1914 a Marked Year!
“Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”—Luke 21:24, NW.
1. To what extent does it appear that Jehovah’s witnesses gave advance publicity to the year 1914?
“END of all kingdoms in 1914!” Such was the arresting headline of an article published on Jehovah’s witnesses in a secular magazine called the “New World Magazine” in its issue of August 30, 1914. An extract of the article continues. “The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy. For a quarter of a century past, through preachers and through press, the International Bible Students, best known as Millennial Dawners, have been proclaiming to the world that the day of wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914. ‘Look out for 1914’ has been the cry of the hundreds of traveling evangelists who, representing this strange creed, have gone up and down the country enunciating the doctrine that the ‘Kingdom of God is at hand’. Although millions of people must have listened to these evangelists; although one of their books, The Time Is at Hand, has had a circulation of more than four million copies, and although religious publications and the secular press service involving hundreds of country newspapers, as well as through lectures, debates, study classes, and even moving pictures, the average man does not know that such a movement as the ‘Millennial Dawn’ exists.”
2, 3. How was the chronology figured to ascertain 1914, as published in The Three Worlds and The Watchtower of 1880?
2 This startling proclamation of global importance was actually begun to be published by Jehovah’s witnesses some 37 years before the marked year of 1914. It was in 1877 that Charles T. Russell, the first president of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s witnesses, as a coauthor of the book The Three Worlds, explained in this book the Bible chronology of this date. “The seventy years’ captivity ended in the first year of Cyrus, which was B.C. 536. They therefore commenced seventy years before, or B.C. 606. Hence, it was in B.C. 606, that God’s kingdom ended, the diadem was removed, and all the earth given up to the Gentiles. 2,520 years from B.C. 606 will end in 1914. . . . ‘Jerusalem must be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,’ (Luke 21:24) hence, trodden down until A.D. 1914 when the resurrection and return of the ‘whole house of Israel’ is due.”—Pp. 83, 165.
3 The Watchtower magazine itself as far back as 1880 showed the importance of this year of destined change in earthly control. “It has often been shown that this is the basis and key of the Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), or the duration of Gentile rule over Jerusalem. A time is a year; a prophetic year is 360 common years. . . . seven times are 2,520 years. From B.C. 606, where the desolation of Jerusalem began, 2,520 years reach to A.D. 1914.” “‘The Times of the Gentiles’ extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then.”—Zion’s Watch Tower, June, 1880, and March, 1880.
4. Since 1914 what have Jehovah’s witnesses claimed occurred in 1914? What questions arise?
4 Not only before 1914 but also since then Jehovah’s witnesses have repeatedly gone on record as to the significance of this important date. At their Philadelphia convention November 22, 1947, Jehovah’s witnesses to the number of 20,649 unanimously passed a resolution, a portion of which says: “ . . . world events from and after 1914, beginning with the first World War, fulfill the prophecies concerning the end of this world and thereby disclose themselves as the visible sign of the establishment of Jehovah’s kingdom by his Christ in that notable year; . . . we have gathered unitedly, regardless of race, nationality, language, color, or previous religious affiliation, to Jehovah’s enthroned King of the new world, Christ Jesus, who now stands on Mount Zion as a Signal to the peoples.” All this means that divine sovereignty as it was once exercised by God over the earth was due to be restored in fact in the year 1914. As foretold, momentous events did happen at that time and things continue to occur which greatly affect the destiny of all kinds of men on earth today. What, then, is divine sovereignty, and why has it come to be a universal issue? Why has there been a lapse of nearly sixty centuries in its exercise over the entire earth? What evidences are there that God has resumed his sovereignty over the earth, and what does this augur for mankind?
5, 6. What is sovereignty? Who is the Universal Sovereign, and how so? What kind of government does he authorize?
