JEHOVAH is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort and he now gives many comforting assurances to his anointed people and thereby strengthens them to press on in his service. The remnant know that Jehovah is the only true and almighty God, and they have an abiding confidence in his Word. God has spoken it, and he will also do it. Nothing can set aside or prevent the carrying out of his purposes. Jehovah's witnesses continue to suffer abuse and reproach at the hands of God's enemies, but they are neither discouraged nor dismayed. When they go from house to house to bear the testimony concerning the goodness of God and his kingdom these faithful witnesses are often reproached and Satan's agents frequently cause their arrest and persecution and imprisonment. In all this they rejoice because God has given his word that in his due time he will destroy the enemies and lift up those who love him. Jehovah will vindicate his witnesses before his enemies, and this will vindicate his name and let it be known that he loves and preserves those who love and faithfully serve him.
The thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy contains many words of consolation to the faithful people of God. To Ezekiel Jehovah said: "Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and
say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord." (36:1) This is in direct contrast to the pronouncement of doom against Mount Seir appearing in the thirty-fifth chapter of the prophecy. Mount Seir is given a spiritual significance which cannot be applied to the literal land of Edom, and this proves that "the mountains of Israel" must also have a spiritual application and that the prophecy concerning the same is fulfilled upon Jehovah's faithful people and not upon the land of Palestine. It is also of interest to compare the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel with the sixth chapter of that prophecy. In the sixth chapter the prophecy is directed against those who have falsely claimed to be God's people. The rulers, and their supporters in "Christendom", have used the name of God and Christ in order to carry out their work of hypocrisy, and for this God pronounces his judgment of condemnation against them. In the thirty-sixth chapter of this prophecy "the mountains of Israel" refer to the faithful anointed ones of God's people, that is to say, to the entire family of God of which Christ Jesus is the Head and which includes the faithful remnant on earth. Hence the prophecy says: "Ye mountains of Israel [the faithful ones who compose the true followers], hear the word of the Lord."
This conclusion is further supported by the fact that God speaks words of consolation to them and declares his purpose to bless them because his enemies have maltreated them. "Thus saith the Lord God, Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession." (36:2) The enemies of God have said, in substance: 'We are the ones who have and are entitled to all the favors
and we occupy the place of the kingdom of the Lord; hence we are the favored ones on the earth.' When the enemies of God recognized the Head of the house of sons they sought to kill him. (Matt. 21:38,39) During the World War they slew the Elijah-John-the-Baptist work and caused those doing the work to appear as dead. The Devil's organization, and particularly the nations composing "Christendom", have greatly envied the true kingdom of God and have desired the power, honor, domain and name which are due God's kingdom people, without rendering unto God true devotion and service. "Christendom" has ignored the duty and responsibility that attaches to those who would be of the kingdom of God. When the time came for Jehovah to lay in his foundation the chief corner Stone, Christ Jesus the King, "Christendom" was willing to assume the name of the kingdom of God on earth but refused to acknowledge Christ Jesus as the Head thereof. On the contrary, "Christendom" set up in the place and stead of God's kingdom that abominable thing, the creation of the Devil, to wit, the League of Nations, and called it "the political expression of God's kingdom on earth".
"Organized Christianity," with other parts of Satan's organization, has made God's true people desolate on every side, but the time approaches when God will make a change in the situation: "Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people." (36:3) Such action on the part of the enemy has
been a reproach to God and to Christ, including his faithful witnesses on the earth. Therefore Jesus said: "Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matt. 24: 9) "But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." — John 15:21.
During the World War, except for the intervention of the Lord on behalf of his people, the enemy would have buried them alive. "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul." (Ps. 124:2-5) Such state of persecution continued until the courts of the United States, according to their own law, were compelled to relieve those who were held in prison and in custody because they had preached the gospel of the truth. Such was finally done on May 5, 1920.
These words of consolation manifestly are intended for those faithful ones yet on the earth, that they might take comfort and hope and be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. "Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about" (36: 4) This is a message of comfort not only to the "mountains" that is, the faithful remnant, but to all of those on earth who are begotten of the spirit of God. The "mountains" and
"hills" refer to the kingdom class, and the 'desolate' places refer particularly to the great multitude, which is like "the desolate heritages". (Isa. 49:8) For some time even God's faithful ones were like "cities [organizations] that are forsaken" of the Lord and they were "a prey". They have been held in derision, and are still thus held, especially by the ruling powers of "Christendom" and their allies the heathen that are round about.
God's people may have need of some chastisement, but that is not for anyone to administer except the Lord. He will determine what is needed and administer it. The enemy used God's people despitefully, and this is true especially with reference to Idumea and the Esau class. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey." (36:5) God's faithful people have been the objects of reproach and have been a shame at the hands of Satan and his agents. "Prophesy, therefore, concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen." — 36:6.
There was a partial fulfilment of this prophecy upon Palestine in the days of Ezekiel and Nehemiah. The complete fulfilment could not apply to the literal land of Palestine. The Jews were evicted from Palestine and 'their house left unto them desolate' because
they rejected Christ Jesus, the beloved and anointed King of Jehovah. To this day the Jews have not repented of this wrongful act committed by their forefathers. Many of them have been returned to the land of Palestine, but they have been induced to go there because of selfishness and for sentimental reasons. During the long period elapsing from the time of their expulsion to the present day the Jews have not "borne the shame of the heathen" for Jehovah's sake, nor for the name of Christ. During all this period of time, and particularly during the World War, the true followers of Christ Jesus devoted to God, and to his kingdom, have been bearing the shame of the heathen and have been hated by all the nations for Christ's sake and for the sake of Jehovah's name. (Matt. 24: 9; Mark 13:13) In contrast to this, during the World War the Jews received recognition of the heathen nations. In 1917 the Balfour Declaration, sponsored by the heathen governments of Satan's organization, came forth, recognized the Jews, and bestowed upon them great favors. In this the seventh world power took the lead. Now Big Business and other wings of Satan's organization place the Jews alongside of and in the same category as the Gentiles. Heretofore even God's people have overlooked the fact that the affairs of God's kingdom with reference to the things of earth are of far greater importance than the rehabilitation of that little strip of land on the eastern side of the Mediterranean sea. The Jews have received more attention at their hands than they have really deserved. Therefore this prophecy must have its chief fulfilment upon the true people of God's kingdom which are now on the earth.
Jehovah declares his purpose to cause the heathen nations to bear their shame. By "heathen" nations here are meant those who are against his kingdom, all that are anti-God and anti-kingdom. "Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame." (36: 7) But for what reason does God thus declare? Surely not because of what the natural Jews, the non-believers in and the persecutors and slayers of Christ Jesus do or have done, but because of the shame and reproach these nations have heaped upon the true believers in and the true followers of Christ Jesus. These are the people of God which he has taken out from amongst the Gentiles that they might be used by him as a people for his own holy name. (Acts 15:14) Even in this day God has brought a measure of shame upon "Christendom" by the wide circulation of the message of truth printed and put in the hands of the people, including the statements in the 'seven vials of wrath' (Rev. 16:1-21) foreshadowed by the plagues that came upon Egypt. The greatest shame upon these, however, will come at Armageddon, when God's great sword desolates the nations.
