Is World Unity a Dream?
If men do not learn to live together they will die together. The need for unity is that pressing. It is not a matter of getting along in a city or even a nation. It is an entire world that must learn to live in unity. Modern transportation and communications have shrunk the earth, brought nations into one another’s back yard. World leaders admit the urgency of unity and dream of one world. Can they convert their dream into reality?
THE stars have it. The planets have it. The moons circling them have it. Jehovah gives it to them. On earth the locusts have it, the colors in nature have it, the sounds in nature have it. Again, it is a gift from God. But man is without it. He used to have it, did not value it, lost it, has suffered without it, now searches for it, but cannot find it.
The vast heavens, with countless galaxies and billions of stars moving at tremendous speeds, have unity. The heavenly bodies stay in their orbits and keep a schedule of split-second timing, operating in accord with the laws established for them by their Creator. Our solar system, with its sun and planets and moons traveling at high speeds, keeps to its course without crash or collision. On earth the locusts, with no visible king, move in bands and maintain a unity of action necessary for survival. And look at the colors in nature, the great variety in flowers and in the brilliant plumage of birds and in the striking markings of many animals. There is no disharmony or clashing despite the contrasting combinations brought together. Listen to the sounds in nature, the wind in the trees, the water as it gurgles in a brook or thunders over a falls, the cry of birds, the drone of insects, or even the crashings of a storm. There is a harmony in them all, none seeming out of place in its surroundings. Jehovah, the Creator of them all, is a God of harmony and unity, not of disorder, and his works reflect his attributes.—Gen. 1:1; Job 38:31-33; Prov. 30:27; Joel 2:6-8; Rom. 1:20; 1 Cor. 14:33.
When Jehovah God made man and woman they were given this unity and were told how to retain it. But the woman was ambitious. Instead of cherishing unity with God she wanted to compete with him, to become as a god herself. Adam preferred unity with his wife to unity with God, so he rebelled with her. Yet when Jehovah called upon him to explain the trespass Adam turned against his wife in disunity, blaming her for his sin. Their offspring were at disunity, Cain murdering his brother Abel. Later the descendants of Adam and Eve tried to hide their disunity with God by setting up false religion, calling created things by God’s name, but hypocritically so. Men have done the same ever since, pretending through their false religions a unity with Jehovah they do not have.—Gen. 3:4-6, 12; 4:8, 26.
Today the world daydreams about unity while tossing fitfully in a nightmare of disunity. On every front humanity is divided. Look where you will and see disunity on a scale that ranges from disconcerting to alarming. The restless surging seas of humanity are lashed by national barriers, racial discriminations, religious prejudices, language differences, many monetary systems, varying customs and artificial social standards that class some as high caste and others as low caste or no caste or outcaste. Your family background can put you in society’s foreground or eliminate you entirely. It can put you in society’s blue book or on its black list. If your finances forbid your keeping up with the Joneses, the Joneses will keep down on you. Narrowing our view to the family circle, we find it broken by delinquency and divided by divorce to an extent heretofore unknown. Narrowing our view still farther, we find that in these days of fear and unrest even individuals are divided against themselves by neuroses and split personalities.
The irresistible conclusion forced upon us is that there is about as much unity in this world as there is in a bagful of cats and dogs. However, one unity was cited by the well-known writer Carl Sandburg, but it is more depressing than comforting. He wryly observed: “There is one unity which the human family has now which perhaps it never had in such widespread fashion before. That is the unity of being in the wilderness together.”
If this world is to make an exodus from this wilderness, if it is ever going to awake from its nightmare of disunity, if it is ever going to transform into reality its daydreams about unity, then it will have to wake up and work and walk in the right direction and get on the right side of the road. If we travel on the wrong side of the road to unity disunity will result. Men have not steered their vehicles of state on the right side yet. For six thousand years they have been traveling on the wrong side of the road and fearful results lie ahead.
