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

 
Sure Evidences of the End's Approach
 
    With the theocratic New World society already functioning and preparing to move out of this old world, and with the God-given message of "new heavens and a new earth" ringing louder and louder in our ears, the end of the corrupt, Devil-controlled old world is nothing for lovers of truth, right and godliness to fear or regret. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for its end in these words to God: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth."- Matt. 6:9, 10.
    The glorified Jesus Christ will be present in that kingdom as Jehovah's anointed and installed King for the new world. That royal theocratic government will not divide power with the political rulerships and governments of this old world, either demonic or human. It will be the universal government of the new world. Hence it must be the only government ruling, established not by Devil or by man but by Jehovah God, the Source of all rightful government. That divine government did not wait for the governments of this world to move out at the close of the "appointed times of the nations" A.D. 1914; but at that time God's universal organization in heaven gave birth to the Kingdom while the political systems of the "god of this system of things" were still going concerns on earth. The newborn Kingdom caught up to God's invisible heavenly throne was handed an "iron rod" with which to shepherd these earthly nations, dashing them to pieces like a potter's vessels of clay and protecting and preserving God's sheep who are in the old world but not part of it. To his King Jesus Christ, Psalm 110:2 says: "Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (AS) So this world's end is inevitable!
    The nations of earth have given proof before everybody that they merit destruction from Jehovah God by means of his enthroned King Jesus Christ. Not even the so-called "Christian" nations and communities that make up Christendom showed any pleasure over the advance news that God's kingdom would be established in full power A.D. 1914. They rejected that message carried by Jehovah's witnesses prior to that decisive year. They have since scorned and ignored the evidence that has piled up since that year in proof of the Kingdom's birth in the heavens in 1914. Desiring the old world and its make-up and striving with might and main and brain to preserve it, they have stood with the great adversary in opposition to Jehovah's King and the new world. From the Bible prophecies Jesus foreknew this, and correspondingly he added to them his own inspired prophecies on the end of this old world. Particularly since Christendom was to be destroyed along with this world because she has insisted on being a part of it, Jesus compared the end of this world with the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 (A.D.), bringing the end of its religious system of things. This induced four of his apostles to ask him privately on the Mount of Olives: "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?" - Matt. 24:3.
    Jesus' reply showed that the nations would not be Christianized by Christendom's clergy and missionaries when the time came for God's kingdom with his Son Jesus Christ present in the throne. The nations would not cease from their sanguinary warfare that has characterized their existence, even following the days of the Roman emperor Constantine. Jesus said: "Look out that nobody misleads you; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying: 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the accomplished end is not yet." (Matt. 24:4-6) Such wars during the centuries prior to 1914 were mere wars against human nations, human governments; but the wars that the nations, including those of Christendom, were to fight at the consummation of the system of things were to be against God's kingdom and its King Jesus Christ, on the issue of world domination.
    Guided by the time schedule set forth in the Holy Bible, Jehovah's witnesses for decades in advance kept looking forward toward the crucial year 1914, when the "seven times" of God's permission of complete, uninterrupted domination of the earth by the beastly Gentile nations would end. Did the evidence proving the establishment or birth of God's kingdom that year fail? No! The Gentile times of world domination had begun 2,520 years earlier, that is, in 607 B.C., at the climax of Gentile war against the typical kingdom of God at Jerusalem, the typical "throne of Jehovah" being then overturned by the capture and deportation of King Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the disappearance of the temple's Ark of the covenant. Likewise, the "seven times" of Gentile domination were prophesied to end with war by the Gentile nations against the newly born kingdom of God, this kingdom being established in the heavens by the installing of Christ Jesus in the "throne of Jehovah" on the heavenly Zion. The end of the "appointed times of the nations" in 1914 would therefore mark the beginning of the "time of the end" for this old world, the beginning of the "consummation of the system of things". The Kingdom's birth in 1914 made a difference throughout all God's universe. Things could never be the same after 1914 as they were before, not only among the nations of earth but also throughout the heavens. The crucial year 1914 was a universal turning point. From that date on the nations of earth would march on steadily and inexorably to the violent end to which they were doomed by their own course of faithless opposition to the kingdom of Jehovah and his Christ.
