Early Help for Surviving the World’s End
1. What is the state of world capitals, and why?
THE world capitals are all full of tension in the world’s crisis. They are the scenes of conferences of frightened statesmen, motivated to action by the extreme urgency of the threatening situation. Alarm fills the capitals and they are moved to assume greater powers over the lives and destinies of the people. Uneasiness pervades them all. They have nothing substantial to assure them of good in the immediate future. In none of them is there any real, deep-down gladness, not even in the capital of the United Nations, nor in the religio-political capital, Vatican City.
2. What city, though, is enjoying refreshment and gladness, and how was it foreshadowed?
2 One city, though, is enjoying a refreshment and a gladness that the world does not know and cannot understand. It is the new world city toward which the true Christians have been traveling for the past nineteen centuries, God’s capital of the universe. Now it has established its power over our earth. This is the city which the apostle means when he writes: “But you have approached a mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling which speaks in a better way than Abel’s blood.” (Heb. 12:22-24, NW) Jerusalem on earth was once the symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem, in the days when faithful kings of the lineage of David sat on the “throne of Jehovah” on one of its mountains called “Mount Zion”. By establishing his temple there God placed his name Jehovah at that city, and so the city foreshadowed God’s capital organization of the universe. Christ Jesus and his faithful congregation of joint heirs glorified make up that capital organization.
3. Why, then, is there unity among the widespread witnesses of Jehovah, and also unusual gladness?
3 In 1914 Christ Jesus, the Chief Son in God’s organization, was enthroned and thus brought forth to active Kingdom authority. He reigns at his heavenly Father’s right hand, and the ancient prophecy addressed to him now applies: “Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” (Ps. 110:1, 2, AS) So now there is unusual gladness in the heavenly Zion. It is no wonder, then, that Jehovah’s witnesses on earth who represent his kingdom are also glad. They may be spread all over the earth for the purpose of giving a pre-Armageddon witness before the world ends, but they are bound together in unbreakable unity by a theocratic organization under the King Christ Jesus. It matters not that they are in the midst of their enemies. They know their King is now ruling in the midst of these enemies and will shortly dash them to pieces like striking a potter’s vessels with an iron rod. They do not mourn over the end of this world which the handwriting on the wall announces to the nations. They rejoice with the holy hosts of heaven over the bringing of God’s kingdom to birth to rule the righteous new world. So the source of their joy and gladness is a secret to this world, and it makes all the nations marvel that no world woe dries it up.
4. What does Psalm 46:4 disclose to be the source of their irrepressible gladness?
4 The psalmist discloses the source of the irrepressible gladness of Jehovah’s witnesses: “There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.” (Ps. 46:4, AS) This river is vital to the life of the visible organization of God’s people, for it means life-giving refreshment to them. It is a river of divine blessings to them, a river of truths about his kingdom long ago promised and now set up. Along with this river goes the joyful privilege of spreading its Kingdom truths to all who seek good government, security and lasting peace. Today the American nation is facing a serious shortage in its water resources. The latest Water Resources Report reveals there are serious wastes in the nation’s precious water supply. In the face of increasing water needs it constitutes a national peril. However, Jehovah’s witnesses are not wasting the precious waters of Kingdom truth and are not wasting the precious opportunities of reviving the spiritually parched people of good will. Forth from the throne of God and of his reigning King at his right hand the life-giving river of truth flows, in fulfillment of the vision given to the apostle John, who described it in these words: “And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruits, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.”—Rev. 22:1, 2, NW.
5, 6. (a) Why do we have no fear of a shortage of this water? (b) How was the safeguarding of this water foreshadowed in Hezekiah’s day?
