Reconciliation Through God’s Mercy Before Har–Magedon
1. How can the results of Jehovah’s reconciliation with the remnant of spiritual Israelites since 1919 C.E. be illustrated?
WHEN a wayward and estranged wife is mercifully taken back by her legal husband, what kind of attitude ought she to have toward him? And when, after he takes her back, he bestows all sorts of loving expressions upon her, how ought she to view him, to feel toward him? There ought to be high esteem of him for his undeserved kindness. She has reason to draw closer to him than ever before. There is a basis for respecting him more highly and for her to make the renewed marriage ties with him inviolate, unbreakable. Wifelike responses just like those did result from Jehovah’s reconciliation with his covenant people on earth. And now since the year 1919 C.E., the results have been the same with respect to the reconciled remnant of spiritual Israelites.
2. The change from calling her husband “Ba’ali” to “Ishi” would indicate what regarding the wife, and how did this become true with respect to the Israelite remnant after 537 B.C.E.?
2 For a wife during ancient Bible times to call her marriage mate “My husband” instead of “My owner,” it certainly required a change of attitude, a deepening of appreciation on her part. In Hebrew she would call him “Ishi” instead of “Ba’ali.” (Hos. 2:18, Leeser) In early times Sarah showed respect for the patriarch Abraham by calling him “My lord,” or, in Hebrew, A·do·niʹ. She was his legal wife, and she honored Abraham as her husband. She did not consider herself his slave, a slave like her bought Egyptian servant girl Hagar, who had to be dismissed from Abraham’s household. (Gen. 18:12; 1 Pet. 3:6) For Sarah’s devoted cooperation with her God-fearing husband, Jehovah rewarded her miraculously with her one and only son when she was ninety years old. (Gen. 21:1-7) Respect like that of Sarah toward Abraham was what the reconciled remnant of Israelites showed toward Jehovah after he released them from Babylon in 537 B.C.E. The remnant felt again like a real organizational wife to Jehovah. His mercy moved the remnant to call him Ishi, “My husband.”
3, 4. (a) Since 1919 C.E., the remnant of spiritual Israel showed more appreciation for what relationship, and what covenant had they long misunderstood? (b) What article did The Watchtower publish in 1934?
3 In the twentieth-century parallel of this, the repentant remnant of spiritual Israelites was released from Babylon the Great in 1919 C.E. Down till then, these spiritual Israelites had given overbalanced importance to the Messiah Jesus and his Bride, the Christian congregation. But now they began showing more appreciation for Messiah’s heavenly Father, Jehovah God. His relationship as Heavenly Husband to spiritual Israel had been left out of the picture, particularly since 1892 C.E. His new covenant was misunderstood!
4 “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” That was the title of the leading article published in the Watch Tower issue of January 1, 1926. From then on, interest in the God of spiritual Israel intensified. Came the year 1934 and, with it, the publication in the columns of The Watchtower of a serial article entitled “His Covenants.” From April 1 through July 15, 1934, the eight parts of this article were served to Watchtower readers. Strikingly this serial article recalled to the remnant of spiritual Israel that Jehovah’s new covenant as mediated by the Messiah Jesus applied to them.
5. (a) Later in 1934, what book was published reproducing the material of the article “His Covenants”? (b) Jehovah’s mercy moved the recipients thereof to call him what with respect to his organization?
5 Shortly thereafter, on November 15, 1934, the book entitled “Jehovah” came off the printing press of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society at Brooklyn, New York. Its chapters 4 through 11 reproduced the article “His Covenants,” which had been published earlier in the year in The Watchtower. Yes, the remnant of spiritual Israel was in the new covenant with Jehovah! Gradually thereafter the husbandly relationship of Jehovah to spiritual Israel kept claiming attention. In response to all the merciful treatment that he had given to the liberated, reconciled remnant of spiritual Israel the wifelike organization was moved to call him Ishi, “My husband.” His organization, not Satan’s organization, was the only rightful organization to which to belong. Exclusive devotion belonged to Jehovah as the Universal Sovereign. This the remnant recognized.
SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY AND SECURITY
6. The remnant’s devoted attachment to Jehovah as the Heavenly Husband resulted in what blessings, as detailed in Hosea 2:17-20?
