Part 24—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
Jehovah’s sanctuary is now a living one, made up of “living stones,” the spirit-anointed followers of the Foundation Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. In 1918 the “little horn” of Daniel 8:9, the Anglo-American dual world power, had cast down the place of this spiritual sanctuary, and in 1926 it together with other nations committed the “transgression that makes desolate” in connection with the League of Nations. This marked the beginning of the count of the 2,300 “evenings and mornings” mentioned in Daniel 8:14, at the end of which period of time Jehovah’s sanctuary was to be restored to its rightful state. This period of six years four months and twenty days ended on October 15, 1932, when “The Watchtower,” the official journal of the sanctuary class, published the evidence that the sanctuary class on earth had been cleansed and the sanctuary restored to its rightful state by the abolition from the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses of the democratically elected “elders” and by the theocratic appointment of service directors to the congregations for preaching the Kingdom good news. Thus theocratic rule took precedence in the congregations of Jehovah’s anointed remnant.
49. What thereafter did the Watchtower issues of June, 1938, declare, and what resolution did it propose for adoption?
49 That was only a right beginning, for the sanctuary had to be made theocratic in all respects. Six years later The Watchtower published the article “Organization,” Part 1 in its issue of June 1, 1938, and Part 2 in its next issue of June 15. This article opened, saying: “Jehovah’s organization is in no wise democratic. Jehovah is supreme, and his government or organization is strictly theocratic.” This article also proposed a resolution for each congregation to adopt, the resolution recognizing that “God’s government is a pure theocracy” and requesting “The Society” as his visible representative to organize the congregation for God’s service and to appoint theocratically from the visible top the various servants of the congregation.—Part 2, ¶15.
50. What action followed on this resolution, what reorganization then took place, and in what did this result?
50 This theocratic resolution was adopted and acted upon by the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses wherever found; and the visible governing body at the Society’s headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, proceeded with theocratically organizing all willing congregations. All new congregations established since then have been organized theocratically in this manner from their very start. This has resulted in a better, more peaceful and more productive organization of Jehovah’s dedicated people, in fulfillment of Isaiah 60:17. This theocratic organization went through World War II, terrifically persecuted indeed by the seventh world power and its allies and its enemies. But in no way did the theocratic organization bow fearfully in slavish bondage to dictatorial or regimented governments and in no way did it cease to render to Jehovah God the daily, continual or constant burnt offering of praise to him and his kingdom.
51. What has the sanctuary in its rightful state continued to do, and to what fulfillment of prophecy does it look?
51 Cleansed, vindicated and in its rightful theocratic state, the sanctuary continues rendering divine service till now, regardless of what the symbolic “little horn,” the “king of fierce countenance,” may yet do. The sanctuary class look to the complete fulfillment of the angel Gabriel’s explanation to Daniel concerning this cunning political “king”: “By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall magnify himself. Without warning he shall destroy many; and he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes; but, by no human hand, he shall be broken. The vision of the evenings and the mornings which has been told is true; but seal up the vision, for it pertains to many days hence.”—Dan. 8:25, 26, RS.
52. What has been the seventh world power’s most flagrant mistake, and hence what must happen to it?
52 The Anglo-American dual world power still holds its position as the active seventh world power of Biblical prophecy. It has not yielded place to the threatening Communist bloc, which has openly boasted that it will establish itself at last in the world domination. The most flagrant mistake that the seventh world power has made is in high-mindedly standing up against the Prince of princes, Jehovah God, who took to himself his power in 1914 (A.D.) and who is the Most High over all the earth and its princes, including the “king of fierce countenance.” (Ps. 83:18, AV) For especially this reason the seventh world power will shortly be broken, not by the hand of world communism, but by superhuman hand or power.
53. What is now the state of the “vision of the evenings and the mornings” after the “many days,” and what is yet to be expected?
53 God’s kingdom, against which the seventh world power has committed the abominable “transgression,” will strike it during the progress of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” just as the stone cut out of the mountain in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream struck the symbolic image of successive world powers on its feet and ground it to a powder for winds to blow away. The vision of the evenings and the mornings is no more shut up. After the “many days” of thousands of years, it has been opened up. The greater part of the vision has already been fulfilled. The symbolic “king of fierce countenance” is yet to be broken by divine hand. Then Jehovah God, who dwells by his spirit in his sanctuary, will be vindicated as Universal Sovereign. His will must be done on earth.
THE NORTH AGAINST THE SOUTH
1, 2. (a) How does Daniel’s final vision present the conflict now on between the two great blocs of nations? (b) How did Porphyry view the book of Daniel, but how is his foolishness stripped naked?
