“I Will Be Jealous for Zion”
6, 7. In what ways was Jehovah ‘jealous for Zion with great rage’?
6 The expression occurs first at Zechariah 8:2, where we read: “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘I will be jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and with great rage I will be jealous for her.’” Jehovah’s promise to be jealous, to have great zeal, for his people meant that he would be vigilant in restoring their peace. The restoration of Israel to her land and the rebuilding of the temple were evidence of that zeal.
7 What, though, of those who had opposed Jehovah’s people? His zeal for his people would be equaled by his “great rage” upon these enemies. When faithful Jews worshiped at the rebuilt temple, they would be able to reflect on the fate of mighty Babylon, now fallen. They could also think of the utter failure of the enemies who had tried to prevent the rebuilding of the temple. (Ezra 4:1-6; 6:3) And they could thank Jehovah that he had fulfilled his promise. His zeal brought them a triumph!
9. What remarkable change in condition was experienced by “the Israel of God” in 1919?
9 While these two pronouncements were meaningful to ancient Israel, they also have much meaning for us as the 20th century draws to a close. Almost 80 years ago, during the first world war, the few thousand anointed ones who then represented “the Israel of God” went into spiritual captivity, just as ancient Israel had gone into captivity in Babylon. (Galatians 6:16) Prophetically, they were described as corpses lying in the street. Still, they had a sincere desire to worship Jehovah “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Hence, in 1919, Jehovah turned back their captivity, raising them from their spiritually dead condition. (Revelation 11:7-13) Jehovah thus answered with a resounding Yes Isaiah’s prophetic question: “Will a land be brought forth with labor pains in one day? Or will a nation be born at one time?” (Isaiah 66:8) In 1919, Jehovah’s people once again existed as a spiritual nation in their own “land,” or spiritual estate on earth.
10. Starting in 1919, what blessings have anointed Christians been enjoying in their “land”?
10 Safe in that land, anointed Christians served in Jehovah’s great spiritual temple. They were designated as “the faithful and discreet slave,” accepting the responsibility of caring for Jesus’ earthly belongings, a privilege that they still enjoy as the 20th century nears its conclusion. (Matthew 24:45-47) They learned well the lesson that Jehovah is “the very God of peace.”—1 Thessalonians 5:23.
11. How have religious leaders of Christendom shown themselves to be enemies of God’s people?
11 What, though, of the enemies of the Israel of God? Jehovah’s zeal for his people is matched by his rage against the opposers. During the first world war, the religious leaders of Christendom brought enormous pressure to bear as they tried—and failed—to stamp out this small group of truth-speaking Christians. During the second world war, Christendom’s ministers were united in only one thing: On both sides of the conflict, they urged governments to suppress Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even today, in many lands religious leaders are inciting governments to restrict or ban the Christian preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
12, 13. How is Jehovah’s rage expressed against Christendom?
12 This has not gone unnoticed by Jehovah. After the first world war, Christendom, along with the rest of Babylon the Great, experienced a fall. (Revelation 14:8) The reality of Christendom’s fall became public knowledge when, starting in 1922, a series of symbolic plagues were poured out, publicly exposing her spiritually dead condition and warning of her coming destruction. (Revelation 8:7–9:21) As evidence that the pouring out of these plagues continues, the talk “False Religion’s End Is Near” was delivered worldwide on April 23, 1995, followed by the distribution of hundreds of millions of copies of a special issue of Kingdom News.
13 Today, Christendom is in a pitiable state. Throughout the 20th century, her members have killed one another in vicious wars blessed by her priests and ministers. In some lands her influence is virtually nil. She is destined for destruction along with the rest of Babylon the Great.—Revelation 18:21.