Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Princes To Rule For Justice and Righteousness

"Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself. And each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land." (Isaiah 32:1, 2)

(the following info and illustration is from chapter 25 of Isaiah's Prophecy Vol. 1)

Our Bible reading the past few weeks about the Judges, and the theme of our daily text for the past two days, made me think of this prophecy in Isaiah (chapter 32) about the prophecy which has a modern-day and future application, showing that Jehovah would raise up a King and Princes who would lovingly shepherd and protect his people in a spirit of mildness, justice, and righteousness.

Ruling for Righteousness and Justice
Isaiah chapter 32 opens with a thrilling prophecy that is finding remarkable fulfillment in our day: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself.” (Isaiah 32:1) Yes, “Look!” This exclamation calls to mind a similar exclamation found in the last prophetic book of the Bible: “The One seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:5) The Bible books of Isaiah and Revelation, written some 900 years apart, both present a glowing description of a new administration—“a new heaven,” composed of the King, Christ Jesus, enthroned in the heavens in 1914, and 144,000 corulers “bought from among mankind”—together with “a new earth,” a global, united human society. (Revelation 14:1-4; 21:1-4; Isaiah 65:17-25) This entire arrangement is made possible by Christ’s ransom sacrifice.

After seeing in vision the final sealing of these 144,000 corulers, the apostle John reports: “I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Here is the nucleus of the new earth—a great crowd now numbering into the millions, who have been gathered to the side of the few, mostly elderly remaining ones of the 144,000. This great crowd will survive the fast-approaching great tribulation and in the Paradise earth will be joined by resurrected faithful ones and billions of others who will be given the opportunity to exercise faith. All who do so will be blessed with everlasting life.—Revelation 7:4, 9-17.

However, as long as the present hate-filled world exists, members of the great crowd need protection. In large measure this is provided by the “princes” who “rule . . . for justice itself.” What a grand arrangement! These “princes” are described further in the glowing words of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.”—Isaiah 32:2.
Right now in this time of worldwide distress, there is a need for “princes,” yes, elders who will “pay attention to . . . all the flock,” caring for Jehovah’s sheep and administering justice in harmony with Jehovah’s righteous principles. (Acts 20:28) Such “princes” must meet the qualifications set out in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

*If you listen to the talk I uploaded the other day: Sowing With a View to the Spirit, it mentions that the number of congregations (in the 2007 service year) increased by 1,606, so that there were over 101,000 worldwide. But if you download the audio version of the latest Watchtower study article based on the same theme, entitled: "Brothers-Sow to the Spirit and Reach Out!" it mentions that during the 2009 service year the number of congregations increased by 2,031, reaching 105,298 congregations worldwide.

In his great prophecy describing the distressful “conclusion of the system of things,” Jesus said: “See that you are not terrified.” (Matthew 24:3-8) Why are Jesus’ followers not terrified by today’s dangerous world conditions? One reason is that the “princes”—whether they be anointed or “other sheep”—are loyally protecting the flock. (John 10:16) They fearlessly care for their brothers and sisters, even in the face of such horrors as ethnic wars and genocide. In a spiritually exhausted world, they see to it that depressed souls are refreshed by the upbuilding truths of God’s Word, the Bible.

During the past 50 years, the “princes” have come clearly into view. “Princes” who are of the other sheep are being trained as a developing “chieftain” class so that after the great tribulation, qualified ones from among them will be ready for appointment to serve in an administrative capacity in the “new earth.” (Ezekiel 44:2, 3; 2 Peter 3:13) By providing spiritual guidance and refreshment as they take the lead in Kingdom service, they are proving themselves to be “like the shadow of a heavy crag,” bringing relief to the flock in its realm of worship.
In these perilous last days of Satan’s wicked world, dedicated Christians sorely need such protection. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) Strong winds of false doctrine and twisted propaganda are blowing. Storms are raging in the form of wars between and within nations as well as direct assaults against faithful worshipers of Jehovah God. In a world parched by spiritual drought, Christians badly need the streams of water of pure, unadulterated truth in order to quench their spiritual thirst. Happily, Jehovah has promised that his reigning King, through his anointed brothers and supportive “princes” of the other sheep, will provide encouragement and guidance to despondent and discouraged ones in this time of need. Jehovah will thus see to it that what is righteous and just will prevail.

The brother who gave our talk on Sunday brought out a good point (in regards to literal sheep and shepherds) showing how members of the congregation can cooperate and work in harmony with those who are assigned to take the lead in shepherding the congregation by cultivating a *sheep-like* disposition. The difference between sheep and other animals, is that sheep are mild and docile, and are quick to pay attention and respond to the guidance and direction given by their shepherd. They don't have to be whipped or bridled into submission. Whereas bulls, cows, goats, and donkeys, etc have to be pulled or dragged along because they have an unwilling and stubborn disposition.