Christendom Has Failed God! After Her End, What?
1. How may the many millions of various pagan religionists and Communists care about Christendom’s coming to her end because of having failed God?
THE one hundred and fifty million Buddhists of the world may care little that Christendom will come to her end because she has failed God. They and the three hundred million Confucianists, the fifty million Taoists and the three hundred and twenty-nine million Hindus may even rejoice that Christendom with her missionaries is near her end. The four hundred and twenty-nine million followers of Islam may take it as good news that their great religious rival, Christendom, will come to a disastrous end, and all her bloodspilling crusades with her. And as for those millions who follow the Red religion of Communism, their attitude may have been well expressed by a prominent New York Protestant clergyman on Sunday, October 1, 1961, when he said concerning the churches of Christendom: “Churches should be the organizations communism feels bound to liquidate first.”—The New York Times, as of October 2, 1961, quoting from the sermon of Dr. Robert J. McCracken.
2, 3. (a) Why may certain religionists be shocked at our speaking of Christendom’s end, but what drift of Christendom in the world’s affairs do they ignore? (b) With what else will Christendom have to coexist, and for how long?
2 The religious persons who connect up Christendom with Christianity may be appalled at our speaking of Christendom’s end. To them it would mean the end of Christianity and the end of the religious sects to which they belong and which claim to be Christian. It is hard for them to appreciate the drift of Christendom in world affairs. It may cause them a shock to read the words of the above Protestant clergyman (Dr. McCracken) in the same sermon: “The plain fact of the matter is that Christianity no longer is at the hub of things. The chief influence is that of science and its mastery of the material world.” And as respects Christendom’s hope to convert the world and make the whole world a part of Christendom, a meaningful statement was made by a widely read historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, in his article entitled “If We Are to Be the Wave of the Future.” In paragraphs 9 and 10 he said:
Take the case of the great missionary religions: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. The adherents of each of these faiths have made the conversion of all mankind their target, and, for Christians at any rate, it is officially an article of faith that the whole human race is going to be converted before history comes to an end.
The Christian, Moslem, and Buddhist waves have each swept forward for centuries on end and have spread their waters over whole continents. Yet each of these three missionary waves has had its recessions as well as its advances. And today it does not look as if any one of them is ever going to become fully world-wide. All three seem to have come to stay, which means that they are going to have to co-exist.
—The New York Times Magazine, page 122, as of November 13, 1960.
3 To this statement by historian Toynbee must be added this one, that Christendom will also have to coexist with international Communism as long as she can do so.
4, 5. (a) In view of Christendom’s coming end, what questions arise as to the thereafter? (b) To those seeing something terrible in Christendom’s end, what questions arise as to her destruction?
4 What, then? Does Christendom’s end mean a world left entirely unchristian or pagan? Does it mean world supremacy by the forces of ungodly Communism? Does it mean an earthly globe left to an uninhabited radioactive desolation by a third world war with nuclear weapons and chemical, biological and radiological warfare?
5 To persons not informed on the revealed purposes of man’s great Creator the end of Christendom suggests something terrible or something unbelievable. They may ask, Why would God the Creator want Christendom to be destroyed? Why would Jesus Christ, the Leader in Christianity, let Christendom be destroyed? If the answer to these questions is, Because Christendom has failed God, then, they ask, In what way has Christendom failed God?
6. What is meant here by the word “Christendom,” and to what definition of it do true Christians object?
6 First of all, we must understand what is meant here by the word “Christendom.” Webster’s New International Dictionary defines Christendom as “the portion of the world in which Christianity prevails or which is governed under Christian institutions in distinction from heathen or Mohammedan lands.” It is out of date to define Christendom as meaning Christianity. True Christians today do not confuse Christendom with Christianity or make them identical. They object to making Christendom mean the whole body of persons who claim to be Christian, because true Christians do not want to be part of Christendom. As a word, Christendom is used to include such countries that claim to be Christian or that have been legally called Christian as Great Britain, the United States of America, Spain, and so forth. Christendom particularly refers to the whole body of hundreds of religious sects that claim to be Christian in such lands. Eight hundred millions claim to belong to such a Christendom.
HOW HAS SHE FAILED?
7. Why should the unchristian world be interested in the answer to the question, and what does the expression “to fail” mean?
7 What is the basis for the accusing statement that Christendom has failed God? Even the so-called unchristian world should be interested in the answer to this question, because the unchristian or pagan world is bound to be affected greatly by Christendom’s end. How true, then, is the accusation? In what way has Christendom failed God? The expression “to fail” means, among other things, “to come short or be wanting in action, in detail or in result; to disappoint or prove lacking in what is attempted, expected, desired or approved; to prove unable to meet one’s obligations; to prove to be of no use or help to someone.” And “failure” is defined as “nonperformance of something due or required.”
