Execution of Divine Judgment upon False Religion
“Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters.”—Rev. 17:1.
1. What right does each person have, and what is the duty of others in this regard?
EVERYONE has the right to practice the religion of his choice. This holds true at present, unless a person’s religion proves to be grossly immoral, licentious, shocking the public decency. Everyone should respect the right of everyone else to choose and live his own religion. We must observe religious toleration.
2. (a) What does religious toleration not mean? (b) How does one Hindu author view the names of many gods, raising what questions in our minds?
2 Our granting everyone his religious right, our refusing to interfere with each one’s religious practice, does not signify, however, that we approve of his religion or that we approve of all other religions besides our own. Our practicing religious toleration does not mean we believe that all religions are right and beneficial and that all of them lead to an eternal happy future in endless enjoyment of the god that a person worships. Neither does it mean that we recognize that, after all is said and done, still we all worship the one and the same god only under different names or by different ways of approach to him or by means of different religious ceremonies. As one Hindu author recently wrote: “Names of gods do not make religion any more than the names of men and women make up their personality. . . . Whether it be God, Jehovah, Bhagwan, Iswar, Allah, Hari, Siva or Rama, it is the same Being that in vague manner is recalled by every devotee when he utters the name which he has been brought up to associate with the mystery of the universe and idea of worship.a But is that true? Do all the names of the different gods have the same history? Do they all suggest to the worshipers one and the same personality?
3. (a) Why is it not wrong to expose a false religion? (b) What must be the basis for such exposure?
3 Can there be false religion? It is not a form of religious persecution for anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion. But in order to make the exposure and show the wrong religions to be false, the true worshiper will have to use an authoritative means of judgment, a rule of measurement that cannot be proved faulty. To make a public exposure of false religion is certainly of more value than exposing a news report as being untrue; it is a public service instead of a religious persecution and it has to do with the eternal life and happiness of the public. Still it leaves the public free to choose.
4. What should one having the true religion be able to do?
4 Why should anyone practice a religion unless he is convinced that it is true and right? It is not egotistical for a worshiper to say and believe that his is the only true religion. However, he ought to be able to prove that his is the only one that is correct and that results in eternal blessings. Otherwise, his faith in his religion is foundationless and is mere credulity.
5. (a) If all religions were true, what would we see? (b) How are we assured that not all religions are true?
5 It may strike some persons as a new thought that not all religions are true and right, and that there is in fact only one true religion, only one true form of worship of a higher or supreme intelligent power. If all religions were true and right, they would bring improvement, protection and lasting benefits to all religionists. False religion ends up with bad results, with debasement and deterioration. Since this is the effect of false religion in this life, how could it really save us? How could it usher us into a better world, an improved world in spite of the fact that there the same religion is to be practiced as was practiced in this life on earth? Not all religions could be true, for they all contradict one another, but the really true religion must contradict all others.
6, 7. (a) What does true science reveal? (b) How does God’s Word show there is divine intelligence behind the creation of our universe?
6 Necessarily there must be just one true religion, just as there is only one true science. Nineteen centuries ago a learned defender of the true religion warned against the “oppositions of science falsely so called,” or, “contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge,” because the acceptance of such falsely called science or knowledge caused many believers to turn away from the true faith. (1 Tim. 6:20, AV; RS) The one true religion must be in perfect harmony with science that is proved, not just called so.
7 Science or knowledge that is true, because it is proved, reveals the laws of our universe. It brings to our view more and more plainly the wonderful harmony of all the works of creation and all the laws of our physical universe. The unity and harmony of our universe are discovered in more detail by scientific searchings, but even with our natural eyes we can see enough to prove that there is but one God, one Creator of our all-harmonious universe. That divine intelligence is behind or responsible for our harmonious universe was long ago expressed in these words written against men who deny the existence of the one supreme Creator God: “What may be known about God is manifest among them, for God made it manifest to them. For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.” (Rom. 1:19, 20) What conclusions, then, are we obliged to draw from this?
8. (a) Show what requirements have to be met for a religion to be the one true worship. (b) Why must true worship triumph?
8 One God alone could be supreme and all-powerful; and one such God could mean only one true religion, namely, the one right worship of this one supreme, almighty God. His religion is one of right belief and is harmonious in all its expressions, just as true physical science is harmonious and not self-contradictory. The true religion of the one God does not disagree with itself, deny itself or get divided with itself. If it had internal disagreement, contradiction and disunity, it could never stand; it could not be simple truth; it would disagree with the scientific laws of the universe; it could not triumph in the long-drawn-out conflict between true religion and false. But true religion must triumph, because truth cannot be destroyed. That is why, despite all the many false religions in the world, the true religion has lived through till this day, although it stands alone. Certainly the one almighty God could not do otherwise than preserve his own religion.
9, 10. (a) With whom did the family line of true worship end, and why with him? (b) How did he feel about giving Jehovah exclusive devotion?