5 We have no fear of a shortage of this life-giving water of Kingdom truth, for it flows from an inexhaustible source through Jehovah’s theocratic organization. Our enemies, among whom we find ourselves, would like to cut off this water supply from us, but we keep in mind that Jehovah’s King now rules in the midst of such enemies. The King of the “city of God”, Jesus Christ, was prefigured by King Hezekiah who once throned on Mount Zion at Jerusalem. Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, flooding the land with his hordes of aggression, threatened to besiege the city of God and starve it out until Jehovah’s people in it were obliged to “eat their own excrement and to drink their own urine”. (Isa. 36:12, AT) But there was a perennial well outside of Jerusalem’s eastern wall, the well of Gihon. Long before Hezekiah’s time an aqueduct had conducted its waters through a tunnel in the rock into the midst of the city. But King Hezekiah saw the peril to the water supply of the city of God. He was not going to let the aggressive Assyrian imperialists seize the vital water source and cut it off from the city. So he bored a more westerly water-tunnel through the rock and covered over the well of Gihon beyond enemy detection.
6 Concerning this, 2 Chronicles 32:30 reports: “This same Hezekiah also stopped [concealed] the upper spring of the waters of Gihon, and brought them straight down [by a tunnel] on the west side of the city of David.” (AS) Even the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus makes mention of this: “Ezechias fortified his city, and brought in water into the midst thereof, and he digged a rock with iron, and made a well for water.” (Ecclus. 48:19, Dy) Thus the life-sustaining waters were conducted to the upper pool or Pool of Shiloah (Siloam) and were made secure against the enemy seizure.a These are doubtless the “waters of Shiloah” which Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 8:6, 7) sets in contrast with the “waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory”. Though the waters of that great Assyrian river of imperial expansion flooded the land of King Hezekiah to the neck, they did not succeed in cutting off the waters of Shiloah from Jerusalem. These softly flowing waters continued to gladden the besieged city.
GLADDENED, BUT NOT MOVED
7. Who refuse such water? What do they try to do to it, and how?
7 Christ Jesus proves he is ruling in the midst of his enemies by safeguarding the river of Bible truths at its source in heaven. His ruling power keeps it continually flowing to his faithful sheep on earth in the theocratic organization. You do not see the present-day Jewish-Arab city of Jerusalem made glad by these waters of this divine river, nor Vatican City nor any other of the world capitals. These refuse such waters but rejoice in conspiracies and alliances for digging wells to receive and retain the waters of human philosophy, social ideologies and religious traditions. The witnesses of Jehovah are the ones made glad by the river of truth. They constitute the visible organization that now increases its gladness by drinking from the never-failing streams of this river of truth from God’s Word. Vatican City and other totalitarian world capitals would like to cut off these waters and create a water famine among them and force them to forsake the theocratic organization. They attempt to do this by putting Jehovah’s witnesses under ban and by dissolving branches of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society with which they co-operate and then forbidding the Watch Tower publications to be imported, exported and circulated.
8. Why cannot such measures really stop the water’s flow?
8 Let such totalitarian foes of God’s kingdom ban and dissolve the legal organization and seize its properties. They cannot stop consecrated Christian individuals from acting as Jehovah’s mouthpieces by preaching with just the Bible alone, or even without it if deprived of it and limited to the knowledge of God’s Word in their hearts. Let them arrest these faithful Christians and hold them bound in prison. The Word of God Jehovah is not bound as long as their mouths are unsealed among fellow prisoners and exiles. Jesus said: “He that puts faith in me, just as the Scripture has said, ‘Out from his inmost part streams of living water will flow.’” (John 7:38, 39, NW) God’s spirit upon his consecrated witnesses makes it that way. And let the enemies know too that there are underground rivers and that the course of the waters of Shiloah was covered over and flowed underground and via tunnel into the midst of the city of God. Just so, if need be, the river of Kingdom truth can flow by underground movement. Unnoticed by the King’s enemies, it reaches those who are thirsting for the refreshing waters from the Bible. Hence it is that the “river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb”, continues on its irresistible course and the prophecy is fulfilled: “The spirit and the bride keep on saying, ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.”—Rev. 22:17, NW.