Jehovah will prosper his people while some of them are on the earth, that the enemy may see that they have his favor. "But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply
men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded." (36:8-10) This prophecy could not be applied properly to natural Israel, but does apply to God's faithful people now on earth. The prosperity of his people must therefore begin before the heathen nations are dashed to pieces at Armageddon, in order that these heathen nations may know that the hand of Jehovah God is doing these things.
God's sanctuary has been trodden down by the enemy, and the kingdom interests committed to his servants were scattered and desolated. (Dan. 8:11-13) The words in the foregoing verses of Ezekiel's prophecy constitute a promise of Jehovah that he will revive and reorganize his people and set them in their native condition, that is to say, in the condition of being occupied in the service of his kingdom interests, and that the kingdom interests thus brought forward by him might flourish and prosper. The facts show the fulfilment of this prophecy upon the spiritual Israel, that is, the anointed people of God now on the earth. Since the World War God has caused his King at his temple to revive his work and his people relating to the interests of his kingdom. Companies of the faithful have been formed and organized for active service and have been and are serving the kingdom interests. New "plantations" in the nature of offices, factories and organizations in many parts of the earth have been formed and established to carry forward (and are carrying forward) the kingdom work. God's people have pushed forward, and each year he has blessed their efforts by a wider publication of his name and of his kingdom. The work in behalf of "desolate
places", the "prisoner" or "great multitude" class, is progressing and the name of Jehovah is being made known to the "prisoner" class. This is far more noteworthy and of far greater importance and is a more wonderful work than the bringing of the Jews back to the land of Palestine. Why should God give any attention to the Jews who continue to defame his name?
Jehovah promised that his kingdom interests shall be enhanced. "And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit [increase and be fruitful, R.V.]; and I will settle you after your old estates [cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, R.V.], and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know that I am the Lord." — 36:11.
Domesticated animals are beasts of burden for the aid of man in doing his work, and hence used here as an illustration. "Beast" therefore here represents the increased equipment the Lord has provided for carrying forward the work of his kingdom. The number of pioneer witnesses has been far greater during the years that followed 1924 than ever before. The public speakers have been succeeded by regional service directors, and these, together with local service directors, have strengthened the organization and have carried forward the house-to-house work of bearing testimony. This work has progressed as never before. To aid God's people in doing this work, and to relieve them of many physical burdens, the Lord has provided for the use of his people the radio, the best equipped book factories, machines, and printing presses, trucks and automobiles, service or house cars, sup-
ply depots, and a far greater efficiency in the organization for carrying on the kingdom work. His organized work, therefore, is fruitful, bringing forth fruit of the kingdom, to the glory of God. Beyond all question of doubt the kingdom is here and the Lord's people on earth have entered into the heritage thereof and the kingdom is more productive than at the beginning of the work of the church on earth. This is in harmony with the words of Jesus: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12) God's remnant people now restored to their "former estate" are now accomplishing more in the interests of the kingdom than heretofore, and this is in exact harmony with the foregoing prophecy uttered by Ezekiel.
Jehovah is using and will continue to use his faithful remnant as instruments to aid and comfort the "great multitude". "Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you [mountains], even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men [thou shalt not any more henceforth cast them out, Leeser]." (36:12) God has made his remnant "like a sharp sword" used to cut away falsehoods and to make known the truth. The "prisoner" class must be served by the faithful remnant with the food from the Lord's table. "They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. And I will make all my mountains [the faithful kingdom class] a way [to walk], and my highways shall be exalted." (Isa. 49:9,11) The "great multitude", and even
those of good will, must take their stand on the side of the Lord before Armageddon and learn to walk in the way where the Lord has placed his faithful people now. (Isa. 62:10; 35: 8; The Watchtower, 1931, page 307) The "great multitude" and peoples of good will seek the truth at the hands of God's faithful remnant.
"Organized Christianity," so called, falsely takes the name of Christ and then devours up men and oppresses mankind. Others who are enemies of God see its wicked work, and they say of God's true people: 'They are just like all others who call themselves Christians.' (25:8) "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because they say unto you, Thou land art a devourer of men, and hast been a bereaver of thy nation; therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nation any more, saith the Lord Jehovah." — 36:13,14, A.R.V.
The people will come to know God and to know that God has a people in the land that are faithful to him, and therefore the enemy will have no more occasion to say that those who bear the name of Christ are devourers of men. The vindication of Jehovah's witnesses will be a vindication of his own great name. "Neither will I let thee hear any more the shame of the heathen, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the peoples any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nation to stumble any more, saith the Lord God." — 36:15, R.V.
God's true people have been put to shame amongst all the nations, but that condition must come to an end before all of his anointed people finish their earthly course. "Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gath-
er her that was driven out: and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord." (Zeph. 3:19, 20) Those who have reproached God's people will have no more reason or excuse to lay reproaches upon them. Furthermore, there will be no occasion for a falling away or stumbling in God's organization. Thus the Lord pictures his people as cleansed and made a whole nation and devoted entirely to his service and to his praise. Fullness of bread and prosperity caused the people of Palestine to forget God; and that has been true of all so-called "organized Christian" nations. (Deut. 8:10-14) But we are in that day which the Lord God has made for his people and for the vindication of his own holy name. God now sends prosperity upon his people and upon the work which he has assigned to their hands and they rejoice to do it, and those who have his spirit will never again have occasion to stumble.
FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE
When the Jews dwelt in Palestine they defiled the land, and this foreshadowed what would come upon "organized Christianity". Ezekiel therefore prophesies: "Moreover the word of the Lord came upon me, saying, Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they denied it by their own way, and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman." (36:16,17) In the day of the early church false prophets in the church
led God's spirit-begotten ones into uncleanness. (2 Pet. 2:1,3) This uncleanness was pictured in the provision by the ceremonial law concerning a menstruous woman. (Lev. 15:19-27) Uncleanness amongst the professed people of God has been manifested at all stages of the selection of the church of God, Now the time has come when God has separated the false from the true worshipers, and it is by and through the truth, and his true and faithful ones, that he makes others to know his great and holy name.
Because of the wickedness of the Jews in Palestine God poured out his fury upon them. Because of the wickedness of "Christendom" God has poured out his fury upon that part of Satan's organization. "Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it; and I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way, and according to their doings, I judged them." (36:18,19) Their greater scattering and the execution of the judgment upon them are in the near future.
