Keep Warning of Jehovah’s Unusual Work
“Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, he will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon.”—ISAIAH 28:21.
1, 2. What unusual work did Jehovah perform in behalf of His people in David’s day?
A STRANGE deed! A most unusual work! That is what Jehovah performed in behalf of his people in ancient times back in the 11th century B.C.E. And this strange deed was a pattern for an even more unusual work that he is about to perform in the near future. What was that ancient deed? Soon after David was installed as king in Jerusalem, the neighboring Philistines launched an attack, and this triggered Jehovah’s strange deed. First, the Philistines began raiding in the low plain of Rephaim. David asked Jehovah what he should do and was instructed to go on the offensive. Obeying Jehovah’s word, David soundly defeated the mighty Philistine army at Baal-perazim. But the Philistines did not admit defeat. Soon they returned to ravage and pillage some more in the low plain of Rephaim, and David again sought direction from Jehovah.
2 This time he was told to go to the rear of the Philistines with his troops. Jehovah said: “When you hear the sound of a marching in the tops of the baca bushes, at that time you act with decision, because at that time Jehovah will have gone out ahead of you to strike down the camp of the Philistines.” And that is what happened. David waited until Jehovah produced the sound of marching in the top of the baca bushes—perhaps by means of a strong wind. Immediately, David and his troops leapt out from concealment and attacked the distracted Philistines, defeating them with a great slaughter. The religious idols that the Philistines left lying on the battlefield were gathered together and destroyed.—2 Samuel 5:17-25; 1 Chronicles 14:8-17.
3. Why was Jehovah’s strange deed of interest to the Jews of Isaiah’s day, and why should it be of interest to Christendom today?
3 This was an unusual work, a strange deed, accomplished by Jehovah against the Philistines and in behalf of his anointed king. This remarkable deed is of particular interest because the prophet Isaiah warned that Jehovah would do something equally strange and powerful against the spiritual drunkards of Judah. Hence, the unfaithful religious leaders of Isaiah’s day needed to take note. Christendom today should also take note because what happened to Judah was a pattern for Christendom’s eventual fate.
“The Couch Has Proved Too Short”
4, 5. (a) How does Isaiah graphically illustrate the uncomfortable situation of religious leaders of his day? (b) What is the cause of Christendom’s discomfort today?
4 First, Isaiah exposed the fact that the treaties in which those ancient spiritual drunkards trusted were a deception, a lie. Then he graphically illustrated the uncomfortable situation of those hoping in that lie. He said: “The couch has proved too short for stretching oneself on, and the woven sheet itself is too narrow when wrapping oneself up.” (Isaiah 28:20) Anyone stretching himself out on a bed that is too short finds that his feet stick out in the cold. On the other hand, if he draws his knees up to accommodate the shortness of the bed, the bed covering is too narrow and much of his body is still exposed. No matter what he does, some part of him is out in the cold.
5 That was the situation, symbolically speaking, of those in Isaiah’s day who put their trust in the refuge of a lie. It is also the uncomfortable situation of those who today put their trust in Christendom’s refuge of a lie. They are out in the cold, as it were. This is no time for seeking comfort within worldly arrangements for peace and security. Under the shadow of oncoming judgment acts by God, alliances with political rulers will provide no warm comfort for Christendom.
Jehovah’s Strange Deed
6. How was Jehovah going to act against Judah, and how will he act against Christendom?
6 Having graphically described the uncomfortable situation of unfaithful Jerusalem of his day—and of modern unfaithful Christendom—Isaiah went on to say: “Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, he will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed—his deed is strange—and that he may work his work—his work is unusual.” (Isaiah 28:21) Yes, Isaiah warned, soon Jehovah would rise up as he did at Baal-perazim. But this time he would act against his faithless people, and he would do so like an irresistible flood of water pouring out through a gap in a crumbling dam. Jerusalem’s covenant with death would be shown to be null and void. In a similar way, Jehovah will act in the near future against Christendom, and she will find that all her intoxicating agreements with this world are meaningless. Her vast organization will be broken up and her adherents scattered. Her false gods will be completely burned up.
7. Why were Jehovah’s purposes with regard to Judah termed “strange” and “unusual”?
7 Why does Isaiah call Jehovah’s act against Jerusalem a strange and unusual work? Well, Jerusalem was the seat of Jehovah’s worship and the city of Jehovah’s anointed king. (Psalm 132:11-18) As such, it had never before been destroyed. Its temple had never been burned. The royal house of David, once established in Jerusalem, had never been overthrown. Such things were unthinkable. It was highly unusual that Jehovah would contemplate allowing such things to happen.
