Worship of the One True God Already Being Exalted
1, 2. During World War I, how did worship of the one true God sink to a low ebb, and how was this depicted in Micah 3:12?
WORLD War I was a time of darkness such as humanity had never before experienced. It was as if the powers of darkness had prevailed universally. It seemed as if “the ruler of the world” had triumphed. (John 14:30) As his world empire of false religion, including Christendom, patriotically went over to the support of the war-mad nations, tremendous pressure was applied to all religious people. Hence, even worship of the one true and living God fell to a low ebb. Upholders of it were persecuted and put under restrictions, even to imprisonment. Their condition became calamitous, like that described in Micah 3:12:
2 “Zion will be plowed up as a mere field, and Jerusalem herself will become mere heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the house [the temple] will be as the high places of a forest”—like an abandoned field covered with an overgrowth reaching to the height of trees because of the passing of so much time.
3. Worshipers of the true God resigned themselves to what view of things, but what remained for them to do according to prophecy before the “end would come?
3 It appeared as if the end had come—for the whole system of things on earth. Worshipers of the God of the Bible resigned themselves to that view of matters, as they became “objects of hatred by all the nations.” (Matt. 24:9) However, they had only entered “the conclusion of the system of things.” There was yet much lifesaving work for them to do before they reached the terminal of that “conclusion of the system of things.” As the great Governor out of Bethlehem had foretold, “this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:3, 14) The prophecy of Micah was in agreement with that, even though Micah had written it down hundreds of years beforehand.
4. After the description of the desolation to come upon Jerusalem and the land of Judah, what change for the better does Micah 4:1-4 foretell to Jehovah’s glory?
4 After Micah described the ruin to which the land of Judah and its capital city, Jerusalem (or, Zion), would be reduced by the Babylonians, he went on to say: “And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house [temple] of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. And many nations will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.”—Mic. 4:1-4.
5. Today, what building tops the mountain of the house of Jehovah, and does this fulfill Micah 4:1-4?
5 In the course of World War I earthly Jerusalem was captured by British troops under General Allenby, and in recognition of this the League of Nations gave Great Britain the mandate over the territory, to continue until 1948. When the mandate ended, war followed between the Jews and the Arabs, and today the nation of Israel occupies even the walled city of Jerusalem. But does a temple for the worship of Jehovah crown the top of the mountain where the house for the worship of Jehovah stood down till 70 C.E.? No, but the Dome of the Rock for the worship of the Mohammedan deity, Allah, stands there, and people of many nations visit it as a tourist attraction. Beyond all contradiction this has been no fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah 4:1-4.
6. Why, though, is Micah 4:1-4 undergoing fulfillment, and why does earthly Jerusalem not figure in the fulfillment?
6 Still, that prophecy has been undergoing fulfillment since the postwar year of 1919. How so? Well, because a higher Jerusalem is involved. Let us recall how, on Nisan 9, 33 C.E., Jesus Christ as the Governor out of Bethlehem made his triumphal ride into Jerusalem but was not accepted as King. Two days later, on Nisan 11, he was moved to bewail that earthly Jerusalem, saying: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it. Look! Your house [your temple] is abandoned to you [people].” (Matt. 23:37, 38) Three days later, on Nisan 14, Jesus suffered martyrdom at Calvary outside Jerusalem. Then, for his part, Jehovah God abandoned that temple though it had been dedicated to him. No longer was it his place of approved worship. Its destruction in 70 C.E. dramatized that fact!
7. When did the heavenly Jerusalem become the mother of the disciples of Jesus, and how does Paul refer to this?
7 Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection he ascended back to heaven and 10 days later, on the day of Pentecost, he poured out the holy spirit upon his disciples waiting in earthly Jerusalem. With that event a new Jerusalem, a heavenly Jerusalem, became their mother. As regards this, the Christian apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the congregations in Galatia: “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Gal. 4:26) Later on, when writing to Hebrew Christians in general, the same apostle wrote: “But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all.” (Heb. 12:22, 23) It is with respect to this New Jerusalem, the spiritual Jerusalem, on a spiritual Mount Zion, that Micah 4:1-4 prophesies. Upon this spiritual Jerusalem Micah’s prophecy is being fulfilled today!
8. Since 1914, to what extent has the worship of the one true God been exalted with respect to the earth?
8 Since the war-wracked years of 1914-1918 the worship of the God whose worship used to be carried on at the “house,” or temple, that stood atop one of the mountains of ancient Jerusalem, keeps being exalted. This worship of Jehovah has been “established above the top of the mountains” on which temples to the false gods of this system stood or still stand. Thus the worship of the one living and true God has been “lifted up above the hills.”