When the World War came "Christendom", including many spirit-begotten ones, followed the guide and leadership of men and shed much blood upon the land. The scattering that had been in progress in "Christendom" for many years culminated in the exile and captivity of "organized Christianity" to the Devil's organization, particularly in the World War period. Many professed Christians went into the World War claiming to be the representatives of God and Christ, and thereby defamed his holy name. "And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they
went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land." (36: 20) The nations of earth that had taken the name of God and his Christ prosecuted the World War, and by so doing greatly profaned God's name. There was a great multitude of professed Christians that engaged in that war. There were a few who took advantage of the law of Satan's organization and became conscientious objectors. These who objected to the taking of human life were persecuted and forcibly led into involuntary captivity to the enemy organization. Thus the God of these faithful witnesses seemed to be weak and powerless, and hence their captivity by the enemy was a reproach upon the great name of Jehovah. The enemies of God and his kingdom said: "Where is their God?" — Ps. 79:8-10.
It is the name of Jehovah God that must be vindicated. That is the important issue. However, even the faithful Christians for many years thought that the chief purpose of Jehovah was and is to get men saved and into heaven. Many have thought that God fights their battles for them merely to get them saved. God's name has long been profaned; and this has been done voluntarily by many who claim to be Christians, and it has been involuntarily done by others by the course of action which they have taken. The Lord now makes it plain that he will take drastic action against his enemies, not for the mere purpose of saving some that are consecrated to him, but because of his own holy name. "But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of
Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went." (36: 21, 22) The paramount issue is, Who is God? Does the name of Jehovah stand for a supreme and intelligent power who can defend himself? Who shall rule the universe? This issue now must be settled and the name of God made known to all creation. Therefore says the Lord God: "I do not this for your sakes, . . . but for mine holy name's sake." Do what for his holy name's sake? may be asked. Does the returning of the natural descendants of Israel to the land of Palestine vindicate the name of Jehovah God? It certainly does not; especially since they have returned there in unbelief. On the other hand, the restoring of his faithful remnant people to their proper position as his true and bold witnesses, and causing them to declare his name fearlessly and boldly, is for his own holy name's sake and is for the vindication of his name. It is not for the benefit of the remnant, but it is that the name of Jehovah God may be made known and be put in its proper place in the minds of creatures that they might know that he is the Supreme One. This prophecy, therefore, has its fulfilment chiefly in this present day, in which we are now, and its purpose is the vindication of Jehovah's name.
Let us bear in mind that God's professed people, and including many who were sincere, have profaned his name amongst the nations. Also let us keep in mind that Jehovah's chief purpose is to sanctify his great name. Therefore says the prophet of Jehovah: "And I will sanctify my great name, which was pro-
failed among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." (36:23) The fact that many Jews are now back in Palestine does not sanctify the name of Jehovah. On the other hand, God has brought forth his people and given them a new name and made them his witnesses, and it is for his own name's sake and is the work of sanctifying his great name amongst the people. "When I will be sanctified through you before your eyes." (Leeser) God's anointed people now have the testimony from Jehovah that they are his, called forth to his work, for the purpose of making known his great name, and thus he is sanctified before the eyes of his people, and other people are being made to know that Jehovah is God. The facts therefore prove that the prophecy has its fulfilment upon spiritual Israel, God's true people now on the earth.
The "land" or country is symbolic of the condition in which God's people are put. This prophecy was written for the comfort of God's anointed people, and not for the benefit of unbelieving Jews. The seventh world power and the League of Nations composing parts of Satan's organization signed the mandate over Palestine to Britain, and ungodly men take all the credit for the present condition of the Jews being established in Palestine; whereas this prophecy, addressed to God's anointed people, gives credit to Jehovah for its fulfilment because it says: "I [Jehovah] will bring you into your own land." This clearly means, into the proper condition whereby this people represent Jehovah on the earth at the present time,
and hence Jehovah alone must be given credit for this, and therefore it shows the prophecy has its fulfilment upon God's remnant. When the Jews are actually restored to Palestine and then obey God and fully accept Christ as their Redeemer, and then walk in the way of righteousness, then these texts would have an application to natural Israel, but the primary application of these texts clearly is to God's anointed people which people were foreshadowed by Israel or Jacob. The great multitude of "prisoners" must yet be loosed and brought forth and placed in the condition pictured by the land, that is, in God's organization, where they properly belong; hence the prophecy has an application to that class also.
The gathering of the Lord's true people began after the coming of Christ Jesus to the temple. (2 Thess. 2:1) Then and there the cleansing work began, and which was foreshadowed by the following prophecy: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." (36:25) This prophecy could not be fulfilled upon fleshly Israel, at least until the resurrection of the faithful patriarchs, and by that time such prophecy will be of no comfort to Jehovah's remnant people according to the spirit. The Scriptures were written for the comfort of God's remnant. The prophecy therefore manifestly has its primary application now and before the battle of Armageddon, and while there are heathen nations to observe what is going on. The gathering of his people to the temple, that is to say, the proper condition of those who are in line for the kingdom, must of necessity be followed by the cleansing work according to
the prophecy of Malachi 3: 3, 4. The Lord has made clear to his people his truth since the coming to the temple, and they have been cleansed from their idols of man-worship, and from every part of Satan's organization. They are now able to clearly see and do see that the "higher powers" are not anyone of Satan's organization, as they have formerly believed, but that these "higher powers" are the ruling ones in God's organization. His true people have been separated from the false by the Lord's pure water of truth and are clean, and are not contaminated by mixing further with Satan's organization. They now appreciate the name of Jehovah and his organization and are witnesses to his great and holy name. They could not offer an offering to the Lord in righteousness until this cleansing work took place, but now Jehovah's witnesses do offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; hence they 'offer the sacrifices of praise to God continually [not occasionally], that is to say, the fruit of their lips; giving thanks to his name'. (Heb. 13:15) The Lord himself does the separating or cleansing work upon coming to the temple, and he uses his angels in this connection. — Matt. 13:41.
Addressing his faithful ones he says: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." (36: 26) Amongst the consecrated and called ones to the kingdom some have had hearts like stone and did not bring forth the fruit of the kingdom, but they brought their own fruit, and because thereof they were cleared out from God's organization. (Matt. 13:5,20,21,41) "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold
nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16) Those whose hearts are warm and wholly devoted to Jehovah God are brought into his organization. Since the revelation to his people of the true meaning of God's name, and of his purposes and of his organization, and since the exhibition to them of Satan's organization, God has truly given his anointed ones "a new heart", wholly and completely devoted to him. These are no longer deceived by idols, such as "the sin of Samaria", or self-development, or any other foolish doctrines or things.
In the temple there is a unity of God's people and all are of one spirit. This was foreshadowed by the prophecy: "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (36:27) The spirit of Christ Jesus, the vindication of Jehovah's name, is the spirit that moves God's remnant; and this God has put upon them after they were brought into the temple and received the robe of righteousness. (Joel 2:28,29) Therefore these faithful ones of the remnant "keep the commandments of God ['my statutes' and 'my judgments'], and have the testimony of Jesus Christ". Seeing the application of the prophecy is to them, his faithful remnant are now comforted and their hope is made bright. The "great multitude" must be brought into this condition for the vindication of Jehovah's name in his due time. Later the faithful patriarchs and all obedient ones that come into God's great organization will be a vindication to his Word and to his name.
