PLEASE PRAY FOR ISRAEL
After years of a growing distance between secular and believing Jews which declined into open hostility and violence, there are now (quite hidden besides the worsening and hateful atmosphere after the assassination), first signs for an approach and readiness for a dialogue between the camps.
We believe that quarrel between the brothers will end with a reconciliation and all Jews who kept a spark of Judaism in their hearts will unite.
Like at that time, Joseph’s brothers ready to sell him thought him a messianic-arrogant-dreamer. This faithfulness to God brought him first into prison. But the conflict ended with a wonderful union. Also today many see the God-fearing Jews as extreme-messianic-fanatics, but now there is the first dawn of an approach. The forces of darkness are already attacking this positive development and try to push it into false compromises.
Therefore it is necessary to pray now fervently for Israel. Pray without ceasing that those who are still blinded will come to faith, and that the already ongoing revival in many Israeli hearts may continue until the promised great spiritual awakening. In this most decisive situation no true Christian can stand by and do nothing.
The Lord has put a special responsibility about every Christian to look out for brethren who need help. Paul reveals to us in Romans 9:1-5 that we owe the Jews a heavy debt under God. And the Prophets showed that a constant God-given concern rests upon us to pray for the restoration and peace of Jerusalem! Prayer and assistance are specially commended by the Lord, and great reward is promised for those who are successful in helping and restoring their brethren who erred and took a wrong course.
The prayer for Israel now has a central importance. The Lord will cause His face to shine upon all who are doing His will.
In Love, Your Brothers from Emek ha Shalom, Herman and Joseph
P.S. Brother Herman feels that the Lord will this very month cause a positive change for Israel. Therefore:
“You who call on the Lord,
give yourselves no rest,
and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth!”
JEHOVAH’S FOOTSTOOL MADE GLORIOUS
“Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” “I will make the place [footstool] of my feet glorious.” “His [Jehovah’s] feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.” (Isa. 60:13; 66:1; Zech 14:4; Matt. 5:35; Acts 7:49)
God’s footstool has been far from glorious for the past six thousand years: sin, pain, crying, mental and physical suffering and death have made it one vast charnel house in which now, conservatively estimated, at least twenty billions of humanity wait for the time to come when the curse of Divine Justice shall be lifted; and the light of Divine favor, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, shall rise as the sun of righteousness –
“Chase away sin’s dismal shadows,
Light the gloom with healing ray.”
To this end God has made abundant provision. The ransom for Adam and all who suffered loss through him as his children, buys the whole world, and secures for each one of our race an opportunity of a trial for everlasting life under favorable conditions. It does more, it buys back Adam’s Paradise home (lost by his transgression), and his dominion as earth’s king, representative of God, his Creator and Father.
Hence we read, “Thou, O Tower of the flock [Christ], the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion.” (Micah 4:8) Paul also speaks of the “redemption of the purchased possession.” (Eph. 1:14) Our Lord in one of His parables referred to this also, showing that He purchases not only mankind, the treasure, but also the field, the world, the earth from under the curse: and that all who join with Him, as members of the Kingdom Class, share in that purchase of the field and the treasure. (Matt. 13:44)
The entire work of the Millennium will consist in ordering and making glorious God’s footstool. Paradise, when lost through sin, was but a garden in a corner of the earth; but inasmuch as the race of Adam has multiplied to fill the earth, in accordance with the Divine intention (Gen. 1:28), and since they all have been redeemed, it will be necessary to provide a Paradise large enough to accommodate all. This will imply that the entire earth shall become as the Garden of Eden for fruitfulness and beauty and perfection. And all this is promised as the grand future consummation of the Divine Plan. (Acts 3:20,21; Rev. 2:7; 2 Cor. 12:4)
But the richest jewel of the Lord’s glorified footstool in the close of the Millennium will be mankind, in whose perfection, liberty, and likeness to God, in moral and intellectual graces, will be reflected the very image of Divinity. Most gloriously will the perfect man reflect honor upon his Maker and His wondrous plan for His creation, redemption and restitution. And with that wonderful plan will always be intimately identified first the Lord Jesus, Jehovah’s “Word,” and second the Bride, the Lamb’s wife and joint-heir in disbursing the blessings secured by the ransom.
This beautifying and glorifying of the Lord’s “footstool” will not be completed until our Lord Jesus, as the Father’s honored agent, “shall have put down all [conflicting] rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet, before he delivers up the Kingdom at the close of the Millennium.” (1 Cor. 15:24-28)
The period of the reign of Sin and Death is described as the time when God “remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger” (Lam. 2:1); but following the start of the Millennium, the people are prophetically called upon to “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool, for he is worthy.” (Psa. 99:5) And this thought, that the establishment of the New Jerusalem, the Church of God glorified, as the new government in the earth, will mean the beginning of the restoration of Divine favor to Jehovah’s footstool, is clearly set forth through the Prophet Zechariah (14:4,5).
