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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 17

Up, Zion!

(Isaiah 48, 52)

IMMEDIATELY after foretelling how the "daughter of the Chaldeans" would be dethroned and be abandoned by the religionists who had failed her, Jehovah of armies tells, in the following chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, what he had in mind for his exiled people. Before their exile in Babylon they worshiped him at Zion (Jerusalem) in a formal way, with their mouths and outward actions, but not with their hearts. Now, by his prophet Isaiah, he proceeds to tell them something important never heard before. They cannot prove that they had heard it before from any false god or from the priests of any idolatrous image.

The true God, Jehovah, is the Creator of heaven and earth. From first to last he is still the same God and has not forgotten that he called the nation of Jacob or Israel to be his chosen people. For his own sake he will act in their behalf but act against Babylon. He will not lot himself be profaned by failing to perform what he said; neither will he give his glory to any false god. (Isaiah 48:1-13) Alone able to tell his people these things, he says:

"Be collected together, all you people, and hear. Who among them has told these things? Jehovah himself has loved him. He will do what is his delight upon Babylon, and his own arm will be upon the Chaldeans. I —  I myself have spoken. Moreover, I have called him. I have brought him in, and there will be a making of his way successful." — Isaiah 48:14,15

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When Jehovah asks his collected people the question, "Who among them has told these things?" he means, Who among the false gods of the pagan world has told these things concerning Babylon's fall and the deliverance of His people by means of Cyrus the Persian? It is this Persian conqueror whom Jehovah has loved because of the work against Babylon that Jehovah has purposed for Cyrus to do. It is this Cyrus that will do what is Jehovah's delight against that wicked city, just as in an earlier prophecy (Isaiah 44:28) he speaks of himself as "the One saying of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out.' " It is Cyrus' own arm that will be upon the Chaldeans with a superior strength that these Chaldeans cannot resist.

This is so evidently the meaning of Isaiah 48:14b. that the Bible translation by Dr. James Moffatt renders this verse: "Gather, all of you, and listen: which of your idols ever predicted this, that my friend Cyrus should work out my will on Babylon and the Chaldean line?" The Spanish Version Moderna Bible reads: "Come together, all of you, and listen! Who from among those gods has announced these things? Cyrus, whom Jehovah loves, will do the will of Him on Babylon, and his arm will be upon the Chaldeans."*

Not one of the idols or false gods of the pagan nations has "told these things" in advance, but it is Jehovah himself who has spoken it in advance. He is the One who called Cyrus for this conquest of Babylon, though Cyrus did not know that he was Jehovah's choice and that Jehovah was maneuvering him to bring him against the doomed city at the appointed time. Jehovah was the One who made Cyrus' way successful. So it is not to Cyrus' credit that he was victorious over the Third World Power. Hence Cyrus could rightly say


* The Spanish text reads: "Reunios, todos vosotros, y escuchad! Quien de entre aquellos dioses ha anunciado estas cosas? Ciro, a quien ama Jehova, hara la voluntad de El en Babilonia, y su brazo estani sobre los Caldeos."
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what he did in 2 Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1:1, 2. By this we do not say that Cyrus personally was a man of low ability, but we give the credit where it properly belongs — to Jehovah.

Jehovah did not foretell this secretly. He did not foretell it in some place of concealment, so that nobody can really prove that Jehovah truly did foretell this. About two hundred years in advance he openly foretold it by his prophet Isaiah; and about 732 B.C., which was before Cyrus was born, Isaiah wrote the book bearing his own name and containing Jehovah's prophecy concerning Cyrus in written form. The later prophet Daniel was able to show Isaiah's prophecy to Cyrus after he captured Babylon and subdued the Chaldeans. (Daniel 6:28: 10:1) If the written prophecy had not come true, it could have been held against Jehovah. But at and from the start of making the prophecy come true, Jehovah was there. Likewise when the climax in the prophecy's fulfillment occurred, he was there and he was responsible for what occurred. Concerning this fact he said to his people Israel: "Come near to me, you people. Hear this. From the start I have spoken in no place of concealment at all. From the time of its occurring I have been there." — Isaiah 48:16.

The Lord God was the One who commissioned his prophet and put his spirit upon him. (Isaiah 6:8-10) Thus, when sending his prophet Isaiah, he was also sending his spirit as an inspiring force upon the prophet. Quite properly, then, Isaiah could say to the people of Israel or Jacob: "And now the Lord Jehovah himself has sent me, even his spirit. This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: 'I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. And your off-

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spring would become just like the sand, and the descendants from your inward parts like the grains of it. One's name would not be cut off or be annihilated from before me.' " — Isaiah 48:16-19.

