“Flocking Together in Battle Line”
“All these were men of war, flocking together in battle line; with a complete heart they came to Hebron to make David king over all Israel.”—1 CHRONICLES 12:38.
1. What urgent situation today calls for alertness?
SOUND loud the battle call! Let all valiant witnesses of Jehovah muster for duty! The war against the enemy is approaching a critical stage. The days are urgent. We cannot afford to lapse into easygoing attitudes or be lulled into thinking that the warfare has abated. That is what the enemy would have us think, for he knows his time is short. Therefore, we may expect the enemy to make a sudden onslaught in the hope of catching the fighters for truth unawares.—1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.
2. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses not need to fear their enemies? (Psalm 24:8)
2 Jehovah sees his faithful witnesses today as fighters engaged in a spiritual warfare that is rapidly moving on to a climax. When called for, Jehovah becomes a “manly person of war” whose right hand can shatter and throw down his enemies. (Exodus 15:3, 6, 7) His promise to ancient Israel who were to be led by his angel still stands: “If you strictly obey his voice and really do all that I shall speak, then I shall certainly be hostile to your enemies and harass those who harass you.”—Exodus 23:20-22.
3. (a) Describe Jesus’ position since 1914 C.E. (b) In what warfare has he been engaged? (c) Why are the anointed followers of Jesus today under attack?
3 Prophetic truth reveals to our eyes of faith that, since the fall of the year 1914 C.E., the glorified Christ Jesus has been appointed by Jehovah as Field Marshal of the heavenly hosts of warrior angels. (Psalm 110:1, 2; Matthew 25:31) Swiftly he led these forces against the Devil and his angels, sweeping the heavens clear of their polluting presence and cornering them in the vicinity of planet Earth. And now, while awaiting the final signal from Jehovah to destroy the enemy, Christ Jesus conducts a visible earth-wide activity that also involves warfare. (Revelation 12:7-9) Satan and his demon hordes, realizing their time is short, wrathfully wage war with the remaining ones of the anointed followers of Jesus. Why? Because they are obediently proclaiming the Kingdom of their God and his Christ.—Revelation 12:17.
‘Soldiers of Christ Jesus’
4. Explain what constitutes “a fine soldier of Christ Jesus.”
4 It follows that all those associating with and supporting the remnant of God’s anointed people likewise become the target of this vicious warfare. Hence, to each one who is thus serving as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses today comes Paul’s stirring exhortation: “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus take your part in suffering evil. No man serving as a soldier involves himself in the commercial businesses of life, in order that he may gain the approval of the one who enrolled him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3, 4) Every other activity in life must take second place to our service for Jehovah’s great Field Marshal.
5. (a) How does Paul describe the Christian’s spiritual warfare? (b) What is the determination of Christian soldiers, and what will encourage them in the contest?
5 The reality and the nature of this spiritual warfare comes home to us as we consider these reminders of the apostle Paul: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to what we are in the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; . . . and we are holding ourselves in readiness to inflict punishment for every disobedience, as soon as your own obedience has been fully carried out.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; see also Ephesians 6:12.) As soldiers of Christ Jesus, we want to demonstrate for all to see that we are submissive to his battle orders and ever ready to share in and carry out the strategies that he chooses. To encourage us, then, in the field of spiritual contest, let us turn back the pages of God’s Word to a historical event in ancient Israel. Here we can find meaningful prophetic types of happenings now taking place.—Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11.
A Choice of Kingship—Past and Present
6. Describe the events leading up to David’s acceptance as king and how this affected individuals.
6 Consider the situation in the time of King David, God’s choice as king for all Israel. Following Saul’s death the men of Judah were the first to recognize God’s choice of David as their king. The rest of the tribes chose Saul’s son Ish-bosheth as king, and this resulted in continued strife. (2 Samuel 2:1-11; 3:1) With the assassination of Ish-bosheth some two years later, the way was paved for the other tribes to join Judah. In time David was duly anointed king over all Israel. (2 Samuel 4:5-12; 5:1-3) But in the interim many individuals had to make up their minds as to whom they would serve. They had to consider the credentials of this young man David. Was he truly God’s anointed? Was he the one who would have Jehovah’s blessing in contrast with the divine disapproval of Saul? Would David successfully be able to lead the armies of Israel against surrounding enemies?
