Divine Victory—Its Meaning for Distressed Humanity
1. What is meant by the expression “divine victory”?
DIVINE VICTORY! By that expression we mean a victory by a divine person. We do not mean the winged goddess Niʹke (Victory) of ancient Grecian mythology, whose name was attached to the surface-to-air missile of the American armed forces, namely, the Niʹke-Hercules missile. No, but we mean victory by God the Creator of heaven and earth, the Creator of humanity on earth. His is the victory that can have good meaning for humanity in its sore distress of today.
2. With what has the word “victory” had a considerable association?
2 Throughout human history the word “victory” has had a considerable association with war, or, at least, with a contest, a controversy, or with unfavorable conditions that have to be overcome. Certainly, the present distress and anguish of all the nations of earth is an unfavorable condition that needs to be overcome for humanity’s everlasting good.
3. In view of the meaning attached to “divine victory,” what questions do we ask about God, and what does it behoove us to do?
3 Well, then, from the expression “divine victory” are we to draw the conclusion that the God of all creation is about to involve himself with a war, with a contest, with a controversy? Will such a conflict, if it is purposed by God, have some connection with mankind? Will it affect all humanity—for good to us in our distress? If the answer is Yes! to these questions, then reason dictates that we ought to interest ourselves in such a war. Yes, we ought to know on which side in this war it behooves us to put ourselves, inasmuch as we really desire the divine victory.
4. Why do the international distress and anguish of today call for us to get the right meaning of “divine victory”?
4 Different peoples have differing views about the one who is called “God.” The antireligious Communists have their view of God. The so-called Christian world, Christendom, has its view about God. The Mohammedan world has its view of its Allah. The Jewish world has its particular view. The other non-Christian parts of mankind have many kinds of religion and have their own respective view of God. Hence each religious group, or nonreligious group, may have its own idea of what a “divine victory” in the future would mean for humanity. Logically, there would be no agreement between all these views as to what “divine victory” means. It would not be strange, therefore, that the approaching real divine victory will be different from what all of them would expect it to be. Unquestionably, the international distress and anguish of today call for us to get a right understanding of the matter.
5. To what authority do we have to go for information respecting this war, and with what theme does that authority close its record?
5 It is evident that we have to go to an Authority concerning the war that will be crowned with divine victory. That Authority is a book that has been spread all around the earth by the thousands of millions of copies in hundreds of important languages of mankind. This book is the Holy Bible. It is the only book in the world that tells about this universal war in which God, the One Creator of heaven and earth, will vindicate himself with decisive victory. So to the sacred scriptures of the Holy Bible we must turn for authoritative information upon this vital subject. By the Bible we mean, not just the “twenty-four books of the Holy Scriptures” to which the Hebrews or Jews restrict themselves, but the whole Bible that contains not only those Hebrew Holy Scriptures but also the inspired Christian Scriptures. The last book in that complete Bible was written nineteen centuries ago by the Christian apostle John and is called Revelation. Quite appropriately, it closes this inspired Bible of God with the theme of divine victory.
6. What are the mixed feelings as to whether Christendom stands to gain from such a divine victory?
6 It is true that the Bible societies of Christendom have done much to give the Holy Bible a worldwide circulation, and Christendom herself claims to hold to the Bible. In view of this, is Christendom the one that stands to gain by the coming divine victory? Is the coming war foretold in the Bible to be fought for the sake of Christendom and for her preservation? The religious people of Christendom would like to think so. Atheistic Communism and the non-Christian world do not like to think so, and they have good reason for not liking such a thing.
7. How do Christendom and Communist lands compare as to population, and why does Christendom think that she could win out in a war?
7 When matters are viewed from the religious standpoint, the situation outwardly seems to favor Christendom. Her church people and clergymen think that Christendom has no controversy with the God of the Holy Bible. But as regards the radical Communists, they are at open war with God, not alone the God of the Bible but a god of any kind of religion. The Communist lands of Europe once claimed to be Christian, yet now they disown Christendom and consider themselves no part of her. Nonetheless, they are pleased to make use of the religious organizations that they permit to function in their lands, for political purposes and for war help. As far as numbers are concerned, the forces of anti-God Communism in Europe, Asia and Africa appear to outnumber the forces of religious Christendom. According to the latest estimate Christendom boasts herself of having a church membership of 985,363,400. However, taking it for granted that God is on her side, Christendom thinks that she could win out over all anti-God forces.
