God’s Mercy on Display at Har–Magedon
1, 2. (a) In whose marriage affairs did Jehovah dramatize his own? (b) How did Israel turn adulterous in the days of King Jeroboam I?
MARRIAGES between men and women have run into difficulties during the reign of sin and wickedness on earth. That is what happened to God’s marriage with the ancient nation of Israel.
2 God dramatized his own marriage affairs in those of his prophet Hosea. At God’s command Hosea had married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim. This pictured Jehovah’s marriage to ancient Israel by means of the Mosaic Law covenant at Mount Sinai in 1513 B.C.E. After King Solomon, the son of David, died in 997 B.C.E., the long-married nation of Israel was split up into two sections. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed together under the kingdom of Judah, the other ten tribes under the kingdom of Israel. The latter’s first king was Jeroboam the son of Nebat of the tribe of Ephraim. Under this Jeroboam I the kingdom of Israel broke its marriage contract with Jehovah; it boycotted His worship at Jerusalem and set up its own national worship with idolatrous images, two golden calves, one at Dan and the other at Bethel. Thus, like the prophet Hosea’s wife Gomer, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel turned adulterous.
3. What did Jehovah say to call Gomer’s second child, and why?
3 After Gomer bore to Hosea a legitimate son named Jezreel, how did Hosea’s marriage affairs go in illustration of Jehovah’s affairs with the twelve-tribe nation of Israel? Hosea proceeds to tell the story, saying: “And she proceeded to become pregnant another time and to give birth to a daughter. And He [that is, God] went on to say to him [that is, to Hosea]: ‘Call her name Lo-ruhamah, for I shall no more show mercy again to the house of Israel, because I shall positively take them [the Israelites] away. But to the house of Judah I shall show mercy, and I will save them by Jehovah their God; but I shall not save them [the Judeans] by a bow or by a sword or by war, by horses or by horsemen.’”—Hos. 1:6, 7.
4. Whom did Gomer’s daughter have as her father, and against whom was her name prophetically directed?
4 In the above case, Hosea does not say that Gomer bore “to him” a daughter. So it is generally understood that this daughter who was called Lo-ruhamah was a ‘child of fornication.’ (Hos. 1:2) Such a committing of adultery by Hosea’s wife Gomer matched the course of affairs in the marriage relationship between Jehovah God and the nation of Israel. Of course, in Hosea’s affairs, the vital thing here is the meaning of the name given to Gomer’s daughter—and the reason why Jehovah told Hosea to call her by that unpleasant, ominous name. The daughter’s name Lo-ruhamah literally means “Not Pitied Female.” Jehovah directed that name prophetically against the spiritually adulterous ten-tribe nation of Israel, with its royal residence at the city of Jezreel. For what reason?
5. In what did Jehovah’s not showing mercy to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel result, and how will Christendom’s experience be similar?
5 In our twentieth century Christendom should listen to Jehovah’s giving of the reason, because the name Lo-ruhamah applies now. The reason He gives applies to Christendom today: “For I shall no more show mercy again to the house of Israel.” (Hos. 1:6) Christendom is now the one unpitied, the one not being shown mercy. Similar to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, she is given over to spiritual adultery against Jehovah God, with whom she claims to be in marriage relationship by means of the “new covenant” that was mediated by Jesus Christ in the year 33 C.E. (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:19, 20; Heb. 8:6-12) Because, from Hosea’s day onward, Jehovah no longer had mercy upon the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, what resulted? The destruction of that spiritually adulterous kingdom in less than a century afterward, that is, in 740 B.C.E. Similarly, Jehovah’s no longer having mercy upon Israel’s modern-day counterpart will end up in Christendom’s annihilation during the coming “great tribulation” that reaches its climax at Har–Magedon.—Matt. 24:21, 22.
6. According to Hosea 1:7, was there a total withdrawal of Jehovah’s mercy from all Israel at the time of destruction of the ten-tribe kingdom?
6 At the time of his wiping out the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, was Jehovah totally heartless? Was there a total withdrawal of his mercy from all tribes of the nation that had originally entered into marriage relationship with him through the Law covenant at Mount Sinai? Jehovah himself answers these questions, saying: “But to the house of Judah I shall show mercy, and I will save them by Jehovah their God; but I shall not save them by a bow or by a sword or by war, by horses or by horsemen.”—Hos. 1:7.