The problem is the same now as it was then, but failure to solve it is more disastrous now. In the days of the donkey cart the problem was an infant. In these days of the machine age it has grown to a Frankenstein monster. We travel the same roads as in the past, only we travel them faster. In ancient days if men got their donkey carts on the wrong side of the road it did not amount to much. In these days if we get our fast automobiles on the wrong side we do not amount to much. It is one thing to be sideswiped by an oxcart and quite another to collide with a speeding motorcar. It is one thing for savage tribes to fly at one another’s throats swinging sticks and hurling stones, and quite another for armadas of planes to fly at cities spewing rockets and raining bombs.
History repeats itself but men will not listen. They refuse to learn by experience the lessons history repeatedly teaches. History has shown that in unity men survive, in disunity they die, and it is repeating this far more loudly and insistently and disastrously than ever before. The problem of unity has become acute. Either men will solve it or it will dissolve men. While world leaders today try to solve this problem, actually they do not even appreciate its gravest aspect, oblivious to the fact that the most vital unity to be gained is unity with Jehovah God.
PAST EFFORTS TO ATTAIN UNITY
Just as men are trying to solve the problem of unity today, men tried to solve it in the past. The past is filled with their mistakes, and the very same mistakes are filling the present and overflowing into the future. After the Flood ambitious men tried to unite men and hold them together contrary to Jehovah’s purpose, which was that men should spread over the earth to populate it. Babel’s crowd reasoned: “Come on! Let us build ourselves a city and also a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, for fear we may be scattered over all the surface of the earth.” (Gen. 11:4, NW) But Jehovah thwarted the effort, confusing their speech so they could not understand one another or continue to work together. The Bible calls the city Babel, meaning confusion. It brought no unity, but increased disunity, bringing in language barriers. Their dream boomeranged.
In Isaiah’s time a political union was formed, not to bring unity with Jehovah but to oppose his people. It failed. Concerning this attempt we read at Isaiah 8:9-13 (AS): “Make an uproar, O ye peoples, and be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall be brought to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For Jehovah spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A conspiracy, concerning all whereof this people shall say, A conspiracy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be in dread thereof. Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
Centuries after this Babylon tried to strengthen itself through greater religious unity, endeavoring to bring local gods into the temple at Babylon and combine them all in one worship. This effort at interfaith failed to save Babylon, for shortly thereafter it fell to the Medes and Persians. Pagan Rome strengthened itself by forming a state church to embrace all the varied pagan gods and beliefs, but failed to sweep the Jews into this scheme for religious unity. After Christianity had been established Emperor Diocletian tried to extirpate Christianity from the Roman dominions, using without success violent persecution to wipe out Christians. After him Emperor Constantine by compromise was able to fuse apostate Christianity in with pagan religion, forming a Roman catholic or universal religion. But this failed to save the Roman empire, and even the religion so formed split up into many sects and cults at the time of the Reformation, resulting in the many Protestant sects that exist today. Now there are efforts to unite religiously through interfaith movements and a World Council of Churches, but these are not endeavors to regain the all-important unity with Jehovah. They are not aiming at doctrinal unity with God’s Word, but only a working political unity so they can make their voice felt in world affairs.
Organized religions claim to be the virgin bride of Christ, but when they enter political relations with worldly rulers the Bible views it as spiritual adultery and likens such organizations to a harlotrous woman. (Jas. 4:4) Nevertheless, the clergy of Christendom delve into politics and politicians use religion. When political convention time rolls around candidates are photographed coming out of church doors, though they never attend at other times. Bible texts and God are thrown into their speeches like so many commercials. Apparently politicians have put Bible quoting in the same category as baby kissing. The clergy co-operate fully and pray powerfully at political conventions, but their windy intercessions are obviously tailored for the television audience and designed for human, not divine, ears. The way campaigning politicians and supporting preachers talk you would think that on election day God was going to leave heaven, come down to earth, enter a voting booth and vote for their candidate. Really, it is getting so you do not know whether you are listening to a politician or a preacher—the politician quotes so much Bible and the preacher talks so much politics!
TODAY’S OUTSTANDING EFFORT
Revelation chapter 17 foretells this generation’s effort to unify the world through first the League of Nations and thereafter the United Nations, with religion playing its role. The account says: “Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot that sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication.” The harlot here mentioned is not a literal woman, for no woman has committed fornication with all the rulers of the earth. The harlot represents the false religious organizations of this world. They have entered politics and curried the favor of politicians and been used by them for selfish purposes, all of which is an unclean, illicit relationship for any group claiming to be the virgin bride of Christ, espoused to him and hailing him as their King and Ruler.