9 For the first four thousand years of man’s existence there was a family line of men in which the worship of the true God kept enduring. That family line ended with Jesus Christ, who refused to worship anyone else but the true God. In answer to Satan, the Opposer of the true God and his religion, Jesus Christ said: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” Jesus Christ there quoted from what is written in the Law of the prophet Moses, in Deuteronomy 5:9; 6:13, where the original language of the Law tells us God’s name, that is, Jehovah.
10 Jesus Christ did not marry and raise a family in which to continue the worship of the true God, Jehovah. From written prophecies inspired by Jehovah God, Jesus knew that he must die a martyr’s death for the truth. So he gathered about him faithful followers, who would carry on the true religion after his death.—John 18:37.
11. What change of religion took place for some Jews in the days of Jesus?
11 The twelve apostles whom he chose had up till then tried to live according to the Law of Moses. Now, though, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew changed their religion, from being Jewish religionists who had nothing to do with non-Jewish nationalities to being Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. Also the apostles John and James changed their religion in the same way, and so did all the other apostles, as they were all natural Jews by birth. Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, formerly followed Judaism or the Jews’ religion and persecuted Christians, but, shortly, because of a miracle, he changed from Judaism to Christianity. (Gal. 1:13-16; 2 Cor. 11:22, 23; Phil. 3:5, 6) This change of religion, however, did not mean that now those apostles tried to prove the Bible wrong.
THE MEANS FOR JUDGING ALL RELIGIONS
12. (a) What did Jesus show to be the measuring line for truth? (b) How much of such truth was available when he said those words?
12 Just the opposite was true. Those apostles and fellow Jewish converts presented still more proof, up-to-date proof, to show that the Hebrew Scriptures were true. Those Jewish Christians at that time had the Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi, all together thirty-nine books as they are divided up today. Jesus Christ himself constantly upheld the truthfulness of those Hebrew Scriptures and called attention to the fulfillment of their prophecies. In his final prayer with his apostles he said to Jehovah God concerning those Hebrew Scriptures: “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” His Jewish disciples, his followers from the nation of Israel, followed his example and, like him their Leader, they proved the Hebrew Scriptures to be true, divinely inspired.—John 17:17; Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Acts 17:2, 3.
13. (a) In what way did the early disciples of Jesus follow his counsel recorded in John 17:17? (b) What came to constitute the complete Word of truth, and of what is it the standard down to our day?
13 So what those Jewish converts to Christianity actually did was to join Jesus Christ in exposing as false the religious traditions that men had attached to the Hebrew Scriptures and to Jehovah’s worship, because such man-made traditions contradicted the Holy Scriptures and made God’s commandments of no force. They held strictly to the thirty-nine books of inspired Hebrew Scriptures as being the standard by which to determine whether religious teachings and practices were true or false. In harmony with those true Hebrew Scriptures there were now written twenty-seven Christian books, written originally in Greek by eight inspired apostles and disciples. These books were added to the inspired Hebrew Scriptures to make one volume of sixty-six books. In harmony with the practice of Jesus Christ and his first-century disciples, we use this inspired Volume, known as the Holy Scriptures or Holy Bible, as our God-given standard today for proving a religion true or false.
DIVINE OPPOSITION TO FALSE RELIGION
14. Since neither God nor Christ can lie, what is their attitude toward false religion?
14 The only living, true God does not lie and cannot lie. (Titus 1:1, 2; Heb. 6:18) Because of his unswerving adherence to the truth, he is against all false religion; and so is his Son Jesus Christ. In the very last book of the Holy Bible they cooperated in giving us, through the apostle John, a prophecy, in symbols, describing the fall and destruction of all false religion.
15. (a) Who is the source of false religion, and what are his names? (b) Why does false religion predominate in our earth?
15 As the one true religion proceeds from the one living and true God, Jehovah, and represents him, so all false religion represents the invisible spirit creature who is the false god of this world or system of things. (2 Cor. 4:4) He is the source of false religion, because he is a liar and fathered all lies, and he is opposed to the true God the Creator. The last book of the Bible speaks of him as being “the great dragon . . . , the original serpent, the one called Devil [Slanderer] and Satan [Opposer], who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 12:9) Except for those who faithfully worship the true God through his Son Jesus Christ, Satan the Devil misleads the “entire inhabited earth” by means of false religion. That is why false religion predominates in the earth.
16. (a) Do peaceful relations exist between true and false religions? (b) Why must the true religion prevail?
16 Neither the true God nor the false god approves of the religion of the other. The true God is against the religion of the false god, Satan the Devil. The false god is against the religion of Jehovah and leads his servants to persecute the religion of the true God. Hence, down through the ages the true worshipers have suffered greatly at the hands of the false religionists. False religion may now have the power and the numbers in the inhabited earth, but which religion will triumph at last? There is only one answer: As truth cannot be destroyed, it will be false religion that will suffer defeat and be destroyed. This is just as certain as that the true God will triumph over the false religious god.
17. (a) What power does the true God possess, as shown by the Bible account of the Flood? (b) Therefore, why has he permitted false religion to exist till now?
