Vengeance upon the Philistines (Samson, Part 1) № 21
Месть над филистимлянами (Самсон, Часть 1)
1935, 01 ноября
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Vol. LVI Semimonthly No. 21
NOVEMBER 1. 193S
Vengeance upon the Philistines 323
(Samson, Part 1)
The Players 324
The Drama 324
Entreating Jehovah 328
Questions for Study 330
Great Multitude Hail People’s Leader 331
Letters from the Field 335
Radio Service 336
“The Testimony of Faithfulness” 322
Year Book 1936 322
Calendar for 1936 322
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November 1, 1935
Vengeance Upon The Philistines
(Samson, Part 1)
“Thus saith the Lord GOD, Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; ... I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.”-Ezek. 25:15,17.
JEHOVAH inflicts punishment upon his enemies that his name and his Word may be vindicated. All must know that Jehovah is supreme, above all, and before whom there is none. Those creatures who set themselves up against God and try to interfere with the execution of his purpose are proud and presumptuous. Pride and covetousness caused the downfall of Lucifer and made him “that old Serpent”, who opposes God. All who set themselves up in opposition to God are the seed of the Serpent. All such are proud, insolent and covetous, and their end is destruction. Jehovah makes known his supremacy by punishing the proud. “He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.” (Job 26:12) “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Prov. 16:5) “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud.” (Prov. 15: 25) The proud are those that conduct themselves with insolence before the Lord. All who oppose the execution of Jehovah’s purposes are proud, insolent and presumptuous.
2 Men have ignorantly reproached God and defamed his holy name by charging that God maliciously caused the Israelites to smite and destroy the people of other nations. Jehovah caused a destructive war to be waged against the Amalekites and other like people because they attempted to prevent God’s chosen people from carrying out his purpose of having them enter the promised land. Others have erroneously said that the Amalekites, Philistines and other like people were under the sentence of death and therefore to cause them to be executed was no injustice to them. Such conclusion could not be correct, for the reason that only Adam was under sentence of death and all his offspring inherited death. Had God caused the Israelites to slay the Amalekites, Philistines and others merely because they were under the sentence of death, then all other people would long ago have perished for the same reason. Some of the human race have been greatly blessed by Jehovah and they were subject to death by inherited sin just the same as the Philistines. There was a different reason for causing the Philistines to be destroyed.
3 From the time of the rebellion of Lucifer Jehovah announced his purpose to vindicate His name, and this he could not do and at the same time permit his enemies to continue to live. All creatures that have opposed Jehovah in carrying out his purposes have thus proved themselves the enemies of God. The Israelites were the people chosen for Jehovah’s purpose and were commanded by Jehovah to do certain things. The Amalekites, Philistines and others purposely and wickedly tried to prevent the accomplishment of God’s purpose concerning his chosen people, and to that end assaulted and fought against the Israelites, and therefore they fought against God. The Amalekites fought against Israel to hinder that people from reaching the promised land, and for this reason it is written: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” (Ex. 17: 14) The Philistines were a part of the seed of the Serpent which fought against the Israelites and endeavored to thwart God and his purposes concerning them.
4 The reason for inflicting punishment upon the ancient people that opposed the Israelites can now be seen and appreciated by those who are devoted to Jehovah. The Israelites being God’s chosen people, the things that happened unto them were typical of greater things to come to pass thereafter, “and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Cor. 10: 11) God’s people must at all times keep in mind the inspired statement, to wit: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. ’ ’—Rom. 15:4.
5 The Biblical book Judges, chapters thirteen to sixteen inclusive, contains a record of Samson and his acts, chief amongst which are these: The slaying of a lion with his bare hands; the slaying of thirty Philistines; the breaking of the strong cords with which he was bound; his battle with the Philistines, using as his weapon the jawbone of an ass; the of the gates of the town of Gaza; and finally the pulling down of the Philistines’ temple, resulting in the death of thousands. Those exploits of Samson modem critics denounce as a myth and entirely discredit the Bible record thereof. Others who have had a desire to believe the Bible account of Samson have concluded that the record was made merely to teach Christians certain lessons of character development and stability. Both of such conclusions are erroneous. The fact that the record is made in the Word of God is conclusive proof that it is not a myth, but is genuine, made by the direction of the Host High, and that it relates to his unchangeable purpose. Furthermore, said record was not made merely to teach certain lessons as examples to be followed by others, but according to the divine rule it was written aforetime for the specific benefit of those upon whom the ends of the world are come, that they might have hope.
6 Jehovah’s record of Samson and his exploits is the record of a prophetic drama, enacted and recorded for the purpose of showing the remnant of God’s people now on the earth the certainty of his vengeance to be shortly executed upon God’s enemies. The Philistines were a part of the seed of the Serpent, and therefore the enemies of God. The Philistines despite-fully expressed their wicked opposition to God in attempting to destroy his chosen people the Israelites. That opposition and wicked hatred against God’s people by the Philistines began in Isaac’s day and continued until the Philistines perished from the earth. (Gen. 26: 18-21) David gained the great and decisive victory over the Philistines on two occasions, concerning which Jehovah’s prophet makes mention long thereafter, and which two occasions were the battle at Mount Perazim and the battle at Mount Gibeon. (2 Sam. 5: 18-25) Long after the Philistines had been completely defeated, disgraced and destroyed as a nation Jehovah caused his prophet Ezekiel to prophesy and say: “Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; . . . I will execute great vengeance upon them.” (Ezek. 25: 15-17) Jehovah then adds that he will express his vengeance against the Philistines that “they shall know that I am the Lord”. This prophecy of Ezekiel, written long after the Philistines had been signally defeated, shows that what came to pass upon the Israelites in connection with the Philistines foretells some great and important event to take place at the end of the world, where we now are, and at which time, God declares, all shall know that he is Jehovah the Most High. With confidence we now look for an understanding of Samson and his exploits as recorded in the divine record.
7 To aid in the study of this prophetic drama of Samson the prominent players are here first noted, the part that each one played, and what that prophetically represented. Manoah, the father of Samson, in this drama representatively stood for Jehovah God; Manoah’s woman or wife there played the part representing God’s woman, that is to say, his universal organization, which gives birth to the children of the Lord who compose his royal house.
8 Samson there represented the children of Jehovah God, wholly devoted to him, and who continue faithful unto death.
9 “A young lion,’’ which Samson slew with his bare hands, first stands for justice, and then plays the part of the so-called Protestant clergy, who oppose God’s message and despitefully use his messengers.
10 The Philistines in the drama played the part representing the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in particular, and generally all who under the influence and power of the Hierarchy conspire, consort with them and act in the persecution of God’s people. The parts represented by the other players will appear as progress is made in the examination of the divine record of the drama.
