Loyal Advocates of the Kingdom
1. What major events did Daniel foretell?
LONG in advance, Daniel’s prophecy had pinpointed 29 C.E. as the year of Messiah’s appearing as a man, and also 1914 C.E. as the year of his enthronement in heavenly glory. Further, Daniel foretold in detail how the great controversy over world domination will be settled.
2. What issue must now be judged, and in which court?
2 Now the great issue of rightful rulership of earth must be judged to a finality. But in which court? Why, in the highest court of all the universe! Daniel describes it in these words:
“I kept on beholding until there were thrones placed and the Ancient of Days sat down. His clothing was white just like snow, and the hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire. There was a stream of fire flowing and going out from before him. There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened.”—Daniel 7:9, 10.
3. (a) Who is the Judge? (b) What do the “books” show? (c) What judgment is passed?
3 The “King of eternity,” Jehovah God, proceeds thus to sit in judgment. (Revelation 15:3) But what are the “books” that now lie open before him? They are the miserable record of rulership that the nations have made down through history. With the Gentile Times ending in 1914 C.E., “the Court” properly takes away the authority of “their rulerships,” though there is “a lengthening in life given to them for a time and a season”—until judgment is actually executed on them at Armageddon.—Daniel 7:12; Revelation 16:14, 16.
4, 5. (a) To whom is rulership given? (b) How only may we discern the King’s presence?
4 To whom, then, shall rulership be given? Daniel continues:
“I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”—Daniel 7:13, 14.
5 Who is this “someone like a son of man”? It is none other than the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Since “the clouds of the heavens” symbolize invisibility, it is with the discerning eye of faith that we perceive the heavenly “sign” of his presence, along with the “sign” that became apparent in events on earth at the “beginning of pangs of distress” in 1914 C.E.—Matthew 24:3, 7, 8, 30; Revelation 1:7.
6. (a) With regard to whom else is judgment passed? (b) What do these receive, and how?
6 We note from Daniel’s prophecy that judgment is next given “in favor of the holy ones of the Supreme One,” and that these, too, receive “the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens.” (Daniel 7:22, 27) Who are these “holy ones”? Obviously, they contrast with the corrupt, self-seeking rulers in human government, who have for so long oppressed the people. They are none other than the 144,000 anointed “holy ones,” humans that are “without blemish” as to their integrity and that are “bought from among mankind” to become corulers with “the Son of man” in his heavenly kingdom. They are resurrected to be with him “at the last day.” (Revelation 14:3-5; Matthew 24:30; John 6:40) At Jesus’ coming into his kingdom, a remnant of these “holy ones” are found to be very much alive on earth. And they have a work to do!
CHAMPIONING GOD’S WORD
7, 8. (a) What group started a preparatory work, and when? (b) What did they cast aside? (c) What did they staunchly advocate? (d) To what date did they point forward? (e) What instrument have they used in advertising God’s kingdom?
7 As the time approached for “the Son of man” to receive his kingdom, it was apparently God’s will that a preparatory work be done here on earth. In the 1870’s Charles T. Russell organized a small group of dedicated Christians in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. These soon came to realize that Christendom’s religions were based on Babylonian doctrine and ritual, along with Plato’s teaching of the immortal soul, and not on God’s Word. Casting aside false religion, this small group became staunch advocates of the Bible’s teachings of Jesus’ ransom, the resurrection and God’s kingdom as the hope for suffering mankind.
8 Through the Watchtower magazine, which has been published continuously since July 1879, Russell and his companions forthrightly championed the Bible teaching of creation as against Darwin’s theory of evolution. They ‘turned the hose on hell’ by showing from the Bible that there never has been a fiery place of torment for ‘departed souls,’ but that the Bible “hell” is the grave. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:29-32) They pointed forward to 1914 C.E. as a marked date in connection with the ‘coming’ of God’s kingdom. To this day, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, published in more than 100 different languages, and in the millions of copies each issue, loyally advocates God’s kingdom by Christ as the only hope of the nations of mankind.—Matthew 12:21; Psalm 145:10-12.
9. How was Revelation 11:7-12 fulfilled toward these “witnesses”?
9 After serving faithfully for more than 30 years as the first president of the Watch Tower Society, C. T. Russell died on October 31, 1916, and was succeeded by J. F. Rutherford. Religious clergymen were using the war situation to whip up opposition to the Kingdom message. Christian meetings were broken up. In a number of countries, faithful servants of God were imprisoned. Rutherford and seven other responsible ministers from the Watch Tower headquarters at Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., were sentenced to many years in jail. However, these servants of God were not dismayed, for Bible prophecy had foretold such persecutions. For example, Revelation 11:7-12 describes the worldly nations, under the symbol of a “beast,” as making war against God’s “witnesses,” to “conquer them and kill them.” Their prophesying would be stopped, and figuratively they would be like corpses exposed long enough to become a stench in the “broad way” of Christendom. All of this happened, as God’s servants worldwide were held up to public ridicule. However, as war hysteria died down, and as those imprisoned were released—completely exonerated of the false charges against them—“spirit of life from God entered into them.” They were elevated to a position of divine favor, and from 1919 they entered on a period of zealous Kingdom activity.—Isaiah 52:7, 8; Romans 10:15.
“BABYLON THE GREAT” FALLS!
