“They Will Have to Know That I Am Jehovah”
“I shall no more let my holy name be profaned; and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah.”—EZEKIEL 39:7.
1, 2. How do we know that Jehovah will not endlessly tolerate the profaning of his holy name?
JEHOVAH’S holy name was profaned by the ancient Israelites. This the book of Ezekiel makes clear. But the people of Christendom also profane the name of the God they profess to worship.
2 Will the Universal Sovereign endlessly tolerate the profaning of his name? No, for he has declared: “I shall no more let my holy name be profaned; and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 39:7; see also Ezekiel 38:23.) What will this mean? And what lessons can be learned from later chapters in the book of Ezekiel?
Prophecies Against Others
3. (a) How did other nations react to Judah’s suffering? (b) For what spirit was Tyre’s “king” removed, and how should this affect us?
3 After Jerusalem’s destruction, Ammon was condemned for expressing glee over Judah’s suffering, and Moab for adopting a scornful attitude toward Judah. Edom was held guilty of malice, and the Philistines’ vengeful spirit was to bring God’s “raging reproofs.” (Ezekiel 25:1-17; Proverbs 24:17, 18) For exulting over Jerusalem’s calamity, the city of Tyre would fall to Nebuchadnezzar, or Nebuchadrezzar (a spelling nearer the Babylonian). (Ezekiel 26:1-21) She was like a ship sure to sink. (Ezekiel 27:1-36) Tyre’s “king” (apparently her line of rulers) was removed for having a proud spirit like that of Satan. (Ezekiel 28:1-26) Surely, then, we should avoid sinful haughtiness that might cause us to profane Jehovah’s name.—Psalm 138:6; Proverbs 21:4.
4. What was in store for Pharaoh and Egypt?
4 Ezekiel foretold a 40-year desolation of Egypt. Her wealth would be Nebuchadrezzar’s pay for military service rendered in executing Jehovah’s judgment upon Tyre. (Ezekiel 29:1-21) When God saw to it that the Egyptians were dispersed, ‘they would know that he is Jehovah.’ (Ezekiel 30:1-26) Representing Egypt, proud Pharaoh was likened to a lofty cedar tree that would be cut down. (Ezekiel 31:1-18) Finally, Ezekiel lifted up dirges about Pharaoh and the descent of Egypt into Sheol.—Ezekiel 32:1-32.
The Watchman’s Duty
5. (a) Only under what circumstances does God approve of a spiritual watchman? (b) What does it mean to ‘walk in the very statutes of life’?
5 Ezekiel was reminded of his duty as a watchman. (Ezekiel 33:1-7) Of course, God approves of a spiritual watchman only if he does his duty and warns the wicked. (Read Ezekiel 33:8, 9.) Like Ezekiel, then, the anointed “watchman” class boldly declares divine warnings. Since God takes no delight in the death of wicked ones, he will not hold their past record against them if they heed warnings and ‘walk in the very statutes of life.’ In Ezekiel’s day, walking in those statutes meant keeping the Law, but it now means accepting Christ’s ransom and being his follower. (1 Peter 2:21) There is nothing maladjusted about the way God punishes or rewards people, and preservation through the “great tribulation” depends on compliance with his statutes.—Ezekiel 33:10-20; Matthew 24:21.
6. Today, how are many like the Jewish exiles of Ezekiel’s time?
6 Near the end of 607 B.C.E., a refugee reported Jerusalem’s destruction, and Ezekiel again spoke Jehovah’s message. (Ezekiel 33:21-29) How did the exiles react? (Read Ezekiel 33:30-33.) Today, many are like the Jewish exiles to whom Ezekiel was a singer of ‘a sensuous love song.’ When the anointed ones and their associates call from house to house, these people enjoy the sound of the Kingdom message but do not embrace it. To them, it is like a pleasant love song, but they do not make a dedication to Jehovah, and they will not survive the “great tribulation.”