7, 8. (a) What was the reason for which Jehovah had mercy upon the house of Judah? (b) Because of the then dominant world power, what would Jehovah have to do in order to save Judah without war equipment?
7 It will be good for us to note the cogent reason for which Jehovah chose to show mercy to the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, with its capital at Jerusalem. In Hosea 11:12 Jehovah makes plain his reason for divine mercy, in saying: “With lying, Ephraim has surrounded me, and with deception the house of Israel [which was represented by the dominant tribe, Ephraim]. But Judah is yet roaming with God, and with the Most Holy One he is trustworthy.”* The house of Judah still “roamed” with Jehovah as the Most Holy One, its God. So, for the sake of his name, Jehovah was obliged to save the house of Judah. That is why he said: “I will save them by Jehovah their God.”
8 Jehovah purposed to save the house of Judah at the same time that he took the ten-tribe kingdom away and caused the “royal rule of the house of Israel to cease.” In order to do so, Jehovah had to have a confrontation with the Assyrian Empire. By highly militarizing itself, Assyria had become the dominant world power of that day. Under those circumstances, in order for Jehovah to save the house of Judah without a battle bow, sword, war, chariot horses and horsemen, he would be required to perform some extraordinary act.
A FOREGLEAM OF DIVINE MERCY AT HAR–MAGEDON
9. After Samaria’s destruction, how did the situation become most challenging to Jehovah with respect to Jerusalem?
9 In 740 B.C.E. Jehovah used the Assyrian World Power as his “ax” to chop down the adulterous, idolatrous “house of Israel.” Its royal residence at Jezreel was emptied, its capital at Samaria was overthrown, the surviving Israelites were carried away into exile in distant provinces of Assyria. (Isa. 10:15) This produced a threat for Jerusalem, where King Hezekiah of the royal family of David reigned over the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. Eight years later the military hosts of Assyria invaded the land of Judah and began reducing its cities. The invading Assyrian king, Sennacherib, had plenty of bows, swords, war equipment, chariot horses and horsemen with him. In what way, now, would Jehovah’s mercy to the house of Judah be shown? The situation became most challenging to Jehovah.
10, 11. How did Jehovah now save the house of Judah to exalt his own name?
10 While besieging the city of Libnah, Sennacherib sent his God-defying ultimatum to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, some twenty miles away. In indignation Jehovah inspired his prophet Isaiah to give a defiant message for the Assyrian delegation before Jerusalem’s walls to take back to blasphemous Sennacherib. After this king got the warning message, Jehovah saved Judah to exalt his own name.
11 “And it came about on that night,” as the record in 2 Kings 19:35-37 tells us, “that the angel of Jehovah proceeded to go out and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses. Therefore Sennacherib the king of Assyria pulled away and went and returned, and he took up dwelling in Nineveh. And it came about that as he was bowing down at the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, themselves struck him down with the sword, and they themselves escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esar-haddon his son began to reign in place of him.”
12. Of what was that display of Jehovah’s mercy toward the house of Judah a foregleam?
12 Was that not a preeminent display of Jehovah’s mercy toward the kingdom of Judah that was then holding faithfully to its spiritual marriage relationship to Him? With comforting significance for us today, it was a foregleam of the mercy that Jehovah will display during the future war at Har–Magedon. (Rev. 16:14, 16) No divine mercy will be shown to the God-defying hordes on earth who will fight under Satan the Devil against the faithful witnesses of Jehovah during the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at what is called Har–Magedon.* Jehovah will save his faithful witnesses on earth without their resorting to bows, swords, warfare, horses and horsemen or other military resources.
13. To whom will the name Lo-ruhamah then apply, and so who will survive the display of God’s wrath upon the “vessels of wrath”?
13 That will be a time for the display of divine wrath upon the “vessels of wrath” and for the display of divine mercy upon the anointed remnant of Christ’s joint heirs who are prefigured by “the house of Judah.” (Rom. 9:22) These will be holding true to the new covenant, the covenant by which Jehovah is married to his spiritual Israel. The remnant being faithful spiritual Israelites, the name Lo-ruhamah (Not Pitied) does not apply to them as it does now to Christendom. (Gal. 6:16; Jas. 1:1; Rev. 7:4-8) It is “by Jehovah their God” that the spiritual remnant will be saved! They will survive!
