Faith Conquers the World
WHY do Jehovah’s witnesses say that Christ “returned” in the year 1914 and then began to rule as King? Because they have faith that it is so. Why do they teach that the universal war called Armageddon will take place within this present generation and will utterly wipe out this world’s present systems of religion, commercialism and politics, and that millions of people will survive that global catastrophe and live on forever on earth under ideal conditions? It is because they have faith that it will be so.
Would you like to be among those Armageddon survivors and never die off the earth? You may, if you have faith. But what, precisely, is faith? Faith, as it applies to religious beliefs, is defined for us by God in his Word, the Holy Bible. We read at Hebrews 11:1 (NW): “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” It means that faith is an intellectual understanding and appreciation of God’s Word and a confident reliance upon that Word. The true Christian faith is the sum of beliefs concerning Jehovah God and his kingdom as delivered to us by his chosen Seed, Jesus Christ, and his disciples.
The inspired writer of the Scripture text quoted above also said in the same context: “Without faith it is impossible to win his good pleasure, for he that approaches God must believe that he is.” This statement, ‘belief that God exists,’ is the basis of faith. To any normal mind the material universe is sufficient proof of the existence of God, for inanimate matter did not always exist; it must have had a beginning. How did matter come into existence except by some great Source of energy, which our human minds could never understand unless there were some revelation from that Source? That Source of all things we recognize as God.
But mere belief in the existence of God, the Creator of matter and life, does not give us an intellectual understanding of God’s purposes or will. We need something else besides the works of nature upon which to base faith. We need a revelation by God as to what he purposes to do. He has provided just such a revelation. It is the book we call the Holy Bible. Knowledge of God’s purposes as revealed in the Bible is the basis for faith and leads to life.
We say that the true Christian faith is the sum of beliefs concerning Jehovah God and his kingdom as delivered to us by his chosen Seed, Jesus Christ, and his disciples. But do not the peoples of Christendom also believe the same Bible? Then why is it that they do not believe the same things that Jehovah’s witnesses believe? Do not think that this is merely a matter of opinion, of private interpretation. Do not think that one can believe whatever he likes so long as he leads a good life, or that doctrinal differences do not really matter. That is a fatal error. It is just that distinction that makes all the difference between one’s surviving Armageddon and one’s perishing along with the old world.
This old world with its many systems of religion, commercialism and politics is doomed to certain destruction within the present living generation. Millions will perish with it because they have no faith. Only faith will enable one to conquer this old world and live on forever in the new world of righteousness. The inspired apostle of Jesus Christ wrote: “And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith.”—1 John 5:4, NW.
Jesus Christ himself had to conquer this old wicked world, or it would have conquered him! Satan the Devil tried hard to conquer Jesus Christ when Jesus was in the flesh, for Satan was then the prince or ruler of this world. Jesus plainly said of Satan: “The ruler of the world is coming. And yet he has no hold on me.” Satan tried very hard to conquer Jesus as soon as he began his public ministry. How? By offering him political rulership of the nations. Surely that was a glitteringly subtle move on Satan’s part.—John 14:30; Matt. 4:8, 9, NW.
By what means did Jesus resist that temptation? By faith! What? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom Christendom thinks was actually God himself incarnate in human form, needed faith? Yes, and faith in that same revelation of God’s purposes that Christendom professes to rely upon for its beliefs today. Jesus Christ quoted the ancient Hebrew Scriptures in reply to Satan’s challenging temptation. He had faith in what those Scriptures revealed. Jesus, in his own revelation to his apostle John years later, which originated from God his Father, said: “To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me in my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father in his throne.”—Rev. 3:21, NW.
That clearly shows that Jesus had to conquer something: he had a fight, and it was a fight of faith. What was it that Jesus had to conquer? He himself answers this question at John 16:33 (NW): “I have conquered the world.” But what is meant by the world? It was this present system of things organized and controlled by Satan the Devil in opposition to Jehovah God, consisting of a combination of powerful religions, greedy commercialism, and the mighty political elements. All these were operating in some measure when Jesus was on earth in the flesh and he had to conquer their subtle snares or they would have conquered him. “In the days of his flesh Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the one who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.”—Heb. 5:7, NW.
We are living in the “last days” of this wicked system of things and now it is more wicked than ever. It requires real faith to conquer it and overcome its subtle snares. No one will survive its destruction in Armageddon except those who have faith. Christendom will utterly perish because it has no faith. We are living in the time foretold by Jesus in his revelation to John when Satan’s wild beastly system is driving all mankind into the final all-out war against Jehovah and against his Christ, and it takes real faith to stand up against this mighty foe and be uncompromisingly on the side of Jehovah God and his conquering Lamb.—Rev. 17:12-14.