9. What does calling the city of God “the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High” mean for it?
9 The city of God, gladdened by the streams of his Kingdom river, is declared to be “the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High”. That means that the Supreme One of the universe dwells there and has sanctified the place with his holy presence. He has put his name upon the people in that theocratic organization. His temple is there, which means that his pure worship is carried on there by his devoted witnesses. His worship is a safety to them, safeguarding them against all the false ways and policies into which the religions of this world are leading the people. Since he has sanctified the organization with his presence and name, he is determined to keep it clean and pure. No wonder that the enemies who touch his theocratic organization with evil intent are as if touching the tender pupil of his eye. They will suffer for it. No creature, demon or human, will destroy His clean organization. It is a permanent thing. The Most High God will fulfill his promise to preserve the faithful ones within it. Therefore the psalmist rightly says: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early.”—Ps. 46:5, AS.
10. What does the divine presence produce in those in the organization? So in what structure is their trust?
10 The divine presence in the midst of the organization produces a sense of security among those in it. They know it is the right organization to stay united with, for it will never be moved and made to totter, stagger and fall to ruin. This does not mean that material buildings occupied and used by members of the organization may not be seized, invaded, expropriated and destroyed by the foe. Remember that “the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; just as the prophet says: ‘The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? Jehovah says.’” (Acts 7:48, 49, NW) But the Most High does dwell in his theocratic organization, whether its members on earth are housed or not. So our trust is not even in buildings devoted to his service. It is his theocratic organization, therefore, that will never be moved by enemy assaults and caused to collapse, for God’s presence within it makes it permanent though all the world round about it ends. “Trust ye in Jehovah for ever; for in Jehovah, even Jehovah, is an everlasting rock.” (Isa. 26:4, AS) Founded on this rock, his theocratic organization will last forever. So those who trust in him will last forever, because they take him at his word and seek refuge with his organization.
HOW SOON IS “EARLY”?
11. In the worsening trouble ahead, what effort and expectation of the enemies will be disappointed? Why?
11 The situation in this world is certain to worsen. Extreme measures have already been taken against Jehovah’s organized people in many lands. Other lands may resort to totalitarian measures or may be dragged into subjection under totalitarian imperialists and similar measures be taken against his organized witnesses there. Under Satan’s instigation the nations may be induced to go to great lengths against these ministers of good news. Satan will use his mobilization of the world to the utmost to interfere with our freedom of action, speech, assembly and worship. The outlook may grow very dark. It might appear that the worst has been reached and the visible part of the city of God is certain to be moved and dealt a staggering knockout blow. But in such an expectation the gloating enemy will be disappointed. God lives and has not forsaken or been driven from his organization. He reigns by his King Jesus Christ in its midst, and he will help his beloved theocratic organization, “and that right early.”
12. Why does “right early” not mean early in the test?
12 This does not mean early in the test of the trust, integrity and faithfulness of his people toward God. No, there must be a full test of the unswerving devotion of his theocratic organization to him. The wicked intent and malice of the enemy must be allowed to bare itself, and the situation must become such as to show that all human help is unavailable and unable to save. How, then, is God’s help of his organization “right early”? Because it is early in the bright new day for his people. As other translations read: “At the dawn of morning” (AS, margin); “by the turnings of the morning” (Ro); “at the approach of the morning” (Ro. Pss.); “when morning comes” (Mo); “at break of dawn.” (AT) How appropriate!
