The Coming Finale of “the Book of the Wars of Jehovah”
“It is said in the book of the Wars of Jehovah.”—NUMBERS 21:14.
1, 2. On what ancient occasion did Jehovah display to the Egyptians that he was a warrior God, and how did he do it?
IT IS little appreciated by men of today that the God of the Bible, Jehovah, is a warrior, a manly person of war. This fact was dramatized when he delivered his people of ancient times from oppression in Egypt. Pharaoh had been incited by the invisible enemy of that people, Satan the Devil, to try to work them to death. Now, coming to a realization of what he was losing by letting the Israelites go free, Pharaoh and his military forces went in pursuit of them.
2 Pharaoh, however, did not discern that the God of the Israelites could become a warrior God in order to deliver His people. As those Egyptian forces were pressing through the dry bed of the Red Sea in vengeful pursuit, the God of the endangered Israelites took action and drowned the charioteers and the horsemen, letting the heaped-up waters cave in upon the escape corridor that had been miraculously opened for the Israelites.—Exodus 14:14, 24-28.
3. In their victory song, the Israelites characterized Jehovah as what sort of God, but what fact do the nations of today ignore?
3 Safe on the eastern bank of the Red Sea, the jubilant Israelites sang a victory song, extolling their heavenly Deliverer: “Let me sing to Jehovah, for he has become highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has pitched into the sea. My strength and my might is Jah, since he serves for my salvation. This is my God, and I shall laud him; my father’s God, and I shall raise him on high. Jehovah is a manly person of war. Jehovah is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his military forces he has cast into the sea, and the choice of his warriors have been sunk in the Red Sea.” (Exodus 15:1-4) There at the Red Sea, Jehovah displayed himself as a warrior capable of spectacular deeds. This fact the worldly nations have ignored.
4, 5. Those jubilant 12 tribes of Israel stemmed from what common forefather, and whose friend did this one become because of what quality?
4 The prophet Moses, who led in the singing of that inspired song, spoke of Jehovah as “my father’s God.” The Hebrew Abraham was an outstanding forefather of the nation of Israel. From him, through Isaac and Jacob and the 12 sons of Jacob, stemmed the 12 tribes of Israel. Abraham proved himself to be an exemplary worshiper of Jehovah God. He was a man of such strong faith that when Jehovah called him to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldeans, he unhesitatingly set out for the land that Jehovah was going to show him, confident that God would fulfill His promise to give it to him and to his offspring.
5 Because of Abraham’s magnificent faith, Jehovah promised to give Abraham a “seed,” or offspring, by means of which all the families of the earth, including the families of today, would bless themselves. (Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:17, 18) Abraham was brought into such a close relationship with his God that he was known as “Jehovah’s friend,” God himself calling the faithful patriarch “my friend.”—James 2:23; Isaiah 41:8.
6. Although a peaceful wanderer in the Promised Land, how did Abraham prove himself to be a fighter trusting in Jehovah?
6 Although moving about like a stranger in the Promised Land, Abraham proved that he could act as a fighter, a warrior. On one occasion four kings from outside invaded the Promised Land and made off with Abraham’s nephew Lot and Lot’s family. Abraham, moved by strong family ties, armed 318 of his male servants, and together with reinforcements from three of his local allies, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, he chased after the marauders. Making a surprise attack upon them by night, Abraham and his band defeated the invaders, even though they were a far superior force. A “slaughter of the kings” occurred. (Hebrews 7:1; Genesis 14:13-17) Abraham rescued Lot and his family and recovered all that was stolen.
7-9. (a) What priest did Abraham visit, and what blessing did he obtain? (b) How did Abraham show that he wanted to be made rich only by the Most High God? (c) As confirmed by Melchizedek, who gave Abraham the military victory?
7 Abraham recognized that his military exploit had proved successful only with the help of Jehovah God, and on his triumphal journey homeward, he was able to make a public acknowledgment of that fact. He knew that the approved priest of his God was to be found in the city of Salem. So to that city he marched. The latter part of Genesis chapter 14 informs us of what then took place:
8 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine, and he was priest of the Most High God. Then he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth; and blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your oppressors into your hand!’ At that Abram gave him a tenth of everything. After that the king of Sodom said to Abram: ‘Give me the souls, but take the goods for yourself.’ At this Abram said to the king of Sodom: ‘I do lift up my hand in an oath to Jehovah the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth, that, from a thread to a sandal lace, no, I shall take nothing from anything that is yours, in order that you may not say, “It was I who made Abram rich.” Nothing for me! Only what the young men have already eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol and Mamre—let them take their share.’”—Genesis 14:18-24.