Jehovah called himself Israel's Repurchaser. By this he indicated that he was going to let the Israelites be taken possession of and deported from their homeland by the Babylonians. This would make it necessary for him to repurchase them from Babylon by means of the one whom he loved, Cyrus the Persian. Foreseeing this, Jehovah showed that his heart's wish was for the Israelites to avoid this by paying attention to His commandments. Then, instead of having calamity come upon them at the hands of Babylon, they would have peace and prosperity as full, deep and perennial as a river. Their deeds of righteousness would be as innumerable as the sea's waves.

Also, Jehovah's promise to Abraham to make his seed as numberless as the grains of sand on the seashore would be fulfilled in them. Their name as a nation would not be cut off or annihilated from before Jehovah. In expression of his heart's desire he was teaching them how to benefit themselves and was leading them in the way in which they should walk. However, he foreknew that they would not follow his teaching and his leading. In order to be disciplined they would have to be deported to Babylon.

So, speaking to them prophetically as if they were already in exile in Babylon, Isaiah says to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob the patriarch: "Go forth, you people, out of Babylon! Run away from the Chaldeans. Tell forth even with the sound of a joyful cry, cause this to be heard. Make it to go forth to the extremity of the earth. Say: 'Jehovah has repurchased his servant Jacob. And they did not get thirsty when he was making them walk even through devastated places. Water out of the rock he caused to flow forth

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for them, and he proceeded to split a rock that the water might stream forth.' " — Isaiah 48:20. 21.

This divine command to go forth out of Babylon was, of course, to apply only after that imperial city had fallen and Cyrus the conqueror had issued his decree freeing the exiled Israelites to go back to Jerusalem, to Zion, to rebuild the temple of their God.

When acting upon this decree of liberation, the exiles should be so eager and so prompt to get away from the idolatrous capital of the Chaldeans that they would be fairly running away. Babylon never opened her prison for exiles to let the Israelites run away, and it was not Jehovah's will for them to make a jailbreak to try to get out of Babylon before she fell. Even if they did so, they would not get back to their homeland, as it had to lie desolate seventy years. So they had to wait till after the power of the Chaldeans was broken and Cyrus gave them the freedom and the signal to run away back to the land of Jehovah's worship. — .Jeremiah 25:11-14.

Cyrus' decree releasing the Israelites was published throughout all the Medo-Persian Empire, down to the borders of Egypt. On this basis it was international news that could become worldwide. But the Israelites who took advantage of the imperial decree were to talk about it to others and place the right interpretation upon it. The decree was not just a display of generosity or of humaneness on the part of Emperor Cyrus. More was behind it than that.

So, after the Israelites got back to their desolated homeland and started reconstruction work, they were to make known to the far reaches of the earth, with a joyful cry, the real Liberator and Restorer, saying: "Jehovah has repurchased his servant Jacob." He had not cast away his servant Jacob or Israel; he still laid claim to this servant nation. He showed this by bringing them back by a difficult route to repeople their homeland. They were therefore to tell how, though he brought them back through devastated territory, likely

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by the direct desert route, yet he did not let them suffer from thirst. Just as when he led their forefathers out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Promised Land, so now on their return from Babylon he made water flow out of a rock-mass, even miraculously splitting the rock to let water stream forth.

That was all part of the salvation from Babylon that Jehovah foretold so long in advance. Deliverance from her would have been pointless if he did not get the Israelites back to Jerusalem to rebuild his temple and resume his worship. He thus showed that he was again at peace with his people. But there was no peace or prosperity for Babylon. " 'There is no peace,' Jehovah has said, 'for the wicked ones.' " (Isaiah 48:22) In Isaiah's day there was to be no peace for even Israelites who rejected Jehovah's teaching and broke his commandments. For these disobedient Israelites there would be no peace flowing for them just like a mighty river, for their righteousness would not be like the waves of the sea.

The Israelites who stayed back in Babylon after she fell were not necessarily counted wicked, for example, the aged Daniel. The Babylonian rulers had been wicked, and this dynasty of Semitic kings did not end up in peace. As regards the Israelites who did not find it arrangeable to leave Babylon, they could act on the suggestion of Cyrus' decree and contribute gold, silver, goods and domestic animals to Israelites actually returning and could also send along a "voluntary offering for the house of the true God, which was in Jerusalem." In this way they gave material and moral support to the returning remnant. — Ezra 1:2-4.