6 The reconciled remnant’s devoted attachment to Jehovah the Heavenly Husband led to grand blessings. The further words of Jehovah through his prophet Hosea foretold this: “And I will remove the names of the Baal images from her mouth, and they [the recovered Israelites] will no longer remember them by their name. And for them I shall certainly conclude a covenant in that day in connection with the wild beast of the field and with the flying creature of the heavens and the creeping thing of the ground, and the bow and the sword and war I shall break out of the land, and I will make them lie down in security. And I will engage you to me for time indefinite, and I will engage you to me in righteousness and in justice and in loving-kindness and in mercies. And I will engage you to me in faithfulness; and you will certainly know Jehovah.”—Hos. 2:17-20.
7. Why did the restored remnant no longer choose to call the Heavenly Husband of Israel “Ba’ali,” and to what worship did they never return?
7 If the restored remnant, after their return from exile in Babylon, were to continue calling Jehovah Ba’ali, “My owner,” it would remind them of their own sin or that of their forefathers in worshiping the Baal images. Jehovah’s dealings with the repentant remnant created in them a disgust for the Baals, and thus he removed the names of the Baal images from their mouths. They no longer chose to remember them by their foul names. Logically they chose not to call the Heavenly Husband of the Israelite nation by the designation “My Baal,” or Ba’ali. (Hos. 2:16, New English Bible; Jerusalem; Leeser) In keeping with that aversion to Baal, they never did return to the adoration of man-made, materialistic images.
8. How did the Jewish remnant that accepted the Messiah show opposition to Baal worship, and how today does the remnant of spiritual Israel avoid sharing with Christendom in God’s accounting against her?
8 Similar opposition to idolatry of all kinds was expressed by the Jewish remnant that accepted Jesus as the Messiah. That remnant was taken into the new covenant mediated by Jesus Christ. In modern times, opposition to worshiping anything idolatrous was demonstrated by the remnant of spiritual Israelites, whom Jehovah used his Messiah Jesus to release from Babylon the Great in 1919 C.E. They have striven to render exclusive devotion to Jehovah as their God, even to the extent of refusing to salute the flag of any nation. (Ex. 20:1-6; 2 Cor. 6:15 through 7:1) They just will not contaminate themselves with anything that looks like Baal worship. They tolerate no rivalry of idolatrous gods against Jehovah. Thus they avoid sharing in the accounting that Jehovah will hold against Christendom. Says he: “I will hold an accounting against her for all the days of the Baal images to which she kept making sacrificial smoke, when she kept decking herself with her ring and her ornament and kept going after her passionate lovers, and I was the one that she forgot.”—Hos. 2:13, also Ho 2 vs. 8.
9. Like what ancient kingdom will God treat Christendom in the “great tribulation,” but, according to Hosea 2:18, what does He promise for the remnant that abolishes Baalism?
9 “Great tribulation” lies just ahead for Christendom, the modern-day antitype of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. (Matt. 24:21, 22) God has an accounting against her and will do to her just as he did to Israel: “I must cause the royal rule of the house of Israel to cease. And it must occur in that day that I must break the [battle] bow of Israel in the low plain of Jezreel.” (Hos. 1:4, 5) She shares in no reconciliation with God. What, though, about the repentant remnant that abolishes Baal worship? To them Jehovah’s words in Hosea 2:18 apply: “For them I shall certainly conclude a covenant in that day in connection with the wild beast of the field and with the flying creature of the heavens and the creeping thing of the ground, and the bow and the sword and war I shall break out of the land, and I will make them lie down in security.” What a promise of security!
GOD’S COVENANT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ANIMALS
10. How has it been true that Jehovah has broken the battle bow, sword and war out of the “land” of spiritual Isarel since 1919 C.E., as well as in the first century?
10 About eight centuries after that promise was given, a remnant of natural Israel accepted Jesus as the Messiah. They entered into the realization of that divine promise. They had been drawn from the twelve tribes of Israel, such as Judah, Benjamin, Levi and Asher. And yet no intertribal warfare broke out between those Israelite disciples of Jesus Christ. The same has been true of the remnant of spiritual Israelites whom Jehovah has liberated from Babylon the Great since 1919 C.E. Even though this modern remnant has been drawn from people of all the nations, never has there been any international warfare among them in this war-mad world. (Matt. 28:19) For a fact, Jehovah has broken out of their “land” or spiritual estate on earth “the bow and the sword and war.” (Hos. 2:18) As members of spiritual Israel of whom Jehovah is the Heavenly Husband, they persist in keeping peace among themselves.—Mark 9:50.
11. How has it been possible for God to break the bow, sword and war out of the spiritual estate on earth of his covenant people?