8. Why is it not too soon to render a judgment on Christendom, and according to what book must judgment be handed down, and why?
8 Christianity was established nineteen centuries ago, and so Christendom has had plenty of time in which to show what she would do or could accomplish with Christianity. After all this time, and in the face of the present world outlook, it is not too soon for us to hold an accounting and render a judgment on Christendom. Has she disappointed God and proved lacking in what he expects, desires and approves? Has she met her obligations toward him, and has she proved to be of use and helpfulness to him? To render a judgment, we must hand down our decision according to the book of Christianity, God’s own Bible. In it God gives his own judgment.
9, 10. (a) On what is the name Christianity built, and when was it to be established? (b) What words to be used by Jesus Christ did God’s prophet Isaiah foretell?
9 The name Christianity is built upon the name Christ, which is a title by which Jesus of Bethlehem-Judah was called. Hence Christianity means the imitating of Jesus Christ and the obeying of his teachings and commandments. Christ means Anointed One; the Jewish word “Messiah” means the same thing. God foretold in his book the Bible that Christianity would be established at a certain time, which was nineteen hundred years ago. Over seven hundred years before that, God inspired his prophet Isaiah to write down the very words that Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Anointed One, would say! Turn in your Bible to Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter sixty-one, verses one and two. The American Standard Version of the Bible reads here:
10 “The spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”
11. In that respect how did Jesus Christ not fail God, and so what must true Christians do?
11 Are not those things wonderful things to preach and proclaim? These were the things that Jesus Christ was anointed to preach and proclaim. In a Jewish synagogue in his boyhood town of Nazareth he quoted those very words of Isaiah’s prophecy to prove that they applied to him, that he was the Christ or Anointed One. (Luke 4:16-21) The record of his earthly life shows that he did carry out those words. In this he did not fail or disappoint Jehovah his God, who had anointed him with holy spirit. So his followers, his disciples, his imitators, that is to say, Christians, must preach and proclaim the same good, comforting things.
12, 13. (a) What was Christianity meant to hold out to all mankind, and how was this indicated at Jesus’ birth? (b) Why will those angelic words not fail?
12 The coming of Christianity was meant to hold out to all obedient men and women the hope of everlasting life in perfect happiness in a new world created by Jehovah God. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the Middle East in the year 2 B.C., some of God’s angels from heaven appeared to shepherds in the nearby field and said: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in [Bethlehem] the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. . . . Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.”—Luke 2:8-14, AS.
13 Thus the announcing of Jesus’ birth was good news for all the people everywhere; and Christianity, which he founded, was meant to bring a great joy to all the people of whatever race, color, nationality, language or social standing. Christianity was meant to result in glory in the heights above to God and upon the earth peace among men who would please God and gain his good will or pleasure. What God’s angels from heaven said in the hearing of those Jewish shepherds was not mere talk, not man’s word. It was God’s own word about what Christ’s coming and the establishment of true Christianity would mean both for God and for man. Those angelic words from God will not fail. They will come true.
14, 15. (a) When did Jesus change from his earthly occupation at Nazareth, and why? (b) How did Jesus symbolize his change of occupation, and what did God then indicate regarding Jesus?
14 Up till thirty years of age this Jesus lived at Nazareth and was a carpenter, swinging a hammer in his work. Then he changed his daily occupation. Why? In order to fulfill the prophetic words of Isaiah concerning the great Preacher of good news and Proclaimer of liberty. Jesus heard that his cousin, called John the Baptist, was preaching a world-shaking message: “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matt. 3:1, 2) Above all other things, Jesus was interested in God’s kingdom, the kingdom of the heavens. So he left his carpenter shop and went to John at the Jordan River and was dipped by John in the river waters. In this way Jesus enacted a picture to symbolize that he had given up his former occupation and had come to do God’s will in connection with God’s kingdom.
15 As the baptized Jesus came up out of the water, God poured out his spirit upon Jesus and thus anointed him, making him the promised Christ. At the same time God’s voice came from the invisible heavens and declared that this anointed Jesus was his Son toward whom he had good will. The record, in Matthew 3:17, says: “There was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” This backed up the fact that God had sent his beloved Son down from the spiritual heavens to be born as a perfect man, in order for this faithful Son to do God’s will on earth. It was as Jesus Christ himself said later on to a Jewish ruler: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
HOW JEWRY FAILED GOD
16, 17. (a) For the fulfilling of Isaiah’s prophecy what is Jesus reported as preaching? (b) Despite what Jesus preached, how did he prove that he was not a campaigning politician?
16 After being baptized and anointed with God’s spirit Jesus went preaching to his own people, the Jews or nation of Israel, to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. In preaching good news and proclaiming liberty, what did the Leader in Christianity preach? One sentence of the Bible answers: “He went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” And his twelve apostles were with him.—Luke 8:1.
