God’s Promise of His World Government Dependable
“This is what Jehovah has said, ‘If you people could break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, even in order for day and night not to occur in their time, likewise could my own covenant be broken with David my servant so that he should not come to have a son ruling as king upon his throne.’”—Jer. 33:20, 21.
1. In what way does King David’s royal family prove to have a matchless record?
THIS world has never seen anything like it! What? Why, a line of kings in one family running for 470 years and then, after an interruption of 2,520 years, taking to itself again full royal power. The family with such a matchless record was that of King David of Jerusalem, the illustrious forefather of Jesus Christ, who was born in David’s own birthplace, Bethlehem.
2. Where was Jeremiah in 608 B.C.E. during the reign of the last king of David’s earthly line, and who only could be used to revive the rulership of David’s lineage?
2 David’s reign over his people began in 1077 before our Common Era. But when the prophet Jeremiah began his stormy career in 647 B.C.E., David’s earthly line of kings entered its last 40 years of rule at Jerusalem. Jeremiah was a staunch upholder of God’s solemn covenant promise with David for an everlasting kingdom. However, in the year 608 B.C.E. Jeremiah found himself under military custody in the royal capital. He was being held right in the Courtyard of the Guard attached to the palace of King Zedekiah, the 21st king to reign in David’s line, counting from David himself. With Zedekiah’s overthrow by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E., the 470 years of continuous rule by David’s line in Hebron and earthly Jerusalem ended. Only Jesus Christ, the foretold descendant of David, could be used by God to revive David’s kingdom in fulfillment of God’s covenant with him for an imperishable kingdom.
3. While under millitary custody, with whom did Jeremiah have outside communication, and how did such communication open up the second time?
3 While under military custody the prophet Jeremiah could have no communication with the Babylonians who were then besieging Jerusalem, but he did have communication with his God, as we read: “And the word of Jehovah proceeded to occur to Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the Courtyard of the Guard, saying: ‘This is what Jehovah the Maker of earth has said, Jehovah the Former of it to establish it firmly, Jehovah being his name, “Call to me, and I shall answer you and readily tell you great and incomprehensible things that you have not known.”’”—Jer. 33:1-3.
4. What were the “great and incomprehensible things” that were now to be set forth?
4 What things? That the mountaintop city Jerusalem would be razed to the ground and then, after lying desolate for 70 years, it would be rebuilt. More than that, it would be reoccupied by its own people who had been carried into exile over a route 1,000 miles (1,600 km) long! Even though the royal line of David would not be put back on the earthly throne, yet it would continue for 639 years, until 33 C.E., the time for the appearance of the permanent heir to the throne to reign forever and ever. That Heir proved to be Jesus Christ!—Col. 1:13.
5. What did Jehovah God promise concerning the then besieged city of Jerusalem?
5 Only the Maker and Founder of the earth, the God who controls its affairs, could foresee and promise such things. He did so. So, in spite of all the gloomy views that observers might adopt regarding the final outcome of matters for the royal house of David, only this Jehovah could inspire Jeremiah to say:
“For this is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said concerning the houses of this city and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah that are pulled down on account of the siege ramparts and on account of the sword; concerning those who are coming to fight against the [besieging] Chaldeans and to fill places with the carcasses of the men whom I have struck down in my anger and in my rage, and on account of all whose badness I have concealed my face from this city, ‘Here I am bringing up for her a recuperation and health; and I will heal them and reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. And I will bring back the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel, and I will build them just as at the start. And I will purify them from all their error with which they have sinned against me, and I will forgive all their errors with which they have sinned against me and with which they have transgressed against me. And she [Jerusalem] will certainly become to me a name of exultation, a praise and a beauty toward all the nations of the earth who will hear of all the goodness that I am rendering to them [the captives]. And they will certainly be in dread and be agitated on account of all the goodness and on account of all the peace that I am rendering to her [Jerusalem].’”—Jer. 33:4-9.
6. What effect would the recuperation of Jerusalem after Jehovah’s anger and rage were poured out upon her have upon the nations, and why?
6 By means of the world-conquering Babylonians, or Chaldeans, Jehovah God was pouring all his rage and anger upon the cities of the Kingdom of Judah. Justifiably so, for the Jews had erred from his commandments and had transgressed against the covenant made with their forefathers. So Jerusalem was to be destroyed and her survivors were to be deported to Babylon and the land be left empty of man and domestic animal. Only the undeserved kindness of Jehovah could and would bring about Jerusalem’s recuperation and restoration to health as a rebuilt city. Jehovah’s healing of her would be so unexpected and incomprehensible to the non-Jewish nations that they would be filled with dread of such a wonder-working God. What this might result in for them would agitate these nations.
7. What features of regular Israelite life were to be renewed in the once depopulated lands of Judah and Benjamin and Jerusalem?
7 Although Jerusalem was to be left as a desolate ruin for 70 years, yet Jeremiah, the prophet of this miracle-working God, was not speaking of impossibilities when he foretold what would be said during her siege:
“This is what Jehovah has said, ‘In this place that you people will be saying is waste without man and without domestic animal, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolated without man and without inhabitant and without domestic animal, there will yet be heard the sound of exultation and the sound of rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those saying: “Laud Jehovah of armies, for Jehovah is good; for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness !”’