The Lord made the twelve apostles of the Lamb the foundation of his organization here on earth, "Jesus
Christ himself being the chief corner stone." (Eph. 2: 20) This corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel. John designated himself one of the fathers when he wrote, 'To my dear children,' and he addressed part of his epistle to the "fathers, because ye have known him [Christ Jesus] that is from the beginning [of the church]". (1 John 2:13) In harmony with this the prophecy says: "And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." (36:28) This prophecy could not now apply to fleshly Israel, but it does clearly apply to God's remnant. To the twelve apostles the kingdom interests and privileges on earth were originally committed, and now these kingdom interests and privileges are committed to the "faithful and wise servant", which is the remnant of spiritual Israel. These are the people of God, and to his name they bear witness. These have obeyed the commandments of the Lord and have become his people. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:17,18) These are the people of God whom he has made his witnesses and named them such. (Isa. 43:10-12) They are the last members of Christ on earth, hence "the feet of him", and they say to each other in Zion: "Thy God reigneth!" (Isa. 52: 7) Jehovah has committed a work to them, putting his words in their mouth, and to them says: "Thou art my people." — Isa. 51:16.
Prior to the coming of the Lord to the temple his people were mixed up with others and were therefore
unclean. "I will also save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you." (36:29) The Lord brought them into the temple and under the robe of righteousness, and gave them the garments of salvation, thereby approving them and identifying them as his people, and thus he took away their uncleanness. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." (Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 7:1) Jehovah's witnesses now enjoy the increase of corn (wheat) which in the language of the prophecy means an abundant supply of spiritual nourishment from the Word of God. There is no famine amongst his people and they can boldly testify to others concerning the truth.
In the past the heathen had some reason to reproach God's people because they held to many things of "organized Christianity", and did not have an abundant supply of pure spiritual food. "And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen." (36: 30) Now the heathen have no more occasion to reproach God's people the remnant, because these are now ready always to give a reason for their hope with meekness and fear. (1 Pet. 3:15) For instance, in times past the faithful people of God ignorantly thought with others that Jehovah had permitted the Devil to carry on his gross wickedness in order to teach men lessons. That teaching defamed God's name; but now the remnant, by the grace of the Lord, have the truth upon this question and have declared the truth concerning the permission of wickedness, and they tell the people that in due time Jehovah will fully vindicate his great and holy
name. The remnant now brings forth fruit of the kingdom to others that they might know that Jehovah is the only true God, and God continues to increase the quantity of fruit.
Since the coming of Christ to the temple the faithful have seen that in times past they have done unlawful things in the name of Christ and hence these were evil ways. "Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations." (36:31) Among these things were ecclesiasticism; self-perfection by what was understood to be "character development"; human leadership; hero worship; flattering titles; apologetic and sanctimonious attitude before the "big guns" of the world; bowing to the "higher powers" of Satan's organization; and many like things. These things the true and faithful remnant now loathe, and are exceedingly sorry that they ever thus reproached Jehovah's holy name.
Now let the self-righteous who have concluded that God was doing everything in his power for them, in order that they might be taken to heaven, learn a lesson from these words of the prophet: "Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel." (36:32) The remnant now sincerely acknowledge that they are truly ashamed that they ever thought themselves or any other creature on earth of such great importance that God was doing these things for their sakes. No longer do they magnify men, but they diligently try to seek the honor of Jehovah's name and to inform others about God
and his kingdom. When the "great multitude" or "prisoners" are loosed they also will be ashamed of their hero-worship practices and all foolish things done by them. The restored of the earth will learn similar lessons, that there is no such thing as a great man.
"LIKE THE GARDEN OF EDEN"
The comments upon verses ten and eleven are appropriate upon verse thirty-three. "Thus saith the Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded." God's faithful people shall abide in his organization. During the World War period they were in a desolate condition. The enemy thought that God's people were done for; but now those of the enemy organization see the people of God more bold and earnest than ever before in declaring the kingdom. "And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, and desolate, and ruined cities, are become fenced, and are inhabited." (36:34,35) The work of God's people will continue to increase and flourish even as it has since 1919. It is likened unto the garden of Eden; for the hand of the Lord is upon it. For this reason the Lord's faithful appreciate the words of the prophet: '0 the blessedness of him that waiteth and cometh unto the thirteen hundred and thirty-five days.' (Dan. 12:12; see The Watchtower, 1929, page 375) The Lord's people in his organization on earth, as the prophecy says, are become a 'fenced and inhabited city'. This is true because of
Jehovah's protection. The prophecy is an encouragement to the remnant. Zion is God's organization, a part of which is now on the earth; and in support of this conclusion that the prophecy of Ezekiel thirty-six applies to God's remnant now on the earth, mark the words of Isaiah 51:2-4: "Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me, 0 my nation; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people." "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isa. 54:13,14) "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." — Isa. 62: 2,4.
What is the purpose of Jehovah's bestowing such blessings upon his faithful remnant? Is it for the benefit of the remnant? It is not; but that Jehovah's name may be vindicated. "Then the heathen, that are
left round about you, shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it." (36: 36) The enemy cannot give credit to any part of Satan's organization for the publishing and increase of God's message of the kingdom, because no support is received or desired from any part of Satan's organization. We once thought that probably the Lord would touch the heart of some worldly rich man who would contribute a lot of money and thus greatly increase the financial power for the spreading of his message of truth. Now God's people see that this is wrong and they would not accept a penny of the ill-got gains of Big Business men, because their money is tainted and corrupted. Enemies of the truth have maliciously lied, stating that God's work is supported by Bolshevik Jews. Not only is such a malicious lie, but the Lord's faithful people receive nothing from the Devil's organization. Jehovah God is rebuilding that which the enemy sought to tear down; and in his due time he will destroy the enemy and his organization, to the vindication of his name.
In this day God's true people are more anxious to learn than ever, and to see that the message of his kingdom is heralded throughout the earth. "Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired [prevailed upon, Roth.; entreated, Leeser] of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock." (36: 37) Jehovah has been inquired of, entreated and besought by his faithful remnant in that they have prayed and continue to pray: "Save now, I beseech thee, 0 Lord; 0 Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity." (Ps. 118: 25) And
'send more laborers into the field'. (Matt. 9:38) The Lord continues to cause his service organization to increase, enlarge and multiply, and now, in 1932, there are more earnest souls actively engaged in delivering the testimony of the kingdom than at any time past. The companies are small in number, but the individual workers in the field have increased in numbers and their zeal has greatly increased.
Jehovah's people now on earth are joyful, as one blessed with great prosperity. "As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am the Lord." (36: 38) God's service organization in the earth is thrilled with joy. It is a time of feasting for them. They are feasting upon prophetic truths which the Lord has given to his people, and the remnant delight to have the privilege of singing the praises of Jehovah's name. Thus they follow as a flock Christ Jesus their Leader and they know that Jehovah is their God. (Rev. 14: 4; 19:14) The faithful are "come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God", unto God's organization, and their joy is great. (Heb. 12: 22) Now they offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness and to his praise. Jehovah's chariot is moving majestically forward to the vindication of his name. These truths are a great consolation to God's people.