WAKE UP, O ZION!

The desolated capital city of the land of Judah was to be rebuilt and Jehovah's name was to be placed there once again. In view of what was prophesied to come, it was only fitting that Jehovah should address himself

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to the city, or to those who were to reoccupy the city. Talking to her as if she had reached the end of her sufferings at the hand of the wicked oppressor, he says:

"Rouse yourself, rouse yourself, rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of Jehovah his cup of rage. The goblet, the cup causing reeling, you have drunk, you have drained out. There was none of all the sons that she brought to birth conducting her, and there was none of all the sons that she brought up taking hold of her hand. Those two things were befalling you. Who will sympathize with you? Despoiling and breakdown, and hunger and sword! Who will comfort you? Your own sons have swooned away. They have lain down at the head of all the streets like the wild sheep in the net, as those who are full of the rage of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God." — Isaiah 51:17-20.

By means of wicked Babylon during her program of world conquest, Jehovah made Jerusalem drink the cup of his rage because of her being so contrary to God's will. In fact, he had used Babylon as his "golden cup" in conveying to Jerusalem what he wanted her to suffer for her discipline. (Jeremiah 51:7: Psalm 75:8) He had a right to execute judgment upon her by means of Babylon, or to use Babylon as his executional instrument rather than to use his heavenly angels. It was especially from 607 B.C. onward, when her population was deported, her royal throne overturned, and both she and her temple were destroyed, that she drained out that symbolic goblet. It was a cup that contained a potion that sent her reeling. Her drunken, fallen condition continued for seventy years.

As she reeled, unable to walk erectly and straight ahead, none of her sons, her inhabitants, could hold her up, keep her from reeling, or help her to walk straight. Even the righteous remnant, like Ezekiel, Daniel and his three close Hebrew companions, could do nothing to hold her by the hand and guide her and keep her on her feet. These righteous worshipers of Jehovah had

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to suffer along with the responsible unrighteous Israelites and go through decades of exile as Jewish slaves in idolatrous Babylon.

The "two things" that Jerusalem had to drink out of Jehovah's "cup of rage" were in couplets: (1) "despoiling and breakdown," and (2) "hunger and sword." She had to drink this down with no one sympathizing and with no one to comfort her. Egypt, to whom her last kings had appealed, and other nations were in no position to comfort her and save her from destruction. During the eighteen months of her final siege by King Nebuchadnezzar she had to suffer hunger of famine, the sword of Babylonian warfare, and finally a breakdown of her government and defense and a despoiling by pagan conquerors. What could her sons do for her? Well, what could wild sheep in a hunter's net do? Her sons swooned from weakness and exhaustion; they lay down at the heads of all her streets, as if drunk, but not from natural wine. They were full of the rage of Jehovah, and of the rebuke from their offended God. Faithfully he had forewarned Jerusalem of all this, but she took no heed.

Then, as if she had already come to the end of this drunken experience, Jehovah's prophet Isaiah speaks comfortingly to Jerusalem: "Therefore listen to this, please, O woman afflicted and drunk, but not with wine. This is what your Lord, Jehovah, even your God, with whom his people contend, has said: 'Look! I will take away from your hand the cup causing reeling. The goblet, my cup of rage — you will not repeat the drinking of it any more. And I will put it in the hand of the ones irritating you, who have said to your soul, "Bow down that we may cross over," so that you used to make your back just like the earth, and like the street for those crossing over.' " — Isaiah 51:21-23.

Why had Jerusalem become like a woman afflicted and drunk, not with natural wine, but with the wine of the execution of Jehovah's judgment upon her? It was

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because his chosen people, of whom she was the capital city, had kept on contending with him instead of agreeing with him and lovingly, trustingly obeying him as their God. But there was a limit to his rage at her. After disciplining her he was pleased to show her pity and his forgiving spirit.

This meant that his rage was to turn away from Jerusalem and was to be directed against the organization that had mercilessly brought all this affliction upon her, namely, Babylon and its allies. These had irritated Jerusalem. They had humiliated her. They had razed her to the ground. They had made her, as it were, lie face down to the ground and flatten herself to the ground, that they might walk heavily over her, use her like a city street. (Psalm 137:7: Obadiah 11-14) Thus, in 607 B.C., Jerusalem began to be trodden down by the Gentile nations. There the "seven times," "the times of the Gentiles," began, to continue until into A.D. 1914. — Luke 21:24. AV; Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32.

