United Against Nations in the Valley of Decision
“Crowds, crowds are in the low plain of the decision, for the day of Jehovah is near in the low plain of the decision.”—Joel 3:14.
1. Why must a decision be made sometime, and by whom?
A DECISION must be made sometime. A decision must be handed down by a competent judge and must be executed. Things cannot be left to go on indefinitely as they are. This is no time for indecision. The earthly situation must not be left to get out of hand, otherwise a worse disaster would result to all mankind at the hand of the nations now so hopelessly divided. A decision simply has to be made and executed with power and authority. Man’s plain common sense can see that.
2. Why are many disturbed people feeling hopeless, and why may Christendom not be looked to hopefully?
2 We are living in a time of “anguish of nations, not knowing the way out.” There is no denying that the situation is proving too difficult for the nations and their political, economic, military and religious advisers. Numberless people are seriously disturbed; they feel hopeless. This is because they view things humanly, and humanity has nothing to offer in itself. Repeatedly humanity has demonstrated that it cannot pull itself up by its own bootstraps. No longer has it any reason to look to Christendom hopefully. Humanity has looked to Christendom in vain. Now Christendom herself threatens total obliteration for all mankind.—Luke 21:25.
3. Why should lovers of humanity no longer feel hopeless, and why will it not be hard for this earth to be regulated?
3 However, there is good reason why all sincere lovers of humanity should no longer feel hopeless. The time is here, and the determining decision has been made! The world situation has not got out of hand for the great Regulator of all the universe. Unless he had permitted it, the situation could not have got to the present state of affairs. He has not meant for things to go on indefinitely as they have been, till at last men will have done their worst. He has decided to bring all things afflicting mankind to a halt. His time for executing his decision is near. Figuratively speaking, the nations are in the valley of judgment, where his decision will be executed, and that shortly. In carrying out his righteous decision it will not be hard for him to regulate this small part of his universe, the earth, because he is God Almighty, the Creator, the One alone whose name is Jehovah.—Joel 1:15; Isa. 40:28.
4. Why will Jehovah not use Christendom in straightening out world affairs?
4 No! He will not use Christendom in straightening out world affairs. Christendom claims to have a connection with him, but what do her claims amount to? She has printed Bibles in more than 1,150 languages and dialects. Many of these Bible versions set forth more or less frequently the Creator’s personal name, Jehovah; and Christendom has circulated hundreds of millions of these Bible translations containing his holy name. But Christendom has not lived up to the Bible, for in one hand she offers mankind the Holy Bible but in the other hand the nuclear bomb mounted on a ballistic missile.
5. How is Christendom like the tribe of Ephraim, and how will Jehovah God treat her?
5 Christendom is like the tribe of Ephraim mentioned in the Bible. Just as this tribe led the nation of Israel in mingling among the worldly peoples, Christendom has mingled herself with unchristian peoples. She has made herself a part of the nations of this world. (Hos. 7:8-11) She is the founder and main supporter of the United Nations, into which one hundred nations of all sorts have already been drawn. She is no better than the rest of those nations. In fact, in the light of the Bible that she puts out world-wide, she has proved herself to be worse than those nations. No wonder that Jehovah God has not used her and will not use her to put worldly affairs in order! His decision is to treat her like the other nations, only worse, according to her responsibility before him.
6. (a) Where could Christendom read for herself about what God will do to her, and has God left her to only that source of information? (b) What, then, is as a plague to Christendom?
6 God’s own Book, the Bible that Christendom still continues to distribute, tells what he will do with her. Really she could read in it for herself what God will do with her when he executes his decision in the valley or the “low plain of the decision.” But he has not left it to the Bible itself to tell her what he will do with her and all other worldly nations. He has sent forth true Bible Christians, his witnesses, to tell Christendom and all other nations about His decision. In this way Jehovah God has been serving notice upon Christendom in warning. So she is doubly inexcusable for not knowing. In itself the circulating of Bibles inside and outside of Christendom by her Bible distributors has not been a plague to her. But Jehovah’s sending forth his anointed witnesses with the announcement of his decision—this has been a devastating, insufferable plague to Christendom. The Bible foretold this plague upon her.
SYMBOLIC LOCUST PLAGUE
7. Who alone on earth used to possess Jehovah’s law and commandments, and of what plague upon their land for disobedience were they informed?
7 No plague from God comes without cause. Up till nineteen hundred years ago the Jewish people with their capital at Jerusalem or Zion were his chosen people. They alone were the possessors of God’s law as stated in the Ten Commandments and the other commandments given through Moses and the other Jewish prophets, all these being contained in the inspired Bible books from Genesis to Malachi. In the fifth book of Moses, called Deuteronomy, Jehovah God told ancient Israel of the curses that he would bring upon that nation if they did not keep his commandments. Among the curses was to be this plague: “A lot of seed you will take out to the field, but little will you gather, because the locust will devour it. Vineyards you will plant and certainly cultivate, but you will drink no wine and gather nothing in, because the worm will eat it up. All your trees and the fruitage of your ground whirring insects will take in possession.”—Deut. 28:38, 39, 42.
8. What was the worst plague of that kind foretold to come, and what cause was there to be for this?
8 The worst plague of locusts and worms ever foretold to come was that one of which Jehovah’s prophet Joel gave forewarning. That plague was not threatened by Jehovah God without a just cause occasioned by his people. That is why in Joel’s prophecy Jehovah presents himself as at war with his own people. Here let Christendom who today claims to be God’s people take serious notice!
