Part 35—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
Da Chapter 12 (verses 1-4) of Daniel is part of the same prophecy that was begun by Jehovah’s angel in chapter eleven. In Daniel 12:1 the angel declares to Daniel that during the final series of conflicts between the “king of the north” and “the king of the south” a heavenly prince named Michael, who stands for the children of Daniel’s people, would “stand up,” or assume governmental control. This was to be accompanied by the worst time of trouble ever in human history. The Bible evidence unmistakably establishes that this heavenly prince Michael is God’s Son who descended from heaven to become the man Jesus Christ on earth and who returned to heaven after his resurrection from the dead and sat down at his heavenly Father’s right hand. There in 1914, at the close of the “appointed times of the nations,” he was empowered as King to rule in the midst of his enemies.
18. For having been Michael in heaven, what familiarity with Scripture did Jesus show, and in the midst of what fight did he know that he had to come into his kingdom?
18 Michael in heaven was associated with the angel that brought the vision to Daniel. Thus he was acquainted with the prophecies of the book of Daniel. When on earth as the man Jesus, anointed with Jehovah’s spirit, he showed familiarity with Daniel’s book. He foreknew that the great Prince of Jehovah’s people must stand up in Kingdom power in the thick of the fight between the symbolic king of the north and the king of the south. Hence when the apostles of the sanctuary class asked Jesus for the visible evidence of his being present in the Kingdom at the consummation of the system of things, Jesus answered in harmony with the book of Daniel. He said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress. Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. . . . But he that has endured to the finish is the one that will be saved. And 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. Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) . . . ” (Matt. 24:7-15) By these events that started in 1914 with the first world war between the king of the north and the king of the south, Jehovah’s sanctuary class were to know that Jesus their Prince was present in the heavenly kingdom and that the good news of this was to be preached earth-wide as a witness to all the nations before their end.
19. To the Christians, of what were the setting up of the “disgusting thing” and their own persecutions still further evidence?
19 In 1919 the “disgusting thing that causes desolation” was set up in the form of the League of Nations and was idolized as the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth. By this the Christians had further evidence that Michael had stood up and that we were in the “appointed time of the end.” Even the persecution that they began to undergo in a special way for refusing to idolize this “image of the wild beast” and for standing loyal to the established kingdom of God and for preaching it everywhere was more evidence of our being in the last days of this system of things.
20. (a) The increase of international darkness and distress after the “beginning of pangs” fulfills what further prophecy of Jesus? (b) What is the result of the falling of the stars from heaven?
20 When they saw the darkness and distress of the nations increase after that “beginning of pangs of distress” between 1914 and 1918, these intelligent ones appreciated that it was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy and of Jesus’ prophecy: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will go to wailing and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt. 24:29, 30) When stars fall from heaven, where do they drop? Down on this earth? This earth could not endure that; it could not accommodate them all. So that is not to be expected. Yet, if they fell from heaven, they would no longer be lights in heaven for men but would all disappear. This would add to the continual darkness caused by the sun’s being darkened during the day and the moon’s not giving its light by night. The old world becomes all dark.
21. With what further details does Luke record Jesus’ prophecy, and their fulfillment is witnessed to by what reports?
21 The Christian disciple Luke gives further details of Jesus’ prophecy concerning the evidences of his kingdom and of the “appointed time of the end” of this world: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages, and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs. Also there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:10, 11, 25-27) The news reports from all over the world since 1914 bear witness to the undeniable fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, to prove that Michael, the Son of man, stood up.
22. As “fearful sights” and “great signs” from heaven, what things of recent discovery are not to be left unconsidered, and what rays are of increasing interest?
22 Not to be dismissed from consideration as “fearful sights” and “great signs” from heaven are new things that modern science is discovering and bringing to the people’s attention, to their own and the people’s mental agitation and rising fears. The so-called cosmic rays are more and more commanding scientific study. Only as far back as 1911 scientific experiments on the absorbing of penetrating gamma rays from radium in the air led a Dr. V. F. Hess to suspect that not all the ionization in air was due to this alone. Experiments later with balloons developed the right conclusion, that there was some extremely powerful radiation coming from above; there were cosmic rays. With the speed of light the cosmic rays are carried along through earth’s atmosphere and finally hit the earth with still enough energy to penetrate and be measurable to a depth of two hundred feet underground. Cosmic rays reach an energy of many billions of electron volts. The sun of our solar system plays its part in these cosmic rays.
23. According to reports, how does the sun of our solar system play its part in these cosmic rays, and with what effects?