Next this harlotrous woman is seen “sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns.” Frequently the Bible uses a beast to symbolize a government, as in Daniel chapter 7. We do today, as is evident from the Russian bear, the British lion and the American eagle. This scarlet-colored wild beast represents a combination of nations, as the League of Nations was and the United Nations is. It has blasphemous names plastered on it, just as organized religion said the League was the political expression of Christ’s kingdom and has similarly extolled the United Nations as man’s only hope for peace. False religions mixing in politics have tried to give guidance to the United Nations, just as the harlot atop the wild beast tried to ride it.
The account continues: “The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is destined to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction.” For a time the League of Nations ‘was,’ then ‘was not’ during World War II, but ascended out of the abyss of inactivity under a new name, the United Nations. Before it goes into destruction it is shown devastating organized religion: “And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose.” Jehovah lets harlotrous religion’s political paramours destroy her for her infidelity to him. We can already see radical political elements that are United Nations members turning against religion and casting it off, and this spirit will increase until false religion is devastated.
And what then? These “wild beast” nations “will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them.” This is the climax of Jehovah’s war of Armageddon and is when the wild beast will “go off into destruction.” At this climactic time Satan and his demons will be put out of existence, and thus will be erased the disunifying forces. Jehovah’s promised new world of righteousness will usher in complete unity.—Re 17 Vss. 1-3, 8, 16, 17, 14, NW.
It is only a dream for men to think they will establish a unified world. Regardless of the system of government, the men who run it are imperfect and selfish and frequently corrupt. Men would have to change, and they cannot change themselves. By studying the Bible men can make their minds over, strip off their old personality and don a new one devoted to righteousness and morality. (Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:5-10) But today’s world leaders, along with multitudes of persons, think the Bible impractical and shun it. And even if they did conform themselves to the Bible principles unity would not be attained. Why? Because Satan would still be the god of this world. (2 Cor. 4:4) Man cannot crush this invisible tyrant god.
Eleven years ago Winston Churchill took off on a flight of pretentious oratory and said the Allies look ahead to “when we shall have finally beaten down Satan under our feet.” He not only borrowed this from the Bible but edited it, substituting the Allies for God. Only God will crush Satan underfoot. (Rom. 16:20) Ten years later Churchill had not walked all over Satan and was not nearly so confident of handling matters, for he said: “A fearful question confronts us: Have our problems got beyond our control?” They always were and always will be. Satan is the cause of present woes, and only Jehovah can eliminate that cause. We can see Satan’s works, just as we can see the devastation wrought by a hurricane or splitting atoms; but we cannot see Satan, any more than we can see the wind or the atoms.
There are things we can do. We can study the Bible, obey it, declare its message to others and sound the warning of Armageddon’s impending destruction. By having the truth declared Christ is separating people as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. When that is done Armageddon will strike. Satan will be abyssed. The earth will not be burned up. Just as we would not burn down a barn to kill the rats, Jehovah will not burn up the earth to kill the goats, or Satan. He will destroy this present wicked system and replace it with a righteous system, his new world. Obedient men, at unity with Jehovah, his King, his Word and purposes, will live therein forever. Disunity started when disobedience to God started. It will end when disobedience to God ends. We can end our disobedience now; Jehovah will end Satan’s at the close of Christ’s thousand-year reign. We should do what we can; Jehovah will do what we cannot. Only in this way can men escape the present nightmare of disunity and attain a new world of unity and everlasting life.
Then, in that new world of Jehovah’s building, our unity will match that of the heavens, that of the locusts who do not break rank, that of the many varied colors of nature, that of the countless sounds of different pitch and volume that fill stream and field, woodland and mountain. Our unity will match theirs because it will come from the same source, from Jehovah the God of unity,the Creator of the righteous new world of unity, the Inviter of unity lovers to enter it and live eternally. Will you accept his invitation? Will you live in this new world of unity, which men can only dream about, but which only Jehovah can accomplish?