to His loving worshipers as a class: “Because on me he has set his affection, I shall also provide him with escape. I shall protect him because he has come to know my name.”—Ps. 91:14.
24. So, rather than for just finding spiritual security, why have His worshipers taken refuge in him?
24 The worshipers of the one living and true God have set their affection upon him because he is the highest personification of love. They have cleaved or clung to him affectionately, with their hearts simply going out to him spontaneously. They are commanded to love him, but they love him because he first loved them and expressed this love through his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (Deut. 7:7; 10:15; Mark 12:29, 30; 1 John 4:19) So it is not merely a matter of finding spiritual security that they have taken refuge in Him.
25. From what has Jehovah provided escape for his worshipers, and what about the future?
25 In responsive affection toward them, God the Almighty One has provided his worshipers with escape from being religious captives to this world and, yes, from being exterminated. In testimony of this, his true worshipers exist today in this most perilous time and are increasing in number. His ability to provide escape in the future cases of need is still as great as ever!
26. What is the point that is made by Jehovah’s saying: “I shall protect him because he has come to know my name”?
26 Never will those who worship the Most High God with spirit and truth be wiped off the face of the earth. Otherwise, his name would be expunged from the earth. This is the point in his saying with respect to the company of his worshipers: “I shall protect him because he has come to know my name.”—Ps. 91:14.
27. In 1925, attention began to be focused upon what, this resulting in what Watch Tower article of January 1, 1926?
27 From the year 1925 C.E. onward the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel took note that the Scriptures indicated that the time had come for God to make a name for himself world wide. (Jer. 32:20; Isa. 63:12) This focused attention upon God’s personal name, Jehovah. So right at the start of the following year, readers of The Watch Tower were confronted with the challenging question, “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” this being the title of the leading article published in the magazine issue of January 1, 1926.
28. In 1928, to show that Jehovah’s worshipers had “come to know” His name, what did they do at the I.B.S.A. convention in Detroit?
28 Less than three years later, showing that they had “come to know” the divine name, the International Bible Students Association, in international convention assembled in Detroit, Michigan, in the summer of 1928, adopted with loud acclaim “A Declaration Against Satan and for Jehovah.” This proclamation as reproduced in print was then circulated around the globe in tens of millions of copies. In that marked year of 1928 there were 44,000 Bible Students reporting for field service to take care of that distribution. Still later, to cap the climax, what?
29, 30. (a) To announce the divine name still further, what was done with the front-page legend of The Watch Tower in 1939? (b) Has Jehovah made a name for himself, and, if so, then by whom?
29 On Sunday afternoon, July 26, 1931, at the international convention of the I.B.S.A. in Columbus, Ohio, there came the heartfelt adoption of the Resolution in favor of embracing the New Name, Jehovah’s witnesses. Thereafter this Resolution was adopted by congregations around the world that thenceforth identified their religious organization as Jehovah’s witnesses. To advertise the divine name still further, on March 1, 1939, some months before World War II broke out, the official magazine of the Witnesses came forth with the new legend, “The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.” And now, as the critical year of 1975 enters, it may well be asked: Has the Most High God of prophecy made a name for himself? The answer is self-evident, Yes! By whom? Not by Christendom or by Jewry, but by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses!
30 Truly, Jehovah’s protecting his worshipers because they have “come to know my name” has meant protecting his own name and having a means for declaring his name “in all the earth.”—Rom. 9:17; Ex. 9:16.
31. In whose name are they determined to walk, and upon what name to call for aid?
31 The decision of these Christian witnesses of Jehovah now is that of Micah 4:5: “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.” Upon His name they will continue to call for aid, with full confidence in what he next says, in Psalm 91:15: “He will call upon me, and I shall answer him. I shall be with him in distress. I shall rescue him and glorify him.”
RESCUE AND GLORIFICATION
32. How does Jehovah show that he has not renounced as His witnesses those who call upon him, and how will he yet show this?
32 Because of the world’s mounting hostility against them and because of Satan the Dragon’s unceasing war against them, Jehovah’s worshipers have already passed through much distress. But, true to his word, Jehovah has ever been with them, never renouncing them as His witnesses. In the tremendous distress yet ahead of them, as this wicked world comes to its end in utter destruction, Jehovah will be with his worshipers and miraculously make this known! Rather than let them be ingloriously destroyed by all their enemies visible and invisible, Jehovah says: “I shall rescue him and glorify him,” or, “bring him to honour.”—New English Bible.