8. What warning did Jehovah give of his coming unusual act?
8 But Jehovah gave fair warning through his prophets that shocking events were going to come to pass. (Micah 3:9-12) For example, the prophet Habakkuk, who lived in the seventh century B.C.E., said: “See, you people, among the nations, and look on, and stare in amazement at one another. Be amazed; for there is an activity that one is carrying on in your days, which you people will not believe although it is related. For here I am raising up the Chaldeans, the nation bitter and impetuous, which is going to the wide-open places of earth in order to take possession of residences not belonging to it. Frightful and fear-inspiring it is.”—Habakkuk 1:5-7.
9. In what way did Jehovah fulfill his warning against Jerusalem?
9 In 607 B.C.E., Jehovah fulfilled his warning. Having permitted the Babylonian armies to come against Jerusalem, he allowed them to destroy both the city and the temple. (Lamentations 2:7-9) Moreover, he allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed a second time. Why? Well, after 70 years of exile, repentant Jews returned to their homeland, and eventually another temple was built in Jerusalem. Again, though, the Jews drifted away from Jehovah. In the first century C.E., Paul quoted the words of Habakkuk to the Jews of his day, thus warning that there was to be a future application of the prophecy. (Acts 13:40, 41) Jesus himself had specifically warned that Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed because of lack of faith on the part of the Jews. (Matthew 23:37–24:2) Did those first-century Jews take heed? No. Like their forefathers, they totally rejected Jehovah’s warning. Hence, Jehovah repeated his strange work. Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed in 70 C.E. by means of the Roman legions.
10. How will Jehovah act against Christendom in the near future?
10 Why, then, should anyone think that Jehovah will not do something similar in our own time? The fact is, he will fulfill his purpose even though it seems strange and unusual to doubters. This time the object of his action will be Christendom, which, like ancient Judah, claims to worship God but has become hopelessly corrupt. By his Greater David, Christ Jesus, Jehovah will come upon Christendom’s “Philistines” at an hour unexpected by them. He will perform his unusual work to the point of wiping out the last vestiges of Christendom’s religious systems.—Matthew 13:36-43; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.
Warning of Jehovah’s Act
11, 12. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses warned of Jehovah’s coming judgments?
11 For many years Jehovah’s Witnesses have warned of this coming judgment act by Jehovah. They have pointed out that the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 607 B.C.E. and again in 70 C.E. were prophetic warnings of what is to happen to Christendom. Moreover, they have demonstrated that Christendom, because of her apostasy, has become a part of the world empire of false religion, Babylon the Great. Because of this, God’s judgments on Babylon the Great will especially be visited on Christendom, since she is the guiltiest part of that satanic conglomerate.—Revelation 19:1-3.
12 Jehovah’s Witnesses have pointed to the Bible’s prophetic warning that in Jehovah’s due time, Babylon the Great’s political paramours will turn on her. Symbolizing these as the ten horns of a scarlet-colored wild beast, Revelation warns: “The ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot [Babylon the Great] and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16) Religious Christendom will be burned and destroyed along with all other false religions. This will be Jehovah’s strange deed, his unusual work for our day.
13. How have the reactions to Jehovah’s warnings today been similar to what Isaiah encountered?
13 When Jehovah’s Witnesses convey the warning of this coming catastrophe, they often meet up with mocking laughter. People wonder who they think they are to say such things. Christendom seems so stable, so well established. Why, some feel that her position is even improving. Governments that used to oppress her have recently allowed greater freedom of action. In fact, though, Christendom should heed Isaiah’s counsel: “Do not show yourselves scoffers, in order that your bands may not grow strong, for there is an extermination, even something decided upon, that I have heard of from the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, for all the land.”—Isaiah 28:22; 2 Peter 3:3, 4.
14. How will Christendom’s bands become stronger and tighter?
14 For the most part, Christendom will continue to be antagonistic toward the King and the Kingdom. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 8) At the same time, however, her bands will become stronger and tighter. In other words, her destruction will become more and more certain. Jehovah will not turn aside from his decision to have Christendom destroyed any more than he turned aside from his decision to allow the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple in 607 B.C.E.