10. What guilt did Christendom’s religions incur, and how?
10 During those war years, not only did the clergy of Christendom take the lead in persecuting true Christians, but they also rejected the evidence that God’s kingdom was at hand. They had their own religious “kingdom,” that of “Babylon the Great.” (Revelation 17:5, 6, 18) On both sides of the war, they preached the youth into the trenches and gave wholehearted support to that terrible slaughter. For such action, Christendom’s clergy must still carry a heavy bloodguilt, like those religious leaders of ancient Jerusalem, to whom Jehovah’s prophet said: “In your skirts there have been found the blood marks of the souls of the innocent poor ones.”—Jeremiah 2:34; 19:3, 4; see also Matthew 23:34, 35.
11 This bloodguilt was now added to Christendom’s idolatry and her teaching of false Babylonish doctrines. Hence, the prophet Ezekiel’s words came also to apply to apostate Christendom:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘O city that is shedding blood in her midst till her time comes, and that has made dungy idols within herself in order to become unclean, by your blood that you have shed you have become guilty, and by your dungy idols that you have made you have become unclean. And you bring your days near, and you will come to your years. That is why I must make you an object of reproach to the nations and of jeering to all the lands. And you will certainly be profaned within yourself before the eyes of the nations, and you will have to know that I am Jehovah.’”—Ezekiel 22:3, 4, 16.
12. (a) What momentous event took place in 1919? (b) How did this benefit God’s people on earth?
12 Christendom’s bloodguilty religion was cast off by the very God, Jehovah, whom she claims to worship, but whose name she no longer likes to use. In the year 1919 C.E., along with all Babylonian religion worldwide, she suffered a great fall. No longer could she have any standing before the Most High. No longer could she exercise control over true worshipers of Jehovah. Nor could any other part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. For “the Sovereign Lord Jehovah” now sounded forth this call to the faithful “holy ones” on earth:
“‘I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.’ Go forth, you people, out of Babylon! . . . Tell forth even with the sound of a joyful cry, cause this to be heard.” (Isaiah 48:16, 17, 20)
What is this “sound of a joyful cry,” and where has it been heard?
GLOBAL WITNESS GETS STARTED
13. (a) What aspect of the “joyful cry” now became prominent? (b) What clarion call went forth?
13 “The Son of man” described a prominent aspect of this “joyful cry” in his prophecy on “the conclusion of the system of things,” saying:
But the “holy ones” needed to be organized in order to get this work done. Nor could they accomplish it by mere human strength. Happily, at international conventions arranged at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., in 1919, and again in 1922, Jehovah’s spirit was poured out upon them in a marvelous way. It organized and energized them to ‘advertise, advertise, advertise the King and his kingdom.’ (Matthew 24:31) For these “chosen ones” holding fast the heavenly hope, a grand work lay ahead.
14. How did Joel’s prophecy now have a major fulfillment?
14 Just as Joel’s prophecy had been fulfilled at Pentecost 33 C.E. during the “last days” of the Jewish system of things, now that prophecy began to have a major fulfillment during the “last days” of Satan’s world system. Enlightened and motivated by God’s spirit, modern-day anointed ‘sons and daughters’ of Jehovah did “certainly prophesy,” as they got busy in warning the world of mankind of the approach of “the great and illustrious day of Jehovah,” and of the urgent need to ‘call on the name of Jehovah’ in order to be saved.—Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32.
A FAITHFUL “SLAVE”
15. (a) Who is the “faithful and discreet slave”? (b) How is it again identified in modern times?
15 In his great prophecy concerning the “sign,” Jesus had asked a question:
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?”
A faithful “slave” class had served among the early Christians until the great apostasy set in. Do we again find such a “slave” organization dispensing spiritual food when the Lord Jesus comes into his kingdom? We do! Those “Bible Students,” as they were then called, had done a global preparatory work. And Jesus said:
“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.”—Matthew 24:45-47.
16. (a) How has the “slave” cared for the Master’s “belongings”? (b) What Scriptural name has the “slave” joyfully accepted?
16 Appreciating this appointment from the Master, the composite anointed “slave” has taken good care of Kingdom interests on earth, seeing to the publishing of the “good news.” During the 1920’s, powerful judgment messages were proclaimed against Satan and his organization, and especially against Babylonish religion. In 1931, the “slave” joyfully accepted the name that clearly set it apart from all false religion—the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”—along with the responsibility and privilege indicated by the prophet Isaiah in these words:
“‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘even my servant whom I have chosen. . . . I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior. . . . You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I am God.’”—Isaiah 43:10-12.
17. What question now called for an answer?
17 How could the “slave,” with the remaining anointed members numbering only in the tens of thousands, now get ‘this good news of the kingdom preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness’? Jehovah was soon to supply the answer.
[Pictures on page 148, 149]
THE KINGDOM THEME of the BIBLE
EDENIC PROMISE OF KINGDOM “SEED”
KINGLY “SEED” FORETOLD THROUGH ABRAHAM, DAVID
KINGDOM PREACHING—KING’S RANSOM SACRIFICE
KINGDOM ESTABLISHED—“LAST DAYS” FROM 1914
KINGDOM ‘COMES’ TO DESTROY MAN-RULE
1,000-YEAR KINGDOM RESTORES PARADISE