11 The day of cruel persecution of God’s people is now here, and the goodness of our Father is further manifested toward those who love and serve him in giving them an understanding of these prophetic pictures to the end that the remnant may continue patiently in their service and well-doing, so they may have comfort of the Scriptures, and that their hope may be strong, and that they may continue giving praise to Jehovah. It seems well, therefore, that consideration be prayerfully and carefully given to the entire Biblical account as set forth in Judges, chapters thirteen to sixteen inclusive, and which the student will do well to carefully read in connection herewith.
12 The Israelites were the covenant people of God and had agreed to do his will, and in this they foreshadowed those in the domain of “Christendom”, who profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to serve Jehovah God, and who are therefore in an implied covenant to do the will of God. “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.” — Judg. 13:1.
13 Likewise “Christendom” has walked in the evil way, disobeying God’s commandments, and has done the bidding of Satan, indulging in politics and such like things, and in looking after things for her own selfish interests. “Christendom” has convinced herself that she is in the right, but “Christendom” has gone in the wrong way. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” (Prov. 12: 15) “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14: 12) “The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.”—Prov. 21: 12.
14 God had forewarned the Israelites that he would deliver them into the hand of their enemies if they were unfaithful to their covenant, and now they were under the dominating power of the Philistines, which people ill-used the Israelites. The Philistines were not descendants of Shem, but of Ham, and migrated from Egypt and occupied the territory along the coast of the Mediterranean, being on the west of the territory which God had assigned to the Israelites. (Gen. 10: 6, 13,14; Amos 9: 7) The Philistines were a commercial people doing business on the sea. They were greedy, harsh and cruel. They were the children of the Devil, represented him, and did the bidding of that wicked one whether they knew it or not. As God permitted the Devil to remain and continue to exercise power over man, so God left the Philistines in Palestine as a test to the Israelites and thereby afforded the opportunity for them to prove their integrity toward Jehovah, which the Israelites must do by steadfastly resisting the Philistines. They could not compromise with the Philistines and maintain their integrity toward God. (Judg. 3: 1-4) This is in line with what God said to the Devil and to Pharaoh, who stood for and represented the Devil. (Ex. 9: 16) Since the foregoing utterance by the prophet Ezekiel was prophetic, referring to some time thereafter, and such prophecy is fulfilled at the time of the end of the world, where we now are, it is to be expected that God would show his people some physical facts that fit and which therefore prove the fulfillment of the prophecy.
15 The chief purpose of the fulfillment of prophecy is the vindication of Jehovah’s name; hence the Lord causes the fulfillment of prophecy within a period of time when it pleases him to express his vengeance against his enemies. The Philistines had been brought out of Egypt and into the land of Palestine; thus they pictured a people who outwardly appeared to have come out of the world, as Egypt pictured the world, and which people professed to be worshipers of God but in fact are the children and worshipers of the Devil. They are the ones hypocritically pretending to serve God and who bitterly oppose and persecute the true people of God. The indisputable historical evidence proves beyond all doubt that the Philistines pictured particularly the Roman Catholic Hierarchy; and it seems well to here set out some of the evidence, which evidence may be found in the leading encyclopedias of the world.
16 The Roman Catholic organization boldly claims to have come out from the world, symbolically pictured by Egypt, and that it is the representative of God and Christ Jesus, and said organization operates under the style and name of a religious organization. The visible body that rules the Catholic church organization is the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, with its headquarters at Vatican City, Rome. The word “hierarchy” means dominion and authority in sacred things; (Webster) The Roman Catholic Hierarchy is composed of a body of men called “ecclesiastics”, and which body of men constitute a form of government, which government exercises authority over others who associate themselves with the Catholic church organization ; and the Hierarchy attempts to control the political affairs of the nations of the earth. The policy of the Hierarchy is to rule the earth. It falsely claims to be a divine institution, but is in fact the chief visible creature and representative of the Devil on the earth. The following definition of the Hierarchy is quoted from Encyclopedia Britannica: “A sacred order and science, and activity, assimilated as far as possible to the godlike, and elevated to the imitation of God proportionately to the Divine illuminations conceded to it.” (Volume 13) Its authors claim that the Hierarchy is copied after the order of God’s organization as revealed in the Bible. The Devil is a mimic god and attempts to mimic Jehovah in every part of his organization. The Biblical description of the wicked organization of Satan exactly fits that of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ’ ’ (Eph. 6: 12) Thus God’s people on earth are assaulted by the Devil from every part of his organization, invisible and visible. By means of fraud, deceit, persecution and oppression the Devil attempts to turn all persons away from Jehovah God, and he subtly uses the Roman Catholic Hierarchy to accomplish his wicked purpose.
17 The pope is only nominally the head of the Hierarchy organization. The Hierarchy is the real head and dictates to the pope what he must say and do. The order of Jesuits is the secret service agency of the Hierarchy and carries out or executes the orders and commandments of the Hierarchy. The Jesuits have wormed themselves into every organization of the world. Being the secret service order of the Hierarchy, many of them pretend to be Protestants and assume positions as ministers in the Protestant church organizations. Others get into the Masonic order and like organizations and act as spies for the Hierarchy. One of the chief objectives of the Hierarchy is to control all the nations of the earth, and the secret service organization of the Jesuits carries into operation many wicked schemes to accomplish that very purpose. One of the means of operation is for the Hierarchy to organize agitators that oppose the government in power, such organizations as that called the Communists, and then the Hierarchy raises the hue and cry that the Communists are about to overthrow the government; and with this cry as a camouflage, which frightens the people, the Hierarchy uses that scare as a pretext to have another organization seize the government. This is exactly what occurred in Germany. The Hierarchy organized the Communists, and used it to frighten Germany, and then organized the Nazis and by that means seized control of the government. Then the Hierarchy entered into a concordat or agreement with the Nazis concerning Germany. This concordat has been admitted by the public press within the last few weeks. Attention of God’s people is here called to these things in order that they may more clearly see how Jehovah long ago foretold the wicked organization that would persecute his people in the last days and in what manner he will deal with them at the end of the world.
18 The Scriptures clearly disclose that Abraham was used to picture Jehovah God and that his son Isaac pictured God’s Anointed, Christ Jesus, and the faithful members of his royal house. Water is a symbol of lifesustaining truth. Abraham dug wells that the people of his time might have water to sustain them. Jehovah God provided ‘water-wells of salvation’ that his people might be sustained thereby. (Isa. 12: 3) The Philistines, the representatives of the Devil, stopped up the wells which Abraham had dug. Isaac dug again other wells that the people might have water. Christ Jesus, the Greater Isaac, opened the ‘water-wells of salvation’ when he came to earth, and every one who heard and obeyed his voice hastened to that life-giving water and has tried to keep the wells open that his fellow creatures might drink thereat.—John 4: 13,14; 18: 37. (Here compare Genesis 26: 17-22.)