9. Who was this Joel, and what war cry of alarm did he give?
9 But who was this prophet Joel? One of Jehovah’s witnesses. In fact, his name Joel means “Jehovah Is God.” Joel was true to his personal name, for he witnessed to the fact that Jehovah is God. Joel was the one whom Jehovah used to bring to His people the description of the threatened plague and to tell them how to have God turn it aside. Speaking as Jehovah’s mouthpiece, Joel (2:1, 2) says: “Blow a horn in Zion, O men, and shout a war cry in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land get agitated; for the day of Jehovah is coming, for it is near! It is a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick gloom, like light of dawn spread out upon the mountains.” What a war cry of alarm!
10. In His day, with what does Jehovah come against his own people, and what is the effect of this with which he comes?
10 In this “day of Jehovah” he comes with his army of devastation and urges them on against his own people: “And Jehovah himself will certainly give forth his voice before his military force, for his camp is very numerous. For he who is carrying out his word is mighty; for the day of Jehovah is great and very fear-inspiring, and who can hold up under it?” (Joel 2:11) But in this case Jehovah’s army, his “military force,” is of a very unusual kind. He himself explains later what it is, saying: “And I will make compensation to you for the years that the locust, the creeping, unwinged locust, and the cockroach and the caterpillar have eaten, my great military force that I have sent among you.” (Joel 2:25) With such an army of insects no direct killing of human creatures is done. But the effect is the same as that of a vast military host passing through the land, seizing all the available food supplies and denuding the land and wrecking the appearance of the landscape, even barking the trees, and leaving in its wake hunger and famine, from which numberless people will die.
11. How long did the Jews wait for fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, and who declared it to be fulfilled, and when?
11 We have no Biblical record that such a plague of voracious insects afflicted the land of Israel for years and invaded Zion or Jerusalem. The Bible does indicate, however, how Joel’s prophecy of the plague of locusts, cockroaches and caterpillars was to be fulfilled. Hundreds of years the Jews waited for Joel’s prophecy to be fulfilled. Then in the spring of the year 33, on the day of Shabúoth or Pentecost, the Jewish Christian Peter rose up in Jerusalem under new inspiration of God’s spirit and made an application of the prophecy. Peter quoted from Joel’s prophecy, from the same second chapter in which the insect plague is foretold. Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32, which tells of Jehovah’s pouring out his holy spirit on all sorts of flesh “after that,” so that all those who received the spirit, young and old, male and female, slave and free, prophesied in Jehovah’s name. On that day of Pentecost when God’s spirit was poured out upon the 120 faithful disciples of Jesus Christ gathered in Jerusalem and they spoke miraculously in foreign languages, Peter declared that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled.—Acts 2:1-21, 33.
12. What conversion resulted in Jerusalem from fulfillment of that part of Joel’s prophecy?
12 Because those 120 Christian disciples, who were anointed with God’s spirit, spoke in foreign tongues “about the magnificent things of God,” about 3,000 Jews and proselytes got baptized in water as converts to Christianity. Later the number of converts right there in Jerusalem or Zion rose to about 5,000. (Acts 2:11, 41, 47; 4:4) But what about that part of the prophecy regarding the locust plague?
13. Did John the Baptist’s diet indicate any fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, but what happened after that event on the day of Pentecost?
13 During the four years that John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached, no literal locust plague had laid the land barren like a wilderness. True, John the Baptist had eaten insect locusts for food in the wilderness of Judea, but these were solitary locusts, not those in swarms big enough to become a plague. (Matt. 3:1-4) But after Jesus Christ died and was resurrected and was called back to heaven by his heavenly Father and then received a measure of the holy spirit and poured it out upon his disciples in Jerusalem at Pentecost, what happened? The Jewish religious leaders and their followers became plagued. No, not with literal locusts, but with symbolic Christian locusts. The disciples of Jesus Christ, who had been anointed with holy spirit, carried on a campaign of prophesying or preaching throughout Jerusalem about God’s kingdom and about the destruction of that “crooked generation” of anti-Christian Jews.
14. Where did those symbolic locusts preach, and how were they urged on?
14 They preached in Jerusalem’s house of worship or temple. They preached in the private homes of the people. Daily these thousands of Christian believers, filled with God’s spirit, did this. (Acts 2:40, 46, 47; 3:1 to 4:2) There was no controlling them. They were moved by God’s spirit, and they overran the city. Even the angel of Jehovah God urged them onward over the protests of the priests and other religious leaders. (Acts 4:31; 5:12-20) What a plague from Jehovah God this was for unrepentant Jews!
15. What did Joel tell religious leaders to do, but what befell their city and its temple and why?
15 Joel’s prophecy had told religious leaders what to do in the face of the impending plague: “Between the porch and the altar [of the temple] let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep and say, ‘Do feel sorry, O Jehovah, for your people, and do not make your inheritance a reproach, for nations to rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples: “Where is their God?”’” (Joel 2:17) The Jewish priests of those days refused, however, to call upon Jehovah’s name through Christ for salvation. So destruction came upon them A.D. 70, when the Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem and its temple and laid the land of Judea waste, and the minority of surviving Jews were scattered abroad as slaves to face the question: “Where is their God?”