11 How has this been possible? It is because they have changed their personalities to be like that of their Messianic Leader, the Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6, 7) By his holy spirit and his written Word, Jehovah has transformed their personalities and removed ferocious, harmful tendencies like those of wild animals of the earth. (Rom. 12:1, 2) In a figurative sense Jehovah has fulfilled what he said regarding his reconciled remnant: “For them I shall certainly conclude a covenant in that day in connection with the wild beast of the field and with the flying creature of the heavens and the creeping thing of the ground, . . . and I will make them lie down in security.” (Hos. 2:18) Since World War I of 1914-1918 C.E., the world in general has gone more and more animalistic, worse than wild beasts. But Jehovah has brought his reconciled remnant into a spiritual paradise of approved relationship with him. To assure himself of that fact, any doubter merely has to go to a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses and observe God’s spirit of peace there.
12. How does the religious earthly estate of Christendom stand out in contrast with that of the reconciled remnant?
12 In sharp contrast with that paradise of spiritual prosperity and security is the religious earthly estate of Christendom, which claims to be in covenant relationship with Jehovah God. Upon her are being fulfilled his devastating words of Hosea 2:12: “I will set them as a forest, and the wild beast of the field will certainly devour them.” Spiritually adulterous Christendom has become like a wild forest that offers no sense of security, no protection from spiritual dangers or from beastlike nations that profess to be Christian. Her church members are left victims of the worldly wisdom that “is the earthly, animal, demonic.” (Jas. 3:15) They are devoured spiritually. For Christendom Jehovah has given no covenant promise in connection with wild beasts and birds. He does not make her “lie down in security.”
A RENEWED MARRIAGE ENGAGEMENT ON LASTING GROUNDS
13. With a regard for what noble qualities did Jehovah say that he would engage his organizational “wife” again to himself?
13 Jehovah, as Heavenly Husband of spiritual Israel, has shown extraordinary mercies to the remnant of spiritual Israelites. He continues to exhibit loyal love and faithfulness to that remnant. In such a noble spirit he said prophetically to his organizational “wife” of which the remnant is the representative: “And I will engage you to me for time indefinite, and I will engage you to me in righteousness and in justice and in loving-kindness [or, loyal love] and in mercies. And I will engage you to me in faithfulness; and you will certainly know Jehovah.”—Hos. 2:19, 20, and marginal reading.
14. (a) What is indicated by the fact that three times Jehovah says, “I will engage you to me”? (b) How is Jehovah’s renewal of the marriage relationship with spiritual Israel not only merciful but also righteous and just, and not in vain?
14 Three times Jehovah says to the repentant remnant, “I will engage you to me.” This makes his statement very emphatic. This shows his love to be so intense as to lead him to display divine mercies in an outstanding way. His renewal of the marriage covenant relationship is not only merciful but also righteous and just. How so? It is because he renews the engagement on the basis of the propitiatory sacrifice offered by the Messiah Jesus, a sacrifice that meets the requirements of justice. (1 John 1:7 through 2:1) So the reinstatement of the remnant of spiritual Israelites in an approved relationship with Jehovah proves the realness of his faithfulness and loyal love. Also, when he engages the remnant to himself in righteousness, justice, loving-kindness, mercies and faithfulness, it does not turn out in vain. All loyal ones will respond in faithfulness and exclusive devotion to such a merciful and loyal God, even to time indefinite, forever! This means clear through the coming “great tribulation” that winds up at Har–Magedon.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
15, 16. (a) The knowing of Jehovah on the part of the reconciled remnant is because of what factors? (b) In Hosea 2:21-23, what does Jehovah say to show that He is the Supplier of all our needs for living?
15 To the repentant remnant whom Jehovah now engages to himself, he says: “And you will certainly know Jehovah.” (Hos. 2:20) This meant their knowing him not only because of the merciful reconciliation that he has brought about but also because of what he purposed to do thereafter. The remnant’s being made to know him as never before sharpened their discernment of him as the Source of all the blessings that descend upon them continually. So let us take note of how Jehovah, as the Supplier of all our needs for living, lovingly and joyfully adds these poetic words:
16 “‘And it must occur in that day that I shall answer,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘I shall answer the heavens, and they, for their part, will answer the earth; and the earth, for its part, will answer the grain and the sweet wine and the oil; and they, for their part, will answer Jezreel [=God will sow seed]. And I shall certainly sow her like seed for me in the earth, and I will show mercy to her who was not shown mercy [Hebrew: to Loruhamah], and I will say to those not my people [Hebrew: to Lo-ammi]: “You are my people”; and they, for their part, will say: “You are my God.”’”—Hos. 2:21-23, and marginal reading; The New English Bible; Jerusalem.