19 All true and faithful followers of Christ Jesus, the Greater Isaac, have diligently tried to teach the truth to their fellow creatures. The Devil has always opposed the teaching of the truth to the people, and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy has been and is the chief instrument in hiding the truth and keeping the people away from it. The wicked, cruel and devilish Inquisition was created and employed by the Hierarchy for years in many parts of the earth, and it is still used in a more refined form to keep the people in ignorance of the truth. Only devilish institutions hypocritically claiming to be of God, and in fact being instruments of the Devil, could ever have succeeded in keeping the people so completely in ignorance of the great waters of truth, which are so essential to the life and happiness of human creatures. As the Philistines harassed the covenant people of God in Palestine, so antitypi-cally the “Philistines”, that is to say, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and its dupes, have ever harassed the covenant people of God, and continue to do so to this very day, for the purpose of keeping the people in ignorance of God’s Word and thereby affording the Devil an opportunity to accomplish his boastful challenge to turn all men away from God.
20 The time must come when God would begin his operations for the deliverance of his covenant people from their cruel oppressors. God therefore prepared the way to bring Samson upon the stage of action, that he might use Samson to foreshadow the beginning of the deliverance of those who love and serve Jehovah. “And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.”—Judg. 13: 2.
21 The drama opens with Manoah and his woman first on the stage. The name of Manoah means “rest, resting place; or, giver of presents”. It is Jehovah God who gives rest to his people, and he is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Manoah here appears to represent Jehovah God. “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11) “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” (Ps. 116:7) It was by and through the son of Manoah that Jehovah gave Israel rest and peace for twenty years. (Judg. 15:20; 16:31) Jehovah’s rest is in his capital organization, of which Christ Jesus is chief. ‘ ‘ For the Lord hath chosen Zion ; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” - Ps. 132:13,14.
22 Manoah is referred to as “a certain man of Zorah” because he was a man of faith seeking to know and to do the will of God. (Judg. 13:8) His faith in and devotion to Jehovah is shown by his remonstrance against anything that seemed contrary to God’s law. He was in the favor of Jehovah, and this is shown by the fact that God heard and answered Manoah’s prayer. (Verse 9) Manoah was of the town of Zorah, one of the towns near the border of the territory occupied by the tribe of Dan. Timnath was a town only three miles away and was occupied by the Philistines. (Judg. 14:1-4; 15: 6) The vicinity of Zorah was one of the principal wine-producing districts of Palestine, where the people would naturally drink wine, because they made it. The name Zorah means “stinging; hornet, wasp”. Manoah was of that town, and he was of the family or tribe of Dan. The name Dan means “umpire, or judge”. The time had arrived for Jehovah to vindicate his prophetic word concerning the tribe of Dan, as prophesied by Jacob. “Dan shall judge [through his descendant, Judge Samson] his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan [through Samson] shall be a serpent [one who brings an abiding calamity or evil upon God’s enemies] by the way [the way of the enemies], an adder [that is, one who is deaf, refuses to hear and be influenced by the charms of Satan; see Psalm 58:4,5] in the path [the warpath], that biteth the horse heels [the war organization of Satan], so that his rider [Satan’s exalted agencies] shall fall backward. I [God’s people on earth] have waited for thy salvation [by thy Judge], O Lord.” (Gen. 49:16-18) “And of Dan he [Moses] said, Dan is a lion’s whelp; he shall leap from Bashan [to oust the enemy]. ’ ’—Deut. 33: 22.
23 The Philistines were a proud, haughty, insolent people and were desperately wicked. It is Jehovah who provides the means to break through and smite the proud. (Job 26:12) Here Jehovah was making provision to bring forth Samson to smite the enemy and to begin the deliverance of Israel. Manoah’s woman is not named, but she is called the “wife” of Manoah, and it is stated that she was barren. Thus she corresponds with the description of God’s woman, that is, his organization described by Isaiah, and who in due time becomes the mother of all of God’s children. (Isa. 54:1-13) As Jehovah had a fixed time to bring forth the child Samson, who was to begin the deliverance of his people, likewise he had a fixed time for his message to go forth beginning to prepare the way before him in order that he might come to his temple and then deliver his people. (Mal. 3:1-3) God’s woman or organization could not bring forth until Jehovah’s due time. From and after Pentecost the true followers of Christ Jesus looked for his coming again, and that was the great thing that attracted their attention. It was about 1874 that the true followers of Christ Jesus began to have their attention fixed upon the second coming of Christ Jesus, and thereafter much was published concerning the same. (See The Watchtower, February 1881, pages 3, 4.)
24 Jehovah sent his angel to inform those of his organization of the coming Deliverer: “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.” (Judg. 13:3) The appearance of the angel to the woman was apparently about nine months before the birth of Samson, during which period the woman must observe and obey the commandments given to her, to wit: “Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: for, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”— Judg. 13:4,5.
25 From the time of her conception until the birth of the child the woman must strictly observe the commandments then given to her, that she might bring forth an offspring suited to Jehovah’s purpose. The child must be a Nazarite unto God from the womb. God’s law concerning a Nazarite is: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die; because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord. ’ ’—Num. 6: 2-8.
26 It has been generally stated by Biblical commentators that Samson took the Nazarite vow, but there is no evidence to support that conclusion. It was the woman, his mother, who was commanded to observe all the requirements of the law concerning a Nazarite: ‘ ‘ For the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb,” which showed that the child had nothing to do with the matter. The woman must obey the commandment or obligation laid upon her; and this proves that nothing is pleasing to God save that which is wholly and completely devoted to him. Furthermore it proves that the woman must give birth to a child which is wholly separated to and devoted to God, from the time of birth onward. Before its birth it would be impossible for the child to devote itself to God and to take a vow, but the mother had devoted the child to the Lord. This proves that God’s woman, that is, his organization, gives birth only to those who are completely separated from the world and devoted to Jehovah. They have no alternative. Their devotion to God must be complete and an absolute and complete separation from the world to God, and this must be accomplished before they are brought forth as the sons of God. “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (Isa. 54:13) All who are taught of God must be wholly separated to him; otherwise they would not be taught of the Lord. The fact that Samson could not have his hair cut without losing the favor of Jehovah shows that the children of God’s woman cannot partially devote themselves to Jehovah but must be entirely and wholly devoted to him. As Samson played an important part in the prophetic drama, so the importance of his long hair is emphasized, and therefore it must follow that his long hair pictured something particularly appropriate to the true followers of Christ Jesus who should be on the earth at the end of the world.