9. After World War I, how was the situation opened up for the elevation of Jehovah’s worship, and what did Micah 2:12, 13 say with regard to this?
9 Particularly after the close of World War I in the autumn of 1918 the worship of Jehovah as the Most High God was elevated heaven high. How was that? Because, first in the postwar period of time, was restoration possible for the worshipers of Jehovah from the oppressed, dispersed, restricted state that was like the condition of the Jewish exiles in Babylon during 607-537 B.C.E. Micah’s prophecy foretold the regathering of the spiritual Israelites and the breaking open of the way for them to escape from such a Babylonish servitude, saying: “‘I shall positively gather Jacob, all of you; I shall without fail collect the remaining ones of Israel together. In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen, like a drove in the midst of its pasture; they will be noisy with men.’ The one making a breakthrough will certainly come up before them; they will actually break through. And they will pass through a gate, and they will go out by it. And their king will pass through before them, with Jehovah at the head of them.”—Mic. 2:12, 13.
10. Who was the “king” taking part in Micah’s prophecy, and how and when and for whom did he make the “breakthrough”?
10 When, in 537 B.C.E., the Israelites left Babylon according to the decree of the Persian conqueror, Cyrus the Great, there was no human king of the royal house of David leading them out. Zedekiah, the last Davidic king to reign at old Jerusalem, was by then dead, buried at Babylon. Evidently, then, Micah’s prophecy must have spiritual application. So who is the “king”? It is the King who was to be enthroned at God’s right hand in the heavens at the end of the “times of the Gentiles” (or, “appointed times of the nations”) in the fall of 1914 C.E. (Luke 21:24, Authorized Version, New World Translation; Ps. 110:1, 2) This was a “king” greater than Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon. It was the newly installed “King,” Jesus Christ. He was the one who made the “breakthrough” for the oppressed spiritual Israelites, the “remaining ones” of spiritual Israel, or Jacob. So it was that in the postwar year of 1919 the glorified Jesus Christ made the “breakthrough” for his dedicated, baptized disciples who had become the “objects of hatred by all the nations” on account of his name during World War I.—Matt. 24:9.
11, 12. Who was at the head of the remnant on their march out into freedom, and what command by him were they obeying?
11 Those liberated disciples were ready to follow him as their enthroned King at Jehovah’s right hand. By the “gate” of escape that he had made he proceeded to “pass through before them.” He led them into real Christian liberty. This was “with Jehovah at the head of them,” because Jehovah was the Chief One responsible for their marching out to freedom. He was the One who issued the call to his worshipers held captive in religious Babylon, saying:
PERSONAL NAME OF THE ONE TRUE GOD TO THE FORE!
13. The time had come for the one true God to do what for himself, and how did the Watch Tower issue of November 15, 1919, bear this out?
13 Jehovah was beginning by then to make a name for himself. Rightly his name began to come to the fore, it being higher than that of his glorified Son Jesus Christ. For instance, The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, in its issue of November 15, 1919, published the first of a series of articles entitled “Isaiah’s Rhapsody,” and in Part I it went on to say:
In these first eleven verses of the fortieth chapter Isa 40:1-11 we have three pictures of Jehovah given to us: first, he is depicted as a Comforter after protracted suffering; second, he is represented as being the True One, whose word abides though all else fail; third, as the Shepherd who leads his people with paternal care.
The second cause for comfort lies in the words “that her iniquity is pardoned”. God in his wisdom saw that the seventy years of national humiliation suffered by the Jewish people would be a sufficient off-set on the books of divine justice to atone for the tendency which they had manifested for many centuries to go into idolatry, or to worship other gods than Jehovah.
. . . But we know that Jehovah would never inflict unjust punishment. He cannot deny himself. . . .
. . . Suggestions [for a name of a paper published by the Society] brought out the fact that the Yiddish equivalent of “the voice” would be understood at once by all Jews to designate some special message from Jehovah.
Surely any class which is to be used by Jehovah for such an exalted purpose as joint-heirship with Christ is in need of extensive preparatory experiences before being made “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.”
. . . But as a double reassurance of the fulfillment of the things above promised Jehovah again affixes his name, or endorses his own check—“the word of our God shall stand forever,” irrespective of the obstacles, real or imagined.—Page 343, paragraph 5; page 344, paragraphs 5-7; page 345, paragraph 4; page 346, paragraph 4.
