“Jah Jehovah is my strength and my might.”—ISAIAH 12:2.
1. (a) Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses so different? (b) How does Isaiah 12:2 express what Jehovah has done for his people?
DO YOU attend meetings at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses? There you see a people far different from any other! Who are these people, and why are they different? We are God’s own people, and we are different because we bear the grandest of all names—that of the glorious Creator of all the marvels of the universe around us. His name is upon us. It is in his name that we joyously assemble to partake of the choice spiritual food that he provides “at the proper time” through his organization. (Luke 12:42) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we thankfully extol his matchless name in the words of Isaiah chapter 12, verse 2, which reads: “Look! God is my salvation. I shall trust and be in no dread; for Jah Jehovah is my strength and my might, and he came to be the salvation of me.” Our God has brought us through many trials. Now our final salvation draws near—also at the hand of Jah Jehovah!
2. (a) How often does the expression “Jah Jehovah” occur in the Bible, and where? (b) What are alternative readings for “might” at Isaiah 12:2, and why are they also appropriate?
2 This expression “Jah Jehovah,” a doubling of the divine name, occurs only twice in the Bible, here and at Isaiah 26:4. Even the translators of the King James Version saw fit to render it “the LORD JEHOVAH.” According to a footnote in the New World Translation Reference Bible, alternative readings for “might” in Isaiah 12:2 are “melody” and “praise.” How true it is that the almighty Jah Jehovah, who supplies his worshipers with dynamic energy, is worthy of our melodious songs of praise!—Isaiah 40:28-31.
3. (a) For what has Jah Jehovah opened the way, and on the basis of what? (b) What is the effect of Paul’s words at Romans 11:33-36 on Jehovah’s Witnesses?
3 Jehovah’s power is balanced by his wisdom, justice, and love. In the exercise of these divine qualities, Jah Jehovah has opened the way for the salvation of believing mankind on the basis of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. In this connection, the apostle Paul exclaimed: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and past tracing out his ways are! For ‘who has come to know Jehovah’s mind, or who has become his counselor?’ Or, ‘Who has first given to him, so that it must be repaid to him?’ Because from him and by him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36) Therefore, how fitting it is that we hold fast to Jah Jehovah and declare our complete confidence and trust in him as our almighty God and Sovereign Lord!—Compare Hebrews 3:14.
4. (a) Why did the prophet Isaiah have good reason to declare, ‘I will trust and not be afraid’? (b) Why do Jehovah’s people have good reason to trust in Jah Jehovah in this 20th century?
4 Isaiah had good reason to declare, ‘I will trust and not be afraid.’ The prophet later became well acquainted with God’s saving acts. He was an eyewitness when Jehovah fulfilled His word by humbling Assyria and its boastful king, Sennacherib. In one night, 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain by just one angel sent by our almighty God, Jehovah! That grand salvation resulted because King Hezekiah and all Judah trusted implicitly in Jah Jehovah. (Isaiah 37:6, 7, 21, 36-38) In this 20th century, Jehovah has also delivered his people from oppressions, bannings, persecutions, and concentration camps. Like those boasting Assyrians of Isaiah’s time, the Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler railed against Jehovah’s Witnesses, on one occasion screaming, “This brood will be exterminated in Germany!” But it was Hitler and his Nazis that were exterminated. And now the small group of German Witnesses that trusted in Jehovah has grown to over 121,200!—Psalm 27:1, 2; Romans 8:31, 37.
5. How do the words of Isaiah 12:3-5 apply to God’s trusting people today?
5 Wherever persecution arises, Jehovah’s trusting people are refreshed and strengthened by drinking in life-giving waters of truth. It is just as God’s prophet said at Isaiah 12:3-5: “With exultation you people will be certain to draw water out of the springs of salvation. And in that day you will certainly say: ‘Give thanks to Jehovah, you people! Call upon his name. Make known among the peoples his dealings. Make mention that his name is put on high. Make melody to Jehovah, for he has done surpassingly. This is made known in all the earth.’” May we continue to drink deeply of Kingdom truth and thankfully magnify the name of our Sovereign Lord, Jehovah. With complete trust in Jehovah, let us “preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Whatever opposers may do, Jah Jehovah will lovingly guide us in the way of salvation!
‘The Town of Tyrannical Nations’
6, 7. (a) In harmony with Isaiah 25:1, for what should Jehovah’s worshipers glorify him? (b) How does Isaiah 25:2, 3 describe a certain city? (c) To what city is the prophet likely referring, and why?
6 Let us turn now to Isaiah chapter 25. In verse 1 we read: “O Jehovah, you are my God. I exalt you, I laud your name, for you have done wonderful things, counsels from early times, in faithfulness, in trustworthiness.” Jehovah’s trusting worshipers glorify him for the wonderful works that he has performed in their midst. But Isaiah then draws a sharp contrast, saying to Jehovah: “For you have made a city a pile of stones, a fortified town a crumbling ruin, a dwelling tower of strangers to be no city, which will not be rebuilt even to time indefinite. . . . The town of the tyrannical nations, they will fear [Jehovah].”—Isaiah 25:2, 3.