“‘They will be bringing a thanksgiving offering into the house of Jehovah, for I shall bring back the captives of the land just as at the start,’ Jehovah has said.” . . .
“‘In the cities of the mountainous region, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the south and in the land of Benjamin and in the surroundings of Jerusalem and in the cities of Judah flocks will yet pass by under the hands of the one taking the count,’ Jehovah has said.”—Jer. 33:10-13.
THE COMING WORLD GOVERNOR PROMISED
8. Did Jerusalem’s recuperation in 537 B.C.E. bring the restoration of the Davidic kingdom, and what lay yet ahead?
8 Jerusalem’s recuperation began in 537 B.C.E., but she did not then come to have a king of the royal line of David. She got only a provincial governor in David’s line of descent. This governor was subject to the empire of the Medes and the Persians, the conquerors of the Babylonian World Power. Well, then, what about Jehovah’s covenant that he made with King David for an everlasting kingdom in David’s offspring? In spite of the temporary debasement of David’s royal line at the time, Jehovah’s Kingdom covenant guaranteed that the most glorious period for David’s royal line was yet ahead.
9, 10. For this to become so, what did Jehovah promise to produce from the debased royal family of David?
9 How glad we today can be for that! Why so? Well, David’s royal family tree had been cut down, but its stump was not dead. Almighty God could make it produce a “sprout” that would become the Permanent Heir of the promised kingdom. Let us listen to this:
10 “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I shall certainly carry out the good word that I have spoken, concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah [to which David belonged]. In those days and at that time I shall make sprout for David a righteous sprout, and he will certainly execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah [David’s tribe] will be saved and Jerusalem itself [after her promised recuperation] will reside in security. And this is what she will be called, Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.’” This is the same name as that by which her future King was to be called.—Jer. 33:14-16; compare Jeremiah 23:4-6.
11. The promised “sprout” was brought forth in the person of whom, and in 1914 C.E., how did he prove to be really the “Sprout” of Jehovah?
11 Did this promise having to do with world government prove to be dependable? Yes! Although more than 640 years had to pass, the stump of David’s dethroned, uncrowned, unsceptered family put a sprout forth right at Jehovah’s due time. This was in the person of Jesus, who had been born in David’s hometown of Bethlehem and who was baptized by his forerunner, John the Baptizer, and was immediately afterward anointed with God’s spirit to be the Permanent Heir of the Kingdom covenant that had been made with David. (2 Sam. 7:4-16; Ezek. 21:21-27) In reality he became the “Sprout” of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, for, after the end of “seven times” (2,520 years) of Gentile sovereignty of the earth, in 1914 C.E., the glorified Jesus Christ has been used to revive Jehovah’s sovereignty toward the earth in fulfillment of the Kingdom covenant.—Dan. 4:13-26; Zech. 6:12, 13.
12. (a) How was Jesus Christ proved to be “righteous” as a sprout? (b) Whose “Lord” did he become, and how was a salvation made possible for “Judah” and “Jerusalem”?
12 That this “Sprout” was “righteous” Jehovah God proved when he raised Jesus Christ from a martyr’s death on the third day and exalted him to His own right hand in the heavens. Thus Jesus Christ, though once an earthly ‘son of David,’ became David’s “Lord.” (Ps. 110:1-4; Matt. 22:41-45) When he ascended back to his heavenly Father’s right hand, it was with the value of his perfect human sacrifice. Thus he could bring salvation to “Judah,” the capital city of which was “Jerusalem.” Certainly, then, Jesus caused the royalty of David’s house to sprout once again!—Rev. 22:16.
13. (a) Which one is the Jerusalem that resides now in security? (b) The name “Jehovah Is Our Righteousness” refers to whose “righteousness,” and why does the same name properly apply also to the one called “Sprout”?
13 Jesus Christ is called “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.” (Rev. 5:5) Because of rejecting and having this ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ killed, earthly Jerusalem did not “reside in security,” but was destroyed in 70 C.E. (Matt. 23:37, 38; Luke 21:24) However, the higher Jerusalem, “heavenly Jerusalem,” does enjoy such security, for her spiritual children, the 144,000 anointed followers of Jesus Christ, reside in security under Jehovah’s care. (Heb. 12:22; Gal. 4:26-28) This “Jerusalem above” is really the organization called “Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.” Since it is a matter of “Our Righteousness,” not, ‘My Righteousness,’ the reference is to the 144,000 spiritual children of the heavenly Jerusalem, for Jehovah God does justify these or declare them righteous because of the merit of Christ’s sacrifice. The name of Jesus Christ as the “Sprout” is also “Jehovah Is Our Righteousness,” he being the representative of his 144,000 anointed followers.—Jer. 23:5, 6; see also 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 3:21, 22.
14. Since Christ and his associate organization bear such a name, what kind of government is God’s coming world government certain to be?