14. Also, how did the book The Harp of God, published in 1921, put God’s name to the fore?
14 Also, in the first bound book published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society after World War I, namely, The Harp of God, issued in 1921, the preface stated in paragraph 2: “Jehovah had a great plan before the foundation of the world; but no one knew about it. During the first four thousand years of man’s history God’s plan was kept a secret.”
15. Seven years later, a resolution constituting a declaration for whom was adopted by the conventioners at the international convention in Detroit, Michigan?
15 At the international convention held in Detroit, Michigan, July 30–August 6, 1928, the thousands in attendance unanimously adopted the resolution entitled “Declaration against Satan and for Jehovah,” submitted by the then president of the Watch Tower Society.—See Watch Tower of September 15, 1928, pages 278, 279.
16. How did the climactic event take place three years later at the international convention in Columbus, Ohio?
16 However, the climactic event occurred in 1931. This was on Sunday, July 26, when the thousands attending the international convention at Columbus, Ohio, adopted a resolution entitled “A New Name.” By this resolution those dedicated, baptized worshipers of the Most High God took upon themselves a name that is based upon the Scriptures, that is, “Jehovah’s witnesses.”—Isa. 43:10, 12.
17. By thus adopting this new name, what did the conventioners do, and thereafter what did congregations around the globe do, with what responsibility devolving upon them?
17 In that way those Christians brushed aside all the reproachful names with which they had been dubbed by Christendom and accepted the honorable designation that the Holy Bible showed to be proper for them. After the Columbus convention the resolution there adopted was submitted to all the congregations of the dedicated, baptized disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ all around the earth, in their various languages. All the congregations adopting the resolution reported so to the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. All the individuals taking part in such action brought themselves under a heavy responsibility before Jehovah God. Failure to live up to the new name meant serious consequences for them. Honoring it would magnify God’s name.—The Watch Tower issue of September 15, 1931, pages 278, 279.
18. Has similar action been taken by Christendom and Jewry, and so whom has God used to bring about the fulfillment of Micah 4:1-4?
18 Does secular history since World War I report any religious denomination of Christendom or of Jewry as taking any action similar to that of those witnesses of Jehovah? No! Hence, it has been by means of those Witnesses that Jehovah God has brought about the fulfillment of the prophecy set out in Micah 4:1-4. Thus, indeed, the worship of the one living and true God has been established, as it were, “above the top of the mountains,” for it has been shown to be superior to every other form of worship. It is “firmly established” and so will never be toppled from its lofty position. It is being dignified by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so, figuratively speaking, it is being “lifted up above the hills.”
19. The lifting up of the divine worship, as it were, “above the hills,” made it visible to whom, and, in line with this, what startling speech was given in Los Angeles, California, in 1918?
19 This exalting of the worship of the one living and true God, thus making it visible from far away, was meant to be for the benefit of persons out of all nations and peoples. So, under divine guidance, on Sunday, February 24, 1918, amid World War I, the then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society gave a well-advertised talk in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. His subject was a startling one but was in line with the meaning of the momentous times as viewed from the Bible standpoint. The subject was “Millions Now Living May Never Die.” This theme was based on the Bible’s teaching that there would be human survivors of the “great tribulation” with which this doomed system of things would end. (Rev. 7:9, 14) Those favored survivors would be ushered into the Millennial Age under Christ’s kingdom. By means of that government they could gain everlasting life on an earth made into a paradise.
20. In 1923, what parable of Jesus was discussed at the Los Angeles convention, and how was it applied?
20 Five years later another convention was held in the same city of Los Angeles, on August 18-26, 1923, and on Saturday, August 25, the Society’s president discussed Jesus’ parable of the symbolic sheep and goats. As this parable is a part of Jesus’ prophecy on the “sign” marking the “conclusion of the system of things,” the speaker applied it to “the final part of the days”; he gave it a premillennial application. Who, then, are pictured by the “sheep” that do good to the King’s spiritual “brothers” according to their needs? Why, the so-called ‘persons of goodwill’ who are to be rewarded with surviving the destruction of the present system of things and being preserved into the Millennial system of things under Christ’s kingdom! (See the Watch Tower issue of November 1, 1923, page 326; also that of October 15, 1923, page 307.) Such symbolic “sheep” of today are the “peoples” who stream up to the spiritual temple of Jehovah’s worship, which is represented by the remnant of Christ’s “brothers,” spiritual Israelites.—Mic. 4:1; Matt. 24:3; 25:31-46.