16, 17. (a) How did those religious leaders show that they were heavily plagued, and what indicates whether the plague let up? (b) What could not have vexed them more than this, and what did it portend?
16 As to how heavily plagued the priests and associated religious leaders felt at the preaching campaign spearheaded by Jesus’ apostles, we read: “So they brought them [under arrest] and stood them in the Sanʹhedrin hall. And the high priest questioned them and said: ‘We positively ordered you not to keep teaching upon the basis of this name [of Jesus], and yet, look! you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring the blood of this man upon us.’” In reply, Peter and his fellow apostles showed themselves to be true witnesses of Jehovah by saying: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men. . . . And we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.” (Acts 5:27-32) The apostles were beaten and let go. Then what did they do? Acts 5:42 answers: “Every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.”
17 A plague of literal locusts could not have vexed those Jewish religionists more than did the Christian witnesses of Jehovah who filled Jerusalem with their teaching by bearing witness publicly and from house to house. This plague of symbolic locusts portended a literal destruction upon their religious institutions later.
THE MODERN PLAGUE
18, 19. (a) Why does God not need any material temple or city on earth today? (b) Of what does Christendom claim to be the modern counterpart, but in what aspect is she the counterpart of this?
18 Jerusalem or Zion with its temple perished in the year 70. But Jehovah God has his spiritual temple, of which Jesus Christ is the foundation cornerstone and his faithful disciples are the superstructure of “living stones.” (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; Eph. 2:20-22) This spiritual temple of God has a secondary foundation of the Christian apostles and prophets. So too God’s New Jerusalem, which is the spiritual “bride” of Jesus Christ, is built upon the foundation of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb [Jesus Christ].” (John 3:28-30; Rev. 21:2, 9-14) Thus Jehovah God needs no material temple or city on earth any more. In the religious realms of today Christendom claims to be the modern counterpart of ancient Jerusalem or Zion. She applies to herself the promises and prophecies that the Bible addresses to Jerusalem or Zion. However, Christendom is the modern counterpart of unfaithful, disloyal Jerusalem, such as Jerusalem (Zion) was in the first century. At that time she refused Jesus Christ, who came riding into her on an ass, and she had him killed outside her walls and then persecuted his disciples.—Matt. 21:1-16; 23:37-39.
19 Modern Christendom, now living in this time of the “conclusion of the system of things,” is the Zion or “holy mountain” that professes to belong to God but that refuses to heed the warning that is prophetically given in Joel, chapter two, verses one to three.
20. (a) Hence, what must likewise come upon Christendom? (b) How does Revelation indicate that this was to come upon Christendom?
20 Christendom is God’s people in name only. She is thus the religious system of today that must suffer from a symbolic locust plague, as earthly Jerusalem or Zion did in the days of the apostles of Christ. She is the religious realm upon whom the plague foretold in Joel’s prophecy must come. That there would be a symbolic locust plague in this time of the “conclusion of the system of things” was foretold in the last book of the Bible. This book called Revelation was written by the apostle John about twenty-six years after unfaithful Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Therefore this Revelation shows in symbolic language what was to come, not upon the ancient Jerusalem that was unfaithful and that had been destroyed, but upon unfaithful Jerusalem’s modern antitype, Christendom, for the Revelation tells of the “things that must shortly take place. . . . for the appointed time is near.” (Rev. 1:1-3) In chapter nine is described a symbolic locust plague. This was to be the first of three final woes that were to come upon Christendom before God’s universal war would take place at the “low plain of the decision.” Revelation 9:1-11 borrows a number of expressions from Joel’s prophecy, and in it John says:
21. What did John see fall from heaven, and whom did this symbolize?
21 “I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and the key of the pit of the abyss was given him. And he opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke ascended out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun was darkened, also the air, by the smoke of the pit.” Falling stars, such as the Bible uses to symbolize unfaithful servants of God, disappear from sight in the night. But not so with this star, for it symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ at his return in Kingdom power and glory to bless God’s faithful servants and to execute God’s judgments upon all servants of Satan the Devil, who is the “ruler of this world.”—Rev. 22:16.
22. How is this shown to be the right application in regard to the “key of the pit of the abyss”?
22 Nineteen centuries ago when Jesus died and was buried, he went into the abyss of death. (Rom. 10:6, 7) When Almighty God raised him out of the abyss on the third day, he gave to Jesus the “key of the pit of the abyss,” to lock or unlock it. Hence, in Revelation 1:18, the resurrected, glorified Jesus says in the vision to John: “I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Haʹdes [the common grave of dead mankind].”
23. Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to use that “key” in 1919, and how did he do so?
23 In the Revelation vision John saw the Lord Jesus Christ at God’s spiritual temple. In modern fulfillment, in 1918, during the throes of World War I, the heavenly Lord Jesus Christ in company with Jehovah God came to the spiritual temple to put to the test all those who claimed to be his Christian disciples. In the course of that critical year of 1918 the enemies of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah took advantage of martial law and fanatical patriotism and religious hatreds that then prevailed, and they reduced these witnesses to a state like that of death and burial, by suppressing and killing their witness work. But not for long! In the spring of 1919 Jesus Christ the King, “the angel of the abyss,” used the key and brought his remnant of anointed followers out of this abyss of spiritual inactivity and reanimated them in God’s service. It was then a time for issuing God’s fiery judgments, as suggested by the smoke that ascended out of the opened abyss.
