God has a purpose, even a grand intention, certain to be fully realized. And it may be confidently stated here with little need for clarification, that the Bible is a record and revelation of God's will and purpose towards his creation.
God’s express will and intent was published in the book of Genesis; encapsulated in the command originally proclaimed to Adam and Eve at the conclusion of his earthly creation: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”
At the moment God uttered those words Adam and Eve were standing in naked purity and innocence in the Garden of Eden – a paradise of exquisite peace and delight. There was no evil. No doubt it was understood by the first human couple then, that God’s will for them was that they bear children and they, along with all the future generations of their offspring, were to take the model divinely provided them and expand the borders of Eden to encompass the entire globe – the earth outside of the garden being an unfinished work from God’s standpoint. God intended that all people should live forever in perfect harmony in the paradise they would help create. God’s purpose was to become man’s purpose.
Of all the beautiful trees in Eden, there, in the middle of the Garden, stood two very special and unique trees. One was the tree of life and the other was the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. God declared that the tree of the knowledge of good and bad belonged exclusively to himself. There was no ambiguity in God’s command. Adam and Eve were not to even touch it upon pain of death.
For mankind to successfully accomplish God’s purpose entrusted to them would require their absolute obedience to their loving Creator, which is what was symbolized by God forbidding them the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Tragically, Adam and Eve promptly disobeyed God before ever they even had parented their first child. Subsequently they were summarily evicted from paradise without ever tasting the precious fruit of the tree of life.
Powerful cherubs were afterwards stationed at the gates of Eden, along with a hovering, perpetually swirling, flaming sword, to prevent the banished couple or any of their future offspring from stealing back into the garden and eating from the tree of life. None of mankind would ever again set foot in paradise until first they demonstrate unwavering faith and absolute obedience to God.
But before God had the sinners thrown out of paradise he declared an amendment to his previously stated purpose. Speaking to the unseen, treacherous angel who had instigated the rebellion by using a dumb serpent, much like a ventriloquist can make a dummy appear to speak, Jehovah said: “…And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”
The ultimate realization of God’s universal purpose was then expressed in the form of an inscrutable prophecy. But gradually, over the ensuing millennia, God would reveal the meaning of his enigmatic proclamation in Eden.
Condemned to eke out a living amidst the thorns and thistles outside of paradise, Adam and Eve could only initiate the procreation of a dying race of sons and daughters – a process that has continued to the present. Clearly, though, the woman and the savior of God’s promise could not be produced through the condemned and dying seed of Adam and Eve.
But in the generations immediately after the original man and woman were unceremoniously escorted out of paradise by angelic security, there was a new development. As humans began to multiply the beautiful daughters of earth caught the notice of leering celestial onlookers. Then, other angelic sons of God followed Satan's selfish course. Enticed by lovely human creatures, they abandoned their abode in heaven and came down to the earth, materializing in the form of men – no doubt, irresistibly handsome, intelligent, powerful men. The account in Genesis chapter six states that they took as many wives for themselves as they wanted and they became fathers to sons only – no daughters. The sons of the sons of God were called the Nephilim. The Nephilim were a hybrid mix of sinful human mothers and incarnate angels and were extremely violent creatures. Consequently, they filled the world with violence and the earth became ruined in the sight of God.
The Nephilim were the sons of those who would eventually become known as “unclean spirits” – the demons; together with their freakish offspring, they became a master race of super-humanoids! Thus, the seed of the serpent became manifest in a wicked brood of sinful human mothers, rebel angels and their queer progeny. It was an intolerable situation. If God would have allowed it to continue the human race may well have been extinguished since the sons of Adam were likely denied the ability to procreate. But God’s purpose was not to be thwarted.
Although the fallen sons of God may have imagined that God was soft and would indulge them in their fleshly pursuits, Almighty God had their world utterly annihilated by means of a global deluge – drowning all breathers outside of the ark of salvation, including the violent Nephilim and the harems of beautiful women the amorous sons of God had acquired for themselves.
At some point during the cataclysm that engulfed the globe, the disloyal sons of God abandoned their doomed families and dissolved the flesh with which they had cloaked themselves, fleeing back into the invisible realm. Being debarred from returning to their place among God's family of faithful sons and shackled by God’s irresistible power preventing their re-materializing as men, the demonic angels are now part of the Devil's invisible seed.
But the die was then cast. Because Jehovah wiped out their sons and wives the enmity between Satan and his demonic seed and Jehovah’s company of loyal ones would be irremediable.
Not long after the major part of the floodwaters had dried off from the earth Satan quickly fomented another rebellion among mankind. Impelling Nimrod – who is described in Genesis as a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah – the Devil sought to organize a religio-political apparatus to facilitate his control over the reemerging world at that time. Nimrod led an effort to build a great tower with its top in the heavens – the infamous Tower of Babel. The tower was undoubtedly intended to serve as an overawing temple and center for worship of the unseen demonic spirits.