8. How did the nations of Christendom throw a burden upon God in times of war, and what determined the gaining of the victory?
8 It is not strange for religious nations to tie in their god or gods with their national wars. This has been true from the most ancient times, even before Christendom was established in the fourth century of our Common Era. The ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Grecians, and Romans all had their gods upon whom they called for victory in their wars of conquest. Even the informed Communists know that. Curiously, though, in the case of Christendom, her nations have fought among themselves, and, while at war, those nations prayed to the same God. Catholics fought against Catholics. Catholics fought against Protestants. Protestants fought against Protestants. Thus they threw the burden upon God to decide which side of Christendom he would favor with victory, and the prayers of which nations he would answer favorably. It was that way with World War I, which started in Christendom, and it was that way with World War II, which likewise started in Christendom. Under the circumstances, in all those wars of Christendom, was it God’s decision that determined the winning side, or was it military equipment and fighting skill?
9. Why would Christendom’s victory, if granted by God, lead to no lasting relief for distressed humanity?
9 However, will God’s hand be forced by a nuclear war between religious Christendom and international godless Communism, so that God has to come out in favor of the religious side against the antireligious side? As we all know, preparations have been under way for decades for the “ultimate war” between the capitalistic democratic bloc of nations and the atheistic Communist bloc of nations. Could the one living and true God be counted on to come to the aid of Christendom? Victory for Christendom would mean the further preservation of her. But, to judge from Christendom’s history till now, is she worth preserving? It is frankly admitted by the clergymen of Christendom that her hypocrisy and failure to live up to what true Christianity is have led to the rise of international Communism to world power. So, what reason is there to believe that the preservation of Christendom would not, in course of time, lead to an upsurge of godless Communism once again and thus finally to another confrontation of both sides all over again? So, a victory by Christendom offers no guarantee of relief for distressed humanity.
LETTING GOD‘S WRITTEN WORD SPEAK FOR HIM
10. How do we learn whether God is on either side, or neither, and accordingly what is the answer?
10 So now the question forces itself upon us, Would God be for either side in such a military confrontation between religious Christendom and antireligious Communism? Has he even been on either side in the “cold war” that has been going on for years between the two blocs of nations? The only way for us as impartial persons to get the satisfying, correct answer is to let God speak for himself. This He does, through the pages of his inspired prophetic Word, the Holy Bible. His answer is plain and unmistakable. He favors neither bloc of nations. Both are against Him.
11, 12. According to what divine rule is there no mistake about classifying Christendom as an enemy of God?
11 It stands to reason that God would not fight for his enemies. Yes, but is Christendom the enemy of God? Why, look at her hundreds of thousands of churches. Look at the thousand or more religious sects of which she is composed. Look at her hundreds of thousands of clergymen that serve in her churches and offer solemn prayers to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Surely, then, there must be some mistake in classifying Christendom among God’s enemies. But there is no mistake in this. God is not only against those who are outspokenly his enemies but also against those who are friends of His enemies. When an ancient king of Jerusalem came back from lending military help to a wicked king, God said to him: “Is it to the wicked that help is to be given, and is it for those hating Jehovah that you should have love? And for this there is indignation against you from the person of Jehovah.” (2 Chronicles 19:1, 2) And much later on, by means of the Christian disciple James, this same God said:
12 “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.”—James 4:4.
13. Why does Christendom’s being in the “cold war” against Communism not disprove that she is a friend of the world?
13 Who can deny that Christendom is a thick friend of this world? The “cold war,” the hostility, between the nations of Christendom and the Communist bloc does not disprove that Christendom is a close friend of the whole world. The difficulties between the nations of Christendom and the Communist bloc are not due to the issue of religion. Politics is the issue. Two widely differing political ideologies are involved. The leading nations of Christendom had Communist Russia as their ally during World War II. And now, in the United Nations organization of 132 member nations, practically all the nations of Christendom are members side by side with Communist Russia, with Communist Red China, and with other Communist nations. In fact, at least half of the United Nations members are not so-called Christian nations. The nations of Christendom maintain diplomatic relations with the governments of this world. They regularly do commercial business with those nations according to treaties. They have cultural exchanges. Vatican City, presided over by the head of the biggest religious organization in the world, exchanges diplomatic representatives with as many countries of the world as it can.