17 Now, in an instant, the true God could blot out false religion and thus free his worshipers from opposition and persecution. In Noah’s day he blotted out the false religionists by a global inundation. Eight faithful worshipers of His survived, Noah and seven immediate family members. (Gen. 6:5 to 7:24) Since that global Flood the Almighty God has only permitted false religion. He has tolerated it in order to test the sincerity and faithfulness of his own worshipers. His inspired written Word, the Bible, plainly shows that he will not always tolerate the prevalence of false religion. How long will he yet tolerate the practice of false religion on his property, this earth that he owns as his own creation?
18. How do we know the end of false religion is near at hand?
18 From when the original perfect man in Eden sinned against his Creator God the Bible counts about 1,656 years down to the flood of Noah’s day. From the Flood’s beginning down to now is more than twice that length of time, namely, more than 4,300 years. According to information from all parts of the inhabited earth, conditions today are worse than those reported to exist on earth before the Flood came and wiped out the false religionists. Jesus Christ gave a prophecy to show when false religion and the rest of the Devil’s system of things would be brought to their end. In his prophecy Jesus pointed out the similarities between conditions on earth before the Flood and conditions that are to exist on earth before the end of the Devil’s world. (Matt. 24:36-39; Luke 17:26, 27) Because the events and conditions that Jesus Christ predicted are being realized in human history since the year 1914, and since our times resemble those of Noah’s time just prior to the Flood, evidently the end of all false religion is near.
HOW IT STARTED
19. Following the Flood who gave false religion its start, and what lie about the Flood story did false religion tell?
19 Where, then, and how did false religion get its start after the Flood? It was in the days of one of Noah’s great-grandsons named Nimrod, and at the city of Babel or Babylon. Nimrod was a great huntsman in opposition to Jehovah God and became the king of Babel and its huntsman hero. (Gen. 10:8-10; 1 Chron. 1:10) From this start Babylonian religion was built up and expanded. However, the Babylonians traced the beginning of their religion from the creation of heaven and earth. So Babylonian religion had its mythical cosmogony or philosophy on the creation of the universe and also had a Flood story, which Flood it survived; and hence it claimed to be the one, original religion and so the true religion.
20. Show how Noah and Shem rightly viewed this new spread of false religion.
20 The facts show, however, that Noah and his son Shem, who survived the flood with Noah, did not join the religious rebels in building Babel or in promoting the social, political and religious idea that was behind the building of this city and its skyscraper tower. Noah and Shem did not join in worshiping the new god set up at Babel or Babylon. They kept worshiping the only true God, the Creator and the Flood Bringer. They stayed away from worshiping the false gods described in the Babylonian creation account.
21. Through whom was true religion kept alive?
21 In that way false religion was set up at Babel (Babylon). True religion continued where Noah and Shem lived, and Shem lived on into the days of a man called “Jehovah’s friend,” namely, Abraham the Hebrew. (Jas. 2:23; 2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8) Abraham was a prominent descendant of Shem, and by means of him the worship of the true God, whose name is Jehovah, was kept alive on earth.
22, 23. (a) How did the true God express disapproval of Babylonian religion? (b) What label did false religion give to Nimrod’s city, but what did Jehovah call this city, meaning what?
22 God did not approve of Babel or Babylon—no more so than of her false religion. To express his disapproval of Babel and her religious skyscraper, Almighty God mixed up the language of the builders and scattered them. Doubtless Nimrod’s own language was changed and he no longer spoke the pure Hebrew. But whether in a new language or not, he kept up his false religion, and in one of the new languages his city was called by the name meaning “Gate of God.” Not, of course, the Gate of Jehovah, to whom Nimrod was opposed, but the religious center and capital of the new false god.
23 In the original Hebrew, God’s written Word calls Nimrod’s royal city Babel (Babylon, in the Greek language). This Hebrew name Babel does not mean “Gate of God”; it means “Confusion.” God’s act of judgment upon the city was the reason for calling the city by that Hebrew name. False religions, which try to glorify Babel or Babylon, do not give the city the name “Confusion” in their language but put god, their god, in the city’s name. Shem’s history calls it Babel (”Confusion”), and so do later Bible writers in Hebrew and Greek.—Gen. 10:2 to 11:10; Ps. 137:1, 8; Matt. 1:11, 12, 17.
24. What came to be the course of false religion after the confusing of tongues of men at Babel, and so what has happened worldwide?
24 By the confusing and scattering of her builders, Babylon’s false religion was not destroyed. Her false religion was really spread by this scattering, and it became practiced in different languages, hence with different names for its gods. Thus by the scattering of Babylon’s builders her religion was carried, in different tongues, into all Asia, Africa and Europe, to be practiced all over the inhabited earth and not merely in Babylon. In this way a world empire of false religion was established, with its priesthood and religious ceremonies. In this empire all the component religions differed in language and names of things and religious clothing, but all such religions rested on the one and the same foundation, the false religion begun at Babylon.