5 Jehovah God is the absolute sovereign of the universe. This is the greatest fact. It is a basic principle of truth. In the heavens God has exercised his right of sovereignty from the very beginning. Sovereignty is defined as the supreme, absolute, uncontrollable power by which any society of creatures is governed.a Sovereignty is the source of any power to establish and define government. It is the sovereign power that determines the kind of government that shall rule over a group of creatures. Therefore the government of any group of creatures is the outward visible expression of the sovereign power behind it.b
6 Jehovah God by virtue of his being the creator is in such a pre-eminent, almighty position that he can legally and in fact determine the kind of government which shall rule his obedient creatures. (Ex. 6:3; Amos 4:12, 13, LXX) The kind of government which Jehovah as sovereign authorized untold ages ago for the universe was a theocratic government. It is this very same kind of government that will bind the universe into one realm of peace and security for the future. Theocracy is a government under the immediate direction and administration of the Most High God. Thus, as a reigning sovereign, God has participated directly through appointed agents in the administration of his governments.
EARTH’S SOVEREIGNTY DISPUTED
7, 8. What happened to the government originally authorized in Eden? Describe the office of the first invisible ruler of perfect man.
7 Man’s rebellion in Eden terminated for a time the apparent exercise of divine sovereignty over the entire earth and all its inhabitants. Then an assumed sovereignty appeared to be discharged by a spirit creature who formerly was a trusted officer in God’s universal governmental organization, which government is pictured in the Bible by a hill or a mountain. (Isa. 2:2, 3) Upon this hill or mountain of God are found the high-ranking spirit creatures known as cherubim. These cherubim surround the throne of Jehovah and are supposed to be upholders of his universal sovereignty. (Ps. 80:1, AS) One of these cherubs was given the legal right to exercise governmental protectorship over the first perfect man and woman in Eden and the race which would spring from them. He was set by Jehovah God in his delegated guardianship over mankind. (Ezek. 28:14) The Bible gives a description of this first theocratic ruler over perfect mankind who later rebelled, and it describes him under the typical figure of the “king of Tyre”.
8 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, . . . Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee. By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned.”—Ezek. 28:12-16, AS.
9. What issue was raised by the rebellion? What immediate steps did Jehovah take in the matter?
9 The Bible account of the rebellion in Eden is familiar to most persons and need not be dealt with at length here. (Gen. 3:1-8) Immediately after the overt act in defiance of Jehovah’s sovereign will had been committed, Jehovah, the Supreme Judge, held court. The God Sovereign disempowered this first government ruler over man and justly sentenced to eventual annihilation this unfaithful cherub who in the guise of a serpent had carried out a hitherto unheard-of treason against the Universal Sovereign Power. By his dastardly act he had now raised an issue as to God’s supremacy which Jehovah at once accepted and was bound to vindicate. Jehovah even uttered his first recorded prophecy where, in veiled language, he foretells the empowering of a new ruler, a seed-king and vindicator. (Gen. 3:14, 15) God’s determination to settle this great issue in his way was indicated years later in the contest that developed between Jehovah and the Pharaoh of Egypt.—Ex. 9:16, AT; Rom. 9:17, NW.
10, 11. Describe the divorcement of Satan from God’s organization.
10 Forthwith on this first judgment day the legal right of government guardianship was stripped from this guilty rebel opposer, who now became known as Satan the Devil. This one no longer was the representative of Jehovah God. His dismissal constituted furthermore a legal divorce from God’s mountainlike organization.c Do we have a record of this summary dismissal? Yes, the Bible by divine revelation gives us a record of God’s bill of divorcement. The divorcement decree clearly indicates that a reconciliation between the rebel Satan and the Universal Sovereign whom he flouted is utterly impossible. Let the revelation speak for itself.
11 “Hence I have expelled you as a profane thing from the hill of God, . . . Your beauty made you proud of heart, your brilliance depraved your wisdom; so I have cast you down, abandoning you for kings to feast their eyes on you. By the greatness of your guilt, by the crimes of your commerce, you have profaned your sacred position; therefore have I made you set fire to yourself, with flames that consume you, and reduced you to ashes on earth in the sight of all who behold you. All who know you among the nations shall be appalled at you—your fate is awful, there is no future for you.”—Ezek. 28:16-19, Mo.