Jehovah’s “One Shepherd”
7. What actions by Jehovah in our time are comparable to his dealings with his sheep in Ezekiel’s day?
7 In a message to Ezekiel after Jerusalem’s fall, Jehovah condemned profaners of His holy name, the governmental “shepherds of Israel.” How well those words fit the rulers of Christendom! (Read Ezekiel 34:1-6.) Unlike the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, Christendom’s political rulers fatten themselves materially off the “sheep.” (John 10:9-15) But as God delivered his sheep by stripping selfish shepherds of rulership when Judah was desolated, so he will again deliver his sheep by depriving Christendom’s rulers of their authority during the “great tribulation.” (Revelation 16:14-16; 19:11-21) Jehovah showed love for his sheeplike people when he delivered them from Babylon in 537 B.C.E., even as he displayed that quality when he used the Greater Cyrus, Jesus Christ, to free the remnant of spiritual Israel from bondage to Babylon the Great in 1919 C.E.—Ezekiel 34:7-14.
8. What would Jehovah do if a ‘fat sheep’ was to oppress the flock, and how must Christian undershepherds treat the sheep?
8 God gives his sheep tender care. (Read Ezekiel 34:15, 16.) If a ‘fat sheep’ was to oppress God’s flock today, Jehovah would “feed” him with disfellowshipping now and annihilation in the “great tribulation.” In 1914 Jehovah placed over the anointed remnant “one shepherd,” Jesus Christ. Since 1935 he has directed the gathering of a “great crowd” of “other sheep,” who now serve with anointed ‘sheep of Jehovah’s pasturing.’ Like God and Christ, Christian undershepherds must treat all these sheep with tenderness.—Ezekiel 34:17-31; Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Psalm 23:1-4; Acts 20:28-30.
A “Garden of Eden”!
9. Since Jehovah had determined that the land of Judah and Israel should keep a sabbath, what did he do?
9 Consider again the desolated land of Judah and Israel. Since God had determined that it should keep a sabbath by remaining unoccupied for 70 years, he acted to prevent Edom and other nations from occupying that territory. (2 Chronicles 36:19-21; Daniel 9:2) In fact, Edom and its mountainous region of Seir were also desolated, as foretold, being subjugated by the Babylonians in 602-601 B.C.E.—Ezekiel 35:1–36:5; Jeremiah 25:15-26.
10. The restoration of a remnant to Judah in 537 B.C.E. pointed to what developments in our day?
10 The restoration of a remnant to Judah in 537 B.C.E. pointed to thrilling developments in our day. In 1919 “the mountains of Israel,” or the spiritual estate of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses, began to be repopulated with a spiritually revived remnant. (Ezekiel 36:6-15) God cleansed them of religious uncleanness and put in them “a new spirit” enabling them to produce the fruitage of his holy spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) And so that Jehovah’s name might not be profaned by worldlings because he had disciplined his people, he has blessed the remnant abundantly.—Ezekiel 36:16-32.
11. In harmony with Ezekiel 36:33-36, what has God done with the spiritual estate of the anointed remnant?
11 After a remnant returned to Judah, that desolated land was transformed into a fruitful “garden of Eden.” (Read Ezekiel 36:33-36.) Similarly, since 1919 Jehovah has transformed the once desolate estate of the anointed remnant into a fruitful spiritual paradise, now shared with the “great crowd.” Since this spiritual paradise has been populated with holy people, let each dedicated Christian work to keep it clean.—Ezekiel 36:37, 38.
12. How was the revitalizing of the ancient Jewish nation illustrated at Ezekiel 37:1-14, and what modern-day parallel did this have?
12 In Babylonian captivity, the Jews were almost a dead nation, like mere bones in a field. (Ezekiel 37:1-4) But what did Ezekiel next see? (Read Ezekiel 37:5-10.) Those bones were reclothed with sinews, flesh, and skin, and they were reactivated with the breath of life. (Ezekiel 37:11-14) God resurrected the Jewish nation when 42,360 people of all tribes of Israel and some 7,500 non-Israelites seized their opportunity to repopulate Judah, rebuild Jerusalem and its temple, and restore true worship in their homeland. (Ezra 1:1-4; 2:64, 65) Similarly, in 1918 the persecuted remnant of spiritual Israel became like those dry bones—killed as regards their public witnessing work. But in 1919 Jehovah revived them as Kingdom proclaimers. (Revelation 11:7-12) This parallel should strengthen our confidence that these anointed ones and their associates make up the earthly organization Jehovah is using today.—See the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, pages 87-125.