JEHOVAH’S FEET ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
This prophecy is generally misunderstood, and applied to the feet of our Lord Jesus, at His Second Advent. Indeed, those who thus err generally go farther and assert that it will be the feet of flesh, pierced with the nails of Calvary – not realizing that our Lord gave His human nature, complete and forever, as our ransom; and that He was raised from the dead, by the Father’s Power, a glorious spirit-being, the express image of the Father’s person.
But a glance at the preceding verse (Zech 14:3) shows that the Prophet speaks of the return of Jehovah’s feet; for the verse (referring to the trouble by which the Kingdom will be established) is: “Then shall Jehovah go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle [anciently for Israel]. And his feet will stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be divided in its center, from east to west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove northward and half southward.”
As soon as any see the fact that the feet mentioned are Jehovah’s feet, they will not dispute that this language is symbolic, and refers to the Lord’s reestablishment of His dominion in the earth, that has long been comparatively abandoned to the “god of this world” Satan, except as the Lord was represented first by the typical Tabernacle, secondly by the Temple at Jerusalem, and lastly by the present tabernacle condition of the Church of Christ, during this Gospel Age. Surely, no one will err and get the thought that Jehovah literally rests His feet upon this earth as a “footstool.”
And if the placing and resting of Jehovah’s feet is symbolic, and signifies the return of Divine favor and dominion to earth, so, we may be sure, other features connected in the same prophecy are symbolic: the Mount of Olives, its peculiar division, its valley, the flight of the people, the waters of life from Jerusalem (Compare v. 8 with Ezek. 47:1-9), etc., are all symbolic statements, pictures of grand spiritual truths.
The olive is a meaningful symbol: in olden times it was the source of artificial light, its oil being generally used for this purpose (Ex. 27:20). Indeed, in the Hebrew the olive tree was called shemen or oil tree. Olive oil was also used as the basis of many of the precious ointments of olden time – such as that used in anointing the priests and kings, typing the Holy Spirit upon the antitypical “royal priesthood.” (Ex. 30:25) And from time immemorial the olive branch has been used as a symbol of peace. (Gen. 8:11; Neh. 8:15)
If then the olive be the symbol of light, peace and Divine blessing through the Holy Spirit, and if mountain be considered as elsewhere the symbol for a Kingdom, the significance here of the term Mount of Olives is easily seen to be the Kingdom of Light, Peace and Divine Blessing. And the standing or establishment or fixing of Jehovah’s “feet” upon it, signifies that the Divine favor and law will be reestablished in the earth by and through the Holy Kingdom.
This application of the term Mount of Olives, is in full accord with Paul’s statement (Rom. 11:17,24) in which he compares Fleshly Israel with the original cultivated olive tree, and Gentile converts to wild olive branches grafted in where the natural branches had been broken off. (Compare Jer. 11:16,17.) He explains that the root of the tree is in the promise of God, the Abrahamic promise, that the seed of Abraham should finally bless all the families of the earth, etc. Finally the same root or promise will bear two kinds of branches, the ingrafted wild olive branches, and the re-ingrafted natural branches: when Israel shall have his blindness turned away, and shall look with the eye of faith on the Savior crucified and pierced eighteen centuries ago, a sacrifice for sin. We remember also that fleshly Israel was God’s typical Kingdom or mountain for a long time, and that spiritual Israel of this age is called to be the real Kingdom of God, as Jesus said, “Fear not, Little Flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
Further, from these two Kingdoms (even before Jehovah’s glory rests on them to make them His channels of blessings to all mankind) has proceeded all “the light of the world” during all the darkness of the past: for are not these the representatives of the Old and the New Testaments, the two parts of the Oath-bound Covenant? Are not these related to the Lord’s two witnesses and to the two olive trees of Zech. 4:3,11,12, distinctly mentioned also in Rev. 11:4? – in that these two parts of the mountain symbolize the outcome of that covenant, the results of the witnessing – the Kingdom in its heavenly and its earthly phases?
Here we see, then, that the two halves of the Mount of Olives mean the two parts of the Kingdom of God, distinctly separated according to a Divine order or arrangement. The separation indicates no opposition between the two parts of the Kingdom. It is, on the contrary, for the purpose of making the “Valley of Blessing” between – to which all who desire Divine aid may flee and find succor under the blessed protection of both the heavenly and the earthly phases of the Kingdom.
