Flight to the True Kingdom Refuge
1. (a) How has the organization pictured by the mustard-grain “tree” of Jesus’ parable been exposed? (b) How have most people in Christendom proved to be as described in Isaiah 6:8-10?
THE ORGANIZATION pictured by the “tree” that grew from the mustard grain in Jesus’ parable has been exposed by the worldwide preaching of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. (Matt. 13:31, 32) Relatively few professed Christians have taken flight from that religious organization, namely, Christendom, and taken refuge under God’s Messianic kingdom proclaimed by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Like the prophet Isaiah of the eighth century B.C.E., these witnesses have gone and still go repeatedly to the peoples of Christendom, but in what spiritual condition do the overwhelming majority of Christendom prove themselves to be? Just as the prophet Isaiah foretold, namely, with their eyes plastered shut, their ears unresponsive and their hearts of appreciation unreceptive to the Kingdom message.—Isa. 6:8-10.
2. How long will such spiritually sick people stay in Christendom?
2 How long will such ones stay in that spiritually sick state, inside Christendom? Jehovah prophetically answered this question in his words recorded in Isaiah 6:11-13. They will stay there until Christendom, the symbolic mustard-grain “tree,” is wiped out in the oncoming “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21, 22) See the article “Have You Said: ‘Here I Am! Send me’?” in the Watchtower issue of December 15, 1966.
3. Why have God-fearing persons taken refuge under God’s established Messianic kingdom, and into what has He brought them?
3 Those God-fearing people who have taken flight from doomed Christendom have examined the affairs and events of the world since 1914 in the light of Bible prophecies. By such a comparison they have discerned that God’s Messianic kingdom in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ was born in the heavens in that war-torn year. They have not taken refuge under the League of Nations as the “political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth,” nor in the present-day United Nations as mankind’s “last hope.” In utter rejection of such views as expressed by the clergymen of Christendom, these open-eyed, responsive-eared, receptive-hearted ones have fled to God’s established kingdom and taken refuge under it, fleeing, as it were, “to the mountains” outside the danger zone before the “great tribulation” breaks. (Matt. 24:16-22) Thus they have come into a “paradise” of a spiritual kind, that Jehovah God has established for his restored people since 1919, in fulfillment of the Bible’s restoration prophecies.—Isa. 35:1-10; 65:17-25.
4, 5. (a) How are the peace and security of those who are brought into the spiritual paradise described in Isaiah 32:1, 2, 17, 18? (b) In the fulfillment of this prophecy, who are the “princes” mentioned, and how do they contribute to the restful conditions of the paradise?
4 The peace and security that these now experience under the Messianic kingdom are picturesquely described in Isaiah 32:1, 2, 17, 18, in these words: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself. And each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land. And the work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.”
5 Those on earth who correspond to the “princes” here described are not any “princes of the Church” in Christendom. They are the “elders,” the appointed “overseers” of the more than thirty-five thousand congregations of Jehovah’s delivered and restored people. As they are directly responsible to the heavenly King, Jesus the Messiah, they wisely carry on their shepherd-like care of the flock “for justice itself.” In this way they contribute to the peace, quietness, trustworthiness and security of the spiritual paradise into which Jehovah has brought his restored worshipers since the year 1919 C.E.
UNDER THE COMING MILLENNIAL REIGN OF THE MESSIAH
6. How is it that God’s new order on earth will start off with a spiritual paradise, but what earthly work will lie before those in that paradise?
6 Just as the waterproof ark carried Noah and his family and pairs of all the animals and birds through the global deluge of 2370-2369 B.C.E., so the spiritual paradise under Jehovah’s protection will survive the coming deluge of the “great tribulation.” Faithful worshipers of Jehovah who abide within this spiritual paradise will survive with it through that “tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matt. 24:21, 22; Rev. 7:9-14) For this reason God’s righteous post-tribulation new order of things on earth will start off with a spiritual paradise “filled with the knowledge of Jehovah” and occupied by his faithful worshipers. (Isa. 11:9) Ahead of the “great crowd” of survivors who correspond with the three sons and three daughters-in-law of Noah, there will lie the work of beautifying all the literal earth like a paradise, like a Garden of Eden on a global scale. So the inhabited earth of the future, under the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 associate kings, will be a paradise in a literal sense. Jesus Christ himself promised it by name.—Luke 23:43.
7, 8. (a) Who survived with Noah and his family in the ark? (b) Why did Noah’s family not move out of the ark with fear of the lower earthly creatures?
7 Back in 2369 B.C.E., after Noah’s ark landed on a mountain of Ararat and he was permitted to open the door that Jehovah God had shut, Noah and his family moved out into the open. But not just they alone, for, as Genesis 8:19 tells us, “every living creature, every moving animal and every flying creature, everything that moves on the earth, according to their families they went out of the ark.” These were to multiply on the earth just the same as the human survivors of the deluge.—Gen. 1:20-25.
8 What would be the relationship of these lower earthly creatures to man? This relationship God indicated when, on blessing Noah and his family, God said: “And a fear of you and a terror of you will continue upon every living creature of the earth and upon every flying creature of the heavens, upon everything that goes moving on the ground, and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into your hand they are now given.” (Gen. 9:1, 2) So mankind did not move out of the ark of preservation with any terrorizing prospects before them, even from animals. Mankind had had no fear of the animals inside the ark, where even the lion ate vegetation, just like the bull.