27 God’s commandment to the woman was, “The child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb’’; meaning that he must be one separate, consecrated and devoted unto God from the time of his birth thenceforth, and therefore Jehovah said: “And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” At this point in the drama Samson appears to picture those who began to deliver the people of God from the antitypical Philistines and who did so by faithfully declaring the Word of God and making known God’s power and great name. The work of complete deliverance of Israel from the Philistines was performed by David particularly in the two great battles, one at Mount Perazim and the other at Gibeon, to which Jehovah by his prophet refers, and which foreshadows the greater deliverance that is to be accomplished by Christ Jesus, the great antitypical David.—Isa. 28: 21.
28 In harmony with this Christ Jesus from about 1878 began to prepare the way before Jehovah, and he sent forth his faithful followers from that time onward to declare the purpose of Jehovah to completely oust all his enemies and to set up his kingdom of righteousness.
29 The information received by the woman, the mother of Samson, she immediately conveyed to her husband. “Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible; but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: but he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. ’ Judg. 13:6,7.
30 That does not mean that God’s organization must tell him what is to come to pass, but it would show this: that God’s organization universal is in full and complete harmony with Jehovah’s will. Jehovah’s announced purpose was to bring forth “a seed” by his woman, that is, by his organization, that would destroy the enemy. (Gen. 3:15) That seed must be completely and wholly devoted to Jehovah. The woman had repeated to her husband the words she had heard, to wit: “For the child [must] be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death ’ ’; and this would mean that those who would have part in the deliverance of the people from Satan’s wicked organization must be entirely and wholly faithful unto God even unto death.—Rev. 2:10.
31 Christ Jesus was wholly and completely obedient unto God even unto the most ignominious death, and because of his faithfulness he was given the great and high position of “the author of eternal salvation” and of the great Deliverer and the Vindicator of God’s holy name. (Phil. 2:7-9; Heb. 5:7-9) All who are born of God’s woman must likewise be faithful unto death if they would have a part in the vindication of Jehovah’s name. One might temporarily be overreached by the enemy and quickly repent and receive forgiveness, but to separate himself from the Lord would mean his eventual end in destruction. The Nazarite vow enjoined upon the mother therefore shows that Jehovah’s organization would have on earth only a people that are entirely and completely devoted to Jehovah. Faithfulness must begin from the time one is born of God’s organization and continue ever thereafter.
32 At this point in the drama Manoah played the part of those who fully trust in and rely upon Jehovah God. He did not know that the one appearing to his woman was the angel of the Lord. (Verse 16) Manifesting his faith in Jehovah God Manoah prayed: “Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”—Judg. 13:8.
33 Manoah fully believed that the message he had received through his woman was true but he desired to be taught further, and, like all faithful ones, he recognized that his true teacher is God. He showed by his language that he was fully convinced that his barren woman would become fruitful only as God might direct, and that she would bear a son by the power of Jehovah, and he desired to be directed in the right way as to what he should do to perform his part. This was in harmony with God’s fixed rule. (Prov. 3:5,6) The promise of Jehovah was fulfilled toward Manoah: “And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.” (Judg. 13:9) The angel again came to the woman, manifestly coming to her first because she would be able to recognize the same creature that had previously appeared to her. The record is that the woman “sat in the field” when the angel appeared, thus suggesting that those of God’s organization are always in his service, hence “in the field”.
34 Doubtless Manoah had prayed aloud in the presence of his woman, and she had faith that the reappearance of the man was in answer to that prayer, and that the messenger would wait until she brought her husband; and for this reason she hurried away to bring him. “And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.” (Judg. 13:10) Manoah showed his faith in God and that God had answered his prayer by immediately going with his wife to see the messenger. “And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.”—Judg. 13:11.
35 Manoah, being the head of the house, here pictured Jehovah God, the Head of the universal organization, and he was one that must assume the responsibility of the obligation which the Lord had laid upon his woman: “And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child? and how shall we do unto him?” (Judg. 13:12) His question was in keeping with the law of God: ‘‘Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he established all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmed them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them.” (Num. 30:13,14) This seems to be the reason why God sent his angel the second time and in answer to the prayer of Manoah. It was the desire of Manoah that he might be instructed as to what should be done and what would be his part in making preparation for the one who was to begin the deliverance of Israel.
36 The angel knew that the woman had told her husband, and that she had heard the request made by Manoah, to wit: ‘ How shall we do unto him ? how shall we order the child?’ And now the angel of the Lord gives instruction: “And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.”—Judg. 13:13,14.
37 Manoah and his woman were willing to observe this commandment; not only willing, but anxious to do so. They were told that their son would be used ‘to begin the deliverance of Israel out of the hand of the Philistines’. The commission was not that Samson must completely deliver the Israelites; hence it cannot be said that Samson came short of his divine commission. The complete deliverance from the Philistines Jehovah was reserving as a later work to be done by his Servant. (1 Sam. 7:13,14; 2 Sam. 5:17-25; 8:1,11,12; 23: 9-19) This clearly means that Samson pictured a class of people on the earth who do not try to completely deliver God’s people out of the hands of the modern Philistines, but that their work is to serve notice upon the enemy and to announce to those who have a hearing ear the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will complete the deliverance.
38 Generously, and to show his appreciation of the messenger’s service, Manoah asked that he might entertain the messenger with food. “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread; and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.” (Judg. 13:15,16) Had Manoah known that the messenger was the angel of the Lord he would not have been so forward in pressing his invitation; but we must remember that Manoah was playing his part, and therefore he is not to be criticized. The angel let it be known that all credit and gratitude must be rendered to the Lord; and this discloses the proper attitude of all creatures that are commissioned by the Lord to perform service in his name. Many men have fallen into the hands of the Devil by willingly receiving credit for doing some commendable work, when all credit should go to Jehovah. All who serve Jehovah God should recognize that no man should be given credit for the interpretation of or the unfolding of the Scriptures, but that all honor, credit and appreciation are due to the Lord. —Col. 2:4,18.
39 Manoah with good intention inquired of the messenger concerning his name: “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour ? And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?” (Judg. 13:17,18) The angel showed complete obedience to the Lord by declining to disclose his name. The angel would not make merchandise of the work committed to him, nor of God’s power operating through him. His name was wholly immaterial. Likewise Jesus gave all credit, honor and glory to his Father. He was sent to speak in his Father’s name and to vindicate his Father’s name. He refused to deviate from that fixed purpose, and therefore “made himself of no reputation”, but was entirely obedient to his Father’s will. (Phil. 2:7; John 5:43) Manifestly therefore it is to be seen that they who would receive the approval of the Lord must walk humbly before him and take no credit to themselves for what is accomplished, but must give all honor to Jehovah.
