Settling the Universal Issue for Good
“Jehovah himself at your right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.”—PSALM 110:5.
1, 2. In the year 70 C.E., what event may have cast doubt upon the universalness of the sovereignty of Jehovah God, but by then, to whom had his favor been turned?
THE universal sovereignty of the Creator of heaven and earth is the foremost issue before men and angels. Shortly, the issue will be settled for all time, but for many centuries Jehovah’s enemies have challenged his sovereignty. Indeed, the destruction in 70 C.E. of the city of Jerusalem together with its temple dedicated to Jehovah may have cast doubt on the universalness of the Creator’s sovereignty. Nevertheless, there was a valid reason why Jehovah did not then choose to be a warrior God in behalf of fleshly Israel.
2 What was the reason? By that time Jehovah God had turned his favor to a new nation, a spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God,” as the apostle Paul calls the congregation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 6:16) So far, though, during all the so-called Christian Era, Jehovah has not fought for spiritual Israel as a warrior God in the same way that he fought for natural Israel under the Mosaic Law covenant. He even permitted Roman soldiers, at the instigation of the Jews, to put Jesus Christ to death on a torture stake at Calvary. That was 37 years before the second destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in 70 C.E.
3, 4. From the days of Moses down to King Hezekiah, how had God shown himself to be a warrior, but in the case of the spiritual Israelites, what has been true as to his fighting and their fighting?
3 From the days of the prophet Moses down to the reign of King Hezekiah of Jerusalem, Jehovah God fought miraculously for the nation of Israel, and the Israelites fought under him with lethal weapons. (Deuteronomy 1:30; 3:22; 20:3, 4; Joshua 10:42) But not so in the case of spiritual Israel! From the death of Jesus Christ outside Jerusalem down through our Common Era, this warrior God has not chosen to fight in physical warfare for the Israel of God. Correspondingly, he has not authorized the spiritual Israelites making up the Christian congregation to fight with material weapons of war. Christians have another kind of warfare to wage.
4 In agreement with this, one of the leading fighters for the Christian faith wrote to fellow Christians at Corinth, Greece: “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 bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ; 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 10:4-6) Earlier in the same letter, Paul spoke of “the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.”—2 Corinthians 6:7; see also Ephesians 6:11-18.
Jehovah to Fight at Armageddon
5. In the garden of Gethsemane, what position did Jesus take toward the use of material weapons in self-defense, and what course of action do his disciples take?
5 Jesus Christ, when on earth, never resorted to lethal weapons in self-defense. On the night of his betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, his devoted disciple Simon Peter drew a sword and struck off the ear of the servant of the Jewish high priest. But Jesus miraculously restored the ear to its place and said: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels? In that case, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must take place this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54) In the face of all of this, true imitators of the self-sacrificing Son of God keep their neutrality, both directly and indirectly, when it comes to worldly warfare.—John 17:16; 18:36.
6. During the war of the great day of God the Almighty at Armageddon, what position will Jehovah’s Witnesses take?
6 Here, then, let the nations be served with notice that during “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at “the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon,” Jehovah’s Witnesses will not share in the fighting. They will leave that to the warrior God, “Jehovah of armies,” along with his legions of angels under the captaincy of Jesus Christ.—Revelation 16:14-16; 19:11-21; Psalm 84:12.
Jehovah About to Resume His Military Activities
7. As a warrior God, by what title did Jehovah come to be designated, and does he still rank as such?
7 The God of ancient Israel came to be known and addressed as Jehovah tseva·ʼohthʹ, or Jehovah of armies. (1 Samuel 1:3, 11) At Romans 9:29 (King James Version) the Christian apostle Paul refers to Isaiah 1:9 and writes: “Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.” Also, the Christian disciple James writes: “The cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” (James 5:4, KJ; American Standard Version) So Paul and James ranked God as Jehovah of armies during the first century of our Common Era. During the following 18 centuries, God has not engaged in fleshly warfare in behalf of spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, in the way that he did for ancient Israel, yet he is still Jehovah of armies.
8-10. (a) Who authorized the war in heaven, and why was Michael most qualified to do battle? (b) What was the result of the war in heaven, and how much time remains before the war of Jehovah’s great day?
8 At the birth of the Messianic Kingdom in 1914 at the end of “the times of the Gentiles,” war broke out in the heavenly domain of Jehovah God. (Luke 21:24, KJ) Who authorized that war? Jehovah God himself. He sent his enthroned Son into the field of battle under the name Michael because this One is most qualified to answer the question contained in that name, that is, “Who Is Like God?” Michael promptly went into action as the fighting representative of Jehovah of armies.
9 Accordingly, we read at Revelation 12:7-10: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down.’”
10 By now, more than 70 years after that battle in the heavens, only “a short period of time” remains before the war of Jehovah’s great day breaks out and God vividly displays himself as Jehovah of armies to the present generation of mankind.—Revelation 12:12; Zechariah 14:3.
The Fighter for Jehovah’s Vindication
11. What appointed time do the remnant of the little flock and the great crowd await, and what will they then jubilantly applaud?
11 Under inspiration, wise King Solomon of ancient Israel wrote: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: . . . a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) On earth the disciples of the reigning King who is “something more than Solomon” await the time and the occasion for Him to lead the victorious heavenly angels into the battle engagement at Har–Magedon. (Matthew 12:42; Revelation 19:11-16) There he “will shepherd [the nations] with a rod of iron,” breaking them “with an iron scepter.” (Revelation 19:15; Psalm 2:9) How his peacekeeping, protected disciples will applaud his awe-inspiring deliverance of them! This will include both the remnant of the “little flock” of his Kingdom coheirs and the “great crowd” of his “other sheep” that entertain the hope of inheriting the Paradise earth under his pacific reign of a thousand years. (Luke 12:32; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:16) Jubilantly, “under the very shadow of the Almighty One,” they will applaud the resounding victory of the Shepherd-King, Jesus Christ, in vindication of the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God.—Psalm 91:1.