14. (a) Would James say that Christendom, by her course, has constituted herself a friend of the world? (b) What is God’s attitude, and what is to be expected of Him when Christendom comes under final attack?
14 The nations of Christendom try to maintain friendly relations with the nations outside Christendom. They involve themselves with the politics of this world. And when they imitate the worldly nations in taking up death-dealing weapons to settle their differences, the churches of Christendom are right behind their respective political governments, with their clergymen trying to get God into international conflicts by calling upon Him in prayer. Would the Christian disciple James call all this an expression of “friendship with the world” on the part of Christendom? Would he say that Christendom, as such a friend of the world, “is constituting [herself] an enemy of God”? Yes! There would be no other correct answer to give. Despite all her religiousness, Christendom stands convicted as a most reprehensible enemy of God. She, along with godless Communism and other world elements, is against him. So He is against her. He is not with her. God cannot be expected to rise up in behalf of Christendom when the radical forces of the world unite in a world attack upon religion before they themselves engage in the war of Har–Magedon. (Revelation 17:1-16) No relief for distressed humanity can be expected from Christendom.
15. What must be said as to whether it is a religious war that is being planned for by the contenders, and so who continues to suffer?
15 Christendom cannot be expected to share in the divine victory at the coming war of the ages. The preparing of her nations for war with the materialistic Communist bloc is not really for the preserving of Christianity. It is for the preserving of political sovereignty, for the right of her political types of government to survive. It is no religious war that is planned for by the contenders. The prime point of dispute is, Who owns the earth? Who will rule the earth? And because of the violent dispute over this issue by politically divided nations, humanity continues to suffer distress, anguish
16. What is the prime issue that is to be settled now once and for all time, and what pertinent prayer will thus be answered?
16 As at no previous time in human history, the time has come for this governmental issue, Who will rule the earth? to be settled once and for all time. The only one who can settle that issue rightly and bring in a lasting peace is God, the earth’s own Creator and Owner. Who has more right than He has to say who shall rule this earthly home of all mankind? In his unchangeable written Word, the Bible, he has declared his purpose to have His say at his due time. That time is at hand! The time has come for him to answer the prayer that has been offered to him for generations past. It is the prayer that was taught by his own Son who came from heaven nineteen hundred years ago. It is the prayer that Jesus Christ taught his true disciples to pray. In obedience his faithful followers till now have prayed that prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matthew 6:9, 10, Authorized Version.
ANSWERING THE PRAYER FOR DIVINE RULERSHIP
17. (a) For what is that prayer a petition, and has Christendom proved to be the answer to that prayer? (b) What, therefore, must go, and what must come in, in answer to whose prayer?
17 That is a prayer for divine rulership, for divine government, yes, for divine victory! Without understanding the meaning of that prayer, the thousands of millions of people of Christendom have prayed that prayer for centuries in their homes and churches, but the sanguinary wars fought by the nations of Christendom have failed to bring in that kingdom. Their way is not God’s way for bringing in his divine government. Christendom has not proved to be God’s kingdom. It has not proved to be Christ’s kingdom, as the name Christendom suggests. Christendom has not fulfilled the Bible prophecies concerning the glories, beauties and blessings of Christ’s kingdom for all mankind. Christendom has misrepresented Christ’s kingdom. God cannot approve and accept Christendom as the true kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ. Christendom must go! The real kingdom of God by Christ must come in! The prayer taught us by God’s beloved Son will not go unanswered. His true, unhypocritical disciples have not offered that prayer in vain.
18. (a) The answer to that prayer will mean a victory over whom? (b) How have the clergymen proved to be delinquent with respect to the politicians in the matter of the Gentile Times?
18 Unlike the genuine followers of Jesus Christ, the masses of Christendom and of the rest of the world do not want God’s kingdom. That is why the establishment of His kingdom in complete control over all the earth will indeed mean a divine victory. A victory over whom? Over all the religious and political powers who ignore God’s ownership of the earth and who fight for continued national sovereignty of man-made political governments. These contenders for continued domination of the earth by human political governments refuse to recognize that the Gentile Times have ended. God appointed those Gentile Times for worldly nations to dominate all the earth without interference by His kingdom, and those times expired in the autumn of the year 1914 C.E. (Luke 21:24, AV) The clergy of Christendom have never pointed out this fact to the political rulers of the nations. They have never pointed out that at the end of the Gentile Times the opposite was to take place from what took place at the beginning of those times in the year 607 B.C.E.