13. How was restoration of organizational unity among Jehovah’s ancient people illustrated at Ezekiel 37:15-20, and what parallel was there for this?
13 How was the restoration of organizational unity among Jehovah’s ancient people illustrated? (Read Ezekiel 37:15-20.) There is a modern parallel for the joining of the two sticks (one marked for the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, the other for ten-tribe Israel). During World War I, ambitious men tried to break up the unity of God’s servants, but in 1919 faithful anointed ones were unified under Christ, their “one king” and “one shepherd.” Moreover, like the more than 7,500 non-Israelites who returned to Judah, those of the “great crowd” are now united with the anointed remnant. What joy to be in the spiritual paradise, serving Jehovah in unity under our “one king”!—Ezekiel 37:21-28.
14. Who is Gog of Magog, and what action will he take? (Ezekiel 38:1-17)
14 Next, a dramatic event was foretold. Hoping to profane God’s name and destroy His people, Gog of Magog will attack the remnant of spiritual Israel, who represent Jehovah’s “woman,” or heavenly organization. (Revelation 12:1-17) Gog is “the ruler of this world,” Satan the Devil. He received the name Gog after his ouster from heaven, following the Kingdom’s birth in 1914. (John 12:31) “The land of Magog” is the location to which Gog and his demons are confined in the vicinity of the earth. After antireligious forces destroy Christendom and the rest of Babylon the Great, Jehovah will bring Gog against the seemingly defenseless remnant of spiritual Israel and their dedicated associates.—Ezekiel 38:1-17; Revelation 17:12-14.
15. What will occur when Gog attacks Jehovah’s Witnesses?
15 What will happen when Gog attacks Jehovah’s Witnesses? (Read Ezekiel 38:18-23.) Jehovah will rescue his people! His weapons will be flooding cloudbursts, huge hailstones, streaking fire, raging pestilence. In confusion, Gog’s forces will turn their swords against one another. But before God wipes them out of existence, ‘they will be made to know that he is Jehovah.’
16. (a) What will happen to “the land of Magog”? (b) How should we be affected by knowledge of foretold events involving Gog?
16 When Satan and his demons are abyssed, “the land of Magog,” their debased location at the earth, will be gone forever. (Revelation 20:1-3) Gog’s war equipment will be so extensive that it will take some time to dispose of it. Birds and beasts will gorge themselves on the unburied bodies of Gog’s crowd. How should knowledge of all of this affect us? Why, learning that Gog’s attack is imminent but that Jehovah will rescue His people ought to increase our faith and make us rejoice that such events will result in sanctifying God’s long-profaned name!—Ezekiel 39:1-29.
Behold Jehovah’s Sanctuary!
17. (a) What vision was Ezekiel granted in 593 B.C.E.? (b) Of what is the existence of the visionary temple proof?
17 In 593 B.C.E., the 14th year after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was granted a vision of a new sanctuary for Jehovah’s worship. Measured by the prophet’s angelic guide, it was of gigantic proportions. (Ezekiel 40:1–48:35) This temple pictured “the true tent, which Jehovah put up,” and it had the “typical representations of the things in the heavens.” Jesus Christ entered its Most Holy, “heaven itself,” in 33 C.E. to present to God the merit of his ransom sacrifice. (Hebrews 8:2; 9:23, 24) The visionary temple proves that pure worship will survive Gog’s attack. What comfort for lovers of Jehovah’s name!
18. What are some of the recorded features of the visionary temple?
18 The temple had many features. For example, there were six gateways in its outer and inner walls. (Ezekiel 40:6-35) Thirty dining rooms (likely for people to eat communion sacrifices) were in the outer courtyard. (40:17) The altar of burnt offering was in the inner courtyard. (43:13-17) A wooden altar, apparently for burning incense, was in the temple’s first room. (41:21, 22) The Most Holy was 20 cubits square, and the wall around the temple was 500 reeds (5,100 feet [1,600 m]) on each side. What a grand house filled with God’s glory!—Ezekiel 41:4; 42:16-20; 43:1-7.
