The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
The End of The World
 
    What once sounded fantastic now appears a grim possibility. The people viewed the Scriptural warning of an end to this world thus in 1945 after the second atomic bomb burst over Japan. The appalling loss of property and life caused deep concern to earth's inhabitants as man had at last stumbled on something he might not be able to control and so the end of the human race might result. This is but one of many develop-ments from A.D. 1914 onward which have caused sincere, God-fearing people to wonder if we are not living in the "last days" before the destruction of this world. For proof it will be necessary to turn to God's Word and there search the prophecies relating to such a time and see if events of the day fit them.
    Questions concerning the end first arose in the minds of Jesus' apostles, as shown by their question: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3) Showing that this expression "the end of the world" does not mean the destruction of our earthly globe, the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures renders Matthew 24:3 as follows: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the consummation of the system of things?" The similar question at Mark 13:4 the New World Translation renders this way: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are destined to come to a consummation?" In answer Jesus foretold many things that would mark the time of his invisible presence and the setting up of God's kingdom. The end of the Gentile times or "appointed times of the nations" in 1914 was the time for these to begin appearing.
    "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) The "appointed times of the nations" indicated a period in which there would be no representative government of Jehovah on earth, such as the kingdom of Israel was; but the Gentile nations would dominate the earth. Those "times" must have been running in Jesus' day, for that very situation existed. Was not Jerusalem then in bondage to imperial Rome, and, before that, to Greece, to Persia, and to Babylon? Yes. So when did the appointed times begin, and for how long a period would they extend?
    Contrary to common belief, Jehovah has not reigned over the whole earth since man's rebellion in Eden. The divine Record reveals that after the Flood only one nation had God's guidance and provisions, the nation of Israel, and Jehovah used it to form a prophetic moving picture of the government which will one day exercise dominion over all the earth, God's kingdom by Christ Jesus. Through unfaithfulness Israel lost her sovereignty and was carried into captivity to Babylon, in the year 607 B.C. The local theocratic rule in the earth ended that way.
    Years after this Babylonian captivity began Jehovah caused a prophetic vision to be dreamed and also to be enacted concerning the times of the nations and the restoration of Jehovah's Theocracy. The prophetic dream disclosed a great tree which grew from the earth and reached to heaven and furnished food and shelter to ail creatures. Suddenly a holy one from heaven commanded: "Hew down the tree, . . . nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass,... and let seven times pass over him." Within one year this prophecy began its miniature fulfillment on the dreamer, Nebuchadnezzar. In a fit of boasting he was deprived of his sanity and throne, and browsed about the field like a beast. At the end of seven years he was reinstated. In this drama Jehovah used the king of Babylon to picture a yet greater fulfillment of the prophecy, namely, the cutting down of the unfaithful cherub from his position in Eden and the later reinstatement of theocratic rule over earth. -Daniel, chapter 4; see "The Truth Shall Make You Free", chapter 18.
    "Seven times" meant seven literal years in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, deprived of his throne. The seven years were equal to 84 months, or, Scrip-turally allowing 30 days for each month, 2,520 days. At Revelation 12:6,14, there are 1,260 days mentioned and described as a "time, and times, and half a time", or 3i times. Seven times would be twice 1,260 days, or 2,520 days. By his faithful prophet Ezekiel Jehovah said: "I have appointed thee each day for a year." (Ezekiel 4:6) By applying this divine rule the 2,520 days mean 2,520 years. Therefore, since God's typical kingdom with its capital at Jerusalem ceased to exist in the autumn of 607 B.C., then, by counting the appointed times from that date, the 2,520 years extend to the autumn of A.D. 1914.

