The Activity of the Spirit Poured Out from on High
1. Before World War I ended in 1918, the spiritual estate of the remnant of spiritual Israel had been reduced to what condition?
BEFORE World War I ended on November 11, 1918, the spiritual estate of the persecuted remnant of spiritual Israelites became desolate. Spiritually, it became like a wilderness, in which the ‘fruits of the kingdom’ were not being brought forth publicly through a bold preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” on the part of the anointed remnant. (Matt. 21:43; 24:14) Uncertainty and despondency settled down upon the internationally hated, oppressed remnant of Kingdom ambassadors.
2. What indicated whether the desolated condition of the remnant was to keep on indefinitely, and what was needed to alter the situation?
2 Did Jehovah God approve of having this desolate condition of his dedicated people keep on forever? No. In pre-Christian times he decreed that Jerusalem and the land of Judah should lie desolate for a limited time, for no longer than seventy years. The Babylonian Empire was not to glory over its victims, Jerusalem and Judah, for all time. So, too, God did not purpose that the victims of Babylon the Great, namely, the remnant of spiritual Israel, should be left in a desolate state indefinitely. Well, then, what was now needed to alter the situation to the glory of their God, Jehovah? A special operation of holy spirit toward them!
3. According to Isaiah 32:15, 16, the desolated condition of Jehovah’s people was to continue until what occurred?
3 In Isaiah 32:15 Jehovah assured his people that their lamentable desolated condition would last only “until upon us the spirit is poured out from on high.” After that, what? “And,” as the prophecy goes on to say, “the wilderness will have become an orchard, and the orchard itself is accounted as a real forest. And in the wilderness justice will certainly reside, and in the orchard righteousness itself will dwell.”—Isa. 32:15, 16.
4, 5. (a) So, what was to take place upon the remnant of spiritual Israelites? (b) How was this confirmed to the remnant in the vision given to Ezekiel showing a valley full of dead bones?
4 Ah, yes, for the remnant of spiritual Israelites there was to be an outpouring of spirit, along with release from Babylon the Great. This bright prospect was confirmed to them by the vision that Jehovah gave to his prophet Ezekiel, while this prophet was still an exile in ancient Babylon. In the vision he saw a low valley plain that was full of the disjointed bones of countless dead Israelites.
5 For those dead Israelites in the vision, the case looked hopeless. For the living Israelites exiled in ancient Babylon many hundreds of miles away from the desolate homeland, the case looked equally hopeless. Not hopeless, though, from Almighty God’s standpoint. He is the God who can even resurrect the dead. Centuries earlier he had used his prophets Elijah and Elisha to resurrect literally dead persons, by means of holy spirit. So, in the vision to Ezekiel he did re-create and reanimate all those dead Israelites. In explaining the meaning of the vision, Jehovah said: “You will have to know that I am Jehovah when I open your burial places and when I bring you up out of your burial places [in Babylon], O my people. And I will put my spirit in you, and you must come to life, and I will settle you upon your soil; and you will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have spoken and I have done it.”—Ezek. 37:13, 14.
6. How did a spiritual resurrection take place, and what did onlooking nations say in amazement at what they observed?
6 True to this prophecy, Babylon ceased to be the burial place of the Jewish nation. A spiritual resurrection took place. As by a miracle, in 537 B.C.E. a band of exiled Israelites and their attendants marched out of Babylon and settled in their homeland. They set themselves to rebuilding Jerusalem and its temple and making their long-desolate homeland like a paradise. No longer was there any reason for them to beat themselves upon the breasts in “lamentation over the desirable fields, over the fruit-bearing vine,” that had been left to desolation by the Babylonian conquerors in 607 B.C.E. What a manifestation there then was of holy spirit in action! The onlooking pagan nations were amazed! Psalm 126:2 reports that they said: “Jehovah has done a great thing in what he has done with them.”
7. In our twentieth century the worlds of Psalm 126:2 were said with regard to whom, and why?
7 The same thing has been said in our own twentieth century. With regard to whom? Not with regard to the natural Jews who settled in Palestine after World War I and later fought with “a military force” to establish the Republic of Israel, in 1948. No, but the prophetic words of Psalm 126:2 were said with regard to the internationally hated and persecuted Bible Students, who were liberated from bondage to Babylon the Great in the postwar year of 1919. Upon such restored Christians, who were spiritual Israelites, there came an outpouring of spirit from on high. It reminded Bible Students of the Pentecost of 33 C.E., although it was not accompanied by visible “tongues as if of fire” that sat upon the heads of the disciples miraculously enabling them to speak different, unlearned foreign languages.—Acts 2:1-4; Joel 2:28, 29; Isa. 32:15.