7 What is this unnamed city of tyranny? Isaiah may have been referring to Ar, the capital of Moab, always an enemy of God’s people. But the context here seems to fit another branch of Satan’s organization better—the archenemy Babylon. In due time, Babylon would devastate Judah and Jerusalem, destroy Jehovah’s house of worship, and take the survivors of the people into captivity. Isaiah quotes Babylon’s king as boasting: “To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting. . . . I shall make myself resemble the Most High.” But Jehovah would raise up Cyrus of Persia to cut down Babylon and restore God’s people to their land. As prophesied, the site of ancient Babylon was left nothing more than “a pile of stones” and “a crumbling ruin.”—Isaiah 14:12-14; 13:17-22.
8, 9. (a) With what other Babylon do Jehovah’s worshipers have to contend, and how did she develop? (b) How does Isaiah describe her, and why is the term appropriate?
8 However, more than 2,500 years after Babylon’s overthrow, Jehovah’s worshipers still have to contend with another Babylon—“Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” (Revelation 17:5) She is the world empire of false religion. She had her inception shortly after the Flood of Noah’s day, when Nimrod built the original Babylon, which became the cradle of false, sectarian religion. After Christianity was established by Jesus and his apostles, apostates contaminated Bible truth by bringing in pagan Babylonish “teachings of demons,” and Christendom’s religious system was spawned. (1 Timothy 4:1) This mimic Christianity has become the principal part of “Babylon the Great,” which extends throughout the earth into all nations of mankind. Isaiah describes her as a ‘town of tyrannical nations.’
9 For more than four millenniums, from the founding of the original Babylon until now, cruel dictators have used tyrannical clergymen as stooges in suppressing and controlling the common people. Thus, “man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Jesus felt pity for the people “because they were skinned and thrown about” by such false religious shepherds. Today, the most reprehensible group is identified as “the man of lawlessness,” made up of the self-exalted clergy of Christendom, who have taken the lead in opposing and persecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Matthew 9:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
10. (a) In harmony with Isaiah 25:3, how has ‘the town of tyrannical nations’ been compelled to glorify Jehovah, as well as fear him? (b) At Isaiah 25:4, 5, how does Isaiah speak of Jehovah, both with regard to “the lowly one” and “the tyrannical ones”?
10 In the year 1919 Jehovah released his true people from the control of “Babylon the Great.” That ‘town of tyrannical nations’ was compelled to glorify Jehovah in that she was required to observe with bitterness the “wonderful things” that he accomplished in restoring his worshipers to dynamic activity. False religionists are forced to fear Jehovah, too, in anticipation of what lies in store for them. For centuries, tyrannical clergymen have exalted themselves over the laity. But now Isaiah speaks of Jehovah, saying: “You have become a stronghold to the lowly one, a stronghold to the poor one in the distress that he has, a refuge from the rainstorm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the tyrannical ones is like a rainstorm against a wall. Like the heat in a waterless country, the noise of strangers you subdue, the heat with the shadow of a cloud. The melody itself of the tyrannical ones becomes suppressed.”—Isaiah 25:4, 5.
No Joyous Song in “Babylon”!
11. Why is there no joyous song throughout the realm of “Babylon the Great,” and how was this illustrated at the interreligious gathering at Assisi, Italy?
11 That, indeed, is the situation today throughout the realm of “Babylon the Great.” No joyous song is to be found there. Her religious leaders are confused as to the gods they should worship. This was clearly borne out at the interreligious gathering at Assisi, Italy, on October 27, 1986. There, in connection with the United Nations’ International Year of Peace, Pope John Paul II assembled the leaders of the principal religions of “Babylon the Great.” They all prayed for peace, some Buddhist monks for as long as 12 hours in one day. But to whom did they pray? Was it to Mary? Or to Christendom’s holy Trinity? Or to the Hindu trinity? Or to the thousands of gods of Buddhism? Or to Allah? Or to that lowly animal, the fox, that Shintoists worship? Or were the most acceptable prayers those of an American Indian of the Crow tribe? He was reported to be ‘glorious in a majestic headdress,’ while he lit a pipe of peace and uttered his prayers “into the smoke as it rose like incense in the cold air.”
12. To what words of Micah and Isaiah do those religionists not subscribe?
12 One thing is certain: Not one of those religionists, from Buddhism’s Dalai Lama to “His Eminence” Methodius of the Greek Orthodox Church, subscribes to the Bible’s words at Micah 4:5: “We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” They do not subscribe to the truth of Isaiah’s inspired statement at Isa chapter 42, verses 5 and 8: “This is what the true God, Jehovah, has said, the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it: ‘I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.’”