25. How have world empires been afflicted by Babylonish religion?
25 The world empire of Babylonish religion has continued since then by God’s toleration. Thus it has dominated the seven political world powers of which the Holy Bible takes note historically and prophetically. In the order in which they rose to world domination they are (1) Egypt, (2) Assyria, (3) Babylonia, (4) Medo-Persia, (5) Greece or Macedonia, (6) Rome, both pagan and that of Christendom, including the western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire, and (7) Britain-America, even though these two modern political allies claim to practice, not Babylonish religion, but Christianity.
26. (a) Why might some people not classify Christendom as resting on a Babylonish foundation? (b) How can we be sure the world empire of false religion cannot last?
26 The religions prevalent in all those world powers, as well as in the lands or territories lying outside such seven world powers, rested on Babylonish foundations. They were all under the unseen domination of the false god of this world. This includes Christendom; but her religionists do not realize it, because her religious features are smeared over with Christian or Bible names. Because of the origin and foundation of this world empire of false religion, the last book of the Holy Bible pictures it under the symbol of Babylon the Great and calls it that. Calling it by that name betokens its sure downfall and destruction, just as its ancient prototype by the name of Babylon fell ingloriously and went to utter ruin.
27. What do the 111 members of the United Nations have in common, including Red Soviet Russia in spite of the complaint of the Soviet press?
27 The world empire of Babylonish religion has dominated the seven successive world powers down to this day when there has risen on the world stage the international organization known as the United Nations. This age-long domination by Babylonish religious imperialism is prophetically pictured in the Bible’s last book, Revelation, chapter seventeen. Today the United Nations has 111 member nations, and all these practice some religion, including the radical Red Religion with its state worship and hero worship resembling the worship of Babylon’s hero, the huntsman Nimrod who rebelled against his great-grandfather’s God, Jehovah. In telling of Red Soviet Russia The Americana Annual, 1963, says, under the heading “Religion” on page 692:
In 1962, as before, the Soviet press complained that religion was still a strong force in Soviet life, and urged all intensification of antireligious propaganda. During 1962 more than 20 Pentecostal ministers and at least seven ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses were imprisoned for illegal religious activities, . . .
THE MYSTERY OF THE SCARLET-COLORED WILD BEAST
28. What is pictured by the marine beast with seven heads and ten horns, and what curious event takes place?
28 In Revelation, chapter seventeen, the Christian apostle John is reported as seeing a “scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns.” (Rev. 17:3) From where this beast comes or just how it comes into existence is not disclosed here. But in general outline it resembles another wild beast that John previously saw in the vision, a wild beast that the Dragon, Satan the Devil, watched as it rose up out of the sea and to which the Dragon gave a throne and power and great authority. This marine beast also had seven heads and ten horns on its heads, there being ten diadems upon the ten horns. In the light of previous Hebrew Bible prophecy this sea beast pictures Satan the Devil’s visible political organization on earth, from the days of ancient Babylon till now. As for those seven heads of the sea beast, these picture the aforementioned seven world powers that successively took headship in world politics, from the ancient Egyptian World Power down to the Anglo-American World Power of today. Curiously, an image was made of this sea beast.—Rev. 13:1-7, 14, 15.
29. (a) Of what, then, is the scarlet beast of Revelation, chapter seventeen, verse three, an image, and so what do Bible symbolisms argue it to be? (b) What does John say about this beast at Revelation 17:7, 9-11?
29 Except for skin color, the scarlet wild beast of Revelation, chapter seventeen, is an image of the seven-headed, ten-horned wild beast out of the sea. Bible symbolisms argue that the scarlet beast is a political organization. Its heads have the same significance as the similar heads of the sea beast and thus symbolize the seven world powers of the past and present, of all of which there remain political remnants or relics to this day. This meaning is given to the heads by the angel that brought the Revelation to the apostle John. In explaining the “mystery of the wild beast,” the angel said: “Here is where the intelligence that has wisdom comes in: The seven heads mean seven mountains, where the woman sits on top. And there are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived, but when he does arrive he must remain a short while. And the wild beast that was but is not, it is also itself an eighth king, but springs from the seven [kings, symbolized by the seven heads], and it goes off into destruction.”—Rev. 17:7, 9-11.
30, 31. (a) How do we know the scarlet wild beast does not picture Rome even though one might find certain “apparent” similarities? (b) Therefore, what does this scarlet wild beast picture, and what do its seven heads symbolize?
30 What does that scarlet wild beast picture? Rome, where Vatican City is located? It is true that, when John saw this vision, Rome was dominating as the Sixth World Power and had exiled John to the penal isle of Patmos as a part of its program of persecuting Christ’s true followers. It is also true that the city of Rome back there sat on seven hills. However, the seven heads that are compared to mountains and kings do not represent seven Roman kings or rulers sitting one each on each one of the seven hills of Rome. Nor do they represent seven Roman emperors ruling in succession, with five then gone, one then ruling, and one yet to arrive at Rome.
