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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Themes Archive

 
The Making of This Cosmos Begun
 
    The cosmos or world that stands today had its beginning some time after the flood of Noah's day in 2,370 B.C. After describing the destruction of the preflood world with its heavens and earth, the apostle Peter warns us in writing: "But by the same word [of God] the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men." (2 Pet. 3:7, NW) Now, the literal planet earth and the literal heavens above did not pass away at the flood, but the symbolic ones did; so we must understand that the "heavens and the earth that are now" that are stored up for fiery destruction must be the symbolic ones. Who created them?
   Besides depositing on the earth the waters that had remained suspended above the expanse since God's second creative day, the Deluge pro-duced great changes on the earth's surface, plowing it up to a depth of a mile, in some places to a depth of six miles. For five lunar months, 150 days, the flood waters covered earth's crust and caused a great laying down of sediment before they began to subside. It was a miraculous act of God, but, despite it, God kept the earthly planet in existence, to remain forever as obedient man-kind's eternal home: "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture; the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away (the mountains rose, the valleys sank down) unto the place which thou hadst founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth." (Ps. 104:5-9, AS) God did not repeat his work of the second creative day by again putting waters above the expanse. He let the waters from above the expanse remain where they had fallen. It was now in the second millennium of his great 7,000-year sabbath day, and so he let the earth adjust itself under the flood waters and produce great basins for the waters and let dry land reappear, on the first day of the tenth month of 2,369 B.C.—Gen. 8:1-5, NW.
   From the day that Jehovah shut the door be-hind Noah and his fellow passengers in the ark until God commanded them to go out onto the dry land, which was again producing olive trees, grapevines, and other plant life, it was twelve lunar months and ten days. This about equals a full solar year. (Gen. 7:11; 8:13-19) Jehovah's faithful witness, Noah, set a right example for all his descendants down till today. The first thing he had his family do after coming out alive from the ark of preservation was to offer a grand sacrifice to his great Preserver, Jehovah God. Doubtless he used the seventh or odd one of each group of clean animals and birds. In this act of pure worship he foreshadowed how Jesus Christ, the King of the new world, will start off the new and ever-lasting righteous cosmos. Jehovah God was pleased with Noah's introduction of pure worship into the cleansed earth, and he blessed him and his family. He repeated to them the command he had originally given to perfect man and woman in the righteous Edenic world, to fill the earth with their offspring. But in specifying what they might eat he extended their diet beyond the Edenic food allowance, to include animal flesh food: "Every creeping animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you."—Gen. 9:1-3, NW.
   Here, however, he established laws that apply to all of Noah's descendants, including all of us to-day: he forbade the use of animal blood as food and also murder and the uncalled-for slaying of animal life. His language on this is clear: "Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat. And, besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man." (Gen. 9:4-6, NW) The apostles of Jesus Christ recognized that such laws to Noah applied to all the Christian congregation from them till now. From the con-ference of apostles and other older disciples at Jerusalem A.D. 49 they sent out this authoritative decree to the non-Jews that had become believers: "The holy spirit [of inspiration] and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep yourselves free from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things killed without draining their blood and from fornication."—-Acts 15:22-29, NW.
   The condemning of murder and of use of blood as food God made a part of his covenant or solemn agreement with all mankind. In this covenant he embodied this unbreakable promise: "No more will all flesh be cut off by waters of a deluge, and no more will there occur a deluge to bring the earth to ruin." The sign that reminds us today of this covenant embodying God's promise and our human obligations, Jehovah then gave for the first time: "My rainbow I do give in the cloud, and it must serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth." The waters above the expanse having fallen to produce the watery grave of the ancient world, the sun now shone upon the face of the earth without obstruction and God pro-duced the first rainbow visible to mankind, to in-augurate his covenant with Noah and all his de-scendants. Today when God looks upon the rain-bow he reminds himself of his covenant and holds to it. At sight of a rainbow mankind, especially Christians, should remind themselves of the covenant and their obligations under it.—Gen. 9:8-17, NW.
