Regarding his “footstool,” he also stated: “I will glorify the place for my feet.” (Isa. 60:13) How does he do that? And what meaning does this have for us, since we live on God’s “footstool”?
2 Besides referring to the earth, the term “footstool” is also employed figuratively in the Hebrew Scriptures to describe the ancient temple used by the Israelites. (1 Chron. 28:2; Ps. 132:7) Located on the earth, the temple served as the center of true worship. For that reason, it was truly beautiful in Jehovah’s eyes and its very existence glorified the place for Jehovah’s feet.
3. What is God’s great spiritual temple, and when did it come into existence?
3 Today the center of true worship is no longer a literal temple on earth. There is, however, a spiritual temple, which glorifies Jehovah far more than any building. This is an arrangement that makes reconciliation with God possible by means of the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It came into existence in 29 C.E. at Jesus’ baptism when Jesus was anointed as High Priest of Jehovah’s great spiritual temple.—Heb. 9:11, 12.
4, 5. (a) How does Psalm 99 describe the earnest desire of Jehovah’s true worshippers? (b) What question should we ask ourselves?
4 In appreciation of the spiritual temple arrangement, we praise Jehovah by making known his name and we exalt him for his merciful provision of the ransom. How thrilling to know that over eight million true Christians are today actively glorifying Jehovah! Unlike some religious people who mistakenly think that they will praise God once they have left the earth and gone to heaven, all of Jehovah’s Witnesses realize the need to praise him here and now on the earth.
5 We thereby follow the example of the faithful servants of Jehovah described at Psalm 99:1-3, 5. (Read.) As that psalm indicates, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel offered their full support to the arrangement for true worship in their day. (Ps. 99:6, 7) Today, before moving on to serve as priests with Jesus in heaven, the remaining ones of his anointed brothers faithfully serve in the earthly courtyard of the spiritual temple. Millions of “other sheep” loyally support them. (John 10:16) Although having different hopes, both groups unitedly worship Jehovah here at God’s footstool.
7 By 1919, those approved by Jehovah and serving at his spiritual temple were clearly identified. They had been spiritually refined in order to make their service to God even more acceptable to him. (Isa. 4:2, 3; Mal. 3:1-4) What the apostle Paul had foreseen centuries before in a vision began to be fulfilled in a limited way.
8, 9. Explain the three aspects of the “paradise” that Paul saw in a vision.
8 We find Paul’s vision described at 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. (Read.) What Paul saw in a supernatural vision was referred to as a revelation. It involved a future event, not something that existed in his day. When Paul “was caught away to the third heaven,” what “paradise” did he see? The paradise that Paul spoke about would have a physical, a spiritual, and a heavenly fulfillment, all of which will coexist in the future. It can refer to the physical, earthly Paradise yet to come. (Luke 23:43) It can also refer to the spiritual paradise that will be experienced to the full in the new world. Additionally, it can refer to the blessed conditions in heaven in “the paradise of God.”—Rev. 2:7.
9 Why, though, did Paul say that he had “heard words that cannot be spoken and that are not lawful for a man to say”? It was not the time for him to explain in detail the marvelous things that he had seen in that vision. But today it is lawful to speak of the blessings that now exist among God’s people!
10. Why are the terms “spiritual paradise” and “spiritual temple” not the same?
10 The expression “spiritual paradise” has become a part of our theocratic vocabulary. It describes our unique, spiritually rich environment, or condition, which allows us to enjoy peace with God and with our brothers. Of course, we should not conclude that the terms “spiritual paradise” and “spiritual temple” are the same. The spiritual temple is God’s arrangement for true worship. The spiritual paradise serves to identify clearly those who have God’s approval and who are today serving him at his spiritual temple.—Mal. 3:18.
11. What privilege do we have today in connection with the spiritual paradise?
11 How exciting it is to know that since 1919, Jehovah has allowed imperfect humans to work with him in cultivating, strengthening, and expanding the spiritual paradise on earth! Do you see yourself playing a part in this marvelous work? Are you moved to continue working with Jehovah in glorifying ‘the place for his feet’?