Flee for Your Life!
Would you run from a lion or ignore his roar? This may seem like a foolish question, yet some today are blissfully ignoring the most vital warning in history. Read the startling facts; then take action! That is, if you value your life.
“THE lion is a gentleman of the animal world. Slow to anger, knowing that he is supreme in strength, he stalks majestically across the African plains and will seldom attack unless wounded or provoked beyond reason.”—From the book Nature’s Ways, by Roy Chapman Andrews.
Jehovah, with his lionlike power and majesty, manifests the same gentlemanly restraint in his dealings: “Jehovah is slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; and that will by no means clear the guilty.” (Num. 14:18, AS) In fact, Jehovah’s patience even with his enemies, by allowing them to fill the earth with their wicked deeds until this late date, has caused some to doubt that he will ever act to execute judgment upon the guilty.
Today Jehovah’s critics sharply demand: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.” (2 Pet. 3:4, NW) Denying God any part in earthly developments, one modern “wise man” expounded: “The universe apart from man or before his coming lacks and lacked any purpose or plan.” He says the present human chaos “is one that only responsible human knowledge can reduce to order,” and that man “cannot place responsibility for rightness or wrongness on God or on nature.” How like ancient Judah’s complacent philosophy: “Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil.” (Zeph. 1:12, AS) Thus do they push aside and ignore Jehovah’s power, failing to recognize any evidence whatsoever that he is now giving a warning of doom.
Thinking Bible students, however, see in present world conditions grave portents for the future. Accepting God’s Word as truth, a beacon light for their path, they see in it a warning of imminent death for the present chaotic system of things. (Ps. 119:105; John 17:17) Just as men quail in fear and shout the alarm when a roaring lion runs amuck in the streets, so they now shout aloud their warning of Jehovah’s fiery judgments. As the prophet Amos so well puts it: “When the lion roars, who does not fear? When the Lord GOD speaks, who will not prophesy?”—Amos 3:8, AT.
To the smug evildoers inhabiting ancient Samaria in Israel came Jehovah’s word through Amos: “Woe to them who are at ease in Zion, and self-confident on the mount of Samaria.” Yes, woe to those who lounged around, idly disporting themselves with feasting and strong drink, mentally putting off the evil day, for “‘they shall be the first of the exiles to go into exile, and the shout of the revelers shall pass away,’ is the oracle of the LORD, the God of hosts.”—Amos 6:1-8, AT.
Again today Jehovah’s voice speaks forth to those who would self-confidently rob him of his authority over the earth and assume it themselves: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”—Dan. 4:34, 35, AS.
“Ah yes,” say the scoffers, “very pretty words, but what evidence have you to show that God has ever exercised such authority over earth’s affairs?” To these Peter answers: “There were heavens in ancient times and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God, and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water.” (2 Pet. 3:5, 6, NW) There is your answer, Mr. Scoffer, and do not waste your breath protesting that the flood of Noah’s day never really happened, for in so doing you would be arguing with more than ninety different historical accounts the world over that attest to the Flood’s genuineness, as well as archaeological and geological evidence. Again, as evidence shows, God intervened and asserted his authority in earth’s affairs by destroying the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and maneuvering the destruction of the nation of Israel in 607 B.C. and again A.D. 70.
SOURCE OF DANGER IDENTIFIED
But why are the afore-mentioned instances of concern to us today? Because those destructions, causing death to countless thousands, came as a punishment for the very same evils now afflicting our modern generation. The men of Noah’s day had bad thoughts in their hearts all the time; they had filled the earth with violence. The Sodomites were notorious for their perverted sexual practices. The Israelites were guilty of the same evils and more. (Gen. 6:5, 13; Ezekiel 22; Matthew 23; Jude 7) A glance at today’s headlines is enough to convince that modern crimes and violence have reached an all-time high of incidence and an all-time low of depravity. The same conditions now as then merit the same destruction now as then.
But an issue even greater than national sin was involved in those previous cases and is involved now. These were not mere chance events, examples of history repeating itself as a natural course in an evolutionary struggle for survival. Rather, they were merely preliminary skirmishes in a universal “war of the gods” to decide the issue of universal rulership.
Daniel, chapter four, mentions this issue of rulership, using a covering, protective, provident tree as a fit symbol of such rulership. Ezekiel, chapter twenty-eight, tells how the original godly rulership of the earth was corrupted and how the covering cherub who was assigned to that protective, provident post grew ambitious for power like the Creator’s and allowed his ambition to lead him into rebellion against Jehovah. Genesis 3:1-7 shows how he enlisted the first man and woman on his side in that rebellion, using a serpent as his earthly tool of deception. The fifteenth verse of the same chapter Ge 3:15 gives promise that this serpentine deceiver would one day be crushed at the head and thereby destroyed. And finally, Revelation 12:1-10 vividly describes how Christ Jesus, the “seed” of God’s “woman” or heavenly organization, debases that archdeceiver from any heavenly authority, confining him to this earth until time for his final crushing in death.
Surely the violent transition from Satan’s evil system of things to Christ’s righteous kingdom would be a fearful time for all inhabitants of heaven and earth, and especially for the latter, whose life is at stake in this issue of rulership. But when will the complete transition come? Must we worry about such things in our day? Some say no, because so far history has gone on and no such miraculous thing has happened. But that was also true seven days before the flood, when Noah was warned by God: “Go, you and all your household, into the ark,” because “in just seven days more I am making it rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe every existing thing that I have made off the surface of the ground.” (Gen. 7:1-4, NW) Lack of precedent then did not forestall destruction, nor will it do so now.