19. At the beginning of the Gentile Times, what did God take away from the earth, and how?
19 At the beginning of the Gentile Times in the autumn of that year God took away the typical kingdom of God from the earth and let the Gentile powers, that is, the non-Jewish powers, have earth-wide control of all lands. God did this by letting the armies of pagan Babylon dethrone the typical Messiah, the king of Jerusalem, and destroy the holy city and its temple, and leave Jerusalem and the land of Judah to become a desolate waste for seventy years.
20. (a) As the opposite of that, what did God do at the end of the Gentile Times? (b) Why was God’s action not visible to political rulers on earth?
20 As the opposite of this, at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., God restored his kingdom, not in a typical way with a typical Messiah king, but in a real way, in the antitypical way. That is why he did not in that year reestablish the kingdom of the royal family of David at Jerusalem in the Middle East. Rather, he set up the kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, who, when he was a man on earth, was a natural descendant of ancient King David. Also, since Jesus Christ is no longer a man on earth but was resurrected from a martyr’s death to heavenly spirit life, God set up the kingdom of this Descendant of King David in the heavens, in what is called the “heavenly Jerusalem.” (Matthew 1:1; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 12:22) That is why the birth of that Messianic kingdom in 1914 C.E. was not visible to the political rulers of Christendom and pagandom. And yet the birth had to be on time, and it made itself felt by the effects that it produced both in heaven and on earth.
21-23. (a) Why is that “war” in heaven nothing to scoff at unbelievingly? (b) How does John, in Revelation, chapter 12, describe the cause of this?
21 Do we realize that, in heaven, a war resulted from the successful birth of that Messianic kingdom that came forth from God’s heavenly organization like a newborn child from a woman? This is nothing to scoff at unbelievingly, for any war has its effects and this heavenly invisible war has had its effects on us people here on earth. The effects of that war are nothing for us to smile at, for we are painfully feeling them. This is what lends realism to the matter. The unseen heavenly cause of this was prophetically envisioned to the Christian apostle John. He gives us the following description according to The New English Bible of 1970:
22 “She [that is, God’s heavenly organization] gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule all nations with an iron rod. But her child was snatched up to God and his throne; . . . Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels waged war upon the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, but they had not the strength to win, and no foothold was left them in heaven.
23 “So the great dragon was thrown down, that serpent of old that led the whole world astray, whose name is Satan, or the Devil—thrown down to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I [John] heard a voice in heaven proclaiming aloud: ‘This is the hour of victory for our God, the hour of his sovereignty and power, when his Christ comes to his rightful rule! For the accuser of our brothers is overthrown, who day and night accused them before our God. By the sacrifice of the Lamb they have conquered him, and by the testimony which they uttered; for they did not hold their lives too dear to lay them down. Rejoice then, you heavens and you that dwell in them! But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, knowing that his time is short!’”—Revelation 12:5-12, NE; also The Jerusalem Bible.
24. (a) How long did that “war . . . in heaven” last? (b) Why was the outcome of that war to result in “woe” for us on land and sea?
24 How long that “war . . . in heaven” between holy angels and devilish demons lasted is not stated in the record; but it is hardly likely that it lasted longer than World War I, which ended on November 11, 1918. Be that as it may, yet the more personal thing is, How did that war affect us on earth who were unaware of its occurrence in heaven? The holy heavens were called upon to rejoice over God’s victory, a divine victory, but what about us here on earth? The loud cry in heaven said: “But woe to you, earth and sea!” Why “woe” for us, whether on land or on sea? Because “the Devil has come down to you in great fury, knowing that his time is short!”—Revelation 12:12, NE.
25, 26. (a) What questions about human affairs since the close of World War I are submitted to persons who scoff at the existence of Satan and his demon angels? (b) Finally, as to the matter of cause and effect, what question do we ask?