Satan knows his time is now very short before his overthrow into the abyss of inactivity, and his policy is to drive all the nations into destruction rather than have any survive and live as happy subjects on earth of his all-conquering Executioner, Jesus Christ. This will be the ‘bruising of the serpent’s head’ by God’s chosen Seed, as foretold at Genesis 3:15. Where will you stand in this conflict?
Jehovah’s witnesses have been given a vision of realities before they take place. They have an “assured expectation of . . . realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1, NW) They see this old-world system being plunged into war against Jehovah God, resulting in Jehovah’s fiery judgments being executed against every part of the system. To Jehovah’s witnesses these things are as transparent as clear glass. Jehovah’s witnesses will be on the victorious side with Christ Jesus. They see themselves portrayed in the prophecy at Revelation 15:2, 3 (NW): “And I saw what seemed to be a glassy sea mingled with fire, and those who came off victorious from the wild beast and from its image and from the number of its name standing by the glassy sea, having harps of God. And they are singing.” The wild beast and its image is Satan’s modern brute-force system of rulership, and the number of its name (666, or 600 + 60 + 6) symbolizes the threefold basis of that system, namely, false religion, commercialism and politics.—Rev. 13:16-18, NW.
Men and women of ancient time had the same kind of faith and it enabled them to conquer Satan’s world system of their day. Men and women “who through faith defeated kingdoms in conflict, effected righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, stayed the force of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from a weak state were made powerful, became valiant in war, routed the armies of foreigners. . . . and the world was not worthy of them.”—Heb. 11:33-38, NW.
Christendom likes to sing hymns about “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to face the foe,” but by their course of action they show that they do not have the faith of Daniel. They see only some visible enemies and even with them they compromise. They try to appear before men as broad-minded, with a faith broad enough to take in everything.
Some accuse Jehovah’s witnesses of having a “one-track mind.” Well, what of that? So long as they are on the right track, what matters? That is just what makes the difference between survival and destruction. Jehovah’s witnesses may have what is called a one-track mind, but they are not in a rut.
Christendom, on the other hand, has no track at all, but rather is as one wandering about in a trackless desert blinded by the dust storms of religious controversies. Did not Jesus say: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, . . . whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it”?—Matt. 7:13, 14, NW.
Speaking of the things ‘hoped for though not beheld,’ the apostle Paul wrote: “For yet ‘a very little while’, and ‘he who is coming will arrive and will not delay’. ‘But my righteous one will live by reason of faith,’ and, ‘if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ Now we are not the kind that shrink back to destruction, but the kind that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.”—Heb. 10:37-39, NW.
What the apostle Paul looked forward to in his day has now come to pass. Christendom cannot see it because she is blinded by her ancient traditions fused with pagan philosophies, and she has no faith. Christ is here! We are living in the time of his presence, or paroúsia, and it is a time of judgment of the nations. Jehovah God has taken his “great power and begun ruling as king” by the One delegated to “shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” The nations have become exceedingly wrathful, and Jehovah’s own wrath has come upon the nations. It is the due time to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.—Rev. 11:15-18; 12:5, NW.
Satan, through his religious element, will try to break our faith by various arguments and labels of heresy. Through his commercial element he will try to weaken our faith by the subtle snare of materialism, and through the political wing of his organization he will try to break through our armor of faith by all sorts of wicked charges against us, even charging us with sedition as he did Jesus, and by arousing the masses against us by the false charge of being agents of this or that political power in order to “consolidate its power” over the people.
We need to remind ourselves of the apostle’s words at 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NW): “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are.” We need to be very watchful lest the adversary, the Devil, who is walking about like a roaring lion “seeking to devour someone,” finds a weak spot in our armor of faith and gets one of his “burning missiles” through to our hurt or even destruction. We can conquer this enemy by ‘keeping our senses,’ being “solid in the faith,” having “the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.”—1 Pet. 5:8, 9; Eph. 6:16, NW.
This ‘latter period of time’ is one of particular danger. Scoffers, ridiculing the Word of God, ridiculing those who diligently proclaim it, have been foretold to be especially numerous. Only by faith based upon an intellectual understanding of God’s Word can anyone survive, and faith must be backed up by right works. “As for you, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they used to say to you: ‘In the last time there will be ridiculers, proceeding according to their own desires for ungodly things.’ These are the ones that make separations, animalistic men, not having spirituality. But you, beloved ones, by building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying with holy spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love, while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.”—Jude 17-21, NW.