The Prophet David (Psa. 84) seems to have been given a foreview of this great “Valley of Blessings,” close to Jehovah’s “feet,” when He sings first of the Saints of the Gospel Age and then of those blessed in the next age, saying:
“How lovely are thy dwelling places
O Jehovah of Hosts!
My soul desired, yea, it even fainted
For the courts of Jehovah.
My heart and my flesh shout with joy
Unto the living God.
Even as the sparrow hath found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young: (so
I have found) thine altars, O Lord of Host,
My God, my King.
Happy are they that dwell in thy house:
They shall be continually praising Thee. Selah.
Happy is the man whose strong confidence is in thee
Whose heart reflecteth (wholly) on the paths of (righteousness).
Passing through the valley of mourning,
They change it into a place of (joy) springs – [Valley of Blessings].
The Autumn rain brings them blessings [Joel 2:28]:
They go from strength to strength
That each of them may be presented (perfect)
Before God in Zion.”
The Eighty-fifth Psalm also pictures the return of Divine clemency and blessing under the Millennial Kingdom, the Olive Mountain (Kingdom) of two parts.
The removal of one part of the mountain to the north and the other to the south is significant; the North is the direction of the Pleiades, the celestial center of the universe, the supposed seat of Divine empire. This would seem to indicate the “change” of the Gospel Church at this time, from human to spirit conditions as “partakers of the Divine nature”: and the removal of the other half of the mountain would seem to signify the complete restitution, to perfect human condition, of those Ancient Worthies accounted worthy to constitute the earthly representatives of God’s Kingdom.
The valley thus produced would be one full of light – free from shadows: for the sun would stream through it from east to west. This speaks pictorially of the Sun of Righteousness and its full light of Divine truth and blessing scattering the shadows of sin, ignorance, superstition and death, and healing and restoring the willingly obedient of men who will flee to this valley of blessings, the valley of mercy. The valley of mercy, between and under the care of the spiritual and human phases of the Kingdom of Light and Peace (the standing of Jehovah’s feet) will surely be a “Valley of Blessings” to all who enter it with broken and contrite hearts.
We must recall, further, that while it is said to Israel only, “Ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains,” yet as a name Israel meant “The people blessed of the Lord,” “The people of God,” “The Lord’s people.” (2 Chron. 7:14) While, as we have seen, the first or spiritual blessing of the Kingdom shall come to spiritual Israel, and the second or earthly blessing shall begin with Israel according to the flesh, yet it will not stop there; for whosoever will may become an Israelite: by exercising the faith and obedience of Abraham, all mankind may become Israelites indeed, “the people of God.” Hence the Prophet Isaiah declares that when Israel is called back to Divine favor, at the establishment of the Kingdom, it will include “Every one that is called by my [Jehovah’s] name: for I have created him for my glory; I have formed him, yea, I have made him. [The name Israel will then apply to all who are God’s people.]” (Isa. 43:7; Rom. 9:26,33; 10:13)
“And [thus] will Jehovah my God come in, and all the holy ones shall [thus] be [united] with him.” (Zech. 14:5) When God’s time shall have come, when the lease of power to the Gentiles shall have run out, when the sacrificing of the Day of Atonement (the Gospel Age) shall have ended, when the High Priest shall have finished atoning, not only for His “body,” the Church, but also for His “house,” and for “all people,” and He shall come forth to bless all the people, then Jehovah’s sentence of death shall be lifted from the earth, His footstool abode will again be recognized, and its beautifying in righteousness, truth and the Holy Spirit of love shall begin and progress, until, in the end of the Millennium, all the willingly righteous shall have reached perfection, reunited with Jehovah, and all the unwilling shall have been destroyed. (Acts 3:23; Rev. 20:9)
Carrying the picture further, the Prophet declares, respecting that day in which gradually the earth shall be made glorious as Jehovah’s footstool:
“It shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be bright nor the darkness thick; but the day shall be the one foreknown to the Lord – neither full day nor night: but it shall come to pass that at its close [evening] it shall be [clear] light.” (Zech. 14:6,7)
Some confounded the “day” here described with the “day of Vengeance” which is “a day of clouds and thick darkness with no light in it” (Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15) and the translators have, seemingly, generally tried to harmonize the translations. But not so; the day here referred to by Zechariah as only partially bright is the Millennial day, though in it the Sun of Righteousness will arise and shine, to scatter earth’s miasma of sin, superstition and death. It will yet be only partially bright, because it will throughout be dealing with generation after generation of the fallen race as brought from the tomb, and in various stages of restitution toward perfection. But how refreshing it is to be assured that in that day of the reestablishment of Jehovah’s feet upon His footstool, there shall be no more “thick darkness”; and that at the close of that Millennial Day, instead of growing darker, the world will only have reached the high noon of its “light of the knowledge of Jehovah”; and that its sun shall never set.