19. How should we be affected by the details of the temple and the fact that those ministering there had to meet God’s standards?
19 The many details of the temple, sacrifices, offerings, and festivals should impress us with the need to follow instructions from God’s organization carefully, realizing that every effort should be made to exalt Jehovah and his worship. (Ezekiel 45:13-25; 46:12-20) Those ministering at the temple had to meet God’s high standards, and they were to teach people ‘the difference between holy things and profane things.’ (Ezekiel 44:15, 16, 23) This should move us to maintain holiness as Jehovah’s people.—Ephesians 1:3, 4.
20. (a) What is symbolized by the water that flowed from the visionary temple? (b) This symbolic water will have what effect?
20 From the temple flowed a stream that healed, or sweetened, the salty waters of the Dead Sea, so that they came to teem with fish. (Ezekiel 47:1-11) This water symbolizes God’s provision for life eternal, including Jesus’ sacrifice, which is ample for survivors of Gog’s attack and others, including those resurrected. (John 5:28, 29; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 22:1, 2) The Dead Sea represents the element in which mankind has existed—condemnation to inherited sin and death as well as Satan’s rulership. Like the plentiful fish in the sweetened waters of the Dead Sea, redeemed mankind will flourish under the healed circumstances of Messianic rule.
21. Ezekiel 47:12 indicates that obedient mankind will enjoy what in the new world?
21 Healing is also associated with trees growing alongside the visionary stream. (Read Ezekiel 47:12.) In the new world, obedient mankind will enjoy perfect physical and spiritual health. And why not? Leafage of the envisioned fruit trees has continuous healing properties. What blessings for those who know and serve Jehovah!
Then They Will Know!
22. What indicates that God will place people where he chooses in Paradise?
22 By cooperating with Jehovah’s organization now, we can develop qualities that will make us cooperative when God places people where he chooses in the earthly Paradise. That there will be such placement of people is suggested by the fact that tribal assignments were made north and south of an administrative strip seen by Ezekiel in vision. That three-part “contribution” of land included a section for the nonpriestly Levites and a priestly portion containing the visionary temple. In the center of the southern section was a city with an intertribal work force under a collective “chieftain,” the Messiah’s princely representatives in the “new earth.”—Ezekiel 47:13–48:34; 2 Peter 3:13; Psalm 45:16.
23. To be part of redeemed mankind living in Paradise, what must we do now?
23 Enthroned in his heavenly sanctuary, God will bless the symbolic city beheld by Ezekiel. (Read Ezekiel 48:35.) That earthly seat of administration will be named Jehovah-Shammah, or “Jehovah Himself Is There.” Continue to display unfailing love for God, and you can be part of redeemed mankind living in Paradise, when no one on earth will be in spiritual darkness but all will know that Jehovah is the one living and true God. (Habakkuk 2:14) Avoid being forced to acknowledge God’s name against your will when the wicked are destroyed. Exercise faith, showing that you hope to be among the survivors when he fulfills the words: “The nations will have to know that I am Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 36:23.
What Would You Say?
□ Only under what circumstances does Jehovah approve of a spiritual watchman?
□ How does Jehovah treat his sheep, and how should Christian shepherds deal with them?
□ How was the revitalizing of the Jewish nation illustrated? (Ezekiel 37:1-14) What is the modern parallel of this?
□ Who is Gog of Magog, and what will happen when he attacks Jehovah’s Witnesses?
□ What is symbolized by the water flowing from the visionary temple?
[Map/Picture on page 25]
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The holy contribution and tribal assignments
THE GREAT SEA
ENTERING IN TO HAMATH
Sea of Galilee
[Picture on page 23]
Jehovah gives his sheep tender care, as did ancient shepherds. So Christian shepherds should treat God’s flock with tenderness