    Exactly on time as scheduled in the Bible, events moved swiftly in 1914. While Jehovah's witnesses were peacefully assembled by the thousands in general conventions, they were deeply stirred by the assassination on June 28, 1914, of the Austrian archduke at Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, the spark that was struck to ignite the great conflagration of World War I. The invisible demons fanned the flames and at the end of a month war was on between the most Catholic country of Austria-Hungary and Serbia. With the passing of days more countries of Christendom gave way to the heat of the passions of war. Heathendom first got involved in the world war by Japan's declaration of war against Germany on August 23 and by Russia's declaration against Turkey on October 30, followed by Britain's and France's declaration against Turkey on November 5. By the end of October, 1914, or 2,520 years to the month from the complete desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Judah, ten nations and empires were making the soil of Christendom reek with the blood of those slain over the issue of world domination. In patriotic fashion the religious clergy of Christendom took sides over the issue. Was this a rejoicing by "Christian" nations at the birth of God's kingdom in the heavens and yielding their sovereignty to the Kingdom? Not at all. It was a fulfillment of Jesus' prophetic words on the evidence of the beginning of the "time of the end" of the old world's system of things: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." - Matt. 24:7, 8.
    This world war, the cost of which in lives, money and property exceeded the cost of all wars during the preceding eighteen centuries, marked the start of total war, the whole nation being mobilized, the entire kingdom and empire being integrated for a fight to win. Food needed to be rationed; men were drawn from the productive occupations by the millions; selfish hoarding and food shortages or famines followed, as more and more nations got sucked into the widening eddy of global conflict during the four years and three months of its devastating course. Epidemics broke out, culminating in the ghastly pestilence of the "Spanish influenza" in the winter of 1918-1919, which in a few months laid low in death 20,000,000 lives from the equatorial to the Arctic regions, or more lives than were killed in battle during the four years of war. To add to the din of war, the victims of violence, famine and pestilence, and the mourning of the bereaved, earthquakes rumbled and roared, shook down millions of dollars' worth of property and claimed the lives of thousands, like the temblor of January 13, 1915, at Avezzano, Italy, that took a toll of 29,978 human lives. It was a faithful fulfillment of Jesus' forecast of world developments at the beginning of his presence on the throne of Jehovah's kingdom: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages, and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs."- Luke 21:10, 11.
    Satan the Devil visibly proved he was the "ruler of this world", "the god of this system of things." He stirred up the nations, first of Christendom and then of heathendom, to engage in war against the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God as expressed in his newborn kingdom of the Messiah, the Christ. (John 12:31 and 2 Cor. 4:4) All the more reason this was for Satan the great Dragon to be cast out of heaven after the installation of Jehovah's King up there. The coming of the first world war of history in 1914, and that at the close of the "seven times" of the untheocratic Gentile nations, has but one interpretation, the Bible's interpretation. It signifies the establishment of Jehovah's promised kingdom, the presence of his Son Jesus Christ in the throne as ruler over earth, and the start of the "time of the end" of this worldly system of things. Hence the book of Revelation of "things that must shortly take place" said: "And the seventh angel blew his trumpet. And loud voices occurred in heaven saying: 'The kingdom of the world [the new world] has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king for ever and ever.' And the twenty-four persons of advanced age who were seated before God upon their thrones fell upon their faces and worshiped God, saying: 'We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time ... to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.' " (Rev. 11:15-18) According to prophecy, Jehovah's enthroned King, Jesus Christ, had to begin reigning in the midst of his enemies in heaven and on earth. He did in 1914.
    If the nations of Christendom and their clergy and religious sects would not hail the Kingdom's birth in joyful acceptance, neither would they accept the ambassadors and announcers of the Kingdom. In further proof of the opposition of the political nations to God's kingdom after its birth, Jesus added these warning words to his prediction of World War I: "Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off." (Matt. 24:912) Back of all this was the Devil, "the accuser of our brothers." He instigated his seed on earth to engage in cruel persecution of the children of the Kingdom's mother, "the remaining ones of her seed." This international persecution during World War I was not the mere result of the hysteria of war, but was a coolly calculated policy fomented by the long-restrained hatred Christendom's religionists had for Jehovah's witnesses.
