Part 31—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
We are now treating of matters that were prophesied to take place in the “appointed time of the end” of this worldly system of things. When World War I began in 1914, the ruling power of the revived German Empire was found fulfilling the role of the “king of the north,” whereas the Anglo-American dual world power was fulfilling the opposite role of the “king of the south.” Referring to the symbolic “king of the north,” Daniel 11:31 (JP) predicted: “And arms shall stand up on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary [the Christian temple class of Jehovah God], even the stronghold, and shall take away the continual burnt-offering [the spiritual ‘sacrifice of praise’ offered to Jehovah God by his temple class on earth], and they shall set up the detestable thing that causeth appalment [the desolating abomination, Le].” Following World War I this “desolating abomination” had been set up in the form of the League of Nations, which had been hailed by religious organizations as “the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth.” So now we face a question.
“THE DESOLATING ABOMINATION”
31. What was the “desolating abomination,” and how did Revelation 17:7-11 state there must be a reappearing of it?
31 How is it, though, that at this stage of progress of the angelic prophecy it is said: “And they shall set up the detestable thing that causeth appalment,” “the desolating abomination”? Does this disagree with the setting up of the League of Nations, which has been styled the “abomination that makes desolate” and which was set up at the instance of the king of the south in 1919?a No, indeed! Let it be remembered that that abominable counterfeit for God’s established kingdom, the League of Nations, was the “image of the wild beast.” This image of that wild beast with seven heads and ten horns was proposed by the symbolic two-horned beast, the dual world power of Britain and America, and this was done toward the close of World War I in 1918. (Rev. 13:11-15) That “image,” being a League, was made up of the seventh world power and of remnants of the preceding six world powers. As a result, it was an expression of all seven world powers and was itself the “eighth king,” the eighth world power. Revelation 17:7-11 shows that the career of this symbolic seven-headed wild beast included a disappearance: “The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is destined to ascend out of the abyss.” Hence the wild beast must reappear!
32. When and how did that “wild beast” disappear into the “abyss”?
32 Although the League of Nations was formally dissolved on January 10, 1946, when the first General Assembly of the United Nations opened in London, England, it had really ceased as a world-peace organization in September, 1939. At that time World War II burst forth at the rash conduct of the Nazi king of the north. There the League of Nations showed itself a disastrous failure, and it went down into the “abyss” dead, with only some corpselike structure remaining but without any peace-preserving energy.
33. By what stages did this world-peace “beast” reappear from the “abyss”?
33 However, would it stay down in the abyss? In September, 1942, Jehovah’s sanctuary class held an assembly, with fifty-three conventions in as many American cities holding simultaneous sessions September 18-20. The assembly grew to earthwide proportions when over eighty conventions on four continents besides islands joined in having the same program. Sunday, September 20, at the key city of Cleveland, Ohio, the president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society spoke to the visible and invisible conventions in the public address “Peace—Can It Last?” In it he dealt with Revelation 17:7-11. He showed from this that World War II would end and, during the peace that would not last, the international world-peace beast would ascend out of the abyss but finally go off into destruction.b The following year the foreign ministers of Communist Russia, Great Britain, America and China held a meeting in Moscow and expressed the need for a new world organization to include all “peace-loving states,” as the League of Nations was considered dead. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference took place in early autumn of the following year, and there a proposed charter for a permanent United Nations Organization was outlined by representatives of the same four nations. This Charter had a thorough discussion and was finally adopted by a conference of fifty-one nations at San Francisco, California. On October 24, 1945, Communist Russia deposited its instrument of ratification of the United Nations and the Charter of this international organization went into force that day, which was shortly after Japan surrendered and World War II ended on September 2.
34 The seven-headed scarlet-colored beast was again out of the abyss, and on January 10, 1946, its first General Assembly opened in London, England. It was the same beast, for the United Nations had a striking resemblance to the League of Nations, which now closed up and later turned over its physical properties to the U.N. So Daniel 11:31 does not disprove that the “abomination that makes desolate” was first given life in 1919 by the seventh world power, the king of the south. Rather, Daniel 11:31 implies that this abominable “image of the wild beast” was to be plunged into the abyss of helplessness by the Nazi king of the north through bringing on another world war; and that the abominable “image” for international worship was to be brought out with the aid of the Communist king of the north. Seen in this light, Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 8:11-14 are in full harmony with each other. Together, they are in agreement with Revelation 13:11-15 and Revelation 17:7-11. Jehovah’s angel showed the truth.
EDUCATIONAL WORK UNDER DIFFICULTY
35. What nonpolitical bodies does the king of the north try to win over and whom does he succeed in corrupting by flatteries?