    "APPOINTED TIMES OF THE NATIONS" END

    Expiration of the "seven times" marks the time for the symbolic tree stump to be released from its bands. This could not, of course, mean the returning of Satan to power as man's covering cherub, for for thousands of years since the global flood he has continued as the "god of this system of things". Never again could he be in God's favor and be placed in charge of righteous man in the new world. Satan the Devil has been sentenced to destruction, and the sentence will be carried out. Neither could the return of the natural Jews to Palestine and their setting up the democratic state of Israel indicate that God's kingdom had been re-stored to fleshly Israel, for such Jewish movement is political and social, without a thought for God's theocratic government. No; neither a restoration of Satan to God's organization nor the Jews' repatriation was meant by loosing the "bands" about the symbolic tree stump. The time for reinstating Jehovah's Theocracy was meant. What did result was a new sprout from the stump, namely, the Kingdom under Christ Jesus. It is a new theocratic government toward our earth, the New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from God. - Revelation 21:2.
    When Jesus was on earth it was not his Father's due time to set up the Kingdom, although Jesus then qualified as King. After his death on the torture stake and his resurrection from the dead Jesus was exalted to heaven, there to await the ending of the "seven times" before his installation as King. At the end of this period of waiting, in 1914, the prophecy became due: "Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (Psalm 110:1, 2, AS) Such action marked the beginning of the "time of the end" for the old world and the birth of the new theocratic government toward our earth. No longer would Satan's world operate unhindered, for the "appointed times of the nations" had run out. In the last book of the Bible Christ Jesus described these developments under symbols or signs. A son born to a heavenly woman was snatched from the dragon's jaws and enthroned alongside God. War in heaven followed, with God's organiza-tion and Satan's in mighty combat. With what result? The thorough cleansing of heaven of Satan and his demon hordes by their banishment to the earth. (Revelation, chapter 12) Of course, these spiritual things were unseen by man, but he has been greatly affected by them.
    The direct result of the conflict in heaven was another proof that the world had entered its "time of the end", the first visible proof: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another." (Matthew 24:7) Furious at the successful birth of the theocratic government, Satan determined to destroy all people are they learned of the newly established kingdom. This was why he plunged the nations into the war of 1914-1918. It was the first time in history that so great a conflict had taken place. Before its end thirty nations were involved, with war being waged in all quarters of the earth. Of a truth, "the nations became wrathful." (Revelation 11:18) They fought, not for the righteous cause of Jehovah's kingdom and against Satan, but for selfish world domination. It is conclusive proof that the "appointed times" have ended, Satan's rule is interfered with, and the enthronement of Christ Jesus has taken place.
    Woe and misery did not end when hostilities ceased. Following World War I food shortages stalked the earth, and Europe in particular. So much was this so that it was necessary to organize relief measures for stricken areas. Pestilence, too, took its toll. From the "Spanish flu" alone twenty million died in a few months, in spite of modern medical science, this being a far greater loss of life than that caused by the four years of war. (Luke 21:10,11) Also, since 1914 there have been reported more seismic disturbances than ever before in history, some causing great destruction to both property and life, as, for example, the 1923 earthquake in Japan, which brought death to 99,331 persons. Yet Jesus said: "All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." - Matthew 24:8.
    How truly has the history of the past half century borne that prophecy out! The nations had not recovered from World War I when, in 1939, they were again enmeshed in war. This time there were the same sides and the same issue, world domination. But, measured by combatants and equipment, the expenditure of monies, the loss of life and property, and the world-wide effect, World War II far outstripped its predecessor. Pestilence, famine and earthquake and local war have followed in its wake, exacting a further toll in human lives, misery and suffering. Certainly the world is shot through with pangs of distress under the oppressive influence of its invisible demon-god, Satan.

    KINGDOM PUBLICITY

    The Kingdom's birth has been given wide publicity. Long prior to it, The Watchtower as of March, 1880, page 2, said: " 'The Times of the Gentiles' extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then." During World War I the Kingdom proclamation by Jehovah's witnesses was interrupted, but in 1919 they began to be regathered, reorganized and commissioned to perform a still greater publicity work. (Matthew 24:31) This time it was to announce God's now established kingdom in fulfillment of Jesus' command: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come." (Matthew 24:14) So faithfully have Jehovah's witnesses done this that since World War I closed in 1918 down to 1952 over a half billion bound books and booklets on this subject, besides magazines, free tracts, and public lectures, reached the people in over 90 languages. Since World War II ended in 1945 their work has expanded more than ever to reach over 120 lands.
    Satan and his worldly subjects would like to put an end to this Kingdom message. However, this they cannot do, as the message is of Jehovah. But they do slander and persecute. Jesus knowingly stated: "If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:20) Such treatment of these Christians has reached a climax in these last days. (Matthew 24:9) World War I was occasion for much persecution, but with the advent of the total state the opposition to the Kingdom has multiplied. As victims of Nazi-Fascist-Vatican aggression, Jehovah's witnesses suffered indescribable torture through twelve long years of Nazi domination. Many sealed their testimony with their lifeblood. Persecution was not restricted to Nazi-Fascist-occupied Europe but was felt throughout the earth; as in Japan, Australia, Canada, and even America, which witnessed hundreds of cases of mob violence. Communistic dominated countries and other countries under authoritarian rule have since joined in to intensify the persecution. All this because Jehovah's witnesses announce God's kingdom.