24. Who are those “men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads,” and how are they harmed?
24 Hence John says: “And out of the smoke locusts came forth upon the earth; and authority was given them, the same authority as the scorpions of the earth have. And they were told to harm no vegetation of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Such men were not sealed or impressed with the spirit of God, and so were not producing the fruitage of His spirit but were imitation Christians, imitation spiritual Israelites. To these the anointed Christian witnesses of Jehovah who are pictured by the locusts out of the smoke of the abyss give a stinging, burning pain like that inflicted by scorpions. How? By means of the judgment message that these “locusts” proclaim.
25. What did the symbolic locusts go forth to do to these men from 1919 onward, and was this to be fatal?
25 John says further: “And it was granted the locusts, not to kill them, but that these should be tormented five months, and the torment upon them was as torment by a scorpion when it strikes a man.” The life cycle of the locust (schistocerca [or split-tailed] gregaria) is about six months. So for that length of time the locust can do damage. The symbolic locusts who were revived in 1919 for God’s service went forth into the postwar world, but not to kill their persecutors, the religious clergy of Christendom who had no seal of the spirit from God. They went to declare to them God’s judgment message. But this did not please the religious rulers of Christendom. It put them in great pain as if from a scorpion’s sting, but such a sting, though painful, is not necessarily fatal.—2 Cor. 10:3-6.
26. How long are Jehovah’s witnesses authorized to strike with this tormenting message, and when will the clergy find relief from it?
26 How long are the remnant of the anointed Christian witnesses of Jehovah authorized to strike the religious clergy with this tormenting message? For the period of their life before God’s war of Armageddon, as symbolized by the five months assigned to the locusts. Since Jehovah’s anointed remnant are not authorized to act as his executioners of men who persecute them for preaching God’s message, the religious clergy are left alive to suffer the tormenting pain from God’s judgment message. Not that the clergy would not prefer to die rather than endure this judgment proclamation any longer; but as the apostle John says of them: “And in those days the men will seek death but will by no means find it, and they will desire to die but death keeps fleeing from them.” God’s execution of judgment, his infliction of death upon these hypocritical Christian clergy, is delayed till he begins his universal war of Armageddon.
27. How does John describe the looks of the locusts, and, according to this, for what were the remnant brought forth in 1919?
27 What do these symbolic locusts look like? John says: “And the likenesses of the locusts resembled horses prepared for battle; and upon their heads were what seemed to be crowns like gold, and their faces were as men’s faces, but they had hair as women’s hair. And their teeth were as those of lions; and they had breastplates like iron breastplates. And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running into battle. Also, they have tails and stings like scorpions; and in their tails is their authority to hurt the men five months.” From this description we note that the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses were brought forth in 1919 for warfare, a spiritual warfare from that year till the actual outbreak of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” commonly called Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14-16) Hence they looked like horses, which in Bible times were used for warfare. “The horse is something prepared for the day of battle,” says Proverbs 21:31.
28. What is denoted by the crowns on the locusts’ heads, their having hair like women, and their having breastplates like iron ones?
28 The symbolic locusts are royal warriors, as denoted by the goldlike crowns upon the locusts’ heads; for by being anointed with God’s spirit they have been made “joint heirs with Christ” and have been assigned a crown and throne in Christ’s kingdom of a thousand years. (Rom. 8:16, 17; Luke 22:28-30; Rev. 3:11, 21) During this time of spiritual warfare with Christendom these symbolic locusts are mere humans gifted with intelligence, as denoted by their “men’s faces.” Like Hebrew warriors in the field who did not have barbershop facilities, they let their head of hair grow to the length of women’s hair, so that they had a hairy mane and looked like lions for fierceness. (1 Chron. 12:8) Appropriately, then, “their teeth were as those of lions,” that could devour solid food, flesh, like the strong judgment message of God’s vengeance against Christendom. (Heb. 5:12; 1 Cor. 3:1, 2) Their hearts, the organs of love for God and for his righteousness, hence hearts that know no fear but are courageous, are well protected as if by impenetrable breastplates of iron. So they never lose love and courage.
29. How do the symbolic locusts make a terrific noise, and for how long are they authorized to torment men not having the seal?
29 Like a huge swarm of winged locusts that are capable of flying for a thousand miles or more, they unitedly make a noise that sounds like a squadron of war chariots rattling along to the beat of many horses’ hoofs into the battle. It is a terrific sound. The symbolic locusts shout as from the house-tops and let God’s judgment message be heard over a vast distance in the territory that they cover. Fear of the enemy does not soften down their message to a mere whisper. Jehovah’s war declaration must be sounded loudly. He is responsible for the hurting of feelings that the message causes to the ones who are stung by it. For the brief time interval till Armageddon breaks out, “five months,” as it were, the symbolic locusts must use their scorpion-like tails, God’s Word, “the sword of the spirit,” and must strike men against whom God’s judgment is directed. It is not God’s time to spare feelings. His enemies have to be exposed and notified of coming judgment.—Eph. 6:17.