In order to thwart the scheme Jehovah used his mighty power, once again, confusing the languages of mankind, making it impossible for the empire builders to cooperatively work together. Gradually they left off building Babel and began to migrate to various parts of the globe according to their language groups, as was Jehovah's will.
(Jehovah, the inventor of language, could accomplish such a feat – essentially, reprogramming the language database inside each individual’s mind as easily as you and I can delete and add programs to our personal computers).
But before the great scattering, Satan had successfully fabricated a false messiah and crafted a messianic mythology into a religion. As nearly as can be ascertained by an examination of the underlying basis for prominent mythologies of ancient peoples, Nimrod met with a violent death. But apparently Nimrod had been deified before his death, so that after his death he became immortalized as the sun god and eventually became Babylon’s chief god known as Marduk. After Nimrod’s death his widow, a woman named Semiramis, claimed to have given rebirth to Nimrod – a virgin birth no less. So, a triad of father, mother and son took shape. Nimrod was both his own father and son – confusingly similar to Christendom’s inexplicable father/son deity. Semiramis also was deified as the mother goddess, the Queen of heaven and Satan’s counterfeit woman of prophecy. Her son became the seed of the woman. Wherever the people went after they were scattered from Shinar they took variations of their demon religion with them.
But shortly after Satan had established his false messiah, God initiated the first phase in the outworking of his purpose to produce the true seed of the woman.
God made a covenant with a man named Abraham, swearing to him that by means of his seed all the nations of the earth would bless themselves. Most extraordinary, his wife, Sarah, was beyond the age of childbearing. This was in order that God could demonstrate the means by which the true seed would be produced – by means of a miraculous birth. (The reason the true seed would come about by means of a miracle is because the seed would originate from heaven so as to be uncontaminated by the sin of Adam).
When Abraham’s miraculously conceived son, Isaac, was a young man God commanded Abraham to perform human sacrifice of his only son of Sarah’s. This, of course, was not merely to test Abraham’s faith but was also a pre-enactment of God sacrificing his only-begotten Son. In fact, even the location for the aborted sacrifice of Isaac was not far from where the city of Jerusalem would eventually be founded, where the true Messiah would be sacrificed nearly two thousand years later.
“TO HAVE MY NAME DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH”
Significantly, it was on the occasion that Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son that he christened the mountain of sacrifice Jehovah-Jireh (Jehovah provides). Thus, the unique name of God then became attached to the future home of the Jews, the place where Jehovah would eventually cause his sacred name to reside. But the God of Abraham and Isaac would receive more glory than merely having a mountain named in his honor. The name of Jehovah would eventually become renowned in all the land, according to God’s purpose.
As the twelve tribes of Israel grew in numbers eventually they became slaves in Egypt. And the nation of Egypt gradually became the most advanced civilization in the post-flood world. After some 400 years of their being in Egypt the next phase of God’s developing purpose began. Jehovah was going to reveal himself, at least in a small-scale way, as the God of gods and a mighty Deliverer.
So, God raised up Moses as his prophet in order to confront Pharaoh, who stubbornly refused to acknowledge the authority of the Hebrews’ God. Consequently the haughty king defied Jehovah’s express command. Through Moses Jehovah informed Pharaoh: “But, in fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.”
After a series of devastating plagues that brought Egypt to its knees – the last plague being the death of every firstborn in Egypt – Pharaoh relented; only to attempt to re-enslave the departing Israelites, at which point Jehovah crushed Pharaoh’s army of charioteers under the heaving mass of waters of the Red Sea. By humbling mighty Egypt, along with her pantheon of impotent gods, including the triad of Osiris, Isis and their son, Horus, the name of Jehovah became known and dreaded in the earth.
As evidence of the Almighty’s fame, forty years after Pharaoh’s army was vanquished at the Red Sea – when the Israelite nation stood at the threshold of the land of Canaan, the land that Jehovah had promised to give to Abraham’s offspring – the calamity that befell Egypt was still fresh in the minds of the people of Jericho. Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute, told the Israelite spies: “For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the waters of the Red Sea from before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, namely, Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. When we got to hear it, then our hearts began to melt, and no spirit has arisen yet in anybody because of you, for Jehovah your God is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”
About 500 years after the Israelites had entered the land that Jehovah had promised to Abraham, God made a covenant with David for a kingdom. The covenant stated that David’s kingdom would endure forever; in other words, that one of David’s offspring would be the promised seed and that the seed would inherit the throne of Israel.
Not insignificantly, shortly after God first chose David – when he was but a boy – the spirit of God impelled David to face down the Philistine giant, Goliath. Although the Israelite men of war were terrified of Goliath, David charged into battle with the imposing, armor-clad giant, armed only with a sling and five small stones – and the name of Jehovah!