14 With the anointed King and his associated organization being called by such a God-given name, what kind of government is God’s coming world government for all mankind certain to be? Nothing but a righteous government. How thankful we can be for that!
THE DEPENDABILITY OF THE DIVINE PROMISE
15, 16. (a) According to Jeremiah 33:17, 18, Jehovah will not fail to have what official servants? (b) Who will fill those official positions, and where will they serve Jehovah?
15 Jehovah God will also have the right kind of priesthood along with his promised Kingdom. He makes us feel sure of this as he follows up all the foregoing by saying: “For this is what Jehovah has said, ‘There will not be cut off in David’s case a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. And in the case of the priests, the Levites, there will not be cut off a man from before me to offer up whole burnt offering and to make smoke with a grain offering and to render sacrifice always.’”—Jer. 33:17, 18.
16 Does it matter, then, that since the destruction of the restored Jerusalem in 70 C.E. there has been no material temple of Jehovah on earth and there is also no identifiable member of the tribe of Levi and of the house of Moses’ brother Aaron to serve at such a temple? Not at all! For Jehovah now has as his High Priest and underpriests those who were foreshadowed by the ancient Levite priests in Israel, namely, Jesus Christ and his chosen followers who are anointed to the spiritual priesthood with God’s spirit. The heavens where God thrones is the Most Holy of the spiritual temple in which this priesthood serves.—Heb. 9:24; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10.
17. Just as we cannot keep day and night from occurring, so we cannot stop Jehovah from doing what regarding the kingship and the priesthood?
17 So, all along God’s promises have proved dependable, and they will yet prove dependable for us people. Listen: “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘If you people could break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, even in order for day and night not to occur in their time, likewise could my own covenant be broken with David my servant so that he should not come to have a son ruling as king upon his throne; also with the Levites, the priests, my ministers. Just as the army of the heavens cannot be counted, neither the sand of the sea be measured, so I shall multiply the seed of David my Servant and the Levites who are ministering to me.’”—Jer. 33:20-22.
18. How long after Jeremiah’s day did Jehovah keep his covenant concerning priesthood going, until the arrival of whom?
18 As soon would the sun stop shining upon our earth and this earth stop spinning around its axis as for Jehovah to break his covenants concerning David and the Levites. Almighty God did multiply the “seed” of David down through the next 600 years and more until his Permanent Heir, Jesus Christ, arrived. This one became the antitype of the high priest Aaron and has also become a priest upon his heavenly throne, like Melchizedek. (Ps. 110:1-4; Gen. 14:18-20; Zech. 6:13; Heb. 6:20–7:3) Thus Jehovah has counteracted seeming disasters to Jerusalem and its temple and kept his covenants going.
19. As soon would what regular phenomena with regard to our earth cease as for Jehovah to break his covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom?
19 For example, when the Babylonian army under King Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem the second time, the following record was made: “And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to Jeremiah, saying: ‘Have you not seen what those of this people have spoken, saying, “The two families whom Jehovah has chosen, he will also reject them”? And my own people they keep treating with disrespect, so that it should no more continue being a nation before them. This is what Jehovah has said, “If it was not a fact that I had appointed my own covenant of the day and night, the statutes of heaven and earth, so too I would reject even the seed of Jacob and of David my servant, so that I should not take from his seed rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I shall gather their captives and will have pity upon them.”’”—Jer. 33:23-26.
20. What happened in Jeremiah’s day that made it seem as if Jehovah would no longer have a kingdom over the earth or have his worship carried on?
20 In the year following that prophecy, Jerusalem was broken into and destroyed. The Jewish survivors were taken captive and most of them deported far away to Babylonia. It seemed as if Jehovah had rejected indeed the “two families” whom he had once chosen. The situation looked hopeless for both the family of David’s royal descendants and the family of priests that descended from Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. Contrary to what the Creator of heaven and earth had said, it appeared as if Jehovah had broken his covenants respecting the royal family and the priestly family. It was a question of whether there would ever again be a kingdom of Jehovah over the earth or a revival of his true worship in it!
21. How did Jehovah prove to be consistent about keeping covenants, with benefit to exiled Israelites?
21 However, since that national disaster, day and night and the statutes of heaven and earth have not stopped functioning. So the Creator who has not broken his covenants respecting those inanimate things of the universe could not rightly be expected to break his covenants made with his intelligent creatures respecting his kingdom and his pure worship. Nor has he done so! He did have pity upon the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. After 70 years of exile they were gathered back to their God-given homeland.
22. How did God fulfill to this restored people his covenant respecting the “righteous sprout,” and what does this prove regarding God’s promise?
22 It was to this restored people that the “righteous sprout,” Jesus Christ, came 19 centuries ago. His martyr’s death in 33 C.E. did not wreck God’s covenant, for God glorified him in the heavens. There, says he, “I am living forever and ever.” (Rev. 1:18) He has survived till Jehovah’s installing of him as King in the promised world government. God’s promise of this has been dependable!
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Just as surely as the sun rises each day God will keep his promise