The reference to the rivers of living waters flowing from Jerusalem, during this Millennial Day of the reestablishment of Jehovah’s feet upon His footstool (Zech. 14:8,9), reminds us of the corresponding testimony of Ezekiel (47:1-12) and of John’s Revelation (22:1,2) which, under this same symbol of living waters preceding from the throne of the Millennial Kingdom, show us the restitution blessings under the symbols of “water of life,” to which whosoever will may come and drink freely, and fruitful trees of life everlasting whose leaves will heal the repentant peoples of earth of all imperfections.
Ah yes! “In that day the Lord shall be King over all the earth”; His Kingdom shall have come as His faithful have long prayed; and by the end of that day His will shall be done on earth even as it is done in heaven. God’s footstool shall then be glorious indeed; as it is written:
“As Truly as I Live, the Whole Earth Shall be Filled With the Glory of Jehovah.” (Num. 14:21; Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14)
(That Servant’s Vol. 4, Studies in the Scriptures)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION – “What of chapter 35 of Isaiah’s prophecy, with emphasis on joy?”
ANSWER – This question was asked in the Watchtower of February 15, 1996: “That has also undergone a fulfillment in our time... It has been fulfilled in a restoration of spiritual Israel from a type of captivity. Let us examine the facts in what is recent theocratic history, falling within the lives of many still alive.” (p. 14, col. 1, par. 2) The reason they give for this captivity of their remnant is that their remnant had not kept entirely clean and was spotted with doctrinal errors and compromised when not taking a clear stand for Jehovah when put under pressure to support the warring nations in World War One. (See p. 14, par. 3)
The Witnesses say this “theocratic” teaching means it is God’s inspired teachings. What about their “theocratic” teachings of the past which they had to correct when time manifested it false? God makes no mistakes. They speak of the joy the Jehovah’s Wit-nesses have in walking up the Highway of Holiness of Isa. 35:8. They think to change times and seasons. There are only two ways during the reign of sin and evil: the narrow way for the Lord’s people and the Broadway of Destruction for the world. The Highway of Holiness is for the world during the Kingdom (Acts 17:31), which is future for Restitutionists. See the Divine Plan of the Ages, chapter 11. They advertise the Divine Plan of the Ages but haven’t read it, or don’t believe it. Satan will be bound during the Kingdom for the world (Rev. 20:3), and there will be no temptation to do evil. No error will be taught. The Highway of Holiness will be an easy way for the world. Today is a test of faith. The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not in that glorious gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan makes sure that all sorts of temptations will come to those on the narrow way. Even the Witnesses’ eyes are blinded regarding that glorious Kingdom, otherwise they wouldn’t be preaching doom to those who don’t join them.
“What will ‘the end’ mean for those who reject God’s standards [meaning, of course, the Witnesses’ teaching]? It will mean their adverse judgment and destruction.” (May 15, 1996 Watchtower, p. 7, top) “Following the destruction of those who reject Jehovah’s ways of peace, God’s Kingdom will usher in a glorious era of security for the benefit of the righteous ones on earth.” (p. 7, col. 1, par. 2)
God is love (1 John 4:16), and we are assured that all the unbelievers will receive a resurrection in the Kingdom: “For God concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32) All means all unbelievers. God knows that the Devil has blinded the world’s minds. It is for the purpose of giving the world experience under an evil reign as well as to test the faith of His people. If they are faithful in the narrow way they will “rejoice in the Lord” and His Truth amidst all their afflictions and testings. They will be rewarded above Restitutionists. They are not looking for an easy way as the world will have in that glorious Kingdom.
The Witnesses have displayed That Servant’s picture in several Watchtowers and also advertised The Divine Plan of the Ages. In doing so it is Jezebel painting her face as their prototype, the Papal system, has done. They have cast aside Brother Russell’s chronology and have changed their chronology many times so that they are floating around in space and don’t know where they are in the span of time. Time has proven their predictions to be false such as “Millions Now Living will Never Die” in 1925 and their predictions for Armageddon. They are gaining more of those who are blinded to that glorious Kingdom but are losing some whose eyes are being opened to that glorious Kingdom and the Truth.
The Witnesses are the only ones emanating from Pastor Russell who have built churches, which they call Kingdom Halls. Brother Russell did not build churches, nor do Bible Student groups even though they have many brethren in all countries of the world. The Witnesses no longer call themselves Bible Students.