SINCE World War II the tension and “cold war” between the two great blocs of nations have been said to be between the East and the West. The final prophetic vision that was given to Daniel presents it as a climactic conflict between the North and the South. The vision is so accurate in prophetic detail that unbelievers have denied that Daniel received and wrote down the description of the vision. Porphyry, a Greek philosopher of the third century (about 233-304 A.D.), who produced a work called Against the Christians in fifteen volumes, was one of these.
2 Porphyry recognized Jesus Christ merely as an outstanding philosopher but did not agree with him that Daniel was the author of the Bible book bearing his name. Because Daniel’s last vision seemed to describe so closely the Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Porphyry could not accept it as history written in advance by inspiration, but looked on it as a history written after it happened. Hence Porphyry viewed the author of the book of Daniel as a fraud, putting on the appearance of being a prophet to whom Jehovah God sent angels and revealed visions. However, the foolishness of Porphyry and of skeptics like him is stripped naked. How so? Because the vision is found to have foretold events really happening in this twentieth century and Daniel has not been here to write them down after they have happened. Truthfully the angel had told Daniel: “I . . . came to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”—Dan. 10:13, 14, RS.
3. Who were in unseen charge of past world powers, and how did the angel disclose this fact to Daniel?
3 From no one else but an angel of Jehovah God the seventh world power, the Anglo-American dual world power, should learn that world powers prior to it have had demon princes in unseen charge of them. The angel of God that came in answer to Daniel’s prayer was held up three weeks by one such demon prince. He explained his delay, telling Daniel: “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia . . . Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I am through with him, lo, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.” This angelic appearance to Daniel was on the twenty-fourth day of Nisan in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia.—Dan. 10:1-4, 10-14, 20, 21, RS.
4. To be a supporter and stronghold, to whom did this angel stand up in the first year of Darius the Mede, and what is there to show an effect of this?
4 Darius the Mede, the uncle of Cyrus and the first ruler of the Medo-Persian world power, had now passed off the scene. But the angel refers back to him in starting off his wonderful prophecy concerning Daniel’s people in days yet to come, down to the “latter days.” He said: “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede [539-538 B.C.], I stood up to be a supporter and a stronghold unto him.” (Dan. 11:1, JP) This pagan ruler Darius the Mede was not the one whom Jehovah’s angel had stood up to confirm and strengthen, but it was Michael. The angel had just spoken of Michael as contending by his side. In view of Jehovah’s purposes that had to be carried forward concerning Daniel’s people, over whom the heavenly chief prince Michael was the prince, this angel stood up to offer his strength and aid to Michael as against the demon prince of the Medo-Persian world power. Darius had to be maneuvered in harmony with Jehovah’s purposes, as, for instance, when Jehovah sent his angel to “shut the lions’ mouths” from devouring Daniel. So King Darius was glad to take Daniel out of the lions’ den into which the envious enemies had forced King Darius to lower him. As a result of this deliverance of Daniel, one of the three presidents of Darius’ kingdom, Darius the Mede of his own accord made a decree for all his subjects to “tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring for ever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.” Thus it was that “this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”—Dan. 6:21-28, RS.
5. Whom would Bible students be slighting by passing over any part of this final vision as unimportant now, and what is the value of understanding the first part of it?
5 What now follows in the prophecy to Daniel is important, all of it. It is God’s own message through an angel associate of Michael the prince. It is in answer to Daniel’s prayer for three weeks. It is no mere heavily detailed prophecy of political intrigues and fighting between ancient rival kings, that is not worthy of our time-consuming study and examination today. Since God’s own angel took time and fought for the opportunity to bring the prophetic message to Daniel because God had sent him with this message; also since God inspired Daniel to write the vision down just as given by the angel, then we should be slighting God and his angel and Daniel were we to pass over any part of the prophecy as unessential or unimportant to us in these critical days. Why so? Because our study of the events that match the prophecy shows the accuracy of Jehovah God’s foresight and vindicates him as the great Prophet. Hence our study and proving of the first part of the prophetic vision strengthens our faith and confidence in the certainty of fulfillment of the last part of the prophecy. Yes, it fortifies our faith in all the prophecies of God’s Word as being true and reliable.