30. Who is king over the symbolic locusts, and what do his names in Hebrew and Greek mean and show?
30 The symbolic locusts must follow their King, Jesus Christ. John says of them: “They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abadʹdon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” The resurrected heavenly Jesus Christ is the “angel of the abyss,” for he holds the “keys of death and of Haʹdes.” In the finale of the universal war of Armageddon he will bind and pitch Satan the Devil and his spirit demons into the abyss of deathlike inactivity. (Rev. 20:1-3) When Jesus was on earth as a man, he was a Hebrew, and now in his capacity as Jehovah’s royal Executioner he is called by the Hebrew name Abadʹdon, which means Destruction. (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; 12:23; 14:19) In the Greek in which the inspired Christian Scriptures were written his similar title is Apollyon, which means Destroyer. This name clearly shows that he comes to the throne at God’s right hand to rule first in the midst of his enemies and to destroy them in execution of Jehovah’s righteous judgment, Jehovah’s judicial decision against them.—Jas. 4:12.
31. (a) How, like locusts, do the Witnesses move forward, and of what quality is this indicative? (b) What keeps them united?
31 The symbolic locusts who must proclaim the judgment message before the judgment is executed in the “low plain of the decision” have Jesus Christ as their King, but he is invisible. They have no visible king any more than literal locusts have: “The locusts have no king, and yet they go forth all of them divided into groups.” For the reason that they move forward in groups or swarms, they are “instinctively wise,” although being among the “smallest” things on earth. (Prov. 30:24, 27) The symbolic locusts, the anointed witnesses of Jehovah, move forward united, grouped according to their local congregations. But this is not due to any locust instinct. It is due to the heavenly wisdom imparted by God’s spirit. Also, their following their heavenly King Jesus Christ as the Leader whom God had enthroned is what keeps them united in their attack upon the men not sealed. (Rev. 7:2-8; 9:4) Willingly, obediently, they subject themselves to his command; and this is what may also be pictured by the fact that the symbolic locusts “had hair as women’s hair,” since a woman’s long hair naturally is a sign of her subjection, a sign of having authority on her head.—1 Cor. 11:10, 15; Ps. 110:3.
32, 33. (a) As what does Joel, chapter two, describe the locusts of the plague, and in what way are they mighty? (b) How has this been true of the anointed remnant?
32 The unitedness of the symbolic locusts is described more fully in Joel 2:2-11. There they are described as a people, which they actually are in the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. “There is a people numerous and mighty; one like it has not been made to exist from the indefinite past, and after it there will be none again to the years of generation after generation. Ahead of it a fire has devoured, and behind it a flame consumes. Like the garden of Eden the land is ahead of it; but behind it is a desolate wilderness, and there has also proved to be nothing thereof escaping.”
33 Locusts are insects small in themselves, but when they migrate in a swarm they are mighty. Then they are mighty for their numerousness as a group, a united band. So numerous are they that their swarm will cover square miles of area, and they fly along with a roaring noise like a cataract. They literally darken the heavens and cast a great shadow upon the ground. So it has been since 1919 with respect to the symbolic locusts, the anointed remnant of the joint heirs of Christ’s kingdom. In themselves each one is small and insignificant; but when united in worship and action, they are a mighty people, “full of power, with the spirit of Jehovah.”—Mic. 3:8.
34. In what way is it that a fire has devoured before the invasion of the symbolic locusts?
34 Locusts come in the hot summer months. Likewise the heat of Jehovah’s anger against his professed people in Christendom precedes the invasion of his symbolic locust swarm who proclaim the “day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isa. 61:2) Jehovah God had a reason for burning like a “consuming fire,” for in 1919, after Christendom had destroyed human lives and property by her first world war, she rejected God’s kingdom as proclaimed by Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and came out in support of a League of Nations that paraded under the disguise of being “the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth.”—Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29.
35, 36. (a) In what way does a flame consume behind the locust invasion? (b) What notice did the symbolic locusts serve upon Christendom that affected her future?
35 First, Jehovah’s military host of symbolic locusts passes over Christendom with his judgment message. After this Jehovah’s angelic hosts under the King Jesus Christ will sweep over her and consume her like a fire, leaving nothing but ashes. Before the symbolic locust invasion began, Christendom’s premises looked like a religious garden of Eden. She had her Councils of Churches, her Catholic Action, her nationalist movements holding in check atheistic international communism, her relations with political states, and her so-called political expression of God’s kingdom on earth.
36 The future looked promising, until the swarm of Jehovah’s “locusts” began their united invasion around the world. From Bible prophecy they served notice on Christendom that Almighty God would desolate her in the battle of Armageddon, leaving her like a wilderness in which nothing had escaped being consumed. They left no bright hopes for Christendom behind them, especially in the Bible literature that they left behind in the hands of the people upon whom they called from house to house. They foretold that, after the “locust” swarm had passed over and finished serving advance notice upon all the nations of the inhabited earth, then Jehovah God himself with his heavenly hosts would fight against her and destroy her Edenlike appearance and make her like a desolate wilderness.