40 Manoah then proceeded to prepare an offering: “So Manoah took a kid with a meat [(R.V.) with the meal-] offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.” (Judg. 13:19) This offering was made at his home; therefore Manoah must observe the law and offer it upon a rock or stone that had not been hewn by man’s hand. ‘‘And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” (Ex. 20:25) Those who are engaged in God's service and doing the work foreshadowed by Samson must make their offering through God’s unpolluted organization founded upon his Rock, The Stone in Zion, namely, Christ Jesus, and in no other way.
41 While Manoah and his woman looked on, the angel acted as the priest in behalf of Jehovah, receiving the offering to him; so “the angel did wonderously”. “For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar [the unhewn rock], that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.” (Judg. 13: 20) And while the offering was being consumed the angel ascended. Then Manoah and his woman recognized that the man to whom they had been talking was the angel of Jehovah, and fear laid hold upon them and they fell upon their faces to the ground, even as Moses did at the burning bush. (Ex. 3:1-6) Jehovah “mak-eth his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire”. —Ps. 104:4.
42 The angel did not appear again, and Manoa h, knowing that he was the angel of the Lord, was much disturbed: “But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” (Judg. 13:21,22) Knowing himself to be imperfect and a sinful man; and having beheld with his eyes the representative of the Most High God, Manoah thought he would surely die: “But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would, as at this time, have told us such things as these.”—Judg. 13: 23.
43 This drama particularly pictures the work of God’s people on earth during the Elijah period. The offering of God’s people during that period was quite imperfect, but his people did the best they knew and with all good conscience, and God blessed their efforts, showing that their work was acceptable because of their unfeigned love and faith; and therefore these faithful ones rested in the Lord.
44 The presumption must be indulged that the woman fully obeyed the instructions given by the angel of the Lord and that at the end of the proper period her son was born. “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.” (Judg. 13:24) The child was named Samson, and that name appears to be of uncertain meaning. According to some authorities it means “sunny, or, sunlike”; according to others it means “desolator, destroyer”. Both of these meanings seem to be entirely appropriate. Samson was a sunny, witty and happy-appearing creature, and he was also the desolator of the Philistines. Those whom Samson pictured are likewise sunny and pleasing to those who love God, and at the same time they are all desolators of the antitypical or modern Philistines. Samson grew up at Zorah, right amidst the wine-producing vineyards, yet he refrained from the wine because he was entirely consecrated and separated by his parents unto God. Only three miles away was the town of Timnath, occupied by the warlike people of the Philistines; hence Samson must have had the protection of the Lord. He was blessed by the Lord manifestly because in obedience to the will of God he continued to be a Nazarite. The birth of Samson was the beginning of the deliverance of Israel, and seems to correspond to the time when Christ Jesus began to turn his attention particularly to the things of the earth and began to ‘prepare the way before the Lord’, and which time we understand to be from about 1878 onward. Samson therefore appears to represent the work of the Lord performed by and through his people during that period of time from 1878 onward and which is known as the Elijah work. The Watchtower came into existence about that time, and then followed the organization of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. Those who fully devoted themselves to God during that period, and remained faithful, were greatly blessed. Samson appears to foreshadow John the Baptist, and the John-the-Baptist class, of whom God’s angel announced: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the holy [spirit], even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15) Concerning Sam-son the divine record is: “And the spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. ’ ’—Judg. 13: 25.
45 It appears that the Danites and Philistines maintained military camps near by each other. If Manoah was in the military service, doubtless the young man Samson was at the army post with his father. This experience would instill in the young man the spirit of enmity toward the Philistines and create the fighting urge within him against the enemy. From the beginning of the Elijah-John-the-Baptist work onward those who maintained their integrity toward God, and remained faithful, had instilled in them the spirit of war against the enemy, praying constantly and hoping for the day when the Lord will accomplish complete destruction of the enemy and the full deliverance of those who love him.
46 God’s consecrated people have for some time erroneously believed and held that the “great multitude” (Rev. 7: 9-14) is spirit-begotten, that it is only partially faithful to God, and that Samson pictured the great multitude because of his apparently unfaithful conduct in yielding to improper influence, and that he received the Lord’s disapproval by having his power taken away from him and his eyes out. If Samson pictured the people of God doing the work of the Elijah period of the church, then he could not picture the great multitude, because the great multitude was not in existence within that period of time. It is believed now that an examination of the entire record concerning Samson will fully support the conclusion that Samson pictured the children of God, born of his woman, and who continue faithful unto death. How could this conclusion be consistent with the yielding of Samson to the importunities of Delilah?
(To be continued)
QUESTIONS FOR STUDY
1. How does Jehovah deal with his enemies? Why? Who are the proud? Identify the seed of the Serpent.
2-4. With scriptures, show whether the Israelites did right in slaying their enemies. Why has Jehovah preserved a record thereof?
5, 6. What are some of the outstanding acts appearing in the Bible record concerning Samson? What is the purpose of this part of the record?
7-10. Who are the players prominent in this drama, and whom did they prophetically represent?
11. Account for the remnant’s now being given an understanding of the prophetic pictures recorded in the Scriptures.
12-17. Show that Judges 13: 1 is clearly a prophetic statement. Who were the Philistines? Account for their being in Palestine. Point out evidence proving that they pictured an organization today opposing and persecuting the true people of God; also that the apostle’s words at Ephesians 6: 12 exactly fit the organization, policy and methods of the Devil’s chief visible instrument used to accomplish his wicked purpose.
18, 19. Apply the prophetic fact (a) of the Philistines’ stopping up the wells that Abraham had dug for the benefit of the people, (b) Of Isaac’s digging other wells to provide water for the people.
20-22. How did Jehovah prepare the way for delivering his covenant people from their cruel oppressors? Show that the record at Judges 13: 2 well describes Manoah and Ins wife as fitting characters for their parts in this drama.
23. What kind of people were the Philistines! Apply the prophetic fact that Jehovah at his fixed time brought forth the child Samson, who was to begin the deliverance of his people.
24-28. Explain the purpose at that time, also the prophetic significance, (a) of the announcement by the angel as recorded at verse 3. (b) Of the commandments (verses 4,5) then given to the woman. Compare these instructions with God’s law recorded at Numbers 6: 2-8. When and how did those prophetic words spoken by the angel begin to have fulfillment!
29-31. Explain the woman’s ‘coming and telling her husband’ as recorded at verses 6, 7. Explain and illustrate the significance of the Nazarite vow’s being here enjoined upon the mother.