9 As these verses show, Melchizedek, the royal priest of the city of Salem, confirmed Abraham’s conviction that it was the Most High God who fought for him and his military forces and gave him the victory. King-Priest Melchizedek did not detract from Jehovah’s part in the matter.
The Book of Jehovah’s Wars
10. What is the first mention of warfare in the Bible, and why was it just a beginning of Jehovah’s victorious wars?
10 The description in Genesis 14 of the invasion of the Promised Land and of Abraham’s defeating of the armed invaders is the first mention of warfare in the Holy Scriptures. Thus, more than four centuries before his exploit at the Red Sea, Jehovah displayed himself as a warrior, “a manly person of war.” Yet, that was only a beginning. Far greater and more resounding victories would follow, including a final one in this “conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 24:3.
11. What is “the book of the Wars of Jehovah,” but where else is there an abundance of accounts of his military exploits?
11 According to what is said at Numbers 21:14, a “book of the Wars of Jehovah” was written up. This reliable record, or history, of God’s wars in behalf of his people, perhaps had its beginning with this battle in behalf of the faithful Abraham. Moses knew of this book but gives us no further details about it. Hence, we are not informed of all the ways that Jehovah demonstrated himself to be a warrior during the period of time covered by that book of the Wars of Jehovah. Since the mention of that book, however, the major portion of the Holy Bible came to be written, and this gives us plenty of accounts of Jehovah’s military exploits.
The Greater Melchizedek—A Warrior
12. Melchizedek pictured what greater Official of the Most High God, and what psalm composed by David is addressed to this one as a priest and warrior?
12 After Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer and his confederate kings, Melchizedek blessed him. King-Priest Melchizedek prophetically pictured One who would be the High Priest of the Most High God and also a mighty warrior backed up by the Supreme God. Psalm 110, composed under inspiration by the warrior-king David, is addressed to this One greater than Melchizedek of Salem when it says: “The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’ Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): ‘You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek!’ Jehovah himself at your right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.”—Psalm 110:2, 4, 5.
13 The inspired writer of the book of Hebrews revealed the identity of the One to whom those words were really addressed when he said: “A forerunner has entered in our behalf, Jesus, who has become a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek forever.” (Hebrews 6:20) In the following chapter of Hebrews, the greatness of Melchizedek of old is explained. But his priestly greatness is, nevertheless, surpassed by the One whom he foreshadowed, the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ, who entered into the holy presence of Jehovah God himself with the value of a sacrifice far grander than anything that King-Priest Melchizedek of Salem could ever have offered.—Hebrews 7:1–8:2.
14. Has the Greater Melchizedek authorized the clergy of Christendom to share in the military ventures of so-called Christian nations?
14 The royal priest Melchizedek blessed a warrior, the victorious Abraham. But what about the Greater Melchizedek, the Founder of true Christianity? The clergy of Christendom claim to represent Jesus Christ in blessing the armies of so-called Christian nations and praying for them. But has Jehovah’s High Priest in heaven backed up the clergymen of Christendom in this? Has he thus accepted responsibility for all the bloodspilling that has gone on during the so-called Christian Era, including the blood that was shed during World Wars I and II? Absolutely not! At no time did he authorize his true disciples to make themselves a part of this world and to join in its blood-spilling militarism.
The Warrior God Makes a Beautiful Name for Himself
15, 16. What did Jehovah make for himself when he fought for his people to deliver them from Egypt?
15 Nehemiah 9:10 refers to Jehovah’s deliverance of the 12 tribes of Israel from Egypt, saying: “Then you gave signs and miracles against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted presumptuously against them [the Israelites]; and you proceeded to make a name for yourself as at this day.”—Compare Exodus 14:18.
16 The prophet Isaiah refers to the quality of this name when he speaks of Jehovah as “the One making His beautiful arm go at the right hand of Moses; the One splitting the waters from before them in order to make an indefinitely lasting name for his own self.” And addressing Jehovah, he says: “Thus you led your people in order to make a beautiful name for your own self.” (Isaiah 63:12-14) Appealing to Jehovah to act again for his people, Daniel addressed him as “you who brought your people out from the land of Egypt by a strong hand and proceeded to make a name for yourself as at this day.”—Daniel 9:15; Jeremiah 32:20.