13. How is this illustrated in past history of God’s people?
13 How often in past history of God’s people it has been at dawn that the deliverance of them has been realized! It was “when the morning arose” that the angels hurried Lot and his wife and daughters out of Sodom to escape the deluge of fire and sulphur upon the corrupt city. When the Egyptian forces were driving through the Red sea after the fleeing Israelites, it was at the morning watch or watch of daybreak that Jehovah looked through the pillar of fire and the cloud and began troubling the pursuers. Finally he collapsed the walls of sea water in upon them, “when the morning appeared.” (Gen. 19:15-28; Ex. 14:24-31) It was “early in the morning” that the people of Jerusalem rose according to the arrangement of King Jehoshaphat and they marched forth singing Jehovah’s praises; and when this singing began Jehovah confused the united armies of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir and caused them to annihilate one another. When the Assyrian hordes under the Assyrian conqueror Sennacherib menaced the life and independence of Jerusalem, Jehovah’s angel stole through the night and killed 185,000 in the invading army. When King Hezekiah and his besieged people rose “early in the morning”, it was to learn that all those thousands of the enemy had been mowed down and the aggressor was in disgraceful retreat back to Assyria. (2 Chron. 20:20-29; 2 Ki. 19:35-37) Also, it was “very early on the first day of the week”, or “when it was growing light”, that the great earthquake occurred and the stone was rolled away from the door of the tomb to indicate that the resurrection of Jesus Christ had taken place. (Mark 16:2 and Matt. 28:1, NW) In every case deliverance was “right early”.
14. How will it be “early” for them at Armageddon?
14 So too it will be for the deliverance of the visible organization of God’s people. Outwardly, with the forces of darkness massing and pressing in upon them, how dark the depths of night might appear for them! But his complete deliverance of them at the height of the battle of Armageddon will usher in a new day for them. It will be the early part or morning of eternal day for them. So shouts of joy are certain to come with this morning.—Ps. 30:5.
THE HOSTILE FORCES DISSOLVED
15. Against whom are the nations in reality raging? How so?
15 Full deliverance for us, then, means the end of this world. Here, then, is what we must face with courage: “The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Ps. 46:6, 7, AS) Fight hot and cold wars between themselves the nations may. Actually it is against Jehovah’s kingdom and against his ambassadors on earth, Jehovah’s witnesses, that the nations are raging. They are now militarized as never before over the supreme issue of world domination. Their determination is either to divide domination between two national blocs of opposed ideologies or to have one bloc as victor hog the whole domination. There is no idea of letting God have it as the Creator and Universal Sovereign. They have their own charter of the United Nations; they have their own treaties of alliance within the framework of the United Nations. They have no regard for the unchangeable covenant which God made with his Son Jesus Christ for the absolute government of the righteous new world. So prayers by their religious clergy for His kingdom are sheer hypocrisy and are for God to adopt the political governments of selfish, ambitious men as his kingdom. By their own militarization and the emergency measures which they take the nations are pressed into opposing the good news of God’s kingdom which his witnesses proclaim world-wide.—Rev. 11:15-18.
16. But who are the ones that are moved and staggered? So what actions do they resort to?
16 But the rage of the nations which the Devil has designed to stagger Jehovah’s visible organization will not make it totter. Instead of terrifying us into disorganization and dissolution, the rage of the nations urges us to organize still more tightly with the help of God’s spirit. We see in such rage of the nations a clear sign of the coming end of this world, and it gives greater boldness to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom. The kingdoms of this world are the ones that are moved and made to stagger, a thing which arouses fears of their toppling into the seas of the revolutionary masses. From a peacetime economy they change to a militant arrangement against God’s incoming kingdom. They are mobilized for defending their national sovereignty against him. They are being speeded by unseen demon influences to take their battle positions at Armageddon to preserve their own way of life, not God’s way. Challenging the divine power, they assault the organization, the neutral position, the missionary activities and the message of Jehovah’s witnesses, not believing that his organized people have a living God who sees, who cares and who can act.
17, 18. How will God utter his voice? With what effect on the earth?
