Concern for Man’s Survival into Peace
1, 2. (a) Who today are showing the most concern for the continued existence of humanity? (b) How are they showing this concern, and why?
WHO, then, of all peoples on earth are showing most concern for the continued existence of humanity in this nuclear, missile, space age? Is it politicians and philosophers like the prominent men whom we have already quoted, who see serious danger from only human sources? No, it must be those who see facing the people of Russia, China, Britain, America, France, Germany and all the other nations the one danger greater than a third world war with nuclear weapons, and who have been incessantly warning all mankind about it for more than eighty years now.
2 They are the ones today faithfully following and obeying Jesus Christ, who nineteen centuries ago was so concerned for the continued existence of the human family that he was willing to die a cruel death, to lay down his perfect life as a ransom sacrifice for whoever of mankind would believe and accept it. He was so concerned for God’s earthly creatures that he also left instructions for his true followers who would be living at this most crucial time of human history. He instructed them to show the greatest concern for mankind’s continued existence by their warning men concerning the real danger and by preaching God’s kingdom as the one and only means for enjoying protection and preservation. These Kingdom witnesses of today know that not only is the life of the people during this condemned old system of things involved but also their personal everlasting life in God’s new system of things. The people need to know the safe course to take in order not to be destroyed forever with this old system of things when it is destroyed like the antediluvian world of Noah’s day. They need to hear God speak peace.
WHEN AND HOW?
3. When and how does God speak peace to all nations, but why is there continual disturbance internationally?
3 Since the nations inescapably face the long-foretold destruction in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” just ahead, when is it that God speaks peace to all nations? And how? The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that the time has already begun. It is now! And God speaks peace by means of his enthroned King, Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace. No, we are not speaking in self-contradiction. The political governments and nations of this world do not hear God speak peace. They suffer continual disturbance, fears and perplexity. Their being in this disquieting condition is not because Jehovah God is not now speaking peace. It is because they have shut their ears to hearing him speak peace.
4. How have the nations been trying to get peace, and how do the results show that they are wicked?
4 Jehovah is called the God of peace. Hence we read: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20) Continuous, perfect peace can come only from Jehovah God, and the nations under Satan the Devil have been striving to get such peace without God. How? By international alliances, by nonaggression pacts, by disarmament conferences, by circulating peace petitions, by cultural exchanges between nations, and by other worldly-wise means, yes, by every means except by God’s kingdom through Christ. The results of their desperate efforts show into which of the two classes described in Isaiah 57:19-21 the political governments and nations fall. Isaiah says: “‘Continuous peace there will be to the one that is far away and to the one that is near,’ Jehovah has said, ‘and I will heal him.’ ‘But the wicked are like the sea that is being tossed, when it is unable to calm down, the waters of which keep tossing up seaweed and mire. There is no peace,’ my God has said, ‘for the wicked ones.’”
5. What kind of language will God at last speak to them, and why?
5 These refusing God’s peace talk, then the only kind of language from God that the political governments and nations can understand must be war. Hence war, not peace, is what Jehovah God will speak to them at Armageddon, in the “great day of God the Almighty.” That kind of divine speech will bring their eternal destruction.
6. Who, however, hear what God speaks now, and what kind of approach does his speech make to them?
6 However, among all nations to whom the good news of God’s kingdom has gone since 1918 there have proved to be multitudes of meek, peace-loving, sheeplike individuals. These humble themselves to keep quiet and hear what Jehovah God has to say through his Kingdom witnesses. They desire to hear what He has to speak now, before he speaks war to their nations at Armageddon. The very approach that God’s speech now makes to these sheeplike individuals is one imparting peace, for when Jesus Christ sent out disciples to preach from house to house he said: “Wherever you enter into a house say first: ‘May this house have peace.’ Also, wherever you enter into a city and they receive you, . . . go on telling them: ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”—Luke 10:5, 8, 9.