   Omitting Nimrod the great hunter, who is left without record of a child, Genesis, chapter ten, records seventy families as stemming from Noah in three great racial branches, Japhetic, Hamitic and Shemitic, from Noah's three sons Japheth, Ham and Shem. Seventy is a multiple of seven and ten, numbers symbolizing perfection spiritually and earthly. So the seventy families serve as a token fulfillment of God's command to Noah's family to fill the earth with the human kind. Noah himself had no more children to create further branches of the human family; his married sons did the procreating toward filling the earth. The year after the flood ended Shem's son Ar-pachshad was born. This noteworthy fact emphasizes that, even come the end of a world with destruction of its heavens and earth, the human family will survive by means of those whom the Creator preserves, and his purpose to have this earth filled with a righteous human family will be carried out to his vindication. Survivors, like Noah's sons and daughters-in-law, will have the privilege of producing righteous children after such end of a world. To his disciples, but not to others, Jesus said: "You are the salt of the earth." (Matt. 5:13, NW) Noah and his family in their day were the "salt of the earth". Through those witnesses of Jehovah the human family was pre-served without any break by death through the end of the ancient world. Likewise at this end of this cosmos.
   Noah gave the earth a righteous, godly start after the flood. How did the corrupt earth and world of today come to develop? By a falling away from Noah's faithful example, under the influence of the enemy of all righteousness, the original Serpent, Satan the Devil. Still ambitious for world domination, he again set out to build up a world of his own with mankind as his slaves and wor-shipers. The heavens of his making must dominate the earth, the human population built up into an unrighteous, untheocratic form of society. The disobedient sons of God who had dematerialized at the flood were now back in the spirit realm. True, they were now "spirits in prison", because they were degraded from Jehovah's theocratic organization and were restrained from again materializing as men and intermeddling thus in human affairs. They were held under "eternal bonds" as in "pits of dense darkness", as in a Tartarus. They were debarred from God's en-lightening counsels and faced only the black doom of everlasting destruction, when God's judgment day should come. (1 Pet. 3:19; 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 6, NW) But still they had a great latitude of free action, even up in high levels of heaven in contact with the holy angels. While they had been debased to Tartarean depths as regards dishonor and divine disfavor, they had not yet been cast out of heaven. That was to await the day of judgment. Incidents illustrating their continued access to heaven are the cases where Satan intruded himself upon a gathering of the faithful sons of God and challenged the unselfish integrity of Job, God's faithful servant on earth.
   Satan the Devil, the ringleader in rebellion against Jehovah God, made himself the ruler or prince of these "spirits in prison". He set up a kingdom and became the "ruler of the demons", whom the Jews contemptuously spoke of as "Beel-zebul", meaning "lord of dung". (Matt. 9:34; 10:25; 12:24-26, NW) He built up a highly or-ganized spiritual force or heavens in order to oppose Jehovah's theocratic organization and to accuse His people on earth falsely and persecute them. The apostle Paul gives us a look into the intricate organization of Satan the Devil when he warns Christians with these words: "Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11, 12, NW) The access these had into heaven after the flood is fur-ther shown by the opposition that the spirit prince over the kingdom of Persia put up against Jehovah's angel for twenty-one days until the archangel Michael came to the angel's assistance. —Dan. 10:12-14.
   Further showing that the wicked one and his demons would have access to heaven till the setting up of God's kingdom, the apostle John under inspiration writes: "And another sign was seen in heaven, and look! a great fiery-colored dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and upon its heads seven diadems; and its tail draws a third of the stars of heaven, and it hurled them down to the earth." This dragon he calls "the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth". (Rev. 12:3, 4, 9, NW) The dragon's diademed heads prophetically indicated that the great Devourer or Dragon would dominate seven successive world powers down till the time he was expelled from heaven. In John's day the Dragon was dominating the sixth, the Roman empire. The five preceding it in the order of their rise to world power were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. (Rev. 17:9, 10) The one to come, the seventh, was the greatest of them all—the empire system that dominated the earth down till A.D. 1914 without divine interruption. Daniel 10:13, 20 reveals that the great Dragon had spirit princes over the world powers of Persia and Greece, a fact that indicates each of the successive seven visible world powers has a spirit prince over it, a superhuman, unseen power behind the earthly world power. The Dragon's seven heads dictated to the seven spirit princes. In harmony with this the apostle John writes to the Christians during Rome's sway: "We know we originate with God, but the whole world [kos'mos, Greek] is lying in the power of the wicked one."—1 John 5:19, NW.