17. How does this chain of answers or responses work out, finally ending up with Jehovah the Creator?
17 Let us consider how this connected chain of answers or responses works out: In ancient times, the reconciled remnant whom Jehovah sowed like seed in their homeland, the land of Judah, needed grain, sweet wine and oil. These good things of life have their direct source in the earth. In behalf of the needy remnant, the grain and sweet wine and oil request the earth to release its minerals to the grain stalks and to the vines bearing grapes and to the olive trees furnishing oil. For the sake of that the earth depends upon the heavens for rainfall to prevent the growing plants from drying up due to drought. So now the earth appeals to the heavens for their rainfall in due season. The heavens do not shut themselves up but respond to the request of the earth. But what can the heavens do of themselves? They depend upon the Creator for him to produce rain clouds able to drop down moisture upon the earth. He is the great Rainmaker.—Jer. 10:12, 13.
18. So what principal answer or response starts off the whole cycle of operations that end up with an answer to Jezreel?
18 So, finally, the heavens request Jehovah to form the rain clouds and to empty these of their water content. In behalf of his reconciled wifelike people now on the soil of their homeland, Jehovah answers the heavens. At once the whole cycle of operations starts off and results in grain, sweet wine and oil for His people. Thus these products of the earth give their answer to Jezreel, the remnant whom Jehovah sows on their homeland.
19. Thus the restored remnant get to know Jehovah in what respect, so as to give no further credit to Baalism?
19 In this way Jehovah’s restored remnant gets to know that all the beneficial operations in their natural environment are by His arrangement. They are not due to an imagined Baal or to some Baals who are annually worshiped by idolatrous devotees with shameful, disgusting fertility rites. So now the remnant, enlightened with accurate knowledge, offered exclusive devotion to the true God.
20. (a) Whom today does the remnant of spiritual Israel know to be the One responsible for their spiritual paradise? (b) How has a “great crowd” of others stepped over into the spiritual paradise to enjoy it with the remnant?
20 And now how about the restored remnant of spiritual Israelites of today? They too have come to recognize that the God who liberated them from Babylon the Great is responsible for the spiritual paradise of plenty, peace and security into which he has brought them since 1919 C.E. Hundreds of thousands of God-fearing people have taken note of this spiritual paradise of the remnant of spiritual Israelites, as the words of Ezekiel 36:35, 36 foretold: “People will certainly say: ‘That land yonder which was laid desolate has become like the garden of Eden, . . .’ And the nations that will be left remaining round about you will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have built the things torn down, I have planted what has been laid desolate.” So a “great crowd” of honest observers have stepped over into the spiritual paradise to enjoy its spiritual abundance, peace and security along with the reconciled remnant.
21. (a) Whom does Jehovah thus declare to be his people, and who join in making public declaration that He is their God? (b) How does Jehovah fulfill the meaning of the name Jezreel here?
21 In this spiritually beneficial way Jehovah shows mercy to the remnant that had been deprived of his mercy while they were exiles in Babylon the Great during World War I. To those who were no people of His, Jehovah now says: “You are my people.” In heartfelt response the remnant says: “You are my God.” (Hos. 2:23) The “great crowd” of sheeplike companions who are also now residing in the spiritual paradise join the remnant in making public declaration that Jehovah is their God. (Rev. 7:9-17; John 10:16) All of this takes place in the restored earthly estate in which Jehovah has sown the remnant of spiritual Israelites like seed, in order to carry out the meaning of the name Jezreel, “God will sow seed.”
A TRUE-LIFE ILLUSTRATION OF GOD’S MERCY
22, 23. According to chapter three of Hosea, what was he instructed to do, and for what purpose?
22 With a heartwarming display of mercy Jehovah succeeds in resolving his marriage problem with his covenant people. To illustrate this vividly, Jehovah had his prophet Hosea enact a true-life drama. In Ho chapter three of his prophecy, Hosea tells us about it, saying:
23 “And Jehovah went on to say to me: ‘Go once again, love a woman loved by a companion and committing adultery, as in the case of Jehovah’s love for the sons of Israel while they are turning to other gods and are loving [the associated] raisin cakes.’ And I proceeded to purchase her for myself for fifteen silver pieces and a homer measure of barley and a half-homer of barley. Then I said to her: ‘For many days you will dwell as mine. You must not commit fornication, and you must not come to belong to another man; and I also will be for you.’ It is because for many days the sons of Israel will dwell without a king and without a prince and without a sacrifice and without a pillar and without an ephod and teraphim. Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back and certainly look for Jehovah their God, and for David their king; and they will certainly come quivering to Jehovah and to his goodness in the final part of the days.”—Hos. 3:1-5.