7. How do these people show themselves to be friends of peace, and with whom do they then associate themselves, and why?
7 The sheeplike people in all nations show themselves to be friends of peace with God, for they detect the speech of God in the good news that his Kingdom witnesses preach and they joyfully accept the Kingdom message. These friends of peace see that there is no peace between the political nations and that these nations do not enjoy peace with God. At the same time they see it is among God’s Kingdom witnesses that the prophecy of Psalm 85:8-10 is even now being fulfilled, namely: “I will hear what The true God Jehovah will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his men of loving-kindness, but let them not return to self-confidence. Surely his salvation is near to those fearing him, for glory to reside in our land. Loving-kindness and trueness themselves have met each other; righteousness and peace themselves have kissed each other.” So by associating themselves with Jehovah’s people and his men of loving-kindness these sheeplike individuals enter into peace.
8, 9. (a) Why does Jehovah have no war to fight with the Kingdom witnesses? (b) How does he speak peace to them and fulfill Zechariah 9:10 toward them?
8 The Kingdom witnesses, Jehovah’s people, have no part with Christendom in rejecting Jehovah’s anointed King, Jesus Christ, and in choosing the man-made agency for peace, the United Nations. No, but as representatives of the heavenly Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, they fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy. How? By rejoicing greatly and shouting in acclaim to Jehovah’s King, who has come riding along to his coronation, “just, and having salvation.” Therefore Jehovah God has no war to fight with them. True, they have come from nations that are often at war with one another, in cold war, hot war, economic war. But God unites these sheeplike people from all nations around his one anointed King, Jesus Christ, and speaks peace to them. He teaches them the art of godly peace. He commands peace among their ranks. He fills them with “the wisdom from above,” which is “first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, . . . not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.” (Jas. 3:17) He instructs them to be “earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3) In this manner he cuts off war from their congregations and assemblies and fulfills to his spiritual people in a modern way Zechariah’s prophecy to those who now accept Jehovah’s King:
9 “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”—Zech. 9:10, AS.
10, 11. (a) How do the facts respecting them match Zechariah 9:10? (b) In 1958 what did they adopt and begin to distribute in support of what prophecy by Isaiah?
10 Do the facts match this prophecy? Yes! Examine the international organization and the affairs of the Kingdom witnesses, who are Jehovah’s witnesses. They are found today in more than 175 lands; yet you will find that in their Christian congregations and international assemblies there exists no tribal warfare or international warfare such as once raged between the tribe of Ephraim, the leading tribe in the northern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem with its king of the tribe of Judah. There are no international or interracial jealousies, rivalries, competitions, prejudices, which things are a sign of earthly, animal, demonic wisdom. At the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York city in 1958, attended on Friday, August 1, 1958, by 194,418 from 123 lands, and at subsidiary Divine Will assemblies in ninety other cities outside the United States, Jehovah’s witnesses adopted a stirring Resolution, 72,348,403 copies of which were printed in fifty-three languages to be distributed free throughout the earth. By adopting and distributing this Resolution they vowed before Jehovah God and his reigning King Jesus Christ to carry out now the prophetic description of godly, peace-loving people, in Isaiah 2:2-4:
11 “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills, and to it all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will instruct us about his ways and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.”
12. What could they honestly declare in that Resolution, and why?
12 Both during World War I and ever since then Jehovah’s witnesses have taken no part in fighting “against blood and flesh” with death-dealing instruments. (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3, 4) Hence in their International Assembly Resolution they could honestly say: “That, figuratively speaking, we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning shears and, although of so many nationalities, we will not lift up sword against one another because we are Christian brothers and members of the one family of God, neither will we learn to war against one another any more, but we will walk in God’s paths in peace, unity and brotherly love.”
13. When, therefore, is Isaiah 2:2-4 being fulfilled, and why is there virtue or merit in its being fulfilled then?
13 Remarkably, therefore, Isaiah’s prophecy that the worshipers of Jehovah of one nationality would not lift up sword against His worshipers of another nationality and would not learn war any more is not waiting to be fulfilled after the war of Armageddon, but is being fulfilled now. It is now that Jehovah is speaking peace to his people and instructing them about his ways. It is now that they are walking in his paths, obeying his law out of heavenly Zion, abiding by his judgment and accepting matters in the way that he sets these straight. It is now, during the greatest international arms race of human history, that they are learning the art of true Christian peace and obeying Jehovah’s Prince of Peace, now when it is left to one’s free choice to do so and now when there is virtue or merit in doing so, without one’s being forced to do so.
