“Be Glad, You Nations, with His People”
1. Why have the Jews who still keep the law of Moses not proved to be “his people” with whom the nations are called upon to “be glad”?
WHO are “his people” with whom all nations are called upon to “be glad”? (Rom. 15:10) It has not proved to be the Jewish people. The natural Jews who still try to keep the law of Moses have been hated and persecuted during the 1,900-year period since the year 70 C.E., the year of the destruction of ancient Jerusalem by the Roman legions under General Titus. Oddly, not even the natural Jews themselves have rejoiced with “his people,” Jehovah’s people. At the close of an inspired song sung in the year 1473 B.C.E., the Jewish prophet Moses was the one who sang out: “Be glad, you nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and he will pay back vengeance to his adversaries and will indeed make atonement for the ground of his people.”—Deut. 32:43.
2. When did the transfer of Jesus’ followers from “the authority of the darkness . . . into the kingdom of the Son of his love” start taking place?
2 When Paul made and applied his quotation from those words of Moses, about 56 C.E., Jesus had died, been resurrected and ascended to heaven long before, in 33 C.E. So from Pentecost of that year onward, “his people,” Jehovah’s people, were the dedicated, baptized, spirit-begotten disciples of Jesus Christ. Some years later, about 60-61 C.E., Paul wrote to members of Jehovah’s “people” at Colossae and said: “Thanking the Father [Jehovah] who rendered you suitable for your participation in the inheritance of the holy ones in the light. He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” (Col. 1:12, 13) Such a transfer began on the Jewish day of Pentecost (Sivan 6) of 33 C.E., after Jesus returned to heaven.
3. By that transfer into the spiritual kingdom of God’s beloved Son, what did they become in behalf of the King?
3 On that day, by means of his glorified royal Son Jesus Christ, the heavenly Father poured out his holy spirit first on the waiting disciples, about 120 of them at Jerusalem. Thus they were transferred from under the authority of worldly darkness into the spiritual kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ, “the light of the world.” (John 8:12) That spiritual kingdom was set up by Jehovah God, and in it Jesus Christ as the spiritual King served as Jehovah’s minister of state. In carrying out this ministry he uses his spirit-begotten disciples on earth as “ambassadors substituting for Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:20) According to the English Revised Version, they are “ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ.” Such “ambassadors” have indeed a ministry, a government service.
4. (a) God’s “people” with whom the nations are to “be glad” is made up therefore of whom? (b) Over what are the Gentile nations to glorify God?
4 It is with such ambassadors that all the nations not made up of spiritual Israelites are to “be glad.” Over what? The Christian ambassadorial minister Paul answers when he writes to the congregation in Rome and says: “Christ actually became a minister of those who are circumcised [the natural Jews] in behalf of God’s truthfulness, so as to verify the promises He made to their forefathers, and that the nations might glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom. 15:8, 9a) What was God’s mercy to the Gentile “nations”?
5. (a) What was the “mercy” of God toward the uncircumcised Gentiles? (b) When and with whom did that “mercy” begin, with admission into what?
5 Back there in the first century C.E., God’s “mercy” was this: Jehovah God allowed the uncircumcised Gentiles (or, people of the nations) to come in under the “promises” that he had made to the forefathers of the circumcised Jews. In the case of uncircumcised non-Jews, this began in the year 36 C.E., when the Roman centurion Cornelius and his family and friends at Caesarea accepted the ministry of the apostle Peter and were anointed with God’s holy spirit and got baptized. (Acts, chap. 10) Whether Cornelius and his family left Caesarea and returned to Italy to become members of the congregation at Rome, which was up till then composed of circumcised Jewish believers and possibly Jewish “proselytes,” we do not know. (Acts 2:1-10) But from then on God showed “mercy” to the believing, baptized Gentiles by admitting them into the spiritual “kingdom” of his beloved Son, despite their uncircumcision.
6. (a) In Paul’s day God’s “mercy” consisted in letting the nations become members of what? (b) Why can these partakers of God’s “mercy” not take part in the ministries of worldly governments?
6 In this way the “nations,” whether circumcised Samaritans, circumcised Egyptians, or uncircumcised non-Jews, were favored with becoming members of the ‘seed of Abraham,’ by means of whom all the families of the earth will have to bless themselves. (Gen. 12:3; 22:15-18; Gal. 3:3-29) Although at present these are in the spiritual kingdom of the Son of God’s love, all those proving faithful to their earthly death will be resurrected into the heavenly kingdom of God. There they will reign with Christ for 1,000 years, to bless all the families of the earth. (Rev. 20:4-6) In the meantime, while yet in the flesh on earth, they have the “ministry” that comes upon them as “ambassadors substituting for Christ,” engaging in “the ministry of the word” about Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ. On this account they cannot consistently become ministers of the political governments of this Devil-controlled world.—Acts 6:4.