25 Scoffers at the Bible may take this idea of Satan the Devil and his demon angels being thrown down to the vicinity of our earth as a laughing matter. But can they laugh and are they laughing at the “woe” that both earth and sea are experiencing today? No, those scoffers cannot see Satan the Devil with their natural eyes, but they have reason to know that he and his legions of demon angels are around, in our neighborhood. If they do not believe it, then let them answer why it is that the League of Nations that was organized shortly after the end of World War I did not prove to be an international organization for world peace and security. Why did it not prevent the rise of war-minded political dictators in Europe? Why did it not prevent the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the war that climaxed with the detonating of two atomic bombs with woe for the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
26 Also, Why is it that the United Nations organization, since its formation at the close of World War II in 1945, has not prevented all the wars and revolutions, territorial aggressions, and other political turmoils till the present time? Why is it that we have such frightening buildup of the great world powers for nuclear warfare? Why the money crisis? Why troubles continually between labor and capital, even between government employees and government? Why all the fanatical nationalism? Why all the racial strife and prejudices? Why the increasing of crime? Why the breakdown of morals? Why the epidemic increase of social diseases? Why the ruining of mankind’s earthly home by pollution? Why the growing shortage of food for earth’s increasing population? Why, as Jesus Christ predicted for our time, “upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken”? (Luke 21:25, 26, Revised Standard Version) For every effect there is a cause. What is the real cause of all these distressing effects?
CAUSE OF HUMANITY’S DISTRESS NEARS REMOVAL
27. According to the Bible, what is the main cause of humanity’s suffering increasing distress?
27 It is true that selfish, loveless men are not free from blame. But the main reason for humanity’s suffering increasing distress is that Satan the Devil and his demon angels have been thrown out of the holy heavens and down to our earth’s neighborhood, and these ousted devils are furious at this. They are furious because the “war . . . in heaven” resulted in divine victory, God’s victory. They are furious because God’s kingdom of his true Messiah was born in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, and they could not block it. They are furious because their time of confinement here is short before they are ousted even from the earth and imprisoned in an abyss from which they cannot exercise their wicked influence over all mankind.—Revelation 20:1-3, 7.
28, 29. (a) How is the aim of Satan the Devil like the political aim of the late dictator Hitler? (b) Why is Revelation 12:13-17 quoted to show that Satan’s aim is not for the preserving of human life?
28 With the late Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, the political aim was, Rule or ruin! He got that idea from the same place where earlier dictators got it, namely, from Satan the Devil. Now that Satan will shortly be unable to rule all mankind as he did during the Gentile Times and even before that, he is determined to ruin all mankind. Then, as he thinks, no humans will be left on earth over which God’s kingdom of his Messiah can rule. Suicide by humanity by nuclear war or self-pollution is no deterrent thought for Satan the Devil. His purpose toward mankind is murderous, and this is indicated in these further words of the Revelation:
29 “Now when the dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child. . . . And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.”—Revelation 12:13-17.
WAR AT HAR–MAGEDON
30, 31. (a) Against whom has the symbolic dragon Satan declared war, and for how long? (b) To what is he unsuspectedly leading political rulers of earth, and how is this operation of his pictured in Revelation 16:13-16?
30 Satan the symbolic dragon has declared war against God’s organization (as symbolized by “the woman”) down to the very end. Unsuspected by the political rulers of Christendom and heathendom, Satan “the great dragon” is leading them to destruction in a final war. Not a war between themselves with nuclear weapons and biochemical agencies, but against God, who is the Father of the heavenly Messianic kingdom from the womb of his “woman,” his organization. This is true, not only for the anti-God Communist bloc of nations, but also for the nations of religious Christendom. The rulers of distressed humanity are today following the war propaganda of Satan the symbolic dragon. This misleading of the political rulers was prophetically pictured for us in this description of the operation in Revelation 16:13-16:
31 “And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. . . . And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”
32. (a) From what, in actuality, do the inspired expressions come forth, and what is the leading one? (b) For what purpose do the inspired expressions gather earth’s kings, and in what formation at Har–Magedon?
32 Those unclean inspired expressions issue from the mouth of Satan the invisible dragon and out of the mouths of Satan’s visible earthly agencies, namely, Satan’s beastlike worldwide political system and the political world power that makes false prophecies for the whole realm of human politics. Being false, that political prophet is no mouthpiece or propagandist of God. In consideration of their source, those three inspired expressions are unclean like frogs, and it is for an unclean purpose that they gather the earthly kings and their armies to Har–Magedon. The carrying out of this unclean purpose can mean only “woe” for distressed humanity, because the leading froglike inspired expression comes out of the mouth of Satan the symbolic dragon, who is furious at having been ousted from heaven. His forced coming down to the earth was predicted to mean only “woe for the earth and for the sea.” (Revelation 12:12) Under the driving force of the unclean inspired expressions the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” are gathered, not against one another in international war, but together, all on the one side of the battlefield of Har–Magedon.
