THE YORWW CONGREGATION SPEAKS AS A "VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS" TO ALL CONGREGATIONS OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE! -- Isaiah 40:3
[See blog with graphcs at: http://www.livingwatersforum.com/wilderness.html]
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN APOSTASY! Today God's Name People are faced with a very difficult situation, similar to the one faced by ancient Israel of times past. Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses of our modern times are faced with National Apostasy! And, as we recall in times of National Apostasy of the past in Ancient Israel, Jehovah dutifully would without a doubt, “ABANDON” the House of Israel if they proved to be totally unrepentant about this grave sin when brought to their attention. Special National Atonement was necessary in all such cases. -- See Leviticus 4:1-21; Matthew 23:38.
In fact, in all such cases, God's Word indicates that if the nation of Israel would not repent of its wicked ways, JEHOVAH GOD HIMSELF, WOULD BE FORCED TO GO TO THE WILDERNESS, and distance Himself, far away from His Name People and the land of His people!
Indeed, Deuteronomy 23:14 clearly says,
"For Jehovah your God is walking about WITHIN YOUR CAMP to deliver you and to abandon your enemies to you; and your camp must prove to be holy, that he may see nothing indecent in you and certainly turn away from accompanying you."
Also, Numbers 35:34 says for our benefit,
"And you must not defile the land in which you are dwelling, in the midst of which I am residing; for I Jehovah am residing in the midst of the sons of Israel."
And so for these reasons stated above, Jehovah Himself, as well as His prophet-representatives, and all repentant members of the nation of Israel, would have to LEAVE THE "APOSTATE NATION" OF ISRAEL and humbly be willing to go out into the "wilderness," where appropriately the could receive Divine Instruction from Jehovah, in the wilderness, where God would now reside. (Isaiah 10:6; John 1:6) Therefore, anyone from the nation of Israel, who was truly repentant, and who wished to “inquire of Jehovah” from that point on, must be willing to GO TO THE WILDERNESS, since God Himself had left the land, and would no longer agree to be a "resident" or "dweller" in this now “polluted,” apostate land of God's Name People. This situation became advisable during the difficult times of the prophet "Elijah" as well as the prophet "John the Baptist," who both took up residence in the "wilderness," away from God's Name People for a specific period of time. -- See 1 Kings 17:1-5; Matthew 3:1-6
Indeed, Ezekiel 20:35-38 prophetically speaks of God's future "judgment" or discipline upon His Name People because of gross wickedness, and their future trek to the "wilderness," where Godly "Judgment" would be carried out upon them. The prophet Ezekiel was told in ancient times about our day,
"And I WILL BRING YOU INTO THE WILDERNESS OF THE PEOPLES and put myself on judgment with you there face to face. Just as I put myself on judgment with your forefathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I shall put myself on judgment with you, is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. And I will make you pass under the rod and bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will clean out from you the revolters and the transgressors against me, for out of the land of their alien residence I shall bring them forth, but onto the soil of Israel they will not come; and you people will have to know that I am Jehovah."
Therefore, simply put, God’s Name People of our time, Jehovah's Witnesses, have indeed, “polluted" God's land by wickedly engaging in idolatry, injustice and bloodshed, and thus, are presently in line for the Godly Judgment upon themselves, as shown above. -- Jeremiah 7:4, 8-15
In this regard, we remember Jesus himself knew Jehovah would inevitably, "abandon" apostate Jerusalem because of its wickedness, and so never personally risked the chance of being considered unfaithful to Jehovah and thus being himself "abandoned" by God. (John 8:29) Thus we can say, Jesus himself, set the example for us today, to "turn away from the ungodly," when he directed his disciples to LEAVE APOSTATE JERUSALEM. – See Matthew 23:38; Hebrews 13:13, 14; 2 Timothy 3:5
Isaiah 40:3 says:
"Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: Clear up the way of Jehovah, you people! Make the highway for our God through the desert plain straight.
The "voice" we read of above that comes from the "wilderness" is the voice of God's prophet.
1 Kings 19:4, 8, 16 shows the prophet Elijah frequented the "wilderness" in carrying out his assignment against rank apostasy on the part of the nation of Israel, when wicked king Ahab and Jezebel ruled.