35 If the king of the north cannot destroy by persecution, he seduces by slippery, smooth talk. Jehovah’s angel warned of this, saying: “And such as act wickedly against the covenant will he corrupt by flatteries; but the people that do know their God will be strong, and deal valiantly. And the intelligent among the people will impart understanding to many: yet they will stumble through the sword, and through flame, through captivity, and through being plundered for some time.” (Dan. 11:32, 33, Le) The king of the north, whether Nazi or Communist, tries to win over the religious bodies. His having religious backing strengthens his position before the common people, if it does not also salve his own conscience as well as the people’s. He must dominate the religious systems, making certain that they have clergy leaders that support the totalitarian policies of the king of the north. Rather than have a religious system with international or foreign connections, he wants an independent national religious system owing allegiance to only the national government. Whom can he, whom will he seduce and corrupt by his flatteries into supporting the totalitarian king of the north? Only “such as act wickedly against the covenant.” That is why the religious organizations of Christendom under domination by the king of the north have yielded to him. Thus they get seeming advantages from him, so that they are free from persecution and keep operating their churches openly.
36. Whom does the king of the north not succeed thus in corrupting?
36 Not so with the sanctuary class, the people that do know their God by his name and by his revealed Word. They will not deal wickedly with Jehovah’s covenant for the kingdom, into which they have been taken as “joint heirs with Christ.” Their “citizenship exists in the heavens.” They are not part of this world as Jesus himself was not. They refuse to make this world their friend and by doing so make God their enemy and lose the Kingdom. They know the command of the reigning King, Jesus Christ, for the “time of the end” of this world: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” Hence they resist the flattering offers of the king of the north and keep strong in faith and in exclusive devotion toward Jehovah God. As His witnesses to all nations they continue preaching the good news of the established kingdom of God.—Rom. 8:17; Phil. 3:20; Matt. 24:14.
37. In what way are the sanctuary class intelligent, and how do they impart understanding to many?
37 The sanctuary class are “intelligent,” discreet, discerning the principle of godly devotion that should be their rule of conduct. They act with insight and keep walking in their integrity or blamelessness toward God. Realizing their being anointed with Jehovah’s spirit to preach, they do preach, that they may “impart understanding to many.” They help many to see that it is the supreme question of universal sovereignty that has to be decided in favor of Jehovah God. They thus help many to take the side of his kingdom and to quit working in vain for the world domination by either the king of the north or the king of the south.
38. How have they been made to “stumble,” and why?
38 This uncompromising stand for God’s universal sovereignty and this proclamation of the kingdom of his reigning Son Jesus Christ within the domain of the king of the north, whether Nazi or Communist, has meant suffering. Jesus foretold such suffering or persecution during this “appointed time of the end” of Satan’s world. (Matt. 24:7-13) So because the sanctuary class refuse to worship the political State, the king of the north under both Nazi and Communist guise has mercilessly persecuted them. He has caused them to “stumble.” How? “Through the sword” of execution to death; “through flame” of hot public condemnation, bans, critical publicity, and scorching expressions of official anger; “through captivity” in prisons, in slave labor, concentration and deportation camps, in exile and in underground quarters; and “through being plundered for some time” by invasion of homes, Kingdom Halls and assemblies without proper legal warrant, along with the seizing of Bible literature and even of God’s own Word itself, since the sanctuary class feeds on His Word and preaches its good news of salvation to the lovers of truth and righteousness. “For some time” this has kept up, particularly from when the Nazi Fuehrer took dictatorial power in 1933 and also beyond Hitler’s death and through Communist Stalin’s dictatorial rule and down to the present time. In eastern Europe some of Jehovah’s witnesses have gone through years of Nazi persecution and then quickly came under Communist oppression.
39. Such stumbling is foretold to continue till when?
39 The God of mercy has helped his intelligent sanctuary class to stagger through this persecution by the king of the north in his domains and also any persecution that he can stir up against them through his propaganda and secret agents in other lands. Jehovah has lovingly fulfilled his word through his angel: “But in their stumbling will they be aided with a little help; but many will join themselves to them with deceptive flatteries. And some of the intelligent will stumble, to make a purification among them, and to select and to cleanse them, until the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed.” (Dan. 11:34, 35, Le) This persecution is foretold to continue until the king of the north comes to his “time of the end” at Armageddon. When the Devil in his role of Gog of Magog makes his final, full-strength attack “from the uttermost parts of the north,” he will be certain to have the Communist king of the north among his assault forces. (Ezek. 38:1-9; 39:1, 2, AS) So till then Jehovah’s sanctuary class may expect to have to stumble and stagger under the totalitarian, dictatorial “king.”