32, 33. What is shown (a) in verse 8 as to Manoah’s part in this prophetic picture? (b) In the manner in which Manoah’s prayer was answered?
34-36. With other scriptures, show that (in the matters mentioned in verses 8,11,12) Manoah was proceeding properly.
37. Explain whether Samson fully performed his divine commission. What is foreshown therein?
38-40. What important instruction is seen in that part of the picture presented (a) in verses 15-18? (b) In verses 19, 20?
41-43. How have verses 20-23 found fulfillment?
44, 45. What is there in the record to indicate that the instructions given by the angel were obeyed (a) by those at that time involved therein! (b) By those whom they there prophetically represented! What appropriate circumstance is apparent from the statement of verse 25?
46. Account for the belief heretofore by God’s consecrated people that Samson pictured the “great multitude”. Why could he not represent that class? Whom did he picture? How could this conclusion be consistent with Samson’s yielding to the importunities of Delilah?
GREAT MULTITUDE HAIL PEOPLE’S LEADER
IT WAS the year 33 (A.D.). Spring had just come to the Near East. “Then Jesus, six days before the passover [feast], came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. ’ ’—John 12:1,12-16.
Many years later John the apostle was given a revelation. He saw in symbol another jubilant great multitude that should make its appearance nineteen hundred years later, at the end of the world or age, and that should hail the King whom Jehovah God has given for a “leader and commander to the people”. (Isa. 55:4) Describing the apocalyptic vision John writes: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,” Christ Jesus.—Rev. 7:9,10.
God’s kingdom company, made up of Jesus’ faithful footstep followers, has been in gathering during a period of nineteen centuries. Taken as a whole, the Lord Jesus designates them as a “little flock” to whom Jehovah gives the kingdom. (Luke 12: 32) They have been begotten of God’s spirit. Spirit-begetting means that God brings forth as his spiritual son such a one as has previously exercised faith in the shed blood of Christ Jesus “the Lamb of God”, expressing this faith by fully consecrating himself to do God’s will, and that such are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. But the “great multitude” foreseen in The Revelation are not a spirit-begotten company; that is to say, they are never brought forth and acknowledged by Jehovah as his spiritual sons. Those that today go to make up that “great multitude”, not being of Christ’s “little flock”, are at other places in the Scriptures designated as his “other sheep”, ‘men of good will,’ the class foreshadowed by Jonadab the son of Rechab. —John 10:16; Luke 2:14; 2 Ki. 10:15-23.
Seeing that the Holy Scriptures were written aforetime for the benefit of Christ’s footstep followers upon whom the end of the age or world should come, as stated in 1 Corinthians 10:11, then it follows the apostle John really stood for Jehovah’s witnesses now on earth when it was commanded John: “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:11) The latter part of A.D. 1919 marks the beginning of the work of Jehovah’s witnesses after the interference of the World War. By the time this company reached 1922 their service work was organized and under way, and it was then that, as Jesus foretold and commanded, “this gospel of the kingdom” was being preached from house to house and in this manner being carried to the nations, peoples and tongues, that is to say, to the common people, and also to the “kings” or rulers of the world. (Matt. 24:14) God’s remnant on earth, that is to say, Jehovah’s witnesses, received from the hand of God’s angel the message of the kingdom gospel, which they must preach; as written: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6) “This gospel of the kingdom” has since then been preached in many languages (over seventy to date) and been distributed amongst the peoples of the various nations in printed form in millions of books, magazines, and free tracts, not to speak of the extensive broadcasting of the message by the radio. This gospel has been preached also to the kings or ruling factors of the world by giving them notice and warning, which notice and warning was printed and distributed throughout the earth. It has also been preached to the people of good will according to the Lord’s commandment. It is those that hear, understand, and respond to the gospel message by consecrating themselves to do God’s will, and then seek meekness and righteousness, that receive God’s approval and blessing. (Zeph. 2:2,3) Thus it comes that the “great multitude” is “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues”. They do not become part of the “little flock” of spiritual Israelites who are sealed as “the servants of our God”, the 144,000.— Rev. 7:2-8.
No man could tell what God predestinates. Jehovah specifically designates the 144,000 as those who are sealed as his servants to carry out his purpose. But what man is he that could number these unless the facts were revealed to him by Jehovah? The fact that John “heard” the number of those that were sealed and that there were sealed 144,000 is conclusive proof that Jehovah through Christ Jesus revealed to man that great truth; in no other way could man get it. This and the further fact that John thereafter beheld “a great multitude, which no man could number”, show that the number thereof is one of Jehovah’s secrets not revealed and that therefore the 144,000 and the “great multitude” are not the same class, nor of the same class, but are separate and distinct companies.
They “stood before the throne”. The fact that they “stood” shows they are approved by the Most High, because “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”. (Ps. 1: 5) But “stood” where? Would they have to go first to heaven in order to stand approved before the Lord ? Certainly not; nor would they have to be in heaven in order to stand before the throne, even in reference to position or to approval. Verse sixteen shows that while standing “before the throne” those of the great multitude are hungry and thirsty, whereas if they were in heaven there would be no occasion for them to hunger and thirst. Those who are hungry and thirsty for spiritual food are the ones on earth who are seeking to be fed on that which will satisfy their heart’s desire.
Manifestly the great multitude are here shown as standing before the judgment throne of Christ Jesus, that is, God’s throne, but where God judges by Proxy, which is to say, Jehovah judges by His beloved Son, to whom he has committed all judgment. (John 5: 22,27) In A.D. 1914 Jehovah put his beloved Son on the throne of authority as earth’s Rightful Ruler. (Ps. 2:6) In the year 1918, three and one-half years after enthronement, Christ Jesus came to God’s temple spiritual as his “messenger” or deputy and began judgment at the temple. (Mal. 3:1-3) In standing before the Lord for judgment the “great multitude” need not be in heaven, for the reason that, as Jesus stated, when he assumes his throne for judgment of the nations all nations shall be gathered before him, and surely these nations are not in heaven. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”—Matt. 25:31, 32.
The great multitude are “of all nations”, and therefore not in heaven, but on the earth, and are before Christ Jesus for judgment. This judgment work shows that those of good will, who take the side of the Lord and his brethren (Jehovah’s witnesses) and who become the “sheep” of the Lord, stand before the Lord the great Judge as approved, “and he shall set the sheep on his right hand.” To the “sheep” Christ Jesus says: ‘‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”; and these get life eternal, on earth. (Matt. 25: 32-46) While being judged they are on the earth, yet ‘in the sight of’ Christ Jesus, because now he is giving his attention to them, although no human eyes can see the Lord. Nor is it necessary for any of the great multitude to see with the naked eye the one “before” (Greek: enoopion; ‘in the sight of’) whom they stand and are judged. They learn that Christ Jesus is at the temple, upon his throne for judgment, and they discern this truth although they do not see him with their natural eyes.
