Part 22—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
A short while before the once-mighty Babylonian world power fell before the conquering Medes and Persians, the captive Jewish exile, Daniel the prophet, had his vision of how the coming Medo-Persian Empire would in turn be overthrown by the Grecian conqueror, Alexander the Great, and be succeeded by the Macedonian or Grecian Empire and other world powers that would have to do with Jehovah’s people, of whom Daniel was a member. In the eighth chapter of Daniel’s prophecy Alexander the Great was pictured by a conspicuous horn between the eyes of a he-goat. Alexander’s death was pictured by the breaking of the great horn. But out of it grew four horns, picturing the four Hellenic empires that grew out of Alexander’s domains. Out of one of these four horns came up a “little horn” that became very powerful in the earth. Historical fulfillment of Bible prophecy has proved this symbolic “little horn” to be, not the Roman Empire that swallowed up the four Hellenic Empires, but the later imperial system that grew up from what was once part of the Roman Empire, namely, the Anglo-American dual world power. This started in Britain, where Rome held on till A.D. 436.
18. How, now, did the “little horn” come forth out of one of the four horns and wax great toward the south, the east and the “beauteous land”?
18 It was in the seventeenth century, during the days of Queen Elizabeth I, that Britain set out on its imperial course, and the British navy was the convenient means for its colonialism and imperial expansion. By the year 1815 the rival navies of The Netherlands, Spain and France had practically ceased to exist; and down till World War I in 1914 the British navy was virtually the “water police of the world; . . . that navy has been the principal instrument in building and holding together the greatest empire the world has yet seen.”a At the close of World War II Britain’s war ally, the United States of America, which had been built up from the original thirteen British colonies, emerged with the greatest navy in the world. From the foregoing it is seen how the seventh world power, or the Anglo-American dual world power, came forth like the “little horn” from one of those four horns into which the symbolic “great horn,” Alexander the Great, was broken. History well bears witness to how this dual world power of Britain and America, as close allies with strong ties, waxed exceedingly great toward the south and east and toward the “beauteous land.”
19. What is meant here in the prophecy by the “beauteous land”?
19 The “beauteous land” is the Bible expression that means the prophet Daniel’s land. (Dan. 11:16, 41, JP) Jehovah himself speaks of it as the “land that I had sought out for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the beauty of all lands.” (Ezek. 20:6, 15, JP) It is true that during World War I the British expeditionary forces carried on a military campaign in Palestine against Turkey, and on December 9, 1917, Jerusalem was captured by the British General Allenby. After the war the newly begun League of Nations assigned to Britain the mandate over Palestine, to continue till May 14, 1948. But since this is prophecy and contains many symbols, the “beauteous land” symbolizes rather the earthly condition of Jehovah’s people in his new covenant, his faithful witnesses on earth, during the existence of the seventh world power. These are Jehovah’s “saints” or holy ones on earth; and the apostle Paul says to them: “He raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus.”—Eph. 2:6.
20. In view of that fact, how could the Anglo-American “little horn” reach some of the host and of the stars to cast them down?
20 From this standpoint we can understand how the Anglo-American “little horn” waxed great “even to the host of heaven; and some of the host and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled upon them.” The angel Gabriel also explains: “And he shall destroy them that are mighty and the people of the saints.” (Dan. 8:10, 24, JP) The seventh world power could reach the “host of heaven” and “stars” only because these are Jehovah’s saints or holy ones who are on earth but who have a heavenly calling and a heavenly resurrection in view, in order to reign with Jehovah’s anointed King on his heavenly throne. Over the congregation of Jehovah’s dedicated people who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ there are overseers, who are likened to “stars” that the glorified Jesus holds in his right hand. (Rev. 1:16, 20) This symbolic “host of heaven” and their “stars” beam with the heavenly light of the good news of God’s kingdom, for which the prayer is offered: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:10.
21. When did the seventh world power cast them to the ground and trample upon them, and how far to their destruction?
21 These “people of the saints” the seventh world power did try to destroy, but only with part success, when it cast them to the ground and trampled upon them during World War I in America and in British possessions “for a time, two times, and half a time.” (Dan. 7:25, RS)b The heavenly light on earth then burned low.
CASTING DOWN THE PLACE OF JEHOVAH’S SANCTUARY
22. How was the symbolic “little horn” able to magnify itself “even to the prince of the host”?
22 To those who long ago rebuilt Jehovah’s sanctuary in Jerusalem after the land of Judah had lain desolate seventy years, the prophet Zechariah said: “For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: . . . he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” (Zech. 2:8, AS) So in assaulting his dedicated “host,” his sanctuary class on the earth, the seventh world power really assaulted Jehovah of armies. The symbolic “little horn” was really magnifying itself “even to the prince of the host; and from him the continual burnt-offering was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” (Dan. 8:11, JP) Jehovah God is the “prince” or theocratic Chief of his host of saintly ones, and they make up “his sanctuary” in which he dwells by his holy spirit. (Eph. 2:21, 22) The symbolic “little horn” or seventh world power magnified itself as greater than the kingdom of God. It refused to surrender its worldwide sovereignty in the earth, giving it to God’s kingdom that had been established in the heavens at the close of the “appointed times of the nations” in the year 1914. It treated with contempt the good news of God’s kingdom that his sanctuary class, his dedicated saints or holy ones, were trying to preach throughout the domain of the seventh world power, the British Empire and America.
