The Joyful Nation
THE joyful nation! Does this description fit any nation of mankind today? Can any nation make the joyful claim that it has eliminated violence, crime, poverty, pollution, crippling diseases, political corruption, religious hatreds? Does any nation hold out real hope of achieving such goals? Far from it!
What of the global picture? Mikhail Gorbachev, president of the U.S.S.R., stated last July 16: “We are leaving one epoch in international relations, and entering another, a period, I think, of strong, prolonged peace.” However, Time magazine of the same date reported that the United States still targets Moscow with 120 nuclear warheads, any one of which would totally devastate that city. And no doubt the Soviets are at the ready to reply in kind. With several members of the United Nations now having the know-how to produce nuclear weapons, there is little joy in contemplating who may first become trigger-happy.
A Truly Joyful Nation
Once in history—some 3,500 years ago—there was a truly joyful nation. That was ancient Israel. When God delivered that people from Egypt’s oppression, they joined Moses in an exultant song of victory, and they continued to rejoice as long as they obeyed their God and Deliverer.—Exodus 15:1-21; Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15, 47.
Under Solomon’s rule “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” That was a time of great rejoicing, climaxed by the erecting of what was probably the most glorious building in all history, the temple for Jehovah’s worship in Jerusalem.—1 Kings 4:20; 6:11-14.
The Modern-Day Joyful Nation
Ancient Israel foreshadowed a modern nation. Which one? Political Israel of the Middle East? News reports indicate that that struggling nation is anything but joyful. Has the so-called United Nations brought real joy to its member states? No, true joy is nowhere to be found among today’s politicking nations. Greed, corruption, and dishonesty abound, and in many lands the common people struggle unhappily merely to exist.—Proverbs 28:15; 29:2.
However, there is today one remarkable nation that is supremely joyful. It is not political, for its Head, Christ Jesus, said of its people: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19) Whereas the United Nations is united in name only, the joyful nation draws peace-loving adherents “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:4, 9) It now numbers more than four million, so that its population is larger than some 60 of the 159 member nations of the UN. The native languages of these four million people number about 200; yet all of them are united in speaking one “pure language.”—Zephaniah 3:9.
Is it not strange that so many different cultures should speak a common language? Not really, for this one uniting language includes the message of God’s incoming Kingdom of righteousness. This joyful nation comes “from the extremity of the earth” and is known worldwide as ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ (Isaiah 43:5-7, 10; Zechariah 8:23) Almost anywhere you travel on the surface of this globe, you will find them.
At Isaiah 2:2-4, God’s prophet describes a throng that streams out of all the nations, saying: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” Zealously, these invite others to receive instruction from Jehovah through his Word, the Bible, that they may learn to do his will. This one nation follows the path of true peace, its people having already beaten ‘swords into plowshares and spears into pruning shears, not learning war anymore.’ A joyful nation indeed!
You too can share in this joy. You can learn of the fast-approaching day when the King, Christ Jesus, removes ruinous men and governments and restores Paradise to earth. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10) Even now, as a truly united nation, Jehovah’s Witnesses find great joy in their work of preparing for that glorious era of true peace, as the following pages will show.