17 Jesus Christ preached God’s kingdom. But he was not a politician. He did not mix in the politics of the Jewish government or of the Roman imperial government of that time. He did not make himself an earthly king. He let no Jew make him an earthly king. On one occasion, after Jesus had miraculously fed a crowd of more than five thousand, many men who were not his apostles wanted to throw off the Roman yoke and make him their king. An apostle of Jesus, who witnessed this, writes: “When the men saw the signs he performed, they began to say: ‘This is for a certainty the prophet that was to come into the world.’ Therefore Jesus, knowing they were about to come and seize him to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain all alone.”—John 6:14, 15.
18, 19. (a) Because of Jesus’ example in this, what could no imitator of him do? (b) What did Jesus say to the Roman governor regarding his kingdom, and what, therefore, would Jesus not authorize any disciple to do?
18 Jesus refused to let the people to whom he preached about God’s kingdom make him their earthly king. How, then, could any true Christian or imitator of Jesus Christ become a politician and let men make him or anoint him their king on earth? He could not. Only when Jesus was falsely accused of trying to make himself king, only then did he not withdraw himself, but he yielded himself over to his enemies to be put to death. (Luke 23:15) He did so because the kingdom that he preached was not from the people, not from this world and not a part of this world.
19 The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, put Jesus on trial in Jerusalem and asked him: “Are you the king of the Jews? . . . Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you up to me. What did you do?” Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” (John 18:33-36) If none of Jesus’ attendants were authorized to fight to make him a king in this world, then what authority have any of Jesus’ disciples for mixing in politics and making some other man king? Since the kingdom of Jesus Christ is heavenly and no part of this world, then he would not let or authorize any one of his apostles or disciples to become king or ruler of a government that is a part of this world.
20. (a) Who makes Jesus Christ a king, and what kind of one? (b) In that regard, how do we know whether Jewry failed God?
20 Jesus’ kingdom is from God. It was God who anointed Jesus with holy spirit, and it is God who makes Jesus king, not a king of this political world, but a heavenly king absolutely separate from this world’s politics. Jehovah God sent his Son and offered him to the Jews as their promised Christ, for the Jews to become his Christian followers and to join him in preaching God’s kingdom. What, then, shall we say of Jewry, the Jewish people, when their priests and religious leaders handed Jesus over to the Roman governor and accused him of sedition and had him killed as a political criminal by hanging him on a stake outside the walls of Jerusalem to die? At that time they shouted to the Roman governor who wanted to release Jesus: “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:1-16) Did Jewry there fail God, or did Jesus? God’s raising up Jesus from the dead on the third day and then exalting him to his heavenly throne answers that Jesus Christ had not failed God. Jewry had failed God.
21. How did the apostle Peter confirm that fact on the day of Pentecost?
21 Hence on the feast day of Pentecost after Jesus had died, been resurrected and been exalted to heaven, the apostle Peter said to the Jews: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man publicly shown by God to you through powerful works and portents and signs that God did through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know, this man, as one delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men and did away with. But God resurrected him by loosing the pangs of death . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”—Acts 2:22-36.
22. How did Stephen confirm that fact, and with what result?
22 After that Jewry went persecuting the apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ. A Jewish convert named Stephen was the first to be killed for being Christ’s disciple. But first he said to the highest Jewish court in Jerusalem: “Obstinate men and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you are always resisting the holy spirit; as your forefathers did, so you do. Which one of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? Yes, they killed those who made announcement in advance concerning the coming of the righteous One [Jesus Christ], whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.” For telling these judges that Jewry had failed God, Stephen was stoned to death. (Acts 7:51-60) Another Jewish failure!
23. How did a converted persecutor of Christians confirm the fact of Jewry’s failure?
23 A Jew present at the stoning of Stephen adds his own testimony concerning Jewry as failing God. This Jew, Saul of Tarsus, later became a Christian and himself underwent persecution at Jewish hands. So he wrote his Christian brothers who were persecuted by the Jews in Macedonia and said: “You became imitators, brothers, of the congregations of God that are in Judea in union with Christ Jesus, because you also began suffering at the hands of your own countrymen the same things as they also are suffering at the hands of the Jews, who killed even the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. Furthermore, they are not pleasing God, but are against the interests of all men, as they try to hinder us from speaking to people of the nations that these might be saved, with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But his wrath has at length come upon them.”—1 Thess. 2:14-16; Acts 17:1-13.
24, 25. (a) To what extent did God’s wrath then come upon Jewry, and in fulfillment of what prophecy of Jesus? (b) In the face of all this testimony, what can no one deny?
24 God’s wrath came upon Jewry to the extent of letting their holy capital city, Jerusalem, and its glorious temple of worship be destroyed by the Romans in the year 70. This was the holy city to which Jesus himself had said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,—how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it. Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” And concerning her temple Jesus said to his apostles: “By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”—Matt. 23:37 to 24:2.
