“I will glorify the place for my feet.”
SONGS: 102, 75
1, 2. What can the word “footstool” refer to in the Hebrew Scriptures?
JEHOVAH GOD said: “The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” (Isaiah 66:1) God was also speaking about his “footstool” when he said: “I will glorify the place for my feet.” (Isaiah 60:13) How does he glorify his footstool, or make it beautiful? And what does this mean for those living on his footstool, the earth?
2 In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word “footstool” is also used to describe the ancient temple in Israel. (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 132:7) The temple was very beautiful to Jehovah because it was the center of true worship. And it was used to glorify Jehovah on the earth.
3. What is the center of true worship today, and when did it begin to exist?
3 What is the center of true worship today? It is not a building like the temple. It is a spiritual temple, and it glorifies Jehovah more than any building ever could. What is the spiritual temple? It is God’s arrangement that allows humans to become his friends and to worship him. This arrangement is only possible because of Jesus’ ransom. This arrangement began in the year 29 when Jesus was baptized and anointed as High Priest of Jehovah’s spiritual temple.
Jehovah’s people must praise him here and now
4, 5. (a) What do Jehovah’s true worshippers want to do according to Psalm 99? (b) What question should we ask ourselves?
4 We are very grateful for God’s arrangement of true worship. We show our gratitude by telling others about Jehovah’s name and his wonderful gift of the ransom. We are excited that there are more than eight million true Christians praising Jehovah each day! While many religious people wrongly think that they will praise God in heaven after they have died, Jehovah’s people know how important it is to praise him here and now.
5 When we praise Jehovah, we imitate the example of faithful servants of God described at Psalm 99:1-3, 5. (Read.) Faithful men such as Moses, Aaron, and Samuel fully supported God’s arrangement for true worship in the past. (Psalm 99:6, 7) Today, before the anointed on earth begin serving as priests with Jesus in heaven, they faithfully serve Jehovah in the earthly part of the spiritual temple. Millions of “other sheep” loyally assist them. (John 10:16) Both groups unitedly worship Jehovah. However, we should ask ourselves a personal question, ‘Am I fully supporting Jehovah’s arrangement for true worship?’
IDENTIFYING THOSE WHO SERVE AT GOD’S SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
6, 7. What problem developed in the early Christian congregation, and what happened by the year 1919?
6 Less than 100 years after the Christian congregation was formed, an apostasy developed as foretold. (Acts 20:28-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4) After that time, it became more and more difficult to identify God’s true worshippers. Hundreds of years passed before Jehovah used Jesus to identify who really were serving God at His spiritual temple.
7 By the year 1919, those approved by God and serving at his spiritual temple were clearly identified. They had made adjustments so that their worship would be even more acceptable to Jehovah. (Isaiah 4:2, 3; Malachi 3:1-4) So a vision the apostle Paul saw hundreds of years earlier began to be fulfilled.
8, 9. What is the “paradise” that Paul saw in a vision?
8 Paul’s vision is described at 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. (Read.) In that vision, Jehovah showed Paul something that would exist in the future. What is the “paradise” that Paul saw? First, it can refer to the literal Paradise soon to come on earth. (Luke 23:43) Second, it can refer to the perfect spiritual paradise in the new world. And third, it can refer to the wonderful conditions in heaven in “the paradise of God.”
9 Why, though, did Paul say that he had “heard words that cannot be spoken and that are not lawful for a man to say”? Because it was not the time for him to explain in detail the wonderful things that he had seen in the vision. But today Jehovah does allow us to tell others about the blessings that his people enjoy right now!
10. Why are the spiritual paradise and the spiritual temple not the same?
10 We often talk about the spiritual paradise, but what is it? It is the special environment of peace that God gives to his people. So the spiritual paradise and the spiritual temple are not the same. The spiritual temple is God’s arrangement for true worship. The spiritual paradise clearly identifies those who are approved by God and who worship him at his spiritual temple.