14, 15. (a) What experience did Jehonadab the son of Rechab have with King Jehu? (b) What national calamities did the descendants of Jehonadab survive, and whom today did those Rechabites picture?
14 In ancient times, when King Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, not only “the house of Judah” experienced Jehovah’s mercy. Non-Jews known as Rechabites also did. They were the descendants of Jehonadab the son of Rechab the Kenite. When King Jehu of Israel was driving to Samaria to destroy Baal worship there in fulfillment of Jehovah’s commission to him, he invited Jehonadab to ride with him and said: “Do go along with me and look upon my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” (2 Ki. 10:15-27) Jehonadab did so.
15 At Samaria’s downfall in 740 B.C.E. the descendants of the Rechabite Jehonadab survived. They also survived Sennacherib’s invasion of the land of Judah in 732 B.C.E. Later we find the Rechabites associated with the kingdom of Judah in the days of Jeremiah the prophet. That was during Jerusalem’s last days before it was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 607 B.C.E. Because of their faithfulness Jehovah promised the Rechabites his protection so that they would survive Jerusalem’s destruction. (Jer. 35:1-19) Whom did those recipients of Jehovah’s mercy picture? The “great crowd” of Jehovah’s worshipers who are associated with the anointed remnant today. These also will survive through the coming “great tribulation,” with a paradise earth as their hope.—Rev. 7:9-17.
THOSE “NOT MY PEOPLE”
16. (a) What will Christendom’s rejection as being no part of Jehovah’s people mean for her? (b) What was the second son of Hosea’s wife called, and why?
16 Now before the outbreak of the “great tribulation” in the near future, is the time for us to avail ourselves of Jehovah’s mercy. Let us never forget: Christendom is to be shown no mercy during the coming tribulation. Hence, we should want to dissociate ourselves from her. At that time her being rejected as being no part of Jehovah’s people will be made known beyond all denial. That will mean destruction for her! She is the Lo-ruhamah (Unpitied One) of today. (Hos. 1:6) Her total rejection was foreshadowed in the further marriage affairs of the prophet Hosea. He refers to his wife Gomer when he says: “And she gradually weaned Lo-ruhamah, and she proceeded to become pregnant and give birth to a son. So He [Jehovah] said: ‘Call his name Lo-ammi, because you men are not my people and I myself shall prove to be not yours.’” (Hos. 1:8, 9) With those words the first chapter of Hosea’s prophetic book ends in Jewish Bible translations and in editions of the Greek Septuagint Version of Hosea.
17. Why was Lo-ammi a fitting name for Gomer’s second son, and so what did Jehovah say to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel in that connection?
17 The second son of Hosea’s wife Gomer is also understood to be not of Hosea’s fatherhood, but a child of Gomer’s adultery. Hosea does not say that Gomer bore this second son to him. So there was good reason for Jehovah to have the boy called Lo-ammi, for the name means “Not My People.” It had prophetic meaning. In explaining his reason for giving the boy such an ominous name, Jehovah addressed himself to the ten-tribe “house of Israel,” when he said: “Because you men are not my people and I myself shall prove to be not yours.” With such words Jehovah declared himself to be no longer the Heavenly Husband of the covenant-breaking “house of Israel.”
18. When and how did Jehovah let it be known that the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was not his people?
18 Jehovah let it plainly be known that he was no longer the God and spiritual Husband of the apostate “house of Israel.” This Jehovah did when he permitted the capture of Israel’s capital city Samaria by the Assyrians in 740 B.C.E. Thus that “house of Israel” was no longer His people; it was, as he said, Lo-ammi, or, “Not My People.” Like a divorced wife, that people went off into exile in Assyria. That spiritually adulterous “house of Israel” had despised the opportunity offered to it in the Mosaic Law covenant of becoming to Jehovah a “kingdom of priests.”—Ex. 19:5, 6.
19. Jesus Christ will let Christendom know that she has no part in fulfilling the purpose of the new covenant, when what words of his come true?
19 Jehovah’s “new covenant,” as mediated by Jesus Christ the Greater Moses, has a similar purpose. That purpose will not be realized in Israel’s modern counterpart, Christendom. She has tried to reign on earth in this present system of things by serving as religious consort to political rulers of this world. Jesus Christ will let her know that she is not in line for joint heirship with him in the heavenly kingdom, when his words come true: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Matt. 7:21-23.
