“Peoples Must Stream” to Life-giving Worship
1, 2. (a) When John had his vision described in Revelation 7:9-17, what was the state of the temple at Jerusalem? (b) When and where was the “great crowd” identified, and what was the reaction of the conventioners?
WHEN the last book of the Bible, Revelation, was written by the Jewish-Christian apostle John, about the year 96 C.E., the Jewish temple at Jerusalem had been destroyed by Roman soldiers under General Titus. Nevertheless, the apostle John describes, at Revelation 7:9-17, a numberless “crowd” drawn from all peoples, nations, races and languages, and these were seen rendering to God on his throne sacred service in the courtyard of his temple. Obviously, the spiritual temple of Jehovah God was there meant.
2 Great was the joy of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1935 and of persons of goodwill when those of that numberless international “crowd” were identified as being the “sheep” described in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matt. 25:31-46) Yes, they were identified as being the same as the “other sheep” mentioned in Jesus’ parable of the Fine Shepherd. (John 10:16; see the book The Harp of God, published in 1921, page 338, paragraph 577; also, the Watch Tower issue of October 15, 1923, page 310, under the subheading “Two Classes.”) The identification of those who compose the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17 took place at the convention of May 30–June 3, 1935, at Washington, D.C., U.S.A., by means of an up-to-date explanation of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats. The day (Saturday) following that discussion there was a baptism of 840 of the conventioners guided by their new understanding of matters according to the explanation of Jesus’ parable.
3. When was it that Micah 4:2 began to be fulfilled, and to what Jerusalem did those sharing in the fulfillment look?
3 The dedicated, baptized “other sheep” are taking part with the spiritual brothers of the King Jesus Christ in preaching “this good news of the kingdom” everywhere, “in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:14) In this way Micah 4:2 began its fulfillment: “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.” Not to earthly Jerusalem, which was then being occupied by British troops, but to the New Jerusalem on the heavenly Mount Zion is where the “other sheep” of the “great crowd” looked for “law” based on the Bible and for the “word of Jehovah” through his anointed witnesses, the spiritual Israelites.
4. Among whom did Micah 4:3, 4 then begin fulfillment?
4 Not among worldly nations that were building up armaments for World War II but among the sheeplike ones of the international “great crowd” began the fulfillment of the words of Micah 4:3, 4: “And he [Jehovah] 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.”
5. During World War II, for what position did they take their stand, and, figuratively speaking, how have they been dwelling?
5 Fearlessly, without letting anyone of this world make them tremble, even after World War II was lighted on September 1, 1939, the Witnesses openly declared and published their neutrality toward all nations engaging in violent combat. (See the Watchtower issue of November 1, 1939, containing the leading article entitled “Neutrality.”) They have held to this neutral stand ever since. In many cases this has meant their being confined in concentration camps, or in prisons, or even their being killed as being unpatriotic. They refuse to become a part of this world, just as Jesus Christ refused to do so. Properly, then, the Witnesses should be expected to keep peace within their own congregations, dwelling together like brothers. (Ps. 133) Figuratively speaking, they sit, each one “under his own vine and under his own fig tree,” in security, like the Israelites during the 40-year-long peaceful reign of King Solomon, son of David. (1 Ki. 4:25) During this “conclusion of the system of things,” they peacefully preach “this good news of the kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth.”—Matt. 24:3, 14.
HAR–MAGEDON SURVIVORS CARRY FORWARD TRUE WORSHIP
6, 7. What did the Watch Tower issue of December 15, 1928, say with regard to Micah 5:6-9, as to how this is to be fulfilled?
6 So among all peoples the Witnesses are a refreshing element. This is just as foretold in Micah 5:6-9: “And he [Jehovah] will certainly bring about deliverance from the Assyrian [the world power of Assyria], when he comes into our land and when he treads upon our territory. And the remaining ones of Jacob must become in the midst of many peoples like dew from Jehovah, like copious showers upon vegetation, that does not hope for man or wait for the sons of earthling man. And the remaining ones of Jacob must become among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of a forest, like a maned young lion among droves of sheep, which, when it actually passes through, certainly both tramples down and tears in pieces; and there is no deliverer. Your hand will be high above your adversaries, and all enemies of yours will be cut off.”