11. What privilege do we have today?
11 It is exciting to know that since 1919, Jehovah has allowed imperfect humans to cultivate, strengthen, and increase the spiritual paradise. Are you helping to do this wonderful work? Do you appreciate the privilege of working with Jehovah to bring glory to him on the earth?
JEHOVAH IS MAKING HIS ORGANIZATION MORE BEAUTIFUL
12. How do we know that Isaiah 60:17 has been fulfilled? (See opening picture.)
12 The prophet Isaiah foretold that many wonderful changes and adjustments would happen in the earthly part of God’s organization. (Read Isaiah 60:17.) Young or new Christians have only read or heard about these changes. But there are many brothers and sisters who have had the privilege of experiencing those wonderful adjustments! These faithful servants are convinced that God is using our King, Jesus, to guide and direct His organization! When we listen to the experiences of these dear Christians, our faith and trust in Jehovah will be strengthened.
Spiritual paradise describes the special environment of peace among true Christians today
13. According to Psalm 48:12-14, what must we do?
13 All true Christians must tell others about Jehovah’s organization. It is a miracle that even though we live in Satan’s wicked world, we have a peaceful and united brotherhood! We must joyfully tell “future generations” about Jehovah’s organization and about the spiritual paradise!
14, 15. What adjustments were made after 1970, and how has the organization benefited?
14 Many older ones in our congregations have experienced adjustments that have made the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization more beautiful. They remember when congregations had a congregation servant rather than a body of elders, when countries had a branch servant rather than a Branch Committee, or when the president of the Watch Tower Society gave direction rather than the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even though all these brothers had faithful assistants, one person was basically responsible for making decisions in the congregations, at the branch offices, and at world headquarters. After 1970, adjustments were made so that groups of elders had the responsibility for making decisions rather than one individual.
15 Why have these adjustments benefited the organization? Because they were based on a better understanding of the Scriptures. Instead of having one person making all the decisions, the organization benefits from the good qualities of all the elders, or “gifts in men,” provided by Jehovah.
16, 17. What recent adjustments have impressed you, and why?
16 Think about some of the recent adjustments made to our literature. We enjoy offering helpful and attractive literature in our ministry. Think, too, about how we use new technology to preach the good news. For example, the jw.org website reaches many more people so that they can receive the help they really need. In all these adjustments, we see Jehovah’s deep interest in people and his love for them.
We are thankful for the training we receive from our many Bible schools
17 We also appreciate the adjustment made to our meetings so that we can have time for family worship or for personal study. And we appreciate the changes made to our assembly and convention programs. They seem to get better and better every year! We are also thankful for the training we receive from our many Bible schools. In all these adjustments, it is clear that Jehovah is directing his organization and that he continues to make the spiritual paradise even more beautiful!
HOW WE HELP MAKE THE SPIRITUAL PARADISE MORE BEAUTIFUL
18, 19. How can we help to make the spiritual paradise more beautiful?
18 Jehovah has given us the honor of helping to make our spiritual paradise even more beautiful. But how do we do that? By zealously preaching the good news of the Kingdom and making more disciples. Every time we help a person to become a servant of God, we help the spiritual paradise to grow.
19 We also help to beautify the spiritual paradise when we work hard to improve our Christian personality. This helps to make the spiritual paradise more attractive to others. Usually, it is not just our knowledge of the Bible but our clean and peaceful conduct that first attracts people to the organization and then to both Jehovah and Jesus.
20. According to Proverbs 14:35, what should be our desire?
20 Jehovah and Jesus must be very pleased when they see our beautiful spiritual paradise today. The joy we feel now from making it more beautiful is just a small sample of the joy we will feel later when we work to make the earth into a literal paradise. We should always remember Proverbs 14:35, which says: “The king finds pleasure in a servant who acts with insight.” Let us be wise as we work hard to beautify the spiritual paradise!