37. In 1925 what did The Watch Tower make known about Armageddon as a battle?
37 In itself the message that called attention to Jehovah’s battle action at Armageddon indicates when the modern locust plague really began. In The Watch Tower, the official magazine published and distributed by Jehovah’s witnesses, there appeared in its issue of July 15, 1925, the leading article entitled “The Remnant.” This article set forth for the first time that Armageddon is not a disorganized “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” or a violent, anarchistic battle between capital and organized labor, but is a universal fight between Jehovah God and the entire organization of Satan the Devil in heaven and on earth. Said paragraphs 44, 45, under “Great Battle” as a heading:
That we are nearing the time of a great and final battle of the forces of darkness against the Lord is testified to by many Scriptures. (Revelation 17:14; 16:13-15; Matthew 24:21, 22) IT IS THE GREAT BATTLE OF GOD ALMIGHTY. The prophets frequently referred to it as “the day of the Lord”. The prophet Isaiah addresses himself to the faithful of Israel, therefore the remnant class, saying: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant, whom I have chosen. . . . Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” (Isaiah 43:10, 12) . . .
Seeing then that the devil and his organization goes forth to make war with the remnant (Revelation 12:17) it is quite evident that in this conflict Satan’s chief purpose is to destroy the “seed of promise” now on earth, and to discredit God in the minds of the people, . . .
Paragraph 63 said:
. . . Even so in the battle with the forces of darkness in this end of the age. The battle is not the battle of the faithful followers of Christ, but the battle is the Lord’s. The faithful ones who shall constitute the remnant will have a part therein in this, that they are told to sing. . . . that our strength is in the Lord and that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
38. How many were reported celebrating the Memorial in 1925, and in the following year what did the book Deliverance say further about Armageddon?
38 That year (1925) the number who participated in celebrating the Memorial of Christ’s death as members of the remnant was reported as 90,434. (The Watch Tower, Sept. 1, 1925, page 263) The following year (1926) the remnant received fuller enlightenment about the battle of Armageddon in the book entitled “Deliverance.” Its chapter 12 was entitled “The Final Battle,” and its thirty pages gave a magnificent description of Armageddon. Page 275 thrillingly stated: “It is God’s fight”; and page 280 said: “The saints do not engage in the actual combat. This is the fight of God Almighty; and the fight is led by his beloved Son, . . . he is fighting for the anointed of God, that they may be vindicated for their faithful witness to the name of Jehovah. . . . Thus is Satan’s empire swept from the earth to oblivion. The name of Jehovah God is vindicated.”
39. Where was Deliverance made a feature release, and on that occasion what did Jehovah’s witnesses do for the first time?
39 This book Deliverance was released in May of 1926. It was made the feature release at the international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses in London, England, in the final week of May. Here, for the first time, Jehovah’s witnesses went out from this London assembly onto the pavements to offer Bible booklets to passers-by.
40. (a) So when did the symbolic locust plague begin, and who began to feel torments? (b) How long was this tormenting message to be delivered, and how has the dwindling in the number of the participating remnant been offset?
40 In that memorable year of 1926 the symbolic locust plague as described by both Joel and the Revelation began. The religious leaders of Christendom began to feel special torments from the scorpion-like stings of the judgment message proclaimed by Jehovah’s anointed remnant. That message about Jehovah’s fight at Armageddon and the destruction that he will wreak upon Christendom and all the rest of Satan’s world was not delivered in just five literal months of 1926. It continues down to this day and gets stronger and stronger. Just as long as these symbolic locusts are alive and are witnessing on this side of Armageddon they will keep on inflicting torment by Jehovah’s message of vengeance upon religious hypocrites and upon all his other enemies on earth. Since 1931 the number of the anointed remnant still remaining on earth has dwindled; but since then also these symbolic locusts have been joined in the judgment proclamation by hundreds of thousands of God-fearing, sheeplike people, who begin calling upon the name of Jehovah for salvation and who dedicate their lives to him and get baptized in water just the same as Jesus did.
41. What is it that urges this symbolic locust swarm onward, and how have they shown fearlessness?
41 The spirit of Jehovah God is behind this increased swarm of symbolic locusts. It urges them onward, just the same as the wind did in the plague upon ancient Egypt in Moses’ day: “Jehovah caused an east wind to blow upon the land all that day and all night. The morning came and the east wind carried the locusts.” (Ex. 10:13) The symbolic locusts were filled with a fearlessness that was not of themselves but that was of God’s spirit, as they dashed into this spiritual warfare like horses plunging unafraid into the battle. With every means of publicity they strove to make the good news of God’s kingdom known and to warn Christendom and all her international worldly allies of Jehovah’s day of vengeance.
42. What symbols did Joel use to indicate their fearlessness and the effect of their publicity?
42 Says Joel 2:4-6 of this people: “Its appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like steeds is the way they keep running. As with the sound of chariots on the tops of the mountains they keep skipping about, as with the sound of a flaming fire that is devouring stubble. It is like a mighty people, drawn up in battle order. Because of it, peoples will be in severe pains. As for all faces, they will certainly collect a glow of excitement.”
43. (a) With what orderliness did the symbolic locusts deliver the message, and with what calamitous effect? (b) How has the fact of the remnant’s being a “mighty people” been added to since 1931?
43 With their message of God’s universal war, they made the Bible word “Armageddon” well known, to get into popular usage. Orderly, as in battle formation, they proceeded to deliver Jehovah’s declaration of war against Christendom throughout the length and breadth of her realm. Just as a visit of a locust swarm is a calamity, so these symbolic locusts in their united assault were called “calamity howlers.” But their persistence and their fearlessness were in themselves a portent, a proof that sure destruction was coming upon Christendom and her associated nations. Down till 1931 the anointed remnant were prophetically called a “mighty people,” but oh how mighty a crowd there is today since the remnant have been joined by hundreds of thousands of dedicated seekers of eternal life in Paradise on earth! Revelation 7:9 describes these latter ones as a “great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” out of 181 lands thus far!