MAKING PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT AMONG NATIONS
7. What stand do these “ambassadors” take toward the conflicts of this world, and why do they keep rejoicing and invite others to join them in this?
7 The Kingdom “ambassadors” take a strictly neutral stand toward worldly conflicts. They know that “the times of the Gentiles,” or “the appointed times of the nations,” ended in the early fall of the year 1914, during the third month of World War I. (Luke 21:24; compare AV) At that time the lease of the Gentile nations for exercising world domination ran out. Such worldly nations, including those of Christendom, stubbornly refuse to recognize that fact. So they oppose and persecute the Christian witnesses of Jehovah who call attention to that fact. All such persecution is just as was foretold in Bible prophecies. In spite of it all, the “ambassadors” of God’s established kingdom keep on rejoicing. They invite the people of all the nations to rejoice with them and to join with them in announcing the kingdom that he has laid on the shoulder of Jesus Christ.
8. (a) Since when has a “great crowd” of all nationalities been gathered to the side of God’s established kingdom? (b) What do they clearly discern and what merciful experience would they like to enjoy?
8 From the spring of 1935 (May) a “great crowd” of people of all the nations began to be glad with the spirit-anointed “people” of Jehovah, who were heirs of his heavenly kingdom. Gladdened persons who make up that “great crowd” of all nationalities are keenly interested in becoming earthly subjects of God’s millennial kingdom by Christ. (Rev. 7:9-17; 22:17) They clearly discern that at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 “the kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15) They appreciate that they are living in the time of crossing over from the doomed political governments of this world to the millennial kingdom of God’s Messiah or Christ. They would very much like to live through this transition period and, without dying, enter into that new order on earth, under that Messianic kingdom. This would be a great “mercy” on the part of Jehovah God toward them.
9. (a) Those making up the international “great crowd” have acted on what invitation, and how have they symbolized this? (b) As sheeplike ones, how have they done good to Christ’s spiritual “brothers” during this conclusion of the system of things?
9 Yes, it has even been an unusual “mercy” on Jehovah’s part that “this good news of the kingdom” has been “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” and that it has come their way. (Matt. 24:14) From the spring of 1935 those making up the “great crowd” have availed themselves of God’s “mercy” and have responded to the invitation to dedicate themselves to Jehovah God through Christ and have symbolized their dedication by baptism in water. Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, as recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, shows that they must do good to his chosen ones, his spiritual brothers, now during this “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3, 31) This includes their helping Christ’s spiritual “brothers” in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” down till the oncoming “great tribulation,” the like of which has never occurred before. (Matt. 24:14-22) Because of cooperating with the remnant of “ambassadors substituting for Christ,” they enter into a new status.
10. Into what new status have the “great crowd” entered, and what service have they rendered with the “ambassadors substituting for Christ”?
10 The “great crowd” of sheeplike ones who are gathered to Christ’s right side of approval serve in the capacity of envoys for Christ in the sacred service of his kingdom. A “ministry” is laid upon them to serve in the interests of a royal government, “the kingdom of the heavens.” By the magnificent service that they render with the Kingdom “ambassadors,” they show their gratitude to Jehovah God.
THE GLADNESS OF THE NATIONS FORETOLD
11. Who is the One to whose name David said he would make melody, and how does he describe this one?
11 The apostle Paul quotes from the psalmist, King David, when he tells how the nations will come to “glorify God for his mercy,” as Paul goes on to say: “Just as it is written: ‘That is why I will openly acknowledge you among the nations and to your name I will make melody.’” (Ps. 18:49; 2 Sam. 22:50; Rom. 15:9b) The inspired psalmist described who the One was to whose name he would make melody, when he added the closing words: “The One doing great acts of salvation for his king and exercising loving-kindness to his anointed one, to David and to his seed for time indefinite.”—2 Sam. 22:51.
12. (a) How did Jesus, when a man on earth, “openly acknowledge” Jehovah among the nations? (b) In what province did the resurrected Jesus tell his disciples what to do as his “ambassadors”?
12 The Greater David, namely, Jesus Christ, did not do much thanking and lauding of Jehovah God among the Gentile nations when he was here on earth as a perfect man. He did do some Kingdom preaching among the Samaritans and to a Syrophoenician woman whose daughter he delivered from a demon. Also, much of his preaching was done in what Isaiah 9:1 calls “Galilee of the nations.” Up there he made the headquarters for his Kingdom preaching campaign at Capernaum, situated beside the Sea of Galilee. (Matt. 4:12-15) After his resurrection from the dead it was up in “Galilee of the nations” that he said to his disciples as “ambassadors substituting for Christ”: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
13. (a) On what day and how were the waiting disciples in Jerusalem commissioned for their ambassadorial ministry? (b) Where did they begin publicly to “acknowledge” Jehovah among the nations?