For this reason the Gentiles deserved to have the cup of Jehovah's rage filled up and handed over to them to drink. Jerusalem was not to drink such a cup again by means of Babylon and its anti-Jewish allies. As a retribution, Jehovah in his own due time takes the cup out of Jerusalem's hand and gives it to those who irritated and debased her, subjugated her. As he had done with Jerusalem, so he did with her persecutors. He forced them to drink the cup of divine rage. In 539 B.C., at Babylon's fall, they began drinking. To this end Jehovah used the Medes and Persians as his symbolic cup. Babylon was to go down, dead drunk, but Zion was to rise!

It was entirely reasonable to expect that, after her God took the emptied cup of his rage out of her hand, he should call upon her to get up from her prone condition in the dust. Absolutely certain that she would, at his command, rise up as a beautiful city again, he inspired Isaiah two hundred years in advance to cry out:

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"Wake up, wake up, put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For no more will there come again into you the uncircumcised and unclean one. Shake yourself free from the dust, rise up, take a seat, O Jerusalem. Loosen for yourself the bands on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." — Isaiah 52:1,2.

Jerusalem was called Zion because she included within her walls Mount Zion and its stronghold. In 537 B.C. she had lain desolate, uninhabited, for seventy years. In that year Cyrus proclaimed his decree. Since Jehovah had induced this decree, it was as if he were now calling to Zion to wake up to her freedom to exist. It was his due time for her sons to return to her desolate location and rebuild her. She must put on strength as a city, no longer helplessly slaving for Babylon, but gathering strength for the worship and service of Jehovah. It was to be said to her: "The joy of Jehovah is your stronghold." (Nehemiah 8:10) She was again to become the "town of the grand King," or, "the city of the great King," as Jesus Christ himself called her. (Psalm 48:1, 2: Matthew 5:35) With due regard for this, she was to put off the slave girl's garments and put on beautiful garments, garments of royalty.

Zion was to be a holy city, with the name of her God placed on her and with his temple rebuilt in her on the former sacred location. As a holy city it was improper for uncircumcised and unclean persons to come inside her. (Lamentations l:10) She ought to suffer no further defilement or pollution by ungodly pagans either as conquerors or as foreign occupiers of the city. Babylon will trample her down no more. As long as Zion, rebuilt, remained faithful to her God and thus kept her holiness, no uncircumcised Gentile conquerors would be overrunning her and reducing her to the dust again. World powers having the domination over her might change, as from Medo-Persia to Greece (Macedonia), but she would remain intact as a holy city, the center

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of worship for Jehovah's chosen people. Isaiah's prophecy remains true even though the Sixth World Power, pagan Rome, took over Jerusalem in 63 B.C. and finally destroyed her in the year 70 (A.D.). How so? Because Isaiah, chapter 52, finds its real fulfillment in a complete sense in the heavenly Zion. She is the free "Jerusalem above," which was foreshadowed by the faithful earthly Zion or Jerusalem. — Galatians 4:26.

After having lain in horrifying ruins since her first destruction in 607 B.C., Jerusalem was to shake herself free from the dust of seventy years and rise again as a city. She was, as a city, to take a seat, not again on the ground as a mourner, but on an elevated chair with a footstool, on a royal throne, in honor of her heavenly King Jehovah. Because her inhabitants have been carried off as slaves to Babylon, she could be called the "captive daughter of Zion." But after Cyrus the Persian overthrew her captor, she was told to loosen the bands or chains about her neck. She was to exert herself in her freedom to serve Jehovah as his temple city, no longer letting herself be confined by Babylon.

Appropriate, then, were the words of Zechariah 2:7, 10: " 'Hey there, Zion! Make your escape, you who are dwelling with the daughter of Babylon. Cry out loudly and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for here I am coming, and I will reside in the midst of you,' is the utterance of Jehovah." He would reside in her again, no, not during her captivity in Babylon, but during her freedom to worship him on her God-given location in the Promised Land.

Zion was not to become discouraged or hopeless because she had no means to buy her own way out to freedom. "For this is what Jehovah has said: 'It was for nothing that you people were sold, and it will be without money that you will be repurchased.' " (Isaiah 52:3) Jehovah did not owe Babylon anything, but she did not give him anything as a payment for taking

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possession of his chosen people. Jehovah "sold" or delivered over Zion to Babylon for nothing. (Jeremiah 15:13, 14) Hence she should not have felt that she had a perpetual claim on Zion and was entitled to keep Zion captive indefinitely, forever, as Babylon expected to stand as the dominant world power forever. How little she knew God's thoughts!