His faith-inspiring encounter with Goliath reads as follows: “In turn David said to the Philistine: ‘You are coming to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I am coming to you with the name of Jehovah of armies, the God of the battle lines of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day Jehovah will surrender you into my hand, and I shall certainly strike you down and remove your head off you; and I shall certainly give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines this day to the fowls of the heavens and to the wild beasts of the earth; and people of all the earth will know that there exists a God belonging to Israel. And all this congregation will know that neither with sword nor with spear does Jehovah save, because to Jehovah belongs the battle, and he must give you men into our hand.’”
The name of Jehovah proved superior to the hulking Philistine warrior.
After the demise of faithless, apostate, king Saul, it was David who captured the Jebusite stronghold of Jerusalem and made it the capitol city of Israel. Inheriting the throne of his father, Solomon constructed a glorious temple upon the highest hill in Jerusalem. It was there that Jehovah caused his name to reside.
But tragically, those whom God had claimed as his people and with whom he had concluded a sacred covenant, become apostate – taking up demon religion in the form of baalism. But that was not all. The eighth chapter of Ezekiel reveals that Jewish women took up the detestable practice of weeping over the god Tammuz, apparently as an annual religious custom. Tammuz is identified with the reborn Nimrod. At Isaiah 7:18 Jehovah also indicted the covenant-breaking Jews for making sacrifices to the queen of the heavens. In short Satan succeeded in injecting the religion of Babel into Israel.
After patiently calling his wayward nation(s) to repentance, Jehovah acted to clear his name of reproach. First he caused the ten tribes of Israel to go into captivity to Assyria, and then he destroyed Judah, Jerusalem and the temple by means of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. But then God had Babylon overthrown by Cyrus; the King of the Persians and Jehovah repurchased his chastened nation.
Through Isaiah Jehovah foretold the fall of Babylon and the repurchase of Jacob before Babylon even became the third power of Biblical history. It was God’s purpose to use the nation of Israel as an earthly witness to his godship. Isaiah 43:12-15 explains: ‘“I myself have told forth and have saved and have caused it to be heard, when there was among you no strange god. So you are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I am God. Also, all the time I am the same One; and there is no one effecting deliverance out of my own hand. I shall get active, and who can turn it back?’ This is what Jehovah has said, the Repurchaser of you people, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sakes I will send to Babylon and cause the bars of the prisons to come down, and the Chaldeans in the ships with whining cries on their part. I am Jehovah your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”
But even in the aftermath of the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar the Persian king, Darius, recognized that the name of Jehovah was still attached to Jerusalem and the second temple. The king’s edict stated: “And may the God who has caused his name to reside there overthrow any king and people that thrusts his hand out to commit a violation and destroy that house of God, which is in Jerusalem. I, Darius, do put through an order. Let it be done promptly.” – Ezra 6:12
Leading up to the original destruction of Jerusalem and also after it was rebuilt, God inspired other Hebrew prophets besides Isaiah to record his future judgments and judicial decisions. Woven throughout the various prophecies that were primarily directed to Israel and Judah, and to a lesser extent the surrounding nations, Jehovah revealed further details about the seed of the woman and the eventual annihilation of the serpent and his seed. However, with the coming of Jesus Christ in the first century, it became apparent that it was Jehovah’s purpose to transfer the place where his name was to reside from the rebuilt temple and city of Jerusalem. It was God’s name then became associated with the newly formed, international Christian congregation of Christ.
“PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SAYS JEHOVAH”
Under inspiration James, the half brother of Jesus, explained to the Christianized Jews that the conversion of non-Jews to the faith of Christ was in fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecy in the ninth chapter of Amos. James then declared: “Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things, known from of old.’”
Although the personal name of God has long-since been expunged from most modern Bible translations, and no popular Bible translations (other than the New World Translation) use the name of Jehovah in the New Testament, it is most certainly the case that on the occasion of James’ speech and the written decree that was subsequently circulated among the congregations, the personal name of God was pronounced and most likely also written in the form of the Tetragrammaton. Only the biblically ignorant or the most perverse haters of truth would insist that God’s name is “God” or the “Lord.” The God of the Hebrews was “known from of old” as YHWH. So, according to prophecy Christians are to be called by the personal name of God.
However, according to the Scriptures and history there is no record that the original Christians were specifically called by the name that was featured so prominently in the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, the 11th chapter of the book of Acts states that it was by divine providence the followers of Jesus would be called “Christians.” So in what sense were the disciples of Christ called by the name of Jehovah?