The increased light which Jehovah sheds upon his Word brings ever increasing joy to the temple class which is privileged to receive that light. In this the
thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy, verses one to fourteen, a description is given of dry bones. Heretofore this prophecy has been made to apply exclusively to the people of fleshly Israel brought into the land of Palestine. It now seems quite certain that such application, if correct, is but a secondary fulfilment of the prophecy. The chief fulfilment of this prophecy must be upon spiritual Israel, that is, the spirit-begotten ones including the remnant and the "great multitude". There can be no deviation from the divinely announced rule, to wit, that "all scripture is given . . . that the man of God may be ... throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16,17); that "all these things happened unto them [natural Israel] for ensamples [types], and they are written [to foreshadow things] for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11); and that "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) It is impossible to get away from the truth that Jehovah caused these prophecies to be written for the benefit of those who shall be engaged in the work of publishing his name and his kingdom on earth, when the Devil is making his desperate and final effort to destroy them, and that one of the purposes in giving the remnant such understanding and appreciation of prophecy is that they might be encouraged and increased in patience and comfort of receiving the things which the Lord has provided for the faithful. In view of these indisputable and divine rules we must look for a fulfilment of these prophecies, in their primary significance,
while the remnant is still on the earth serving Jehovah God.
To make Ezekiel see this prophetic vision the hand of the Lord came upon him, as he says. Likewise the power of the Lord God must be upon his faithful people in these last days in order that these may discern the importance of the fulfilment of that vision. "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley [plain, Roth.] which was full of bones." (37:1) This was not in the valley (emek, a vale or broad depression) of Jehoshaphat, but a plain (biqah, a split, that is to say, a wide, level valley, plain, between mountains) in the land of Shinar, the site of Babylon, to which the Jews were carried away from their homeland and where they pined away. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." — Ps. 137:1.
Prior to 1918 God's faithful witnesses on earth were engaged in doing the Elijah work of the church. From 1917 to 1919 they were carried away and compelled to suffer restraint and confinement in prison and, by suppressive measures accompanying the World War, were hindered from proceeding with the Lord's work. These faithful ones were thus carried away by the forces of Babylon, the Devil's organization, and between the governments of Satan's organization. This was foreshadowed by the carrying away of Israel to Babylon. Ezekiel states that the place of the valley where the spirit of the Lord set him down was full of bones. He does not say 'one skeleton', but enough of bones to make the skeletons of "an exceeding great army". (37:10) "And caused me to pass by them
round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry." — 37: 2.
Ezekiel was told that these bones are "the whole house of Israel", and not merely the house of Judah, the royal tribe. The delinquency on the part of the spirit-begotten ones in the churches led to their being carried captive into the World War. These conditions also took the faithful ones involuntarily into a state of inactivity; thus the entire spirit-begotten ones of "Christendom" are pictured. These bones in the valley therefore pictured the entire company of spirit-begotten ones, including the anointed and the great multitude of "prisoners", and show the condition of such in respect to the work of the Lord during the period of the World War. The bones do not picture those who are literally dead and in the grave, because the prophecy states that they speak and say: 'Our bones are dry and our hopes are lost.' (37:11) They do, however, picture those who are near literal death and also in a dead condition as regards the Lord's work, this condition being the result of the faithful's being restrained by the enemy organization. Such were therefore unclean to the Lord, just as bones of the dead were unclean according to the law. (Num. 19:16,18; Matt. 23: 27) The Prophet Isaiah, representing God's people, saw that the people of God were in an unclean condition, when he cried out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips." (Isa. 6:5) This was at the time when the Lord appeared at Jehovah's temple. In 1918 the Lord's faithful people were truly interested in his work and endeavored to carry it on, but in that year God's organization, the Society, was disrupted. Many of God's
people were confined behind prison walls. The publications of the Society were banned, martial law was enforced, and activity in the Lord's service stopped. Activity is a manifestation of life, and inactivity is well pictured by dry bones. The outlook for the work of the Lord during that World War period was as Cheerful as a pile of dry bones, and about as hopeful. No doubt Ezekiel was much depressed at the sight he beheld. The facts show that the Ezekiel class was greatly depressed by the conditions that obtained during the World War period. God's people were a hopeless-appearing company.
According to Rotherham 'there were many bones upon the face of the valley and "they were very dry" '. The bodies had not been gathered and buried, but had been left to the fowls of the air and the ravenous beasts of the field. This condition is described by the psalmist: "O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us." — Ps. 79:1-4.
"Christendom," Ammon, Moab and others of the enemy view God's people as "the filth of the world, ... the offscouring of all things". (1 Cor. 4:13) "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and
Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves." (Rev. 11:8,9; see Light, Book One, page 205) Such is a description of the condition of God's faithful people on earth during the World War period. All their bones were disjointed. "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death." (Ps. 22:14,15) This pictures the broken hopes of God's people and the world-wide disorganized company thereof.
The prophet further says the bones were "very dry". They were truly bleached. That was exactly the condition of God's people in the period above mentioned. That was a fine prospect for return of life and activity to the service of the Lord. How well this pictures the outlook of God's people in 1918. Behind prison bars some of them were heard often to say: "Our work is done. We shall be left here to rot." The heat of Satan's organization had made them very dry and the spirit of God's people was broken. "A broken spirit drieth the bones." (Prov. 17:22) Compelled to remain within prison walls with vile creatures, and kept away from the work of the Lord which they loved better than their lives, many tears of bitterness were shed because of their hopes dried up. Cursed, abused and reviled by vicious prison guards, hated and reproached because they had stood for the truth, some of the faithful ones of the Lord
were almost consumed with grief. The condition of many who were outside of prison walls but restrained of their liberty and in full sympathy with their brethren inside was exactly as above stated. Well has the psalmist described the condition of such: "For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life." (Ps. 31:10-13) It was the religionists of "Christendom" or "organized Christianity" that mocked these witnesses of the Lord and heaped upon them the greatest amount of cruel reproach; hence they were pierced and broken with reproach and cried: "I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?" — Ps. 42:9,10.
Throughout the borders of "Christendom" God's people were restrained of all activity in the service of the Lord, and therefore they were not in health. In their hearts they cried out as the psalmist says: "There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin." (Ps. 38: 3) Would there ever be a possibility of again engaging in the service of the Lord? This question was often propounded. Some days a
hope would arise for a time, only to be shortly dashed to the ground. Some of God's children behind prison bars, pacing the floor of their cells, would be heard in the night to cry out and weep with great bitterness and with indignation at the insult and infamy heaped upon God and upon his work.