17 The day and hour draw near when he will utter his voice. It will be in tones and language that this violent world will understand. It will not be peace talk to them. He will call for a sword of execution against them. See his Warrior King Jesus Christ wield it! What a display of elemental forces follows which will be beyond the control of world militarists and the scientists with their laboratory equipment! Jehovah is not frightened by the roar of the embattled nations. His own thunderous command for their destruction will sound above their din and will terrify them. “The earth melted.” Human society under worldly rulers then dissolves in fear. It is found to have no solidity. Growing weak and disorganized, it liquefies in terror.
18 In the dissolution process the hand of every selfish man outside God’s organization will be turned against his neighbor, and they will fight one another’s interests, just as when the Midianite invaders were panic-stricken by the strategem of Gideon and his three hundred in the dead of night. You would think you were seeing the forces of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir fighting themselves once again. The symbolic “ten kings” of the beastly political system will turn upon the harlot of Babylonish religion with which they committed spiritual fornication and will eat her fleshy parts and burn her refuse with fire. The political beast of world domination and the false-prophet system which made such deceptive political predictions will be pitched alive into destruction symbolized by the fiery lake burning with sulphur. No political machine will hold, no ideological group will keep together, no international compact will have any strength, no United Nations or mutual defense alliance will prove binding.—Rev. 17:1-18.
19, 20. What does it mean for “Jehovah of hosts” to be with us?
19 Ah, but those in the theocratic organization will remain solid and, unmoved upon their “everlasting rock”, will cry out then as they are crying out now: “Jehovah of hosts is with us; a lofty retreat for us is the God of Jacob.” (Ps. 46:7, Ro. Pss.) This Almighty One with his heavenly armies is on our side. So who can be against us and win? His hosts or armies are not imaginary “men from Mars” invading our earth, but are mighty angels like the one with whom he wiped out all the flower of Egypt, her firstborn of man and beast; and like the angel who dealt stealthy death to 185,000 of Sennacherib’s slumbering camp. Jehovah’s beloved Son Jesus Christ is prophetically called “Immanuel”, and his name means “With us is God” or “God is on our side”. In symbol that God is with us, his Immanuel is with us, which means that the “prince of the host of Jehovah” is with us, with all that host.—Josh. 5:14, AS.
20 He now has at his disposal those twelve legions of angels, for the aid of which he refused to call on the night of his betrayal in Gethsemane. Like Jesus then, we do not now ask for these legions of angels to intervene in a violent way for us before the divine time. Yet we know they surround us with their protection. “The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Ps. 34:7, AS) We know that at present they are “spirits for public service” whom God sends forth to minister to his Kingdom heirs and their companions of good will. (Heb. 1:14, NW) Take courage, then, even though you seem standing alone. Jehovah of hosts is with each one of his people upon whom his name is called, because they stick on his side and proclaim his name.
OUR REFUGE AND LOFTY RETREAT
21. How do we show the God of Jacob is a lofty retreat for us?
21 Jehovah loved Jacob rather than his older twin-brother Esau. He bestowed the birthright to the great Abrahamic promise upon Jacob and changed his name to Israel. We may be sure that he loves his spiritual Israel today, those who are Israelites inwardly by faith in Jehovah and in his promised Seed Jesus Christ. And now their good-will companions are beloved with them. Having the God of Jacob as our lofty retreat, there is no need for us to organize refuge farms in isolated places, retire to ourselves there and quit the field of activity as Kingdom publishers. Trust in the great God of Jacob is not demonstrated by hiding in seclusion but is demonstrated by courageously going forth onto the field of action and spreading his message of life. “Jehovah preserveth the faithful.” (Ps. 31:23, AS) Retreating into him as our high tower means to keep in unity with him wherever we may be in the line of duty. That way we stay inside the organization of his theocratic people who are scattered all over the earth. By carrying out organization instructions as contained in God’s Word, we work like our fellow witnesses everywhere else. Unitedly we publish the name and government of Jehovah, bidding all life-seekers to take refuge under Him.