8. For what postwar work had the remnant of spiritual Israel been preserved, and why could they rightfully take up the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
8 As a result, these spiritually energized Christians became more lively in Jehovah’s active service than ever before. Witnessing, witnessing, witnessing to God’s established kingdom—world wide! became their rousing cry. That was now their main purpose in living. According to the Bible, that was the reason why God preserved them alive through World War I and freed them from bondage to Babylon the Great. (Matt. 24:9-14) So they reassembled their scattered members and reorganized for carrying out the Kingdom witnessing world wide down to the end. Came the year 1931. By means of hundreds of millions of free tracts, by tens of millions of bound books, by a worldwide Bible-lecture campaign, by hundreds of radio stations, they had by then given an earth-wide witness to Jehovah’s name and to his Messianic kingdom. All of this they did free from the “spirit of cowardice.” (2 Tim. 1:7) So now, with the words of Isaiah 43:10 ringing in their ears, those anointed champions of Jehovah and of his kingdom by Christ took up the Bible-supported name “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
9, 10. (a) Who have failed to rid the earth of that name? (b) Who besides the remnant of spiritual Israel are determined that the name shall stay alive, and so what have they done?
9 Down to this day all the religious forces of Babylon the Great and her political, judicial and military henchmen have tried but have proved unable to rid the earth of that name upon God’s Kingdom proclaimers. It lives on! And so do its bearers!
10 Throughout the earth a “great crowd” of God-fearing people are determined that the name shall stay alive and meaningful, even though they themselves are not spiritual Israelites. They have noticed what the God who bears the name Jehovah has done for his name people, the remnant of spiritual Israel. They have detected upon which people it is that God’s spirit has been poured out from on high. So those who make up the “great crowd” today are the ones “among the nations” who are saying: “Jehovah has done a great thing in what he has done with them.” (Ps. 126:2) The God who could do such a thing with so small a remnant of spiritual Israelites is the God whom the “great crowd” want to worship and serve. Fearless of international hatred and persecution, they have dedicated themselves to the same God through Christ and have aligned themselves with the anointed remnant of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. They too have taken upon themselves the responsibility of being His Witnesses, unashamed.—Rev. 7:9-17; Zech. 8:23.
DEFENSE AGAINST “EXPRESSIONS INSPIRED BY DEMONS”
11. What are the dragon, the wild beast and the false prophet croaking about, but, nevertheless, what are the remnant and the “great crowd” causing to be heard?
11 Today the anointed remnant and the “great crowd” unitedly face the devilish “dragon,” the nuclear-powered “wild beast” and the political “false prophet.” Revelation 12:17 makes it plain that the “dragon,” Satan the Devil, has gone forth to wage war with the anointed remnant. In doing this he uses his political “wild beast” and the Anglo-American “false prophet” here on earth. So the demon-inspired froglike expressions out of their mouths go on, about worship of the State, about national sovereignty, about materialism, about world peace and security through the United Nations. Nevertheless, Jehovah’s Witnesses have caused the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom to be heard world wide. This Kingdom message has penetrated into more than two hundred lands and islands of the sea. Obviously the croaking dragon, the wild beast and the false prophet would like to drown out the Kingdom message. Religious Babylon the Great, especially Christendom, would like to do this, as Christendom claims that she alone speaks for God.
12. Thus the situation today is like what situation of King Ahab and his false prophets and Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah?
12 The situation is like that of Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah and the false prophets of Ahab the king of Israel, about 920 B.C.E. The false prophets predicted military victory for King Ahab. But Micaiah predicted calamity for him. He pointed out that, by Jehovah’s permission, King Ahab was being fooled to his own ruin by a deceptive inspired expression in the mouths of his false prophets. A false prophet named Zedekiah objected to that. To quote 1 Kings 22:24, he “now approached and struck Micaiah upon the cheek and said: ‘In just which way did the spirit of Jehovah pass along from me to speak with you?’” Yet Jehovah had indeed spoken by Micaiah, for King Ahab never came back alive from the war.—1 Ki. 22:20-38.
13. In what way did the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel prove to be like the prophet Micaiah?
13 There is a modern parallel of that incident, particularly since the year 1919, when the victorious military allies of World War I adopted the proposal for a League of Nations to safeguard world peace and security. The anointed remnant of spiritual Israelites have been like the prophet Micaiah. Holy spirit had been poured out upon them from on high, and, as foretold, the effect upon them was that they prophesied, declaring the prophecies of Jehovah’s inspired Bible. (Joel 2:28, 29) Fearlessly they foretold from Bible prophecies that the League of Nations would fail. Also, they declared a warning message against the kings or political rulers of Christendom, who correspond with King Ahab of apostate Israel.