44, 45. (a) What has been said about keeping a devastating locust migration in check, and how does Joel 2:7, 8 picture this fact? (b) What invasion has not been checked even by nations in the recent alliance against the locust plague?
44 In an article on “The Locust War” by a zoology professor at the University of Michigan, published in the New York Times Magazine as of May 12, 1960, it was said: “There is no known natural enemy that can keep their devastating migration in check.” (Page 96) Note how true this is of the symbolic plague, as Joel 2:7, 8 goes on to say: “Like powerful men they run. Like men of war they go up a wall. And they go each one in his own ways, and they do not alter their paths. And one another they do not shove. As an able-bodied man in his course, they keep going; and should some fall even among the missiles, the others do not break off course.”
45 In 1960 nineteen nations of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and southeast Asia, including Great Britain and France, formed an alliance, through the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, to make a vast concerted drive on the age-old locust plague. But regardless of what success these nations may have in this drive, they have been unable to stop the invasion of these modern symbolic locusts whom the Almighty God Jehovah has sent among them.
46. How have walls raised up for self-protection fared from this invasion?
46 No matter how high legal walls are raised in protection, these locusts have climbed up them, even if it meant going as high as the Supreme Court of the land. They have climbed over such walls and kept on going. The walls raised up in defense of Christendom by Nazism, Fascism, Catholic Action, and now, too, the walls raised up by Russian Communism, have proved to be of no avail against Jehovah’s army of “locusts.”
47. In moving forward with the message, how do the symbolic locusts follow the pattern of Joel’s description, and how have “missiles” failed to stop their progress?
47 To the enemy that objects to the delivery of this judgment message, Jehovah’s witnesses say from underground as well as above ground: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men. . . . we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.” (Acts 5:29-32) In orderly ranks they march forward with God’s message, not altering their paths from following their King Jesus Christ, not shoving one another or hindering one another but helping and co-operating with one another. Though some fall because of the enemy’s destructive missiles and are killed, thrown into prison, concentration camps, slave-labor camps and isolated places of exile, the others use their liberty and keep active, not breaking off their course.
48, 49. (a) Into what have they penetrated, because of following whose example? (b) How was this pictured in Joel’s description, and following whose battle cry does this movement go forward?
48 Into the cities and the countryside, yes, into the very capital or citadel of Christendom, they go. Into the private homes of the people they penetrate despite barriers to keep them away, for they follow the pattern of the apostolic locusts of the first century, who preached and taught “publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20) In an advance description Joel 2:9-11 says:
49 “Into the city they rush. On the wall they run. On the houses they go up. Through the windows they go in like the thief. Before it the land has become agitated, the heavens have rocked. Sun and moon themselves have become dark, and the very stars have withdrawn their brightness [because a locust swarm in flight blots out the heavens]. And Jehovah himself will certainly give forth his voice before his military force, for his camp is very numerous. For he who is carrying out his word is mighty; for the day of Jehovah is great and very fear-inspiring, and who can hold up under it?”
50. What prospects does the message hold out for Christendom, and why will she be unable to hold up under Jehovah’s day?
50 Jehovah’s judgment message of vengeance offers no bright prospects for Christendom and her worldly allies either day or night. Her future is completely black. Christendom will not be able to hold up under Jehovah’s great, fear-inspiring day for executing his vengeance upon blasphemers, profaners and reproachers of his holy name, because he is mighty enough to carry out his prophetic word as proclaimed by his military force of symbolic locusts.
THE BIG CRUSH IN THE VALLEY OF DECISION
51. (a) What command to Jehovah’s people indicates that this must be a spiritual, not a carnal warfare by them? (b) Of what kind is his command to Christendom and all other nations?
51 All this is a spiritual warfare against Satan the Devil’s organization visible and invisible. It is not carried on with carnal weapons of warfare. Jehovah’s anointed remnant of spiritual Israel and the “great crowd” of their dedicated companions from all nations and peoples are all under Jehovah’s command to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears” and not to lift up sword, nation against nation, and not to “learn war any more.” (Isa. 2:2-4) But for Christendom and all other nations Jehovah’s command is not a peaceable one. It is a challenging incitement to war. By his swarm of symbolic locusts Jehovah says, in Joel 3:9-11. “Proclaim this, you people, among the nations, ‘Sanctify war! Arouse the powerful men! Let them draw near! Let them come up, all the men of war! Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning shears into lances. As for the weak one, let him say: “I am a powerful man.” Lend your aid and come, all you nations round about, and collect yourselves together.’”
52. Against whom are the nations really fighting, and how much man power do they need to commandeer?
52 Inside and outside the United Nations organization the nations are fighting for their own national sovereignty, heedless of God’s Kingdom message. They are really fighting against God. They are now preparing for a final showdown fight. All their man power is needed. The weak and unfit need to be persuaded to join the fight.
53. As we approach the war, what is our prayer to Jehovah?
53 Our prayer, as we approach the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” as nonparticipating bystanders, is, as expressed in Joel 3:11: “To that place, O Jehovah, bring your powerful ones down.” So down there he promises to bring Christ and his holy angels.