   The world, of which Christians are no part, did not originate with God. The visible or earthly part of this world or cosmos originated with God's archenemy, Satan the Devil. Imaging its father, the earthly visible part of the Devil's world is likened to a seven-headed, composite wild beast. The Devil or Dragon develops it out of the wicked human elements who are not subject to God's theocratic rule and who are therefore likened to a troubled, restless sea. (Isa. 57:20, 21) John symbolically describes this, saying: "And it [the dragon] stood still upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a wild beast ascending out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, and upon its horns ten diadems, but upon its heads blasphemous names. Now the wild beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were as those of a bear, and its mouth was as a lion's mouth. And the dragon gave the beast its power and its throne and great authority." (Rev. 13:1, 2, NW) God tolerated this "wild beast" for his own purposes. He even made allowance for "the appointed times of the nations" during which the worldly powers would have undisputed, uninterrupted sway of the globe. Yet the seven successive world powers over mankind received their power, throne and great authority from the original Serpent, the Dragon, Satan the Devil. Offering to make Jesus Christ the ruler of the seventh world power if he would just forsake Jehovah's worship and do one act of worship to the Dragon, Satan the Devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth and said to him in the mountain of temptation: "I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me and to whomever I wish I give it." Unlike the beast, Jesus refused.—Luke 4:5-8, NW.
   About 130 years after the flood was over, rebellious men began building the city of Babel, or Babylon, with its famous tower. This was in the days of Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. Babel, which the Greeks later called Babylon, became the beginning of Nimrod's government that was contrary to the godly patriarchal influence of Noah, who lived for 350 years after the flood. The history of Shem tells us briefly: "And the sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. And Cush became father to Nimrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying, 'Just like Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.' And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria and set himself to building Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: this is the great city." (Gen. 10:6, 8-12; 11:10, NW) Nimrod became a tool of the Devil, a part of the visible seed of the great Serpent. Like the Devil, Nimrod challenged Jehovah's universal sovereignty and set himself up as mankind's savior, the first king on earth after the flood. He was willing to be worshiped as a mighty hunter, even though this meant he was a violent breaker of God's covenant with Noah regarding murder and the sacredness of creature blood. He got his power, throne and authority from the Dragon and started the development of the seven-headed beast.
   The purpose of building Babel and its tower on the plains of Shinar in the Mesopotamian valley was to concentrate power over mankind at one place and block the carrying out of God's command to Noah's family to fill the earth with people. Speaking then only one language and one set of words, "they now said: 'Come on! Let us build ourselves a city and also a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we may be scattered over all the surface of the earth.'" In view of this Jehovah God conferred with his only-begotten Son. What followed was no Pentecost of the outpouring of the gift of foreign tongues by the holy spirit. Almighty God confused their language, suddenly robbing them of their common language and making their minds think and their tongues speak in a desolating variety of languages different from that of Noah. At the same time he did not, as at Pentecost of A.D. 33, impart the gift of interpreting foreign tongues. Unable to work together with mutual understanding in an untheocratic cause, the city planners and builders scattered according to their language groups over all the globe.
   Consequently, Babel at its start failed to become the first world power. Bible history shows it became the third head of the symbolic wild beast out of the sea. However, Babel or Babylon set the pattern of earthly political rule in opposi-tion to the true God and in obedience to the "god of this system of things", who "has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through". (Gen. 11:1-9, NW; 2 Cor. 4:4, NW) So all seven world powers and their satellites are Babylonish in kind. They commit spiritual fornication with Satan's "woman".
   Satan's woman? Yes; that is to say, Satan's untheocratic organization. She is the opposite of Jehovah's woman, his theocratic organization, which is the heavenly mother of the promised seed that is to bruise the Serpent and his seed in the head. (Gen. 3:15) What Jehovah's organization came to be called we shall soon see. Satan's "woman", the organization subject to him as a wife, came to be called "Babylon", because Babel or Babylon was the beginning of the visible part of his organization over mankind. So Babylon, like a prostitute woman, rides Satan's wild beast.