Zion had been sold for nothing. Likewise, she herself would have to pay nothing as a ransom price to gain her freedom. Nor was it at any expense to Jehovah that Zion was released from Babylon. King Cyrus released Zion voluntarily, but he acknowledged Jehovah. However, there was a repurchase of Zion. In what way? In that Jehovah gave Cyrus the Persian the countries that he conquered in his march to triumph over Babylon and afterward gave Persia the land of Egypt in the days of Cyrus' son Cambyses. (Isaiah 43:3, 4) But the countries given were all pagan countries, and Jehovah gave them over to the Medo-Persian Empire. Furthermore, when the remnant of Jehovah's people were released to return to Zion (Jerusalem), King Cyrus restored to them the vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from Jehovah's temple. King Cyrus did not hold onto them as any compensation but saw to it that they were installed again in Jehovah's rebuilt temple in rebuilt Zion.

Instead of releasing Zion and her children for pay, Babylon was destroyed for having oppressed them. She had no rightful claim on them and no ownership of them anymore than did Egypt the First World Power, or Assyria the Second World Power. In Isaiah 52:4 Jehovah made this point clear by saying: "For this is what the Lord Jehovah has said: 'It was to Egypt that my people went down in the first instance to reside there as aliens; and without cause Assyria, for its part, oppressed them.' " In the days of Joseph as prime minister and food administrator over Egypt, the patriarch Jacob and his other sons and their families moved down

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to Egypt as alien guests. Some time after Joseph's death ungrateful Egypt no longer treated his people as alien guests but enslaved them. It became necessary for Jehovah to deliver them from Egypt by violent measures against the Egyptians. Babylon did not think of this!

Centuries afterward Egypt was defeated by Esar-haddon the king of Assyria, which then became the Second World Power. Esar-haddon was the son of King Sennacherib, the haughty Assyrian who threatened Jerusalem during the days of good King Hezekiah and of the prophet Isaiah. Jehovah relieved his holy city of this threat by killing 185,000 of Sennacherib's troops in one night. So Sennacherib got out of the land of Judah that he had been mistreating.

However, years prior to this, another king of Assyria overthrew the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, destroyed its capital Samaria and deported the surviving Israelites to Assyrian territories. But instead of letting the land lie desolate, uninhabited, the king of Assyria resettled the land of Israel with pagans taken from Babylon and other foreign lands. (Ezra 4:2; 2 Kings 17:5-10, 22-24) So "without cause" Assyria oppressed Jehovah's people. For this he rebuked that world power, and about 633 B.C. her capital Nineveh tumbled into destruction at the hands of the Medes and Chaldeans.

In view of how he had dealt with such world powers that oppressed his people unrighteously, what interest would he now have in Babylon that would call for him to take similar action toward her? In Isaiah 52:5, 6 he answers: " 'And now, what interest do I have here?' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'For my people were taken for nothing. The very ones ruling over them kept howling,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'and constantly, all day long, my name was being treated with disrespect. For that reason my, people will know my name, even for that reason in that day, because I am the One that is speaking. Look! It is I.' "

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So Jehovah had good reason to interest himself in Babylon. He had good reason for finding a similar situation existing in her as he had long previously found in ancient Egypt and Assyria. Babylon had paid nothing to him for the ownership of His people. As rulers the Babylonians kept howling over the exiled Israelites in triumph, in boasting, in bragging about themselves as now the dominant world power that was not challenged or defied by any kingdom of God on earth. Such howling was enough to draw some remarks from Jehovah, for he heard what they were saying in their pride and glee.

The Babylonians also expressed their contempt for the God of the Israelite exiles. They treated his name with disrespect all day long, constantly. They misinterpreted the sad plight of the Israelites. They attributed the defeat and deportation of these to what seemed to be the weakness of their God Jehovah. They did not look on what befell the Israelites as an expression of his rage against his disobedient people. They did not see that he was disciplining his people because of their sins. Hence the Babylonians did not fear that they too might offend against this God.

It should have made the Israelites specially sad that the name of their God, the true God, was being disrespected and that they themselves were largely responsible for this. As the Christian apostle Paul said to natural Jews of his day, about A.D. 56: "For 'the name of God is being blasphemed on account of you people among the nations'; just as it is written." (Romans 2:24) There was danger that this would finally make Jehovah's own people lose respect for his name. There was need for them to pray in harmony with what Jesus Christ later taught his disciples to pray to God: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified." — Matthew_6:9.