31 No, that scarlet wild beast does not picture the pagan Roman Empire. It pictures something far bigger, older. It stands for the Devil’s entire visible political system that began in the days of Babel or Babylon. Its seven heads stand for the seven successive world powers, five of which had been overthrown, the sixth one of which, the Roman World Power, was then ruling in John’s day, and the seventh one, the Anglo-American World Power, being due to arrive long after John’s death.
32. What else does the Revelation account say the scarlet-colored beast is, and so when does it arise on the world scene?
32 As regards the scarlet-colored wild beast itself, the angel said that it sprang from the seven world powers but was in itself an eighth king, an eighth world power. In the Bible, seven is a number denoting perfection; and as eight is one more than this perfect number, eight stands for something in excess, something superfluous. Since the scarlet wild beast is an eighth king or world power, the last one, it pictures a political organization that is formed after the Seventh World Power of Britain and America in alliance. The first outstanding alliance of the British Empire and the United States of America was in the first world war of 1914-1918, although there was considerable international cooperation between the two political powers prior to that war.
33. Therefore, what does the Eighth World Power represent, and how do we know it is not the Communist bloc of nations?
33 What, then, is that Eighth World Power that is last, and most recent, to step upon the world stage of action? Not the powerful Communist bloc of nations, even though the Bolsheviki took control of Russia as recently as November of 1917, after Britain and America allied themselves in World War I. Communist Russia and its satellite nations do not fit the Revelation picture; it cannot be said of this Communist bloc that it “springs from the seven,” that is, from the seven preceding world powers. The Tsarist Russian Empire was never a part of those seven world powers. The Eighth World Power that did ‘spring from the seven’ within recent years and since World War I is not international Communism. Rather, it is the international peace-and-security organization, first in the form of the League of Nations and now in the form of the United Nations.
34. Who, especially, backs this Eighth World Power and to what extent, according to Revelation 13:15?
34 The Seventh World Power, of Britain and America, has been the chief advocate and backer of this international organization for world peace and security. In Revelation 13:11-15 the British-American dual world power is prophetically seen as proposing and giving the breath of life to this international organization, which is an image of the political wild beast out of the sea.
35, 36. What other remarkable information did John receive about this Eighth World Power, as shown in Revelation 17:8?
35 In harmony with this, the scarlet-colored, seven-headed wild beast, which is the Eighth World Power, must be a symbol of the now-dead League of Nations and its living successor the United Nations. Even its double appearance, or its twofold form, was foretold, not in Revelation, chapter thirteen, which tells how it comes into existence, but in Revelation 17:8, which reads:
36 “The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction. And when they see how the wild beast was, but is not, and yet will be present, those who dwell on the earth will wonder admiringly, but their names have not been written upon the scroll of life from the founding of the world.”
37. Explain how Revelation 17:8 was fulfilled in the activity of this Eighth World Power.
37 The appearance of this scarlet wild beast on the earth was interrupted by its going down into the abyss, at which time it ceased to function on the earth. When did this occur? According to history, it was when World War II broke out in September of 1939 in spite of the existence of the League of Nations, which had been organized after World War I in order to preserve peace and make the world secure against, at least, another world war. From the start of that second world conflict the symbolic scarlet wild beast showed its lack of strength, its helplessness. It became, in effect, nonexistent. It indeed went down into an abyss of deathlike inability, unable to live up to its charter. It did not protect the United States of America, not a League member, from being forced into the war and again becoming a war ally of Great Britain, a League member. It did not hasten the ending of the war and the arranging of a peace conference. It was the superior might of the democratic allies, coupled with the introduction of the atomic bomb into warfare, that did so. Certainly the symbolic scarlet wild beast was in the abyss during 1939-1945.
38. Did the rising again of this scarlet-colored wild beast surprise Jehovah’s witnesses? Why?
38 But from the mid-war year of 1942 the ascending of the scarlet wild beast out of the abyss was expected by Jehovah’s witnesses, and they courageously made known their expectation in public, by word of mouth and in print, basing their confident expectation on the prophecy of Revelation 17:8.b This conviction of theirs was solidly based, and so their expectation did not miscarry. Before World War II was completely over, the United Nations Conference on International Organization was being held, from April 25 to June 26, 1945, by representatives of fifty nations, not including the Nazi-Fascist powers and allies. Where? In a city of the Seventh World Power, namely, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. The Conference there concluded with the signing of the United Nations Charter by representatives of those fifty nations.
39, 40. Who, again, was foremost in organizing this Eighth World Power and giving it life, and when did it once again begin functioning?
39 Who were the ones that were foremost in arranging for the United Nations organization? The same nations that had proposed and given life to the League of Nations, namely, that two-horned world power of Britain and America, which was foretold in Revelation 13:11-15. The United Nations was very similar to the League of Nations, having the same objective by similar means, and it was, in effect, the same symbolic scarlet wild beast. Thus the scarlet wild beast ascended out of the abyss.
