“Jehovah of Armies” to the Rescue!
1. Since there are resisters, what will the bringing of lasting relief to humanity mean first?
WORLD disaster lies inescapably ahead! But recuperation from its global effects will certainly follow. The “good news” of this has been circulated around the whole earth by dedicated men and women who have been entrusted with the glorious message of lasting relief for mankind. Their information is reliable, for it comes from the One who is more concerned about the condition of humanity than anybody else in all heaven and earth. Happily, that one is perfectly able to bring the needed relief to all humanity. In fact, he has purposed to do so. But his doing so will mean a fight with opposers of his purpose, the fight of all fights!
2. According to Isaiah 59:15b, who is that victorious fighter?
2 Who that victorious fighter is the prophet Isaiah makes known under inspiration when he says: “And Jehovah got to see, and it was bad in his eyes that there was no justice.”—Isa. 59:15b.
3. Figuratively speaking, what is this earth to Jehovah as King, and yet has he shown interest in what goes on here?
3 Nowadays people in general do not take into account that the Creator of heaven and earth is closely watching human affairs. And why should the Creator not do so? One of the last things that his prophet Isaiah wrote down is this statement: “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.’” (Isa. 66:1) Well, then, should not this King, who thrones over all creation, be interested in his earthly footstool and what takes place there? He has shown that he is. How?
4. How did Jehovah show his interest in what goes on at his footstool during the days of God-fearing Noah?
4 The fact that today we do not have a vast water canopy suspended high up in space and all around our globe and thus blocking direct sunlight, moonlight and starlight is because Jehovah saw what was going on down here upon his terrestrial footstool and took action. He deluged those suspended waters down from on high upon his footstool, not to bathe his feet, but to wipe out bad conditions among all mankind. The inspired record of this says: “Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. . . . So Jehovah said: ‘I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, . . .’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” (Gen. 6:5-8) All of us are indebted to this God-fearing Noah, because he and his family, eight human souls all together, built an ark at Jehovah’s command and in it safely passed through the global flood, so as to have us as their descendants.
5. (a) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah shows what interest on Jehovah’s part? (b) That destruction and the Deluge are used to illustrate what?
5 The later case of Sodom and Gomorrah is world famous. The destruction of those immorally bad cities of the Middle East expressed Jehovah’s interest in human affairs upon his footstool. (Gen. 18:20, 21) Righteous Lot and his two daughters were saved from the rain of fire that incinerated Sodom and Gomorrah. Why? Well, because, although they lived in Sodom, Lot was “greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct” and “was tormenting his righteous soul” because of it. (2 Pet. 2:6-8) The interesting thing about this is that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and the destruction of the old world by the Deluge are likened in certain features to the violent end of the present world system of things.—Luke 17:26-37; Matt. 24:36-39.
6. Why are the movement of Jehovah’s eyes and their power of observation not to be belittled?
6 Modern Sodomites, yes, all other classes of people, blind themselves when they belittle what the Scriptures say: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” Also: “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.” (2 Chron. 16:9; Prov. 15:3) Because of his ability to make a distinction between good and bad, it could be said to Israel: “Unless Jehovah of armies had left a seed to us, we should have become just like Sodom, and we should have been made just like Gomorrah.”—Rom. 9:29; Isa. 1:9.
7. What inability of any human today is cause for astonishment, and why do Jehovah’s Witnesses not offer themselves for the job?
7 In Isaiah’s day, when Jehovah looked at the kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem, what about it was bad in his eyes? All of this: “The truth proves to be missing, and anyone turning away from badness is being despoiled. And Jehovah got to see, and it was bad in his eyes that there was no justice. And when he saw that there was no man, he began to show himself astonished that there was no one interposing.” (Isa. 59:15, 16a) Alas, there was “no man” equal to the needs of the times, no human able to interpose and put a stop to the falsehood, the unfairness, the injustice, even in the “public square” where court cases were brought to have matters straightened out. (Isa. 59:14) Even today the disregard for divine law and the increasing violation of it is something to cause astonishment, especially so since Christendom has been in existence now for more than 1,650 years. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not commissioned to straighten out matters. They could not interpose and do so even if they wanted to do it. What, then?
8. So who is obliged to do battle with the wrongdoers on earth, and what fitting title has been given him since the 12th century before Christ?
8 This: “Jehovah of armies” has a fight on his hands. He has to battle for the right! He is not relying upon the International Court of Justice, even as he did not set up such a human court for international arbitration. In the coming “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon it will not be the first time that he has entered into battle with his foes on earth. Already in the 12th century before Christ he was worshiped as “Jehovah of armies.” (1 Sam. 1:3, 11) When the prophet Isaiah had a vision of him in his holy temple, “Jehovah of armies” was seated upon a lofty, elevated throne about which six-winged seraphim hovered, repeatedly saying: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies.” (Isa. 6:3, 5) There he was not displayed in battle dress like that of a Commander-in-Chief, followed by his armies.—Compare Revelation 4:1-3.