40. How, though, have they been “helped with a little help”?
40 Till now as they have thus stumbled along, they have indeed been “helped with a little help.” (JP) This has come about by the defeat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan, the Axis partners, the democratic “earth” thus opening its “mouth” and swallowing up the “river” belched out by Satan the Devil through that Nazi type of king of the north. (Rev. 12:15-17) Their defeat helped to bring about a liberation of Jehovah’s sanctuary class along with others in lands that had fallen under the Nazi king of the north and his allies, in Western Germany, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Philippine Islands, Korea, Burma, Siam, Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore, Wake Island, Hong Kong, Greece, but not in Russia itself. In a number of lands, also, the judicial courts have rendered decisions favorable to Jehovah’s witnesses and relieved them of restrictions and oppressions by the king of the north or by those who partake of his spirit. In large assemblies held in 199 cities around the globe from June 30, 1956, to March 1, 1957, Jehovah’s witnesses to the total number of 462,936 adopted a stirring petition to Nikolai A. Bulganin, then Premier of the Soviet Union of Moscow, asking some relief for thousands of their spiritual brothers cruelly persecuted in Russia and Siberia. This won no favor or help from Soviet government officials or courts. Yet it did give great moral support to the persecuted victims of the king of the north, and also much encouragement.c
41. From whom, however, has the greatest help come, and how?
41 The greatest help to the sanctuary class stumbling under the brutalities of the king of the north has come from the “sheep” whom Jesus foretold in his prophecy on the end of this world. In contrast with the “goats,” these sheeplike people of good will have sympathized with Jesus’ spiritual brothers, who are part of Jehovah’s sanctuary. They have come forward in increasing numbers since 1931, but particularly since 1935, when The Watchtower, as of August, published the explanation of Revelation 7:9-17, to enlighten and encourage these “other sheep” of the heavenly Shepherd. (John 10:16) They have accepted the good news of God’s established kingdom and have helped the sanctuary class in ways described in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats. (Matt. 25:31-46) But most powerfully have they rendered this help by dedicating themselves to the divine Sovereign of the universe and by congregating with the sanctuary class and joining them openly in the field in preaching the good news of God’s kingdom that still other “sheep” may be gathered in. They keep worshiping with the sanctuary class, witnessing with them and faithfully suffering with them at the hands of the king of the north as well as the king of the south, even to the death.
42. How do many “join themselves to them” with deceptive flatteries?
42 But many who “join themselves to them” do not do so wholeheartedly or with sincere motives, merely in a form of flattery or smooth conduct, for selfish reasons. Some of such ones have turned out to be spies for the king of the north. Others make complimentary remarks about Jehovah’s witnesses but go no farther toward worshiping and serving Jehovah himself. Many admire and praise the faithfulness, stanchness and integrity keeping of Jehovah’s witnesses but hold back from dedicating themselves to Him and becoming his active, preaching witnesses. This fact brings to light that there is now a test of real devotion to the true God on the part of those who may claim to be “other sheep” or who may for a time receive Bible education by Jehovah’s witnesses. They should aim, not to flatter creatures, but to please the Creator.—Gal. 1:10.
43. What is Jehovah’s purpose in permitting some of his intelligent ones to “stumble,” and what are the intelligent determined to do?
43 The God of salvation has been permitting all this persecution of his witnesses in order to test those who profess to seek him and to love him. By the fiery trials from the persecutors and oppressors Jehovah smelts those claiming to be his people in order to expose and skim away those who are mere scummy dross and to manifest, purify and retain those who are the pure, precious metal. It is by these genuine ones who lovingly carry out their dedication to him that he receives a vindication of himself as the chosen Sovereign of their lives. Thus Jehovah has permitted thousands of his intelligent witnesses to stumble under persecution, even to a fall into the death of a martyr, to refine the qualities of his surviving witnesses and to reject those not determined to endure to the finish that they may be saved. (Matt. 24:9-13) Down to the bitter end of the king of the north and his fellow persecutors Jehovah’s intelligent ones, who see and appreciate the supreme issue of universal sovereignty, are resolved to submit to purification and whitening by persecution. Their reward has no end, but at the “time appointed” their enemy persecutor has his end.
(To be continued)
a See The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1959, pages 573 (paragraph 27), 574; Oct. 1, 1959, pages 597, 598.
b See the booklet Peace—Can it Last? pages 18-22. Copyright 1942.
c See The Watchtower as of April 15, 1957, pages 249-254.