23. How and when did the symbolic “little horn” take away from him the “continual burnt-offering”?
23 Daily that Kingdom message was ascending to Jehovah God in praise of him, like a sacrifice that was daily, continually, constantly being rendered up to the “prince of the host,” by the earth-wide efforts of his saintly people to preach the message. These were conscientiously striving to obey the command to Jesus’ followers: “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name. Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb. 13:15, 16) The sacrificers of praise were harmonizing their purpose in life with the apostle Peter’s words: “You yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5) The symbolic “little horn,” the “king of fierce countenance, and understanding stratagems,” did not want to be overshadowed by God’s kingdom or to have sheeplike people turn to it for salvation. So it felt grieved at this “sacrifice of praise,” these “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” that were daily and continually being made to ascend to God. Under patriotic pretexts, and urged on by the religious clergy of Christendom, the seventh world power took away “from him the continual burnt-offering” during the “time, two times, and half a time.”
24. Thus how was the “place of his sanctuary” cast down, but why was the sanctuary class then not destroyed?
24 Thus the sacrificial place or very basis upon which “his sanctuary” rested as a spiritual house for sacrifices of praise and worship to him “was taken away.” The casting down of the base or “place” did not mean that the symbolic “sanctuary” itself was destroyed; but this could have led to the destruction of the remnant of the sanctuary class. Isaiah 12:1 prophetically tells of how God was incensed at his dedicated people, his nation of spiritual Israel, for yielding to fear of the seventh world power and practically stopping the offering of the sacrifice of praise and of public declaration to his name. In mercy he cut short the tribulation that he had begun to bring upon Satan the Devil’s organization. Why? That the chosen sanctuary class, who were being trampled upon, might not be destroyed with the seventh world power, but that they might be saved while still in the flesh.—Matt. 24:21, 22.
25. What was the “transgression” on the part of the sanctuary class because of which they were surrendered, and hence why was it not “by his own power” that the “little horn” captured them?
25 Their failure for a time to obey God and render up the “continual burnt-offering” in a spiritual way was a transgression upon the part of the sanctuary class. For this they came under the power of the oppressive symbolic “little horn,” by Jehovah’s permission and in expression of his anger with them. Hence, although the military and commercial power of the “little horn” was mighty, yet it was “not by his own power” that this “king of fierce countenance” brought the host of Jehovah’s holy people underfoot. “And the host was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through transgression; and it [the little horn] cast down truth to the ground, and it wrought, and prospered.” (Dan. 8:12, 24,c JP) During this time of failure spiritually the sanctuary class became captive to the worldly powers, just as in Daniel’s day he and the rest of Jehovah’s people went into captivity to Babylon and their homeland and sanctuary lay desolate for seventy years.
26. How did the “little horn” cast truth and faithfulness to the ground and yet operate prosperously?
26 The seventh world power, the Anglo-American dual world power, cared nothing for the truth of God’s Kingdom message, nor for the faithfulness and integrity of God’s people. It cast truth and faithfulness to the ground. For this action Jehovah did not at once execute judgment against the seventh world power. Why not? In order that he might not at the same time execute destructive judgment on his own dedicated “people of the saints.” So the seventh world power acted and prospered and came forth victorious from World War I, rendering great destruction upon its mighty foe, Imperial Germany.
27. During the peace that followed November 11, 1918, how did the “little horn” magnify itself still more against the “prince of the host” by setting up an idol?
27 During the truce of peace that followed from November 11, 1918, it magnified itself still more against Jehovah, “the prince of the host.” In rejecting the message that the sanctuary class had tried to proclaim to all nations, the Anglo-American dual world power promoted the establishment of a modern world idol, the League of Nations. The British war premier, Lloyd George, had had thoughts of such an international alliance of nations;d and the American war president, T. Woodrow Wilson, included it in his Fourteen Points which he submitted for a peace settlement. Although acting president, he emboldened himself to attend the Paris Peace Conference in order to push through his Points, including the international pact, the League of Nations.
28. What prophecy of Revelation did the Anglo-American dual world power thus fulfill, and what was this political idol as respects God?