HOPE OF DIVINE MERCY FOR INDIVIDUALS
20, 21. (a) When were individuals of the exiled “house of Israel” allowed to avail themselves of Jehovah’s mercy, and how? (b) Jehovah pointed forward to that with what words at Hosea 1:10, 11?
20 Christendom’s ancient type, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, was never again established on its God-given land in the Middle East. Nevertheless, individual members of that rejected “house of Israel” were allowed to avail themselves of Jehovah’s mercy and return to him and become part of his approved people. This privilege would be theirs when Assyria’s successor, the Babylonian World Power, would be overthrown. Then Cyrus the Conqueror would release the exiled worshipers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pointing forward to that, Jehovah continued on to say through his prophet Hosea:
21 “And the number of the sons of Israel must become like the grains of the sand of the sea that cannot be measured or numbered. And it must occur that in the place in which it used to be said to them, ‘You men are not my people,’ it will be said to them, ‘The sons of the living God.’ And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will certainly be collected together into a unity and will actually set up for themselves one head and go up out of the land, because great will be the day of Jezreel [God Will Sow].”—Hos. 1:10, 11.
22. A typical fulfillment of that prophecy took place when, and how did the “day of Jezreel” become “great” for them?
22 A typical fulfillment of that merciful prophecy took place in 537 B.C.E., when Babylon’s conqueror, Cyrus the Persian, let a faithful remnant of “the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah” leave, “go up out of the land” of Babylonian exile. In unity they went, under orders by Jehovah’s servant Cyrus, to rebuild Jehovah’s temple at Jerusalem. (2 Chron. 36:20-23; Ezra 1:1-11) Then, on their own land, the remnant could become populous again, like the unmeasured, unnumbered grains of sand on the seashore. In that way ‘great would be the day of Jezreel.’ Here the name Jezreel, meaning “God Will Sow,” is to be fulfilled in a favorable manner. God sows the sons of his restored people like seed, multiplying them.
23. (a) After rejecting whom, and by what action of Jehovah, did the nation of Israel cease to be His people? (b) Upon whom of that rejected nation did Jehovah show mercy, and how?
23 So, no longer would Jehovah say to them, Lo-ammi, or, “Not My People.” In a typical way they would be called “The sons of the living God.” With reference to the antitypical fulfillment of this in the realm of Christianity, the apostles Paul and Peter wrote in Romans 9:25, 26 and; 1 Peter 2:9, 10. After the natural sons of Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah in 33 C.E., they ceased to be Jehovah’s people. He abolished his Law covenant by means of which he had been married to the twelve-tribe nation of Israel in Moses’ day. But he mercifully accepted a believing remnant of the nation of natural Israel and brought them into the new covenant mediated by his Son, Jesus the Messiah. In such a way he founded a new nation, a spiritual Israel.—Gal. 6:16; Jas. 1:1; Rom. 2:28, 29; Rev. 7:4-8.
24. Why and when did Jehovah turn to those who had never been his people, and how did he make them his people?
24 Unhappily, not enough natural Israelites became Christians to make up the full “seed of Abraham” in whom all earthly nations are to be blessed. So Jehovah turned to those who had never been His people, persons “Not My People,” Lo-ammi. He opened the way in 36 C.E. for such non-Israelite believers to become part of the spiritual Israel in the new covenant. These were made part of “Abraham’s seed,” which was to become like the sands upon the seashore.—Gal. 3:8-29; Gen. 22:18.
25. (a) Who is the “one head” whom the “collected” remnant of spiritual Israelites “set up for themselves,” with what liberation accompanying? (b) Who expect to survive the war at Har–Magedon with them?
25 The “one head” that the “collected” spiritual Israelites “set up for themselves” is Jesus Christ, the now reigning King. By means of him as the Greater Cyrus, the repentant remnant was released from the power of Babylon the Great in 1919 C.E., after World War I. This remnant was used to restore Jehovah’s pure worship on earth. Jehovah has made these liberated spiritual Israelites “the sons of the living God.” According to his mercy they expect to be saved at the approaching “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, yes, to live through it to see his New Order start off. A “great crowd” of fellow worshipers, like the ancient Rechabites, also expect to share in God’s mercy and to survive with the remnant.