7 Referring to this, the article “Ruler out of Bethlehem,” in the Watch Tower issue of December 15, 1928, said:
This may be taken as an indication that some of the remnant will be on earth even after Armageddon is fought and will then have some more work to do in the name of the Lord and to his praise and glory. The people, having passed through the great and terrible trouble, will no longer look to men for help nor watch for the sons of men to bring them aid and comfort but will turn to the Lord and gladly hear his Word. Some creatures will have the privilege, as the Lord’s agents and messengers, of bearing the message of peace to the people.
The remnant of the Lord, according to this prophecy, will go on to triumph in the strength of Jehovah. A lion is a monarch among the beasts of the forest, and none can stand before him. The flocks of sheep are without power against a strong and young lion amongst them. Thus the faithful remnant of God is described by the prophet. These shall be amidst the nations of many people strong and vigorous in the name of the Lord to help those that want help and to point out God’s method of destroying those that resist.—Page 376, paragraphs 35, 36.
8. Treating this matter further, what did the Watch Tower issue of March 15, 1929, go on to say?
8 Treating this matter further, the Watch Tower issue of March 15, 1929, page 88, paragraph 41, went on to say the following:
Even the great multitude class must be led to the living fountains of water. (Rev. 7:17) The Lord may use the remnant to thus help them. There will be many others who will be humbled by Armageddon, and they will be ready to hear. After Armageddon some of the remnant may be used by the Lord to bear witness and to aid those who need to be taught, and this they may do before actually being taken into the courts of everlasting glory. It is certain that the work of the remnant now is to proclaim the glad tidings as God’s duly appointed witnesses.
9. However, has the remnant had to wait until after Jehovah gains the victory at Har–Magedon before becoming like a “dew” and like a “maned young lion” with respect to peoples of the nations?
9 However, the remnant of spiritual Israelites have not had to wait until after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon in order to be as a “dew” of refreshment to people seeking to worship “the God of Jacob” at his spiritual temple. (Rev. 16:14, 16) No, the remnant have not had to wait until after Jehovah gains the victory at the climax of that final war before they could become like a “maned young lion” among the nations. Like the prophet Isaiah when having his vision of Jehovah at His temple, they have responded to Jehovah’s question, “Who will go for us?” Promptly after World War I ended in 1918, they said: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isa. 6:8) In obedience to the divine command, “Go,” they have gone forth to the peoples of all the nations.
10. In proclaiming what message of Jehovah has the remnant been like a lion among the nations?
10 Thus they have preached the message of the established kingdom that will bless the “sheep” class and that will destroy the “goat” class. (Matt. 25:31-46) In proclaiming “the day of vengeance on the part of our God” they have been like a lion for boldness, advising the adversaries of God’s established kingdom that they will be destroyed at Har–Magedon by Jehovah’s Warrior King, Jesus Christ, “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah.”—Isa. 61:1-3; Rev. 5:5.
11. Why is it that the “hand” of the anointed remnant has remained high above their foes, and what has been the result of this in the way of branches of the Society and the number of ingathered “sheep”?
11 In that way their “hand” for actively applying the Word of God has been “high” in victory over all the adversaries who strive to suppress the Kingdom message. Notice has been served upon those adversaries concerning their coming defeat and destruction at Har–Magedon, when they will be everlastingly “cut off.” (Mic. 5:9) On the other side of the matter, those anointed announcers of God’s kingdom have been like a refreshing “dew” to the sheeplike people who have felt like parched, dried-up “vegetation.” As a result of Jehovah’s upholding their hand it has remained on high above their foes for all these years since the publication of the above-quoted articles in the Watch Tower issues of 1928 and 1929. In evidence of this, the foreign branches of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society have increased to the number of 97, all at the service of the anointed “remnant.” Also, the “great crowd” of the “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, has kept increasing till now. How many it will finally number Revelation 7:9-17 does not state.
12. The work of the anointed remnant together with their sheeplike companions will keep on till what is let loose, and why?
12 The activities of the anointed remnant together with their sheeplike companions must continue until the “four angels” standing at the four corners of the earth are commanded to let loose the four winds that will produce the “great tribulation.” During that tribulation those who persist in rejecting the Kingdom message will be “cut off,” destroyed. By that time the final number needed for completing the 144,000 joint heirs of Jesus Christ will have been “sealed” in their foreheads. (Rev. 7:1-8, 14) Their sheeplike companions who have come out of all the nations to seek the spiritual “house” of Jehovah and who have dedicated themselves to “walk in his paths” will be safeguarded during the “great tribulation.” (Mic. 4:1-4) So they will survive on earth into the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and his glorified joint heirs.