Describing them as “clothed with white robes” means they stand before the throne as approved ones. These “white robes” picture that they are clean and approved. Verse fourteen states the means by which their robes were made white. Cleanliness results by reason of faith in the shed blood of Christ Jesus, “ [who] loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Rev. 1:5) The great multitude, by reason of their faith in the shed blood of Christ, and devoting themselves to God, thereby wash their robes in the Lamb’s blood and make themselves clean. These keep their robes clean by continuing in faith and devotion to God and Christ Jesus, his King.
The apostle John pictures God’s remnant beholding the great multitude with “palms in their hands”. These latter have taken their stand on the side of Christ Jesus and Jehovah God, as is shown by the fact that they stand before the throne of God and of the Lamb clothed in white robes. What, then, is the meaning of “palms in their hands”? It symbolically says, This great multitude hails Christ Jesus as Jehovah’s “Chief Corner Stone”, as the King and Rightful Ruler of the world and the Savior of mankind. When, in A.D. 33, Christ Jesus rode into Jerusalem upon the ass and presented himself as King this constituted the ‘laying of the Corner Stone’ in miniature. (Isa. 28:16) It foreshadowed the laying of the Comer Stone in completion when Christ Jesus should appear at Jehovah’s heavenly temple as King, in 1918. When the Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem “a very great multitude [(R.V.) the most part of the multitude] spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:8,9) They “took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel”. (John 12:12,13, A.R.V.) In the gospel by John and in The Revelation to him John makes mention of the palm branches, and that in connection with the great multitude. Thus at the miniature laying of the Corner Stone, in A.D. 33, what there took place foreshadowed that which John saw in vision of the laying of the Corner Stone (Jehovah’s anointed King) in completeness.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem the great multitude that spread their garments on the ground and waved their palm branches were not then his disciples, as the facts subsequently showed. Only a short time before that triumphant entry into Jerusalem he had addressed his disciples, speaking to them as a “little flock”. (Luke 12:32) It was afterwards, when Jesus was riding upon an ass as king, that the great multitude appeared and shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah.” Likewise when Jesus Christ is enthroned, in A.D. 1914, the great multitude are not recognized, discerned and understood as existing, nor are they the disciples of Christ Jesus, hence not begotten and anointed of God’s spirit as his spiritual children and witnesses. It is after Christ Jesus is presented as King, in 1918, spring, and he is seated upon his throne of judgment in the temple that the great multitude is discerned with palms in their hands. This would prove that the great multitude mentioned in Revelation 7: 9 began to come into existence after the Lord appeared at the temple for judgment.—Mal. 3:1-3.
Manifestly those with “palms in their hands”, as mentioned in Revelation 7, are not Christ’s footstep followers, that is to say, are not Jehovah’s remnant of witnesses on earth, but are made up of others who hear about Jehovah and his kingdom under Christ and desire that kingdom. It is seen that these are gathered out of the nations and tribes, kindreds, peoples and tongues; and when they learn that God’s gracious kingdom has come, they take their stand on the side of Jehovah and his King and wave their “palm branches” as an evidence that they are heartily in accord with and support the King, about whom they have learned.
When human creatures learn of something that is to their great benefit it is difficult for them to refrain from giving expression to their joy. No good news could come to man that would make him so glad as the news that salvation is provided for him. This is shown to be the frame of mind of those who compose the great multitude standing before the throne with palms in their hands. Concerning this John writes: They “cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb”. (Rev. 7:10) When the people of earth of good will learn that the King of righteousness has come and that God has provided salvation by and through Christ’s blood and his kingdom, and that there is no other means of salvation, they shout Jehovah’s praises as Author of salvation, and they devote themselves to His service. They do not remain mum, but vigorously join Jehovah’s witnesses, God’s remnant, in crying out the kingdom message. They have the good news which they have received at the mouth of Jehovah’s witnesses. This good news the witnesses have at the command of the Lord their King brought to the “sheep” class described in Matthew 25:31-46 and have said to them: “Let him that heareth [the good news] say, Come.” (Rev. 22:17) Being thus invited this “sheep” class do say to others: ‘Come and learn the only way of salvation.’ As shown by Revelation 7:10, those of the great multitude class are saying to others: “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” The “palms in their hands” say in effect: “We hail our King and Savior; our allegiance and our devotion are to him. Our salvation comes from him, the King Eternal, who is Jehovah, and through Christ Jesus, his anointed Ruler of the world.” They openly confess that they are on the Lord’s side.
‘But who are this great multitude, and whence came they?’ (Verse 13) It was an elder before the throne that replied: ‘ ‘ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14) They “come out of the great tribulation” (R.V.) ; “these are those coming out of the great affliction.” (Diaglott) That tribulation period began with the “day of Jehovah”, to wit, in 1914, when the “war in heaven” started against Satan’s organization in heaven. (12: 7) It reaches the great climax at the time of the battle of Armageddon, “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (16:14,16) This tribulation does not come to develop or complete the great multitude, but is the tribulation that comes upon Satan’s organization, both visible and invisible, and that will completely wreck that organization. (2 Thess. 1:6; Rom. 2:5-9; Rev. 2:22) Had that tribulation, then begun, continued to its final end without interruption, all flesh would have been destroyed. The tribulation was shortened (in the middle) by the Lord about the same time that the World War ended, in 1918, thus affording an opportunity for his witnesses under his commandment to go forth and bear testimony to his name and his kingdom as a witness to the world. During this period of giving testimony, that is, during the ‘preaching of this gospel of the kingdom’ (Matt. 24:14), the great multitude class “come out”. The tribulation is not for the benefit of the great multitude. Let that be settled once and for all, because the tribulation is upon Satan’s organization.
To “come out of the great tribulation” not alone means to survive that trouble as ‘flesh that shall be saved’ (Matt. 24:22), but primarily means that the great multitude come out from Satan’s organization and take their stand on Jehovah’s side during the period of time that elapses during the ‘shortening of the days’, to wit, from the stopping of the World War in 1918 until the day of Armageddon. During that period “this gospel of the kingdom” is preached.
