No Weapon Formed Against You Will Succeed
“Any weapon . . . formed against you will have no success.”—ISAIAH 54:17.
1, 2. How do the experiences of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Albania illustrate the truthfulness of Isaiah 54:17?
DECADES ago, in a small mountainous country in southeastern Europe, there was a fearless band of Christians. An atheistic Communist government did its best to crush them. Yet, torture, labor camps, and media attacks could not stamp them out. Who were they? Jehovah’s Witnesses in Albania. Though meeting together and preaching were extremely difficult, their persistence over decades has exalted and honored Christianity and brought praise to Jehovah’s name. Last year at the dedication of their new branch facilities, a longtime faithful Witness said: “No matter how hard Satan tries, he keeps losing and Jehovah keeps winning!”
2 All of this is living proof of the truthfulness of God’s promise toward his people as recorded at Isaiah 54:17: “Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success, and any tongue at all that will rise up against you in the judgment you will condemn.” History confirms that nothing that Satan’s world can do will ever put a stop to the worship of Jehovah God by his dedicated servants.
Satan’s Unsuccessful Efforts
3, 4. (a) What are included in Satan’s weapons? (b) In what way have the Devil’s weapons proved to be unsuccessful?
3 Weapons used against true worshippers have included bans, mob violence, prisons, and the ‘framing of trouble by law.’ (Psalm 94:20) Actually, in some lands, even as Witnesses of Jehovah are studying this article, these true Christians are being “put to the test” regarding their integrity to God.—Revelation 2:10.
4 For example, one branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses reported that during just one year, there were 32 cases in which God’s servants were physically attacked while they engaged in the ministry. In addition, there were 59 incidents of police detention of Witnesses—young and old, male and female—who were preaching publicly. Some were fingerprinted, photographed, and placed behind bars as criminals. Others have been threatened with physical harm. In another land, there are now over 1,100 documented cases of Jehovah’s Witnesses being arrested, fined, or beaten. More than 200 of these cases occurred on the day when they gathered to commemorate Jesus’ death! Nonetheless, Jehovah’s spirit has enabled his people to survive despite overwhelming odds, both in these lands and in other countries. (Zechariah 4:6) The heat of enemy wrath will not still the lips of those praising Jehovah. Yes, we are confident that no weapon can defeat God’s purpose.
False Tongues Condemned
5. What false tongues rose up against Jehovah’s servants in the first century?
5 Isaiah prophesied that God’s people would condemn any tongue that rose up against them. In the first century, Christians were often the object of misrepresentation, being depicted as evildoers. The words found at Acts 16:20, 21 are typical of such accusations: “These men are disturbing our city very much, . . . and they are publishing customs that it is not lawful for us to take up or practice, seeing we are Romans.” On another occasion, religious opposers tried to incite the city rulers to act against Christ’s followers, asserting: “These men that have overturned the inhabited earth are present here also, [and they] act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar.” (Acts 17:6, 7) The apostle Paul was labeled “a pestilent fellow” and the leader of a sect that was stirring up seditions “throughout the inhabited earth.”—Acts 24:2-5.
6, 7. What is one way that true Christians condemn verbal attacks against them?
6 Accordingly, it does not surprise us that true Christians today have faced gross misrepresentations, malicious slander, and smear campaigns. How is it that we condemn such verbal attacks?—Isaiah 54:17.
7 Such accusations and propaganda are often refuted by the fine conduct of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (1 Peter 2:12) When Christians prove themselves to be law-abiding citizens and moral people who show genuine concern for the welfare of their fellow humans, the accusations hurled against them are shown up as false. Our good conduct speaks for itself. As observers note our perseverance in fine works, they are often moved to glorify our heavenly Father and to acknowledge the superior way of life of his servants.—Isaiah 60:14; Matthew 5:14-16.
8. (a) What may at times be necessary in order to defend our Scriptural position? (b) In imitation of Christ, how do we condemn opposing tongues?
8 In addition to our godly conduct, it may at times be necessary to defend with boldness our Scriptural position. One way is by appealing to governments and courts for protection. (Esther 8:3; Acts 22:25-29; 25:10-12) When Jesus was on earth, on occasion he openly contended with his critics, refuting their false accusations. (Matthew 12:34-37; 15:1-11) In imitation of Jesus, we welcome the opportunity to give others a clear explanation of our heartfelt convictions. (1 Peter 3:15) May we never allow ridicule at school, at work, or from unbelieving relatives to stop us from making known the truth of God’s Word.—2 Peter 3:3, 4.
Jerusalem—“A Burdensome Stone”
9. Which Jerusalem is symbolized by the “burdensome stone” mentioned at Zechariah 12:3, and who represent it on earth?
9 Zechariah’s prophecy sheds light on the reason why the nations take their stand against true Christians. Note what Zechariah 12:3 says: “It must occur in that day that I shall make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all the peoples.” To which Jerusalem does this prophecy point? Zechariah’s prophecy concerning Jerusalem applies to “heavenly Jerusalem,” the heavenly Kingdom to which anointed Christians have been called. (Hebrews 12:22) A small remnant of these heirs of the Messianic Kingdom are still on earth. Along with their companions, the “other sheep,” they urge people to turn to God’s Kingdom while there is yet time. (John 10:16; Revelation 11:15) How have the nations reacted to this invitation? And what kind of support does Jehovah give to true worshippers today? Let us find out as we further examine the meaning of Zechariah chapter 12. Doing so, we can gain the assurance that ‘no weapon will succeed’ against God’s anointed ones and their dedicated associates.
10. (a) Why are God’s people being attacked? (b) How have those fared who try to lift the “burdensome stone” out of the way?