In similar fashion, the bible tells us, that "God's declaration" or word actually occurred to John the Baptist, yes, while he was "in the wilderness." (Luke 3:2) As we remember, John the Baptist himself frequented the "deserts" and primarily conducted his prophetic ministry OUTSIDE the camp of Israel. This was largely due to the fact that the nation was now on a "renegade" course, and had become an "apostate nation" before Jehovah and in dire need of "repentance" to be saved. It was John's mission to make that known to the nation, from the "wilderness" as his base of operation. -- Proverbs 1:32; Isaiah 10:6; Luke 1:76-80
In fact, contrary to what most would normally think, strangely the bible informs us that John specifically did his "preaching" of repentance, IN THE WILDERNESS itself. Yes, he "preached" while in the wilderness, a message of repentance for the nation itself. The inspired accounts tells us:
"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." -- Matthew 3:1, 2
All of this then, tells us that when the nation of Israel was viewed by Jehovah to be in a state of rank apostasy, it was God's Will that John, the prophet become a "voice" that spoke FROM THE "WILDERNESS" PERSPECTIVE. Interesting "food for thought," wouldn't you say? -- Isaiah 40:3
Indeed, Mark 1:4, 5 says of John's prophetic ministry OUTSIDE of Israel by saying,
"John the baptizer turned up in the wilderness, preaching baptism [in symbol] of repentance for forgiveness of sins. Consequently all the territory of Judea and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem MADE THEIR WAY OUT TO HIM, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, openly confessing their sins."
So a "voice" that speaks from the "wilderness" point of view, then has to be viewed as coming from a source OUTSIDE of the camp of Israel -- the voice of a prophet of God. Therefore, if God were to raise up a prophet then, in our day, to warn someone, he would no doubt be raised up from the "wilderness" point of view, being seen by the majority of people, as being OUTSIDE the camp of Israel or a nation who exists in rank apostasy. Also, this "voice" would urge "repentance" like John, but still would be seen or perceived by the nation as a distant "voice" that would be considered by most to be an "outsider," speaking from a non-acceptable source or point of origin...namely, the "wilderness."
We recall Jesus saying at Luke 19:44,
"and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."
In the first century, the apostate nation of Israel underwent an "inspection" period from Jehovah God, yes for some 4 years. This special "inspection" period actually started with the extraordinary 6-month ministry of John the Baptist, who was a special "representative" of Jehovah himself, which was immediately followed by the impressive 3 1/2 year ministry of Jesus Christ, the "messenger of the covenant" who also served as a special "representative" of His Father too. -- John 1:6; John 7:29, John 16:27, John 17:8
To be sure God's Word does promise us a future coming of a prophet called "Elijah," a "voice in the wilderness" for our day and time. In fact, even Jesus spoke of his coming, as being the one that would ultimately "restore all things" before, just before God's Great and Fear-Inspiring Day of Wrath should come upon all mankind. -- See Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 17:10, 11
THE YORWW ARRANGEMENT AS GOD'S SPECIAL "SANCTUARY" OR "TABERNACLE" FOR ALL MANKIND!
Ezekiel 47:1-12 gives us a beautiful picture of a Special Temple constructed by God, that provides for mankind amazingly, "living, healing waters" of nourishment and refreshment. These verses state in part,
"And he went on to say to me: This water is going forth to the eastern region and must go down through the Arabah. And it must come to the sea. It being brought forth into the sea itself, its water is also actually healed. And it must occur that every living soul that swarms, in every place to which the double-size torrent comes, will get life. And it must occur that there will be very many fish, because there is where this water will certainly come, and the seawater will be healed, and everything will be alive where the torrent comes...And alongside the torrent there will come up, along its bank on this side and on that side, all sorts of trees for food. Their leafage will not wither, nor will their fruitage be consumed. In their months they will bear new fruit, because the water for them -- it is coming forth from the VERY SANCTUARY. And their fruitage must prove to be for food and their leafage for healing." -- Ezekiel 47:8-12
Now, let's compare Revelation 22:1, 2 which also says:
"And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations."
Did you notice above the great similarities between both of these biblical descriptions of God's Wonderous Temple Arrangement, that ultimately nourishes mankind and brings forth Godly Blessings to all mankind? Did you notice the striking similarity between these two biblical passages? Yes, these bible verses from Ezekiel and Revelation are really saying the same thing. They are describing the exact same situation, are they not? Yes, both are referring to an Earthly Temple Arrangement from God. Yes, both of these Temple Arrangements, are said to give forth "living, healing waters" from Jehovah, which ultimately provide "curing," yes "healing" for all the nations upon earth. Yes, "Living Waters," that come from God's Sanctuary, upon earth. Did you notice this? To gain more information of this unique concept, let's notice the following.