9. What does that indicate that God will do after the “great tribulation” for the fulfillment of what He commanded Adam and Eve respecting the lower earthly creatures?
9 That was doubtless an indication for our own future on the inhabited earth. Along with the human worshipers of Jehovah in their spiritual paradise, earthly creatures of a lower kind will be preserved for mankind’s use and enjoyment. Undoubtedly, after the “great tribulation” is over, God will give a reassurance to his surviving worshipers on earth respecting the fish, the flying creatures and the land animals. The Almighty Creator will put the fear of man into all these lower earthly creatures, so that they will not molest man. According to what God commanded the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, mankind will have all these inferior creatures in subjection. They will be obedient, harmless subjects of mankind.—Gen. 1:27, 28.
10. Are all lower earthly creatures now in subjection to man, and how did David point forward prophetically to the man to whom they would be subject?
10 More than thirteen hundred years after the Deluge, when King David of Jerusalem wrote the eighth psalm Ps 8, not all the lower earthly creatures were in subjection to man in the sense of being tame and harmless toward man. But in this psalm David prophetically pointed forward to a man who would yet have all of them in subjection. In that psalm David said: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him? You also proceeded to make him a little less than godlike ones, and with glory and splendor you then crowned him. You make him dominate over the works of your hands; everything you have put under his feet: small cattle and oxen, all of them, and also the beasts of the open field, the birds of heaven and the fish of the sea, anything passing through the paths of the seas.”—Ps. 8:3-8.
11. Where and how is the name given of the man who God has designated for having all earthly things subject to him?
11 Whom, now, has Jehovah God designated as that “man” to whom all earthly things should be subjected? The inspired book of Hebrews, chapter two, verses five through nine, tells us, saying: “It is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking. But a certain witness has given proof somewhere, saying: ‘What is man that you keep him in mind, or the son of man that you take care of him? You made him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. All things you subjected under his feet.’ For in that he subjected all things to him God left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him; but we behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every man.”
12. In the “inhabited earth to come,” what earthly living creatures will also be subject under the feet of Jesus?
12 This means that, after the “great tribulation” and the chaining of Satan the Devil and his demons and the imprisoning of them in the abyss, the “inhabited earth to come” will be in subjection under the feet of Jesus the Messiah. Also, all the things in the inhabited earth, including “small cattle and oxen, all of them, and also the beasts of the open field, the birds of heaven and the fish of the sea, anything passing through the paths of the seas.” (Ps. 8:7, 8) The “beasts of the open field” include all the wild animals that are at present savage and dangerous to man, such as the lion, the bear, the leopard, the cobra and any other poisonous snake. “Anything passing through the paths of the seas” will include piranha fish, sharks and killer whales.
13. How will Jesus Christ, now glorified in heaven, show that all these lower earthly creatures are subject to him in the “inhabited earth to come”?
13 Jesus the Messiah, now crowned with glory and honor in heaven, has not lost his power over wild and untamed beasts. (Mark 1:13; 11:2-7) He will show the subjection of these presently dangerous creatures to himself. How? By making them subject to the “great crowd” of heirs of the future earthly paradise who will survive the “great tribulation” into God’s new order for our earth. Thus, the wild, ferocious, dangerous animals of today will be made harmless to the earthly worshipers of Jehovah God. The harmless relationship between beast and man that will then prevail will correspond with the description of Isaiah 11:6-9, which has already found its fulfillment in the spiritual paradise now enjoyed by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.
14. Why will the ransomed human dead have nothing to fear on coming forth into the “inhabited earth to come”?
14 Thus God the Creator’s original purpose to have all animal creation on earth subject to perfect man and woman in a global Garden of Eden will take form. The earth-wide paradise will be a place of peace and security. All the ransomed human dead who will be brought forth from their graves onto this “inhabited earth to come” will have nothing of which to be afraid. (Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:11-14) The “roaring lion,” Satan the Devil, and his demons will not be in the vicinity. The glorified “Son of man” in the heavens will enforce peace earth wide between man and man and between man and beast and between beast and beast. “Righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn,” and the service and effect of such righteousness throughout the earth will be peace, quietness, cause for true confidence, and security. (Isa. 26:9; 32:17, 18) Oh, what a grand place the earth will be for man to occupy eternally as his paradise home! All of this will be because the “inhabited earth to come” will be under the true “kingdom of the heavens.”—Matt. 4:17; 5:3, 10.
15. What is it now our privilege and opportunity to do respecting the people who are in danger because of the “great tribulation” just ahead?
15 This is the “kingdom of the heavens” that it is now our privilege and opportunity to proclaim world wide. We who have already taken refuge under it are concerned for the safety of others in this time of unprecedented world distress. The tribulation of all tribulations is just ahead. In view of that fact, let us continue to direct all teachable people to the true Messianic “kingdom of the heavens” and help them to take safe refuge under it. Their salvation out of the world’s greatest distress depends on this!