40 On October 24, 1945, the Charter of the United Nations got the ratification of twenty-nine governments, including the leading allied powers known as the Big Five. By virtue of this the UN Charter then became part of international law. There the symbolic scarlet wild beast got out of the abyss and, in spite of some financial difficulties, it has been exerting itself as the Eighth World Power ever since. The reappearance of the scarlet wild beast on the world scene caused great wonderment among those dwelling on earth, except Jehovah’s witnesses, who were informed on the prophetic Scriptures.
41. What comments by world leaders show the United Nations to be like its predecessor, full of blasphemous names?
41 Such dwellers on earth wondered admiringly at the revived scarlet wild beast. Much reliance was placed in its ability to be a power for world peace and security. Great expectations were held out for it, and it was given designations that were really blasphemous from the standpoint of the Holy Bible. How so? In that to this “wild beast” powers were ascribed and tasks were assigned that really belong to God’s kingdom and its Messiah or its Christ. Back in 1919 the scarlet League of Nations had been seriously called “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” And now the United Nations, the successor of that League, has been called the best means for peace, yes, even more than that, the “last hope for peace.” So today we can see in actuality what the apostle John saw in symbol, that that scarlet-colored wild beast is “full of blasphemous names.” Those expressions of admiration for it turn false religionists, not to the worship of Jehovah God the Creator, but to idolatry of a man-made creation, the worship of a political image, the worship of an international organization for world peace and security.—Rev. 17:3.
42. (a) Why will those worshiping this beast not be saved? (b) What timely question is thus asked, with what startling answer?
42 Is such worship of the scarlet wild beast going to save such admiring dwellers on the earth? No! For it is written that “their names have not been written upon the scroll of life from the founding of the world.” (Rev. 17:8) But why is their religion not holding them back from committing idolatry, which is contrary to the first and second of the Ten Commandments of Jehovah God? Revelation, chapter seventeen, symbolically shows us why. It is because there is a woman riding the scarlet beast. We read:
43. (a) Describe the appearance of the woman riding this beast. (b) What is her name, and on what has she gotten drunk?
43 “And he [the angel who appeared to John] carried me away in the power of the spirit into a wilderness. And I caught sight of a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication. And upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.’ And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. Well, on catching sight of her I wondered with great wonderment [but, of course, not admiringly].”—Rev. 17:3-6.
44. (a) Her being drunk with the blood of God’s servants proves what about her? (b) What is the significance of her name, Babylon the Great?
44 The fact that the woman was “drunk with the blood of [God’s] holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus,” what does that prove? It proves she is against Jehovah God and against his Son Jesus the Messiah or Christ. She is therefore not on the side of the one true worship, the one true religion. The name on her forehead, although a mystery, betrays who the woman is. The main part of her name is the name of Jehovah God’s ancient enemy, Babylon. But she is greater than that city built under Nimrod’s direction on the Euphrates River; that is why she is called “Babylon the Great.” The ancient city of Babylon was, clear down to its disastrous fall in 539 B.C., outstandingly religious; she was a leader in false worship. Ah, now, we see that the mysterious Babylon the Great is, not pagan Rome of the seven hills, but the world empire of Babylonish religion that gathers all the world in under its dominion.
45. (a) What do the waters where the harlot sits represent, and how long has she been astride those waters? (b) What agility has this harlot shown over the years?
45 That is why the angel said to John in explaining the mystery: “The waters that you saw, where the harlot is sitting, mean peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. And the woman whom you saw means the great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:15, 18) She sat on those symbolic waters and held kingdom over earth’s rulers long before the scarlet beast was set up as an idolatrous image. As soon as this symbolic wild beast appeared after World War I she climbed on its back. In view of her religious power, that was easy for her. When the scarlet “wild beast” went into the abyss during World War II she continued to sit “on many waters,” namely, on the peoples, crowds, nations and tongues, and to exercise “kingdom over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:1) When the “wild beast” ascended out of the abyss with the help of especially its seventh head, the Anglo-American World Power, Babylon the Great at once climbed upon its back, and there she sits till this day.
46. How has this wicked woman shown herself to be “the mother of the harlots”?
46 It was but to be expected that she would ride this beast, it being a political organization, a world power. Babylon the Great is a harlot and is named “the mother of the harlots.” God’s angel said she is the “great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, whereas those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (Rev. 17:1, 2) Since the scarlet wild beast symbolizes a political organization, the Eighth World Power, and its seven heads symbolize “seven kings” or seven world powers, Babylon the Great would follow her regular course and commit fornication with it just as she had committed fornication with the previous seven world powers and other “kings of the earth.” Symbolically speaking, she would be committing fornication with a wild beast, which act is bestiality, a sin that is loathsome and that is condemned by God’s law.—Lev. 20:15, 16.
47. Why is this harlot so interested in world politics, and to what extent has she gone to win the favor of world governments?
47 Her fornication consists in her uniting of her religion with politics, playing along with politics for her own enrichment. She is intensely interested in politics, but this is especially in order that she may control worldly politics for her own advantage, dictating to the politicians. She presumes to have the divine right to crown and uncrown kings. She has prostituted herself to the political rulers. She has yielded her religious power to serve the ambitions of the rulers, even to blessing their armies with slaughter weapons and sanctifying their selfish wars, and giving to those who get killed while trying to kill others in warfare a direct passport into heavenly glory. No wonder she is so brilliantly dressed.