12. Give evidence as to the scope of activity open to Satan after his divorcement.
12 While at Eden time Satan was disempowered and legally divorced forever from God’s theocratic governmental organization, this did not mean that he was banished from being present upon the earth where he could influence the development of civilization toward his own selfish ends or from his associating with angels in heaven. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Eternal [Jehovah, AS], and among them the Adversary [Satan, AS]. ‘Where have you been?’ said the Eternal to the Adversary; and the Adversary answered, ‘Roaming here and there, roving about the earth.’ Then the Eternal said to the Adversary, ‘Have you noticed that there is no one like my servant [Job] on earth, a blameless and an upright man, who reverences God and shuns evil?’ The Adversary answered, ‘But is it for nothing that [Job] reverences God? Have you not hedged him safely in, his house and all he has? You have prospered him in his business, and his flocks are teeming on the land. Only put out your hand, touch whatever he possesses, and see if he will not curse you to your face!’ Then said the Eternal to the Adversary, ‘There! I leave all he has within your power; but lay no hand upon the man himself.’ So away went the Adversary from the presence of the Eternal.”—Job 1:6-12, Mo.
13, 14. (a) What does the statement “Roaming here and there, roving about the earth” indicate? (b) What does the record of man’s governments show?
13 The above colloquy or conversation between the Universal Sovereign Jehovah and the expelled, sham sovereign Satan recorded in the fifteenth century B.C., or some 2,500 years after the rebellion in Eden, reveals several interesting matters. First, by Satan’s “roaming here and there, roving about the earth” is indicated that he had earthly interests with fallen mankind which required his supervision as an invisible self-constituted overlord. Having made himself independent by what he thought a successful break from theocratic government, from then forward Satan as a mimic sovereign sought to empower many different kinds of governments of his own design over fallen mankind. From his first attempt in establishing a kingdom government at Babylon in Nimrod’s time to the present all the many nontheocratic governments have been of his invention and authorization.—Gen. 10:8-10.
WHERE THE NATIONS GET SOVEREIGNTY
14 The facts show that among all the numerous experiments in organizing earthly governments ancient and modern, all the way from absolute monarchies on the right to Communist regimes on the extreme left, each has a record of being harsh, without vision, corrupt, graft-laden, oppressive, beastly, persecuting true worshipers of God, breaking the everlasting covenant as to the sanctity of life and provoking bloody wars. (Gen. 9:4-6, 16) Each has had its heyday and then ended in violence. The sovereign power authorizing such miserable failures as governments could not have been the true Universal Sovereign. Rather, the evidence is overwhelming that it has been Satan, the Dragon, who has attempted to give sovereign power and authority to these ungodly governments. (Rev. 13:2 and Eph. 6:12, NW) Actually, from the fall of Adam and Eve to the present, all of unfaithful human society has come under the control of this false cunning overlord who has made himself the “god of this system of things”. (2 Cor. 4:4, NW) Absolutely no hope of everlasting life and permanent security lies with the present old world society and its governments, because their foundations are not rooted with God but stand divorced along with Satan since Adam’s day.—Gen. 3:16-19.
15, 16. (a) What disclosure is made by the words “Have you not hedged him safely in”? (b) What recognition did God give his true worshipers on earth?
15 The above-referred-to conversation in heaven as to Job makes another enlightening disclosure. It is gleaned from Satan’s complaint, “Have you not hedged him safely in?” This seems to indicate that right from the rebellion Jehovah took independent action as to any interests he had in the earth regardless of Satan, and that he exercised overriding superior authority whenever it pleased him. The facts recorded in the Scriptures support this conclusion. Jehovah took immediate control of the garden of Eden and placed its care in the hands of other mighty cherubs who were loyal to him. (Gen. 3:24) To any of mankind who rendered true worship to him God now arranged to give them special guardianship, not through a theocratic government as he originally had purposed for Adam’s offspring, but by direct angelic protection.