    MAN-MADE SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD'S KINGDOM

    Without heeding Jesus' warning the leaders of this old world plunge ahead in the forming of a world super government. Little do they care to know that they are taking part in setting up a substitute for God's kingdom by Christ, and so bringing destruction upon themselves. Since the end of the appointed times in 1914 God's kingdom alone is worthy to rule the globe, for it is dedicated wholly to the honor, praise and vindication of the universal Sovereign, Jehovah God. Any substitute for it is blasphemous and is doomed to destruction. Yet the great majority of mankind are placing hope and confidence in such an organization. Ignoring Jesus' words, "My kingdom is no part of this world," many look upon the United Nations organization as the political manifestation of God's kingdom. Was not the old League of Nations so viewed? Early in 1919 the "Council of the Federation of Churches of Christ in America" issued the statement: "The League of Nations is the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth." Protestantism gave enthusiastic support to the League. The pope was excluded from a seat in the League, and so the Roman Catholic Hierarchy set out to destroy it by Fascism and Nazism. This she accomplished through totalitarian aggressors, and the League bowed from the scene during World War II, into the abyss.
    Jesus revealed that this beastly international organization would return from that condition of nonexistence, but this time with "organized religion", including the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, in the saddle. "I caught sight of a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns." As for that many membered beastly association of nations, "the wild beast that you saw was, but is not [during World War II], and yet is destined to ascend out of the abyss [as the United Nations]." In man's history till A.D. 1914 there had been seven great world powers, the seventh being the Anglo-American empire system. "And the wild beast that was but is not, it is also itself an eighth king [now known as the United Nations], but owes its existence to the seven, and it goes off into destruction." (Revelation 17:3,8, 11) Note that the prophecy says there was to be an eighth, which owes its existence to the seven previous ones. The conceiving of the former League of Nations was due to the seventh world power, and now the United Nations gets its chief support and backing from the same world power. Even the seat of this eighth world power, the United Nations, is within American territory.
    But despite all this, what? It is as Jesus prophesied: "On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth." (Luke 21:25, 26) So to many the future seems without hope. "We have reached the crossroads and no one knows the way out," thus a noted modern historian wrote. Fear and uncertainty grip the world as never before. To alleviate the condition the nations turn to collective security arrangements, to regional organizations and to racial and religious blocs, in addition to the United Nations.
    How evident it is that the mighty spirit ruler, Satan, is now grouping his forces for the war of Armageddon, and man is merely a pawn in the hands of the ruler of the demons! Worldly conflicts have incorrectly been labeled as Armageddon. Some fear Armageddon will be the eventual conflict between capitalism and communism. Others express concern that some ruthless power may, through the use of atomic energy, destroy both the nations and our earth. But not so! The end of the world will be no burning up of the literal earth. (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:12,18) That would not put an end to the spirit demons, though it might to man. The coming war of Armageddon will be Jehovah's fight in which all wickedness will be swept from the universe. Revelation 16:14-16 calls it "the war of the great day of God the Almighty". It will completely destroy the invisible and visible parts of Satan's world, and thus it will spell the accomplished end of this wicked old world. It will be the climax of the tribulation which Jesus predicted, saying: "Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." - Matthew 24:21.
    Revelation 19:11-21 symbolically describes the King Jesus Christ as riding upon a white horse at the head of Jehovah's vast host of heavenly armies, judging and carrying on war in righteousness. Will men and demons be able to oppose such power? Modern science with its newly found "force of the universe" will pale into nothingness as compared with the mighty forces unleashed by Jehovah and his King in the universal war of Armageddon.
    The urgency of the world situation as the complete end draws near cannot be denied. Jesus warned all lovers of truth and righteousness to flee to Jehovah's theocratic system of things, symbolized by the ark of Noah's day. There we may be hid, as Zephaniah 2:3 (AS) tells us: "Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger." While the world writhes in anguish because of its woes, and while the message of God's kingdom is a sore plague to supporters of Satan's organization, Jehovah's anointed witnesses and their good-will companions are optimistic and rejoice despite the sufferings heaped upon them, for these see that deliverance is near. They do as Jesus said in his prophecy: "As these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near." - Luke 21:28.