48. Explain the expression “those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
48 What, though, have the common people got from her committing her fornication with worldly rulers? This, as stated: “those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” They have been made to suffer from all the selfish, ambitious, aggressive, covetous schemes that she blessed and in which she cooperated just to please the political rulers, her handsomely paying paramours. The people have been made to reel and have been stupefied by all the trouble, affliction, privation, hardship and oppression that have been given them to drink from the “golden cup” of Babylon the Great. The fact that she has religiously told the suffering peoples that these things are Heaven’s will for them has not lightened their sufferings, healed their wounds or comforted their aching hearts. Her golden cup is filthy inside.
49. Who are the daughter organizations that Babylon has produced?
49 Babylon the Great’s harlotry has made her a mother, but a mother of bastard children, who take after their mother’s ways. So she is the “mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” Locally, in the various nations, she has produced daughter organizations, religious systems either united with the local government in unions of Church and State or closely tied in with the national political system and serving as a handmaiden, a concubine for it. She also mothers disgusting things, things that are particularly disgusting to God, such as persons sanctified for prostitution at her temples, gambling on religious property for receiving her percentage of the unjust gain, idolatries with images, and so forth.
50. Name the various ways in which Babylon is responsible for heavy bloodguilt.
50 A heavy bloodguilt before God the Creator weighs down on Babylon the Great. She shares in the blame for the wars she has not used her mystical power to prevent. She shares in the guilt for the bloodshed of those she blessed as she offered them for sacrifice to the god of war, even though they fought on opposite sides of the conflict, religious brother against religious brother. In the name of religion she has carried on intolerant persecution. She has stirred up brutal religious wars, of one religion against another. She has proclaimed holy wars, with promises of heavenly rewards for those who die fighting in them. She has promoted fanatical crusades, not only against the so-called infidel, but against those whose religion she has tried to wipe out with flame and sword. Her religious inquisitions have been hideous, fiendish. History records how subserviently she played her mighty part in both of those bloodiest conflicts of mankind, World War I and World War II. In these ways she killed off mainly her own religionists, yet these have all been God’s creatures, and he holds Babylon the Great accountable for their blood.
51. How has she specially sinned against God?
51 In her religious persecutions she has specially sinned against God the Creator. The apostle John calls attention to her bloodguilt in this respect by saying: “And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.” (Rev. 17:6) Drinking blood has been no problem for her, even though Noah, the great-grandfather of Nimrod, was given God’s command to drink no blood. (Gen. 9:3, 4) Babylon the Great, however, has experienced intoxicating pleasure by drinking the blood of God’s holy ones and the witnesses of Jesus Christ, by declaring them heretics, a menace to Babylonish religious society, and persecuting them to the death with help of the State.
52. What words of one of the seven angels are next of particular interest?
52 Is it any wonder, then, that a vision was given to one of these suffering “witnesses of Jesus” to picture how divine judgment will be executed upon this world empire of Babylonish religion? Not at all! John introduces this particular part of the Revelation to us, saying: “And one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls [full of the anger of God] came and spoke with me, saying: ‘Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, whereas those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’” (Rev. 17:1, 2) How was the judgment executed?
EXECUTING THE JUDGMENT
53. Then what judgment takes place, and whose will is it that this judgment is executed?
53 John gives us a picture of it with these words: “And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.”—Rev. 17:16, 17.
54. What do the ten horns of the scarlet-colored beast represent, and why ten?
54 Those ten horns were pictured as being on the seven heads of the scarlet-colored wild beast. What do they represent? The heavenly angel told John, saying: “And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast.” (Rev. 17:12, 13) Thus the horns symbolize governmental rulers. (Compare Daniel 8:2-8, 20, 21.) As the number ten in Scripture is a symbol of completeness, “ten kings” would stand for all the governmental rulers, particularly those who are part of the symbolic scarlet wild beast, the international organization for world peace and security.
55. What did not Babylon or the ten horns do at the close of World War I?
55 At the close of World War I Babylon the Great did not tell those symbolic “ten horns” to yield over their national and imperial sovereignties to God’s Messianic kingdom that had been born in the heavens to take over the rulership of all the earth. Neither did those “ten horns” want to make such a surrender. During World War I they persecuted Jehovah’s Christian witnesses and disdainly refused to accept the message of God’s established kingdom.
56. How do the ten horns now carry out God’s thought?
56 God purposed the destruction of these symbolic “ten horns,” even as he had long previously foretold this. It was his thought to maneuver them now to their destruction, to destroy them in a combination, all at one time. Accordingly, by his unseen maneuvering, “God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.” How would they carry out God’s thought for them to get into combined opposition to Him? By their coming to a oneness of thought or idea and chartering an international organization for world peace and security and then joining it as one family of nations, joining particularly the United Nations of today. So, instead of giving their kingdom to God in surrender of their earthly sovereignty to his Messianic government, they proceeded, as Revelation 17:17 says, “to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.”