25 In the face of all this testimony, even that of Jesus Christ himself, can anybody deny that Jewry failed God in the time of its greatest opportunity in all Jewish history? No!
A PROPHETIC PATTERN FOR CHRISTENDOM
26. Who has repeated Jewry’s mistakes, and what warning has this one not taken?
26 “Historical facts show that Christendom has repeated the same mistakes as Jewry did. Christendom is the modern counterpart of ancient Jewry and Jerusalem. Hence the Jewish failures proved prophetic of Christendom’s own failures. That was why the Jewish Christian apostle Paul referred to the repeated failures of Jewry and said to his Christian brothers: “These things went on befalling [the Jews] as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived. Consequently let him that thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.” (1 Cor. 10:11, 12) Christendom has refused to take the warning that loudly sounds forth from the pages of Jewish history.
27. (a) In what sins named by the apostle has Christendom failed, and whose name has she thus not honored? (b) How has Christendom not imitated Jesus in bearing the chief name?
27 Among the things that the apostle names in which the Jewish forefathers failed were the desire for injurious things, idolatry, fornication (immorality), putting God to the test, and murmuring against God and his prophets. Has Christendom failed in these same respects? Examine her record and then judge. In view of her failure because of these same sins she is no honor to the One whose name she has taken upon herself, Christ. She claims to follow Jesus, but her works belie that she imitates him. She does not bear God’s name as Jesus Christ did. The very name by which the Son of God was called, namely, Jesus, means “Jehovah Is Salvation.” (The American College Dictionary, 1948 edition, page 656) Said Jehovah’s angel to Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus: “You must call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20, 21) In this way the Son of God on earth was made to bear the name of his heavenly Father, inasmuch as the name Jesus combines in itself the name Jehovah. However, Christendom has refused to bear the name Jehovah or to give it its chief place in Christianity.
28. (a) How, as foretold by Jesus to Jewish religious leaders, did Jewry lose the privilege of bearing God’s name? (b) To whom was that privilege then extended?
28 Christendom has lost the opportunity to bear God’s name by becoming the people of Jehovah God. To show that Jewry likewise lost that privilege, Jesus Christ said to the Jewish chief priests and older men of influence: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:23-43) In agreement with this, the message of God’s kingdom with the privilege of becoming Christians was extended to the non-Jewish peoples, the Gentiles, even thirty-four years before Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, was destroyed by the Romans. The Jewish Christian apostle Symeon Peter was used to extend this favor to them.
29. What did the disciple James say to a body of inquiry regarding that extension of God’s favor to the Gentiles?
29 What obligation did this lay upon those Gentile believers? The Jewish Christian disciple James pointed out that obligation when he said to a Christian religious investigation body at Jerusalem: “Brothers, hear me. Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah.’”—Acts 15:13-18.
30. According to this, Christians are under what obligation?
30 True Christians are therefore under the obligation to bear God’s name or be called by God’s name, that is, to be called the people of Jehovah, God’s people. So what about Christendom?
31, 32. (a) What has been Christendom’s conduct with regard to God’s name? (b) How does the case of the Revised Standard Version of 1952 illustrate this?
31 Christendom has shunned that name. She has acted contrary to the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9, 10, AV) Christendom has not sanctified the name of the heavenly Father, Jehovah. In most recent times her effort has been to leave that sacred name out of English translations of the Bible completely.
32 Take the case of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The 1952 edition of this says in its preface concerning the omission of the name Jehovah or Yahweh:
The present revision returns to the procedure of the King James Version, which follows the precedent of the ancient Greek and Latin translators and the long-established practice in the reading of the Hebrew Scriptures in the synagogue. . . . the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from which he had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.—Pages vi, vii.
33, 34. How does the original Bible and the case of Jesus himself discount such an attitude against pronouncing God’s name?
33 And yet the original Hebrew Scriptures used the divine name 6,823 or more times for the very purpose of distinguishing Jehovah God from all the false gods of this world. Also, the very name Jesus combines in itself the divine name; and there is no proof that Jesus himself followed the unscriptural Jewish practice of that day and refused to mention his own heavenly Father’s name. If the Jewish high priest at the temple could lawfully say the divine name Jehovah, then certainly Jesus Christ, who is God’s greater High Priest, could also lawfully say that holy name publicly.
34 Also, the very last book of the Christian Scriptures uses the Hebrew expression Hallelujah!, which means “Praise Ye Jehovah.”—The American College Dictionary. See Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6, RS.