33. (a) Who are on the other side of the battlefield of Har–Magedon? (b) How do we determine what the issue is over which the oncoming war is to be fought?
33 Who, then, are on the other side of that battleground? It is plainly stated that the ousted, debased “dragon” expressed his anger and wrath against God’s womanlike organization that had given birth to the heavenly Messianic kingdom. At Revelation 12:17 we read: “The dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” Since the birth of the Messianic kingdom in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, that Jesus is the reigning Messianic King. So it is not to a newborn baby Jesus that these witness-bearers offer testimony, but it is to the reigning King Jesus the Messiah. So what then? These facts put God’s reigning King Jesus Christ and the womanlike heavenly organization that gave birth to the Kingdom on the other side of the battlefield of Har–Magedon, facing the yet-reigning “kings of the entire inhabited earth.” It is evident the issue over which the forthcoming war is to be fought is kingdom power over the earth!
34. (a) How is it determined when the war over the Kingdom issue is to take place? (b) How is it shown whether earth’s kings are pro-God or otherwise?
34 In order to signify just when the war is to be fought over the Kingdom issue, it is said that the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” are gathered for “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” In spite of all the prayers that the clergymen of Christendom may offer for those gathered kings, Almighty God is not with those political rulers. Those “kings” are not pro-God; they are pro-Devil. They are anti-Christ, for they are against the newborn kingdom of Christ. It cannot be otherwise but that God the Almighty is implicated in this war at Har–Magedon, for He is the Father of the newborn kingdom of his Christ. He is determined that his Messianic kingdom shall stay in power since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914, and that this heavenly kingdom shall rule over all the earth and its inhabitants. The “kings of the entire inhabited earth” refuse to acknowledge the existence of this established Messianic kingdom. They refuse to take off their crowns and step down from their earthly thrones and yield over their kingdom power to God’s Messianic kingdom.
35. Why is it now urgent upon us to examine the side of Har–Magedon on which we stand, and what shift of sides might we care to make?
35 The now highly important question is, On whose side of the battlefield of Har–Magedon is each one of us? The available time for us to decide on this question is now near its end. It is nearly sixty years since the Gentile Times ended in 1914, and the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will not hold off indefinitely, forever. The war is bound to begin at some time. In this case it is Almighty God that sets the time for this war at Har–Magedon. Since we do not know His exact time, but there is every good reason to know that it is near, we should not think of taking our own time to make a decision. How do we know whether we are not right now on the side of the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” and thus against Almighty God? There is all urgency for us to examine our case and find out where we are. If we find ourselves not to be on the side of Almighty God and his Messianic kingdom, then we may sincerely desire to make a switch of sides. Otherwise, we may decide to stay put and take the consequences.
ADVANCE WAR ADVICES FOR OUR GUIDANCE
36. (a) After noting the battle lineup of the earthly forces at Har–Magedon, what else do we want to know? (b) Whom does Revelation definitely show to be the one against whom the earthly forces are lined up?
36 The last book of the Holy Bible does not leave us merely with a prophetic vision of the lineup of the war-minded “kings of the entire inhabited earth” at Har–Magedon, and with the outcome of the impending “war” in doubt. The Revelation describes how the war turns out. It tells us what happens to that symbolic “wild beast” and the “false prophet” out of whose mouths come forth those unclean inspired expressions like frogs. It tells us what befalls those “kings of the entire inhabited earth” and their armies and their backers and supporters. Yes, the book of Revelation definitely tells us against whom these kings and their armies and the “wild beast” and the “false prophet” are now lined up to fight, at the world situation called Har–Magedon. They are lined up against the crowned, reigning King Jesus Christ and his heavenly armies.
37. How does Revelation 19:11-16 present the heavenly lineup at Har–Magedon?
37 Under inspiration, the Christian apostle John tells us: “I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness . . . and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. . . . He treads too the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”—Revelation 19:11-16.
38, 39. (a) Why do we have to be either on the one side or on the other as respects this war? (b) How is it shown whether a difference is made because some rulers are of Christendom, and by belonging to one side or the other what do we know?
38 On whose side, then, are we determined to take our stand, on the side of this King of kings or on the side of the “kings of the entire inhabited earth”? There is no neutral ground at the world situation called Har–Magedon! It is over the issue of the ownership and rulership of the whole earth that this now-near war is to be fought to a settlement for all time.