The Lord propounded the question to Ezekiel: "Son of man, can these bones live?" (37:3) That same question the Lord put into the mind of his consecrated ones during that period of restraint. Even after the World War ended and the war prisoners were let out of cells, the question was put by the Lord to his people: "Are you going to remain as a dead and disorganized company, or will you get busy and show signs of life in my work?" This question emphasizes in the minds of his servants the miracle that the Lord was about to perform. Ezekiel did not manifest a stubborn unbelief or doubt about what the Lord could do, but trusting in the Lord he said: "0 Lord God, thou knowest." In September 1919 a large company of God's people assembled in convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, and the question there was: Would the work be revived? Those who put their trust in the Lord did not say, It cannot be done. There were some present, however, who said it could not be done. But the faithful and zealous were ready for action. Immediately upon being released from prison steps were taken by some of the Lord's people to reorganize his work; and now at this convention the Lord revealed to his people that the work of the church done up to that time had been foreshadowed by Elijah and was now dead, and that Elisha foreshadowed a work yet to be done. The hope of God's people began to revive.
"YE SHALL LIVE"
Ezekiel must become active, and the Lord directed what he should do; therefore he was directed to prophesy: "Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon [over, R.V.] these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord." (37:4) The Ezekiel class fulfilled this part of the prophecy by preaching to each other during the 1,260-day period that 'the woman was nourished in the wilderness from the face of the beast'. (Rev. 12:14) A great deal of prophesying was required to drum it into the minds of the consecrated that they must organize for service and carry forward the work foreshadowed by Elisha. Some of the "lazybones" never did wake up and busy themselves, for the reason that they doubted that the construction placed upon the Elijah and Elisha pictures by The Watchtower was from the Lord. It was in 1919 that this prophecy began to have fulfilment. Those who really trusted in and loved the Lord God did hear and did obey his admonitions to get busy. "Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced, because of thy judgments, 0 Lord." — Ps. 97:8.
The Ezekiel class continued to prophesy or preach the message of the Lord. "Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord." (37:5,6) The Watchtower continued to urge upon God's people the necessity of organization for service, and faithful speakers addressing companies joined in the proph-
ecy, bringing forth many scriptures to prove that the Lord would give now life to his work on earth, as pictured and foreshadowed by Elisha, and that he would strengthen his people to do it, giving to them a double portion of the spirit of Elijah for that purpose. The Elijah and Elisha pictures, understood for the first time in 1919, were really the opening of the work that has increased from that day until the present time. Those who failed to understand the picture never got into the work, and many of them became opposers.
The Ezekiel class from 1919 on continued to search the Scriptures to ascertain the will of God. "So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied there was a noise, and, behold, a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone." — 37: 7.
From March 1919 to September 1922 this prophesying continued, not according to the obsolete interpretation of the Scriptures, but according to the Lord's will and commandments, such as Matthew 24:14 and Isaiah 61:1, 2. As this preaching or prophesying continued there was a noise of dissension amongst the various companies of consecrated people, such as is indicated by the seventh verse of the prophecy. Regardless of this noise of dissension the faithful continued to send forth organization instructions and to lay out the work to be done and to push the work forward. Then came a shaking, or as the Revised Version puts it, "an earthquake," and many were shaken out and turned back to their own selfish views and ways, while the faithful ones shook themselves and aroused themselves to greater activity. (Rev. 11:13) "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O
Zion: put on thy beautiful garments, 0 Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, 0 Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (Isa. 52:1,2) As this shaking continued 'the faithful bones came together, bone to bone'. The dead hopes of the war-harassed saints were revived. They began to get the vision properly adjusted. They realized that they were not "clean cut off" or "quite cut off" from the Lord and his service. — Vs. 11, R.V.
It was then that the people of God began in earnest to form an active, operating organization, even as the prophecy indicates by the following: "And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them." (37: 8) "Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced [hedged, margin] me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." (Job 10:11,12) "A sound heart is the life of the flesh." (Prov. 14:30) Those whose hearts were really devoted to the Lord began to arise from their unclean and dead appearance to a live body of joyful activity in the Lord's service. (Nah. 1:15; Col. 2:19) Thus the Lord's people got into unity and in love in Christ and ceased to be tossed about by the opinions of men. "But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." — Eph. 4: 15, 16.
The faithful whom Ezekiel foreshadowed in this prophecy comforted their brethren in Zion according to the will of God, that they might be "trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that [his name] might be glorified". (Isa. 61:3) These reorganized companies of God's faithful people had to tarry until they were "endued with power from on high", even as did the apostles. (Luke 24:49) "It is the spirit [power] that quickeneth." (John 6:63) God's people continued to present this matter before the Lord in prayer, secretly and in their assembled companies, and this is pictured by the words of the prophet. "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind [breath, margin], prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind [breath], Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, 0 breath [wind, or spirit], and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." (37: 9) God's faithful people kept in mind that the work must be accomplished, if at all, not by their own might, but by the spirit of the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6) The Watchtower continued to prophesy and to instill the spirit of the Lord's work into the saints, and the prayer of God's people everywhere was that they might accomplish his purposes. This prophesying or preaching reached a climax on September 8, 1922, at a convention of God's people, at which time they were awakened by the power of the Lord as never before.
"So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." (37:10) Every faithful witness of God who was present at that
convention will never forget that hour of great blessing. It was like a second Pentecost. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out, in those days, of my spirit; and they shall prophesy." (Acts 2:17,18) It was surely the time of fulfilment of these prophetic words. And those that loved the Lord "stood upon their feet". It was indeed like a great army ready for war. "And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." (Rev. 11:11,12; Dan. 12:1,2) "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." (Isa. 42:1) It was at that time that the faithful saw the Lord in the temple and realized that they had, as Isaiah stated, been 'unclean of lips', and they prayed unto the Lord and he heard and cleansed them and they began to greatly rejoice. (Isa. 6:1-9; 12:1-3) Those who then came to the front were no mere skeletons, by any means, but, as the prophet said, like "an exceeding great army" in the service, moved by His spirit and His strength, and ready to do His will. This organization that stands up, as indicated by the prophecy and as also shown by the facts, is not a peace-time force, but it is a real
military or militant company under the command of Christ Jesus. "And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" (Joel 2:11) Thus are pictured those whom the Lord brought into his temple and commanded to go forth as his witnesses to do his service.
Under the direction of the Lord, Ezekiel in the prophecy now identifies the bones thus: "Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts." (37:11) It is manifest, then, from this prophecy that both the remnant and the "great multitude" class are included in the prophecy of the dry bones. The faithful remnant class is now fully alive and brought together and constitutes a well organized and working machine. The "prisoners" must yet become awakened and to a full realization that they have been negligent and that they must do something. The faithful ones are also well illustrated by the expression of the Prophet Jeremiah, who for a time remained quiet and inactive but who later was fired for service and went forward in obedience to God's commandments. "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." — Jer. 20: 9.
There was an attempt made to bury the faithful ones alive, and for a time it seemed or looked as though they were in fact in their graves, not literally in graves in the earth, but confined, and hence in a dead
condition concerning the witness work of the Lord in the earth. The Lord must bring them out of their graves; therefore the prophecy reads: "Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel." (37:12) "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Eph. 5:14) God did awaken them out of this condition and brought them "into [their] own land", that is to say, into their proper condition and place of freedom to serve him as his witnesses that his name might be made known in the earth. This he did for his own great name's sake, as stated in Ezekiel 36:22-24.