54. (a) To where are the nations challenged to come, and why is the place appropriately named? (b) Since 1919 how has Jehovah undone the effect of the nations upon his people, and why has he now sent them forth?
54 In Joel 3:12 Jehovah’s judgment message to Satan’s world continues: “Let the nations be aroused and come up to the low plain of Jehoshaphat; for there I shall sit in order to judge all the nations round about.” This valley of battle is well called the “low plain of Jehoshaphat,” for the name Jehoshaphat means “Jehovah Is Judge.” Also, at that symbolic valley of battle Jehovah sits as judge and executes his judgment or judicial decision upon all the nations round about who have mistreated and scattered his dedicated people, his faithful witnesses. Since 1919 Jehovah has freed first his remnant and more recently his “great crowd” of “other sheep” from their spiritual or religious captivity and has brought them together in unity, as his one flock under his one Shepherd Jesus Christ. (John 10:16) Now as his united military force of symbolic locusts he has sent them forth against all the nations to challenge them to do battle against Jehovah, who is “God the Almighty.”
55. (a) Figuratively, where will Jehovah’s witnesses be at the time for beginning the battle? (b) Figuratively, what have the nations produced, and as what will the low plain of Jehoshaphat nicely serve?
55 Joel 3:13-17 prophetically locates us at the valley or low plain for the execution of Jehovah’s judicial decision just when the battle of the universe is to begin. On the mountaintops flanking the valley stand the united witnesses of Jehovah as expectant bystanders, their work of serving notice upon the nations having been faithfully completed. The nations have been like a jungle of grapevines that have produced nothing but bitter wild grapes, the worst of fruitage, “the works of the flesh.” Like vines that encumber the ground they need to be cut down to clear the ground. Their huge bunches of grapes of wickedness need to be crushed. The valley or low plain of Jehoshaphat is a fine place to serve as an enormous wine-press trough. So dump the nations into it! To his angels God cries:
56, 57. (a) What does Jehovah cry to his angels, and why? (b) From where does Jehovah roar, and at his order what begins in the valley?
56 “Thrust in a sickle, for harvest has grown ripe. Come, descend, for the wine press has become full. The press vats actually overflow; for their badness has become abundant. Crowds, crowds are in the low plain of the decision, for the day of Jehovah is near in the low plain of the decision. Sun and moon themselves will certainly become dark, and the very stars will actually withdraw their brightness. And out of Zion Jehovah himself will roar, and out of Jerusalem he will give forth his voice. And heaven and earth certainly will rock; but Jehovah will be a refuge for his people, and a fortress for the sons of Israel. And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion my holy mountain. And Jerusalem must become a holy place; and as regards strangers [hostile nations], they will no more pass through her.”—Joel 3:13-17.
57 Dark indeed will be the period, both day and night, when Jehovah as Judge causes his judicial decision to be executed upon the nations who have been gathered together for being crushed out of existence. From his heavenly habitation, Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, he roars with a battle shout loud enough to set heaven and earth rocking at the shock waves. He orders his King, Jesus Christ, to tread his enemies, who have been made as a foot stool for his feet. Into the valley of decision, as into a vast wine-press trough, the King leaps with his army of holy angels. SQUASH! The treading of the nations, including Christendom, begins. The “low plain of Jehoshaphat,” “the low plain of the decision,” becomes the “great wine press of the anger of God.” His royal Son, Jesus Christ, leads in the crushing. “He treads too the press of the wine of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty,” says Revelation 19:15.
58. How vast will be the slaughter, and how does Revelation 14:20 indicate this?
58 Never before in all human history will so many human creatures have been slaughtered. Blood, as representing human lives poured out, will run deep and over a vast distance. Revelation 14:20 paints the appalling picture, saying: “And the wine press was trodden outside the city [God’s organization], and blood came out of the wine press as high up as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs [or, 200 miles].”
59. (a) What flesh will not have its lifeblood trampled out there? (b) What fact does Jehovah say they will have to know, and how will they?
59 To a completion Jehovah’s judicial decision will be executed. The nations and their grapes of wickedness will be trampled out of existence, to leave the earth a cleansed place for the righteous to occupy and enjoy. Not all flesh will be in that symbolic wine press. Not all flesh will have its lifeblood trampled out of it. There are those who make Jehovah their refuge and their fortress. These will be kept safe and be preserved, while Jehovah by his King Jesus Christ crushes their enemies and His enemies in the wine press or “low plain of the decision.” These preserved ones are the remnant of spiritual Israelites and the “great crowd” of their dedicated companions who unite with them in calling upon the name of Jehovah for salvation. (Joel 2:32) They are the ones to whom he has prophetically said: “And you people will have to know that I am Jehovah your God, residing in Zion my holy mountain.” With breathless awe they will have looked down from their safe heights into the valley of decision and witnessed how Jehovah gains his magnificent victory by Christ over all the combined nations of Satan’s visible organization.
60. At his victory what will be therefore do, but till then what will we do in obedience to orders?
60 At His victory in vindication of his universal sovereignty we witnesses will sing his praises exultantly and will acknowledge him as our God for all time and eternity. We are near the time of his battle and transcendant victory. Till that time his orders for us are to continue united in our service of him. This we will do while we declare his day of vengeance and while we preach and teach the good news of everlasting salvation by his kingdom of his Christ.