The Only Way of Survival
“WHEN you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.” (Luke 21:20, 21) Thus Jesus Christ instructed his disciples. And what of those who disobeyed Christ’s words? He predicted: “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations.”—Luke 21:24.
The Zealots would have been repelled by Jesus’ words. According to Abram L. Sachar’s book A History of the Jews, the Zealots “were extremists who shrank from nothing to bring down their heathen masters.” The thought of fleeing would have seemed not only impractical but, worse yet, cowardly! So in 66 C.E., Roman cruelty incited these Jews to open rebellion. After Masada was captured by Jewish rebels, Rome rushed to secure Jerusalem. Jerusalem was now “surrounded by encamped armies.” But when the Roman proconsul Cestius Gallus unexpectedly withdrew his troops, the opportunity opened for residents of Jerusalem to follow Jesus’ advice and flee. Says third-century historian Eusebius: “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation . . . removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.” But what of those who remained?
Came 70 C.E., and the Romans returned under the leadership of General Titus. Bent on conquest, they blockaded the city. Flavius Josephus, a former Jewish rebel who now served the Romans, circled the walls of Jerusalem, begging his people to give up their futile fight. “Realize,” he cried, “that you are fighting not only the Romans but God as well.” The result? In his own words: “Yet, though Josephus with tears thus loudly appealed to them, the insurgents neither yielded nor deemed it safe to alter their course.” As a result, hundreds of thousands died by starvation and the sword, and tens of thousands more were hauled off for a wretched life of slavery! Safe at Pella, however, Christians could contemplate the blessing of obeying Christ’s warning.
What occurred in Jerusalem was merely a small-scale example of what will take place in our time on a global scale. But what is at stake this time is the existence of not just a city but the worldwide system of things!—Matthew 24:21.
It is God himself who will bring about this global calamity. But for what reason? So as to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) God, “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, . . . did not create it simply for nothing,” and he will not allow man to bring it to ruin either by pollution or by nuclear destruction. (Isaiah 45:18) But it will take His intervention to prevent the man-made cataclysm that survivalists fear. Nevertheless, Jesus said that it is possible to “succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur.”—Luke 21:36.
Since Jesus’ followers today are spread out all over the earth, it would be impossible for them to flee to some physical location, as did Christians in the first century. Today, survival will depend upon obeying the Bible’s advice at Zephaniah 2:2, 3: “Before there comes upon you people the burning anger of Jehovah, before there comes upon you the day of Jehovah’s anger, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” And the Bible further states: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe.”—Joel 2:32.
True, some Bible translations obscure the meaning of this text by rendering it: “Whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered.” (Authorized Version) But the original-language text shows that more than an appeal to a nameless “LORD” is required. In many Bibles, texts such as Psalm 83:18 plainly show that the personal name of that “LORD” is JEHOVAH. (AV; American Standard Version) Calling upon his name means more than using it in a ceremonial way. One must “seek” Jehovah by studying the Bible and getting to know him as a person. (John 17:3) This knowledge moves a right-hearted person to respect Jehovah’s authority as Universal Sovereign, to conform to his standards and to imitate Jesus in ‘making God’s name manifest’ to others.—John 17:6.
Simply going to the church of one’s choice is therefore not the route of survival. How could it be, since the churches not only fail to use God’s personal name but often even discourage the use of it and treat lightly God’s commandments? Remember, the prophet Malachi says that God has “a book of remembrance” for “those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16) Among all the religious groups that claim to be Christian, which one freely uses God’s name, Jehovah, puts full trust in him and his promises and boldly encourages its members to be witnesses of him? (Isaiah 43:10) Without a doubt, these are the ones ‘seeking Jehovah.’ They urge others to join with them in learning the only sure way to survive the coming global holocaust.
[Blurb on page 9]
“The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation . . . removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.”—Historian Eusebius
[Blurb on page 9]
Simply going to the church of one’s choice is not the route of survival. “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe.”—Joel 2:32