Now addressing the faithful class whom Ezekiel foreshadowed, the Lord said: "And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord." (37:13,14) Today Jehovah's faithful witnesses know to a certainty that he has spoken to them and that he has given them a new name and that he has restored them to their "own land''. Every bone among them is now filled with the spirit of the Lord and these delight to do his service. "And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like
a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire." (Isa. 66:14,15) Jehovah has given to his people a new name. This he did when he brought them into the temple and anointed them, and later he brings his people to a realization of the fact that he has bestowed upon them his name; and they rejoice. To know that the Lord has thus dealt with his people, by showing them the fulfilment of prophecy in which they have been privileged to have some part, has been and is a great consolation to them. The primary purpose of the prophecy is to vindicate Jehovah's name, and the primary purpose of giving the remnant an understanding thereof now is for their comfort and strength. Truly now the remnant say: "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits [unto me]." The prophecy of the valley of dry bones has had its primary fulfilment upon God's faithful remnant, and it appears clear how its further fulfilment will be brought about.
Jehovah's organization is now clearly discerned by the remnant. These see that Christ Jesus, the Head of God's organization, is in the temple and that the risen faithful ones and the faithful remnant on earth constitute a part of that organization, and that Jehovah God is above all, and like a mighty war chariot that organization is moving onward to the vindication of his holy name. There must be complete unity in the organization of Jehovah. The apostle was caused to officially write concerning this very time showing that God would place the members in the body as it pleases him, that the organization must be perfected, and
that those on earth must be brought into a unity of knowledge and faith, and "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ". (Eph. 4:3,13) The purpose of this unity is that all might together speak the truth to the vindication of Jehovah's name. Thanks be to God that the church has come to that point, and which the Lord God illustrated in the prophecy of Ezekiel beginning with the fifteenth verse of the thirty-seventh chapter: "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying." — 37:15.
This, another prophecy spoken by Ezekiel, who represents the twelve tribes in captivity, logically follows the vision of the valley of dry bones, which vision, as we have seen, primarily applies to spiritual Israel. The prophecy beginning with the sixteenth verse pictures or illustrates the unity, harmony and cooperation of God's remnant following their experiences pictured by the dry bones. "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." — 37:16,17.
In miniature this prophecy was fulfilled upon fleshly Israel in the year 536 B.C. and thereafter. Only fifty thousand Jews, the remnant of the nation, left Babylon under Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest. These representative members of all the twelve tribes became settled again as one people in the land of Palestine. In harmony with this Peter addressed them at Pentecost and said: "Therefore let all the house of
Israel know." (Acts 2: 36) Here likewise Paul speaks of "our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night". (Acts 26: 7) There seems to be no reasonable ground for applying the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:15-28 to the Jews now in Palestine. Whether there will be some application thereof to the Jews and others during the time of restitution of mankind, we do not know. It seems quite certain that the prophecy applies at the present day to the spiritual people of God now on earth, who are representatives of the twelve tribes mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8. To discern the prophecy now thus applying is a great comfort and strength to God's remnant yet on the earth. The primary purpose of the prophecy is to make known the name of Jehovah, and the remnant after the spirit are the ones to now make publication of his name and of his kingdom.
The two sticks upon which Ezekiel was commanded to write were an illustration of something pictured in verse eighteen, to wit: "And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?" The leadership in Israel under Joseph's son Ephraim gave way to Judah, and the Jews did not understand the meaning thereof. God used two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, to do parts of the same work, and the question arose amongst the consecrated, "What is the meaning of this?" Jehovah gave to his people in the year 1919 the first understanding of the meaning of this prophecy. (See The Watchtower, 1919, page 243.) It was then seen that Elijah pictured a certain work of the church and that Elisha pictured the completion of that work which Elijah had begun; that there is no
variance of one with the other, but that one logically follows the other, Elisha being anointed in the "room", place or stead of Elijah to finish the work which Elijah had begun. It is the Elisha work of the church that is done by the united people of God, organized and unified in the spirit of Christ, and is carried forward by those who have the zeal peculiar to the house of the Lord. Those of the consecrated who did not see the end of the Elijah work have never appreciated the Elisha work and have never had the spirit or zeal of Elisha. Those who did discern the end of the Elijah and the beginning of the Elisha work are the ones that have appreciated the unfolding of the prophecies, and that have joyfully engaged in the work of making known the name of Jehovah and his kingdom.
Leadership is represented by the "the stick". "Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine band before their eyes." (37:19,20) "Joseph" means "increaser; he shall add". "Ephraim" means "doubly fruitful; double fruit". Though he was the second son of Joseph, yet Ephraim received the birthright from his grandfather. (Gen. 48:14, 18-20) But the tribe of Ephraim did not demonstrate the proper faithfulness; hence his leadership of the twelve tribes devolved upon Judah. (Ps. 78:9,10; Judg. 1:1, 2; 1 Chron. 5:1, 2) After the split in the twelve tribes occurred, however, Ephraim assumed the
leadership of the revolting tribes and his name was frequently used to stand for the ten tribes of Israel. Ephraim wielded the stick for Joseph; there being no tribe of Joseph, but merely the half tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. The ten tribes were the first to go into captivity. (2 Ki. 17:4-7) They therefore seem to picture those spirit-begotten ones who got free from the religious systems during the period of the Elijah work of the church, during which period the Lord Jesus 'was preparing the way before Jehovah'. (Mal. 3:1) When the World War came these were brought into captivity to serve the ends of the fighters. Since then the Lord has brought some of them into his organization. For instance, some who loved the Lord to a decree and who were consecrated went into the war and afterwards got a vision of God's purposes and came fully into God's organization.
In the sixteenth verse appears this statement: "Take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions," that is to say, the tribes of Benjamin and the Levites. Judah and the tribes of Benjamin and Levi here seem to picture those last to go into captivity. They had been brought cut of the church systems and had been carrying on the Elijah work, but were unwillingly taken captive by Babylon's forces, being overwhelmed by the enemy organization during the World War. The illustration shows that there must be one organization, one organized people, "and they shall be one in mine hand." When the captivity of the Lord's people ended in 1919 the Elisha work began shortly thereafter. That work was not and has not been confined exclusively to those who had done the Elijah
work and who were pictured by Judah and his companions. Many persons not previously knowing about or connected with the Lord's work came to a knowledge of the truth after the World War ended, left the Babylonish systems and engaged in the service of the Lord. Some of these were really engaged in actual warfare during the World War. These were pictured by Ephraim and his nine brothers. Thereafter all the faithful became united in the service organization and have gone forward with the work which was foreshadowed by the Prophet Elisha. This is in exact harmony with the prayer of the Lord Jesus: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:20,21) There is now no division amongst those who are really doing the Lord's work; but there is one entire and harmonious organization and this is working under the leadership of one, Christ Jesus the Head. "Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee." — Ps. 122:3,4,8.