Thus for almost seventy years after Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C., the Israelites in Babylon had to

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endure this disrespect for the name of their God. There they knew His name defamed, abused, blasphemed, taken up in a worthless way. But to this there ought to be a limit. The time ought to come for them to know God's name in a different setting, against a different background of events. Hence Jehovah was determined that his own people should know his name. Not that they did not know what his name was or how it was correctly pronounced, but that they as exiled Israelites did not know his name vindicated before them and all the nations.

Jehovah fixed the day for this. In that day he would make them know his name as fully vindicated. This called for a change of the situation and the condition of his people, forasmuch as his name was called upon them. The disrespectful Babylonians would have to be silenced. Then the exiled Israelites would know his name glorified by his victory over Babylon and by his liberating them from her. Jehovah gave his word for this. There was no uncertainty about its occurring, "because," said he, "I am the One that is speaking. Look! It is I." What need for more guarantee?

MAKING HIS NAME KNOWN ARIGHT

Looking forward to that day when he would make his people know his name as the name of their Liberator, Jehovah prophetically described the effects of their liberation from Babylon, which came in 537 B.C. He inspired his prophet Isaiah to speak just like a far-sighted watchman standing at the desolated location of the city of Zion, so that he exclaims in admiration:

"How comely upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news, the one publishing peace, the one bringing good news of something better, the one publishing salvation, the one saying to Zion: 'Your God has become king!' " — Isaiah 52:7.

As Zion was located more than 2,000 feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea, the feet of the messen-

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ger with exciting news for Zion could be seen in the distance approaching over the nearby mountains. He had news of peace, of Jehovah's peaceable purpose toward Zion, of his goodwill and not of further rage on his part. The messenger was bringing good news for lovers of Zion. It was news of something better than her desolation and the exiling of her children, news of liberation for her children, news of the decree for the rebuilding of her and her temple. He was publishing salvation, Jehovah's salvation for Zion and His people.

The messenger was to say to desolate Zion: "Your God has become king!" In 607 B.C., by means of the Babylonians, God had overturned "Jehovah's throne" on which the kings of David's lineage had sat in Zion. It then appeared that no longer was Zion's God a king but that, instead, Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, was king. But now by Babylon's overthrow Jehovah had again proved his universal sovereignty. Now the "city of the great King" was to be reestablished, with his temple inside it. As for the messenger who brought such good news, his feet were dusty, worn, tired, but O how comely they looked to lovers of Zion and her God!

Thus, in a sense, the fall of Babylon meant the establishment of the kingdom of God. Also, the messenger of good news was a proclaimer of God's kingdom. The messenger who in ancient times brought good news to earthly Zion was a prophetic figure foreshadowing a messenger of grander good news, one announcing the setting up of God's kingdom in the heavens and the fall of a modern Babylon, that Babylon the Great foretold in the last book of God's written Word. The grander messenger of good news is primarily the promised Messiah, the Anointed One of prophecy, the Christ, as the Greek-speaking Jews called him. His anointed footstep followers, who copy him and follow in his footsteps, become messengers of good news, gospel messengers, with him their Leader. This truth becomes

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clear from the fact that the Christian apostle Paul quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 52:7 and applies it in his own day, saying:

"For 'everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.' However, how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent forth? Just as it is written: 'How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!'"  — Romans 10:13-15; Delitzsch.

In agreement with this fact, there is a larger Babylon, a mystical Babylon, namely, Babylon the Great, out of which to flee. There is also a larger Zion, a spiritual Zion, to which to come for salvation. We can have this in mind as we look into the further part of Isaiah's prophecy and see its ancient fulfillment.

As if hearing the voices himself, the inspired Isaiah says to Zion: "Listen! Your own watchmen have raised their voice. In unison they keep crying out joyfully; for it will be face to face that they will see when Jehovah gathers back Zion." — Isaiah 52:8.

Zion's watchmen would be those Israelites who got the information regarding her restoration in advance of others, inasmuch as a watchman on a tower sees far into the distance and discerns the approach of someone before that one arrives. They become responsible to pass on the information to the rest of Zion's children. As Zion's alert watchmen discern the messenger of good news coming, they fulfill their appointed duty by lifting up their voice for all the inhabitants to hear, but there is a ring of joy in their voices. (2 Samuel 18:27) They just cannot keep from shouting. In unison they do it, for they are all agreed that the oncoming messenger is bringing good news. Their united voices make the glad announcement all the more audible, so that everybody hears.