33, 34. After they are rescued, in what way is it that Jehovah’s worshipers are glorified by Him?
33 The glorification here promised does not necessarily mean the glorification of the members of the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel in heaven with the reigning King Jesus Christ. This will come in Jehovah’s due time, after a promised “length of days.”
34 But already He has made brilliant rescues of his worshipers on earth, and this has brought spiritual glory to them, to the honor of His name. After such divine rescues, they have been privileged to glory over their enemies, who are also His enemies. To this day they have been honored with further service on earth as His witnesses and proclaimers of His invincible Messianic kingdom. Of course, during the world’s coming “great tribulation” and its culmination in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, there will come Jehovah’s greatest, most remarkable rescue of them. Hence, they will survive that world-destroying “great tribulation” and share the glory of the winning side of that War of all wars! They will be honored with entrance into God’s new order for this earth.
35. Thus they live on to enjoy what glory on earth, and what on God’s part makes this possible for them?
35 Thus they shall live on to enjoy the glory of being those whom the Most High God rescues as he wars victoriously for the vindication of his universal sovereignty and the sanctification of his worthy name. (Rev. 16:14, 16; Ezek. 38:23; Ps. 83:18) His salvation of them will make this possible for them. By his psalmist, Jehovah says, in concluding this exquisite psalm: “With length of days I shall satisfy him, and I shall cause him to see salvation by me.”—Ps. 91:16.
36. When was the prospect of surviving God’s “war” at Har–Magedon opened to the view of the remnant, and to what point may they be satisfied with “length of days” on earth?
36 Only from the end of the year 1928 was the prospect opened up to the spiritual understanding of the anointed remnant of the “Israel of God” to survive the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon and enter here on earth into Jehovah’s righteous new order. (See The Watch Tower under date of December 15, 1928, page 376, paragraphs 35, 36.) And now, as the year 1975 opens up, some thousands of the anointed remnant, still alive on this earth, look ahead to realizing that joyful prospect. The increasing “great crowd” of their sheeplike companions look forward with them to entering the New Order without interruption of life. In the New Order Jehovah God will add to the “length of days” of the anointed remnant on earth to the point of satisfying the members thereof. It remains to be seen whether they will be yet retained here on earth to see the start of the resurrection of the earthly dead and to meet faithful witnesses of ancient, pre-Christian times. They would enjoy that, before being taken off the earthly scene to the heavenly reward with Christ.
37. With what “length of days” will it be possible for the members of the “great crowd” to be satisfied?
37 Those of the “great crowd,” remaining faithful to the Universal Sovereign Jehovah God clear through the decisive test after the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign over mankind, will be satisfied with “length of days” to life eternal, life without end in the earthly “Paradise of Pleasure” under Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. O how rewarding is the worship of Jehovah!
38. If anyone “dwelling in the secret place” dies in faithfulness before the end of God’s war at Har–Magedon and the abyssing of Satan, why will this in no way disprove the all-importance of the spiritual security?
38 Do we now appreciate, do we sincerely desire, the spiritual security that Jehovah God furnishes? Is not this kind of security all-important if we want to be safeguarded for the glorious rewards that He has in store for all his faithful worshipers? All those who trustfully remain in Jehovah’s place of spiritual security, “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High,” will be caused “to see salvation by me,” by Jehovah. (Ps. 91:16) This will hold true, even if one’s days in faithfulness are cut short in death before the righteous New Order is actually ushered in after Jehovah’s “war” at Har–Magedon and the imprisoning of Satan and his demons in the abyss. (Rev. 20:1-6) The Almighty God can still provide salvation from a death in faithfulness by the promised resurrection of the dead. Those who leave the divine place of spiritual security will never get through the coming “great tribulation” with God’s approval and see salvation by Him!
39. What pleasure should we want Jehovah to have in the case of each one of us, and how can we let Him have it?
39 Jehovah will take pleasure in causing us to see salvation by Him and through Jesus Christ his Son. May we lovingly let Him have this divine pleasure in the case of each one of us. We can do so by remaining worthily in the “secret place” of spiritual security that he has provided for His faithful worshipers.—Prov. 21:31; Rev. 7:9-17.