9. In view of what Jehovah has seen going on in this century, for what and with what does he equip himself, according to Isaiah 59:16b-19?
9 In view of world developments since the outbreak of World War I in 1914 it has become unavoidable for the Judge of all the earth to display himself as “Jehovah of armies.” In the light of what he has seen going on during this 20th century C.E., he equips himself for battle. Isaiah pictures him as doing so, in these words: “And his arm proceeded to save for him, and his own righteousness was the thing that supported him. Then he put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and the helmet of salvation upon his head. Furthermore, he put on the garments of vengeance as raiment and enwrapped himself with zeal as if a sleeveless coat. In accordance with the dealings he will reward correspondingly, rage to his adversaries, due treatment to his enemies. To the islands he will recompense due treatment. And from the sunset they will begin to fear the name of Jehovah, and from the rising of the sun the glory of him, for he will come in like a distressing river, which the very spirit of Jehovah has driven along.”—Isa. 59:16b-19.
10. Jehovah’s coming fight will climax the fight of whom here on earth, and of what does the equipment of these consist?
10 The coming fight of Jehovah of armies will climax the continuous fight that Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to put up and for which they have been instructed to arm themselves. Their armor is spiritual and includes the girdle of truth, “the breastplate of righteousness,” the footwear of the “equipment of the good news of peace,” “the large shield of faith,” “the helmet of salvation,” and “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.”—Eph. 6:11-17.
11, 12. (a) What does Jehovah’s wearing the “helmet of salvation” signify? (b) What does his wearing the “coat of mail” of righteousness indicate, and of what does this give promise?
11 For the coming universal war Jehovah puts on “the helmet of salvation,” but, instead of a “breastplate of righteousness,” he puts on “a coat of mail” of righteousness. Of course, he does not need such protective devices, inasmuch as he is almighty and deathproof, imperishable. So here mere figures of speech are used to illustrate something. His putting on “the helmet of salvation” indicates that he has in mind the salvation of his cause, particularly the interests of his Messianic kingdom. Nothing that the enemy might do in attacking his cause will knock his purpose of salvation out of his head or beat him into unconsciousness about it, making him oblivious to it. As for the flexible “coat of mail” of righteousness, his having it on his torso illustrates that his love of righteousness is inviolate. No assault against his theocratic cause can deaden his heartfelt devotion to what is right.
12 As it is written: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” (Deut. 32:4) “According to his promise” he will fight till “new heavens and a new earth” are set up, in which “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:13.
13. (a) What does Jehovah’s putting on “the garments of vengeance” as his raiment indicate? (b) What does his enwrapping himself with “zeal as if a sleeveless coat” indicate?
13 Jehovah will fight as the Avenger. That is why he is pictured as putting on “the garments of vengeance as raiment.” His witnesses on earth are commissioned to “proclaim . . . the day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isa. 61:1, 2) His enwrapping himself with “zeal as if a sleeveless coat” betokens that his zeal will carry him forward, not madly or insanely, but with dignity such as an ancient “sleeveless coat” imparted to its wearer. To his adversaries and enemies he will give the dealings and treatment that correspond with what they dealt out to those who stood uncompromisingly for his theocratic cause. Even small, isolated organizations like “islands” will get their due.
14. (a) What effect will Jehovah’s glorious victory have upon earth’s inhabitants? (b) Why will nothing halt Jehovah’s push to victory at Har–Magedon?
14 Because of the glorious war that he will wage earth’s inhabitants from east to west will have to fear him, from sundown to sunrise. Nothing will halt his push to victory. “For he will come in like a distressing river, which the very spirit of Jehovah has driven along.” (Isa. 59:19) It will be like in the days of Judge Barak and Deborah, when Jehovah caused the “torrent valley of Kishon” to fill up with a raging flash flood that washed away the attack forces under King Jabin’s field marshal, Sisera. (Judg. 4:7, 13; 5:21) In the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon he will use as his field marshal his reigning Son Jesus Christ, as Revelation 19:11-21 discloses. During that war Jehovah’s driving spirit will prove to be more powerful than all the atomic or nuclear bombs then detonated or stockpiled on earth.
The Repurchaser and His Covenant
15. Through Isaiah, for whom does Jehovah of armies repeatedly announce himself to be the Repurchaser?
15 Repeatedly “Jehovah of armies” announces himself as the Repurchaser, or Go·elʹ, for his chosen people, to whom Isaiah himself belonged. To this typical people Isaiah was used to say: “‘Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel. I myself will help you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, even your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel.” And again: “Now this is what Jehovah has said, your Creator, O Jacob, and your Former, O Israel: ‘Do not be afraid, for I have repurchased you. . . . You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘even my servant whom I have chosen, . . .’ This is what Jehovah has said, the Repurchaser of you people, the Holy One of Israel: ‘For your sakes I will send to Babylon and cause the bars of the prisons to come down.’”—Isa. 41:14; 43:1, 10-14; 44:6, 24; 48:17; 49:26; 54:5, 8; 60:16; 63:16.