7. What was involved in accepting David’s kingship?
7 Evidently some Israelites decided in favor of the condemned house of Saul. Others decided on the basis of personal expediency. Still others remained indecisive. But sooner or later the choice had to be made, and happy were those who wholeheartedly chose to support David’s kingship! These were not selfish or taking the course of least resistance. They were not double-minded. Rather, their support for Jehovah’s king led them to adopt an active role as David’s subjects and soldiers. As 1 Chronicles 12:22 reports: “Day by day people kept coming to David to help him, until it was as a great camp, like the camp of God.”
8. How does 1 Chronicles 12:32, 38 identify those accepting David’s kingship?
8 From the details of the record we note that among these multitudes were those “having a knowledge of how to discern the times to know what Israel ought to do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32) These were not lukewarm in their allegiance to the king. They were well armed so as to present themselves as ready to accept David’s lead in warfare. They did not expect an easy life. They ‘discerned the times’ and knew that the kingdom was surrounded by enemies that were ready to swallow up Israel and blot out the worship of Jehovah. Those from east of the Jordan River were “men of war, flocking together in battle line” and ready to serve under David with a “complete heart.”—1 Chronicles 12:38.
9. (a) Do we find a modern-day parallel to the situation in David’s day? (b) What issue confronts all people today?
9 How thrilling it now is to observe unfolding before our very eyes a modern-day antitype of that situation! The Greater David, Christ Jesus, has been chosen by Jehovah and is now ruling as heavenly King. Worldly nations are opposed to his kingship. They threaten to wipe out the King’s subjects on earth. (Psalm 2:1-3) Therefore, individuals worldwide are being called upon to take their stand on one side of the issue or the other. That issue is: Are they for the Kingdom of Jehovah’s Son or against it? Multitudes are indecisive. Others determine their position merely by what is expedient, only selfishly considering their own personal safety and gain.—Zephaniah 2:2, 3; Joel 3:14.
10. (a) Why are many undecided about accepting Christ’s kingship? (b) What responsibility now rests on Jehovah’s Witnesses?
10 As the fame of God’s royal representatives on earth continues to spread far and wide, more and more persons are enabled to make an intelligent choice. (Micah 4:1-3; Zechariah 8:23) Many are undecided only because they lack knowledge of the facts; they lack discernment as to the meaning of these times and the urgent need for them to take their stand solidly for God’s Kingdom. Multitudes therefore are still under the influence of Satanic propaganda and in danger of being dragged down to destruction along with Satan and his accomplices. Hence, the urgent call is for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses to rally to the side of the Greater David, Christ Jesus, armed and equipped to do battle with the enemy.—Compare Matthew 12:30.
Who Are Qualified for Battle?
11. Explain how Jesus showed the way that our obedience to Christ can be “fully carried out.”
11 In their spiritual warfare all soldiers of Christ must meet some very important requirements. For example, Paul showed how their own obedience to the Christ must be “fully carried out.” (2 Corinthians 10:5, 6) How can we determine whether this is now being reflected in our own course and attitude? The following questions should help us in our individual determination:
Have we truly put our service to God and Christ far ahead of any human relationship? (Matthew 10:37)
Have we got rid of any ambition to be rich in material things or to be well spoken of in worldly circles? (Luke 6:20-26)
Are we anxious to please our Leader and Commander instead of being anxious about those things Jehovah has promised to provide—food, clothing and shelter? (Matthew 6:25-32)
Have we stopped judging and criticizing our fellow soldiers of Christ so as not to introduce disunity and dissension in the holy ranks? (Luke 6:37; Psalm 133:1-3)
Do we truly love our brothers and seek the welfare of all enrolled in this spiritual warfare against God’s enemies? (John 13:35; 1 Peter 4:8)
These are searching questions that all of Christ’s followers must answer personally.
12. In what way can friends and foes of God’s Kingdom be identified? (Matthew 25:31-46)
12 Another important matter to be considered in our Christian warfare is our having a clear vision of the gulf that separates God’s clean organization from the permissive, immoral organizations of this world. (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 97:10) Opposed armies in a war have to be able to distinguish clearly between friend and foe. This is made possible by their distinctive uniforms and armorial equipment. We have been instructed as to the fruits of the spirit of God. We have been made aware of the works of the flesh, which are also manifested just like fruits. (Galatians 5:19-24) So there is really no gray area between God’s organization and Satan’s organization.
13. Regular meetings serve what purpose in our spiritual warfare?
13 Further, do we show by our course of action that we are regularly ‘conscious of our spiritual need’? (Matthew 5:3; Hebrews 10:25) In carnal warfare it is essential that officers and other personnel have briefing sessions so as to be kept up-to-date on the movements on the battlefield and the latest enemy strategy. Likewise, our meetings at the Kingdom Hall or elsewhere are vital so that we may be regularly strengthened by the Word of God and his holy spirit, as well as being kept alert to the movements of the enemy.—1 Peter 5:8.