10 Zechariah 12:3 indicates that the nations receive “severe scratches.” How does this happen? God has decreed that the good news of the Kingdom must be preached. Jehovah’s Witnesses take seriously the obligation to preach. However, the heralding of the Kingdom as mankind’s only hope has become “a burdensome stone” to the nations. They try to lift it out of the way by interfering with the Kingdom preachers. In so doing, the meddling nations have received “severe scratches for themselves,” getting all cut up. Even their reputations have been hurt as they meet with humiliating failure. They cannot silence true worshippers, who cherish the privilege of proclaiming the “everlasting good news” of God’s Messianic Kingdom before the end of this system of things. (Revelation 14:6) When seeing the violence done to Jehovah’s servants, a prison guard in one African land said, in effect: ‘You are wasting your efforts in persecuting these people. They will never compromise. They just increase.’
11. How has God kept his promise recorded at Zechariah 12:4?
11 Read Zechariah 12:4. Jehovah makes the promise that he will figuratively blind and throw into “bewilderment” those who fight against his courageous Kingdom messengers. He has kept his word. For example, in one land where true worship was under ban, opposers were unable to keep spiritual food out of the hands of God’s people. A newspaper even claimed that Jehovah’s Witnesses were using balloons to get Bible literature into the country! God’s promise to his loyal servants proved true: “I shall open my eyes, and every horse of the peoples I shall strike with loss of sight.” Blind with fury, enemies of the Kingdom do not know which direction to take. Yet, we are convinced that Jehovah will preserve his people as a group and look out for their welfare.—2 Kings 6:15-19.
12. (a) In what sense did Jesus start a fire when he was on earth? (b) How have the anointed remnant set things aflame in a spiritual way, and with what results?
12 Read Zechariah 12:5, 6. “The sheiks of Judah” refer to those having oversight among God’s people. Jehovah fills these with a fiery zeal in behalf of the earthly interests of his Kingdom. On one occasion, Jesus told his disciples: “I came to start a fire on the earth.” (Luke 12:49) Truly, he did ignite a fire. By his zealous preaching activity, Jesus made God’s Kingdom the paramount issue before the people. This sparked heated controversy throughout that Jewish nation. (Matthew 4:17, 25; 10:5-7, 17-20) Similarly, “like a firepot among trees and like a fiery torch in a row of newly cut grain,” footstep followers of Christ in our day set things aflame in a spiritual way. The 1917 book The Finished Mystery * roundly exposed the hypocrisy of Christendom. That brought forth a bitter reaction from the clergy. In more recent times, Kingdom News No. 37, “The End of False Religion Is Near!” has moved many people to take their stand either for or against God’s Kingdom.
“The Tents of Judah” Saved
13. What is indicated by the expression “the tents of Judah,” and why does Jehovah save those affected?
13 Read Zechariah 12:7, 8. In ancient Israel, tents were a distinctive feature in the land, at times being used by shepherds and agricultural workers. Such people would be the first affected and would be in need of protection if an enemy nation came to attack the city of Jerusalem. The expression “the tents of Judah” indicates that the anointed remnant in our time are out in the open field, so to speak, not in fortified cities. There they fearlessly defend the interests of the Messianic Kingdom. Jehovah of armies will save “the tents of Judah first” because these are in the direct line of Satan’s attack.
14. How does Jehovah defend those in “the tents of Judah” and keep them from stumbling?
14 Indeed, the historical record proves that Jehovah is defending these anointed ambassadors of the Kingdom in their “tents” out in the field. * He keeps them from “stumbling” in that he makes them strong and courageous like David, the warrior king.
15. Why does Jehovah “seek to annihilate all the nations,” and at what point will he do this?
15 Read Zechariah 12:9. Why does Jehovah “seek to annihilate all the nations”? Because they persistently oppose the Messianic Kingdom. For harassing and persecuting God’s people, they stand condemned. Soon Satan’s earthly agents will undertake a final attack on God’s true worshippers, which will lead to the world situation described in the Bible as Har–Magedon. (Revelation 16:13-16) Responding to that assault, the Supreme Judge will defend his servants and sanctify his name among the nations.—Ezekiel 38:14-18, 22, 23.
16, 17. (a) What is “the hereditary possession of the servants of Jehovah”? (b) Our endurance of Satan’s attacks is proof of what?
16 Satan has no weapon that can weaken the faith or quench the zeal of God’s people worldwide. Our spiritual peace, which results from Jehovah’s saving power, is “the hereditary possession of the servants of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 54:17) No one can forcibly deprive us of our peace and spiritual prosperity. (Psalm 118:6) Satan will continue to fan the flames of opposition and try to stir up tribulation. Our loyal endurance in the face of reproach is proof that God’s spirit is resting upon us. (1 Peter 4:14) The good news of Jehovah’s established Kingdom is being proclaimed worldwide. Like stunning deterrents, many symbolic “slingstones” of opposition have been hurled against God’s people. Yet, in Jehovah’s strength his servants overcome such stones, nullifying their effect. (Zechariah 9:15) The anointed remnant and their loyal companions will not be put out of action!
17 We look forward to complete deliverance from the Devil’s attacks. What comfort we have in the guarantee that ‘any weapon formed against us will not succeed, and any tongue at all that will rise up against us in the judgment we will condemn’!
^ par. 12 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses but now out of print.
^ par. 14 For more details, see the book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, pages 675-6, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
How Would You Answer?
• What shows that Satan’s weapons have proved unsuccessful?
• How does heavenly Jerusalem become “a burdensome stone”?
• How does Jehovah save “the tents of Judah”?
• As we approach Armageddon, of what are you confident?
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Jehovah’s people in Albania remained faithful despite Satan’s attacks
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Jesus refuted false accusations
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No weapon formed against those proclaiming the good news will succeed