16. Where does the apostle Paul quote parts of Isaiah 59:20, 21, and he connects up the complete fulfillment of the prophecy with what accomplishment?
16 About 23 years after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul quoted parts of Isaiah 59:20, 21 as having a fulfillment in Christian times. He comments: “Just as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob. And this is the covenant on my part with them, when I take their sins away.’” (Rom. 11:26, 27, in line with the Greek Septuagint Version) The apostle Paul locates the completion of the prophecy’s fulfillment at the future time when the full membership of the Kingdom class under Jesus Christ is made up, namely, 144,000 members. These are antitypical Israelites, spiritual Israelites, who are in a new covenant with Jehovah God. They are like a fixed number of branches in a symbolic olive tree. (Rom. 11:17-26) God’s time for this final fulfillment is upon us!
17. When was it that the remnant of spiritual Israelites sold themselves into bondage, and to what location was it to which the Repurchaser came to deliver them?
17 Like the Israelites of Isaiah’s day, the spiritual Israelites sold themselves because of wrong practices and came into bondage to the world empire of false religion, that is to say, to Babylon the Great, and to her worldly paramours. (2 Ki. 17:17; 1 Ki. 21:20, 25) An outstanding instance of this occurred during World War I of 1914-1918. For the captive spiritual Israelites to regain their freedom to serve the true God without restraint and fear, a Repurchaser had to arise in their behalf. He did, in the person of Jehovah himself. By his timely action as such he delivered them for his service. As Zion in Isaiah’s day was the most prominent one of the mountains on which Jerusalem stood as the kingdom’s capital, it is the antitypical Zion to which Jehovah had to come for delivering the Kingdom class. (Rev. 14:1; Isa. 24:23; 52:7) Then the delivered remnant of spiritual Israelites turned from their transgressions against Jehovah, keeping free from all connections with Babylon the Great.—Rev. 18:4.
18. In this connection, whom does Jehovah use as his deputy, and in what battle is this one pictured as doing the fighting?
18 In his activities Jehovah used his Son Jesus Christ as his deputy or “messenger of the covenant.” (Mal. 3:1) As a Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ released first the remnant of spiritual Israelites and then their companions from Babylon the Great. (Isa. 44:28 to 45:7) In Revelation 19:11-21 he is pictured as the one who directly does the fighting in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon.
19. What are the terms of the “covenant” that Jehovah makes with the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ, in behalf of the delivered remnant of spiritual Israelites?
19 As a Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ is the Prophet with whom Jehovah makes the covenant in behalf of the delivered remnant of spiritual Israelites. This covenant corresponds with the promise in Isaiah 59:21: “‘My spirit that is upon you and my words that I have put in your mouth—they will not be removed from your mouth or from the mouth of your offspring or from the mouth of the offspring of your offspring,’ Jehovah has said, ‘from now on even to time indefinite.’”—Compare Acts 3:22, 23.
20. To what extent has Jehovah’s spirit been upon the Greater Isaiah, and what today proves that Jehovah’s words have not been removed from the mouth of the “offspring” whom God gave to Jesus Christ?
20 The prophet Isaiah and his natural “offspring” have long since passed off the earthly scene. However, the Greater Isaiah, Jesus Christ, lives on as an immortal, at God’s right hand in the heavens. Jehovah’s spirit is mightily upon him. (Isa. 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21) Also, Jehovah’s “words” have been put into his mouth, for him to voice them especially throughout the earth. In that behalf he has put those words into the mouth of the spiritual “offspring” that Jehovah has given him. This has resulted in the preaching of the good news of God’s established kingdom world wide.—Matt. 24:14.
21. (a) Who, since 1935, have taken up the present-day message into their mouths? (b) When will “Jehovah of armies” have to come to the rescue, vindicating himself as being what?
21 Since the year 1935 a “great crowd” have become the companions of the remnant of the spiritual Israelites. They have taken up the Kingdom message, and their mouths have become loudly vocal with it, together with the warning about divine vengeance upon God’s foes. (Rev. 7:9-17) Such foes still try to silence the Kingdom message. Failing in this, the infuriated enemies will make their last attack upon all loyal adherents of God’s kingdom by Christ. Certainly then, as never before, “Jehovah of armies” will have to come to the rescue. This he will do by means of his field marshal, Jesus Christ the “King of kings.” Ah, then, come, O “Jehovah of armies,” and may your all-glorious victory by Christ remain on the inerasable annals of all heaven and earth to your everlasting vindication as indisputable Sovereign of all the universe!