    The drawing of the United States of America into World War I in its third year furnished the opportunity at last for the religious clergy and the principal ones of their flocks to strike at the headquarters of the legal servant of Jehovah's witnesses, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, at Brooklyn, N. Y. False accusation served the Devil's cause well, and in short order eight officials and prominent members of the headquarters family were railroaded to Federal penitentiary by a mock trial. Under the pressure that followed, the Society's headquarters were moved from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh, Pa., where it had originally been chartered in 1884. While selfish traitors worked within the organization to try to disrupt it, other arrests and imprisonments of Jehovah's witnesses occurred over all the earth, accompanied by mobbings, bans on their Bibles and literature, violent despoiling of their properties, and killings literally and in the propaganda that bombarded the people. Little wonder that the voice of Jehovah's witnesses in free, uncensored proclamation of God's kingdom became subdued and restricted. For the time it seemed as if Jehovah's witnesses had finished their witnessing. The enemies rejoiced and congratulated themselves. (Rev. 11:7-10) All this added to the evidence that the "time of the end" had begun in 1914 and that the nations were irreversibly doomed. It was all a part of the great "sign" that Jesus foretold showing the "consummation of the system of things" and his invisible presence.
    But the antichristian suppressing of Jehovah's witnesses to deathlike inactivity at the climax of World War I served a purpose. It emphasized how great the miracle had to be that Almighty God would perform toward them for the sake of his own name and in his compassion and forgiveness toward his repentant remnant of Zion's children. Jesus predicted this divine miracle. In his prophecy on the sign of his second presence he followed up his prediction of the persecution of his faithful followers with these meaningful words: "But he that has endured to the finish is the one that will be saved. And 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." (Matt. 24:13,14) "Also in all the nations the good news has to be preached first." (Mark 13:10) Yes, a final international witness must first be given concerning the Kingdom before the total end of the nations is accomplished at the close of the "time of the end". The nations tried to prevent this witness from being given to the rightful universal Government of the earth, but they failed, just as 510. the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees tried by use of the arm of the state and of the military to prevent Jesus' resurrection and its proclamation and failed.- Matt. 27:62 to 28:15.
    When Jesus gave this prophecy on the final preaching of "this good news of the kingdom", he was there present and the good news that was then being preached was, "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." (Matt. 4:17; 10:7) "The appointed time has been fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near." (Mark 1:15) He had been anointed to the Kingdom and was present in the midst of the people, friends and enemies; and he could correctly say therefore: "Look! the kingdom of God is in your midst." "The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 17:21; 10:9) That was "this good news of the kingdom" at that time, at the consummation of the Jewish system of things in Judea. Hence Jesus' prophetic expression "this good news of the kingdom" for the present "consummation of the system of things", the "time of the end" of this world, must be the good news, not of a kingdom yet to come in the far-off, indefinite future, but of God's kingdom born, set up, and with the anointed Jesus in the heavenly throne, invisibly present there and with his attention and the "rod of [his] strength" directed toward this earth. Such good news the facts prove it to be.
    However, for such good news to be preached there must be preachers. For the good news to be preached in "all the inhabited earth", preachers must be sent, and that in great numbers. For the good news to be preached for a "witness to all the nations", it had to be preached in scores of languages. (Rom. 10:14, 15) In his day Jesus sent forth his apostles and other disciples to preach the Kingdom news. In 1919 Jehovah by this reigning Jesus sent forth preachers to proclaim "this good news of the kingdom" for a final witness before the world's complete end. Whom did Jehovah send forth? His own witnesses, the remnant of his woman's children.