Examining the prophecy of Amos more closely, it states that the people who would be called by God's name would come on the scene after the rebuilding of the booth of David. The booth of David is a reference to the kingdom of David, which is to say: the kingdom of God, since the kings were said to sit upon Jehovah’s throne. Jesus was most certainly the offspring of David and hence, an heir to the throne. But did Jesus sit down upon the throne of the kingdom of God in the first century? No, he did not. Jesus was merely introduced as the heir apparent, similar to the manner in which David was anointed to be king but would have to endure many hardships and persecutions before he actually sat down on his throne. According to the 110th Psalm, Jesus was to sit at his Father's right hand until all of his enemies were placed before him as a stool for his feet.
However, Jesus did begin to rule over his congregation, which the apostle Paul referred to as “the Israel of God” and the temple of God. The fleshly nation of Israel and the stone temple had served their purpose. Israel had produced the Messiah. And as Jesus stated to the Jews, as recorded at Matthew 21:43, the kingdom of God was then being taken from them and given to a nation producing its fruit. In other words, the future accomplishment of God’s purpose would come about through the Christian congregation, which Christ likened to a nation.
Indeed, in the opening words of the letter of James Christian greetings are extended to “the twelve tribes scattered about.” That salutation is not in reference to the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel but to the Christian congregation, which was established upon the twelve apostles of Christ. Similarly, the 144,000 joint heirs with Christ who comprise the messianic seed of the woman are also said to have come from the twelve tribes of Israel – this, because, as Paul established in his letter to the Galatians that those who belong to Christ are the true seed of Abraham. Not coincidentally, the 144,000 are also said to have the personal name of God (YHWH) and Christ written upon their foreheads.
By becoming the Israel of God, Christ’s congregation has taken the place of Israel in prophecy. That means that all prophecy will ultimately be realized in connection with the organization of Christ’s followers, not the Jews, and certainly not the nuclear-armed menace in the Middle East today known as Israel.
Shortly after Christianity was established, though, Satan succeeded in subverting it into apostasy, just as he had done to ancient Israel and Judah. Instead of being a pillar in support of the truth, as the original congregation had been, Christendom has long been the promoter of Babel’s religion. However, with the appearance of the International Bible Students, now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, a recognizable form of primitive Christianity finally emerged and with it a place where God has caused his name to reside. But even that organization has become corrupted. Thus, the sacred name of Jehovah has been profaned.
Returning now to the last chapter of Amos, the last span of versus read as follows: “And I will gather back the captive ones of my people Israel, and they will actually build the desolated cities and inhabit them, and plant vineyards and drink the wine of them, and make gardens and eat the fruit of them. And I shall certainly plant them upon their ground, and they will no more be uprooted from their ground that I have given them,’ Jehovah your God has said.’”
The Israelites and Jews that were dispersed by the Assyrians and Babylonians were gathered back to their homeland after the Persian conquest of Babylon in the year 537 B.C.E. However, the repatriated Jews were once again uprooted from their homeland and scattered far and wide by the Romans in the year 70 C.E. This indicates that the primary fulfillment of the prophecy of Amos, and by extension all Hebrew prophecy, relates to the Christian Israel of God.
The implication is that Christ’s congregation is destined to undergo destruction just as did the nation of Israel and Jerusalem.
Consider, for example, Amos 9:8-9: “‘Look! The eyes of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and he will certainly annihilate it from upon the surface of the ground. Nevertheless, I shall not completely annihilate the house of Jacob,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘For, look! I am commanding, and I will jiggle the house of Israel among all the nations, just as one jiggles the sieve, so that not a pebble falls to the earth. By the sword they will die—all the sinners of my people, those who are saying: “The calamity will not come near or reach as far as us.”’
In an illustration, Jehovah likened individual Israelites to pebbles, which would be put in a sieve and jiggled, perhaps like a prospector sifting through dirt and gravel in search of gold. Jesus used similar comparisons, such as the wheat and the weeds and the suitable fish in the unsuitable fish that are separated from the fisherman's net, to illustrate how the chosen ones will be selected from among those who are rejected.
Paul similarly illustrated how the Christian organization will be subjected to fire and only those who have built with fire resistant materials, such as gold and silver, would have their work survive; while those who had built upon the foundation with food and hay and stubble would have their work destroyed.
Just as Amos had foretold that God would collect his people back to their homeland, Jesus also foretold a great ingathering of the chosen ones from the four winds.
This explains why the first century Christians were not called by the name of Jehovah. The ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will come about when the congregation of Christ, otherwise noted as the booth of David, is subjected to the fire of Jehovah's judgment. After the fiery purge Jehovah will put his name upon his people and the chosen ones will then be will gathered into the kingdom. The chastened remnant will fulfill prophecy as the witnesses of Jehovah. The fallen booth of David will be rebuilt when the last one of the 144,000 are sealed and gathered to Christ to stand with him upon heavenly Mount Zion. The true seed of God will be revealed. That is when the nations shall be forced to know that Jehovah is God.
The Christian phase of the purpose of God will then be accomplished.