There is an opposing class which was once engaged in the Elijah work, but the members of this class refuse to be "one [with the anointed] in mine hand", as stated in verse nineteen of the prophecy. Such are gathered out from the kingdom class by the Lord and are not shown in the picture. The faithful ones become 'one stick in the hand of the Lord' for the use
of the Lord's service. Thus the remnant on earth have the token or illustration and proof in this prophetic word of God of their present unity, and this they have in their hand and, by the Lord's grace, set in proof before the eyes of those who desire to know and to do the will of God.
Satan's organization had taken all of God's people into captivity during the World War, but God had something for them to do after the war. "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms, any more at all." — 37:21,22.
The physical facts prove the fulfilment of this prophecy beyond any question of doubt. At several large conventions a poll was taken showing that the major portion of those now engaged in the Elisha work of the church came out from Babylon and into the Lord's organization after 1919, and many even after 1922. Today there are no Wesleyans, Lutherans, Campbellites, or Russellites in the truth, nor are there any who are the followers of any other man; and they refuse to take the name of any man. This has been fully demonstrated by the resolution adopted by the Columbus (Ohio) convention in 1931 and by all the faithful companies since that day. The reason for this is that the Lord has plainly revealed his truth to those who give honor and glory to the great Creator
and not to creatures. — See The Watchtower, 1930, page 116.
The faithful are made "one nation in the land upon the mountains"; that is to say, they are made God's royal nation now upon the mountain heights of his organization in the land of the living, in the temple, and for the publication of the good news of Jehovah and his kingdom. (Isa. 52:7) These recognize the fact that God has made his beloved Son "the Head of the corner" and has placed him upon his throne, in his holy hill, and he is to them a "sanctuary". (Isa. 8:14) "Neither shall they be divided"; which shows a unity of faith. They all hold fast their allegiance to Christ Jesus the King, and, being Jehovah's witnesses under the leadership of Christ Jesus, together with him they advertise the King and his kingdom. It is those that try to maintain the "two nations" who are the ones that stumble over the Stone, God's beloved King. (Isa. 8:15) The exaltation of men is defiling, and is an abomination in the sight of Jehovah God. (Luke 16:15) "Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." (37:23) The faithful servants of God have gotten away from the "sin of Samaria", hero worship and adoration of men, and from self-righteousness, and all such things that defile. Their worship and devotion is to God and to his kingdom. In times past they made the great mistake, and thus sinned, but now Jehovah graciously puts behind him their past delinquencies
and sets them to doing the Elisha work, having cleansed them and given them the robe of righteousness, and the garments of salvation, and they, by his grace, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3: 2, 8) The remnant are not ashamed of making an open confession of this, but they declare themselves the willing and joyful servants of God and his King, Christ. — Rev. 3: 5,12.
"David" means "beloved"; and David, being God's anointed king over Israel, was a type of Christ Jesus the beloved King of the whole earth. "And David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them." (37:24) Christ Jesus is now the King over the remnant, and they are one, and he is their one and only Shepherd, and he stands and feeds them; and because they joyfully submit themselves to God's beloved King they are permitted by his grace to fulfil the prophecy of Psalm 110: 3: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; thou hast the dew of thy youth." They having responded to the Lord's call and devoted themselves wholly to his cause, he makes with them "an everlasting covenant . . . , even the sure mercies of David". (Isa. 55: 3) By the grace of God these become members of The Christ and a part of Jehovah's "Servant". (Isa. 42:1) They walk on the highway of the Lord and do his commandments, giving the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17)
The Lord Jesus Christ, the antitypical David, is their Leader and they are united in him.
Jacob foreshadowed God's faithful people on the earth; hence the promise to such faithful company is, to wit: "And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children, for ever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever." (37:25) The word "children" signifies perpetuation of the family name that it shall not be cut off. (Deut. 25:5,6) This figure of speech here used says that the name of the remnant shall not be cut off from or out of God's organization, but that the fruit of the kingdom that they bring shall perpetuate their name in his organization. "My servant David" means God's antitypical 'elect servant', Christ Jesus, who will always be the Head and Leader of the body members, he who is the Lord of lords and King of kings. "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." — Rev. 19:14,16.
Jehovah will for ever give prosperity to his kingdom class and they will be at peace in Christ and in God's organization. "Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace [prosperity, Roth.] with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore." (37:26) This is the same covenant as that mentioned in Ezekiel 34:24, 25. According to that covenant the Lord now
'sends prosperity' to his people in their work and protects them and safeguards them from the old Dragon. This covenant of prosperity is identified with the "everlasting covenant . . . , even the sure mercies of David". (Isa. 55: 3) It includes the extraordinary goodness of God. Furthermore this verse of the prophecy says in effect: 'There shall be no more captivity or exile of God's people.' These shall "neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". Thrilled with these comforting words of the Lord the faithful remnant now give all diligence to do the work which the Lord has graciously committed into their hands. "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:10,11) This prophecy of Ezekiel also indicates that God's sanctuary "trodden under foot" during the World War shall be vindicated. The remnant is brought into it, and the Lord says: "I will fill this house with glory." — Hag. 2:7.
Jehovah's dwelling place is Zion, and it is the spiritual class made members of the body of Christ, the Head of the capital organization of Jehovah, that is in Zion. "My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (37: 27) The word "tabernacle" here does not mean the tabernacle in the wilderness, but it means the dwelling place of the Lord, showing his presence and the intimate relationship between him and his people who do his service. He dwells with no other people.
"Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." (Ps. 68:18) "Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord." — Ps. 135:21.
The vindication of Jehovah's name will cause all to know that he is the great Jehovah God. It is the "faithful servant" class that the Lord God uses to make known his name in the earth at this time and who, continuing faithful, shall be in Zion for ever. "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." (37: 28) These are the spiritual Israelites. This means that Jehovah will sanctify his faithful "servant" class unto himself and to his service; and that the "servant" class, including the remnant, which are the people of God for his name, will sanctify the name of Jehovah for ever. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." (Isa. 8:13) "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." (1 Pet. 3:15) "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Thess. 5: 23.
It must become apparent to the peoples of earth that Jehovah has a people in the earth who do not apologize for being on his side, and are not ashamed or even backward to own and confess his name, and
the name of his beloved King, but who delight always to maintain their integrity toward God and to constantly proclaim his praises. It is likely that in the midst of the battle of Armageddon God will make it very manifest that he is for his remnant people upon whom his name is placed and who are his witnesses. The nations and peoples of earth, including all those who are God's enemies, will be made to realize that Jehovah is God, and that he has set apart this people for himself. Seeing the battle of the great day of God Almighty drawing near, and seeing that he is using his remnant people to make publication of his name and his kingdom, this brings great consolation to the faithful remnant. These now know that Jehovah God is with them and that by his grace they are strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Therefore they delight to sing unto him: "Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great." (Ps. 18:35) "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, 0 God! how great is the sum of them!" — Ps. 139:17.