35. How has Christendom copied the pagans and thus misrepresented the personality of God to the heathen?
35 Christendom has copied the heathen, pagan nations of Asia in teaching that God is a trinity, three Gods in one Person. But who can explain this so-called Trinity and harmonize it with the book of Christianity, the Bible? Hence when the people, who cannot understand the Trinity, ask for an explanation, the clergymen take to flight by the escape route of saying that the Trinity is a mystery. In this way they leave the people in great confusion and unable to understand the Bible and its message, and unable to call upon the divine name Jehovah for salvation through Jesus Christ. (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21) In this way, too, they have misrepresented God to the heathen or pagans, who see in this trinitarian God a resemblance to their own false gods.
36. In what covenant with God does Christendom claim to be, but how has she failed him as to making it come true?
36 The ancient Jews were in a covenant with God by means of the law given through the prophet Moses. But Christendom claims to be in the new covenant, the mediator of which is Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) And as to knowing and understanding this one true God, the Christian new covenant says: “Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant . . . And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah.” (Jer. 31:31-34, AS; Luke 22:19, 20) Has Christendom failed God in making this prophecy of the new covenant come true? The lack of knowledge on the part of Christendom today gives God reason to be disappointed.
HER ENMITY TOWARD GOD
37. In view of what prophecy should Christendom in these “last days” be examined as to her being God’s friend or not?
37 It will shock many religious persons to question that Christendom is God’s friend. Of course she is! they will say. But let us remember the warning words of a Christian prophet, the apostle Paul: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Accordingly, Christendom, although pleasure-loving, money-loving, could have an outward form of godliness and yet be denying the power of godliness inwardly and by her course of action.
38. In harmony with 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10, how would godly devotion reveal itself in true Christians, and because of waiting for whom?
38 To persons who had turned away from Grecian paganism to true Christianity the apostle Paul wrote: “You turned to God from your idols to slave for a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from the heavens, whom he raised up from the dead, namely, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath which is coming.” (1 Thess. 1:9, 10) By waiting for the return of the Son of God, at which time he will come in his kingdom, his true disciples would be able to show real godly devotion. The power of this godliness would reveal itself by changing their lives, to be different from this idolatrous, pleasure-seeking, selfish, hateful old world, which lies under the wrath of the righteous God. Thus true Christians would be in a fit condition for them to receive God’s Son and for him to accept them as his Bride.
39. Because of waiting for him, Christendom was to keep herself in a condition like that of whom?
39 The congregation of true godly Christians is likened by the Bible to a virgin girl who is engaged or espoused to marry Jesus Christ at his coming in his kingdom. Said the apostle Paul to the congregation to whom he had brought the knowledge about Jesus Christ: “I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2) Likewise, the last book of the Bible calls the entire Christian congregation “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Rev. 21:2, 9, 10) She was therefore to keep herself virgin, unmarried to anybody else, “without spot from the world,” in a “form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father.” (Jas. 1:27) Has Christendom kept such religious virginity toward Christ?
40, 41. (a) Whose spirit has Christendom taken on, and so what are the works in which she has engaged? (b) How has Christendom made herself unfit for Christ to marry her at his coming in his kingdom?
40 Religious history says No! From Emperor Constantine’s time onward Christendom has imitated the world and gone in worldly ways. She has taken on the spirit of this world and engaged in the “works of the flesh.” These the apostle Paul says are “fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, hatreds, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these. As to these things I am forewarning you . . . that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.”—Gal. 5:19-21.
41 Christendom overflows with such “works of the flesh.” For her practicing such things she could not inherit God’s kingdom as the virgin bride of the Son of God. She has made herself a component part of this world. She has constituted herself a “friend of the world” and is married to it, and Christ’s return in his kingdom means little or nothing to her. She has made and anointed kings. She has united Church and State. Thus in a spiritual sense she has made herself an adulteress, because she is married to this world and yet claims to be espoused to Christ and to be his spiritual Bride. The words of the disciple James brand her an adulteress, for James says: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4) Jesus Christ will never accept and own an adulteress, an “enemy of God,” as his Bride. He will never marry Christendom.
NO FORCE FOR PEACE AND UNITY
42, 43. (a) What question by James to Christians is properly asked of Christendom? (b) For what condition among his disciples did Jesus pray, and how has Christendom failed God in this respect?
42 The disciple James asked the spiritual adulteresses why there were fights, wars, murdering and coveting among them. (Jas. 4:1-3) The same question is properly asked of Christendom. In all her history since Constantine’s time she has been no force for peace and unity. One outstanding thing that the Bridegroom expects in his spiritual Bride, the true Christian congregation, is unity.
43 In his last prayer together with his faithful apostles Jesus prayed for such unity in the congregation down till the time that he marries her. To God he prayed that “they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth. Also . . . that they may be one just as we are one. I in union with them and you in union with me, in order that they may be perfected into one.” (John 17:20-23) Yet for centuries Christendom has been divided up into religious sects. Especially now in view of the threat of ungodly international communism there is a cry for religious unity, a united front; but there is no such unity as that for which Jesus Christ prayed. In her long-standing disunited condition Christendom could never be the Bride of Christ, the true Christian congregation. Christ’s prayer for unity is not realized in Christendom. In this regard she has failed God.