16 We know that Jehovah dealt directly with Abel, Enoch and Noah, giving them revelations of his will. They thus had God’s recognition. (Gen. 4:4; 6:8; Jude 14) God gave his recognition to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who lived apart from the governments of Satan’s world and who had a guardian angel to guide them in Palestine. (Gen. 22:15; 24:7; 31:11; 48:16) The angel of Jehovah spoke to Moses in the fiery flame of a thornbush. (Acts 7:30, 35, NW) As the hosts of Israel moved out of Egypt in 1513 B.C. the angel of Jehovah moved from in front of the Israelites to their rear, to act as a rearguard to keep the Egyptian army from overtaking them and slaughtering them. (Ex. 14:19) After the days of Israel’s typical theocracy when God’s people were captive in Babylon, Michael, the guardian angel prince of Israel, was on the job safeguarding Jehovah’s interests in the earth. This guardian angel of Israel was doubtless Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence.—Dan. 10:13, 21; Rev. 12:7.
17. What provision has been made for the divine care of true Christians? Give proof.
17 Just as Satan wielded no theocratic, sovereign-granted power over God’s true worshipers prior to Jesus’ time, so in the days of Jesus and the early Christians Jehovah has had caretaker angels to protect his people “from the authority of the darkness”. Referring to Satan, Jesus said, “He has no hold on me.” (Col. 1:13 and John 14:30, NW) Then there is Peter’s case when he was delivered out of Herod’s murderous hands by Jehovah’s angel. (Acts 12:6-11, NW) Paul says with respect to protecting angels: “Are they not all spirits [angels] for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14, NW) Thus in spite of Satan’s ironlike governments and their strong powers of persecution Jehovah’s people in all ages have stood apart and survived. It is only those who have shown a lack of faith and who compromised that would take themselves out from under God’s special care. Even today all those who form the nucleus of the new world society, both the anointed remnant and those of the “other sheep”, have in fact come out from Babylonish bondage and have escaped the clutches of Satan. (Rev. 18:4; 2 Cor. 6:15) While Satan has all along sought to make good his side of the issue on sovereignty by forcing all men under his false sovereign control, the following scripture has proved to be true: “The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”—Ps. 34:7, AS.
18. To what extent has Satan tried to mimic Jehovah’s sovereignty, and how great a one has he become?
18 There is a final matter to amusingly note from Satan’s brazen conversation with Jehovah as to Job. Satan was not the all-powerful sovereign that he originally thought he was going to be. The fact that God calls him to question by saying, “Where have you been?” indicates that Jehovah had the upper hand. Satan in fear was being put on the spot, so to speak. The further fact that Satan complains of the “hedge” put around Job indicates that he was nettled at Jehovah’s displays of superior power not only in defense of his true worshipers on earth, but also on special occasions, such as, for example, at the Flood, where with no difficulty God washed away Satan’s angelized earthly civilization; at Babel, where God confused the speech of Satan’s first earthly kingdom; and in Egypt, where Jehovah brought the first world power to its knees to deliver the Israelites with a high hand. (Gen. 7:21-24; 11:7-9; Ex. 14:8) Finally Jehovah placed a limitation as to how far Satan could go in his testing of Job’s integrity. (Job 1:12) Notice, too, that Satan displayed due respect for Jehovah’s power by complying with that order. He was taking no chances in needlessly arousing Jehovah’s far superior forces. All this was reducing the sham sovereign to a helpless inferior and demonstrated that his control on earth was not all-embracing. In fact, he merely controlled those parts where he had blinded the inhabitants with his false religions and had kept them in line by means of his various makeshift governments. Never has he enjoyed undisputed control and power over all mankind, because at all times there have been those who have clung to the true worship of Jehovah God and who have looked forward to a restoration of a divine, sovereign-empowered government over all the earth.—Heb. 11:10.
a Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure, vol. 36, p. 516; also Cooley, Constitutional Limitations [quoted in People v. Pierce, 18 Misc. (N. Y.) 83, 86, 41 N. Y. Suppl. 858].
b Elements of International Law, by George B. Davis, p. 32.