What is the purpose of shortening those days of tribulation? The Lord answers it is “for the elect’s sake”. (Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20) During that period of time God’s elect ones have a work to do as witnesses for Jehovah and under his commandment, and at least a part of that work is to “ set a mark upon the foreheads” of the great multitude, as commanded by Jehovah. (Ezek. 9: 4) That means that Jehovah’s witnesses, like the man “clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side ’ ’, must proclaim the message of truth and thus give an intellectual understanding of the truth to those of the great multitude class. This class obeys Jesus’ commandment to “flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:16) ; they take their place and stand in the “city of refuge” provided by Jehovah God. (Num. 35:6) This is “immediately after the tribulation of those days”, that is to say, after the first part of the tribulation, from 1914 to 1918. (Matt. 24:29) The great multitude will also survive Armageddon, because God’s promise to those who “seek righteousness, seek meekness” is that they ‘may be hid’ in that time. (Zeph. 2:3) All these scriptures negative the thought that the tribulation is for the purpose of developing or perfecting this class of God’s people. The “great tribulation” is the execution of Jehovah’s judgments against Satan’s organization, and is not for the purpose of developing anyone.
The “robes” of the great multitude clearly mean their own public profession by which they identify themselves as trusting in the blood of Christ Jesus as the redemptive price of mankind, and their openly taking their stand on Jehovah’s side. Many honest persons have been led to believe that the “higher powers” are and were the visible rulers of this wicked world; but when God enlightened his people and made known to them that the “Higher Powers” (Rom. 13:1) are Jehovah and Christ Jesus, they passed this information on to other honest people of good will, and many of such have since joyfully accepted, recognized and acknowledged Christ Jesus and Jehovah as the “higher powers”. To these ones it has been a time of joy, and they have gladly confessed before men that they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that they are trusting implicitly in Jehovah and are on his side. In ignorance they had held to the things of the world. With the coming of Christ Jesus as the world’s Rightful Ruler, this information being then given to the people of good will, it enabled them to see that they were under Satan’s organization and that there was a necessity for cleaning themselves up by getting out. And this they do by forsaking Satan’s organization and identifying themselves with God’s organization.
According to the language of The Revelation (7:14) the great multitude do their own washing; that is, by reason of the course of action they take they break away from Satan’s unclean organization and openly show themselves on Jehovah’s side, and this they do by openly confessing their devotion to God. “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) How, then, do they make their robes “white in the blood of the Lamb ’ ’ ? The shed blood of Christ Jesus the Lamb of God is the basis for forgiveness of sins, the basis for God to forgive uncleanness. By believing that Christ’s shed blood is the redemptive price of mankind, and by consecrating themselves to do God’s will, based on such belief; and by serving, worshiping and obeying the Lord, and not men, these take their stand on the side of Jehovah and participate in his service. That is the only course that would give them a white and clean appearance in God’s sight. No man can take his stand on Jehovah’s side without believing in the shed blood of Christ Jesus as the means of salvation.
The great multitude leave no doubt as to where they stand. They honor Jehovah God and his King, and refuse to give any glory to any part of Satan’s organization. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. ’’ (Rev. 7:15) They look to the throne of God and Christ, and to no other place, and therefore are they “before the throne” and in the sight of Jehovah and his King. They vote for God’s kingdom, and participate in the publication work of advertising the King and his kingdom. They have the recognition of the throne, and God turns his favorable attention to them to the end that they may “be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger”. They are a company of joyful creatures who are active and zealous for Jehovah and his kingdom. Now they have caught up the song and the spirit of service that marks God’s remnant, and together with the remnant, Jehovah’s witnesses, they continue to march on to Armageddon and to the vindication of Jehovah’s holy name.
HOW AMIABLE are thy tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts! Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the highways to Zion. They go from strength to strength; every one of them appeareth before God in Zion. For Jehovah God is a sun and a shield. Jehovah will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Jehovah of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.—Psalm 84.
LETTERS FROM THE FIELD
IN Ethiopia there is one lone pioneer ‘preaching this gospel of the kingdom’. He is able to give the witness in Armenian, in Greek, and in French.
The following is a letter from him:
My dear. Brethren at the Watch Tower Office:
I received your encouraging letter and read it with much appreciation.
Dearly beloved, I don’t consider it strange to be persecuted for righteousness' sake, and I expect more to follow. Let the Devil’s crowd do their worst. Jehovah of hosts has protected me in the past, and he will do so also in the future.
At noon I was coming home from my work, and one of the agents of Satan, suddenly coming out of his hiding place, struck me twice on the head with a big staff; he hit me so hard that the staff broke to pieces. But by the Lord’s help, and to the astonishment of the neighbors, my wound was not very serious. I stayed in bed only two days. On another occasion the representatives of the enemy attacked me with knives; but the very moment they were going to stab me, by the influence of some unknown power they threw their knives and left me alone.
But the cruel agents of the Devil continue their persecution. This time they made up false statements about me, and sent me to the capital (Addis Ababa) to appear before the emperor. During my stay (four months) there in the capital, I went everywhere and gave the witness from house to house, as well as in the hotels and cafe houses. At last I was brought before the emperor. He heard me; and not finding any fault, he set me free and commanded me to go home. Praise the Lord for this victory!
My persecutors are the Armenian Big Business class and an Armenian priest, who keep themselves out of sight but use some Ethiopians and Arabs to carry out their evil plans.
No doubt you are informed from the newspapers about the political condition existing now in Ethiopia. The people live in fear and perplexity, but I rejoice in the Lord. May Almighty Jehovah bless you richly, and strengthen you to finish the work he has given you to do.
Your brother in Christ,
K. Hatzakortzian, Ethiopia.
Dear Brother Rutherford :
We, the undersigned members of the Yakima [Wash.] company of Jonadabs and anointed, wish to take this occasion to express our full confidence in the Watch Tower as being the instrument of Jehovah. We hereby adopt and make our own the following resolution:
“We believe that JEHOVAH is the only true God and that Christ Jesus is man’s Redeemer and the world’s rightful Ruler. We are certain that the kingdom of God under Christ is the only hope of mankind and that Christ Jesus is Jehovah’s Vindicator and that his kingdom will vindicate God’s great name. We hate wickedness and love righteousness. We therefore gladly take our stand on the side of Jehovah God and his kingdom under Christ, and by his grace we will love, serve and obey and honor Jehovah and his beloved Son, Christ Jesus.’’
John F. Hauenstein, Florence Shuck, C. A. Gibson, Lola Hillyard, Ruby Steiber,
Mrs. Anna Schwartz, Mrs. Bessie Reynolds, Mrs. Oliva Hillyard, Mrs. W. E. Eden,
W. E. Eden, Chas. Eller,
T. B. Shuck, Anna Widmer, Mrs. Thos. Rhoades, Minnie Mahoney, Evelyn McVey, G. E. McVey, Lena Hauenstein, A. E. Hillyard, Margaret Hillyard, Mary A. Coffey.