6. Who were the three kings of Persia that were yet to stand up, and who was the fourth one foretold?
6 Having referred to Darius the Mede, the first Medo-Persian world ruler, Jehovah’s angel went on to say: “And now will I declare unto thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all; and when he is waxed strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.” (Dan. 11:2, JP) The three kings of Persia that were to “stand up” or assume world rulership were (1) Cyrus the Great, (2) Cambyses (530-522 B.C.), the conqueror of Egypt, and (3) Darius Hystaspes (521-485 B.C.), the son-in-law of Cyrus. In listing these three, no count is made of the usurper, the Magian named Gaumata, who pretended to be Smerdis Bardija the brother of Cambyses. He reigned less than eight months and was discovered to be false and was put to death by the Persian Darius I (Hystaspes). Under orders of this Darius an invasion of Greece began in 499 B.C. During a second invasion the Persians were routed at Marathon, September 28-29, 490 B.C., and their army was obliged to retreat to Asia Minor. Five years later Darius I died and was succeeded by the “fourth” king, Xerxes I.
7. Why and how did this fourth rich king stir up all against the realm of Greece?
7 The Persian defeat at Marathon called for revenge. So Xerxes, having become strong through his riches, made empire-wide preparations for humbling the Greeks. He is understood to be the Ahasuerus who took Esther the Jewess as wife and who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. (Esther 1:1) Collected from all these provinces, his host of troops included East Indians and Ethiopians. The Phoenicians furnished 1,200 warships with crews, besides which there were 3,000 ships for transport of his grand mixture of troops. The historian Herodotus says there were 1,700,000 footmen, 100,000 horsemen and 510,000 sailors and marines, a total of 2,310,000 men. In the spring of 480 B.C. this huge war machine moved against Greece.
8. How were the invading Persians obliged to leave Greece?
8 A heroic Greek delaying action at Thermopylae, Greece, was overcome at great cost to the Persians. They ravaged Athens, but at Salamis these Persians met with terrible defeat, for here the Greeks had determined to make their last stand. Another victory for the Greeks at Plataea the following year proved decisive. Greece was no place for the Persians, and back to Asia Minor King Xerxes fled. Even Byzantium, the capital of Thrace, was wrested from the Persians by the courageous Spartans from southern Greece.
9. Why do higher critics say that the angel erred regarding the kings of Persia, but why did the angel mention only four kings and proceed to the next world power?
9 Despite this ouster from Greece, the Persian Empire continued as the fourth world power for about 150 years longer. Consequently seven more Persian kings followed Xerxes, namely, Artaxerxes I, Xerxes II, Darius II (Ochus), Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III, Arses and Darius III. For this reason “higher critics” say that the angel erred in telling Daniel: “Now I will show you the truth.” But not so, for the angel did not say that the “fourth” Persian king would be the last or that Xerxes I would be the fourth and last world ruler counting from Cyrus the Great. He merely stops with this “fourth” Persian king who was to make such an all-out, vengeful campaign against Greece, only to meet with bitter defeat and loss of prestige. He was the last Persian emperor to carry war into Greece. So the angel condensed history by passing over the succeeding reigns of the seven remaining Persian kings and by taking a prophetic preview of the European king who reversed matters and carried the war into Persia. The angel was therefore historically right as he now said:
10. Who was the “mighty king” that then stood up, and where?
10 “And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” (Dan. 11:3, JP) This was in 336 B.C., in the same year that the eleventh and last Persian world ruler counting from Cyrus the Great was crowned. In that year the Macedonian Alexander ‘stood up,’ being crowned king of Macedonia as successor to his father, Philip II, after whom the Biblically famous city of Philippi was named. This twenty-year-old ruler did prove to be a “mighty king” and came to be called Alexander the Great.
11. How did Alexander come to “rule with great dominion,” and do “according to his will”?
11 Fired with the scheme originated by his father, he launched out on the conquest of Asia and met with speedy success. He seized the Persian provinces in the Middle East and in Egypt, where he founded the city that exists to this day, Alexandria. Turning northward, he crossed the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers to meet Darius III on the field of battle at Gaugamela near where Nineveh the ancient capital of Assyria lay moldering in ruins. Alexander’s phalanxes and cavalry, 47,000 strong, dashed against Darius’ host of 1,000,000 warriors and scattered them. Darius III fled, only to be murdered, thus bringing to an end the rule of the Achaemenian dynasty that had begun with Darius I. With the Persian Empire now under his sway, Alexander the Great did “rule with great dominion” and did do “according to his will.” He married Roxana, the daughter of the conquered Bactrian king, and also Statira, a daughter of the Persian King Darius III. By Roxana he had a son who was named Alexander (Allou). By a certain Barsine he had an illegitimate son named Heracles (Hercules).
(To be continued)