44. Despite her Christmastime song, how has Christendom proved to be no force for international peace?
44 Disunited herself, how could Christendom be expected to unite the world for peace? At her Christmastime she sings the angelic words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.” But she has never proved herself to be among those men in whom God is well pleased. The pages of her history drip with the blood of her wars, political wars, religious wars, crusades! She has never prevented such bloodspilling. Her clergymen have lined up on both sides of religious and political wars and have prayed to the same trinitarian God for victory over fellow religionists of the same sect on the other side.
45. (a) What rulers with religious connections were leaders in the first world war? (b) To whom does the finger of blame for that war point, according to the published statement of Rabbi S. S. Wise?
45 Where were the two world wars of this century begun? Why, right in Christendom, between so-called Christian nations. In the first world war, the Roman Catholic Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Josef, lined up with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany against the Russian Czar, Nicholas II, patron of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the British King, George V, religious head of the Church of England. Why did Christendom unleash such a calamity upon the whole world? To which element in Christendom does the finger of blame point? In answer we quote from the New York American, in its issue of Monday, October 12, 1914, page 4, under the heading: “BLAME FOR WAR LAID ON CHURCH BY RABBI WISE.” This rabbi was the founder of the Free Synagogue, the Jewish Institute of Religion and other important American Jewish institutes, and died in 1949. We quote:
“Failure of the churches and synagogues to maintain leadership over the people was the cause of the present war,” said Rabbi Stephen S. Wise at the free synagogue in Carnegie Hall yesterday.
Rabbi Wise characterized the present attitude of the churches as “feeble, faltering, halting and timid.” He said the state had conquered the church and that the latter had become a follower rather than a leader of public opinion.
“They have enthroned a war devil,” he said, “in the place of God. The churches do not take themselves seriously. They are satisfied to be a mere item of the social organization and to defend their countries and rulers—just or unjust. The church is muzzled and throttled into submission. It is like a dumb dog, old and toothless, that can no longer bite.
DISAPPOINTED IN SOCIALISTS
“Many of us expected the Socialist power to avert such a war as this, and were bitterly disappointed in the Socialists of Europe when they failed to do so. But we never looked to the churches, mosques and synagogues to prevent war. None of us expected such a thing from them, and we know what would happen to any leader of the Church of England who would dare raise his voice against his country’s part in the present strife.
“Franz Josef goes through the empty form of washing the feet of a dozen pilgrims each Easter and the church is satisfied with him. The Czar is the head of his church on Sunday and the head of his army during the week.
“And when the nations were preparing for this war they never consulted the churches because they knew that just as they relied upon their ambulance corps and their commissaries they could rely upon the churches to uphold them.
MISSIONARY NEED AT HOME
“It would be better for missionaries to teach Christianity at home first.”
The rabbi continued: “Our souls are wounded when we read of the destruction of cathedrals at Rheims and elsewhere, yet these cathedrals were destroyed long ago and it is only their outer walls that have now fallen.
“War gods, money gods and power gods have been destroying these edifices century after century.”
46, 47. (a) Where can the blame likewise be laid for World War II, as indicated by the pope’s failure to excommunicate? (b) How did all of Christendom’s churches then share in bloodguilt?
46 If that could be said about the blame for World War I, it can also be said regarding the blame for World War II. Before the Nazi dictator invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, to launch that war, a plea was made by delegates from forty-eight Polish, Jewish, Slovakian and Lithuanian societies met at Chicago, Illinois, for the pontiff of Vatican City to excommunicate Adolf Hitler, but Pope Pius XII refused to excommunicate that war-mad “son of the church.”—Buffalo, N.Y., Evening Express as of August 29, 1939; The Catholic Telegraph-Register, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Section 2, as of September 1, 1939.
47 All the churches of Christendom nationalistically backed up their respective political governments in this second world conflict until, in 1945, the strongest nation of Christendom dropped two atomic bombs upon a pagan nation in order to speed up the end of the ghastly war. Certainly the churches share with the political nations in the bloodguilt before God. Their bloodguilt points up the fact that Christendom miserably failed God.
48. What now threatens the world, and how does Christendom show her failure toward God?
48 Now the world is in danger of a third war, this one with nuclear weapons that only nations of Christendom possess till now. Again the churches of Christendom show themselves to be just as Rabbi Wise described them in 1914 during World War I. Should that not be disappointing to God? What does Christendom now offer as a block to thermonuclear catastrophe? God’s kingdom, which the Leader in Christianity preached? No, but a helpless man-made substitute for God’s kingdom—the United Nations. This is a successor to the League of Nations, which was set up in 1920 to prevent World War II. The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America called that League of Nations “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” According to that, when the League of Nations failed to prevent World War II, the Kingdom of God on earth had failed. But not so! The real fact is that Christendom had failed God, whom she professed to worship and serve.