But again we ask, “When will it come?” Has God given us any time measurement just as he gave Noah to know when to flee destruction? The answer is a definite yes. Turning back to the “tree” of rulership mentioned at Daniel four, we find such a time measurement. Just as Jehovah God spoke to the spirit deceiver in Eden under the symbol of that one’s earthly tool, the serpent, so here in Daniel’s account He again speaks to Satan the Deceiver under the symbol of another of that one’s earthly tools, the king of Babylon. He here refers to Nebuchadnezzar’s rule as a “tree” to be cut down and then restored, showing how the rule of Nebuchadnezzar’s master, the one-time “covering cherub,” was cut down to the ground at the time of his rebellion, thus felling the “tree” of righteous rulership, and yet how in Jehovah’s due time that rulership “tree” would again sprout and grow through whomsoever he chose to receive such rulership.—Da 4 Verses 15-17.
THE TIME TO FLEE
In Nebuchadnezzar’s case a definite time period was set, “seven times,” or seven 360-day years, during which period his lofty rulership would be debased in beastly insanity. What significance would this period have for his great master, the Devil? Daniel’s fellow prophet Ezekiel was given a similar symbolic time representation connected with the issue of rulership, and to him Jehovah stated the rule: “Each day for a year, have I appointed it unto thee.” (Ezek. 4:6, AS) Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years of madness being expanded on that Jehovah-assigned basis, then, it would mean that in the complete fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy as many years would be involved as there were days in that earthly monarch’s “seven times,” or years. Otherwise stated, the righteous rulership abandoned by the Devil would experience a prophetic time period, not of 2,520 days, but rather of that many years.
Those times would not begin counting immediately after Satan’s deflection in Eden. Rather, they would begin much later, after Jehovah’s line of faithful kings, ruling “on the throne of Jehovah,” was completely cut off. (1 Chron. 29:23) That happened in 607 B.C. when Jehovah overturned the rule of Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, “until he come whose right it is.”—Ezek. 21:27.
Dire calamities came between July 30 and August 3, 607 B.C. If our understanding of the seven prophetic “times” is correct, then approximately the same dates 2,520 years later should witness world-shaking events, should witness events having to do with the “tree” of rulership in the hands of the one “whose right it is.” Foretelling one of the things to happen then Jesus said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matt. 24:7, NW) In time 2,520 years elapsed and the world came to the summer of 1914 (A.D.). What then happened? Almost to the day it came! Between July 28 and August 4 of that year the dazed world was plunged into a mad maelstrom of massacre from which it has never since recovered. The first world-wide war was on!
Truly 1914, the end of Daniel’s “seven times,” was a marked year. The many-faceted sign at Matthew 24 has also had fulfillment since that outstanding year. Famines, pestilence, earthquakes, heartrending fear and anxiety, these and more too now stalk the earth.
WHERE TO FLEE
Nor are all these modern-day historical facts just another phase of history repeating itself. Instead they signal the final part of the great universal “war of the gods,” the beginning of the end for Satan and his earthly tools, mad rulers, whose dominion has produced only bitter fruits of immorality, crime and violence. Revelation, chapter twelve, tells us why the earth is now in such a woeful condition: because Christ Jesus, in a violent celestial battle, has thrown Satan down out of his heavenly position, leaving him caged, as it were, in the vicinity of this earth. Like a savage beast, cornered and facing sure death, he seeks to maul and devour everyone he can in the process.—1 Pet. 5:8.
But his end is sure, for at the time of his debasement to earth a shout went out in heaven: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ!” (Rev. 12:10, NW) Yes, the woe Satan now brings to earth is a sure sign to us that at last Jehovah’s power has again been manifested in the re-establishment of righteous rulership in the person of his Son, Christ Jesus. Destruction has begun upon Satan’s wicked system of things, and will not cease until it lies in ruins. Daniel, chapter two, describes it as a God-approved stone smashing world powers to shivers and grinding them to dust. Then the stone grows into a great mountain that fills the whole earth.—Da 2 Verses 35, 44, 45.
Now is the time, then, when the mountain of Jehovah’s house is established on the top of the mountains, “and all nations shall flow unto it.”—Isa. 2:2, 3, AS.
Flight to the mountain of Jehovah’s house is now of the utmost importance, for all who remain in Satan’s “mountains,” or governments, will be ground to powder with them.
In ever-growing numbers godly persons are now forsaking Satan’s old system of things. Rather than faithlessly abandoning Jehovah’s promises for our decisive days they have instead borne fearless witness to his purposes. Through them his roar of warning is now heard sounding throughout the earth, chorusing from a multitude of throats, just as Hosea foretold: “‘They shall go after the LORD; like a lion will he roar; yea, he will roar; and his sons shall come trembling from the west, they shall come fluttering like a bird from Egypt, and like a dove from the land of Assyria; and I will bring them back to their homes,’ is the oracle of the LORD.”—Hos. 11:10, 11, AT.
Even while they are in the midst of Satan’s dying old system they are becoming part of a new system of things. Knowing that “friendship with the world is enmity with God,” they even now live by the righteous principles of Jehovah’s new world, thus forming a New World society of people, the nucleus of a righteous earthly rule to come, under the headship of their now-ruling heavenly King, Christ Jesus. As Jehovah’s dedicated witnesses they earnestly plead with all persons of good will toward God: “Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good.” Thus placing themselves under the shadow of Jehovah’s protection, they will be spared for eternal life in his endless new world.—Jas. 4:4, NW; Hos. 14:2, 7, AS.
Yes, “The lion hath roared; who will not fear? The Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8, AS) The warning has been sounded! Sudden death impends! Flee for your life!