12. War looms from where for the nations, and with what result according to Psalm 68:1, 2?
12 Without exaggeration, it may now be said that war from far beyond the realm of man and involving the use of precisely aimed weapons outclassing his nuclear bombs looms before all earthly nations, whether inside or outside the United Nations organization. Listen: “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let those who intensely hate him flee because of him. As smoke is driven away, may you drive them away; as wax melts because of the fire, let the wicked ones perish from before God.”—Psalm 68:1, 2.
13. As preparations for war go on, to whom are the words of Psalm 45:1-6 now addressed in a most timely way?
13 The preparations for the war of all wars are now under way. As God’s foremost Fighter, the Battler for Jehovah’s vindication is addressed in the following words composed under inspiration by a member of the nation of Israel: “You are indeed more handsome than the sons of men. Charm has been poured out upon your lips. That is why God has blessed you to time indefinite. 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. Your arrows are sharp—under you peoples keep falling—in the heart of the enemies of the king. God is your throne to time indefinite, even forever; the scepter of your kingship is a scepter of uprightness.”—Psalm 45:1-6.
Nations Mass Themselves Together Against Jehovah
14, 15. After release from detention, what words from Psalm 2 did the apostles quote as being fulfilled, and what request to God did they make?
14 Shortly after the establishment of the Christian congregation on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., anointed Christians discerned an application of Psalm 2:1, 2. This scripture reads: “Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” After the apostles of Jehovah’s Anointed One had suffered their first arrest and mistreatment by enemy Jews, they rejoined their fellow Christians and then quoted these words of Psalm 2 as composed by King David. Acts 4:23-30 reports the matter, saying:
15 “After being released they went to their own people and reported what things the chief priests and the older men had said to them. Upon hearing this they with one accord raised their voices to God and said: ‘Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who through holy spirit said by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant, “Why did nations become tumultuous and peoples meditate upon empty things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” Even so, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of nations and with peoples of Israel were in actuality gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, in order to do what things your hand and counsel had foreordained to occur. And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and portents occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’”
16, 17. (a) In all human history, has anything ever occurred to compare with what started to occur in 1914? Explain. (b) What course of action are the nations continuing to take, thereby obligating Jehovah God to write what, as to ‘the book of his wars’?
16 However, when it comes to tumultuous nations, kings taking their stand together as one, political leaders massing together against Jehovah and his Anointed One, Jesus Christ, what in all human history can compare with what started 76 years ago in 1914? That was not only the year when the first world war of all human existence erupted but particularly the year when the times of the Gentiles, “the appointed times of the nations,” ended! (Luke 21:24) Psalm 2 clearly had its greater fulfillment starting in that year.
17 At the end of the times of the Gentiles in 1914, none of the nations—not even the nations of so-called Christendom, many citizens of which religiously view themselves as spiritual Israelites—were inclined to welcome Jehovah’s Anointed One, Jesus Christ, to the throne of rulership over the earth. And now, 71 years after “this good news of the kingdom” began to “be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” from 1919 onward, the nations inside and outside of Christendom are certainly not going to hail the long-announced King of Jehovah and swear allegiance to him as they renounce their own rulership over the earth. (Matthew 24:14) On the contrary, they have at long last come to the time and situation when they are obliging Jehovah to write, as it were, the grand finale to “the book of the Wars of Jehovah.”—Numbers 21:14.
Glorious Triumph of the Warrior God
18. Of what action on Jehovah’s part are we in favor, and who will be at his side, as it were, for the fulfillment of Psalm 110?
18 Forward, then, into battle action, O Jehovah of armies, with your royal Son, Jesus Christ, at your side! To him are addressed the prophetic words: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies. Jehovah himself at your right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger. He will execute judgment among the nations; he will cause a fullness of dead bodies. He will certainly break to pieces the head one over a populous land.”—Psalm 110:2, 5, 6.
19. Regarding the war of the great day of God the Almighty that is just ahead, what prayer do we offer to him in behalf of the great crowd of other sheep?
19 O Jehovah of armies, let your faithful servants on earth become the jubilant witnesses of your peerless victory by means of your warrior King, Jesus Christ, on the occasion of the war of the great day of God the Almighty at the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon! (Revelation 16:14) Alongside the remnant of true spiritual Israelites, let the great crowd of sheeplike ones who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” exultantly “come out of the great tribulation” to be your earthly witnesses for all eternity! (Revelation 7:14) Under your loving care, let them survive without dying into the warless realm of your victorious Son, who will rule over the cleansed earth that is to be transformed into a beauteous paradise, in harmony with your original purpose. Let them be a visible testimony to all the resurrected dead in vindication of the sovereignty that is rightly yours over all the universe! We thank you that you will then have settled the universal issue for good, yes, forever!
Do You Remember?
□ What is the foremost issue before men and angels?
□ What contrast exists between Jehovah’s fighting for ancient Israel and for spiritual Israel?
□ During Armageddon, what position will Jehovah’s Witnesses take, and why?
□ When did Psalm 2:1, 2 have an unprecedented fulfillment?
□ How will the universal issue be settled for good?
[Picture on page 24, 25]
The “great crowd” will applaud God’s victorious Shepherd-King