26, 27. (a) Those now hoping in God’s mercy must recognize Christendom to be what spiritually, and why do they not want to be her “children”? (b) What does Jehovah instruct them to say with regard to those who are objects of his mercy?
26 Do we ourselves today hope in Jehovah’s mercy? If so, then we must recognize Christendom to be the spiritual fornicatrix that she is. By defiling herself with Babylonish religion, she has made herself part of Babylon the Great. Along with that world empire of false religion, she will be destroyed in the oncoming “great tribulation.” We do not want to be any of her “children of fornication.” As objects of Jehovah’s mercy, we act as He now instructs us:
27 “Say to your brothers, ‘My people!’ and to your sisters, ‘O woman shown mercy [Hebrew: O Ruhamah]!’ Carry on a legal case with your mother; carry on a legal case, for she is not my wife and I am not her husband. And she should put away her fornication from before herself and her acts of adultery from between her breasts, that I may not strip her naked and actually place her as in the day of her being born, and actually set her like a wilderness and place her like a waterless land and put her to death with thirst. And to her sons I shall not show mercy, for they are the sons of fornication. For their mother has committed fornication. She that was pregnant with them has acted shamefully, for she has said, ‘I want to go after those passionately loving me, those giving my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’”—Hos. 2:1-5.
28. it will now be the course of obedience to back up Jehovah in what legal case before the universe, and so we shall approve of what action taken by him in the “great tribulation”?
28 Obediently, then, let us back up Jehovah the Heavenly Husband as he carries on his legal case against Christendom, who hypocritically claims to be in covenant relationship with him as his wife. Let us point out before the Supreme Court of the universe that she is guilty of spiritual fornication, adultery, in making herself a friend of the world. (Jas. 4:4) She has gone after the prominent, influential, wealthy worldlings for them to satisfy her selfish, materialistic desires. Despite divine admonition she has stubbornly refused to put away her fornication from before her face and her adultery from between her breasts. Her religious children, her church members, are “sons of [spiritual] fornication.” We shall heartily approve of it when Jehovah has her destroyed in the “great tribulation.”
29. To whom should we make expressions of family relationship, and during what coming war may we hope for Jehovah’s further mercy?
29 Let us feel a brotherhood with those whom we Scripturally recognize to be Jehovah’s people, of whom he says, “My people!” Let us feel a family relationship, like that of sisters, to the cleansed, faithful and true organization upon which Jehovah has shown mercy in this “time of the end” in this world’s history before the impending “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21, 22; Rev. 7:14) Let us recognize her as the modern Ruhamah and say to her, “O woman shown mercy!” (Hos. 2:1) For our sincerely doing this we may hope to experience Jehovah’s further mercy, when he displays it to his worthy ones at the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
(To be continued)
See also An American Translation; Leeser; English Revised Version; Revised Standard Version.
See the article “The Coming Deliverance from the Anti-Religious Ax,” in the Watchtower issue of January 15, 1976.
[Chart on page 156]
Hosea’s marriage Jehovah’s marriage to Jehovah’s marriage
to Gomer Israel in 1513 B.C.E. to spiritual Israel
in 33 C.E.
“Fornication” Immorally turning to Becoming friend
worship of false gods of world under its
Jezreel Jehovah to take Jehovah will destroy
(God Will Sow) scattering, destructive Christendom in the
action against ten-tribe “great tribulation”
kingdom of Israel in
Lo-ruhamah Unfaithful ten-tribe Christendom, no
(Unpitied One) kingdom of Israel, longer to be
rejected by Jehovah shown mercy by God
but to be destroyed
House of Judah
saved Jerusalem, capital of Remnant of spiritual
two-tribe kingdom, saved Israel delivered by
by Jehovah from Assyrian Jehovah at
aggressors (Rechabites Har–Magedon (“great
were also spared) crowd” will also
Lo-ammi Covenant-breaking Christendom,
(Not My People) ten-tribe kingdom of unfaithful to Maker
Israel of “new covenant”
Formerly “not Israelites restored from Gentile believers
my people,” Babylonian exile in become part of
but now “sons 537 B.C.E. spiritual Israel,
of the living starting in
God” 36C.E.; spiritual
“One head” King Cyrus Jesus Christ
“Great will be God multiplies Since 1919 C.E.,
the day restored Israelites Jehovah has sowed
of Jezreel” his restored