17. Whom will Jehovah send forth to fight in his name, and what will he thus show all the nations today?
17 In due time, Jehovah God will send forth Jesus Christ, the Greater Melchizedek, as a mighty warrior. By means of him, Jehovah will make a name for himself surpassing anything in the past as described in the book of the Wars of Jehovah or in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Holy Bible. In the last chapter of the second-to-last book of the Hebrew Scriptures, an international attack against Jerusalem is foretold. (Zechariah 14:2) Then, according to Zec 14 verse 3, “Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight.” In this way the God of the Bible will show all the modern nations that he is still the warrior God he was in the days of ancient Israel.
18, 19. Which Jerusalem will be the subject of an all-out attack by the nations?
18 This is a prospect yet ahead of us. But which Jerusalem will suffer such an all-out attack? The prophecy was not fulfilled upon the Jerusalem of Zechariah’s day. That city was destroyed by the armies of Rome in 70 C.E. Jerusalem was rebuilt, however, and today is viewed as sacred by Christendom as well as by the fleshly nation of Israel. In the six-day war of 1967, fleshly Israel took possession of all rebuilt earthly Jerusalem. However, there is not a shred of evidence that Jehovah God took any part in the fighting then. His enthroned King, Jesus Christ, does not reign in earthly Jerusalem, and it is no longer “the city of the great King,” that is, of Jehovah.—Matthew 5:35.
19 No, this official capital city of the Jewish member of the United Nations is not the Jerusalem mentioned in Zechariah’s prophecy. Rather, Zechariah is referring to the Jerusalem that we read about in the book of Hebrews. There, Paul addresses anointed Christians and says: “You have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels.” (Hebrews 12:22) This heavenly Jerusalem is none other than God’s Messianic Kingdom, represented on earth today by a small band of anointed Christians who cherish the hope of being fellow rulers with Jesus Christ in that Kingdom. These will be the object of the prophesied attack.
20. What words did King Hezekiah say to his threatened people to brace them up, and upon the words of what King greater than Hezekiah do Jehovah’s Witnesses today brace themselves?
20 Neither these, however, nor the great crowd of Christians with an earthly hope who have come out of all the nations to join them in pure worship need fear the outcome of this attack. When the fright-inspiring armies of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, came against Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah, the endangered Israelites were given a calming view of the situation when King Hezekiah said to them: “With him there is an arm of flesh, but with us there is Jehovah our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The result was that “the people began to brace themselves upon the words of Hezekiah the king of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 32:8) Jehovah’s Witnesses of today, when threatened by the national forces of this world system, can brace themselves upon similar words from a king greater than Hezekiah, Jesus Christ.
21. (a) Why will the words of Jahaziel be called to mind during the coming attack on heavenly Jerusalem? (b) What will be the outcome of the battle that is to be fought?
21 At that time, the faith-inspiring words of Jahaziel the Levite will be called to mind: “You will not need to fight in this instance. Take your position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17) Yes, throughout that dangerous time, Jehovah will be with his people. Their safety and preservation will depend upon his fighting for them. And fight he will, by means of his warrior King, Jesus Christ! The result? The total annihilation of the Devil’s visible organization on earth.—Revelation 19:11-21.
22. (a) What will be the triumphant conclusion of the book of the Wars of Jehovah, and what will Jehovah make for himself thereby? (b) What will lovers of Jehovah’s name be moved to do by his victory?
22 How beautiful a name God will make for himself by his awe-inspiring victory in this “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon! (Revelation 16:14, 16) A new chapter, as it were, will be added to the book of the Wars of Jehovah. It will be a triumphant conclusion, a grand finale with regard to this system of things. The entire book will show that Almighty God has never lost a battle. How jubilantly lovers of Jehovah’s name will laud him thereafter! Then, indeed, the last verse of the book of Psalms will be grandly carried out: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah. Praise Jah, you people!”—Psalm 150:6.
Questions for Review
□ What do men of today little appreciate about the God of the Bible, Jehovah?
□ What war did Abraham fight, and who gave him the victory?
□ What is “the book of the Wars of Jehovah”?
□ What will be the finale of “the book of the Wars of Jehovah,” and in what will it result?