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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XVII

A ROYAL THEOCRACY

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FOR forty years Jehovah God led the children of Israel through the wilderness by the hand of Moses. In the last year of the journey he brought them to the plains of Moab, opposite the city of Jericho in the Promised Land. The Lord designated the faithful servant of Moses, Joshua, to be his successor. Moses bestowed an inspired blessing upon the twelve tribes of Israel, and then ascended to the top of Mount Nebo to die. On the mountaintop God permitted him to survey all the land of promise. Then Moses died, and the Lord God buried him, but no one knows where and how God disposed of Moses' body. At that time occurred what is spoken of at Jude 9: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."

Moses did not go to heaven. The transfiguration scene which took place on a mountaintop fifteen centuries later and in which Moses and Elijah were seen in a vision does not prove that Moses was alive and in heaven. (Matthew 17:1-9) Jesus' words must be taken as true when he said: "No man hath ascended up to

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heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man." Moses' visionary appearance with Jesus at the transfiguration merely testified that Christ Jesus is a prophet like but greater than Moses as well as Elijah. As Moses said on those plains of Moab not many days before his death: "Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." (Deuteronomy 18:15-19, A.R.V.) The apostle Peter was with Jesus at the transfiguration and later confirmed this truth that Jesus is the Greater Moses. —Acts 3: 20-23.

By Jehovah's miracle of dividing the flood-waters of the Jordan river Joshua led the Israelites across the torrent bed dryshod, and then the conquest of the promised land began. Jehovah had promised their forefathers to give them the land. Now he commanded his chosen nation that they should destroy the accursed Canaanites in the land and wipe out their religion, else religion would prove a snare to them. God had sentenced those demon-worshipers to death, and he made the Israelites his executioners, "in the image of God." The war which the Israelites waged upon the Canaanites was at the command of the great Theocrat, Jehovah. It was Theocratic warfare and righteous, for the cleansing of the land which had been polluted by the idolatry and bloody deeds done in religion's name. God was with the Israelites in this warfare and performed miracles for the victory of his nation and the destruction of the enemies.

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At the end of six years of constant warfare the Gentile nations in the Promised Land were not yet all cleared out, nevertheless the division of the land among the tribes of Israel began. The tribes continued faithful to the God of Israel during the life of Joshua and the elders of the nation that outlived him, and they were blessed. As it is written: "Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." (Psalm 33:12, A.R.V.) Joshua's name means "Jehovah saves". The Greek version of the Bible renders Joshua's name as "Jesus". (Acts 7: 45; Hebrews 4:8) In his faithful leadership of Israel and in the victories he gained by faith in God over the Gentile nations of Canaan Joshua was a type or figure prophetic of Jesus Christ, the Seed who shall crush the Serpent's head. At his final meeting with the people of Israel before his death Joshua exhorted them to keep covenant with God and worship Him who had made them a free nation. Joshua bade them decide between religion and the true and living God, saying: "And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah." (Joshua 24:15, A.R.V.) Who will deny Joshua was a Jehovah's witness?

One circumstance remained after Joshua's time which endangered Israel's remaining a

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free nation: that was the presence in parts of the land of Canaanites who had escaped being destroyed together with their religion. Such religion proved to be the besetting sin against which the warning is given to those who need to be free and unhampered in the race for life everlasting: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1) The Old Serpent lurked about, to entice continually with religion the chosen nation through whom the royal Seed must come.

Again and again the Israelites grew careless and neglected and forgot their worship and service of Jehovah. They fell victim to religion. As many times as the nation broke its covenant toward Him Jehovah sold them into the hands of their Gentile enemies, the worship of whose demon gods the Israelites took up. When His people cried to him in their affliction and turned away from demonism and sought him, then Jehovah raised them up judges to deliver them from their enemies and the snare of religion. This period of judges saw the raising up and the exploits of faith of such witnesses of Jehovah as Ehud, Barak and Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, and the prophet Samuel. (Hebrews 11:32-34) The record in the book of Judges closes with this statement: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did

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that which was right in his own eyes." —Judges 21:25.

Then the Israelites desired to imitate the Gentile nations round about and came to the judge, the prophet Samuel, and asked him to set up over them a king, to visibly lead and govern them. They ignored that Jehovah was their invisible Theocratic King and would not forsake them if they did not forsake their worship of him. Samuel was displeased and prayed to God. "And Jehovah said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, in that they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee." —1 Samuel 8: 7, 8, A.R.V.