13. How many of the anointed remnant will survive Har–Magedon, and like what will they still be among their fellow survivors?
13 How many of the anointed remnant of Christ’s joint heirs will survive with them through “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon we do not know, nor for how long thereafter. But for whatever time it is, they will continue to be as a refreshing “dew” to the “great crowd” of “other sheep.” These will be no problem for the remnant, inasmuch as already the “other sheep” have been made “one flock” with the remnant who are in “this fold” in which the “little flock” have been penned by the Fine Shepherd. (John 10:16; Luke 12:32) So it is not among the surviving “great crowd” that the remnant must act like a ferocious lion among defenseless sheep.
14. On that occasion, the heavenly Zion will be like what animal that treads, and how hard or strong will the “horn” be toward the enemies?
14 The remnant will take no military part in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. Like the Israelites in the days of King Jehoshaphat, they will merely stand and see the salvation of Jehovah by means of “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah,” Jesus Christ. (2 Chron. 20:17) On that occasion Jehovah God the Almighty will make the “horn” of heavenly Zion like iron and, like a bull, she will trample God’s enemies as if on a threshing floor. She “will certainly pulverize many peoples” to destruction. (Mic. 4:13) Whatever is left behind after their destruction will be for use by the Har–Magedon survivors.
WHAT IS NOW REQUIRED AMID A CORRUPT WORLD
15. Does one’s meeting God’s requirement as set out in Micah 6:8 allow for one to remain in Christendom or not? And why?
15 It is with regard to Christendom, the modern counterpart of disloyal Israel, that Micah 7:2, 6 says: “The loyal one has perished from the earth, and among mankind there is no upright one. . . . a man’s enemies are the men of his household.” Even for professed Christians who are part of modern Christendom to escape the consequences of this corrupt condition, what do they need to do? Make material sacrifices while they still remain a part of the corrupt religious organization? No! Instead, they must act in harmony with what is stated in Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?” To carry out this divine requirement a person will have to get out of even Christendom, inasmuch as her claims to be Christian are false. Her religious and moral corruption proves this. One’s staying inside her and trying to reform her will never succeed. She is doomed to destruction by the God she claims to serve.
16, 17. (a) What stream of people does an individual today need to join, and what choice as to godship does he have to make? (b) In singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, what deity does such an individual extol?
16 Christendom’s house of worship will be wiped out just as the temple at Jerusalem in Micah’s day was destroyed in 607 B.C.E. So, in order to “be modest in walking with your God,” an individual in Christendom, no less than an individual in all the world empire of false religion, has to join the peoples of all nationalities who are now streaming up to “the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob.” The individual must accept Jehovah’s teaching out of the heavenly Zion and must walk in the way He now sets out. This does not mean becoming a Jewish convert or proselyte Jew. It means becoming a disciple of the only-begotten Son of Jehovah and becoming the kind of witness that he was. What? Become a dedicated, baptized witness of Jehovah? Yes! It means one’s making the choice set out in Micah 4:5: “For all the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” One must join in singing “the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb,” saying:
17 “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest.”—Rev. 15:3, 4.
18. Why are the closing question and the reply of Micah fitting with respect to Jehovah?
18 Loyally, Jehovah will keep all his promises toward us, such as the one made to the patriarch Abraham and to his grandson, Jacob, or Israel, even to the extent of blessing all the families and nations of the earth by means of His Son, Jesus Christ. So doing, Jehovah himself will act as the antitypical Abraham, as the Greater Abraham. In view of his unswerving loyalty to us till now we can take up Micah’s closing words and say:
“Who is a God like you, one pardoning error and passing over transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? He will certainly not hold onto his anger forever, for he is delighting in loving-kindness. He will again show us mercy; he will subject our errors. And you will throw into the depths of the sea all their sins. You will give the trueness given to Jacob, the loving-kindness given to Abraham, which you swore to our forefathers from the days of long ago.”—Mic. 7:18-20.
19. Who is the incomparable God, and whose worship will we exalt clear through the “final part of the days”?
19 There is no God like the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us exalt his pure worship, both now, “in the final part of the days,” and even forever.
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“Peoples must stream” to life-giving worship