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The fact that many watchmen join in crying out joyfully gives confirmation to what is announced. It shows that Zion's watchmen are in no doubt about the matter. What they see is unmistakable; it is too plain to be misunderstood. It is as if they were seeing Jehovah himself gathering back Zion to her proper location. It is as if they were seeing him face to face, or eye to eye, that is, as if with eyes to one another, as if their eyes were looking into his eyes, thus establishing a close, personal contact. (Numbers 14:14) It is clearly visible that Jehovah is the One doing this act of deliverance and restoration, and not really Cyrus the Persian. Jehovah is making his promise come true. He is reestablishing the place of his former residence, the place where his name used to dwell.

True, Jehovah God is invisible; yet so remarkable is the sight and so plain is it that this is his own doing, that it is as if he himself were seen at the head of the procession, leading his faithful remnant of worshipers back to reoccupy the location of Zion and to rebuild the holy city. No one but the Almighty God himself could have brought his helpless people back from Babylon to their long-desolated land. Back in 537 B.C. those Jews who were like watchmen had such a conviction because of their faith.

It was a time for everyone who had been mourning over Zion to rejoice, yes, even for those hills to rejoice on which the city had formerly stood but which had lain desolate for seventy years. Hence, because the city was not to be devastated forever but was to be reconstructed, Isaiah turned his attention to the city territory and said: "Become cheerful, cry out joyfully in unison, you devastated places of Jerusalem, for Jehovah has comforted his people; he has repurchased Jerusalem. Jehovah has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth must see the salvation of our God." — Isaiah 52:9. 10.

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Ah, now those mournful-looking places were to be reoccupied by Jehovah's chosen people, to be cultivated again and become like a paradise. This was to be because Jehovah had comforted his people by bringing about Babylon's fall and by freeing his people from her, ending their exile and bringing these homesick people back to their beloved homeland. Jehovah had repurchased Jerusalem, making it possible for her to come into existence again as a city free from subjection to idolatrous Babylon. She was again the property of her God Jehovah and was to be once more the seat of his worship and the earthly location of his theocratic government. This was why Jerusalem's long-devastated places had reason to rejoice.

This heart-cheering event had all been made possible by the exercising of holy power, or, figuratively speaking, Jehovah's "holy arm." He had bared it, as if he were rolling up his sleeve in order to work at saving his people from Babylon. This was not done secretly, inconspicuously. Rather, all the nations of the world were able to see Jehovah's bared arm in action. Thus peoples living in the extremities of the inhabited earth were able to see the salvation performed by Isaiah's God, Jehovah. To these nations and remote peoples it should have proved conclusively that Zion's God is the one living and true God. Many did accept this proof of his Godship and turned to worshiping him.

Zion, or Jerusalem, made her restored existence felt in future centuries. Her restoration was something to speak of in praise to her God whose temple she again contained. This international news spread to all those Israelites who were still in the Diaspora, that is, in the Dispersion of the Jews throughout the inhabited earth. They could speak of Jehovah as "our God," and they had the opportunity to be his witnesses, testifying to how he had saved his people from such a seemingly unconquerable world power as Babylon. To all the ends of the earth they were obligated to be His witnesses

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and give a testimony concerning his power of salvation, for he is the only one to look to for salvation. Their giving this international witness was an added proof that Jehovah's nation of witnesses had been delivered and restored and was prospering. In confirmation of this, they would leave their foreign countries at times of Jehovah's appointed festivals and would go up to his holy city, to join in the celebrations and bring offerings with them.

In view of Zion's coming liberation, Isaiah's prophetic call to her was for her to "wake up" and put on her strength. This put a responsibility upon her children exiled in Babylon. They had to do something, that Zion might wake up from her drunken stupor of affliction. Isaiah prophetically showed them their responsibility, saying: "Turn away, turn away, get out of there, touch nothing unclean; get out from the midst of her, keep yourselves clean, you who are carrying the utensils of Jehovah. For you people will get out in no panic, and you will go in no flight. For Jehovah will be going even before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard." — Isaiah 52:11,12.