    To do this Jehovah had to remove them from under his temporary displeasure, which could have meant their death. By the miraculous power of his spirit he had to raise them out of their deathlike condition into which their enemy assailants, oppressors and captors had forced them. In joyful response to Jehovah's call for them to rise and come up to his lofty service, their corpselike organization became enlivened by his spirit and they rose to their high privilege of delivering the Kingdom witness world-wide. At the sight of this their astounded enemies felt, as it were, a terrifying earthquake. Foretelling this, Revelation 11:11-13 said concerning these temporarily inactivated witnesses: "After the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them. And they heard a loud voice out of heaven say to them: 'Come on up here.' And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them. And in that hour a great earthquake occurred, and a tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand persons were killed by the earthquake, and the rest became terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven."
    To date this final witness to God's established kingdom earth-wide has proved to be one of the marvels of this "time of the end", a spiritual miracle indeed. Think of it: From a few thousand preachers in 1919, internationally hated and viciously persecuted, to half a million dauntless preachers by 1953. As the obedient and fearless remnant of the children of God's woman went forth wherever he sent them and preached the Kingdom news, tens of thousands and, in time, hundreds of thousands, of people of good will accepted this final witness. They saw that the field was the world and that the laborers were relatively few. So they joined the remnant of Kingdom ambassadors in delivering the good news and thus themselves became witnesses, Jehovah's witnesses, like His witnesses before the Christian era. In proportion to the spread of the witness, more of these witnesses of good will have volunteered their service to Jehovah God from all nations, peoples and tongues.
    Like a mighty tide, moved irresistibly by the spirit of Almighty God, this final witness to the Kingdom has swept over the globe since 1919 in close to a billion books, booklets, free tracts, magazines, in now more than a hundred languages, in addition to millions of verbal testimonies delivered to the people from door to door and house to house and from the public platform or speaking stand and by radio. World War I and localized wars and mighty dictators have not halted the spread and the acceptance of the witness. Iron curtains, bamboo curtains, cowhide curtains and red-tape curtains have not kept it out. Until the literal end of Satan's world comes at God's unchangeable time the witness must go on, and as it goes it must and does increase. This final Kingdom witness is one of the most monumental features of the "sign" that God's kingdom was established in the heaven in 1914 and that his King reigns in full control amidst his enemies.
    In harmony with the known and recorded facts it must be said that Jehovah's witnesses are the only ones that have been favored and equipped with "this good news of the kingdom". No others are preaching it; all others are opposing it. This calls attention to another strong evidence of the presence of God's Son in the Kingdom and of the approaching end of Satan's world. What is it? It is the gathering of God's remnant of spiritual children, his "chosen ones", from wherever they have been scattered under heaven, and then his integrating them into one service group and constituting them his visible slave class entrusted with the Kingdom message and interests. By them the second but invisible presence of Jesus Christ as King has not been kept secret but has been flashed from horizon to horizon like a brilliant streak of lightning piercing a dark sky. Satan and his demons have deceptively tried to show themselves as heavenly lights, like the sun, moon and stars in the spiritual heavens of Satan's world, "transforming himself into an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14) But these "wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places" have suddenly failed to give effective "light" to their dupes on earth to meet the world crisis. So the situation darkens for mankind. The reason is that those spiritual governments, authorities and world-rulers of this darkness have been cast down from heaven by Jehovah's all-conquering King; they have been shaken loose and down from their celestial orbits and stellar stations. (Eph. 6:11, 12) The activity of the glorified "Son of man" behind the clouds of heaven is forcibly felt in its painful effect upon Satan's organization, and the tribes of the earth are wailing everywhere.
    Note with what expressive description this was foretold in the further words of Jesus' prophecy on our day: "For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be. Wherever the carcass [this world's coming condition] is, there the eagles [the far-sighted, swift moving witnesses who foresee this] will flock together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days [1914-1918] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will go to wailing and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet-sound and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity."- Matt. 24:27-31.
    The invisible demons used their visible agencies to scatter the remnant of the spiritual sons of God's woman, his "chosen ones" in line for the heavenly Kingdom. But from 1919 oard God's reigning King, by his invisible angels who fought under him in heaven to victory, gathered these chosen ones into theocratic unity for the final witness. Jehovah unveiled to their eyes of understanding the "sign of the Son of man" in heaven as pictorially foretold at Revelation 12:1-12, and this drew them together to the established Kingdom. The great "trumpet-sound" of their witness to the Kingdom began in order to reach the ears of all the chosen ones and call them together for the final witness in united service to God and his King. They must serve as one man in Christ.