14, 15. (a) What beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount do they enjoy, and why do they not fear Armageddon? (b) How will Jehovah do what disarmament conferences failed to do, and who will see him do it?
14 Now they cherish the beatitude set forth in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’” (Matt. 5:9) They know now the happiness of the “sons of God,” because they are at peace with God and with the kingdom of his dear Son. For this reason they do not fear the battle of Armageddon, even though it is the greatest danger that has ever existed for all nations. They know that at Armageddon Jehovah God will continue to speak peace through his great Shepherd King to all his sheeplike people out of all nations. He will defend and preserve them, whereas he will speak a war of annihilation against all those on earth who have not now sued for peace with Him and his King. By destroying these hostile ones Jehovah God will do what international disarmament conferences have failed to do: wipe out international war from a blood-drenched earth. The happy peaceable ones, who are the “sons of God,” will prove to be the ones to whom Psalm 46:8-11 is addressed:
15 “Come you, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire. ‘Give in and know you that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ Jehovah of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is a secure height for us.”
16. Why will these have to take no hand in the war of Armageddon?
16 The survivors of this “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will indeed behold the activities of Jehovah in setting astonishing events on the earth, wiping out all peace disturbers. These prospective survivors are already committed to peace and friendship with God and will have to take no hand in the universal war of Armageddon. Their course is dictated for them in the prophetic words: “As for you, do not be afraid or be terrified because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” For this reason they do not now have to arm and train for that war of Armageddon.—2 Chron. 20:15.
17. (a) After Armageddon, over whom will the millennial reign begin? (b) How does Isaiah verify the enduring of peace then?
17 When Armageddon ends, the millennial reign of the Prince of Peace will begin over a loyal, peaceable people on earth, saved out of all the present nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth; hence it will embrace all the earth. Concerning his reign this prophetic prayer was recorded: “Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness. In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.” (Ps. 72:3, 7) The prophet Isaiah verifies this enduring of peace under the One whose name is to be called Prince of Peace, saying: “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.” (Isa. 9:6, 7) As God’s Mouthpiece he will speak peace to all nations, to his surviving subjects out of all nations.
18. How will the historical prophecy of the rainbow after the Flood be fulfilled, and into what will the earth be converted?
18 Thousands of years ago a symbol of God’s peaceful purpose, a rainbow, appeared to Noah and his family after the ancient world of the ungodly was destroyed by the global flood. Fulfilling that historical prophecy, peace like a glowing rainbow will arch itself over all the earth and its inhabitants, after the storm of Armageddon destroys this present war-racked system of things and cleanses the earth for the peaceful, righteous new system of things. Then those who begin living on earth under Christ’s reign will build confidently without fear that what they construct will be destroyed or seized by armed invaders or that their productive fields will be overrun and ruined by maneuvering troops or heavy engines of destruction. They will build and plant in the stimulating assurance that they will occupy, reap and enjoy the products of their labors. The ruiners of the earth being annihilated, the earth will be converted by God’s blessing through his King into a perfect paradise home.
19. How will peace be established between man and animal life, and how may all enjoy “peace on earth” as God’s “men of good will”?
19 In this earthly paradise all the animal life will be tamed by God’s power and will be at peace with man, who will exercise God-given dominion over them. “And a mere little boy will be leader over them.” (Isa. 11:6) Perfect health will become obedient mankind’s possession, and bodily perfection will make them beautiful creatures, made in God’s image, according to His likeness. Moreover, all those sleeping in the memorial tombs will be awakened by the voice of the King and will come forth by resurrection to opportunities for everlasting life in perfection on earth under his rule as an Everlasting Father. To these he will speak peace. By forever worshiping Jehovah God and obeying his Savior King all earth’s inhabitants may, to the glory of God in the heights above, enjoy “peace on earth” as “men of good will,” men whom the God of peace approves and to whom he speaks peace.