WHO IS BEARING THE FRUITS OF THE KINGDOM?
49, 50. (a) Why was it the due time from 1914 onward for Christendom to bring forth the fruits of God’s kingdom? (b) Why has God looked in vain for Kingdom fruitage in Christendom?
49 From 1914 onward it was the due time for Christendom to bring forth the fruits of God’s kingdom. In that year World War I began, and was followed by famines, pestilences, earthquakes, religious persecution, increasing lawlessness and international distress and perplexity. This was foretold by Jesus Christ in his prophecy on the end of this worldly system of things. (Matthew, chapter 24; Mark, chapter 13; Luke, chapter 21) In the midst of such world developments, what were the true followers or disciples of Jesus to do? In Mark 13:10 Jesus Christ pointed out what was to be their work and activity, saying: “In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” According to Matthew 24:14 he said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
50 The worldwide preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom would be the bringing forth of the fruits of the Kingdom. Now, does history show that Christendom brought forth this Kingdom fruitage since 1914? Did her churches preach God’s kingdom as the only hope for all mankind? Did they urge all people to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness? No; but modern history tells how the churches and the politicians in their pews preached the League of Nations first and the United Nations now. Hence in vain has God looked for Kingdom fruitage in Christendom.
51, 52. (a) Despite Christendom, why has fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 been provided for in harmony with Matthew 21:43? (b) Who have proved to be the nation bringing forth the Kingdom fruits?
51 Although Christendom has thus failed God, the Kingdom fruitage is today being brought forth abundantly. Not by Christendom, of course! But the prophecy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:14 could not fail of fulfillment. It has not failed! The principle or rule of action stated by Jesus in Matthew 21:43 has been followed, and the Kingdom opportunities have been given to the “nation” or the people producing the Kingdom fruits. To whom is this? To a people who have become a nation under God’s kingdom; to a nation that has not shunned to be called by God’s name, yes, a nation that proclaims his name and calls upon it for salvation through Jesus Christ.
52 Hundreds of millions of persons throughout the earth have heard this nation preaching the good news of God’s kingdom publicly and from house to house and have received billions of pieces of Bible literature from its hands. This nation producing the Kingdom fruits is made up of Jehovah’s witnesses. These Christians have not failed God. They are now reported preaching in more than 150 languages and distributing Bible literature in 185 lands. Has Christendom aided Jehovah’s witnesses in this fulfillment of Matthew 24:14? No; but, to her shame, Christendom has persecuted them and tried to destroy them, just the same as ancient Jewry did to Jehovah’s prophets. (Matt. 24:9; 5:10-12) Christendom has failed God!
53. What is therefore certain for Christendom, and when, and where?
53 Christendom’s end is therefore certain. The end that came on ancient Jewry and Jerusalem for failing Jehovah God must come on Christendom. (Matt. 21:33-45) When the Kingdom preaching is ended by Jehovah’s witnesses, Christendom, who wanted no part in this Kingdom witnessing, will end too, along with the whole worldly system of things. She has helped the people to line up with the nations of this world against God’s kingdom. She herself is marching with the nations to the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” By demon forces she is being gathered with the nations to the battlefield of Armageddon, for their destruction by God’s heavenly executioners, namely, Christ the King and the holy angels under his command. (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21) Come a nuclear world war or no, Christendom will fail to protect the nations of this world from God’s universal war of Armageddon and from destruction in it.
54. After Christendom’s end, what about Christianity, and why?
54 After Christendom’s end, what? Not an earth overrun by international Communism or by deceptive false religion, but a new righteous world, in which will be realized the joyful angelic song, “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of good will.” It will be a world in which true Christianity will prevail everywhere. The end of Christendom does not mean the end of Christianity, for Christendom and Christianity are two different, separate things. True Christianity has not failed God. The Leader in Christianity, Jesus Christ, did not fail Jehovah God. The “twelve apostles of the Lamb” did not fail God. (Rev. 21:14) Also, from the days of Jesus and his twelve apostles there have been true dedicated, baptized Christians who have not failed God. The Bible prophecies indicated that these would be a mere “remnant” relatively small in number out of all Christendom. (Rom. 9:27-29; 11:5-7) Actually, the entire Bride of Christ, which will be married to him in heaven, will number only 144,000 followers who prove faithful clear to the death, not failing God.—Rev. 14:1, 3; 7:4-8.
55. Because of what government could Christianity not end after Christendom’s destruction, and how will Armageddon survivors fare under it?