    It is to this remnant of regathered "chosen ones" that Jehovah's King has committed the earthly assets and interests of the Kingdom in this "time of the end". Before 1919 the original remnant of this class of "chosen ones" were trying to dispense the Bible truth that was present with them to others who were spiritually hungry. They were grieved at the interruption of their service by the enemies of the truth during World War I, and they longed for further privileges of service, freer and larger privileges. They showed a willingness to be sent into the field of activity in 1919, when the regathering of them by the angels began, and they launched off into the postwar work unitedly, full of faith and courage. They had not expected such a postwar service; it came quite unexpectedly and as a joyful surprise to them. But by this renewed privilege of witnessing they knew that their King had visited them and had judged them faithful and worthy to be entrusted with Kingdom interests. Their King appointed this reunited body of "chosen ones" as his "faithful and discreet slave" over all his belongings on earth. This was just as he had foretold in his great prophecy, saying: "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings." - Matt. 24:45-47.
    It is not unusual for God's Word to speak of a people or a nation or a united group as a servant or slave, as if but one man. For instance: "Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen"; and, "Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen." (Isa. 43:10; 44:1, AS) So with the "faithful and discreet slave". It is not an individual man, but is a class entrusted with Kingdom assets and interests. It is not the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and all its branches, a legal agency incorporated according to the laws of a worldly political state. The "slave" is rather the united company of Jehovah's regathered "chosen ones", the yet remaining ones of God's spiritual children by his woman. His King has selected just one "slave" class and put it over all his belongings. The religious clergy of Christendom and the rebellious "evil slave" class show themselves up as not having been entrusted with these Kingdom belongings. The one "faithful and discreet slave" company is proved to be the only group administering these Kingdom interests, and Jehovah has prospered them in this loving, obedient service. Under all conditions since this promotion in the divine service this company have kept on giving his "domestics", the fellow members, the spiritual food at the proper time. They have widened out their service to feed this life-sustaining spiritual food, or the Kingdom message, to a constantly enlarging crowd of loyal people of good will that have attached themselves to God's household. The well-known presence and activity of this "faithful and discreet slave" class fulfills Jesus' prophecy. It adds to the certain evidence that he now reigns and the old world's end nears.
    The "beginning of pangs of distress" of World War I ended in an armistice in November, 1918. But the distress of nations has not lessened. World leaders and peacemakers, with whom the clergy of Christendom patriotically fell in line, spoke of a postwar world and of making it a new world of lasting peace and of democratic rule. All in vain! Peace has proved to be very broken and uncertain. Democracy has come under assault by newly rising dictators backed by the religious clergy. Their new world has failed to materialize. It has remained the old world, increasing its hostility to God's kingdom and sinking deeper in moral corruption. Earthquakes, famines and pestilences have kept occurring, besides other calamities and horrors. Great disillusionment has taken place! The dissatisfaction and restlessness of the people over the failure of their rulers in power mount and spread. New and worse troubles threaten. The distracted rulers are at their wits' end, and the religious clergy ignore God's Word and offer no life-giving counsel to either rulers or people. The prediction of Jesus for this time gets continuing confirmation: "Also there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and 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; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud 34. with power and great glory."- Luke 21:25-27.
    Not so, however, with the King's "faithful and discreet slave" class and the people of good will whom the slave class feeds with spiritual food from Jehovah's storehouse of truth, "food at the proper time." They are not pierced by the anguish of the nations, nor do they become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the worldly inhabitants of the earth. Instead of slumping helplessly and giving way to desperation, they are courageous, they are happy. They are the biggest optimists for the future, for by attending to God's prophetic Word they understand what is taking place. They know that everlasting deliverance of Jehovah's faithful people is getting nearer all the time, yes, is due within this generation. They heed Jesus' encouragement to his followers: "But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.
    Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it you know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way you also, when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away." (Luke 21:28-33) Deliverance from the heaven and earth of Satan's world is what lovers of righteousness and truth want. So we rejoice at the sure evidence that their end approaches.