14. How may the words of Zechariah at Luke 1:74, 75 well express our feelings?
14 How grateful all of us should be to Jehovah and his Son for equipping us so well for spiritual warfare! Like John the Baptizer’s father, Zechariah, we feel impelled to praise Jehovah for granting us, “after we have been rescued from the hands of enemies, the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to him with loyalty and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:74, 75) We have been rescued from Babylon the Great. And now, having met the requirements of our Leader and Commander, we are in position to form up in battle line to engage the enemies of God and Christ.
15, 16. (a) Satan has implanted what “reasonings” and “entrenched things” in the minds of men? (b) How only can these be ‘overturned,’ and to what extent is this taking place?
15 All the armaments and armed forces of this world are as mere childish toys in comparison with the false philosophies and traditions of men inspired by Satan and his demon hosts. Aspiring to be like God in majesty and power, Satan has propagated his lying doctrines far and wide. He contradicts the true God and deceptively claims that he himself is the fountain of knowledge. He teaches that man has no need for Jehovah, that, on his own, man can progress to the point of being like God. The Devil denies God’s rights of creatorship, palming off on humankind the notion that man is a product of evolution. He has managed to have multitudes believe that there is no real death, that what seems like death is actually a change to some other form of life. He has promoted various forms of government, all rooted and grounded in selfishness. These and many more are the “reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.”—2 Corinthians 10:5.
16 Those ‘strongly entrenched ideas’ need to be overturned, exposed, so that victims of delusion may be mentally and spiritually liberated. (2 Corinthians 10:4) We have the necessary arms and armor—faith as a shield, truth as a strengthening girdle, righteousness as a protection for the heart, the hope of salvation as a helmet, the Word of God as a sword and the good news of peace, for helping those who want to submit to the King of Jehovah’s choice. (Ephesians 6:14-17) By the use of such spiritual weapons the Christian witnesses of Jehovah are setting countless captives free!
Victory Is Assured
17. Psalm 45:3, 4 points to what outcome when Christ engages the enemy in the final war?
17 The time draws ever nearer when Jehovah will signal his chosen King to engage the enemy in a final war. Addressing that Leader of heavenly armies, Jehovah will call out in the words of Psalm 45:3, 4: “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, with your dignity and your splendor. And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness, and your right hand will instruct you in fear-inspiring things.” The outcome of that action is certain. Satan’s entire organization, visible and invisible, will be removed, ridding the earth of all wicked and oppressive rule. What a happy day that will be for the survivors, with all oppressors, liars, fornicators and ruiners of the earth gone forever!—Revelation 11:16-18; 19:11-21.
18. Since 1914 C.E., how has there been a “flocking together in battle line”?
18 How marvelous it is to see the fulfillment of dramatic situations recorded in the Scriptures now taking place! In our day, the anointed spiritual brothers of Christ Jesus were the first to accept him as their King, following his enthronement in 1914 C.E. They have all ‘flocked together in battle line.’ Then, particularly since 1935, when light flashed forth on Revelation 7:9-17, a “great crowd” have recognized the true source of success and blessing and have ‘flocked together.’ They have joined themselves to the modern spiritual Israelites, all appearing in battle formation, ready to share in the sufferings and hardships of open spiritual war with Satan’s entire organization—to the honor and glory of Jehovah.—Zechariah 2:11.
19. What, then, should be the determination of each valiant witness of Jehovah?
19 Clearly, then, the days are urgent. This is no time to think the spiritual warfare is over. May the enemy never catch us unawares in the approaching critical stage of our sacred service. Whether we are of the remnant of spiritual Israelites or of the “great crowd” of their companions, let us all ‘flock together in battle line, with a complete heart.’ May we continue boldly sounding out the battle call because Jehovah assures us of the victory!—2 Chronicles 20:15.
□ Why is it now urgent to ‘flock together in battle line’?
□ In what kind of warfare are Jehovah’s Witnesses engaged?
□ All people today face what vital issue?
□ Who qualifies as a “soldier of Christ Jesus”?
□ What victory is now assured?
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Meeting regularly at the Kingdom Hall (1) strengthens us for spiritual warfare, (2) helps us “discern the times” and (3) shows us how to serve with a “complete heart”