At the people's insistent request God designated Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to be king, and Saul was anointed with oil upon his head to this royal office. Saul became thus 'the anointed of Jehovah'. (1 Samuel 10:1; 12: 3, 5) In the Hebrew the name for "anointed one" is "Messiah"; but King Saul did not prove himself to be a type of the great Messiah to come, the royal Seed of God's organization Zion. Early in his forty-year reign Saul started out on a course of arbitrary acts in disobedience to God. Samuel told him he had done foolishly, "for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall

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not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people." (1 Samuel 13:13,14) That man proved to be David, born ten years after Saul's reign began. When David was yet a young shepherd lad God sent his prophet Samuel to anoint David privately as king designate. Thereby David of the tribe of Judah became the Lord's "anointed".





He proved himself to be a type of the coming Messiah, "the Lion of the tribe of Juda." By David's vanquishing the Philistine giant Goliath with but a shepherd's sling and stone, God brought David prominently before the nation's notice and King Saul made him a captain in his army.

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The Lord's spirit was no longer upon Saul, and the Devil stirred up in him the spirit of jealousy against David. The Devil further caused Saul to persecute and seek to destroy David in order to prevent the promised Seed from coming through David's line. But Jehovah delivered his anointed from Saul's persecution. Confronted with disaster at the hands of the Philistine army, Saul finally sought the witch of Endor, and shortly thereafter God permitted Saul to be killed for his disobedient course in demonism.

David then became king of Israel and was anointed to office at Hebron in the tribe of Judah. He reigned for forty years. A number of times he was overreached by the Devil and suffered for it, but his heart always remained true to Jehovah, whom he worshiped, and he repented and was restored to God's favor. At the beginning of his rule over the twelve tribes the Gentile Jebusites were yet occupying part of the city of Jerusalem, particularly the hill of Zion and the stronghold thereon. David led his armies against it and wrested Zion from the heathen and then made it the seat of his throne. In this way Jerusalem became the capital city of Israel, especially the hill thereof called "Zion". Inasmuch as David typified the Messiah, Jehovah's Anointed King to come, Zion became a type of Jehovah's capital organization under His Messianic King. Hence God's capital organization or Theocratic Government by Messiah is called "Zion" in Bible prophecy.

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Then the Philistines tried to overthrow David, but Jehovah gave David two miraculous victories over them, at Mount Perazim and at Gibeon. And David composed a psalm under God's inspiration and wrote: "Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Jehovah, and against his anointed, . . . Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure: Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. . . . Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee." (Psalm 2:1-7, A.R.V.) This Psalm, while based on historical facts back there, is a prophecy applying to the Messiah, Christ Jesus, since A.D. 1914, and hence at this time. The prophecy had a partial or miniature fulfillment at the coming of Messiah or Christ nineteen centuries ago. (Acts 4: 24-28) It must have a complete or final fulfillment in our day. (Revelation 11:15-18) In the Greek text of the Bible Christ stands for Messiah. —John 1: 41.

David was intent on promoting the true worship of his invisible Theocratic Ruler. Due to a victory of the Philistines over Israel about seventy years previous the sacred golden ark of the tabernacle of worship had been removed from the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle and lodged at the home of a Levite at Kirjath-jearim. King David raised a special tent for the ark on Mount Zion and had the ark carried up and placed there. So the worship of Jehovah

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became inseparably connected with the capital city Zion. At the time of installing the sacred ark on Zion's hill, which now became "the hill of Jehovah" and "his holy place", King David sang psalms and said: "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; and let them say among the nations, JEHOVAH REIGNETH. Then shall the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah; for he cometh to judge the earth." (1 Chronicles 16:31,33, A.R.V.) Here, at last, the typical royal Theocracy presented itself in faithful likeness to the coming Theocratic Government by Messiah. Jehovah, as represented by the sacred ark, reigned on Zion, and his anointed King, David, whose name means "Beloved", sat upon the typical "throne of Jehovah". —1 Chronicles 29;23, A.R.V.