24. (a) Whom did Hosea then purchase, from whom and for how much? (b) How did Jehovah fulfill this prophetic drama in 537 B.C.E. and in 1919 C.E.?
24 In the prophetic drama that Hosea obediently enacted, he pictured Jehovah. Hosea bought back his legal wife Gomer from the unnamed man with whom she had been living adulterously and to whom she had become a slave. In order to repurchase her, Hosea paid the equivalent of thirty silver shekels, the price of a slave. (Ex. 21:32) True to this picture, in 537 B.C.E. Jehovah repurchased the enslaved exiled Israelites in the land of Babylon. The redemption price he gave to Babylon’s conqueror, the Persian Cyrus the Great, as indicated in Isaiah 43:1-4. (Isa. 44:26 through 45:4) Similarly, in 1919 C.E., Jehovah as Heavenly Husband repurchased the remnant of spiritual Israel from enslavement in Babylon the Great and her worldly political associates. Mercifully Jehovah released the remnant by means of his Greater Cyrus, namely, Jesus Christ, to whom He gave ‘the nations as his inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth as his possession.’—Ps. 2:8, 9.
25. (a) As illustrated by Hosea, how did Jehovah discipline his covenant people in ancient times? (b) How was “David their king” looked for, and to which lookers was Jehovah’s mercy show?
25 After Hosea lovingly took his legal wife Gomer back, he disciplined her with sexual restrictions, including, apparently, his own holding back from husbandly attentions. So, too, the exiled Israelites were disciplined, not being allowed to have Israelite kings or royal princes or idolatrous priests or other paraphernalia of idolatrous worship. (Hos. 13:11) Lovingly, in 537 B.C.E., Jehovah took back his disciplined, repentant remnant that turned back to him from apostate religion. These began looking and waiting for their Messianic Liberator from Gentile control. This Messiah was the King who was to come in the royal line of David. (Dan. 9:24-27) In God’s due time he did come. In 33 C.E. Jehovah glorified the Messiah Jesus as King in heaven. A remnant of believing Israelites followed him as their heavenly Messianic King. (Col. 1:13) These obtained Jehovah’s mercy.—Rom. 9:24-26; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10.
26. Back there, who proved to be Lo-ruhamah (Unpitied One)?
26 The unbelieving nation of Israel became as Lo-ruhamah (Unpitied One). Unrepentant Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E., and Jewish survivors were scattered world wide.—Matt. 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24.
27. (a) In this “time of the end,” how have the remnant come quivering to Jehovah, and, after finding “David their king,” what have they been doing? (b) This has resulted in Jehovah’s mercy being extended to whom else?
27 Nineteen centuries have now passed. Since 1914 C.E. this unmerciful world, including Christendom, has been in its “time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) After World War I a repentant remnant of true spiritual Israelites who were in the new covenant began looking for Jehovah their God. Trembling, quivering, they came to him for an approved covenant relationship with Him. (Ps. 50:5) They found “David their king,” namely, the now enthroned Jesus Christ, reigning as the empowered King in the heavens since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. With holy enthusiasm they took up the fulfilling of his timely prophecy in Matthew 24:14. So, what have they been doing ever since? This: Preaching “this good news of the kingdom” earth wide “for a witness to all the nations” before the outbreak of the “great tribulation” that reaches its grand finale at Har–Magedon. This has resulted in God’s mercy being extended to a “great crowd” of sheeplike persons who are also seeking the one true God, Jehovah, and his Messianic King, the Greater David, particularly since 1935.
28. When will Jehovah’s mercy, already in operation toward the remnant and “great crowd,” reach its greatest brilliance? And how?
28 Already, down till now, Jehovah’s mercy has been great and marvelous toward his reconciled remnant and the “great crowd” of Messiah’s sheeplike subjects. But his mercy will reach its greatest brilliance when he spares the remnant and the “great crowd” through the global “great tribulation” clear to its end at Har–Magedon. As objects of his unparalleled mercy on display before all the universe, he will bring them into his post-Har–Magedon New Order! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.”—2 Cor. 1:3.