The Jehovah’s Witness claim Pastor Russell as their founder but have discarded many of his doctrines with their “new light,” which is actually “new error.” Instead of teaching, as Pastor Russell did, that the Papal system is the ANTICHRIST with Scriptural proof which he gave in The Time is at Hand of his Studies in the Scriptures, they now teach that the United Nations is the ANTICHRIST. The United Nations is a secular organization and does not claim God or Christ as its head. But the Papal system claims they are Christ’s Kingdom. In other words, they are ruling instead of Christ, therefore are the ANTICHRIST.
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Back again from Emek ha Shalom a third time, and I am sending you some pictures of the life there.
Today there are much more visitors coming to Emek ha Shalom than earlier. This last week-end Herman and Josef were told to expect 7,000 visitors. According to Herman the Jews now have a new spirit, and they have been more interested in the truth. Herman and Josef have very much to do. They have to take care of the very beautiful garden and the farm, and they have to give many lectures. Josef is doing all the cooking.
Leif and I are worried; there is a risk of Herman and Josef being worn out. Where are the Bible Students? Are they waiting for signs of Christ’s government having been established before they will help with teaching the Jews the truth of the sacrifice and the New Covenant? I cannot imagine that they believe that they all must be dead and members of this government before they can help with this work.
About the work see Ezekiel 36:25: “Then [after gathering the Jews out of all coun-tries] will I sprinkle clean water [scanning] upon you.”
All the best and many kind regards. Your friend, Anders (SWEDEN)
Our beloved Sister Emily: Loving greetings thru our Savior!
Please excuse our belated answer to your letter, but the enclosed report will explain it. We are glad that we are in such a unity and harmony of spirit and mind with you. It is very encouraging to have brethren like you who have the right understanding that Israel has now priority in God’s plan. We are to do what we can both spiritually and financially. Again and again we are touched anew by your sincere love. We see a great tribulation coming upon Christendom, if the present indifference will hold on. The love you have shown toward Israel we appreciate very much. It can be an encouragement to others and inspire the awakening which is also going on among the believers. Please labor for the unity that it may come to a united effort toward Israel.
Special prayer support is needed for continuing and increasing the process of the awakening among faithful Jews that the ministry we are doing toward them may be effective for His glory. These Jews are now being slandered as fanatics and opposers of peace. Please pray that they may be able to speak out, which the nation of Israel is not doing. Also, pray that they may in spite of all opposition become the example for Israel and speak out. If they do speak out their eyes may be opened to recognize the enormous deception they have had. Then the national awakening will come which is clearly prophesied: “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins.” (Isa. 59:20)
This time we approach you also for personal help. Please pray that the Lord will strengthen us. After years of concentrated service we are completely exhausted. It is the first time that we were no longer able to serve all the groups of visitors who are coming to the Peace Valley. Although most of them are coming with leaders who know us and are able to give complete witness by themselves. It will be a great pity if such opportunities are lost. Visitors who did not meet us, left written messages like: “This is the most beautiful place we have ever seen. Thank you for creating such a wonderful settlement.” “We wish you blessings for a successful continuation.” Another message says: “This place breathes pastorality in its highest completeness.” Etc., etc.
This is an evidence of how the Lord identifies Himself with the work of Emek ha Shalom, and reveals Himself to the visitors. It would be harmful if we are no longer able to serve all our visitors. Brother Hermann is now 95 years old, gets up before dawn and starts to work until evening. Brother Joseph after 25 years of exhausting ministry reached the weight of 44 kg. For many years he slept only 3 or 4 hours a night. We cannot continue without your help. Israel without help would be swallowed up. Please come and help!
In the hope that the Lord’s people will shortly leave Babylon and unite themselves to the great prophesied Army of the Lord.
Your brothers, Hermann and Joseph (ISRAEL)
PS – Last year Brother ------------- brought us a small personal computer which works on 12 volts. It is a great help for us to settle the correspondence. Shortly after he received a new big computer from the company he is employed by. The Pastor Russell books arrived safely. We may need more later. Thank you!
Dear Herman and Joseph:
Many thanks for your letters. I am very pleased to hear that the visitors are getting “deeper” in the knowledge. When I look back on the year 1995, from our first visit at E.h.S. to the latest visit in November-December and remember what you, Joseph, ---------- and -------- said, and also what I saw with my own eyes, is that our Creator is taking away the blindness.
I become so glad when I realize, that you have tried to reach me on the phone. Anders and I spoke about a trip to you about two weeks ago. But we have not decided the date yet. We will of course let you know the date as soon as possible.
We both look, of course, very much forward to seeing you in Emek ha Shalom. You are in my mind every day.
All the best and many kind regards, ------------- (SWEDEN)