“Get Out Of Her”
15. What way of escape is open to righthearted individuals?
15 How can anyone escape the fate of Christendom? Back in the days of Israel, Jehovah sent faithful prophets to recall righthearted ones to pure worship. Today, he has raised up his Witnesses, now numbering in the millions, for a similar purpose. They fearlessly expose the spiritually dead condition of Christendom. In so doing, they faithfully echo the plaguelike pronouncements of the angelic trumpet blasts of Revelation chapters 8 and 9. Moreover, they have diligently publicized the exhortation recorded at Revelation 18:4: “Get out of her, my people, . . . if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” The “her” referred to here is Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, the foremost member of which is Christendom.
16. In what way have millions escaped from false religion?
16 Since 1919, and particularly since 1922, a swelling crowd of meek ones, responding to that exhortation, have abandoned Babylon the Great. First thousands, then hundreds of thousands, and now millions have separated themselves from false religion, particularly Christendom, and escaped to pure worship. (Isaiah 2:2-4) They know that only by thus leaving Babylon the Great can they avoid suffering her plagues, which will culminate in her destruction when the time comes for Jehovah’s unusual work to be accomplished.
17, 18. How has Jehovah become a crown of decoration and a garland of beauty to his people?
17 The prophet Isaiah describes the happy situation of those who take their stand for pure worship. He says: “In that day Jehovah of armies will become as a crown of decoration and as a garland of beauty to the ones remaining over of his people, and as a spirit of justice to the one sitting in the judgment, and as mightiness to those turning away the battle from the gate.”—Isaiah 28:5, 6.
18 Because of their loyalty to the truth, Jehovah is the undying crown of glory for members of the faithful and discreet slave class. This has especially been true since 1926. In that year the January 1 issue of The Watch Tower stressed the vital need to magnify Jehovah’s name in a stirring article entitled “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” Since then, anointed Christians have published that name worldwide as never before. In 1931 they became even more closely identified with Jehovah by accepting the name Jehovah’s Witnesses. Moreover, a great crowd of other sheep has also come out of Christendom and the rest of Babylon the Great. These too have embraced God’s name. The result? Jehovah himself—rather than some temporary national independence—has become a crown of decoration and a garland of beauty for more than four million people in some 212 lands and islands of the sea. What an honor these have to bear the name of the only living and true God!—Revelation 7:3, 4, 9, 10; 15:4.
“Upon Him the Spirit of Jehovah Must Settle Down”
19. Who is the one sitting in judgment, and how has Jehovah become a spirit of justice to him?
19 To Jesus, “the one sitting in the judgment,” Jehovah has become “a spirit of justice.” When Jesus was on earth, he refused to be overcome by the intoxicating spirit of worldly alliances. Today, as Jehovah’s enthroned King, he is filled with holy spirit, which directs him in making balanced, clear-sighted decisions. In Jesus the prophecy has been fulfilled: “Upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 11:2) Truly, through Jesus, Jehovah will “make justice the measuring line and righteousness the leveling instrument.” (Isaiah 28:17) While spiritually drunken enemies will be overwhelmed in destruction, justice will be done to Jehovah’s holy name and universal sovereignty.
20, 21. In what way do the words of Isaiah 28:1-22 affect you?
20 What a magnificent meaning, then, this prophecy of Isaiah chapter 28 has for us today! If we stay clear of Christendom’s spiritual drunkards and cling to pure worship, we will be protected when Jehovah does his strange deed and his unusual work. How we rejoice to know this! And how happy we are to reflect that when these things come to pass, everyone will be forced to know that Jehovah of armies has acted in behalf of his faithful people and for his own vindication by Jesus Christ!—Psalm 83:17, 18.
21 So may all genuine Christians continue fearlessly to warn of Jehovah’s strange deed. Let them persist in telling of his unusual work. As they do, let them proclaim to all that our unshakable hope is in God’s Kingdom under his enthroned King. May their zeal, determination, and loyalty contribute to the everlasting praise of our almighty God, Jehovah.—Psalm 146:1, 2, 10.
Can You Remember?
□ Why is Christendom in an uncomfortable situation?
□ What did Jehovah purpose for Jerusalem, and why was this “strange” and “unusual”?
□ What warning have Jehovah’s Witnesses published with regard to Christendom, and what reaction have they encountered?
□ How can people escape Christendom’s fate?
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Jehovah will repeat his strange act, this time against Christendom