39 It makes no difference that some of the “kings” or political rulers rule over nations that make up religious Christendom; these “kings” too are determined to keep their sovereignty over their parts of the earth rather than let Jesus Christ the King of kings govern the whole earth from heaven. The book of Revelation makes no distinction between the kings and presidents of Christendom and those of the non-Christian world. The apostle John lumps all the kings of the earth together and says: “And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war with the one seated on the horse and with his army.” (Revelation 19:19) The kings of Christendom as well as those of heathendom have followed the lead of the inspired expression that came out of this political “wild beast” as well as that out of the mouth of the political “false prophet.” Hence we know against just whom we are lined up if we belong to the “armies” and supporters of those “kings of the earth.” If we choose to be on their side, then the outcome of the “war” at Har–Magedon we ought to consider.
40. What decision do we have to make as to to whom we will listen on the outcome of the war, and what does the apostle John write about it?
40 On the outcome of this universal war, are we going to listen to what the political “false prophet” has to say, or what the inspired apostle John said? As a forewarning to us today, John wrote: “And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword of the one seated on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth. And all the birds were filled from the fleshy parts of them.”—Revelation 19:20, 21.
41. Whose victory would we call that as described in Revelation, and with what words of the psalmist are we moved to cry out?
41 At this inspired advance vision of the outcome of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, what shall we say? Does it mean a divine victory? Although the apostle John himself in the record does not express his exultation over the war’s outcome, we who love the rightful rule of the earth cannot refrain from calling it indeed a victory of God the Almighty. In faith we are moved to take up the words of the inspired psalmist and cry out: “Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done marvellous deeds; his right hand and holy arm have won him victory. The LORD has made his victory known; he has displayed his righteousness to all the nations. . . . All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.”—Psalm 98:1-3, NE; AV; An American Translation; Moffatt; The New American Bible.
WITNESSES OF DIVINE VICTORY
42. Does John say directly that there will be survivors of the destruction of the “wild beast” and “false prophet,” and yet what are we to understand from John’s account?
42 Do we desire to sing that new song to the Lord God Jehovah? It is not a mere matter of singing that “new song” now by faith, but there will actually be witnesses of God’s triumph who will survive that divine victory on earth and sing the “new song” here on earth. Although the apostle John did not directly say so, it is understood from what he wrote that those on earth who are not on the side of the “kings of the earth and their armies” will survive when the “wild beast” and the “false prophet” are hurled alive into the everlasting destruction symbolized by the “fiery lake that burns with sulphur.” That is to say, they will survive when man-made political systems of selfish government are put out of existence for all time.
43. (a) In that war what will befall the “kings of the earth and their armies” and supporters? (b) Will those against whom Satan the dragon went off to wage war survive, and what does John say of them in Revelation, chapter fifteen?
43 The “kings of the earth and their armies” and their supporters are killed by the sword of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” and their bodies lie slain on the battlefield of Har–Magedon for scavenger birds to feed upon the fleshy parts of such carcasses. But those on the side of the King of kings will be spared and will survive. They will live to be speaking witnesses of the “victory of our God,” “the saving power of our God.” (Psalm 98:3, Je) Among these survivors will be the “remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus,” and against whom Satan the dragon “went off to wage war.” (Revelation 12:17) These are the ones whom the apostle John speaks of as “those who come off victorious from the wild beast and from its image and from the number of its name.” John describes these as singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb Jesus Christ, saying: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.”—Revelation 15:2, 3.
44. (a) Who else survive the war at Har–Magedon, as foreseen by the apostle John? (b) Who waged war against all such survivors, and thereby provoked war action by whom?
44 The earthly survivors will also include those whom the apostle John groups together as a “great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” for they take their stand on the side of God and his Jesus Christ. The apostle John is straightforwardly told that this “great crowd” is made up of the “ones that come out of the great tribulation,” and he sees them standing as survivors before God’s throne and before his Lamb, loudly crying out: “Victory to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-15; NE) These will join with the “remaining ones of [the woman’s] seed” in singing the “new song” to Jehovah God for his divine victory. All these survivors on earth are the ones against whom Satan the great dragon stirred up the “kings of the earth and their armies” for the purpose of destroying all such upholders of Jehovah God and his Messianic kingdom. By waging war against these, the “kings of the earth and their armies” really wage war against God and provoke war action by God and his King of kings.