By those words, Isaiah was in effect saying to the Israelites who were to be released from Babylon by Cyrus' decree in 537 B.C.: 'Turn away from Babylon. Enter into your God-given freedom. Return to God's worship in your distant homeland. Babylon is no proper place for God's worshipers. So, turn away, get out! She is an unclean place. Do not take hold on her uncleanness. Do not touch it and cleave to it, for you are God's holy people. You cannot continue as his people and hold onto the things of unclean, filthy Babylon. To return to God's pure worship you have to let go of all Babylon's religious uncleanness. Let me, then, repeat: "Get out from the midst of her." Go where you belong, where your God wants you to be. Go to the only one place to get away to, and that is, to the place of Jehovah's worship. Get away and be clean religiously.'

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There was an important reason for departing Israelites to keep themselves clean religiously and morally. They were to carry the utensils of Jehovah. O what a thrill the mention of this must have brought them! What an incentive this must have given them to be clean and stay clean! It meant that the sacred utensils of Jehovah's temple that King Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from Jerusalem and that, later, King Belshazzar had desecrated on the night of Babylon's fall were to be entrusted to their care, to be carried back to the sacred spot on Mount Moriah and there to be put to use again in a holy manner inside Jehovah's rebuilt temple.

Entirely fitting it was that those holy utensils should be carried back by clean worshipers. Jehovah does not use the unclean in his service. Those who would be carriers of his instruments of worship must cleanse themselves from any defilement with Babylon's uncleanness. They must no more slave for her but get away from her and her idolatry. They must be clean, not merely in an outward ceremonial way, but primarily in heart. About eight centuries later the Jewish Christian, the apostle Paul, enlarged upon the inner meaning of those words of Isaiah 52:11. when he quoted from them and applied them to Christians who leave Babylon the Great.

Paul said: "Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what sharing do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God's temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: 'I shall reside among them and walk among them, and I shall be their,God, and they will be my people.' ' "Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves," says Jehovah,

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"and quit touching the unclean thing."' " — 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.

What a consoling thought it is that, when his people leave the unclean city of Babylon, they have their God Jehovah with them, leading them and protecting them! Of course, their getting out of her was to take place first after her fall in 539 B.C., that it might be apparent that Jehovah was their Deliverer. There was to be no panicky flight from Babylon before she fell. There was to be no breakaway from the Babylonian prison in a desperate attempt to escape from Babylon while she still held control as the Third World Power. That would be a personal effort to free themselves, for which Jehovah could not be given the credit. God did not authorize his exiled people to break out of their prison before he had overturned Babylon, because, for one thing, the land of Judah and Jerusalem had to lie desolate for seventy years in order to enjoy its due number of sabbath years. (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21) They must wait upon him for their salvation, at His time.

Their departure from Babylon was not even to be like in the case of Egypt. From that land their forefathers had to get out fast, for Egypt's Pharaoh urged them out, thrusting them out as Jehovah had foretold. The Egyptians themselves urged those Israelites on, to have them get out of the land quickly. This put the Israelites in a bit of difficulty. According to the account in Exodus 12:30-34, 39. they were "driven out of Egypt and had not been able to linger and too they had not prepared any provisions for themselves," so that the Israelites "carried their flour dough before it was leavened, with their kneading troughs wrapped up in their mantles upon their shoulder." Yet there was no disorder.

Exodus 13:18 says: "It was in battle formation that the sons of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt [that is, like an army in five parts, with a van, a rear,

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a main body, and two wings, margin of 1953 edition]." So it was no mad scramble. It was to be the same when the exiled Israelites left Babylon. Why? Because Jehovah their God would be going before them, and Jehovah does not run in panic. He moves with dignity, orderliness and calm courage.

Of course, they should not dillydally about leaving the land of their exile. Not at all! In fact, they would be so eager and prompt to get out that they would waste no time in getting out. Their departure would be so rapid that it would be comparable to a flight. They could not hurry up their God who was going ahead of them as their Leader. Neither did they have to run frantically as if bloodthirsty pursuers were hard on their heels, to drag them back into slavery. The God of Israel would be not alone their Leader but also their rear guard. — Ezra 8:21-23.

So there was no need to run from pursuers. Jehovah can fight a rearguard action and can hold any murderous pursuers in check and thus let his departing people move forward orderly, in holy array.

This assured the remnant of Israelites that they would get safely back to Zion with the "utensils of Jehovah." With him before them as their Leader heading the procession, the watchmen of Zion would, as if it were "face to face," "see when Jehovah gathers back Zion." What a glorious sight that must have been to those watchmen! With Jehovah surrounding his people with his protection as he led them along to their right destination, what a blessed experience that was to be for those exiled Israelites or Jews who obeyed the divine command: "Get out of there, touch nothing unclean; get out from the midst" of Babylon! — Isaiah 52:11.



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