13 Some days after the resurrected Jesus gave his baptized disciples that commission, there came the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. In the early morning of that day the glorified Jesus channeled the holy spirit of Jehovah God upon about 120 disciples at Jerusalem. As a result of their preaching that day, about 3,000 Jews and Jewish proselytes accepted the Kingdom tidings and got baptized in water. Afterward these recipients of the holy spirit joined in the ambassadorial work as substitutes for Christ. After persecution broke out in Jerusalem some began ‘openly acknowledging’ Jehovah among the Samaritans and still later among uncircumcised Gentiles of Roman nationality and others. As they heard Jehovah being openly acknowledged and lauded among them, people of all nationalities could call upon his name through Christ for merciful salvation.
14. What did the apostle Paul next quote from Deuteronomy 32:43, and so what did those belonging to Jehovah’s people have to do in that behalf?
14 The apostle Paul quotes more prophecy in support of his argument, saying: “And again he says: ‘Be glad, you nations, with his people.’” (Rom. 15:10; Deut. 32:43) How, though, could people of all nations become glad with Jehovah’s “people” unless they heard about him? So those belonging to “his people” had to preach his Messianic kingdom to them.—Rom. 10:13-15.
15. By what action and by whom must Paul’s quotation from Psalm 117:1 be followed up so that nations may respond?
15 The apostle Paul offers more Scriptural support by telling what Jehovah said by His inspired mouthpiece: “And again: ‘Praise Jehovah, all you nations, and let all the peoples praise him.’” (Rom. 15:11; Ps. 117:1) Yes, it is easy to say that, but how can all nations, peoples and clans do it unless we tell them about Jehovah and explain why he should be praised? Consequently, international preaching about his kingdom by Christ needs to be done. This is the “ministry” that is assigned to the remnant of Kingdom heirs and the “great crowd” of their companion workers.—Rev. 7:9-17.
16. How is Paul’s quotation from Isaiah 11:10 regarding the “root of Jesse” to be fulfilled?
16 The apostle Paul quotes a fourth witness in support of his argument, saying: “And again Isaiah says: ‘There will be the root of Jesse, and there will be one arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope.’” (Rom. 15:12; Isa. 11:10) Jesse of Bethlehem was the father of David, whom God appointed to be king over the 12 tribes of Israel. David himself could not be a “root” of life to his fleshly father. So the real “root of Jesse” had to be Jesus Christ, who was born in Bethlehem and in the royal tribe of Judah, Jesse’s own tribe. Jesus will become a life-giving “root” to his earthly forefather Jesse by resurrecting him and his son David from the dead during his millennial reign.—Rev. 22:16.
17. Who, then, is the “root of Jesse” on whom the nations can rest their hope?
17 David did “rule nations” after he subdued the non-Jewish nations that had been left in the Promised Land. However, David has now been dead since 1037 B.C.E., and people of the nations cannot rest their hope in him. Happily they can rest their hope in the presently reigning Greater David, Jesus Christ, “the root and the offspring of David.” (Rev. 22:16) Their resting their hope in him, the antitypical David, will not prove to be in vain, or to be misplaced.
18. Who of all the nations have already rested their hope in that promised Governor, and whom does he already govern?
18 Since 1935 hundreds of thousands of the “great crowd” that comes out of all nations, tribes, peoples and languages have rested their hope in the Ruler who will not disappoint them. They prove this by obeying his command to preach “this good news of the kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:14) Hope for all the people of the nations that have died since the invasion of death-dealing sin among mankind rests upon the now ruling heavenly King, Jesus Christ. Already since he was enthroned at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, he governs believing, hopeful persons of all the nations. He will yet rule over many, many more after resurrecting all the ransomed ones of humankind.
19. Is there reason, then, for believers of all nationalities to abound in hope as time goes on? and to be glad?
19 Is there reason, then, for persons of all nations to “be glad” with Jehovah’s “people,” the spiritual Israelites? Yes, all the reason in the world! How fitting here is the lovely benediction with which Paul closes his quotations from prophecy! For he says: “May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your believing, that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.” (Rom. 15:13) Beyond all gainsaying that inspired prayer is being fulfilled upon all the Christian witnesses of Jehovah in all quarters of the globe. The coming true of Bible prophecies indicates that our all-glorious hope nears realization. “Be glad”!
“He that is showing insight in a matter will find good, and happy is he that is trusting in Jehovah.”—Prov. 16:20.
[Picture on page 26]
Roman centurion Cornelius and his family and friends at Caesarea benefited from the ministry of Peter