55 Christianity could not end after Christendom’s destruction in Armageddon. Why not? Because after that the kingdom of Christianity’s Leader, Jesus Christ, will reign for a thousand years for the blessing of obedient mankind. At the climax of the battle of Armageddon Christ the King will bind Satan the Devil, who is the “god of this system of things” and the founder of Christendom with its hypocritical Christianity. Thus true Christianity will have the opportunity to flourish unopposed, earthwide. Jehovah’s witnesses who survive Armageddon will no longer be persecuted for bearing God’s name nor for preaching “this good news of the kingdom” in all the inhabited earth “for a witness.”—Rev. 20:1-3; Matt. 24:14.
56. What unity and peace will then come upon earth, and because of what spirit?
56 Racial, color, language and social discrimination and segregation must then become a hated thing of the hideous past. One of the basic teachings of true Bible Christianity is this: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all things and in all.” “For you are all one person in union with Christ Jesus.” (Col. 3:11; Gal. 3:28) True unity will at last have come to all men who live. With unity, together with the fruit of God’s spirit, which is love, there will come to be among all men peace, which is also a fruit of God’s spirit. The spirit of this world, with its “works of the flesh,” will be gone!—Gal. 5:22; 1 Cor. 2:12.
57. In what worship will there be unity, and so what will displace Christendom’s present enmity with God?
57 This means there will be unity of religion and the absence of religious sects of any kind. It will be unity in the one “form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father.” (Jas. 1:27) Because of practicing Christianity, the form of worship approved by God the heavenly Father, earth’s inhabitants will enjoy peace with him. He will be a friendly God to them, a God of good will. (Luke 2:14) Friendship with God will thus take the place of Christendom’s present enmity with God.
58. What fact about government will help and maintain such unity, and so to what things will there be no end?
58 This unity of all living mankind will be helped and maintained by the fact that there will then be one government over all the earth, God’s kingdom by Christ. Political governments married to the churches of a divided Christendom will have gone down in Armageddon. These Church-State unions gone, there will be no selfish politics with all its corruption. Instead of the increase of Communism, there will be an increase of something not a threat to all mankind. Says Isaiah 9:6, 7, with reference to Jesus’ birth: “There has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”
59. Of what protective things of today will there be no need then, and why?
59 The world domination will thus be by Jehovah’s kingdom with his Prince of Peace in the throne over all mankind. Deliverance from fiendish nuclear bombs and radioactive fallout is sure to come. No need for bombproof, fallout-proof underground shelters then. There will be no polluting of the earth’s atmosphere and waters with radioactive debris from inhuman explosion of war devices. Those who today ruin the earth and exploit it for commercial gain will themselves have gone down in ruin in Armageddon.
60. What will the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:4 result in, and to whom will go the credit for realizing this?
60 Taxation for the upkeep of an expensive war machine will be no more. Not only will war-supply factories be gone, but the materials of any relics of war will be reworked into useful instruments for taking good care of the earth and for changing the face of the earth into a paradise of pleasure, a garden of Eden like that which our first parents inhabited during their perfect obedience to Jehovah God. To Christendom’s “last hope for peace,” namely, to the United Nations, will not go the credit for realizing the words of Isaiah 2:4 as inscribed on a wall at the UN headquarters in New York city: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” To the real kingdom of God will go the thanks for such a war-free new world. Already the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses is enjoying the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy among themselves on earth.
61. Besides Armageddon survivors, for whom are those earthly blessings reserved, and what will be extended to these by the survivors?
61 Ah, but the blessings of everlasting life, peace and paradise on earth are not for just those true Christians who have not failed God and who survive the battle of Armageddon into His new world. Regarding the Prince of Peace who died for all mankind it is written: “He must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Cor. 15:25, 26) To bring death to nothing means not only to lift the condemnation of death off the living survivors of Armageddon but also to resurrect the dead. Those dead ones whom divine justice has not already sentenced to everlasting destruction will return from the death state to the opportunity to live forever on the paradise earth, under God’s kingdom by Christ. (2 Tim. 4:1; Acts 10:42, 43; 24:15) To all those who return from the memorial tombs Christianity will be extended by the Armageddon survivors.
62. What healing will take place, and with what will those who finally do not fail God on earth be favored?
62 The miracle of resurrecting the dead will be followed by other miracles of spiritual and physical healing to human perfection as sons of God through Christ the King. All those who do not then fail God but whose knees bend to God in his name and whose tongues “openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” will be favored with the gift of everlasting life in the earthly paradise of the new world.—Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 21:1-4; John 3:16.
63. If we do not fear the consequences of Christendom’s end, what should we now do?
63 Do we need to fear, then, the consequences that will follow the end of Christendom for having failed God? No! In view of what is to follow, we should separate ourselves from Christendom and adopt true Christianity. We should then live as sincere Christians in joyful expectation of all the precious blessings of God’s kingdom that will follow the end of hypocritical religion.