45. (a) Will those survivors raise a violent hand against earth’s kings, and what words of God’s prophets will they remember, to guide their conduct? (b) How will the survivors on earth imitate the Israelites after their deliverance at the Red Sea?
45 Clear through the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” these survivors will not take up any arms of violence against the “kings of the earth and their armies.” They will depend upon God the Almighty for his protection, for they remember God’s words to his faithful people on a previous war occasion: “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15) They also remember the words of the prophet Moses at the Red Sea, at the time that the war chariots of Egypt drew near to destroy Moses’ people: “Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.” (Exodus 14:13, NA) And just as Moses and his delivered people sang a song of praise to Jehovah’s triumph, so these survivors on earth of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will sing the “new song” of praise to the divine victory by Jehovah God, the Almighty. (Exodus 15:1-21) Do we want to be among those singers?
46, 47. (a) How will earth take on a festive appearance in celebration of the divine victory? (b) How will victory be gained over the whole earth in fulfillment of God’s command to Adam and Eve?
46 Just as when there is a national victory and the whole land is given a festive appearance, so after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” and the imprisonment of Satan the great dragon and his demon angels in the abyss, the whole earth will begin to take on a festive appearance in celebration of the divine victory. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 20:1-3) The earth, which is now being ruined by its warmongers and polluters, will then give evidence that a new King rules the whole earth, namely, God’s Messianic King, Jesus Christ. At once the surviving witnesses of the divine victory will turn their efforts toward transforming this earth into a Paradise from sea to sea and from pole to pole. Victory will be gained over the whole earth, in triumphant fulfillment of God’s command to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden:
47 “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”—Genesis 1:28.
48. (a) What will this victory mean for earth as regards beauty and production of food? (b) What guarantees in actual cases do we have for God’s victory over death in behalf of ransomed mankind?
48 This subduing of the whole earth will mean, not only gardenlike beauty for mankind’s earthly home, but also plenty of food for all of earth’s inhabitants, with absolutely no poverty. Not only for the surviving witnesses of Jehovah’s victory in the war of His great day at Har–Magedon, but also for all the ransomed dead who will be resurrected from the graves and comfortably fill the earthly Paradise with people, Almighty God can do in a literal way as well as in a spiritual way what he promised in Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter twenty-five: “make for all the peoples” a banquet of life-sustaining foods and “actually swallow up death forever.” (Isaiah 25:6-8) Yes, Almighty God will gain the victory over death for all ransomed mankind. He did so for his Son Jesus Christ, whom he raised from a martyr’s death on the third day, in the historic year of 33 C.E. He also does it in behalf of the true church of Christ’s footstep followers, whom Almighty God resurrects from death as earthly human creatures to immortal, incorruptible life in heaven as spirit creatures.
49. In connection with that resurrection, to whom does the apostle Paul ascribe the victory in the swallowing up of death forever?
49 Concerning this heavenly resurrection of true, unhypocritical followers of Christ, the apostle Paul wrote these words to Christians who share in this hope: “This which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality. But when this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and this which is mortal puts on immortality, then the saying will take place that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up forever.’ ‘Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’ The sting producing death is sin, but the power for sin is the Law. But thanks to God, for he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”—1 Corinthians 15:53-57.
50, 51. (a) During Christ’s thousand-year reign, how will God gain still further victory over death, and with what opportunities will the beneficiaries of this be favored? (b) What kind of meaning does Jehovah’s coming divine victory have for distressed humanity, and what does taking it to heart make us want to do?
50 During the coming thousand-year reign of the Messiah Jesus and his resurrected, glorified church or congregation, Almighty God will gain the victory over death still further by having the ransomed human dead raised from the sleep of death and restored to life’s opportunities on the Paradise earth. Death as inherited by us from the wayward first man will not be swallowed up forever until every last grave of the ransomed human race has been emptied, and this will occur by the “resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous” ones. (Acts 24:15) Obedience of the resurrected human dead to God’s Messianic kingdom will lead to happinesses forever on the perfected earth under God’s righteous universal sovereignty.
51 The way to humanity’s enjoyment of all these precious blessings will be paved by Jehovah’s coming divine victory. Truly the glorious divine victory has wonderful meaning for distressed humanity of today. O may we all take to heart its meaning and prove ourselves worthy to reap everlasting benefits from the divine victory to God’s worthy praise through Jesus Christ our Lord.