22. What assurance does Psalm 46:8, 9 give of survival? And who will make lasting peace, and how?
22 Wonderful it will be to realize the third and last stanza of Psalm 46. It takes the viewpoint of a survivor after the world calamity of Armageddon: “Come view the doings of Jehovah, who hath set desolations in the earth: causing wars to cease unto the end of the earth, the bow he breaketh and cutteth asunder the spear, waggons he burneth with fire.” (Ps. 46:8, 9, Ro. Pss.) This invitation, uttered by those within the visible organization of Jehovah God, positively assures us there will be survivors on earth after Armageddon will have swept away this old world with the broom of destruction and cleansed the earth for the righteous new world. The survivors will be informed and will know it is Jehovah by his mighty Warrior Jesus Christ who has set the then visible desolations in the earth. Such desolations will not have destroyed the earth or ruined it beyond restoration to a paradise state like the garden of Eden. They will only have ‘brought to ruin those ruining the earth’. (Rev. 11:18, NW) God will not destroy his footstool, the earth, but will glorify it under the kingdom of his Christ. Thus it is Jehovah by Christ who ends all forms of war on the earth by destroying all the warmongers, ‘scattering the peoples that delight in war’ and demolishing their terrible weapons of war.—Ps. 68:30.
23. Who among men will be the ones to survive the world’s end?
23 Who among men will be the ones to survive the world’s end at Armageddon and pass into the new world of lasting peace and security? It will be those who heed the command of the Most High God at Psalm 46:10 (AS): “Be still [Give in, Mo; Desist, Ro. Pss.], and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” This advice corresponds with that given at Psalm 2:10-12 (AS): “Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.” After decades of testimony we may not now expect political and religious rulers to appreciate and follow this advice and learn to know that Jehovah is God in a way that means salvation to them. But we may look for individuals of all nations to desist from all acts against Jehovah and his theocratic organization and to give in, be still and learn to know him and do good to Christ’s brothers. This means everlasting life.
24, 25. What do those now exalting Jehovah shout out, and how do they prove it?
24 It is here at the earth, now a hotbed of rebellion and devil worship, that Jehovah must be exalted forever. Those who in this time of world crisis exalt Jehovah can shout out with assurance the closing words of Psalm 46: “Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”—Ps. 46:11, AS.
25 This is our confession publicly when war scares and alarms and national fears drive people into non-theocratic man-made organizations for cover and defense. They lack faith and disregard the divine promises and follow instead worldly wisdom, ideologies and religions. We dare not fear their fear. We may not now resort to human refuges and become like the faithless people of this world. We must make known that Jehovah of hosts is the God of victory and is with us and is our secure retreat. This we will do, not by bragging about our organization, but by taking him at his Word and displaying our confidence in him. He is with us if we are with him, not becoming part of this doomed world or indulging in friendship with it, but adhering unwaveringly to his organization and expanding his pure worship. By our course of action as well as by our words we must demonstrate that our trust is not in weapons of carnal warfare but that we are fighting on Jehovah’s side with the spiritual armor from him. It helps to build up the confidence of all the scattered sheep in Jehovah the Great Shepherd when we ourselves show no worldly fear but manifest unshakable reliance upon him. We must vigorously help those other sheep now to find the one safe refuge and enter into it.
26. What now is it our Christian obligation to be and do?
26 Our Christian obligation now is to be fearless in Jehovah God’s service, under the shadow of his mighty hand. He encourages us not to droop our hands out of fear, but to keep them busy in the constructive work of Bible education among people of good will. So keep calm and go on peacefully about your work as his ministers of good news. As never before, make the time count now, for the time in which he is showing patience and may yet be found is short. He will never forsake his faithful ones, but will help us, “and that right early.”
a See the colored map of Jerusalem opposite page 97 in the book “Equipped for Every Good Work”, published by the Watch Tower Society.
[Map on page 183]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
Solomon’s Palace and Governmental Buildings
CITY OF DAVID
Pool of Siloam
Wall added by Hezekiah
Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna)
Mount of Olives