In time David's heart was moved to build a substantial house, palace or temple for the ark of the Lord and the service of his priests and Levites. Then the Lord sent his prophet Nathan and notified David that such a privilege was reserved for his son, seeing that King David had been a man of war and blood. At the same time, however, Jehovah God entered into a covenant with David. It was a covenant for the kingdom. By it God promised that the kingdom should continue in the line of David: "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." (2 Samuel 7:1-16) This covenant for the kingdom guaranteed that the royal Seed, the Messiah, or Christ, should come from the house

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or lineage of David and that Jehovah would give The Theocratic Government to him. Therefore Messiah or Christ came to be called "The son of David". —Matthew 1:1.

In keeping with the kingdom covenant David was succeeded by his son Solomon, whose name means "Peaceful". David being old and the enemies trying to prevent Solomon's rule, Solomon was enthroned before his father's death. In the fourth year after being anointed to rule Solomon began the building of the temple for which his father had made great preparations. (1 Kings 6:1) This was typical of future events. It corresponds with the history of Christ the Messiah. In the fourth year, or three and a half years after being anointed with God's spirit at the Jordan river, Christ came to the temple at Jerusalem and presented himself both as King and as the Foundation Stone upon which the great spiritual temple of Jehovah God should be built. Concerning himself the anointed Jesus said: "Behold, a greater than Solomon is here," Thereby he proved that Solomon was a type of the Messiah, who builds God's true temple of living stones. —Matthew 12:42; 1 Peter 2:4-9.

Solomon was seven years in building the temple on Mount Moriah at Jerusalem. When the ark was brought from Mount Zion and put within its Holy of Holies and the priests and Levites were installed in their services, the glory of Jehovah God filled the temple before the eyes of all the people present. In the ark was nothing except the two tablets of stone bearing the com-

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mandments of God and which Moses put in the ark at Mount Horeb. (1 Kings 8: 9-21) So now, for a time, the typical Theocracy of the Most High God displayed its greatest glory. People from all the world came to worship at His temple and to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Regarding the popular benefits of his peaceful reign, such as freedom from fear and want, it is written: "Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: . . . and Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon." (1 Kings 4: 20-25) This is a prophetic picture of New World conditions under Christ's rule.

When Solomon waxed old Satan the Devil beset him with the ensnaring sin of religion. The once-wise king fell to idolatry, and died under divine disapproval, in 999 B.C. After his reign of forty years the nation of twelve tribes was split in two, the northern kingdom of ten tribes of Israel, and the southern kingdom of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. The northern kingdom immediately forsook Jehovah's worship and established a state religion to turn the people from Jehovah's typical Theocracy and worship at Jerusalem. The unfaithful kingdom was finally destroyed by the king of Assyria nearly three centuries later. In the southern kingdom,

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that of Judah, the descendants of King Solomon held the throne. Jehovah's covenant with David for the everlasting kingdom remained in force, but he shifted the line through which the Messianic Seed should come from Solomon's line to that of David's other son named Nathan. (Luke 3:21,22,31; 2 Samuel 5:14) The last king of Solomon's line to occupy the throne at Jerusalem was Zedekiah.

King Zedekiah became unfaithful and idolatrous. Before his overthrow the God of the kingdom covenant inspired his prophet Ezekiel to direct these words against him from the land of Babylon: "Thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." —Ezekiel 21:25-27.

In 606 B.C. the heavenly Theocrat caused the typical Theocracy in Israel to be overturned by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Yet Jehovah did not forsake his covenant people, of whom a remnant kept faithful to him, such as Ezekiel, Daniel and his three Hebrew companions, and Jeremiah. By his prophet Jeremiah God foretold that after seventy years of desolation of Jerusalem and its domain he would restore the faithful remnant from captivity in Babylon to the Promised Land. Furthermore, Jehovah's

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covenant with David for the everlasting kingdom did not fail. It continued on, awaiting the coming of a worthy one, whose right the kingdom or Theocratic Government should be. To him Jehovah would give the kingdom at his coming. As Jacob on his deathbed in Egypt had foretold, the scepter of right to rule would not depart from the tribe of Judah, David's tribe, until Shiloh, "the Prince of Peace," should come and receive the kingdom right. Then unto him the gathering of all the people of good-will should be. —Genesis 49:10.

King Zedekiah was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem and its temple were pillaged and razed to the ground. The land of Judah was denuded of all its Jewish inhabitants, and seventy years of desolation began. With the typical Theocracy overthrown, the long period known as "the times of the Gentiles" set in. Satan the Devil now became "the god of this world". —2 Corinthians 4: 4.



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