23 It has been observed that there has been an intensifying of cosmic ray showers during what appear to be patches of something on the face of the sun. What? Patches of darkness, to us. Sunspots, we call them. They are in actuality great flares of energy on the surface of the sun. In December, 1957, during the International Geophysical Year, it was reported that “in recent months” the sun had co-operated with the scientific studies being made. How? By “displaying what is regarded here as the greatest number of flares in its recorded history. . . . In recent months the sun has been at the peak of its eleven-year sunspot cycle. This has produced an unusual number of flares. These are thought to spray out particles, which strike the earth’s atmosphere a day or two later and cause magnetic storms and other phenomena.”a The sunspot activity was reported as having “disrupted radio and television waves.” Studies have shown that, accompanying a solar flare, there is a sudden increase of cosmic radiation and radio fade-outs. About a day after the appearance of the flare a magnetic storm is felt all over the world. During the period of greatest cosmic ray intensity some areas of the earth are almost completely blacked out with respect to radio communication. Lead-encased cables for communication and for transmitting power have also been burned completely through, and unexposed X-ray film has been rendered useless.
24. What has been observed concerning the source of these cosmic rays?
24 What is the source of these cosmic rays? Not the stars. It has been scientifically established that the total energy carried by all cosmic ray particles is much more than all the energy ever emitted by stars. Cosmic rays seem to come from all directions with such great energies that scientists have not arrived at any satisfying explanation of their origin. Those of highest energy evidently come from beyond our Milky Way.
25. How could Jehovah God use these cosmic rays to affect the king of the north and the king of the south, and what other natural force might he use in his work?
25 Studies have been made of the effect of cosmic rays on living cells in animal bodies, particularly with respect to disorders of the mind. What effect do they have or will they have on the way men behave here on earth? Certainly the Creator of cosmic rays, Jehovah God, could use these to affect the minds of his enemies, including the king of the north and the king of the south, and could drive them to mutual slaughter: “every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” (Ezek. 38:21, AS) In this prophecy God warns that he will also use other natural forces that are at his disposal, possibly a rain of antimatter that has the property of annihilating any material thing that it meets. He warns all scoffers that he will do an ‘unusual work.’—Isa. 28:21.
26. How is the moon becoming an object for fears to man, and what is man feeling more and more with regard to space and the visible heavenly bodies?
26 The moon also has come in for scientific interest. The missile experts would transform it from being the gently beaming luminary of the night to being an object of fearsome possibilities. The conquest of the moon has become a serious aim. Not only “sterilized” rockets to the moon and satellites to go around and inspect the moon on both sides, but also the establishing of a manned base on the moon for observing and dominating all the earth! One Swedish scientist warned fellow scientists to study the possibility that the explosion of a hydrogen bomb on the moon might create disastrous tides of the oceans on the earth. Such an explosion would also create radioactivity on the moon and make the future exploration of it by scientific visitors hard. What with mysterious “flying saucers” being reported, even though the reports may be proved to be largely unfounded, man on earth since A.D. 1914 is indeed feeling horrors with respect to cosmic space and the sun, the moon and the stars.
27. At the sight of such things occurring, what do Jesus’ followers do, and why?
27 Should the “people that do know their God” share in the anguish of nations and in the fear of men in view of all the things coming upon the earth? Not at all! They know that Jesus foretold this present world situation and said to them: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near. . . . when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:28, 31) Today, while the doomed world is in spasms of fear, Jesus’ followers, the sanctuary class and the great crowd of “other sheep,” do straighten up with confidence and lift up their heads with joy. They understand the glorious meaning of these things which they see occurring. They know that Michael their great Prince has stood up in the kingdom of God now established. He has stood up both to deliver them and to vindicate the universal sovereignty of Jehovah.
THE PRESENT HAPPINESS AT THE SANCTUARY
1, 2. (a) As foretold by Jesus, what period of sorrow and captivity took place before Michael brought deliverance? (b) Why did Michael their Prince permit that, and who were the ones delivered?
THERE was a short period of sorrow and captivity before the heavenly Michael, standing up in his kingdom power, delivered Jehovah’s sanctuary class. Michael, when on earth as the man Jesus Christ, had foretold this in the prophecy on the end of this wicked system of things. He predicted the first world war and said that his faithful followers would be persecuted and be hated by all the nations on account of his name. Some followers would even be stumbled by this persecution and would fall away. (Matt. 24:7-12) This took place while the war in heaven was being fought by Michael and his angels against Satan the Devil and his demons. The people, for whom the reigning Michael was the great Prince, came into a forced captivity to the Devil’s visible organization on earth.
2 Michael their Prince permitted the persecution and sorrowful captivity of them for a test to them, to make two classes among those claiming to follow him become manifest. What a happiness followed when Michael, having fought a victorious war in heaven, delivered his people from the power of the king of the north and the king of the south! He delivered the sanctuary class, that is, the remnant of it that was then alive on earth, “every one that shall be found written in the book.”—Dan. 12:1, JP.
3. Because of what had their names been inscribed, and why had they not been blotted out of the book?
3 Jesus once told his disciples: “Rejoice because your names have been inscribed in the heavens.” (Luke 10:20) Being anointed to serve as the symbolic “twenty-four elders” before the throne of God in heaven, they were spoken of as the “congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens.” (Rev. 4:4, RS; Heb. 12:22, 23) When the persecution and the captivity came, they endured it in a faithful way that kept their names from being blotted out of the book of God’s record. At the happy time marked in Daniel’s prophecies they were furnished with escape.