57. How did the nations give power and authority to the “wild beast”?
57 So from 1919 onward, when the Charter of the League of Nations was ratified, they began giving their kingdom to the scarlet-colored “wild beast.” They gave their power and authority to it. By becoming member nations of the international organization for world peace and security, the Eighth World Power, “they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast.” (Rev. 17:12, 13) In a comparative sense, it is only “one hour” to the beast’s destruction. It has only “one hour” of life.
58. How did Babylon feel about this “wild beast,” and what will be the final result to her and to the beast?
58 Babylon the Great, who was eager to ride such a “wild beast,” approved of this international action, even though it was against the heavenly kingdom of the Lamb of God that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses were proclaiming. What is and will be the result of this giving of national power and authority to the “wild beast,” the pet of Babylon the Great? Revelation 17:14 answers: “These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.” In that way, or, for that reason, the scarlet “wild beast” that is now present after getting out of the abyss will “go off into destruction.” When that takes place, “the words of God will have been accomplished.”—Rev. 17:8, 17.
59. However, who goes into destruction first and at whose hands?
59 Will Babylon the Great, the rider of the scarlet “wild beast,” be destroyed at the same time with the “wild beast” and thus enjoy her ride as a harlot on it till its finish? No! Not according to the already recorded judicial decision of Jehovah God. His sentence already handed down is that the very objects of her love must destroy her, before they themselves are destroyed. She has long had the selfish love of a harlot or fornicatrix for that “wild beast” and its ten horns. She feels that she will be always attractive to them and be able to hold their patronage by satisfying their selfish immoral pleasure. But in this she fools herself and opens herself to a shocking surprise.
60. Describe the disastrous end of the harlot.
60 God Almighty will break up that selfish unity between the harlot and the ten-horned wild beast. He will turn their selfish love to contemptuous hatred and will present reasons to the beast and ten horns to hate the harlot on top of them and to vent their hatred furiously upon her. They will drive her from a religious paradise into devastation. They will strip off her purple and scarlet garments, her adornments of gold and precious stones and pearls, and knock that golden cup full of disgusting things out of her hand. She will be exposed nude as a religious fraud. No longer will her flesh hold an attraction for petting and immoral union, but the “wild beast” and its ten horns will feed in a beastly way upon her fleshy parts. Her skeleton they will reduce to mere lime by burning it with fire. Thus the world empire of Babylonish religion will be reduced to ashes, to be trampled underfoot by the surviving worshipers of the true God, Jehovah, the faithful followers of his reigning Son Jesus Christ.—Mal. 4:3.
61. Who will see to it that the scarlet “wild beast” goes into destruction?
61 After that the scarlet “wild beast” and its ten horns will go, no, not back into the abyss, but into total destruction forever. The conquering Lamb, against whom they fight, will see to that.
62. What advice is given to those who do not wish to share Babylon’s fate?
62 Knowing now in advance the judgment to be executed shortly upon false religion, what shall we the people do? The Babylonish harlot sits upon “many waters,” many peoples, crowds, nations and tongues. Is she still sitting upon any of us? If she is, then, in order to escape suffering destruction with her at the time of the execution of divine judgment upon her, there is one thing to do, without delay: In the love of the one true religion, get out from under her! She is doomed! By the judgment of Jehovah God, Babylon the Great experienced a fall in 1919, since which year more than a million men, women and children have marched out of her into religious freedom as Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Now in her fallen condition she is approaching her terrible eternal destruction. Hence we say to seekers after God who are still under her religious sway: Forsake Babylon the Great!
63, 64. Who will such not join to escape Babylon’s fate, but with whom will they take sides for everlasting salvation?
63 This does not mean joining with the “wild beast” and its “ten horns” in violently destroying that world empire of Babylonish religion. Such violent action by the “wild beast” and its “ten horns” will not gain salvation for them or salvation for anyone who joins in with them in such violence. Let those disillusioned political powers do that as visible agents of God in the execution of his divine judgment on false religion. But that work is not for us!
64 The one true religion is our salvation, for by it we worship the one living and true God who offers us salvation through his Son Jesus the Messiah, the Christ. Remember the words of Jesus in prayer to Jehovah God: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) It is this truth that sets us free from Babylon the Great. Let us enter that glorious religious freedom by embracing God’s word in his Holy Bible and then following in the footsteps of the victorious Lamb of God. He will conquer the political paramours of Babylon the Great and usher us into full freedom under the triumphant kingdom of God. Let God’s Messianic kingdom rule forevermore!
a Quoted from page 3 of the book Hinduism · Doctrine and Way of Life, by C. Rajagopalachari, published at the Hindustan Times Press, New Delhi, India. (First Impression)
b See pages 18-22 of the booklet Peace—Can it Last? published in 1942 by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
[Picture on page 692]
Babel—From here false religion spread worldwide
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Destruction of the world empire of Babylonish religion, as described in symbols by an angel to the apostle John