As often stated on this discussion board, in our modern day setting, the YORWW Congregation sees itself as a "rescue mission" for all sincere Jehovah's Witnesses, former or current. Thus, we see the YORWW Congregation as a Special "Arrangement," a Special Sanctuary, a Special Tabernacle or Temple if you will, miraculously found out in the wilderness to provide spiritual nourishment and refreshment for all repentant members of Israel today, that seek refuge. It becomes a Special "Tabernacle" of God provided for these most difficult times. -- 1 Corinthians 14:40; Matthew 11:28, 29
In this regard, it becomes like Leviticus 26:11, 12 says,
"And I shall certainly put MY TABERNACLE in the midst of you, and my soul will not abhor you. And I SHALL INDEED WALK IN THE MIDST OF YOU AND PROVE MYSELF YOUR GOD, and you, on your part, will prove yourselves my people."
Therefore in this instance, the YORWW Congregation thus becomes God's True "Tabernacle" for God's Name People, in the wilderness. It becomes the place that Jehovah truly resides. The YORWW becomes the place where Jehovah would indeed actually "WALK IN THE MIDST OF YOU," and "PROVE" Himself to be their "God" just as promised above.
Ezekiel 37:26, 27 speaks of this unique situation this way,
"And I will conclude with them a covenant of peace; and indefinitely lasting covenant is what they will come to be with them. And I will place them and multiply them and PLACE MY SANCTUARY in the midst of them to time indefinite. And MY TABERNACLE will actually prove to be over them, and I shall certainly become their God, and they themselves will become my people."
Remarkably, we note that these original promises made Jehovah, under the Mosaic Law Arrangement, are almost identical to the one made in the book of Revelation where it says,
"With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: "Look! The TENT [Tabernacle, Sanctuary] of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them." -- Revelation 21:3
Yes, the YORWW Congregation Arrangement, under the direction of God's Primary "Seed" the Modern-Day "Servant," thus becomes God's Kingdom upon earth which blesses all mankind. Yes, it becomes God's "Tent" or "Sanctuary" or Temple upon earth, New Jerusalem itself, where "living, healing waters" flow for the full benefit of all mankind, earthwide to fulfill God's Original Promise to Abraham. (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Matthew 6:10; Revelation 22:1, 2) Indeed, the Grand Covenant-Promise to Abraham where He guaranteed "ALL NATIONS" one day, would be finally blessed by saying:
"And by means of your seed ALL NATIONS OF THE EARTH will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice." -- Genesis 22:18
Think about it.
Review Questions For The Article: A "Voice In The Wilderness" Speaks!
1. What difficult situation do God’s people find themselves faced with today? How has Jehovah reacted in previous times if His people were not repentant when this sin was brought to their attention?
2. In harmony with Numbers 35:34 and Deuteronomy 23:14, where would Jehovah go if He found something indecent in Israel’s camp and they refused to repent?
3. Why would it be necessary for repentant members of the nation to also go to the wilderness? What two examples do we have of this happening?
4. According to Ezekiel 20:35-38, where would Jehovah execute His judgments upon His name people and what did Jesus do to show the appropriate action a person should take so that Jehovah would not abandon him?
5. In harmony with Isaiah 40:3, why was John the Baptist’s ministry carried out in the wilderness?
6. The prophet that Jehovah would raise up today would by necessity have to speak to modern-day Israel from what place, and how would the nation perceive or see this activity?
7. Before Jehovah destroyed first century Israel, Jesus said that they had failed "to discern the time of their being inspected." (Luke 19:44) How long was this period of inspection?
8. Ezekiel 47:1, 2 and Revelation 22:1, 2 describe a situation where "living, healing waters flowed from God’s sanctuary that are for the curing and healing of the nations. Is this sanctuary a heavenly or earthly arrangement?
9. In our modern-day setting, what arrangement represents this earthly temple that provides spiritual nourishment and refreshment for repentant Israel in the wilderness?
10. By what means will Genesis 22:18 have its fulfillment?
To get the answers for the review questions CLICK HERE.
In this forum, YORWW Bible Academy Student-Cadets can pose questions concerning specific verses from the bible. YORWW Congregation members will answer here.
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"He that is from God listens to the sayings of God..." -- John 8:47