14. What message concerning Christendom’s rulers have the clergy resented, and how have they acted like Queen Jezebel?
14 The remnant declared that in the coming “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon those professed “Christian” rulers would suffer defeat and be destroyed by God’s execution of judgment against them. This will occur despite the fact that Christendom’s clergy, like Zedekiah and his band of false prophets, have blessed the governments and military forces of Christendom’s rulers. The clergy claim the exclusive right to speak for God and to have His spirit. Hence, they resent the calamitous message that the anointed remnant have proclaimed concerning the political rulers and armies upon whom they, the clergy, have prayed the divine blessing. They have tried to suppress the preaching done by the anointed remnant, as if this was not authorized by God and was not being done by means of Jehovah’s spirit. They have stirred up violent persecution against the anointed remnant, just as Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, persecuted Elijah and one hundred other prophets of Jehovah.—1 Ki. 18:13.
15. When will Christendom’s clergy have it made plain whether they ever had God’s spirit, and why will they not see victory gained by Christendom’s rulers?
15 Thus, in effect, Christendom’s clergy have struck the anointed remnant in the face and said: “In just which way did the spirit of Jehovah pass along from me to speak with you?” (1 Ki. 22:24) Not before very long now the clergy will have it made plain to them whether they ever had Jehovah’s spirit. They will never see victory gained by Christendom’s rulers and armies. In fact, neither will they live to see the destruction of their political and military friends in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” Why not? Because, before ever that war at Har–Magedon begins, those yet friendly political elements, who today are an active part of the United Nations organization, will turn to hating Christendom’s clergy and the other religious leaders of Babylon the Great and will annihilate them.—Rev. 16:14, 16; 17:3-18.
16. What, though, will the Micaiah-like remnant see?
16 What, though, about the anointed remnant, upon whom Jehovah has poured out his spirit from on high? They have survived the blow that was inflicted on their cheek by Christendom’s clergy. They will see the message that God’s spirit imparted to them from the Bible come true. Yes, indeed, they will see the destruction of the world rulers who were led to Har–Magedon by the froglike propaganda belched forth by the dragon, the wild beast and the false prophet.
“THE SPIRIT OF GLORY, EVEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD”
17. Why, in this “conclusion of the system of things,” do the reproach and persecution upon remnant and “great crowd” not mean that they do not have God’s spirit?
17 Violent persecution has been heaped upon the anointed remnant and their fellow witnesses, the “great crowd” of Christ’s “other sheep” of today. (John 10:16) Does this signify that all these Christian witnesses of Jehovah do not have His spirit? No! It is, in fact, evidence to the contrary, for Christ foretold this to happen in the “conclusion of the system of things.” His true disciples were to be hated by all the nations and to be persecuted for bearing witness to his Messianic kingdom. (Matt. 24:3, 9-14) Hatred, reproach, persecution for holding fast to the name of Christ as the now reigning King are no real cause for our being ashamed as if we were doing the wrong thing.
18. According to 1 Peter 4:14, why are those who are reproached for Christ’s name really happy ones?
18 A first-century Christian martyr, the apostle Peter, wrote: “If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon you.” (1 Pet. 4:14) Or, as The New English Bible words it: “If Christ’s name is flung in your teeth as an insult, count yourselves happy, because then that glorious Spirit which is the Spirit of God is resting upon you.”
19. With what object in view do people reproach us for Christ’s name, but what kind of spirit is it that God gives us?
19 The persons who reproach us for our obeying God’s commands through Christ want to make us feel ashamed to the point of our quitting God’s service and no more preaching “this good news of the kingdom” for a worldwide witness. But the spirit that God puts upon his Kingdom preachers is not one that induces a feeling of shame and of guiltiness as if it were for their having done wrong. It makes us feel honored, glorified, and it is associated with God’s resplendent glory. It is a spirit that moves us to “exult while in tribulations, since we know that tribulation produces endurance; endurance, in turn, an approved condition; the approved condition, in turn, hope, and the hope does not lead to disappointment; because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy spirit, which was given us.”—Rom. 5:3-5.
20. In line with Psalm 69:9, is the reproach upon us limited to being reproached for Christ’s name?
20 We who are Christian witnesses of Jehovah are privileged to be reproached for more than just “the name of Christ.” We are privileged to be reproached especially for the name of the One for whom Jesus Christ bore reproach. “Even [the] Christ did not please himself; but just as it is written: ‘The reproaches of those who were reproaching you have fallen upon me.’” (Rom. 15:3) The words there quoted from Psalm 69:9 identify the reproached One as being Jehovah, for whose house of worship Jesus Christ was so zealous.—John 2:17.