28 The Anglo-American dual world power thus fulfilled the prophecy concerning the “beast” that “had two horns like a lamb” but that “began speaking as a dragon” in telling earth’s inhabitants to make an “image to the wild beast.” The Anglo-American dual world power gave “breath to the image” so that it would speak with some authority and cause itself to be worshiped by those who were against God’s established kingdom and who were in favor of the “wild beast,” Satan’s visible world system of government. (Rev. 13:11-15) The symbolic “image to the wild beast,” this League of Nations, was an abomination, a disgusting thing, to Jehovah God, just as much so as the golden image sixty cubits high and six cubits broad that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, set up for all the provinces of his empire to worship, including Daniel’s companions Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Dan. 3:1-15) Jehovah’s witnesses saw that the League of Nations was disgusting to him just as an idol is.
“THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKES DESOLATE”
29. When was the League of Nations covenant made effective, when did the League begin to function, but what did Christendom lead off in doing?
29 The peace conference opened in Paris, France, on January 18, 1919, attended by the American President Wilson. The resulting peace treaty, including the covenant of the League of Nations, was signed in Versailles, France, on June 28, 1919. On October 13 that year it had been ratified by three big allied powers and it went into effect with its League of Nations covenant. The United States Senate refused to go along with President Wilson and ratify this treaty. The Senate considered that America’s national sovereignty was not safeguarded enough in the League of Nations covenant. America concluded a separate peace with Germany later. The League of Nations, the symbolic “image of the wild beast,” really began to function on January 10, 1920, at London, England. But before this event religious Christendom led off in idolizing the symbolic “image.”
30. What did the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America offer to do, and how did it give the proposed League a Messianic role?
30 The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America offered itself at once as a priest to minister before the “image.” Ahead of the peace conference, and while President Wilson was merely advocating the League of Nations, the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America spoke forth in favor of it and gave to it the role of Christ the Messiah. The executive committee of this Federal Council met in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and on December 12, 1918, it passed an endorsement of President Wilson’s plan for a League of Nations. It adopted the following Declaration (quoted in part):
The war crisis of the world has passed, but a world crisis is upon us.
. . . “Are we to lapse back,” asked Lloyd George, “into the old national rivalries, animosities and competitive armaments, or are we to imitate the reign on earth of the Prince of Peace?”
The time has come to organize the world for truth and right, justice and humanity. To this end, as Christians we urge the establishment of a League of Free Nations at the coming Peace Conference. Such a League is not a mere political expedient; it is rather the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.
. . . The heroic dead will have died in vain unless out of victory shall come a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The Church has much to give and much to gain. It can give a powerful sanction by imparting to the new international order something of the prophetic glory of the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God, if it be not the triumph of God’s will in the affairs of men, “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”? And what is this vision of a world-federation of humanity organized on a basis of justice and fair-dealing, for the effective and impartial maintenance of peace, if it be not of the Kingdom of God?
The Church can give a spirit of good-will, without which no League of Nations can endure. . . .
The League of Nations is rooted in the Gospel. Like the Gospel, its objective is “peace on earth, good-will toward men.” Like the Gospel, its appeal is universal.
Let us implore our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, that the Peace Delegates of the Nations may be guided by the Divine Spirit and enlightened by the Divine Wisdom to the end that they may embody in the new fabric of the world’s life His righteous, loving and holy will. . . .
31. What did the Council’s Executive Committee do for having the above documents presented, and what did it send to President Wilson?
31 The executive committee of the Federal Council of the Churches also passed supporting Resolutions. One of these was for the appointing of a “suitable Special Commission representing, so far as practicable the Protestant Churches of America, to present the above documents to the Peace Conference of the Allied and Associated Nations.” Following the adoption of the Declaration and Resolutions, a recommendation was acted upon and a cablegram was sent to President Wilson at Paris by the executive committee, advising him of its action. Later, a letter dated December 18, 1918, was addressed to President Wilson, enclosing a copy of the cablegram, the Declaration and the supporting resolution. It also told of the appointing of the Special Commission to present officially the Declaration to the Peace Conference soon to convene.e
(To be continued)
a The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 13, page 325b.
c In Daniel 8:24 the words “but not by his own power” are not found in the papyrus fragments from Egypt that contain the original text of the Greek Septuagint Version, in the Chester Beatty collection of papyri. They contain Daniel 3:27 to 6:18 and Da 7:1 to 8:27. Neither are the words found in Theodotion’s second-century Greek version. But the Hebrew text has the words.
d Said Lloyd George in a speech near the beginning of 1931: He “proposed the first resolution in the gathering of the principal Allied statesmen in Paris in 1919 upon which the Covenant of the League of Nations was afterwards based. The cabinet of which I was the head was the only government in the world that had, before the [Peace] conference met, and even before the Armistice was signed, prepared carefully thought-out plans for putting the principle of that resolution into operation. Even during the most anxious moments of the war, there were committees of that cabinet sitting to frame a scheme for setting up an association of nations for ensuring peace on earth.”—See The Watch Tower as of January 15, 1931, page 31, column 1, under “A Large Portion,” paragraph 5.
e See Federal Council Bulletin, Volume II, No. 1, as of January, 1919, pages 12-14.