13. What really took place at Assisi, and how was this condemned by Jesus when he was on earth?
13 At Assisi, showy ceremony, distinctive garb, and repetitious prayers were the means of making great public display. That is what Jehovah’s Son Jesus condemned when he was here on earth. He said of the religious leaders of his day: “All the works they do they do to be viewed by men,” and he addressed them forthrightly, saying: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” (Matthew 23:5, 13; see also Matthew 6:1-8.) It is not outward show or the place of worship that counts with God. As Jesus said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”—John 4:21, 24.
The True Source of Peace
14. (a) Why are the prayers of the world’s religions for peace hypocritical? (b) What is the divine judgment of Christendom’s religion?
14 Viewing the confusion in the world’s religions, could anyone be so naive as to think that the prayers of religious leaders could bring world peace? They have been praying hypocritically for hundreds of years, while at the same time sharing fully in the wars of the nations, the Crusades, and the infamous persecutions. Jehovah’s prophet inquired: “Can a Cushite change his skin? or a leopard its spots? You yourselves would also be able to do good, who are persons taught to do bad.” (Jeremiah 13:23) As the foremost part of “Babylon the Great”—the world empire of false religion—Christendom’s religion in particular has been weighed in divine balances and found woefully wanting. It is doomed!—Jeremiah 2:34, 35, 37; 5:29-31; Daniel 5:27.
15. How will Jehovah bring in lasting peace, and how do those who trust in him serve the cause of peace?
15 Jehovah, “the God of peace,” will bring in lasting peace by destroying all bloodguilty ones and populating the earth with humans who really love truth and righteousness. (Philippians 4:9) According to King David, it is the meek ones who “trust in Jehovah and do good” that “will possess the earth” and “will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:3, 11) Those who ‘trust always in Jehovah and do good’ serve the cause of peace in a way that those offering mixed-up prayers to conflicting gods, idols, and images never can.—Psalm 115:2-8; Isaiah 44:14-20.
16. What banquet does Jehovah provide for those meek ones being gathered out of “the town of the tyrannical nations”?
16 What a contrast exists between the prayers and hopes of God’s own people and those of supporters of “Babylon the Great”! How well we appreciate that “the melody itself of the tyrannical ones becomes suppressed”! (Isaiah 25:5) But speaking of meek ones that are being gathered out of “the town of the tyrannical nations,” Isaiah goes on to say: “Jehovah of armies will certainly make for all the peoples, in this mountain, a banquet of well-oiled dishes, a banquet of wine kept on the dregs, . . . filtered.” (Isaiah 25:6) The spiritual feast shared in today by those who come to worship Jehovah is delightfully satisfying, a banquet indeed! Our hearts are strengthened to endure and our joy overflows as we serve Jehovah zealously in anticipation of the regeneration and banquet of good things that Jehovah has promised for the new earth.—Psalm 104:1, 14, 15; Matthew 19:28, KJ.
17. What “wonderful things” will Jehovah accomplish, bringing what joys?
17 Soon, Jah Jehovah will do “wonderful things” in removing not only “Babylon the Great” but also “the woven work” of condemnation that envelops mankind because of Adam’s sin. (Isaiah 25:7) Yes, on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, our God will fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 25:8: “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.” What a joy to see Adamic sin and death removed and to welcome loved ones as they return from the clutches of death! What a delight to know that Jehovah’s faithful witnesses have given the complete reply to the great Taunter, Satan the Devil! (Proverbs 27:11) No longer will anyone cast reproach on them, for they will have triumphed as to their integrity. “In faithfulness, in trustworthiness,” Jehovah himself will have carried out the things prophesied—his “counsels from early times.” All the earth will have become a righteous paradise, filled with righteous people. A grand prospect indeed!
18. Despite pressures, what are we determined to do, in harmony with Isaiah 25:9?
18 Our trusting always in Jehovah through these dark days will have its sure reward. Whatever pressures we must fight in our daily lives—whether in providing for our families, in holding fast to Bible principles at school, or in giving the witness in difficult territories—let us trust always in Jehovah. Our maintaining an intimate relationship with Jehovah as the “Hearer of prayer” will ensure us salvation. (Psalm 65:2) Therefore, let us be determined to remain among those who say, in the words of Isaiah 25:9: “Look! This is our God. We have hoped in him, and he will save us. This is Jehovah. We have hoped in him. Let us be joyful and rejoice in the salvation by him.”
Questions in Review
□ How is Jah Jehovah our strength and our might?
□ What is “the town of the tyrannical nations”?
□ How has ‘the town of tyrannical nations’ been compelled to glorify Jehovah, as well as fear him?
□ What shows that there is no joyous song in “Babylon the Great”?
□ What “wonderful things” will Jehovah yet do for his people?