4. In what way were many sleeping “in the dust of the earth,” and when and why was there a command to awake?
4 Jehovah’s angel told Daniel of the result of the deliverance furnished by Michael the heavenly Prince: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence.” (Dan. 12:2, JP) Because of the unjust oppressions during World War I, the sanctuary class and their associates were beaten to the dusty ground, as the symbolic “little horn,” the “king of fierce countenance,” cast them down and trampled upon them, took away the continual burnt offering of praise to God and cast down the place of his sanctuary. (Dan. 8:9-11, 23, 24, JP) They were not actually dead and buried, but Revelation 11:1-12 pictures these witnesses of Jehovah God as lying dead in the very street of this worldly organization. They were as asleep in death. Yet there was a postwar work to do, as Michael himself had foretold in Matthew 24:14. For this witness work it was necessary to use the remnant of the sanctuary class. At the marked time in 1919 Michael, the reigning Jesus Christ, delivered his people, spiritual Israel, for he was their great Prince. With an “archangel’s voice” he issued a “commanding call” to them to awake from their sleep in that abased, captive condition. (1 Thess. 4:16, 17) What was the result?
5. How did some awake “to everlasting life,” and with what happiness resulting?
5 In that first postwar period there was an awakening from the inactive deathlike state. The faithful remnant of the sanctuary class wanted to be alive and expend their strength, time and means in giving the world-wide witness to God’s established kingdom. This was the line of activity that would lead to everlasting life in the heavenly kingdom in God’s new world. By awaking and rousing themselves to the Kingdom witness-work they were those out of the “many” who awoke to everlasting life. Because of their willingness to accept the care of the earthly interests of God’s established kingdom, Michael as the reigning King appointed them to be the “faithful and discreet slave” with oversight “over all his belongings.” Happy indeed was this slave class at such an honored appointment to Kingdom service.
6. How did some awake “to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence,” and with what effect upon their names?
6 But out of the “many” there were some that awoke and put themselves into postwar action, but it was to “reproaches and everlasting abhorrence” that these awoke. These included many democratically elected “elders” of congregations. These refused to take upon themselves the responsibility of the Kingdom interests, to deliver a world-wide witness to the established Kingdom; and they abused those of the “faithful and discreet slave” class who did. They tried to lead others to oppose the work of witnessing from house to house as well as publicly. (Acts 20:20, 25) The names of all these who went over to the opposition were blotted out of the book. They were found guilty of being an abusive, self-indulging “evil slave” class and were cast out into the darkness outside in this doomed world and were assigned their part with the religious hypocrites, to weep and gnash their teeth in bitterness out there. They earned reproaches, not recommendations. They became something ever abhorrent, something ever repulsive to God.—Matt. 24:45-51.
7. How did the “intelligent” ones then shine, and how did they “bring many to righteousness”?
7 Foretelling of those who awoke to everlasting life as Kingdom witnesses, Jehovah’s angel went on to say: “And the intelligent shall shine brilliantly like the brilliance of the expanse of the sky; and they that bring many to righteousness shall be like the stars, for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3, Le) These spiritually intelligent ones began shining with heavenly light, because Jehovah’s glory had shone forth upon them and they obeyed his command to arise and shed forth light. (Isa. 60:1, 2) With the good news of the newborn kingdom of God they shone like the sun, which lets nothing be concealed from its heat all around the globe. In the midnight darkness of this world they were like stars of light, for they engaged in an educational work that brought the Bible and its Kingdom truths directly into the homes and private lives of the lost “other sheep” and turned them to righteousness, which is the worship and the ministry of the true God, Jehovah. They turned these from worshiping the abominable “image of the wild beast” or worshiping the self-deifying king of the north and his State.
8. In running to and fro, as foretold in Daniel 12:4, how do we find ourselves living in a time more highly favored than Daniel’s?
8 Living as we do in this time of the end since Michael the great Prince stood up in heaven, we are living in a time more highly favored than that of the prophet Daniel. As Daniel came near to the end of his prophetic book, Jehovah’s angel said to him: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Dan. 12:4, RS) To us in this “time of the end” Daniel’s book has been opened and unsealed. It was the meaning of the words in it that was shut up within God’s power. It was the explanation of the book that was sealed off till God should give it as the great Interpreter of his own prophecies. Sincere seekers after God’s will who go running to and fro through the words of Daniel’s book that they may know God’s will and do it are rewarded. Their knowledge of the Holy Scriptures increases. With their increased knowledge there goes a better understanding of God’s will and purpose. This enables them to impart understanding to many other sheep.
(To be continued)
a According to a special dispatch, dated Boulder, Colorado, December 14; published in the New York Times of December 15, 1957.