   Jehovah, supreme Sovereign of the universe, was not uneasy over letting Satan's cosmos or world rise after the Flood and develop to the zenith of its power and tear loose like a wild beast through the earth even into this atomic age. Jehovah knew that he would make good his Edenic covenant to bring forth the seed of his woman to bruise the Serpent in the head. But first that seed must be bruised in the heel by the Serpent and there must be hostility between the seed of his woman and that Serpent's seed. God had de-stroyed the Serpent's earthly seed in the flood. Now for his Edenic prophecy to be fulfilled, he must let Satan's woman Babylon come into being after the flood and bring forth the Serpent's seed to do the bruising. Jehovah's woman, his theo-cratic heavenly organization, and the Serpent's woman, his untheocratic Babylonish organization, now faced each other. In 2020 B.C., about 219 years after Jehovah displayed his power over Babel and its religious tower, Noah died, a faithful witness of Jehovah to the end. He had specially blessed his son Shem, saying: "Blessed be Jehovah, Shem's God, and let Canaan become a slave to him." (Gen. 9:26, NW) Shem's God is Jehovah, Canaan's Satan. This meant that the woman's seed, in its human connections, would come through Shem's line.
   The tenth man in the line of descent counting from Shem, namely, Abraham, proved to be the one through whom Jehovah promised that the woman's seed would come. Abraham, at first called Abram, lived at Ur of the Chaldeans, an ancient brick-built Sumerian city with a brick temple-mound called a ziggurat. Here at Ur the excavations made in March, 1929, discovered eight feet of water-laid clay. This layer was clean and free from the pottery rubbish of any civilization; it had been laid there and at Kish, hundreds of miles away, by the flood of Noah's day. Abraham knew of that world-devastating deluge. The Bible evidence is that Abraham had the clay tablets containing Shem, Ham and Japheth's account of the flood and also had the other histories going back to the first one, "the history of the heavens and the earth," written by Adam or at his dictation. (Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27, NW) Abraham had faith in Shem's God, Jehovah.
   To test Abraham's faith and so to prove him worthy to be the means of blessing to all the peo-ple of faith like his, Jehovah called for Abraham to leave his home town for an unknown land to which Jehovah would lead him. Abraham was then about seventy-five years old and childless. If he obeyed, then, said Jehovah, "I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great; and prove yourself a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and him that calls down evil upon you I shall curse, and all the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you." (Gen. 12:1-3, NW) Abraham obeyed and the covenant of Jehovah went into force when Abraham crossed the Euphrates river into the Promised Land. Twenty-five more years of barrenness for himself and his beloved wife Sarah followed in this foreign land to which they had immigrated. Then Almighty God performed a miracle in fulfillment of his promise to Abraham; he blessed his wife with their only son Isaac. (Gen. 21:1-7) By this Jehovah God was enacting a great prophetic drama in which Sarah represented Jehovah's "woman" or heavenly theocratic organization, the mother of the promised seed. Hence in prophecy this mother organization could be spoken of as Sarah or the Sarah organization.—Isa. 51:1-3; Gal. 4:21-31.
   From this standpoint Isaac prophetically represented the seed of God's woman. This under-standing is supported by the human sacrifice that Jehovah commanded Abraham to make of his only son Isaac, on Mount Moriah. After Abraham had shown his willingness to obey to the limit, Jehovah's angel who attended Abraham stayed his hand and said: "By myself I do swear, is the utterance of Jehovah, that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore, and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice." (Gen. 22:15-18, NW) Jesus Christ is primarily the seed of God's "woman", the Greater Sarah. Doubtless he had Abraham and Isaac in mind when he said: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life." (John 3:16, NW) The blessing by means of the promised seed was not to come to "all nations of the earth" automatically. It was to be made available for them, and the people of all nations must bless themselves by means of the seed of blessing. They must do something about it. They must procure the blessing for themselves by exercising faith in the seed, God's only-begotten Son. Then they would not be destroyed but would attain to everlasting life in the righteous world of new heavens and a new earth, the world that God loved so much.