21. What may be said about the spirit as resting upon us when we are reproached for the name of Jehovah?
21 It is a glorious honor to be reproached for Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is a more magnificent honor to be reproached for Jehovah God, the Father of Jesus Christ, forasmuch as the Father is greater than the Son. (John 14:28) Since the “spirit of God” rests upon us who are reproached for Christ’s name, then it should rest in fuller measure upon us when we are enduring reproach for the name of his own Father and God, Jehovah. By keeping our integrity to God down till the reproachers of us are destroyed in the coming “great tribulation,” we shall never have God’s “spirit of glory” depart from us.—Rev. 7:14-17; 1 Pet. 4:14.
“THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE”
22. Why does the froggy propaganda from the “dragon,” “wild beast” and “false prophet” not lead us along with world rulers, and against what spirit are we protected?
22 We may expect further reproach from the devilish “dragon” and the political “wild beast” and the Anglo-American “false prophet,” because we do not march along with the political rulers and their armies to the battlefield of Har–Magedon. Their froggy propaganda and their hostility to the witnesses of Jehovah will never make us worship anyone or anything else as God, or make us renounce his universal sovereignty or stop seeking first the precious things of his Messianic kingdom. We have “the spirit of glory, even the spirit of God,” to counteract all the demonic “inspired expressions” that are leading all the nations to the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:19-21) We, for our part, listen and give heed to the “inspired expressions” that issue from God’s holy Word, the Bible. We direct our course in life in harmony with those inspired expressions. So Jehovah’s spirit, which inspired the prophets to write the Bible, is what is in action in our lives. It protects us from getting infected with “the spirit of the world.”—1 Cor. 2:12.
23. Respectfully, whose voice do we now let be heard everywhere, and for whom do the remnant keep themselves virgin pure?
23 Respectfully, we let the voice of “the spirit and the bride” be heard throughout the earth. We recognize who this “bride” is. She is the congregation of spirit-begotten disciples who are promised in marriage to the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. On earth today she is represented by the anointed remnant that will shortly be united to Christ in heaven. For this reason the remnant of the “bride” class does not take any part in the religious fornication that Babylon the Great now commits with the political rulers of the earth. Instead of meddling in politics and becoming friends with the world, those of the “bride” class keep virgin pure for their heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, whom they everywhere proclaim as the King reigning at God’s right hand in heaven.—Rev. 17:5, 18; 21:2-14, 21-24; Jas. 4:4.
24. What is the “spirit” that is mentioned in Revelation 22:17?
24 It is with reference to our very own day that Revelation 22:17 says: “And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” Here, the “spirit” that is mentioned is Jehovah’s active force that voices itself through the inspired expressions found in the Bible prophecies. This spirit is in action within the remnant of the “bride” class.
25. Who have acted upon the invitation extended by “the spirit and the bride,” and to whom have they come for thirst-quenching “water”?
25 Is anybody on earth today listening and responding to the invitation extended by “the spirit and the bride”? Yes, particularly since 1935 C.E., the year during which the identity of the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17 was made clear to the remnant of the “bride” class. In response to the divine invitation, thousands who were thirsting for “life’s water” have come out of drought-stricken Babylon the Great. They have turned away from the broken-down worldly “cisterns” that can contain no real life-sustaining “water” for dying mankind. Through Jesus Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom, they have come to Jehovah God, “the source of living water,” “the source of life.”—Jer. 2:13; Ps. 36:9.
26. What do those who become members of the “great crowd” join the remnant of the “bride” class in doing, and with what result?
26 Being spiritually refreshed by drinking of “life’s water,” the members of the “great crowd” join the anointed remnant of the “bride” class in extending the invitation to still others. And thus the “great crowd” of drinkers grows larger. Jehovah has put his spirit upon the members of the “great crowd,” and they are not ashamed by being reproached for His name and that of his Christ. Thus, by the united remnant and “great crowd,” the good news continues to be preached more extensively, making known God’s provision for obedient men and women to gain everlasting life in a paradise home here on earth under God’s Messianic kingdom. This “good news” will continue to be preached world wide till the end comes upon this wicked system of things that is yet controlled by the “dragon,” the “wild beast” and the “false prophet.”
27. (a) How only can we account for the worldwide Kingdom preaching done till now? (b) With everlasting life in view, to what shall we henceforth sow?
27 Till now the worldwide preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” has been simply miraculous. How shall we account for it? In no other way than that holy spirit has been and still is in action. God has put it in action in behalf of what he foretold, namely, the preaching of the good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before their end comes. Nothing done by men and demons has been able to counteract His spirit. In view of His inflexible rule that, “whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap,” let us refrain from further sowing to our corrupt flesh and, instead, let us sow to God’s holy spirit. By henceforth sowing to it, we shall in due time reap from that divine spirit everlasting life in God’s new order. (Gal. 6:7, 8) All thanks be to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ that, in this time of urgent need on the part of all lovers of righteousness and peace, His spirit is mightily in action!